May 31, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

Three Texas Congressmen, representing mostly rural counties, have piled on with a letter to the Supreme Court of Texas in their attempt to derail a private company from building a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Michael McCaul (TX-10), and Kevin Brady (TX-08) sent an amicus letter to the Supreme Court of Texas warning of Texas Central Railroad's lack of progress and funding at the federal level for their proposed rail project.

In a posting on TexasGOPvote.com, Brady wrote "as the Supreme Court of Texas could determine the outcome of an eminent domain case that would severely diminish Texans' property rights, it is critical to warn of Texas Central Railroad’s lack of progress at the federal level. The truth is, Texas Central is light years away from obtaining essential permits from the federal government and has not proved they can pay for this boondoggle of a project."

In the letter, trying to influence a pending decision now before the Texas Supreme Court, Brady said “at the federal level alone, TCR does not qualify for loans that they proclaim is essential, has not even applied for the necessary permits from the Surface Transportation Board, nor has authority from the Federal Railroad Authority to begin construction – making this project woefully unprepared to build a high-speed rail line. Granting TCR the extraordinary power to seize 240 miles of private property will serve only to devastate thousands of landowners and the communities in which they live and rob the American taxpayer. As it stands, TCR is merely a grossly underfunded promoter of a project that has one foot in the grave. We respectfully request that the Court consider these important facts and rule in favor of Mr. Miles and against TCR.”

Brady went on to say “in short, TCR has not received any of the permits needed to begin construction or operation of the project, nor has it initiated any of the lengthy, costly processes required to obtain these permits. For these reasons, we strongly support the trial court’s judgment in favor of Mr. Miles and against TCR. If the Court allows TCR to seize private property for a project that is destined for certain failure, miles and miles of rural Texas will be permanently scarred with taxpayers left to foot the bill.”


Bob Leilich, a professional retired Texas consultant with decades of experience in high-speed rail has taken issue with the Ellzey, McCaul and Brady letter and wrote the following to Congressman Brady. We are reprinting it with Mr. Leilich's permission:

I find your position on High Speed Rail detestable and full of errors or exaggeration and shows you don’t understand or care about its potential merits.

 

  • Seizing 240 miles of right-of-way through eminent domain is a blatant falsehood. It is my understanding that a very large percentage of right-of-way has been acquired by negotiated options and that this effort is still continuing
  • If any federal loan financing is used, it will be in the form of guarantees which must be fully insured. Not one penny of taxpayer dollars is at risk.
  • If you’ve ever driven between Houston and Dallas, you have got to be aware of how heavy traffic is, especially at both ends of the journey.
  • You ignore the millions of dollars of taxpayer money going into maintaining and expanding I-45
  • You propose no alternatives that are better for increasing transportation capacity between Houston and Dallas
  • Devastating thousands of landowners is a gross, unsupported allegation
  • If Texas Central does go bankrupt, it is the investors, banks, and bond holders that will lose. An investor will then pick up the railroad at a fraction of its cost and, with lower fixed costs, will be able to make a profit.
  • Building this HSR line will save many lives, avoid many more injuries, reduce property damages, reduce pollutants, induce travel demand, create thousands of short and long term jobs, pay millions in property taxes – and more. Why do you so cavalierly or ignorantly dismiss these public benefits?

 

I have previously written to you on this subject, all of which has fallen on deaf ears. While countries all over the world are building High Speed Rail, it is politicians like you that are deliberately holding up progress on HSR transportation developments in the US. Give private enterprise a chance to prove that HSR can work in the US. Had you been in Congress in the late 1800’s, the transcontinental railroads would never have been built.

 

I am a retired professional consultant in High Speed Rail and have travelled around the world on HSR trains and have studied their costs and economics. I have even bee part-time faculty at the University of Illinois, teaching on and studying HSR opportunities.

 

Robert H. Leilich


May 31, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

Three Texas Congressmen, representing mostly rural counties, have piled on with a letter to the Supreme Court of Texas in their attempt to derail a private company from building a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Michael McCaul (TX-10), and Kevin Brady (TX-08) sent an amicus letter to the Supreme Court of Texas warning of Texas Central Railroad's lack of progress and funding at the federal level for their proposed rail project.

In a posting on TexasGOPvote.com, Brady wrote "as the Supreme Court of Texas could determine the outcome of an eminent domain case that would severely diminish Texans' property rights, it is critical to warn of Texas Central Railroad’s lack of progress at the federal level. The truth is, Texas Central is light years away from obtaining essential permits from the federal government and has not proved they can pay for this boondoggle of a project."

In the letter, trying to influence a pending decision now before the Texas Supreme Court, Brady said “at the federal level alone, TCR does not qualify for loans that they proclaim is essential, has not even applied for the necessary permits from the Surface Transportation Board, nor has authority from the Federal Railroad Authority to begin construction – making this project woefully unprepared to build a high-speed rail line. Granting TCR the extraordinary power to seize 240 miles of private property will serve only to devastate thousands of landowners and the communities in which they live and rob the American taxpayer. As it stands, TCR is merely a grossly underfunded promoter of a project that has one foot in the grave. We respectfully request that the Court consider these important facts and rule in favor of Mr. Miles and against TCR.”

Brady went on to say “in short, TCR has not received any of the permits needed to begin construction or operation of the project, nor has it initiated any of the lengthy, costly processes required to obtain these permits. For these reasons, we strongly support the trial court’s judgment in favor of Mr. Miles and against TCR. If the Court allows TCR to seize private property for a project that is destined for certain failure, miles and miles of rural Texas will be permanently scarred with taxpayers left to foot the bill.”


Bob Leilich, a professional retired Texas consultant with decades of experience in high-speed rail has taken issue with the Ellzey, McCaul and Brady letter and wrote the following to Congressman Brady. We are reprinting it with Mr. Leilich's permission:

I find your position on High Speed Rail detestable and full of errors or exaggeration and shows you don’t understand or care about its potential merits.

 

  • Seizing 240 miles of right-of-way through eminent domain is a blatant falsehood. It is my understanding that a very large percentage of right-of-way has been acquired by negotiated options and that this effort is still continuing
  • If any federal loan financing is used, it will be in the form of guarantees which must be fully insured. Not one penny of taxpayer dollars is at risk.
  • If you’ve ever driven between Houston and Dallas, you have got to be aware of how heavy traffic is, especially at both ends of the journey.
  • You ignore the millions of dollars of taxpayer money going into maintaining and expanding I-45
  • You propose no alternatives that are better for increasing transportation capacity between Houston and Dallas
  • Devastating thousands of landowners is a gross, unsupported allegation
  • If Texas Central does go bankrupt, it is the investors, banks, and bond holders that will lose. An investor will then pick up the railroad at a fraction of its cost and, with lower fixed costs, will be able to make a profit.
  • Building this HSR line will save many lives, avoid many more injuries, reduce property damages, reduce pollutants, induce travel demand, create thousands of short and long term jobs, pay millions in property taxes – and more. Why do you so cavalierly or ignorantly dismiss these public benefits?

 

I have previously written to you on this subject, all of which has fallen on deaf ears. While countries all over the world are building High Speed Rail, it is politicians like you that are deliberately holding up progress on HSR transportation developments in the US. Give private enterprise a chance to prove that HSR can work in the US. Had you been in Congress in the late 1800’s, the transcontinental railroads would never have been built.

 

I am a retired professional consultant in High Speed Rail and have travelled around the world on HSR trains and have studied their costs and economics. I have even bee part-time faculty at the University of Illinois, teaching on and studying HSR opportunities.

 

Robert H. Leilich