Backers of the envisioned “bullet train” between Houston and Dallas claim they are still moving forward with the project and are celebrating a successful round of fundraising, seeing a key federal study move forward, and most importantly surviving the scrum of this year’s legislative session. WFAA reports on the proponents and opponents of the ambitious project. The project pits Texas Central Partners who see the benefits of a rail line connected two of America’s largest cities against Texans Against High Speed Rail composed of mostly affected landowners.
Texas Central Partners announced in 2012 a partnership with Japanese train operator JR Central to debut that company’s bullet train technology in Texas. Unlike most other train lines in the country, Texas Central predicts its train will operate at a profit and has pledged to not take public subsidies to cover operational costs. JR Central plans to sell its famed Shinkansen trains to Texas Central and play an advisory role on the system’s operations.
Texas Central officials have described the 240-mile stretch between Dallas and Houston as the country’s most-financially viable prospect for a profitable high-speed rail line, pointing to the large swaths of rural, flat land and the cities’ robust population growth projections as key selling points.
The ambitious proposal immediately drew a healthy mix of excitement and skepticism, with some outright antagonism developing over the last year, as rural communities near the train’s expected path learned more about it.
Texas Central has said it plans to run 62 trips between Houston and Dallas daily. Yet, most Texans in communities along the route won’t be able to ride them. Though the route remains a work in progress, the company has plans for only three stations: Houston, Dallas, and Grimes County near the Bryan/College Station area.
While many Houston- and Dallas-area officials have backed the project, officials in communities in between have mostly come out against it. Statewide officials have largely avoided taking a position.