No federal approval is needed for a planned Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line, transportation officials in Washington, D.C. announced this week.
“The Surface Transportation Board clarified today that it does not have jurisdiction over the Texas high-speed rail project being privately developed by Texas Central connecting North Texas and Houston, and therefore no STB approval of the project is necessary prior to commencing construction,” read a statement released on Monday by Texas Central Partners, the developer behind plans to construct a privately funded rail line.
Texas Central recently requested clarification regarding the government agency’s possible role in the rail plan. Without clarification, Texas Central said regulatory uncertainty could have impacted its project timelines.
“However, Texas Central will study the STB decision before making any determination regarding actions in response to the ruling. The project continues to move forward with development activities,” the agency said.
Texas Central Partners, backed by a group of Texas-based investors, said it will not accept federal grants for construction or public subsidies for operation. Plans call for trains making the trip between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston in less than 90 minutes, with a single stop at its Brazos Valley station to be in Grimes County somewhere between Bryan-College Station and Huntsville.
The company plans to begin operations in 2021.
The estimated $36 billion in economic impact includes the initial $10 billion that Texas Central Partners plans to spend on the project’s design and construction.