On Tuesday we noted that the Texas Department of Transportation is looking for a firm to ID would-be routes for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, using $15 million in Federal Railway Administration High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funds awarded over the summer. Shortly after that, this landed in the Unfair Park in-box courtesy an interested party out of Houston: TxDOT's summary of the project, which was sent to the feds earlier this year.
Full of maps and charts, it's the best sum-up I've seen yet about where TxDOT thinks the rail would run and why. And it even mentions Southwest Airlines, which, as many Friends of Unfair Park pointed out earlier this week, has long opposed high-speed rail.
Although not mentioned in the TxDOT research project, even with over 100 flights daily, air travel between Dallas and Houston has experienced a decline in passengers of over 36% since 1990, according to a published report by the Dallas Morning News on January 9, 2011. The major contributing reasons for this decline were heightened security at the airports, rising cost in airfares, and a change in marketing geared toward an emphasis on longer flights, which may make core express service more appealing. Southwest Airlines, once an opponent of a HSR project, has seen a decline in annual passengers between Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby Airport from 1.5M passengers in 1990 to 1.0M in 2009.
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But, says the sender of this doc, the most intriguing revelations made in the doc are the figures found on Page 24: the potential cost of the project (around $4 billion for close to 250 miles of track) and the time it's guesstimated it would take to travel from Dallas to Houston (between 190 and 200 minutes). Says the man who dispatched the doc: "This is 15 million dollars that will be absolutely wasted." Read the whole thing after the jump.