Harris County residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the high-speed Texas Bullet Train project that will connect Houston to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 90 minutes. A public hearing on the $12 billion-plus project will be held Monday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at Woodard Elementary School, 17501 Cypress in Cypress.
Construction on the project could begin in 2019. It is being developed by the investor-funded private company Texas Central, which says the train will have a lasting impact on the city’s economy, serve as a catalyst for future growth, create jobs and infuse tax revenue into state and local communities. The project is being financed with a blend of debt and equity.
The public hearing is being held by the Federal Railroad Administration, which released a draft environmental impact study outlining a preferred route between North Texas and Houston and identified passenger station locations.
The analysis provides a path for the train’s planning, design and pre-construction phases, and is designed to ensure the safety and environmental well-being of counties and communities along the route.
Last August, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Central reached an agreement to work together on an economic development and jobs-creating plan for the 200-mph train.
The joint agreement includes benefits for Harris County, among them finalizing plans for a passenger station in northwest Houston near major employment centers, and proposing traveler-friendly connections between the new train station and the greater Houston region.
The agreement also says the city and Texas Central will develop a minority, women and small business enterprises program for professional services, development, construction, supplier and other related services.
“As I shared in my State of Mobility address, Houston needs a paradigm shift – a comprehensive approach to mobility that includes all forms of transportation,” Turner said in announcing the agreement.
“Certainly, a high-speed train to Dallas is a glowing idea among the options, especially when state transportation officials project traffic congestion on Interstate 45 between Houston and Dallas will double by 2035, increasing travel time from about 4 hours to more than 6.5 hours. Simply building more highways is not the answer.”
Turner said the city will work with Texas Central to make sure there is a wide choice of transportation options into the Houston area from the Houston train station.
“We also look forward to the project’s creation of job opportunities and economic development,” Turner said. “Another huge win for taxpayers is that the Texas Bullet Train is a private-sector development that will not take public funds for its construction or operation.”
The agreement says Texas Central is committed to recruiting Houston-area construction contractors, subcontractors and employees for project construction, maintenance and operation. At least a third of the permanent jobs after construction will be created within the city.
Facts & figures
- The local passenger station will be in northwest Houston just outside 610 between Interstate 10/290.
- The project is expected to generate $36 billion in direct economic activity over the next 25 years, create more than 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and up to 1,000 jobs permanently when operational.
- Nearly 50,000 Texans travel between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth more than once a week.
- The approximately 240-mile high-speed rail line will offer departures every 30 minutes during peak periods each day, and every hour during off-peak periods.
- The route will include a Brazos Valley stop serving Bryan-College Station and Texas A&M University.
For more information visit www.texascentral.com.