Federal agency hosts public hearing for Texas high speed rail project

LEON COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) - The Federal Railroad Administration hosted a public hearing in Leon County Tuesday for a proposed high-speed train that would connect Houston and Dallas.

The FRA is going from county to county along the route of where the train would be built.

Tuesday in Jewett, dozens of Leon County residents voiced their opinions about the train and an environmental impact study that was released late last year.

Like many in attendance, Grimes County landowner Becky Morris showed up in opposition of the rail proposed by Dallas based company, Texas Central.

"I don't think there is going to be any benefit, especially not to the people in Grimes County," said Morris. "I believe it might benefit people in Houston and Dallas, but I'm not here to benefit them."

Morris says the bullet train would impact a portion of her land. For that reason, she plans to attend as many meetings as she can to share her opposition.

"We don't want to move," said Morris. "We don't want our land demolished or our home demolished."

According to Texas Central, 30% of the land parcels needed to complete the train is under contract.

But there is still land to be acquired, and with the release of the environmental impact report, the company now knows the train's final route and can continue asking landowners to sell.

"If there is someone that does not want to talk with us then, unfortunately, we will eventually have to go through the court system," said Holly Reed, Managing Director of External Affairs for Texas Central. "We prefer to work with people one-on-one."

Texas Central says it has growing support from landowners, and say the train will bring a boost to the state as a whole.

"This will be the first," said Reed. "It is a differentiator from an economic development perspective for Texas as we compete against other places for businesses and for talent."

The company hopes to start construction next year.

Meetings will continue next week in Madison and Grimes County.

Dallas County, Monday, January 29, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wilmer-Hutchins High School, 5520 Langdon Rd, Dallas, TX 75241.
Navarro County, Monday, January 29, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Corsicana Middle School, 4101 FM 744, Corsicana, TX 75110.
Ellis County, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Ennis High School, 2301 Ensign Rd, Ennis, TX 75119.
Leon County, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Leon High School, 12168 US 79, Jewett, TX 75846.
Limestone County, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mexia High School, 1120 N Ross Ave, Mexia, TX 76667.
Freestone County, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fairfield High School, 630 Post Rd, Fairfield, TX 75840.
Madison County, Monday, February 5, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Truman Kimbro Convention Center, 111 W Trinity St, Madisonville, TX 77864.
Harris County, Monday, February 5, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Woodard Elementary School, 17501 Cypress North Houston Rd, Cypress, TX 77433.
Grimes County, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Navasota Junior High School, 9038 Highway 90 South, Navasota, TX 77868.
Waller County, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Waller High School, 20950 Fields Store Rd, Waller, TX 77484.