May 29, 2024 - TRA Newswire - 

During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Thursday in Washington, Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) questioned Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about high-speed rail in Texas.

Allred asked the secretary how serious he and his agency is about developing high-speed rail in the lone star state. Amtrak recently received a Corridor Identification planning grant to advance bullet trains in the Dallas-Houston corridor. The passenger rail provider is working with Texas Central on plans to continue forward progress, which had stalled in 2023. 

"We are enthusiastic about the potential and the funding that comes with this corridor ID designation in direct funding for planning activities", according to Buttigieg. "The best candidates for high-speed rail service are where you have two major metropolitan areas that are fairly close to each other and a short flight or a long drive that borders on impracticality."

A good high-speed ride can unlock enormous economic potential, according the transportation czar. Even for the people that don't use it, he said it can bring benefits in the form of reduced congestion on roadways and at airports. 

"We look forward to seeing this proposal continue to develop and I would be surprised if it did not lead to more applications for support as it continues to take shape", said Buttigieg.

Congressman Allred said he's made the Dallas to Houston drive many times and it's not an easy drive and flights are not always a convenient option. "It would spur economic growth and it's a common sense idea. He asked Buttigieg about the safety of high-speed trains and using technology from Japan that would be used on the Dallas to Houston high-speed rail project. 

"I had the privilege of riding on the Shinkansen trains when I attended the G7 meeting hosted in Japan last year", said Buttigieg. "It was an extraordinary experience sitting up in the cab where I had an opportunity to observe the operator and seeing the operations center behind the scenes where they conduct those safe and efficient operations."

The transportation secretary said it is rare for the trains to be more than a few seconds off from their published schedule and have a safety record that dates back to the 1960's. "Any American who sees that comes back home and says why can't we have something like that."