Updated February 7, 2019 - A bill filed in the Texas House that, if enacted, would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at the future development of high speed rail in the state would actually do just the opposite if the author gets his way.
The bill, one of many bills to kill high-speed rail in Texas, was filed by Cody Harris (R), Palestine, who is serving his first term in the Texas House after being elected with a $1 million dollar plus war chest in the rural district.
Harris publicly stated in a press release dated February 6th that " the purpose of this bill is to put up more roadblocks on the HSR by evaluating the feasibility of creating a statewide high-speed rail initiative through a public-private partnership. "
House Bill 1370 states that a committee would meet between sessions to address the feasibility of creating a statewide high speed rail initiative through a public-private partnership.
Representative Harris has been outspoken in his desire to stop high-speed passenger rail service from leaving the station. Harris was quoted in the February 5th issue of the Corsicana Dailly Sun as saying “I’m also working on legislation to kill the high speed rail. The proposed “bullet train” through our district will force people off their land and waste billions of taxpayer dollars. That land belongs to the landowners, not corporations or special interest groups, and those dollars could be used to properly fund our public schools. I fully oppose the project and will fight along-side other rural legislators in Austin until the plan is scrapped entirely. Stay tuned to my newsletter for details on the bills I will file to kill the High Speed Rail next week.”
“Representative Harris is misinformed on the premise of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars since Texas Central is not accepting any funding from either state or federal agencies to build their high-speed line”, according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. “if this was a public project instead of a private-investor led initiative it would probably cost three times the amount to build and take years longer. Mr. Harris should also realize that Texas Central would be a taxpayer to help fund local schools. Letting private enterprise lead the way in Texas with this massive job-creating project to connect the two mega-powerhouse regions is the logical step. The state demographer says that over 80% of Texans now live on or east of the I-35 corridor. This rail project will help unite those regions and allow for more fluid movement in the future.”