May 1, 2016 - TRA Newswire
The Federal Railroad Administration issued it's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Scoping Report on the high speed passenger rail project between Dallas and Houston at this time last year. You might want to brush up on it since the scoping report is in advance of the draft EIS. That draft is required to be completed and issued and then a final report issued before Texas Central Partners can proceed on their plans to build and operate the 200 mile per hour bullet train line. Don't you just love the layers involved in a private project that still requires government oversight.
As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the FRA is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to accomplish this evaluation and that is expected to be released later this year. If all goes as planned Texas Central plans to operate the 240 mile line by 2021.
The scoping summary reports both public comments and the agency process with background information and a description of activities that have led up to the report. The 31 page report is available through this link: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L16346
As a federal agency the FRA has the authority to regulate safety issues and must must give Texas Central a green light before it can proceed. Current federal regulations do not address trains that travel at speeds over 150mph so this is new ground for the FRA. It can issue a waiver, come up with a specific set of rules or another action to make sure that trains are operated safely. The equipment and system that Texas Central has proposed uses proven Japanese technology in high speed rail operations. There has not been a single fatality in the past 50 years with the type of equipment proposed.
The FRA, Texas Central and the Texas Department of Transportation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop and complete the EIS. Funding for the EIS, which usually is done by state or federal funding, is being underwritten by Texas Central.