High-Speed Rail Plan Gets Money for Connections

A new allocation of public money supports connections for high-speed rail in North Texas.

The $4.5 million in public dollars from the Regional Transportation Council will be used for additional North Texas rail system design and planning in light of a private company's planned Houston-to-Dallas high-speed rail line.

Texas Central Partners hopes to offer a 90-minute trip by 2021, but it plans an end-of-the-line station near Downtown Dallas. The company refuses to accept public money.

The RTC wants connections to existing Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail trains and high-speed rail service west to Fort Worth. North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director, Michael Morris, said the RTC money will help answer many questions for the public.

"What is the station? What does it look like? How does it interface? Impacts to neighborhoods, both in Dallas and in Arlington and in Fort Worth," Morris said.

The RTC goal for a high-speed rail system is not what Texas Central Partners is offering to provide.

"The Regional Transportation Council's position is if you get in a train in Fort Worth, you do not have to get out of that seat and go all the way to Houston. So, there's a lot of seamless service that has to be planned," Morris said.

Texas Central spokesperson Sophia Reza said in an e-mail there are separate but complimentary North Texas projects underway.

"We applaud the region's continued support of transportation innovation to address a pressing problem. Texas Central has proposed station locations that would facilitate further connectivity, ultimately allowing for Fort Worth/Arlington to Houston high-speed rail travel if both projects move through funding and construction," the e-mail said.

Morris said both rail projects are needed.

"The Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Houston areas are growing at three times the rate of the metropolitan areas that are ahead of us," he said.

The state of Texas is also considering a high-speed rail line that could link Oklahoma with Mexico running through Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

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