Texas Central is a private, for-profit company seeking to connect the cities of Dallas and Houston with high-speed bullet trains. The company touts many advantages to this huge undertaking, which would stretch 240 miles with dedicated north and southbound tracks. Unfortunately, the benefits of this project are mostly imaginary. However, the disadvantages to landowners and taxpayers are very real.
About The Texas Bullet Train Project
The bullet train planned by Texas Central would operate 65 or more trains every day, from Dallas to Houston and back. These trains, traveling 210 miles per hour, could make the trip in 90 minutes. The project would require the use of 3,000 acres of land between these cities, and the budget is said to be $10 billion.
Infringing On Landowner Rights
One of the biggest problems with the Texas high-speed rail project is the threat to landowners’ property rights. The entity has attempted to claim eminent domain rights to allow it to force the purchase of property for public use, even if the landowner doesn’t want to sell.
However, Texas Central has failed to actually establish itself as a railroad with eminent domain authority in Texas. Despite this, Texas Central has filed 38 lawsuits against landowners who have refused to allow entrance to their property for land surveys by the company.
Texas landowners are fighting back against these lawsuits, and the eminent domain attorneys at Dawson & Sodd, along with attorneys from The Beckham Group, are helping.
Lack Of Financial Feasibility
Texas Central estimates the project will cost $10 billion. The company admits it lacks funding to the buy the land it needs or to purchase even one of the 65-plus trains it plans to run. And the estimated pricetag is likely far below what the actual project would cost. A report on high-speed rail projects by the Reason Foundation noted that in a world-wide study of 27 rail projects, the actual cost was an average of 45% higher than estimates.
In addition to dramatically underestimating cost, the report notes that expected ridership of high-speed rail projects is often dramatically overestimated. For example, the report says that U.S. passenger rail projects typically overestimate ridership by 100%.
If the project will cost far more than estimated and draw far fewer riders than expected, there is no hope for economic viability, with or without government financial backing.
Failure To Affect Traffic Issues In Houston, Dallas
Even if Texas Rail had the money and land to move forward with the project, the high-speed rail would have no alleviating effect on the massive traffic issues facing the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas.
Though the railway would connect the 2 cities, the only stations for people to get on or off would be in the downtown areas of these 2 massive, traffic-clogged cities. Potential travelers must get to one of these stations before using the train. So if you live in a suburb or in a rural area between these cities, the train does nothing to help you reach either urban area.
Additionally, the cost of a ticket for the train is expected to be on par with what it would cost to fly between the two cities. If that’s the case, then why attempt to force landowners off their properties when a safe, viable travel option already exists?
Have You Been Contacted By Texas Central Railway?
If you are a landowner who is being bullied by Texas Central to allow a survey of your land for this project, you don’t have to stand alone. Contact Dawson & Sodd, L.L.P. today to find out what your legal rights are and how we can help you.