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Governor's confusion about Texas high-speed rail illustrates project's complexity

"The Governor’s team has learned that the information it was provided was incomplete," said a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office.
Credit: Texas Central
Texas Central says the high-speed rail will cut down the commute between Dallas and Houston to 90 minutes.

The planned bullet train that could connect Dallas and Houston via a 90-minute train ride has the "full support" of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, according to a letter the governor sent the Japanese prime minister earlier this month. 

The letter, dated Oct. 2 and posted on Twitter by a group opposing Texas Central's high-speed rail project, also contained incorrect information, as Abbott said the project "has received all the necessary permits to begin construction."

Texas Central does not have the permits necessary to begin construction. Abbott's letter illustrates the complexities of building a high-speed rail line, as there are many steps that must be completed before the controversial project can become a reality. The project, being developed by Dallas-based Texas Central, did clear major regulatory hurdles in September.

The Federal Railroad Administration issued the Record of Decision and the pre-publication version of the final Rule of Particular Applicability. The ROD completes the agency's Final Environmental Impact Statement, which began back in 2014, and establishes things like a final route alignment. The RPA establishes the safety requirements the project must operate under.

However, the FRA does not issue construction permits. That power falls to the Surface Transportation Board, a government agency that oversees the regulation of various modes of transportation, primarily freight rail.

To read more about the high-speed rail project, click here.

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