Hadn’t heard about this in awhile, but it’s now clearing some key regulatory obstacles.
A high-speed rail line from Fort Worth to Dallas is moving “full steam ahead” and could be ready even before the proposed Dallas-Houston line that received a recent boost with the news that Amtrak is coming on board, officials said.
First proposed in 2017, the Fort Worth-Dallas high-speed rail project would run parallel to Interstate 30 and is spearheaded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. That project will formally enter its environmental phase in September and is expected to be cleared by the federal government by 2024.
A key to making the Fort Worth-Dallas high-speed project successful is ensuring it is part of a larger, statewide system — similar to the interstate highway system, [Brendon Wheeler, program manager for transportation planning at the Council of Governments] said.
The Council of Governments is also exploring other rail corridors, most notably along Interstate 35, connecting Fort Worth through San Antonio and all the way down to Laredo.
At this time, no funding or investments have been committed to the Fort Worth-Dallas rail line, but getting the project environmentally cleared will help change that, Wheeler said. By clearing these hurdles upfront, potential partners will be more likely to invest.
“We’ve heard from several entities that operate high-speed rail around the world, private entities that are interested in funding projects — the major risks that they face coming to the U.S. to try and replicate their success here is they don’t know the federal environmental process like we do, and facing those risks costs money to them,” Wheeler said.
While the Dallas to Houston and Dallas to Fort Worth lines are still years away, [Rick Harnish, executive director of the High-Speed Rail Alliance] said, it’s now up to the state to come up with a rail plan to connect all the major metropolitan areas in Texas.
The goal is to have the Fort Worth-Dallas and Dallas-Houston lines be “one seat,” which means there are no transfers between each stop.
“That’s something the state needs to show leadership on,” Harnish said. “And the fact that the state has not in any way since doing the initial planning of a high-speed line from Fort Worth to San Antonio, they’d been out of the game. And that’s a real bummer for the people who live in Texas.”
See here for some background – this project has been around for a long time, too – and here for more on the more expansive plans going south from Fort Worth. As this story notes, the D/FW rail line already has most of the right of way it would need, so it will have fewer issues than Texas Central has had with that. At this point, all I can say is I hope to live long enough to see all of this come to fruition. It all makes so much sense, and we have absolutely no leadership in the state pushing for it – quite the reverse, really. Hope is what I have for now.