New high-speed railroad will be good for Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth

Posted Monday, Mar. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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We are proud to be mayors of three of the largest and fastest-growing cities in America. Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth have weathered the recent economic downturn and are now the engines powering our state’s tremendous job growth.

While we celebrate the individual successes of our respective cities, we also recognize how important Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston are to each other.

With the bounty of economic growth comes the challenge of thousands of new people relocating to our cities, as well as increased commerce in the form of trucks on our highways.

Moreover, many Texans are surprised to learn that more than 50,000 “super-commuters” travel between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston more than once a week.

Additionally, millions of our respective residents have friends and family separated by the 240-mile stretch of Interstate 45. These factors create congestion and place a massive and growing strain on our infrastructure.

A private company called Texas Central Railway is working on a high-speed rail route between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. We support the addition of new alternatives for travel between our three growing cities.

This project could transform travel between our city centers and serve as a model for other parts of the country.

Traveling between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston currently takes approximately four and a half hours, and this commute is expected to increase to more than six and a half hours by 2035, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

A high-speed railroad would play an integral role in alleviating this problem by taking cars off the road and reducing travel times for drivers trying to reach the central business districts of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

The cities of Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas have recently joined the Transportation Department in creating the North Texas High Speed Rail Commission.

This new commission will work to find creative and innovative ways to build a high-speed rail system between Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas. Such a system will be complementary to the privately funded system being built by TCR, which will operate between Houston and Dallas.

As envisioned, such a three-city link would connect with the Texas Central system in Dallas and offer a one-seat, seamless ride from Fort Worth to Houston.

In addition to easing our traffic congestion, another benefit of high-speed rail in Texas is the impact it could have in cutting harmful emissions.

One of the reasons high-speed rail projects in the United States have been unsuccessful thus far is that they have relied solely on government funding for completion.

We are hopeful that Texas Central Railway can succeed because its approach to this project is unique. For the first time, we are seeing a market-driven approach to high-speed rail led by private investment.

We applaud the way in which Texas Central brought a much-needed project, an innovative approach and its checkbook to Texas.

Countries across Europe and Asia have enjoyed high-speed rail service for decades, but the United States is not yet home to the kind of rail line proposed by Texas Central.

As Texans, we take great pride in blazing a path for the rest of the country to follow. This effort by Texas Central will do just that.

High-speed rail will provide a travel alternative that will help alleviate traffic congestion on I-45, create thousands of quality jobs and may help Texas travelers reduce their carbon footprint.

We look forward to the day when the residents of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth can travel on high-speed rail between our two metropolitan areas in fewer than 90 minutes.

Annise Parker, Mike Rawlings and Betsy Price are the mayors of Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively.

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