Critics Question Financial Dealings of Bullet Train Developer

Texas Central says it has been open

NBCUniversal, Inc.

There’s new information about the plan to build a high-speed train between Dallas and Houston – and where some of the money for the project is coming from.

The Japanese-designed bullet train would shuttle travelers between the two cities in just 90 minutes at nearly 200 miles an hour. There would be one stop in Grimes County. The project has been under development for years by Texas Central, which has its headquarters in Dallas.

Texas Central has already purchased much of the land it needs for the 240-mile rail line. Now the group 'Texans Against High-Speed Rail' has released public documents showing that Texas Central has used some of that land as collateral for a loan of up to $300 million from Japan Texas High-Speed Railway Cayman LP, which is based in the Cayman Islands. That entity was created by a bank owned by the Japanese government.    

Critics say the loan arrangement is proof that the train is not a Texas project, which supporters often tout. Texans Against High-Speed Rail also warns that if Texas Central fails, large swaths of land in central Texas could end up being owned by the Japanese. The group is calling on Governor Abbott to take action against what it calls deceptive practices in dealing with landowners.

Carlos Aguilar, President & CEO of Texas Central, released the following statement in response to the accusations:

“Despite unfounded rumors to the contrary, Texas Central Railroad, a Texas-based company, owns the property purchased for the state-of-the-art high-speed train project and continues to honor all of the commitments made to the landowners who have participated in the Land Option Purchase Program. Texas Central provided a security interest on its acquired property to its lender which is customary practice in real property transactions.  As momentum builds toward physical construction, Texas Central continues to engage in personalized, open and collaborative discussions with landowners, outlining the project’s benefits, listening to their concerns and answering their questions.”

Texas Central furloughed dozens of workers back in March, citing financial problems linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, the company says it hopes to break ground early next year. Construction would take approximately six years.

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