The preferred alignment for a high-speed rail linking Fort Worth to Dallas will be examined in the coming months after the project entered the environmental review phase in March.

What’s happening?

During environmental review, known as the National Environmental Policy Act review process, federal officials will determine the alignment’s potential impacts to properties and the environment. The process takes about 12 months, said Brendon Wheeler, program manager for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The purpose is to receive environmental clearance on an alignment for the rail that enables the project to move into the next phases, Wheeler said.

“We’re still a long ways off from actually building this project,” he said. “What an environmentally cleared corridor allows us to do is it allows us to go out and find private partners that may be interested in building this corridor.”

The setup

The NCTCOG is accepting public input related to the high-speed rail after hosting a meeting May 13. Officials from the NCTCOG also presented information on the 2025-2028 Transportation Investment Program and new federal standards for fine particulate matter.

North Texas residents can access a recording of the meeting and presentation slides on the NCTCOG’s website. Residents can submit comments and questions in the following ways:
  • Email [email protected].
  • Call 855-925-2801 and leave a voicemail.
  • Send a letter addressed to P.O. Box 5888, Arlington, Texas, 76005-5888
The deadline to submit public input is 11:59 p.m. June 11.

How we got here

The NCTCOG opened a study for the proposed rail in 2020. During the initial planning phase, officials looked at 43 different alignments, Wheeler said. The project team focused on finding alignments that followed major transportation corridors to limit impact to businesses and residences, he said.

During the project’s second phase, which launched in August, planners are focusing on a single alignment that follows along the I-30 corridor. The project team has been working with stakeholders along the corridor to further refine what the alignment looks like, Wheeler said.

About the project

The proposed alignment is undergoing environmental review and plans for three stations in Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas. The alignment plans for two potential tunnels in Fort Worth and Arlington, and elevated tracks between Grand Prairie and Dallas.

The station in Arlington will offer a great connection point with the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Wheeler said. In the NCTCOG’s long-range transportation plan, officials have planned for an automated transportation system to connect the rail station to the airport, he said.

“High-speed rail lines all around the world are a testament to the fact that connecting to airports is a very important part of being able to attract the ridership [and] being able to provide connections where they’re needed,” he said.

What’s next

The project is expected to complete environmental review in early 2025. Once the alignment has been cleared, an agency will be selected to lead design and construction on the project. The NCTCOG cannot take the lead on the project, Wheeler said.

“These projects take a long time to plan and to build,” Wheeler said. “We want to make sure we do it correctly, and that’s why our study we believe is important at this time to advance so that Texans in the next 10, 20, 30 years would be able to have this kind of a system in place as an option as opposed to driving your vehicles or flying an airplane.”