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In a letter sent this week to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) expressed its support for the role of private capital in the development of Texas Central Railway's proposed high-speed rail service between Dallas and Houston.NARP views the proposed project as having a "lasting impact on the rail system and multimodal connectivity" in the United States, according to a press release issued by the organization."NARP believes the Texas Central initiative is an important demonstration of the role private capital can and must play in building our new transportation economy, and is thus an important private project of national significance, introducing a new high-speed rail option between the two largest metropolitan regions in Texas,” wrote NARP President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mathews.The letter was filed in the wake of Texas Central's petition filed with the STB earlier this month. The petition asks the STB to confirm it has oversight of the project and to weigh in on the next steps that will include construction and operation of the passenger-rail service, Texas Central officials said in a prepared statement issued earlier this month.The project has increasingly grown controversial, as some landowners along the proposed route have expressed concern that Texas Central would acquire the property needed for the project via eminent domain."This request does not seek to remove protections afforded to landowners under Texas law. It merely clarifies the STB procedures that Texas Central must follow and does not change or override any state landowner protections," Texas Central officials said.The STB ruling will provide a greater understanding of required regulatory commitments, enabling Texas Central to more effectively deliver the project, said Tim Keith, the company’s CEO.
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