Train Ride

Texas high-speed bullet train gets new boss and big chunk of cash

Texas high-speed train gets new boss and big chunk of cash

Central Rail high-speed bullet train rail
The Texas Central Railway high-speed train will connect DFW and Houston. Photo courtesy of JR Central

The high-speed passenger railway between Dallas and Houston has a new boss and an infusion of funding.

The Board of Directors of Texas Central Partners (Texas Central) has appointed Tim Keith of Dallas as the new CEO for the organization, effective immediately.

Texas Central also announced the closing of a round of development funding that brings $75 million dollars in new capital, all from Texas-based investors into the company. The offering was oversubscribed and the funds will be used to support ongoing development activities.

Texas Central is the private, Texas-based and Texas-led development company that will construct and operate Texas’ first high-speed passenger railway between North Texas and Houston as well as the terminal stations and surrounding development.

As CEO, Keith will be responsible for leading all aspects of the system’s finance, development, construction and eventual operations. He will also develop and implement Texas Central’s vision for high-speed rail in Texas and serve as the primary interface between internal operations and external stakeholders.

Keith was selected from a number of potential candidates because of his nearly 25 years of financial and operational experience in large real estate and infrastructure projects.

He was formerly the Global Chief Executive Officer of RREEF/Deutsche Bank Infrastructure Investments, where he managed the worldwide operations of the firm’s infrastructure funds management businesses. He had a 10-year career with RREEF/Deutsche Bank, a New York-based global alternative asset management firm, where he held various senior executive positions and served on the firm’s Global Executive Committee.

Keith previously co-founded HKS Capital Advisors where he served as its chief investment officer. He was also an executive at Hunt Realty Investments where he helped found, grow and sell Meridian Industrial Trust.

The Texas Central board is comprised of chairman Richard Lawless, Robert Eckels, John Kleinheinz, Jack Matthews and Melvin Richmond.

In a statement, Lawless described Keith as the ideal person for the job.

"Over the last five years we have focused on selecting the city pairs, building the team of advisors, and starting the regulatory review," he said. "Tim is the perfect person to lead the project into the next phase. Under his leadership, we are confident Texans will soon be traveling from Houston to Dallas in less than 90 minutes on a privately developed transportation solution."

Texas Central Railway (TCR) is the independent company formed in 2010 to promote the adoption of high-speed rail in Texas. It will continue its efforts related to the regulatory process — including the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement — in close coordination with Texas Central.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings noted that "investors from our own Texas communities have determined that private high-speed rail is not only needed, but it’s worthy of their financial investment."

Houston Mayor Annise Parker called it "an exciting project" for Houston, Dallas and Texas. "After riding the train in Japan and witnessing its success there, it is great to see confidence in the project from Texas investors," she said.