Posting in Cities
Can private investors raise $10 billion to connect Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth?
Navigating Interstate 45 from Dallas to Houston takes just over four hours. If Robert Eckels, president of Texas Central High-Speed Railway, has anything to do with it, that journey will soon take less than two.
Eckels, a former judge in Harris County, Texas, hopes to build the nation's first privately-funded bullet train in the Lone Star State. "This is designed to be a profitable high-speed rail system that will serve the people of these two great cities and in between and, ultimately, the whole state of Texas," Eckels said at a high-speed rail forum Aug. 21.
Texas is no stranger to the idea of high speed rail. In 2010, Texas led a failed attempt to win some of the $8 billion President Barack H. Obama set aside for high-speed rail. This time, Eckels told The Texas Tribune Aug. 21, is different:
“I predict Texas will be the first state that has high-speed rail because it’s private-sector driven,” Fickes said.
Private-sector driven may be an understatement. As was true for the 2010 effort, a major player in the new proposal is the Central Japan Railway Company -- the organization that runs Japan's bullet train. In this sense, the project offers a test case for global capital in pursuit of social good.
The project's $10 billion pricetag also places it among the most expensive private works programs in the world. The Burj Khalifa, in comparison, cost just $1.5 billion to build.
In spite of these obstacles, people like Gary Fickes, chairman of the Texas High-Speed Rail and Train Corporation, say that they're optimistic. “They’re spending real money on high-speed rail to try and get things done,” Fickes told The Texas Tribune, “I think they’re the real deal.”
Interested in high-speed rail? Please read:
- Privately funded passenger train to link Miami and Orlando
- Illinois towns get a taste of high-speed rail
- California to build $68 billion high-speed rail
Aug 25, 2012
At about 240 miles this would be a great point to point run for HSR (200 + mph). No stops enroute. Multiple stops would be a better fit for rapid rail at 120 mph. Such a point to point HSR train could be a starting point for a north/south HSR line that could be extended through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Think of the perishable or high value goods now transported by truck to and from Houston for export / import that could be on HSR to do the journey in less time, more affordably and with a smaller impact on the environment. Think of all the trucks you could pull off the road. HSR needs to be looked at from a National perspective with each state planning to plug into a national grid of dedicated HSR tracks. Otherwise you are wasting your money on a fast train to no where. Like Acela.