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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB has no oversight of Texas Central's high-speed rail project


The Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced yesterday that it has no jurisdiction over Texas Central Partners' plans to build a high-speed rail connection between the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Houston.

As a result, the STB's approval is not necessary for the project to proceed, STB officials said in a press release.

Texas Central has proposed building a 240-mile high-speed route between the cities,  with stops in Brazos Valley and Huntsville, Texas. The STB does not have jurisdiction in this case because the rail line would be built and operated entirely within the state of Texas. The route would not be part of the interstate rail network over which the board does have jurisdiction, the STB ruled.

The company sought the STB's opinion to clarify whether the board had jurisdiction. Without that clarification, "regulatory uncertainty" would have affected the project's timelines, Texas Central officials said in a prepared statement.

"However, Texas Central will study the STB decision before making any determination regarding actions in response to the ruling," they said. "The project continues to move forward with development activities.”

Meanwhile, the railroad company announced that former Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley has joined the company as state vice president, and Michael Moore, a top aide to former Houston Mayor Bill White, was named regional vice president.

"With backgrounds in both private and public sector groups, Jeff and Michael bring a wealth of resources, knowledge and relationships to our already strong team,” said Texas Central Chief Executive Officer Tim Keith in a press release.

Moseley acknowledged in an interview with The Texas Tribune that he stepped down from the five-member Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, in order to work for Texas Central.

He will not be "interfacing" with the agency in his role at Texas Central, company officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/19/2016