January 24, 2017
A privately funded bullet train between Dallas and Houston and a passenger rail line connecting suburban North Texas are among a litany of transportation projects considered priorities by President Donald Trump’s transition team, according to The Kansas City Star.
But what that means for the projects either financially or in a regulatory sense wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday.
The Star reported that the document doesn’t detail how the listed projects “would be funded, how the federal government prioritized these projects or any timeline for completion.” It is not known if the document is finalized or a draft, according to The Star.
“The projects are among a total investment of $137.5 billion described in the document,” The Star report read. “Half that amount is supposed to represent private investment.”
Trump earlier in the day signed an executive order that aims to expedite the environmental review process of infrastructure projects, something that can often take years and cost millions of dollars.
Texas Central Partners is developing the controversial Dallas-Houston bullet train, but has said it would not take any public money to build the multi-billion dollar project. Company officials have previously spoken about applying for federal loans designed to provide low-interest financing for large infrastructure projects. That’s a system Trump pitched on the campaign trail as a way to entice private investment in American infrastructure.
In a statement, Texas Central said it was “pleased” to be considered a priority.
“Texans are looking for safe, reliable and productive transportation options,” the statement said. “The high-speed train answers that call for the region, state and country. We look forward to working with the new administration, moving ahead with the project’s free-market approach.”
The president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail, which opposes the bullet train project, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The other rail project mentioned in the documents is Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Cotton Belt rail line, which would connect Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport through suburbs and Far North Dallas to an existing line in Plano. Last year, DART included that project in its long-term planning documents. That project is seeking federal funding.
DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said late Tuesday that the agency is happy the project is on the list but that officials there also don’t know what being included means for the planned line.
DART is not currently planning on raising private capital for the project, and the agency doesn’t know if that would be a requirement for receiving certain federal funds.
“There’s still so many unknowns,” Lyons said.
Disclosure: Texas Central Partners has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/24/report-texas-bullet-train-among-new-federal-transp/.