Houston-To-Dallas High-Speed Rail Delayed Again, Texas Central Drops All Lawsuits
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Once again, the Houston to Dallas high-speed rail project from Texas Central Partners has pushed back its expected date of operation. Texas Central Partners project coordinator Marvalette Hunter told the audience at a Commercial Real Estate Women luncheon that the trains will start running in 2023, not the 2022 estimate given in court proceedings last year.
"The project timelines are dependent on many concurrent workstreams, including those of various federal regulatory agencies. When these processes are complete, the timelines will become more solidified. Until then, timelines represent the best estimates for milestones, many of which the company doesn’t control,” according to a statement from Texas Central Partners.
Overnight, Texas Central Partners dropped all 17 cases against landowners over surveying.
“This is a significant step in the progress of the high-speed train and it reflects the positive dialogue we have had with landowners along the route,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar.
Patrick McShane, the lawyer representing the majority of the landowners, confirmed to Bisnow that the lawsuits have been Nonsuited Without Prejudice, meaning Texas Central Partners could refile later if it wanted to. In a statement, Texas Central Partners said it is now committed to a "more amicable approach for permission to survey."
"Boy, it sure does feel good," said Calvin House, one of the property owners involved in a lawsuit with Texas Central, "but we'll play it by ear and see how things [go]. They've been harassing me and pulling me into court. It's not right."
Texas Central said it has reached option agreements on about 30% of the parcels estimated to be needed for the bullet train’s route in the 10-county stretch between North Texas and Houston.
The sudden withdrawal of all lawsuits and the change in strategy for Texas Central Partners could stem from the Trump administration's interest in the project. The White House's list of priority infrastructure projects includes the Dallas-to-Houston high speed rail.
Texas Central Partners is being assisted by a Japanese company that operates a bullet train in that country. On Friday, President Donald Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House.
CORRECTION, FEB. 7, 9 P.M. ET: A previous version of this story did not properly contextualize the expected date of completion of a Houston to Dallas high-speed rail project. It will be completed in 2023, according to Texas Central Partners. Added to the story is a quote from Texas Central Partners CEO Carlos Aguilar.