David S. Arbuckle, Vice President of External Affairs for the Texas Central Railway, presented “Accelerating the Texas Economy at High Speed” during the State of Hispanic Business in North Texas hosted at the Irving Convention Center on Thursday, Sept. 7.
The Texas Central Railway (TCR) hopes to build a state-of-the-art, 240 mile-long high speed rail line to decrease the standard travel time by car from three to four hours to a total of 90 minutes by train. This would make the rail line the first bullet train in not only Texas but the United States.
TCR is a private company which plans to bring transformational projects to Texas to help advance the economy.
The Texas Bullet Train would serve North Texas, the greater Brazos Valley, and the Greater Houston Metro areas. DART would work along-side the bullet train to accommodate people to and from the station.
The bullet train will be built in Japan and later shipped to the U.S. to be assembled.
Around 50,000 Texans travel between the Metroplex and Houston more than once a week. According to a comprehensive ridership study conducted by L.E.K Consulting, 90 percent of the 16 million people located in Texas would save approximately one hour by riding the bullet train, compared to an airplane or driving.
Planners speculate the market-led infrastructure can be built without any federal grants, and it will pay taxes to all the municipalities it crosses. The Texas Bullet Train will be designed to have full ADA access.
From this project, more than 10,000 jobs are projected to be created during each year of the construction. Once the train is fully operational, more than 1,000 jobs are projected to be created.
“We plan to stop in Dallas,” Arbuckle said. “Other people will build something beyond that, but Texas Central’s project is focusing on North Texas to Houston.
“We believe this is the right project, being done the right way, at the right time. The longer we take to do it, the more expensive it gets. The reason why we can almost go into Downtown Dallas is because of the Trinity and the lack of development. If we continue to build past Houston, it would cost $100 million per mile.”
The Dallas station is planned to be built within the area next to 610 Loop, between 290 and I-10.
“By law, we do not have to follow the state statutory, minority participation guidelines, but by right, we’re going to,” Arbuckle said. “The reason is for this to be done the right way, we have to do the right thing, and that is to offer that opportunity.”
The TCR still faces eminent domain issues, competitors, and conflicting interests. Eminent domain is the right of a state or federal government to take private property for public use while requiring compensation.
“Railroads are allowed to have eminent domain, but what we are being challenged on is ‘are we really a railroad,’” Arbuckle said. “We don’t have tracks or trains, so we are being challenged in court.
“We are trying to avoid ever using [eminent domain], and we would like to buy the entire 240 miles without touching it. Our problem is a gentleman in South Dallas who buys land, and he picked up a $7000 piece of land. We came along, and we’re going right through that land. We tried to buy the land from him, and he says ‘sure, that would be $1 million.’
“That’s why eminent domain exists. You have to have the right for the public to get through,” he said.