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Monday, June 23, 2014

The First US High Speed Rail Line could be $10 billion privately funded line from Dallas to Houston

It's a 45 min flight and don't miss yourself about the 'no security line' when taking the train. This week be just the same if/when this was ever built!
Texas Central plans to fund construction of high speed rail from Dallas to Houston — with early estimates put at about $10 billion — exclusively through private investment. It would consider federal financing, says Lawless, but it will not accept subsidies even if the line fails to turn a profit.
Texas Central Railway, a private company that plans to link Dallas and Houston with a 200-mile-per-hour bullet train as soon as 2021. The venture just might be high-speed rail's best hope in the United States.
"The project has been progressing below the radar, very quietly, very deliberately, over the last four years plus," says Lawless. It's now undergoing an environmental impact study that will take between two and three years, but Texas Central, whose backers include Japan's JR Central railway, has already conducted its own extensive research. The company, originally called U.S.-Japan High-Speed Rail, looked at 97 possible routes nationwide before concluding that Texas was the ideal place for a high-speed line — and that healthy profits could be made in long-distance passenger rail, a travel mode that for the past 40 years has existed only with the help of massive government subsidies.
"Texas is special," says Lawless. He lists among its advantages a flat, rural landscape, staggering growth potential, and a "business-friendly approach." He adds that "as city pairs, Dallas and Houston are pretty unique in the United States." The cities are 240 miles apart, a distance Lawless describes as a "sweet spot" for high-speed rail, where it beats both air and highway travel.
The company is working under the assumption that both metro area populations will double by 2035, but their economies are already linked to an extent that that the railway's backers can count on a steady flow of traffic between them. Crucial to the line's success will be the 50,000 people who commute regularly between Dallas and Houston, currently a five-hour schlep in traffic or an hour-long flight on Southwest Airlines — which, when factoring in security lines and travel to and from the airport, takes longer than the 90-minute ride, downtown to downtown.