The privately funded bullet train that aims to connect Dallas and Houston is continuing to move forward, as several potential rail routes between the two cities have been revealed. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released maps of nine potential routes, although only two were "selected for detailed evaluation."
Evaluating potential routes is only one step in a federally mandated environmental impact statement process to assess the rail line, a process that could take several years to complete.
Tickets for the 90-minute train trip between Dallas and Houston will be competitive with airlines.
According to existing rail codes, the project's backers — who are paying for the evaluations — would have to purchase the properties that the proposed 205 mph rail would run through from the companies or agencies that currently own them.
The first public meeting addressing the project, held by officials from both FRA and TxDOT, took place in Dallas on Tuesday. The meeting drew unanimous support, according to the Texas Tribune, but also comments from residents and officials stating that selecting the right station locations is critical.
Most of the land needed by Texas Central Railway (TCR) is flat, meaning costs for tunnels and overpasses would be kept to a minimum. Still, the project will cost upward of $10 billion according to estimates, and its backers hope to have it completed by 2021. To offset the substantial cost, TCR has said that tickets for the 90-minute train trip between Dallas and Houston will be competitive with airline tickets.
More public meetings are planned, including a final meeting in Houston on October 29 at NRG Center.