Sunday, January 24, 2010

High-speed rail not for Texas yet

The Dallas Morning News has an interesting update on the prospects of high-speed rail in Texas entitled “Most federal rail grants probably will bypass Texas.”

Michael Lindenberger reports, “The federal government is about to hand out a river of cash to states willing to build a network of bullet trains. . . . It's the nation's first major investment in true high-speed rail. . . . [W]ord already has emerged that Texas’ chances of snagging much of what it has requested are slim.”

This word comes from Karen Rae, deputy commissioner for the Federal Railroad Administration. She said that applications for the funds from other states had more support from governors and legislatures. She says Texas has “no central vision, no common vision for rail in Texas.”

This is welcome news to those who are still recovering from Perry’s “vision” of the Trans-Texas Corridor. Texas needs a break from central planning—a vision imposed on residents and landowners from the governor and other top officials, their aides and consultants, and their construction contractor contributors.

Lindenberger explains, “The first $8 billion of what could be several times that much money over the next five years is expected to be awarded in the next several weeks. . . . Texas has requested $1.8 billion in the current round of funding, most of it to fast-track a bullet train proposal.” Untold billions more would be needed to actually build and operate the train. Probably, train riders would be subsidized by all taxpayers.

Before Texas commits its funds and its land to this proposal, we must be sure that the project is needed and economically feasible—not a project where the main goal is to direct tax money to construction interests.

The Texas High-Speed Rail site has this map of the Texas T-Bone proposal, which shows the route going through Williamson County east of IH-35. To see a larger version, go to

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