Rep. Brady expresses concerns about proposed Texas high speed rail

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MADISONVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Congressman Kevin Brady expressed concerns about a proposed bullet train from Dallas to Houston.

He met with dozens of Madison County residents at a town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon. One of the big topics that came up was the proposed bullet train that would connect Dallas to Houston and cross Madison County.

"Whether you like that train or not, that route, for me, is unacceptable. For our community, the route is unacceptable," said the Republican congressman.

"Whether you like it or not, the question is 'should you be putting your federal tax dollars at risk for it' and my answer is no," he added.

Jerry Fannin, a nearby rancher in Cottonwood, said the train would go by within a mile of his family property. He shared his concerns at the town hall.

"I am very much opposed to it because it's going to ruin this part of Texas and I'd do anything, really, to stop this thing and I'd ask Representative Brady for his help and I think he will help us," Fannin said. Brady is Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and said he's worked to block the plan at the federal level.

“They said [the train] would be privately financed, that it wouldn’t use taxpayer dollars. I’m going to hold them at their word," Brady said. He believes the high speed rail, if built, should follow existing highways, like the Interstate 45 corridor, rather than crossing through rural communities.

In a statement to KBTX, Texas Central said the Federal Railroad Administration’s recent environmental assessment of the project said the train would “alleviate the strain” on the state’s existing infrastructure and “is needed to accommodate growing demand.” That report also said the system is being designed to ensure the safety and environmental well being of communities along route, that it will create new jobs and increase in local tax revenue.

Much of Brady's talk was also about taxes. He believes it will be easier for people to file next year.

"Look, there's not perfect tax form, but boy we got the fundamentals right for Texas workers. Our families and small businesses, they are the biggest winners," said Brady. He told the crowd at the Truman Kimbro Center that Texas would also lead the nation with 81,000 new jobs because of the tax reform.

"More importantly, middle class families will see tax cuts. I mean, just two working teachers for example in our area will see a tax cut of over $2,600," Brady explained.

“I really enjoyed it and I think he answered all the questions that everybody had in their minds," said Elizabeth Nosovitch, Chairman of the Madison County Republican Party.