Rural counties between Houston and Dallas oppose a privately built high-speed rail line connecting the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, launching a multi-pronged legislative initiative to block it. Part of this is grounded in economics: People don’t want their farm and ranch land split by a rail line. But there’s also a clash of lifestyles: Rural residents see no benefit from people zipping nonstop between cities.
Will this project provide enough benefits to enough Texans to overcome the rural objections? Or will the desires of big-city Texans be overcome by those of their rural cousins?
Claiming that there is a clash between rural and urban Texans over high-sped rail is false.
Just as there are some farmers who don’t want high-speed rail running across their land, there are urban dwellers who don’t want high-speed rail running next to their neighborhoods. On the whole, high-speed rail will be good for Texas and the majority of Texans.
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Any politicians driving high-speed rail to reality would also be driving themselves to national prominence. Sadly, Texas doesn’t have politicians with the skills and will to fight the headwinds facing high-speed rail.
— Laurin McLaurin, Benbrook
To continue our economic prosperity, we must provide multimodal transportation options for residents and businesses.
The Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line will serve key economic markets and allow passengers options. It will relieve congested interstate highways and emit a fraction of carbon emissions compared to automobiles.
Texas Central Railway will complete the line with private funds and is publicly committed to not accept government grants or operational subsidies. In fact, it will pay property taxes to numerous entities and will be one of the largest taxpayers in the state.
The project is estimated to create 10,000 jobs each year during construction and more than 750 jobs for operation and maintenance. The estimated economic impact is more than $10 billion during construction and $120 million per year during operation, giving back to Texans for decades to come.
— Bill Thornton, president and CEO, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Without independent cost vs. revenue analysis, high-speed rail is just another sold-as-green-yet-nets-a-huge-carbon-footprint boondoggle, diverting funds from needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades — like sustainable sources of water to serve the thousands flocking to Texas.
If ridership on the Trinity Railway Express between Fort Worth and Dallas is any indication, it will be years before it breaks even, if it ever does.
— David Eiland, Hurst
History recalls the electrification of rural America and the benefits brought about because of the shared obligations of all.
Create a better transportation infrastructure and everyone in the state benefits.
— Mike Hajduk, Bedford
As a former airline executive, I spent years studying the movement of traffic by airlines between “city pairs.”
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it became apparent that Europe and Asia were outpacing the U.S by a wide margin, by learning how to merge air and rail together as one transportation system.
Texas is the most ideal of all markets to make this happen.
The Golden Triangle of Houston-Dallas-San Antonio and now Austin has to be placed in the equation. These are larger-than-life commercial markets that already exist.
— Don Pittman, Arlington
We’ve all heard of the killing of the goose that laid the golden egg.
Well, if a certain tiny minority of self-serving folks between Dallas and Houston have their way, the goose will be killed before she lays the egg. In this case the egg is a free high-speed rail line that can provide service for untold thousands of folks, many with no alternative.
Not only will the proposed limit on speed kill the project, but it will destroy the possibility of a high-speed rail extension: Fort Worth-Arlington-Dallas.
Hopefully, our legislators will act for the vast majority of the population and be a role model for progress in our great state.
— Joseph Klein, Fort Worth
I see a very costly Texan taxpayer subsidy in the making. Once built, the privately funded (really…?) project will go bankrupt and Texas will be on the hook to pick up the operating costs and either make good or let the investor go bust.
I doubt that the Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line could cover its operating costs even if the capital development costs are removed. Don’t do it.
— Lynn Patrick Herbert, Burleson
High-speed rail is by far the best way to travel. You get on a spacious, modern, streamlined, clean train car and sit in a wide, comfortable seat with plenty of leg room and large windows to view the scenery.
People always resist change. I think the rural folks would eventually adjust to it. It would be a fact of modern life and a good one, unlike so many changes that are not good.
Let’s not be backward. Let’s be a model of what the future can be and a glorious example to the rest of the country.
— Marcelle Houston Borgers,
All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, email@example.com.