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The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) in North Texas last week approved $4.5 million through fiscal-year 2018 for the planning, design, project development and preliminary engineering of a high-speed rail line that would connect Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston.Texas Central Partners is developing a project to build a for-profit, high-speed rail line in the Dallas-Houston corridor by 2021. In conjunction with that effort, planning continues on a project that would connect to the line and may eventually offer access to a third corridor stretching from Oklahoma to South Texas.RTC's action last week further assists with development of the regional line, as well as helps coordinate activities with other corridors, North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) officials said in a press release. The RTC plan calls for $1.5 million to be spent each year, starting in 2016. The money will come from the Regional Toll Revenue funding account."High speed rail has the potential to revolutionize the way we travel between the state’s largest metropolitan areas," said Bill Meadows, chairman of the Commission for High-Speed Rail in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region. "With population growth in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout Texas showing no signs of slowing down, innovation is necessary and will ensure the transportation system continues to provide safe, efficient service to all. With this decision, the RTC has reaffirmed its commitment to high-speed rail in the region."The RTC's decision was part of a $63.4 million allocation to ensure that various air quality and management programs continue through 2018. The RTC had allocated $1.4 million to high-speed rail activities in previous years, allowing NCTCOG to assist with planning efforts, including public involvement and ridership projections, council officials said.
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