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Texas Central Railroad reaches two milestones for Nation’s first high-speed train

(Texas Central photo/file)
(Texas Central photo/file)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 12:10 PM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (KBTX) - The high speed train between Dallas and Houston is one step closer to being a reality. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and the Record of Decision (ROD) for Texas Central Railroad (TCRR), marking a major achievement for the high-speed rail project and bringing it a step closer to construction.

The RPA establishes safety standards for the Texas Central Railroad high speed rail system. The RPA includes standards that address all aspects of the high-speed system, including signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating practices, system qualifications, and maintenance.

The ROD completed the FRA’s environmental review process that began in 2014. The ROD is required by the National Environmental Policy Act, whose policy is to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that significantly affects the environment.

The proposed high-speed railway from Dallas to Houston will replicate the Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system. This system has a reputation of being one of the safest and most punctual train systems in the world, according to TCRR.

The Japanese rail system has operated for over 55 years and has a safety record of zero operational passenger fatalities and zero accidents since it was first deployed.

“This is the moment we have been working towards,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central Railroad. “The release of the final RPA and ROD by the Federal Railroad Administration represents years of work by countless individuals, affirming a very thorough and careful federal regulatory process that will make the Texas Central Railroad the first high-speed rail system to be implemented in the United States.”

But, Texans Against the High-Speed Rail (Texans Against HSR) says the RPA and ROD are not signals for construction.

“In short, the final RPA and ROD establish the minimum safety requirements with which TCRR must comply while signifying the completion of the NEPA process," said Kyle Workman, Chairman and President of Texans Against HSR "The publication of this final RPA and ROD is the beginning, not the end, of TCRR’s regulatory journey. In addition, these final agency actions clear the way for legal challenges regarding, among other NEPA violations, the FRA’s failure to take the requisite ‘hard look’ at the project’s environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and financial feasibility.”

TCRR says the full ROD/RPA will be published in the Federal Register soon.

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