On Tuesday we got our sneak peek at Central Japan Railway Company's presentation to Houston transportation officials intended to get 'em revved up about high-speed rail linking Dallas and Houston (and points in between). This morning, Culturemap Houston provides this lengthy follow-up: interviews with some of the Houston officials in attendance, all of whom insist, yup, not only is this privately financed project viable -- says one Houston METRO board member, "There's a high level of demand, it's a perfect distance and the flat landscape makes for relatively easy construction" -- but also moving full steam ahead. Says the piece, CJ Railway would like to use the 700 Series Shinkansen train and plans on releasing "a detailed study of the train's alignments and construction costs" in November.
Of course, the Obama administration earlier this year chastised Texas for failing to put together a do-able comprehensive high-speed rail plan. State Sen. John Carona agreed: "Texas is behind the curve compared to these other states, particularly in terms of funding high-speed rail." Nevertheless, Houston officials, at least, love CJ Railway's proposal -- since, after all, it's privately funded. In the words of METRO board member Christof Spieler, "It would be a no-brainer -- trains are more comfortable and passengers can be more productive. You don't have to take off your shoes to get through security. You can get good food. The time you're spending in transit is a lot more useful and pleasant." I see 2020's mentioned as a do-by date. One question the piece doesn't address: How will they acquire the land needed to build the rail line?