Can New CEO Keep Texas Bullet Train on Track?

Plans for a high-speed rail line between Dallas (above) and Houston got a boost this week. (Photo by Lars Plougmann)

The brake was pressed on plans for a high-speed train between Dallas and Houston in Texas earlier this year, thanks to legislation that would block the 205-mph trip.

The privately funded project was nixed out of budget allocations from the 2016-17 Texas budget, which specifically states that state funds are not to be put toward construction of the rail. Texas Central Partners, the independent development company behind the project, ushered in a new CEO last week to help fight the backlash. Tim Keith, a native Texan, is now on board, with hopes that Texas Central can begin construction in 2017 and welcome first passengers in 2021.

Besides funding obstacles, the project faces a lot of opposition from rural farmers and landowners who see a threat to their property. The Dallas Morning News reports that the project has raised an additional $75 million from investors, which is a big step, though the build calls for something in the neighborhood of $10 billion.

Supporters are hopeful that Keith can make the line happen. From the Dallas News:

Keith has put together investment funds, joint ventures and public-private partnerships, often for giant infrastructure projects. He cited the development of the Cross City Tunnel in Sydney, Australia, and the creation of Meridian Industrial Trust, which was sold for $1.5 billion. He also participated in the privatization of the British Airport Authority, he said.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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