Updated June 14, 2022 - TRA Newswire -
Carlos Aguilar, the CEO and President of Texas Central Partners, announced he is resigning after being at the helm of the massive infrastructure railroad project for six years. He made the announcement public on his LinkedIn account:
Aguilar did not give a reason for his departure, nor did he make any statement about the future of Texas Central. He did say that he is proud of the accomplishments of Texas Central that included "end to end regulatory approvals for the first high-speed rail project in our nation's history."
He is the third President/CEO of Texas Central since 2009, not unusual for such a massive infrastructure project that would cost upwards of $20 billion dollars, according to construction insiders. Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, the first leader of the rail effort, was present for the planning stage. President/CEO Tim Keith spent several years at the helm developing the financing tools and Aguilar was to implement the project.
According to a report from NBCDFW.com Texas Central does not see Aguilar's resignation as an end of their project. The company said that it still plans to break ground soon on the 240-mile rail line, according to the report.
Right now the railroad is stymied from moving forward because of a case pending since January before the Texas Supreme Court. A rural Texas landowner was granted a rehearing before the Supremes claiming that Texas Central had no right to obtain a strip of land on his property needed to build the high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. Oral arguments were heard in January on the eminent domain case and while all sides await the decision from the Texas Supremes work on the project ground to a halt with most all of the staff laid off.
"It's been six months since the hearing and not a peep from the Texas Supreme Court. That has a chilling effect on all the work that Texas Central has accomplished to date to get their project to the final phase", according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "I'm sure investors and Texas Central want to know there is a clear path forward but right now the project is in a time warp. The railroad got their environmental clearance, they got a green light on their route from the Federal Railroad Administration and now the final step in getting operating authority from the Surface Transportation Board can't be completed until the Texas Supreme Court decision comes down."
Three rural Republican Texas Congressmen, Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Michael McCaul (TX-10), and Kevin Brady (TX-08)) along with a handful of rural members of the Texas House and Senate and rural elected county officials have repeatedly tried to kill the high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston. Dozens of bills to stop high-speed rail efforts had been filed in the last three Texas legislative sessions, without success. The railroad still enjoys strong bipartisan support from North Texas and the Greater Houston region. The high-speed rail effort was touted by both the Trump and Biden administration as a significant infrastructure project.
"It hasn't helped that misinformation from some federal and state elected officials has created a toxic atmosphere in the media", according to LeCody. "If the Texas Supreme Court rules against Texas Central this will send a chilling message to any private company that wants to build a large infrastructure project in our state. The message is that we don't want your business."