May 15, 2019 - TRA Austin -

The language in the legislative budget bill that contained a provision to hurt the development of high-speed rail by a private concern has been stripped out. The budget conference committee of Texas House and Senate members deleted Rider 44, which would have prevented communications between the private investors of Texas Central Railway and the Texas Department of Transportation.

According to a report from the Texas Tribune, Houston Democrat state Rep. Armando Walle, one of the members of the conference committee, said the rider was removed out of fear that a lawmaker could argue the language changes general law, something that House rules don't allow the budget to do. If such an argument were successful, that could have threatened the entire spending plan. "In order to not have the whole appropriations bill go down, I think that was the safest way to address the issue," Walle said.

However, there are still several Senate bills that are destructive to high-speed rail and these could still be brought up for a vote before the end of the legislative session next week. Those are being tracked by Texas Rail Advocates and you can see details of them through this link:

There is always a chance an amendment could be tacked onto another bill, according to our legislative sources.

The budget conference committee kept the same language from the last session that was in the house budget. It matches with what’s already general law – no state appropriations, and the project continues to be treated like any other major transportation infrastructure project.

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