Texas High-Speed Rail Facing Legal Challenge - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Texas High-Speed Rail Facing Legal Challenge

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    Texas High-Speed Rail Facing Legal Challenge

    The debate over a high-speed rail project that would connect Dallas and Houston is picking up steam. (Published Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016)

    The debate over a high-speed rail project that would connect Dallas and Houston is picking up steam.

    Just this week, the group Texans Against High Speed Rail teamed up with a Dallas law firm to fight the project.

    "The majority of the people that we talk to, they reach out to us, they have no desire to have this run through their property," said Kyle Workman, who heads up the opposition group.

    Workman owns property in Jewett, one of the many cities located near or along the proposed 240-mile rail line. His group is planning to fight the project in court, arguing land rights and environmental issues.

    "The concerns are valid and they need to be vetted," said Workman. "Certainly, lawsuits are part of that strategy."

    Despite the push back, the developer behind the project has no intention of slowing down work.

    "We will engage with them as needed over time," said Tim Keith, president of Texas Central Partners.

    The company has raised approximately $100 million from Texas and Japanese investors for the project. Its total cost would is estimated to be $10 to 12 billion. According to Keith, fundraising is on track and construction is expected to begin in 2017.

    "This is an incredible opportunity for Texas," Keith said. "I'm concerned that some Texans aren't hearing the message of how great this is for Texas."

    Keith's message is reaching some along the proposed train route. In Ferris, for example, downtown business owners expressed support for potential new business in town.

    "If it came through Ferris, that puts our name on the map. That should definitely help us economically," said Cynde Frank, owner of Mother Earth Bakery Café.

    While Keith hopes to stay on schedule, he acknowledged there are some hurdles to overcome in the future. The biggest one could come this summer when the draft of the project's Environmental Impact Statement will be released for public comment.

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