Big plans in store for high-speed rail in Texas

08/28/2014 6:22 PM

08/28/2014 6:23 PM

Those who worry that the plan to build a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas by 2021 is overly ambitious were probably having heart palpatations after the seven-member Commission for High-Speed Rail in Dallas/Fort Worth expanded its vision for bullet trains in Texas during a Wednesday meeting in Dallas.

“The Houston-to-Dallas connection is going to happen,” Ted Houghton, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission, confidently told Star-Telegram reporter Gordon Dickson.

But even this initial line — which will now include a stop in Bryan-College Station — is just the tip of the iceberg.

The commission unanimously agreed Wednesday to pursue federal funding to study the possible construction of a Fort Worth-Austin connection.

Of course, a Fort Worth-Austin connection is only possible after officials figure out how to finance Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth link — a top priority for the residents of Tarrant County.

Unlike the Houston-Dallas route, which will cost about $10 billion and be privately financed by Texas Central Railway, the Metroplex connection will probably rely on public funds. Exactly how the state will come up with the estimated $2.5 billion to $4 billion needed remains to be determined.

Former Fort Worth city councilman and high-speed rail commission member Bill Meadows told the Star-Telegram editorial board in June that a $15 million federal grant to study high-speed rail will be devoted entirely to the Metroplex link.

But coming up with a plan to fund the line to Arlington and Fort Worth wasn’t the commission’s focus this week. Instead, its members explored the possibility of studying high-speed-rail lines connecting Oklahoma City to Austin, San Antonio and even Monterrey, Mexico.

Only a few years ago, the idea of a bullet train zipping between Dallas and Houston at 220 mph was little more than a pipe dream. That the high-speed rail commission is now considering expanding its lines beyond the border is a sign of the progress made.

Still, for Tarrant County, ensuring that the bullet train serves the entire Metroplex is the first order of business.

Join the Discussion

Fort Worth Star-Telegram is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQ | Terms of Service