Updated September 29, 2019 - TRA Opinion -

Gov. Greg Abbott is back from a week long economic development trip to Japan and South Korea, and while he was there rode on the new N700S high-speed train. This is the type of modern, fast train that will wisk passengers between Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

We congratulate Governor Abbott on a successful trade mission and thank him for learning more about the high-speed rail industry.

Governor Abbott met with executives from the Central Japan Railway Company (CJRC), including CJRC Chairman Emeritus Kasai, in Nagoya, Japan. The Governor also attended presentations by CJRC regarding Japan's bullet train system. The Governor ended his time at CJRC by departing Nagoya via the inaugural bullet train ride from Nagoya station.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the success of the bullet train system in Japan," said Governor Abbott. "The men and women of CJRC extended a warm welcome to the Texas delegation, and I thank them for sharing their knowledge with our team."

The Governor has played his cards close to his vest over the past several years on any endorsement of the high speed rail project while Texas Central has weaved their way through sessions of legislative turmoil and public debate on the value of bringing passenger rail to the lone star state. After experiencing how Texans could be quickly connected between two of our major population centers, we hope the Governor will give the private-financed project a long awaited thumbs up.

On his trade mission to Japan and South Korea the governor met with a number of business leaders and dignitaries. In a statement released by his office the Governor said "Texas has a strong cultural and economic bond with Japan and South Korea and this mission will deepen our growing partnership. From Toyota to Mitsubishi, leading manufacturing and tech companies have found a home in Texas because of our shared values and commitment to the free enterprise system. I look forward to strengthening these critical relationships and building a brighter future for all those who do business and call Texas home.”

We're sure that Governor Abbott noticed that September was a milestone month for Texas Central with two major announcements.

First, Texas Central’s petition for rulemaking to issue a Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) has been granted by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The RPA will be a set of regulatory requirements that  are specific to the project, the first ever from the USDOT for a high speed rail project that will run as fast as 200 miles per hour.  These will regulate the railroad’s system and operations between Houston and Dallas. The Texas Central petition was first filed in April 2016, and the action by the FRA shows a major move forward in the approvals needed for the project.

Second, Texas Central signed a design-build contract with the joint venture of Salini Impregilo, one of the largest civil engineering contractors in the world, and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction Company valued at $14 billion dollars.  A big project for the construction industry and lots of jobs for Texans.

Texas Central is very close to getting the "high-ball" (a railroad term for green signal) from the Federal Railroad Administration to get their governmental approval, finalize their project and start construction. Governor Abbott, are you ready to give the project the high-ball?

Want to let the governor know you want high-speed trains in Texas? Say so on his Facebook page with a comment: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=397195191205048