Mayor Turner signs “memorandum of understanding”;first step towards high-speed train between Houston and Dallas a reality

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Houstonians, as much as we love to hate on our rivals in Dallas, wouldn't it be great if we could get there in a fraction of the four+ hours it takes in a car?

On Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Texas Central, the developers of a high-speed train that would get you to Dallas in less than 90 minutes-- with a quick stop in Brazos Valley.

The memorandum of understanding establishes the city's partnership with Texas Central to work on future plans for the Texas bullet train.

"This will start the process of ironing out definitive agreements with Texas Central. Once negotiated, the definitive agreements will be brought back to be reviewed and voted on by City Council before going into effect," Turner said.

The high-speed passenger rail would be first in the US. The bullet trains can travel at speeds up to 205 miles per hour.

“Certainly, a high-speed train to Dallas is a glowing idea among the options, especially
when state transportation officials project traffic congestion on Interstate 45 between
Houston and Dallas will double by 2035, increasing travel time from about 4 hours to more than 6.5 hours. Simply building more highways is not the answer," Turner said.

The project is estimated to generate $36 billion in direct economic activity over the next 25 years and create more than 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and up to 1,000 jobs permanently when operational. The agreement says many of these jobs will involve construction within the city, including building the rail line and the Houston passenger station.

Texas Central expects to pay more than $2.5 billion in taxes over the next 25 years, going to counties, cities, schools and other taxing entities along the route.

Texas Central will consult with the city on finalizing Houston’s passenger station site -
in the general area south of U.S. 290, west of Loop 610 and north of Interstate 10– near major employment centers including the Galleria, Medical Center, Energy Corridor and Downtown. Texas Central would ensure that the terminal has a “high level of integration with local transit systems,” including “convenient, efficient and direct access for passengers to and from local transit systems,” according to the memorandum.

Turner said there is no exact timeline for this project yet, but the general plan is to begin construction at the end of 2018. The goal is to complete the project by 2023.