Transportation

High-Speed Rail Project Moves Forward But Not Everyone Is Happy About It

The company planning a high-speed train between Houston and Dallas says it’s acquiring more land for the project. But some people along the proposed route are still fighting the effort.

Texas Central Railway says it’s now secured options to buy about 30% of the land it needs along the proposed corridor.  It also says it will no longer seek court orders to access private property for land surveys.

We spoke with Holly Reed, Texas Central’s Managing Director of External Affairs.

“Our approach with landowners which is very open and collaborative and personal, is working,” says Reed.

But the project remains controversial, especially in Grimes and Waller counties, where the company says it has purchase options for about 50% of the required property. Texas Central also maintains it has the authority like other railroads to use eminent domain but will only use it as a last resort.

Grimes County Judge Ben Leman questions whether Texas Central is actually a railroad that can use that authority because it doesn’t yet have tracks or equipment.

“If you’re not currently a railroad that has been vetted through the process, then you need to go through a normal process,” states Leman.  

Texas Central had hoped to start construction on the high-speed line in 2018. Now the company says it’s waiting for a draft environmental decision before announcing that date. 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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