HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas High Speed Rail is on track to revolutionize travel between Houston and Dallas, but it's not without controversy. Hundreds of people came to public meetings earlier this month to protest the plans. We are taking a closer look at the route and how it will differ from other passenger trains.
A 90-minute trip between Houston and Dallas is no longer just a dream, it's a plan, complete with a detailed route that cuts through 10 Texas counties. From there, the train makes the journey through half a dozen rural counties, west of I-45, running along existing electrical transmission lines. It then stops in Grimes County at Highway 30 and Highway 90, providing a direct link for College Station, Texas A&M and Sam Houston State. The journey continues south through the northeast corner of Waller County, then into Harris County, running roughly parallel Highway 290 on its approach to Houston. The train will dock at a brand new station where Northwest Mall currently stands, at 610 and 290, along Hempstead Highway, near the Galleria area.
Unlike Amtrak, this rail line will have no ground-level crossings. It will not share tracks with any other train, and at least 50 percent of the 240-mile track will be elevated. If all goes according to plan, construction could begin in 2019, with a construction timeline of four to five years.
The project is financed through the pre-construction phase, but there are still hurdles to cross before the project can move forward. Comments from the last round of public meetings will be incorporated into a final report, which the Federal Railroad Administration still has to approve.
Of course, not everyone is happy with this plan, the rail line cuts a line through 240 miles of Texas land, much of it private property.
About the cost --Texas Central, the developers, say the project is a private venture supported by private funds. It is fully financed through the pre-construction phase, but the company is also exploring the option of federal loans like the RRIF - or the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing.
You can still provide feedback to the Federal Railroad Administration through March 9. The FRA must give the final approval before the project goes forward.