March 15, 2017 – Texas Tribune
Officials with Texas Central Partners, the private firm developing the Houston-Dallas high-speed rail line, said the rider added to the state senate’s proposed budget Wednesday would put their project at risk.
The Texas Senate’s chief budget writers Wednesday added a provision to the chamber’s proposed state budget aimed at limiting state assistance in a private firm’s efforts to build a Dallas-Houston bullet train.
The budget rider approved by the Senate Finance Committee would prohibit the Texas Department of Transportation from spending funds to help plan, build or operate a high-speed train.
The company developing a 205-mph bullet train between Dallas and Houstoncalled the language a “job killer.” Texas Central Partners has vowed it won’t take any state funds to develop the 240-mile line between Texas’ two largest metropolitan areas. But, the company said, it still needs to work with state transportation officials.
“Texas Central engineers and employees need to be able to coordinate with TxDOT on the planning, engineering and construction of the high-speed train to accommodate the state’s growth,” said in a statement released by the company Wednesday.
Only one Texas Senator on the Finance Committee voted against the job-killing budget rider: Senator Royce West (D) Dallas.
These Senators voted for the job-killing budget rider:
Senator Jane Nelson (R) Flower Mound, Chair
Senator Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa (D) McAllen, Vice Chair
Paul Bettencourt (R) Houston
Brian Birdwell (R) Granbury
Kelly Hancock (R) North Richland Hills
Joan Huffman (R) Houston
Lois Kolkhorst (R) Brenham
Robert Nichols (who Chairs the Senate Transportation Committee) (R) Jacksonville
Charles Schwertner (author of the rider) (R) Georgetown
Kel Seliger (R) Amarillo
Larry Taylor (R) Friendswood
Carlos Uresti (D) San Antonio
Kirk Watson (D) Austin
John Whitmire (D) Houston