The plans for the $12 billion high-speed bullet train that would connect Houston and Dallas may be thwarted by a new bill proposed in the Texas Senate. The bill, filed by Republican State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, would strip high-speed rail line developers of eminent domain authority.
As the Texas Tribune notes, Kolkhorst's actions are rooted in the fear of landowners losing property over a project that she believes will be unsuccessful. The bill was filed by the Senate Transportation Committee by a close 5-4 vote. Kolkhorst and four other Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Houston Democrats Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, along with Dallas Republicans Don Huffines and Van Taylor opposed it.
The Texas Central Railway, a privately funded company, plans to build a 205 MPH bullet train that will speed passengers between Houston and Dallas in 90 minutes. In October, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) revealed potential maps for the route between the two major metropolitan cities. The plan is strongly supported by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
But now, Senate bill 1601 looms as a potential roadblock to a bullet train that has been making steady forward progress since 2012.