Texas exploring high-speed passenger rail

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by SEBASTIAN ROBERTSON

WFAA

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 10:12 PM

DALLAS — A bullet train connecting South Texas to Oklahoma City is a dream Texas is slowly... and cautiously... working to make a reality.

On Thursday the Texas Transportation Commission is expected to vote on creation of a High Speed Rail Commission.

Dr. Steve Mattingly, a civil engineering professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, was funded by the Texas Department of Transportation to study the routes connecting major cities in Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

"There is a strong chance that we could see it within 10 years. However, there is no guarantee... and I would not like to see any public money committed to an endeavor like this until we see that it really is going to happen," Mattingly said.

He explained that Central Japan Railway Company has worked closely with the State of Texas as it considers financially backing the project.

"If you are able to capture the air market that you have seen on the high-speed rail lines in Europe, then yes... it could make sense from a ridership perspective," Mattingly said. "But would it make sense from a financial perspective? That is beyond what I would I would be willing to commit to"

Meanwhile, TxDOT is in the middle of its own year-and-a half feasibility study, examining everything from the environmental impact of a bullet train to types of rolling stock that could potentially be used.

While no public funds have been committed to this project — and no plans are in place — the State of Texas is taking the next step toward a high speed rail system, no matter how small of a step it may be.

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