Texas plans high speed rail PPP project

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Texas plans high speed rail PPP project

The mayors of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston announced last week their support behind plans for a high-speed rail route between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

The project aims to connect Houston to the centers of Dallas and Fort Worth in 90 minutes.

A private company called Texas Central Railway is working on the project. The company plans to raise private funds to build the line and operate the system. It will soon begin a formal environmental study that will help to identify a preferred route. While there could be stations along the way, the number will likely be minimal since any stop will lengthen overall travel time.

Texas Central wants to use the N700-I Bullet train system, which is used by the Central Japan Railway Company on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka. That line handles more than 300 trains and more than 390,000 passengers a day.

Robert Eckels, Texas Central Railway's president and a former judge, said officials plan to file paperwork with the Federal Railroad Administration in the next two months, starting the process for a formal decision on the project. 

In the 1990s, a consortium tried to get high-speed rail running in Texas. But the effort encountered opposition from major transportation players like Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. The group failed to raise financing for the project and shelved the plan in 1994.

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