Texas company plans privately funded high speed rail between Dallas and Houston
With high-speed rail in the United States long on plans and short on construction, a Texas company is aiming to fast-track service between Dallas and Houston.I am skeptical that such a project is feasible. Most of these projects are money losers even with government financing. With the drop in the cost of gas, it makes these projects in less competitive.
The Texas Central Railway Company plans to use private investment and Central Japan Railway bullet train technology to run a line between two of the largest U.S. cities. Company officials say service could begin in 2021.
"If we can’t do it in Texas, I don't know where in the United States you could do it," said Richard Lawless, chairman and chief executive officer of Texas Central Railway, a private company set up about four years ago to build high-speed rail.
Lawless said the project, which has been estimated to cost $10 billion, will be financed through a combination of debt and equity.
Backers of the service contend that if they can get their line built, it will show the benefits of high-speed service and could help jump-start other projects that have languished.
Dallas and Houston are separated by about 240 miles (390 km), a distance seen by advocates as optimal for high-speed rail. More than 50,000 people currently commute by car and plane between the cities on a weekly basis.
Travel time on trains capable of speeds of 205 mph would be under 90 minutes. Texas Central Railway said fares will be lower than average airfares between the cities.
While proponents have long pointed to high-speed rail a fast, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly way to move people - and while Japan, France and other countries have had high-speed lines for decades - plans in the United States over the past half century have faced major political and financial challenges.