May 12, 2016 – TRA Newswire In a filing with the Surface Transportation Board, North Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R) Arlington has come out against a high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston.
Barton, whose district encompasses parts of Tarrant County and the city of Arlington that supports Texas Central Railway’s high speed rail line, claims that Ellis and Navarro counties in his district will be dissected.
Barton, who in the filing dated May 9, 2016 said that while he generally supports private investment in high speed rail projects, voiced that the project would not be economically feasible or necessary. He claims that inexpensive air travel is available between Dallas and Houston and there are few delays on I-45 between the two major regions.
In his letter to the STB Congressman Barton said that county and state roads would be closed off if the rail line is built and that few jobs would be created in construction of the 240 mile rail line.
“Congressman Barton obviously has been getting bad information from his staff on this project because the Texas Central website has a whole different story,” according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. “It’s a shame that a Congressman who champions private investment would be so misinformed.”
LeCody pointed out that in talks with Texas Central he has been told that about 10,000 construction jobs would be created in the four to five years it would take to complete the project. “With so many energy sector layoffs and bankruptcies because of the downturn it would seem important to get these people back to work with good-paying jobs”. Texas Central expects to invest more than $10 billion dollars into the bullet train line, which would whisk passengers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.
Information supplied by Texas Central indicated that county and state roads would not be affected by the rail line and that ranchers and farmers along the route would still have access to their land. Much of the line is expected to be built along high-tension power line utility corridors where little can be built alongside.
“If Congressman Barton pulled up airline fares between Houston and Dallas for a 7 day advance purchase today (May 12) he would have found that fares would range from $189 to $326 in coach for flying to Dallas on May 19 and returning on May 26”, LeCody pointed out. “Maybe that’s pocket change for an elected leader but there aren’t a lot of hard working Americans who could afford that. That would mean we send more Texans driving on I-45 and that creates more traffic congestion. Not a great idea.”