Texas Central Has Nearly a Third of Properties Needed for Bullet Train, It Says

TEXAS CENTRAL HAS NEARLY A THIRD OF PROPERTIES NEEDED FOR BULLET TRAIN, IT SAYS Would-be bullet train builder Texas Central tells the Chronicle’s Dug Begley it has secured nearly a third of the properties it needs for the planned rail line between Houston and Dallas. But Begley notes that company “officials have not specified where those tracts are located or how much of the 8,000 [required] acres they include.” The train developer is currently negotiating with landowners to buy up parcels along the route. As for plan B: “Though state lawmakers essentially have barred the company from using state authorities to condemn property, Texas Central maintains it has some options via federal authorities as a railroad, under Texas law.” [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo of Texas Central public hearing at Woodard Elementary School, Cypress: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

14 Comment

  • Without eminent domain authority, the project won’t get done. There will be plenty of landowners in their ROW who have no price, and will simply refuse to sell on principle. They’re going to have to be more specific about the mysterious “federal authorities” power to convince anyone they can acquire all of the needed ROW.

  • Well, this just went from stink bug to construction site outhouse in a hurry!

  • Please define the term “secured” the properties. I’m assuming it’s a contract to buy with a far far off closing date provided they get money and a million other contingency clauses. “Nearly a third of required properties”? I secured nearly a third of rocket fuel needed to get to mars, but unless I have 100% of it, I ain’t landing there.

  • commonsense, exactly. We were told by Texas Central at a meeting that they could not give us both the percentage of land secured and the percentage of parcels.
    That may be true, they have a tough time with math.
    I can only assume that they have less than 30% of the land needed secured.

  • THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. Someones lining their pockets and getting pie in the sky urbanists in a tizzy before they shutter the project whilst laying the blame at the feet of “backwards politics” or “unfriendly municipalities”. Book it.

  • Eminent domain will be granted by the feds through the Federal Railroad Commission. They have the ultimate authority over railroads, not only to authorize construction but also to decommission existing lines. Folks the president and congress are pushing for infrastructure, if you think 400 miles of concrete 18 ft high wont get built your obviously clueless.

  • The STB declined jurisdiction over the proposed HSR.

  • I heard they are offering around $30k/acre to owners for the ROW, and are advancing around 30% of it. Put me ponzi scheme column on this one.

  • It seems like they are saying they can use eminent domain because they are a railway under federal law and Texas law allows railroads to use eminent domain. This is what I gather from the limited material presented. I don’t know what the new state law says and how they are restricted under the new state law. This article is a giant nothing burger. It seems like they are saying that the state law has loopholes big enough to drive a high speed rail through. Who knows, though? This article says nothing really.

  • If they do truly have eminent domain as SimplySid argues, then they mist simply do a dog and pony show attempt at acquiring land before using eminent domain en masse. Obviously its quicker to get signatures up front, but eminent domain is a fairly methodical practice that can go by quickly, especially with all the property tax money this is going to pump into local government coffers (the same local government that manages the eminent domain process).

  • Sorry but this one is getting done folks. Time to get your heads out of the sand and step into the 21st century. Way too much money and political will behind this project. All aboard.

  • Commenter7 – How much property tax money will it pump into local government? Eminent domain is a state-level thing, not local government. They won’t try condemnation until after the EIS and ROD are issued (if they are). The final route is not decided, and NO BUILD is still on the table.
    Ephemerus – What money? TC has no money. They’ve raised less than 1% of the money needed, and have spent some or all of that.

  • @Ephemerus, they have no money, and the state government already expressed opposition to the project. I’m also interested how you consider 19th century Victorian technology as somehow 21st century innovation.

  • oh, no money? (need $15 billion for this “private” rail)
    but the “political will” is still there right?
    asking for a friend