June 16, 2016 - TRA Newswire

The North Central Texas Council of Government’s Regional Transportation Council (RTC), passed a resolution today to voice its strong support for Texas Central's bullet train that will connect North Texas and Houston in 90 minutes with one stop in the Brazos Valley.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) calls for close coordination among member counties, its 230+ member governments and other transportation industry entities in order to “maximize the opportunities for connectivity for the benefit of generations of Texans.” NCTCOG represents a 16-county region of North Texas centered around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The RTC is the transportation policy body within the Council of Governments representing more than 7 million people in 12 counties.

Texas Central Railway (TCR) reaffirmed its pledge not to accept public grants or operating subsidies
NCTCOG will support the development of one seat/one ticket high-speed rail connectivity between Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and Houston
Texas Central will continue conducting preliminary work to plan and position the Dallas station such that it can accommodate connectivity with the proposed Fort Worth, Arlington to Dallas high-speed train system

In a statement, Texas Central said that "this project is good for Texas because, once constructed, the train will join the two largest commercial centers in the state. Together these regions represent approximately half of the Texas population. Connecting them with this safe, accessible and reliable transportation option will provide Texans more opportunities as they live, work and play. Additionally, this important infrastructure positions the state for future growth and creates tens of thousands of new jobs for Texans."

The MOU is a positive note for Texas Central after being bombarded with harsh criticism from rural elected officials between Dallas and Houston.  Texas Central's recent filing with the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, asking for operating authority as a railroad, was met with anti-rail filings led by a group called Texans Against High Speed Rail, based in Jewett, Texas.  TAHSR has hired high-powered Washington and Dallas attorneys in an attempt to kill the high speed rail project and has filed several lawsuits against TCR, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Attorney General in an attempt to get the private railroad to divulge its plans. TCR filed a motion of protective order with the Surface Transportation Board last week to prevent the release of commercially sensitive information. The final route of the high speed rail line from downtown Dallas to Houston will not be finalized until a government-required environmental study is completed by 2017.

The mission statement of Texans Against High Speed Rail reads "Texans Against High Speed Rail, Inc. is a 501c(4) (application pending) organization dedicated to the opposition of high-speed rail in the State of Texas. Our aim is to protect private property rights, maintain efficient modes of transportation, and prevent the wasteful use of taxpayer dollars or public subsidies for high-speed rail transportation. Our members include citizens, private property owners, business owners and elected officials from all across Texas who share our core belief of combating eminent domain for private use and our opposition to any tax-subsidized railway."