Texas Central Railroad is ready to begin construction on the country’s first high-speed train after the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration completed the last step in its environmental review process, which began in 2014.
The final Rule of Particular Applicability and the Record of Decision were the last checkmarks needed for the Texas Central to get the official green light. (The RPA lays out the regulatory framework for the TCR, including safety requirements, while the ROD defines the alignment that the high-speed rail will follow between Dallas and Houston. The full ROD and RPA will soon become publicly available via the Federal Register.
“This is the moment we have been working toward,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Dallas-based Texas Central Railroad, in a statement. “The release of the final RPA and ROD by the Federal Railroad Administration represents years of work by countless individuals, affirming a very thorough and careful federal regulatory process.”
Construction is set to begin as soon as possible. Creating an anticipated 17,000 new jobs, officials hope it will aid in the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas Central estimates that it will take six years to build the rail system, with approximately $10 billion in immediate economic impact across the U.S. through contracts with steel mills and other manufacturers needed to complete the project.
An additional 20,000 supply chain jobs are expected to be added, as well, contributing to an anticipated $36 billion in economic benefits over the TCR’s first 25 years of operation.
The railroad will connect North Texas and Greater Houston in less than 90 minutes, with one stop in the Brazos Valley. Texas Central has already secured control of one planned station site in each of the three locations, as well as more than 600 parcels of land that the rail will pass through.
The project is modeled on the Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, one of the safest and most punctual worldwide, having served 10 billion passengers over 55 years with zero operations passenger fatalities and zero accidents.
To get a look at the train’s planned interiors, see D CEO’s report from earlier this year.