Calling All Texas Passengers: ACTION NEEDED!
April 2, 2021
Two state representatives in Texas introduced a bill that seeks to obstruct and delay the Texas Central high-speed rail line, a private sector project that would connect the highly congested Dallas – Houston corridor with fast, frequent train service.
House Bill 3633, offered by State Representatives Ben Lehman and Will Metcalf, specifically targets private entities, adding additional layers of bureaucracy and government review in a transparent attempt to delay and kill the Texas Central project.
We’re asking all Texas Passengers to send a letter to Chairman Joe Deshotel by Tuesday, April 6th, when the Texas State Legislature will reconvene and take up the bill:
The Honorable Joseph Deshotel, Chairman
Texas House Committee on Land and Resource Management
We’re providing an explanation of why HB 3633 is bad not only for Texas Central, but all future passenger rail projects in Texas.
Why HB 3633 is bad for Texas High-Speed Rail:
The intent of the bill is to kill high-speed rail in Texas, not to create additional oversight.
By establishing an elaborate, lengthy review process when Texas Central is approaching the goal line, the bill would immediately halt any additional investment in passenger rail in Texas and kill the Texas Central project.
The bill falsely claims that use of eminent domain by railroads has no oversight. 38 railroads are registered with the comptroller as having eminent domain authority, yet this bill singles out Texas Central.
Even when state agencies use eminent domain, landowners seek relief in the courts, as they should.
As a delay tactic, the bill duplicates federal technology and financial viability reviews, for the sole reason of creating another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to kill the Texas Central project.
Public scrutiny of the Texas Central project has been exhaustive – multiple state and federal agencies have already reviewed the project and Texas Central has already participated in dozens of public meetings hosted by agencies in all 10 project counties.
The bill would not only apply to Texas Central but would deter investors interested in any future regional rail project across the state, stopping these projects, too.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the Rail Passengers Association for my efforts to strengthen and expand America’s passenger rail. Golden spikes were once used by railroads to mark the completion of important rail projects, so I am truly grateful to receive the Golden Spike Award as a way to mark the end of a career that I’ve spent fighting to invest in our country’s rail system. As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it has been my priority to bolster funding for Amtrak, increase and expand routes, look to the future by supporting high-speed projects, and improve safety, culminating in $66 billion in new funding in the Bipartisan infrastructure Law."
Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
March 30, 2022, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his years of dedication and commitment to passenger rail.