Texas Central’s High Speed Rail Project Surpasses Bureaucratic Obstacle
A rendering of a bullet train traversing Texas Central Partners’ planned Dallas-to-Houston high-speed railway. Image: Texas Central Partners
By Edmond Ortiz
A project designed to realize a 240-mile high-speed commuter railway between Dallas and Houston recently reached a significant milestone.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) earlier in September approved Texas Central Partners‘ petition to issue a Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA).
Texas Central initially submitted the petition in April 2016. The RPA covers regulatory requirements applicable specifically to the design and development of the high-speed rail line. These rules will also regulate the railroad’s system and operations.
Officials with Texas Central lauded the FRA’s decision, saying it bodes well for advancing the project. Texas Central envisions a system based on Central Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen technology, which has transported 10 billion-plus passengers over 55 years with zero operational passenger fatalities and zero accidents.
A Central Japan Railway Company bullet train riding an elevated rail in Japan. Photo courtesy of Texas Central Partners LLC.
“The FRA’s action on the rule of particular applicability marks a major achievement for the Texas high-speed train bringing us closer to making true high-speed trains a reality in the United States,” read a statement on Texas Central’s website. “We’re pleased that the FRA recognizes the world-class standards set by the Shinkansen and validates our plans to replicate the best safety system in the world, right here in Texas.”
“The FRA’s action on the Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) marks a major milestone in our quest to bring a transformative mobility solution, while minimizing impact on the environment and land use, as opposed to other options,” said Carlos Aguilar, Texas Central chief executive officer, said in a press release.
“We thank Administrator (Ronald) Batory for his leadership in bringing high-speed rail service to the United States. We will meet or exceed all requirements the FRA mandates, to ensure we have the safest high-speed rail system in the world.”
Texas Central is also awaiting the FRA to wrap up an environmental impact study. Once the study concludes, the company plans to end the initial financing stage and start planning for infrastructure construction. Company officials have said it would take five to six years to build out the high-speed rail line.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.