August 14, 2017 – TRA Opinion –

If we’re going to have the first high speed passenger rail line in the country right here in Texas then you need to know the who, what, when, where and why of Texas Central. The following information was supplied by Texas Central and TRA is presenting their statement without any edits or changes. If you are pro or anti-high speed rail you should know what Texas Central’s position is so that you can form your opinion.

Our opinion is already firm. With an investor-owned railroad company, deploying a new high‐speed passenger train connecting Houston and North Texas, the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan areas in the United States, what’s there not to like? No state or federal grants to be used, 10,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs and a big economic boost for a state that has been hit hard by the oil and gas downturn in the past several years. Our metro areas are growing like weeds, more than the national average. The North Texas region and Houston are only served by road and air options. We need new and bold solutions to move our people and meet the state’s growing transportation demands. Let’s get this train up and running.

Here’s the facts as presented by texascentral.com/buildthistrain

Key data points

  • 10,000 DIRECT JOBS during each year of construction
  • 1,000 DIRECT JOBS in a new high-tech industry in the US
  • >$10 billion DIRECT Investment from the project’s infrastructure, design and construction
  • $36 billion Direct Impact from the economic benefits the project will generate over the next 25 years
  • $2.5 billion Tax Revenue estimated to be paid by the company to the state, counties, local municipalities and school districts
  • $0 in federal or state grants for construction or operation

Project highlights

  • Project developers evaluated 96-city pairs and determined North Texas/Houston is the most feasible city pair in the US.
  • A 240-mile bullet train connecting Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston at 200 mph
  • 90-minute train experience as an alternative to today’s more than 4 1/2-hour drive and hassles of air travel.
  • Total project cost +/- $15 billion, development backed by private equity, free market principles
  • Safest mode of transportation in the world. Completely grade-separated, dedicated corridor:  no possible interaction with automobiles, pedestrians or animals and no crossing arms.

Jobs for Americans

  • Texas Central will employ up to 1,000 jobs permanently when operational
  • 10,000 DIRECT jobs per year during construction
  • $36 billion in DIRECT economic impact development through first 25 years
  • Will prove viability of high-speed train service in America, seeding domestic manufacturing industry for future deployments
  • As one of the largest single civil works project in US history, it will draw suppliers and labor from across rural Texas and generate local economies. About 25% of the permanent jobs will be in rural communities.

Best technology

  • Project brings world’s safest technology – the Shinkansen – to the United States
  • 52-year flawless operations history is the safest in the world; ZERO fatalities associated with train operations
  • Near-perfect on-time performance will be best in the country

Free market-driven – pent up demand

  • More than 14 million people travel between the two regions each year
  • 7 million residents at each end with projections to increase to 11 million residents by 2040
  • > 80% of Texans surveyed said they would use the bullet train
  • Stations near travel market – over 90% of trips between regions will be at least 1 hour shorter when made by train
  • Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston is the second deadliest highway in the nation
  • Congestion between the regions has increased by 10% per year since 2012
  • Texas Central will pay nearly $2.5 billion in tax revenue to the state, counties, local municipalities, school, hospital and community college districts between now and 2040 as a result of the infrastructure investment. As a private company, TC will be paying property taxes and state and local sales taxes.

Passenger stations – real estate development

  • There will be three passenger stations along the route – North Texas, Houston and the Brazos Valley – that will fuel local markets, giving real estate developers a new canvas to develop projects.
  • The stations will be surrounded by retail, restaurants, parks, light rail and other civic needs.
  • Maximizing the role of the private development of a public transportation asset as an impetus for real estate development opportunities will set an important precedent for future projects.

No government grants

  • The project will seek NO federal or state government grants for construction or operation
  • Project may seek loans from existing transportation credit programs
  • These loan programs have been established to encourage the private sector to develop nationally significant infrastructure projects.
  • Loans made through these programs are paid back with interest over time, guaranteed by the project’s revenue from ticket sales.

Status

  • Federal safety regulatory approval engaged in 2013
  • Federal environmental impact study underway since 2014
  • 1st capital raise from all Texas-based investors announced July 2015
  • System safety rules under review at FRA since April 2016
  • Supported by more than 52 local, regional and statewide organizations