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Mayors Announce Support For Houston-To-Dallas High-Speed Rail

Privately-funded rail line could open in 2021.


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Mayor Annise Parker gathers with officials to announce support for high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is joining with the mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth in supporting a high-speed rail line that would connect the two metro areas. The rail line has been talked about for years, but backers of the project say it’s now closer than ever to becoming a reality.

Gathered in the City Hall rotunda with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Parker says about 50,000 Texans every week make a round-trip on I-45 between Houston and Dallas.

The one-way drive takes about four hours. Promoters of high-speed rail say the travel time would be cut to 90 minutes.

Parker says she’s ridden the high-speed trains in China and she’s excited about the prospect of bringing those trains to the region.

“Why not do it in the best state in the United States, a state that is willing, and has always been willing to take big steps forward when no one else is willing to do the big, bold project.”

The high-speed rail line being developed with private money.

Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels heads Texas Central Railway, the company behind the project.

“It will be a transformational impact on the lives and economies of both communities, and the state of Texas.”

The route for the train is still under development, but planners envision train stations near the downtowns of both Houston and Dallas, along with a line between Dallas and Fort Worth.

The train may also make a stop in College Station.

“This will be an opportunity to create more of a Texas metropolitan region, a linking of these two communities. It could be faster to commute between downtown Houston and downtown Dallas than from either Spring or Plano to the inner city of either city.”

Along with speed, supporters are also talking about efficiency.

Maureen Crocker is executive director of the Gulf Coast Rail District.

“These trains in other countries also operate on a very tight schedule and a very reliable schedule, so I think that’s going to be a great benefit for everyone. And everyone seems to be very nostalgic about rail. So it will be nice to bring it back as a passenger form of transportation.”

Even though the rail line is a private venture, it still needs approval from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Eckels says they plan to file paperwork in the next 30 to 60 days. He’s hoping that if all goes as planned, the high-speed trains will be running by 2021.