March 20, 2017 - -

A potential budget wall banning state assistance to a privately financed $12 billion Texas bullet train could stop the proposal in its tracks, proponents warn of the latest legislative effort to torpedo the project.

The state Senate Finance Committee late last week added a provision to its proposed two-year state budget that would prohibit the Texas Department of Transportation from spending funds to help plan, build, or operate the train between Dallas and Houston. The committee's vote was 14-1, with Sen. Royce West, a Democrat and bond attorney from Dallas, as the sole opponent.

Texas Central Partners, the sponsor of the proposed privately financed rail line, said it would not rely on federal or state funding for the project but must work with TxDOT on planning and other issues.

"Texas Central engineers and employees need to be able to coordinate with TxDOT on the planning, engineering, and construction of the high-speed train to accommodate the state's growth," the company said. "By adding this rider, it creates vague and ambiguous questions about roles and responsibilities between the project and TxDOT that could put the project at risk."

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