The high-speed train planned between Dallas and Houston could rev the Texas economy. A study paid for by Texas Central Partners, the company that would build the train, estimates an impact of $36 billion through the year 2040.
Texas Central said the project would mean billions of dollars in construction spending, job creation and taxes paid.
"As a private entity, we're taxable. We're going to bring permanent tax revenue to ISDs (school districts), cities and counties, and at the state level in sales and use tax," said Tim Keith, CEO of Texas Central.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also sees opportunity.
Opponents Raise Concerns About High-Speed Rail
"It would be a game-changer for the city of Dallas and for the city of Houston and for the state of Texas," Rawlings said.
Rawlings also likes the project because it would fit neatly into his GrowSouth initiative to develop the southern side of Dallas.
Developer Jack Matthews agrees. He envisions offices, hotels, condos and shopping around a new train station.
"You really get to start with something new," said Matthews, who already owns several properties in the Cedars neighborhood and is so confident in the project's potential that he's invested millions of dollars in Texas Central.
But not everyone is on board. The top elected official in Grimes County, which would have the only station between Dallas and Houston, has serious concerns.
"This train offers, in my opinion, very little benefit to not only Grimes County but to the rest of society in Texas," said Judge Ben Leman.
High Speed Rail Coming Soon to North Texas
Leman said property owners near the tracks could suffer huge losses in value. In Grimes County alone, he estimates $96 million in lost property value.
Other opponents question the optimistic economic projections. Kyle Workman, who is president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail, doesn't believe the recent study.
"What study? Did you get it? No," Workman said.
Texas Central has not released details on how the study's authors arrived at their numbers.
Texas Central has raised more than $100 million for the project so far. It hopes to start construction on the rail line as soon as 2017 with passenger service in 2022.