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The City Dreams Up a Multimodal Transportation Hub to Complement High-Speed Rail

We're talking bullet trains, DART, Amtrak, HyperLoop, and aerial taxis out of a single center.

High-speed rail officials want to study how they can put a multimodal transportation center adjacent to the planned high-speed rail station in downtown Dallas, which could connect the bullet train to everything from the DART to the Amtrak to more futuristic modes like aerial taxis, autonomous vehicles, and the Hyperloop.

The preliminary drawings put a pedestrian connection over Interstate 30 toward the Kay Bailey Hutchison Dallas Convention Center, where the new transportation hub would sit. The plan also includes a proposed deck park over I-30, just north of the tracks, and officials are exploring additions of new hotel and office space to accompany the hub.

Molly Carroll, who manages the high-speed rail project for the city, laid out the scope during a briefing to the Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee earlier this week. “This is really what I feel is the crux of the briefing, what I’m hoping to get your support for today: we believe that the current rail and bus systems are really not close enough to fully integrate with high-speed rail today,” she said.

Texas Central got a $300 million loan in September to boost design and engineering efforts for its proposed route from Dallas to Houston. The company says it can build out 240-mile path with $12 to $15 billion, although others estimate the cost at $20 billion. In January, the company published renderings of its proposed Dallas station in the Cedars, which would spread out on 60 acres just southeast of the convention center, across I-30. Here’s the list of transportation modes that city staff suggest could integrate with the bullet train via a new transit hub:

• Amtrak
• DART Light Rail & Buses
• Trinity Railway Express
• Proposed D2 line (the subway extension under downtown Dallas)
• Dallas Streetcar
• Passenger buses
• Aerial taxis
• Bicycles
• Automobiles
• Autonomous vehicles
• Other, future transit modes

On the “other,” Carroll mentioned connecting a possible bullet train route to Fort Worth. And Councilman Rickey Callahan, who represents Pleasant Grove, mentioned Hyperloop—high-speed tube travel—a topic on which city officials seem to be fairly gung-ho.

The committee was largely supportive of exploring a potential hub, and gave city staff and Texas Central its nod of approval to pursue a feasibility study.

There were questions about what would happen to city-owned Union Station, but for now, they were mostly pushed down the line. North Dallas Councilwoman Sandy Greyson also wondered aloud whether the deck park made sense as far west as it is in renderings, but didn’t press the issue this early in the process.

“I think we’re trying to dream right now,” Carroll told her. “We’re just dreaming and thinking of what would best knit together downtown and the Cedars area.”

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