Coming: High-Speed Rail for Texas.
For some time now, we’ve been reading about the proposed high-speed train linking Los Angeles and San Francisco. Much of the reporting has been about the continuing objections to the project which are, mostly, based on the cost of the project.
(Does anyone ever add up the cost of the studies, the attorney fees, the reports and the delays caused by the project’s obstructionist opponents?)
The common belief—which I share, by the way—is that the breakthrough for passenger rail in general and high-speed rail in particular will come when the first high-speed train goes into service. Wherever it’s located, I have no doubt it will be an immediate success and that a number of other high-speed trains in various other parts of the country will follow.
Right now, if I had to bet, I’d say that California will not have the first high-speed train in the U.S. Rather, I will wager it will be the one being proposed by Texas Central Railway, a private company. Running at speeds up to 200 miles-per-hour, their trains will take you from downtown Dallas to downtown Houston in 90 minutes. And, of course, you’ll be in a wide, comfortable seat with plenty of legroom. You’ll also be able to get up, walk around, and go into a café car for a cold drink and a snack.
By plane, the flight itself now takes about an hour and ten minutes, but that does not take into consideration the time it takes to go through airport security or the additional time and cost for the cab rides on both ends of that trip.
At any rate, the Texas project just took a giant step forward when the Dallas City Council voted to accept $1.5 million from Texas Central Railway to pay for an engineering study. This is a big deal because the vote is, in effect, an official endorsement of the high-speed rail project by the Dallas city government.
I continue to be mystified at the skepticism still being expressed about a transportation system that has been a 40-year success and is the preferred way to travel virtually everywhere else in the world. We’re right on this issue, so the only thing to do is blow the whistle and, if they don’t get out of the way, run ‘em over!