Texas Central, a private company, plans to construct a 240-mile high-speed rail route from Houston to Dallas. When completed, the multibillion-dollar route will provide riders a 90-minute trip between the two cities.
“Houston continues to grow," Turner said in a statement. "Growing the smart way includes providing a wider choice of transportation options beyond more private vehicles and more roads. The Texas [Central] Bullet Train fits the transportation paradigm shift I have called for. And now with a preferred location for the Houston station, we are one big step closer to boarding for an exciting trip to the Brazos Valley and on to Dallas."
The Federal Railroad Administration released a draft environmental impact statement in mid-December, which outlines the preferred route for the railway. Although the DEIS proposed three locations for the Houston station, Texas Central and Houston officials selected the Northwest Mall area as the preferred location for the Houston station—one of three proposed stations along the route. Stations are also proposed in Grimes County, located along Hwy. 30 just west of Hwy. 90, and Dallas, located near the I-30 and I-35 interchange.
According to a statement from Texas Central, constructing a station in the Northwest Mall area will minimize environmental and community effects for the Greater Houston area. The location also provides connectivity to METRO's Northwest Transit Center and allows the railway to follow existing rights of way.
“As our state grows, we’re moving further apart as a result of travel time and increasing congestion. The Texas Bullet Train answers that," said Drayton McLane Jr., chairman of the Texas Central board of directors, in a statement. “This is a new model for infrastructure improvements—it’s transformational. Everyone along the route will benefit. The entire state, and especially all the counties and communities along the route, will see gains. That includes getting more in tax revenue from the train and from ticket sales and more local jobs and business for those helping to build the project."
The city of Houston and Texas Central formed a joint agreement in August to spur economic development and job growth as a result of railway construction.
The Federal Railroad Administration is hearing public comments on the DEIS and proposed railway through March 9—an extension to the public comment period, previously set to close Feb. 20. Comments can be submitted by attending a public hearing, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or completing a form electronically. The final four public hearings are held Monday, Feb. 5, and Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Maddison, Harris, Grimes and Waller counties.
Monday, Feb. 5
Madisonville High School, 811 S. May St., Ste. A, Madisonville
Woodard Elementary School, 17501 Cypress North Houston Road, Cypress
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Navasota Middle School, 1 Rattler Drive, Navasota
Waller High School, 20950 Fields Store Road, Waller
Additional details about proposed ticket prices, station features and economic growth can be found in the FRA's draft environmental impact statement here.