April 11, 2021 - TRA Austin -

House Bill 3633 appears to be a Trojan Horse vehicle whose only true purpose is kill high-speed rail in Texas under the guise of creating oversite committee. Those words come from a rail union leader who is concerned that thousands of high-paying railroad jobs will not exist if the bill is enacted into law. The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 railroad workers in the U.S.

"I understand that House Land and Resource Management Chairman Joe Deshotel has been receiving a good amount of email and phone calls that oppose HB 3633," according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "This bill piles on with more unneeded red tape to strangle a private company that wants to build a high-speed rail line from DFW to Houston. It's a shame that this is the 5th legislative session where several rural lawmakers don't want Texans to travel by train and condemn us to either drive or fly long distances when their could be more choices. We need to think how we are going to move the millions of new Texans coming here in the next several decades."

David Cameron, Assistant to the Director, Teamsters Rail Conference, is urging his members to oppose House Bill 3633. Cameron outlined reasons why the bill, now sitting in the House Land and Resource Management Committee in Austin is bad for high-speed rail.

The intent of the bill is to kill high-speed rail in Texas, not to create additional oversight
By establishing an elaborate, lengthy review process when Texas Central is approaching the goal line, the bill would immediately halt any additional investment in passenger rail in Texas and kill the Texas High Speed project
The bill falsely claims that use of eminent domain by railroads has no oversight. 38 railroads are registered with the Comptroller as having eminent domain authority, yet this bill singles out Texas Central
Even when state agencies use eminent domain, landowners seek relief in the courts, as they should
As a delay tactic, the bill duplicates federal technology and financial viability reviews for the sole reason of creating another layer of bureaucracy to kill the Texas Central project
Public scrutiny of the Texas Central project has been exhaustive - multiple state and federal agencies have already reviewed the project and Texas Central has already participated in dozens of public meetings hosted by agencies in all 10 project counties.
The bill would not only apply to Texas Central but would deter investors interested in any future regional rail projects across the state, stopping these projects as well

LeCody said that a significant number of interested citizens that want high-speed rail in Texas have sent emails and called Representative Deshotel's office about House Bill 3633 but that more calls and emails are needed. The email address is:

The Honorable Joseph Deshotel, Chairman

Texas House Committee on Land and Resource Management

joe.deshotel@house.tx.gov and Christian.manual@house.texas.gov

Office number 512-463-0662

The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 rail employees in the United States who work as locomotive engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way workers on the five major freight railroads, Amtrak and numerous commuter rail systems and short lines. The Conference was formed in early 2004 after the merger of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and added to in 2005 when the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees also merged with the Teamsters.