Specifically already promising an unprecedented 90-minute ride from Houston to north Texas, after the high-speed train accident in Washington late last year, project administrators’ reiteration of their train system, the N700 – based on Japan’s Shinkansen model, ups the ante once again, promising the rides to be one of the safest in existence.
Officials said the train will be set apart from roads, on its own track, with separate rail lines running in each direction to avoid the possibility of collision.
Despite the hype, the project is reportedly still stirring up opposition among Texans, some of whom attended a public comment meeting earlier this year to protest the train, its proposed route and their fears of its presence threatening their peaceful way of life they know and enjoy.
According to KTRK, the train’s route will track through 10 counties in Texas, six of them being rural, making a stop in Grimes County to serve people in the College Station area, shooting through Waller County into Harris County and finally stopping at a new station in Houston to be built at Northwest Mall.
Per Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements, Texas Central will submit a report after the public comment period ends on March 9, when the agency will review for approval.
The report will include interested parties’ comments to be considered, like those mentioned above, before the federal agency grants the group a permit to build.
Privately funded, with plans to start building in 2019 and the project wrapping some four or five years after, reports show financing for the bullet train is currently secured through pre-construction, but, based on proposed budgets, further resources will be required.
Texas Central is reportedly considering a number of options to address this reality, including federal loans through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program, which allows loans to be issued to “develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities,” according to the initiative’s text.
In addition to noise and serenity preservation concerns, some Lone Star landowners say the train’s route will cross their private property.
Texas Central is reportedly doing its best to avoid property conflicts, making the proposed route maps available to landowners on its website.
Builders say they hope to reach voluntary deals with landowners along the train’s route, reportedly prepared to buy parcels of land to secure land title, already acquiring around a third of the property needed to build the train, according to company announcements.
Of course, according to the Texas Tribune, officials also claim they possess legal right to condemn private property if necessary, which is spurring some protest, particularly from ranchers in rural areas of the route.
But not everyone is resisting getting railed:
Supporters of the train maintain it will be great for business to open up such a fast line of transit between two of the biggest cities in Texas and the nation, and the project is also projected to create over 1,000 jobs.
The public comment period to share with Texas Central and the FRA remains open for the next 16 days; you can submit your thoughts here.