The high-speed rail project that could one day connect Dallas and Houston took a step toward becoming a reality last week.

A petition for rulemaking to issue a Rule of Particular Applicability submitted by Texas Central Partners, the Dallas-based company building the project, was granted by the Federal Railroad Administration. Texas Central first submitted the petition more than three years ago.

"It truly is a major milestone in the history of the project," said Holly Reed, managing director of external affairs for Texas Central. "What it does is it puts us on the path to construction next year."

What this means is the FRA is taking the next steps toward issuing an RPA, which is a set of regulations that will govern Texas Central's project like how it handles safety and security.

Texas Central is waiting for the FRA to take two actions: issue this RPA and the Environmental Impact Study.

Once the government completes those two actions, Texas Central will close financing and begin infrastructure construction, Reed said. The company has said when it has the necessary approvals, it will take between five and six years to build the tracks and stations. That means the earliest the project will finish is 2025.

The project has many in opposition, including Texans Against High Speed Rail. Kyle Workman, chairman, and president of the group said in a statement the RPA moving forward is due to "foreign political pressure."

Texas Central plans to use sixth-generation N700S Shinkasen trains from a Japanese company that can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. The journey will cut a roughly four-hour drive down to 90 minutes, the company said.

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