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High Speed Rail Revisited: Wednesday’s Show (August 12, 2015)

Last year, we spoke with former Harris County judge and Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels about his company’s effort to construct a privately funded bullet train between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Texas Central Railway first proposed the plan to build the rail line back in 2012. If successful, it would offer commuters a way to travel from […]

Last year, we spoke with former Harris County judge and Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels about his company’s effort to construct a privately funded bullet train between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Texas Central Railway first proposed the plan to build the rail line back in 2012. If successful, it would offer commuters a way to travel from Houston to Dallas in about 90 minutes. The mayors of those cities have expressed their unified support for the project.

But amid efforts last year by the Federal Railroad Administration and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to seek public comment in preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement, opposition to the project surfaced in Montgomery County. Initially, the route would have cut through privately owned land in western portions of the county. Land owners balked, and now the line will cross west of the county. Nevertheless, a regional planning commission has been formed to — according to Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal — monitor and work against this or any other high speed rail project that might cut through the county. It’s not the only opposition that has arisen to this and other high speed rail projects.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we listen back to our 2014 conversation with Judge Eckels. Then, we learn about the latest developments from News 88.7 transportation reporter Gail Delaughter. And then we welcome your questions for Kyle Workman, President of Texans Against High Speed Rail, about why his group opposes projects like this.

Also this hour: we learn about the history of women-owned businesses in Houston during the mid-20th century. Houston Matters’ Paige Phelps talks with Meredith May, who’s researching and recording all the women-owned businesses in Houston from just after World War II until 1977, when the International Women’s Conference was held here in Houston. (Some 20,000 attended what would be the first – and only – national women’s conference sponsored by the federal government).

Plus: Ted Swindley, former founding artistic director of Houston’s Stages Repertory Theatre, has a knack for creating wildly successful musicals. He created Always…Patsy Cline, one of the top ten shows produced across the U.S. in 1998, and his latest hit is The Honky Tonk Angels, featuring 30 classic country tunes.

Currently on stage through Sept. 5 at Stages, The Honky Tonk Angels tells the story of three Southern women who leave behind largely unfulfilled lives to travel to Nashville. They meet by chance, and form their own singing group. Houston Public Media’s St. John Flynn talks with the directors and cast in Houston Public Media’s Geary Performance Studio, where actors Holland Vavra, Chelsea Ryan McCurdy, and Kelley Peters perform songs from the show.

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