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Texas Central, Amtrak Explore Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail

Tue September 05, 2023 - West Edition #19
Amtrak


(Texas Central photo)
(Texas Central photo)

Texas Central Partners (Texas Central) and Amtrak are seeking opportunities to advance planning and analysis work associated with the proposed Dallas-Houston 205-mph high-speed rail project to further determine its viability. Amtrak has cooperated with Texas Central on various initiatives since 2016 and the two entities are currently evaluating a potential partnership to further study and potentially advance the project.

"If we are going to add more high-speed rail to this country, the Dallas to Houston Corridor is a compelling proposition and offers great potential," said Amtrak Senior Vice President of High-Speed Rail Development Programs Andy Byford. "We believe many of the country's biggest and fastest-growing metropolitan areas, like Houston and Dallas, deserve more high quality high-speed, intercity rail service and we are proud to bring our experience to evaluate this potential project and explore opportunities with Texas Central so the state can meet its full transportation needs."

The proposed approximately 240-mi. route would offer a total travel time of less than 90 min. between two of the top five major U.S. metropolitan areas and would complement future, new and improved corridor and long-distance service in the southern region.

Texas Central and Amtrak have submitted applications to several federal programs in connection with further study and design work for the potential Dallas to Houston segment, including the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety and Improvements (CRISI) grant program, the Corridor Identification and Development program, and the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (FSP-National) grant program.

Amtrak has worked with Texas Central since 2016 when it entered into agreements to provide through-ticketing using the Amtrak reservation system and other support services for the planned high-speed rail line.

"This high-speed train, using advanced, proven Shinkansen technology, has the opportunity to revolutionize rail travel in the southern U.S. and we believe Amtrak could be the perfect partner to help us achieve that," said Texas Central Chief Executive Officer Michael Bui. "We appreciate Amtrak's continued collaboration and look forward to continuing to explore how we can partner in the development of this important project."

High-speed rail service with mostly-dedicated and purpose-built rights of way can radically shrink trip times, achieve excellent reliability and provide significant capacity — all things that will drive ridership and help convince people to shift their trips to rail. When complete, this project is forecast to provide significant social, environmental, employment and economic benefits to the people of Texas. As an example, the project is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100,000 tons per year, saving 65 million gal. of fuel while removing 12,500 cars per day from I-45.

"Dallas is the engine of the fourth largest and fastest growing region in the nation," Dallas Mayor Eric L. Johnson said. "It is bold, innovative endeavors like this that will propel Dallas toward an even more prosperous future. A high-speed rail line would revolutionize transportation in our region, serve as a catalyst for economic growth and enhance connectivity among Texas residents and businesses."

"The collaboration between Texas Central and Amtrak is an important milestone for the city of Houston and this project," said Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston. "Our city is committed to advancing transportation initiatives that support economic growth and enhance quality of life for our residents. The potential partnership of these two companies will accelerate the planning and analysis necessary for the successful implementation of a modern, efficient, and environmentally sustainable rail system connecting Houston and Dallas. I commend all parties involved for their dedication to this transformative project."

Construction and operations of the proposed high-speed rail line would bring significant economic benefits to the region, including thousands of well-paying construction jobs and nearly one thousand long-term, skilled operations and maintenance positions.

"The Ironworkers strongly support the Dallas-to-Houston high speed rail project," said Jerry Wilson, Iron Workers District Council of Texas and the Mid South States. "Not only is it safe and green, but it will provide hundreds of highly skilled, good paying jobs for our members as we transport, erect and install the infrastructure."

Byford joined Amtrak in April 2023 to begin developing a team focused on high-speed opportunities throughout the U.S. In his newly created role, he will develop and lead the execution of Amtrak's long-term strategy for high-speed rail throughout the country.




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