FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - For years, politicians and volunteers have been talking about building a high-speed rail line to and possibly through North Texas. That 'dream' has now inched closer to becoming reality.
On August 21, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) approved $4.5 million for the planning, design, project development and preliminary engineering to build a high speed rail in the Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston corridor by 2021.
Officials say the regional bullet train would connect Fort Worth to Houston in 90 minutes.
The high-speed trains would link Fort Worth to Houston, other metropolitan areas in the state and eventually have another corridor stretching from Oklahoma to South Texas. Proponents say the trains would give travelers "a smooth, congestion-free ride between the state's two largest metropolitan areas using technology popular in other parts of the world."
The RTC plan sets aside $1.5 million to be spent each year, starting in 2016. The money will come from the Regional Toll Revenue funding account.
In a press releases statement, Bill Meadows, the chairman of the Commission for High-Speed Rail in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, said, "With population growth in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout Texas showing no signs of slowing down, innovation is necessary and will ensure the transportation system continues to provide safe, efficient service to all. With this decision, the RTC has reaffirmed its commitment to high speed rail in the region."
There are two, separate, but complimentary, high-speed rail projects currently underway in Texas. Last year, the Federal Railroad Administration published a "notice of intent" for an environmental impact statement on the Texas Central High-Speed Rail Corridor. In 2012, it was estimated that the high-speed rail system, connecting the metroplex with Houston and San Antonio, would cost $10 billion.
Late Friday afternoon CBSDFW.COM received the following statement from Texas Central:
"Last week, we understand the Regional Transportation Council voted to fund planning studies for a proposed Fort Worth/Arlington/Dallas high speed rail, a public effort led by the Commission for High Speed Rail in Dallas/Fort Worth. This entity, CHRDFW, started in January of 2014 and their announcement today is a continuation of past work.
Texas Central's project is privately developed by Texas investors and has not applied for or received any government funding. As such, Texas Central will not receive any of these funds.
We applaud the region's continued support of transportation innovation to address a pressing problem. Texas Central has proposed station locations that would facilitate further connectivity, ultimately allowing for Fort Worth/Arlington to Houston high speed rail travel if both projects move through funding and construction."
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