That Dallas-Houston Bullet-Train Proposal Needs More Money Before it Can Start Costing Money

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

There was a lot of buzz back in May when a group led by the Central Japan Railway Co. and former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels announced plans to raise $10 billion in private funds to establish a bullet train linking Dallas and Houston. TxDOT, too, has been looking at high-speed rail, and is in the midst of a preliminary analysis of the Houston-Dallas corridor.

The Regional Transportation Council was expecting progress on that front when it drafted its long-range transportation plan, Mobility 2035, last year -- just not so much quite so soon, said Tom Shelton, a planner with the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

"We had a little bit of money in our previous budget, $640,000 already approved (for high-speed rail planning)," Shelton said. "But, based on this heightened level of interest we're getting ... we don't believe that level of funding will be sufficient."

So NCTCOG is asking the RTC to double that amount.

The extra cash is needed to provide interested parties, both public, like TxDOT, and private, like the Texas Central Railway, with the information they need when they need it, which, considering that TCR has expressed hope of beginning service by 2020, is soon.

For one, NCTCOG needs to establish basic guidelines for how it will handle proposals to build high-speed rail to the region from whatever direction so that it won't be totally winging it. Also, planners will need to gather data on why travelers are coming to Dallas from Houston and where in the DFW are they are going so developers can know where to locate rail stations. Mobility 2035 called for a three-pronged approach, with stations in downtown Dallas, DFW Airport, and downtown Ft. Worth.

And, by the way, Shelton mentioned that the $2 billion Cotton Belt Rail Corridor, which will stretch nearly 70 miles from southwest Ft. Worth to DART's Red Line in Plano but has been stalled for lack of funding, is also attracting potential investors from Europe and Asia.

"I'm not at liberty to share names," he said. "Just Google 'regional passenger rail' on the global scale, and you'll get the cast of characters. Basically, the answer is that all of them have expressed some level of interest."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.