- Texas Central Partners could begin construction on its $12 billion Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail project in late 2019 or early 2020, according to The Houston Chronicle. The developer also has tentative plans for a midway stop near Texas A&M University in College Station or Bryan.
- The bullet train will be modeled after Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed train system because of its safety and efficiency track record. Texas Central says that the train's two-track system — one northbound and one southbound — will not share tracks with freight lines.
- The rail developer is pressing on despite a recent Leon County, Texas, court decision that denied its status as a railroad. Company officials said the firm will appeal that ruling, which could interfere with future attempts by the company to acquire land through eminent domain.
The Dallas-to-Houston bullet train has been under fire from landowners along the proposed route since development began. However, the rail now has another public relations obstacle to overcome — the inevitable comparisons to the $77 billion, Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail debacle.
After years of cost overruns and schedule delays, California Gov. Gavin Newsom considerably scaled back the project, announcing last week that construction would continue only on the Central Valley portion of the rail from Merced to Bakersfield. The project was dealt another blow this week when the Federal Rail Administration notified the California High-Speed Rail Authority that it intends to cancel a $929 million funding agreement for the line.
Texas Central President and CEO Carlos Aguilar highlighted differences between the two projects to discourage comparisons between them.
On the company's website, he explained that California project features like the tunnels required to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco made the project more complex — and about six times more expensive — than the Texas rail. The cost for the Los Angeles tunnels alone could exceed $20 billion, he said.
David Hagy, regional vice president of external affairs for Texas Central, told the Chronicle that the land between Houston and Texas is mostly flat, which will make the construction process far simpler when compared to the California project.
Aguilar also said that the private investment that will finance the Texas project will be handled more efficiently and that “the market and economics between North Texas and Houston match and exceed those of successful train routes globally.”