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Federal regulators greenlight Texas high-speed train project

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Staff Writer | December 16, 2017
The Texas Bullet Train made a big push forward as federal regulators outlined a preferred route between Houston and Dallas, Texas.
Texas Bullet Train
Transportation   10,000 direct jobs per year
According to a news release from the Texas Central, the developer of the high-speed train project, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), has completed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement after nearly four years of work, providing a path for the planning, design and pre-construction phases, which also ensures the safety and environmental well-being of counties and communities along the 380 km route.

The FRA's assessment is the latest major advancement in planning the train route. The FRA said the train would "alleviate the strain" on the state's existing infrastructure and "is needed to accommodate growing demand."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the private rail company Texas Central.

The memo allows city leaders to begin gathering details about the project and makes preparations for council members to vote on items related to it.

The proposed high-speed train project is expected to generate 36 billion U.S. dollars in direct economic activity over the next 25 years, create more than 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and up to 1,000 jobs permanently when operational.

In addition, the FRA report said, "Every permanent job from the HSR (high-speed rail) system would indirectly spur two to four jobs in supporting industries.

Driving from Houston to Dallas takes about four hours right now, but the planned bullet train would make the trip in 90 minutes.

The construction of the line is expected to start late next year or early 2019 and end in four to five years, company officials said. The cost is expected to be at least 12 billion dollars.

Texas Central said it would not fund the project with public grants, but might seek government-backed loans available to private companies.