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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

FRA issues final environmental statement for Texas bullet train project

Texas Central, a private company, has proposed building an elevated high-speed rail system that would transport riders from Dallas to Houston in about 90 minutes.
Photo – Rendering provided by Texas Central


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) late last week released the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for private company Texas Central's proposal to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, bringing the project one major step closer to fruition.

Released on May 29, the FEIS is available for public review and comment through June 29, FRA officials said in a statement.

The document evaluates the potential beneficial and adverse environmental impacts of Texas Central's bullet train system, including a no-build alternative and six build alternatives between Dallas and Houston. The study area traverses 10 counties between Dallas and Houston. A preferred alternative includes terminal station locations in Dallas and Houston, and an intermediate station west of Roans Prairie in Grimes County.

After consulting with the Texas Historical Commission, the FRA determined a programmatic agreement for the project would be appropriate because the FRA will be unable to determine the impact on historic properties prior to issuing a record of decision.

The FRA published its initial environmental impact statement in December 2017. FRA spokesman Warren Flatau said the agency expects to issue a final decision this summer, reported yesterday.

"It's absolutely huge," Texas Central Chief Executive Officer Carlos Aguilar said of the FRA's release of the FEIS, according to the news article.

The FEIS can be downloaded by clicking on this link. Public comments should be submitted via this electronic form.

Texas Central is ready to begin the first phase of construction of its privately funded and operated high-speed rail line once the global financial markets stabilize and the federal process is completed, although the project's timeline could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, company officials announced in March.



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