The Texas bullet train from Houston to Dallas clears two key regulatory hurdles, the company says

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Texas is one step closer high-speed line Connecting the state’s two largest metropolitan areas after the railroad company behind the project received two key permits from federal officials.

Texas Central Railwaywho plans the operation bullet trains between Houston and Dallas, announced Monday that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved the establishment of a regulatory framework for safety requirements and also issued a decision memorandum ending environmental analysis of the route.

“This is the moment we’ve been working towards,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of the Texas Central Railroad. said in a statement.

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In a press releasethe railroad said it was ready for construction and would “proceed with construction as soon as possible,” possibly in the first half of 2021.

According to Texas Central, the project will create 17,000 direct jobs over the six-year construction period. (iStock)

The proposed high-speed line would go from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes, stopping somewhere between College Station and Huntsville in the Brazos Valley.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the “Landmark Project” will have a “generational impact” and add billions of dollars to the local economy.

“Once the system is operational, it will create connections and opportunities never thought possible,” said Turner said in a statement.

Texas Central plans to use equipment from Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train system, which it says it chose “because of its reputation for being one of the safest and most punctual train systems in the world.” In a statement, the railroad said the final rule of the FRA’s special capability relies largely on the standards set by the Central Japanese Railway Co. for its system.

“The Federal Railroad Administration’s release of the final RPA and ROD represents years of work by countless individuals and validates a very thorough and careful federal regulatory process that will make the Texas Central Railroad the first high-speed rail system to be implemented in the United States.” , Aguilar said in a statement.

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The project already marked its first milestone in May with the publication of the final environmental impact statement.

Texas Central claims that the project will create more than 17,000 direct jobs and over 20,000 supply chain jobs in the first six years of construction, with an immediate economic impact of $10 billion in the US

But the project has met opposition, including from critics who argue the private company would misuse significant domains to develop the route.

In April, more than two dozen Republican lawmakers wrote to the Department of Transportation claiming that Texas Central “does not have the funding or expertise to proceed with this project.” The Dallas Morning News reported.

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One of the groups opposing the project, Texans Against High-Speed ​​Rail, said Monday the FRA actions “pave the way for legal challenges regarding, among other things [National Environmental Policy Act] Violations, FRA’s failure to properly assess the environmental impact, reasonable alternatives and financial viability of the project.”

Kyle Workman, chairman of the group, said that with the announcement the company was “simply arranging deckchairs on the Titanic”.

“While the Texas Central Railway continues to claim it will begin construction next year, the company recently fired the majority of its employees, admitted that the cost estimate for the project has risen to $30 billion, and stated its intent to withdraw federal funds They have stated ‘private’ and ‘require no public funding’ and have yet to submit the required full planning permit application to the federal Surface Transportation Board,” said Workman said in a statement.

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