A planned high-speed rail that aims to connect the Texas cities of Dallas and Houston has cleared a number of hurdles in the past few months, with the organizers recently beginning to acquire land for the project, the Japan Times reported Tuesday. A partner real estate firm began securing land in Dallas in July to build a station, with construction expected to start as early as 2017.
The completion of the project could come as early as 2021 and could be very likely be the first United States-based railway to use Japan's Shinkansen train technology. The planned railway would cut travel time between Houston and Dallas -- typically about a 3.5-hour drive -- to about 90 minutes.
Central Japan Railway has pushed the organizers, Texas Central Partners, to use its train technology. “We are committed to Shinkansen,” said Texas Central Partners CEO Tim Keith, according to the Japan Times. Keith added Shinkansen has “an unparalleled track record” for safety.
Many in the South Dallas area where the station is planned have praised the railway. "“It would be a wonderful way to get business flowing [in the area]," said Mayor Mike Rawlings in February, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The project has a planned cost between $10 billion and $12 billion with the private company currently fundraising. But Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail, suggested in early September that the railway was not as close to completion as the organizers may have suggested.
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“Frankly, they’re on a salvage mission,” Workman said, according to the Texas Tribune. “They’re trying to generate news that says, ‘We think we’re close.’ The reality is, they’re not that close.”
Texas Central in late September added about $75 million in private investments, which are planned to go toward ridership studies, cost estimates and design plans, according to KERA News. Some people who live along the planned route between the two cities have expressed concerns about their property and the organizers have planned a number of town hall meeting in the hopes of addressing questions.