March 13, 2018 - ProgressiveRailroading.com / TRA Newswire -
Texas Central Partners officials are striking back at comments made last week by SNCF America Inc. about the private Texas-based company's plans to build a Dallas-to-Houston bullet train service.
In a statement issued in response to the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) draft environmental impact statement on Texas Central's proposal, SNCF officials claimed the project would "doom Texas' passenger-rail future." SNCF is the national operator of France's passenger rail service and a global operator of high-speed rail.
"The Texas Central Rail project has been designed around the best interest of a single company, not what is best for Texans or the state's rail transportation future," said SNCF America President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Leray in a press release that summarized the company's statement to the FRA.
"Let's see SNCF put their money where their mouth is", according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "If they we actually interested in creating a high speed passenger rail network in Texas they would have already done their due diligence, laid the groundwork, lined up investors and moved ahead with a bold plan like Texas Central has between Dallas and Houston. Given that Texas Central has taken the idea of high speed rail further than any other entity in the history of Texas I say let them move forward. It's private enterprise and not subsidized by the state of Texas." LeCody pointed to the recently released Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study for the creation of passenger rail in the I-35 corridor between Oklahoma, DFW, Austin, San Antonio and South Texas. "Where is SNCF on this? Are they making any attempt to move forward on this market or just more interested in making noise?"
"Of course, SNCF, the state-owned and heavily subsidized (at more than $16 billion a year) French National Railway would declare they are against competition and block the world's best high-speed train technology from coming to the U.S.," Texas Central officials said in an email. "Contrary to the European model, railroads in Texas are privately owned and operated, and meet the needs of the market, not top-down government plans. Rather than spend the amount of time and resources that Texas Central has invested over many years, the French State Railway is one of many competitors that would prefer to skip to the front of the line and thwart Texas Central’s progress."