• Texas Central HSR (Houston - DFW Dallas Fort Worth)

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

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  by Arlington
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Presumably if this project moves forth without any US taxpayer funds (hard as that is to believe), any "buy America" provisions endemic to other rail and transit projects will be obviated. There would however, expressed or implied, be "buy Japan" provisions with any such agreement.
If I were an insurance company or pension fund and had appetite for some HSR risk, having Japanese tech, management and co-investors (and two enormous metro areas connected by straight utility ROWs) would seem to be as close to "doable" as a private (or PPP) opportunity would ever get. Whether that's close enough remains to be seen.
  by kd5mdk
 
An attempt to block the project in the Texas budget was defeated, so it looks likely to proceed for now.
  by kaitoku
 
Texas Central Rlwy passes scrutiny from Libertarians (with mention of similar case of AAF project):
The other major argument, as in Florida, is that there will inevitably be taxpayer subsidies, since HSR is almost never self-supporting from its passenger revenues (as the Reason report and many other studies make clear). TCR says flatly that they will neither seek or accept government grants or subsidies of any kind. But they will consider existing federal credit assistance, such as loans available from TIFIA and/or RRIF, for which their project is eligible. TIFIA loans require the project's financing to have an investment-grade rating and a dedicated source of revenue to repay the loans—and so far, the U.S. DOT's TIFIA loan portfolio has lost less than 1% due to project defaults. RRIF does require collateral, but thus far lacks the degree of taxpayer protections built into TIFIA. TCR might also seek DOT approval to issue tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs), which are widely used on highway P3 concession projects. Such bonds are backed solely by the revenues of the project; taxpayers are not on the hook in case the project defaults; only the bond-buyers are.
http://reason.org/news/show/surface-tra ... news-139#b" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

*posted not to make political point, but rather the financing aspect that is often questioned by sceptics.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
I lived in the Rio Grande Valley for 11 years until last summer. It was not on many people's radar screen down there, I can tell you. Point being: a lot of Texans could care less about it.
  by Jeff Smith
 
A link from an e-newsletter I get:

WBUR.ORG

Brief, fair-use quote (emphasis mine):
Private Company Attempts High-Speed Train Between Houston And Dallas

If all goes as planned, there will be a high-speed train linking Houston and Dallas by 2021. The private company Texas Central Railway is behind the $10 billion project.

It would use technology from Japan’s bullet trains, which travel up to 205 miles an hour, and make it from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes.

In an unusual step, the company is not relying on public funding. The company says that will allow the project to move forward more quickly, with fewer bureaucratic hurdles. The project will be funded by investors and loans – loans that will have to be paid back.

Representatives from Texas Central Railway have said they plan to make money on the train through tickets, priced to be competitive with airline tickets. But experts say that passenger rail is generally not profitable.
Now, we've heard "no public money" before. Sometimes it's true, sometimes not so much. There are usually easements and tax concessions which may not constitute overt appropriations, but have public involvement. And these generally level the playing field with other public transportation costs such as airports and highways.

In any case, this would be nice. Texas is a huge state size-wise, with lots of population in areas with not a lot in between.

There's good discussion in this article with excerpts of an interview.
  by electricron
 
I guess the points he made I wish to highlight is that although governments may ease funding the large capital projects with low interest loan programs and tax free bonds programs that involve government support, these support programs don't actually involve government money. It's the banks granting the low interest loans and the bond holders buying the tax free bonds that are actually providing the money.
I suggest there are many private companies in many different type of business and individuals in America that take advantage of these various government programs.
For example, I used a government guaranteed VA loan to purchase my home. It's completely paid off today, but let's assume if I had failed to do so what would have happen. I would have lost my equity in the home, and the bank I borrowed the money from would have repossessed it, and eventually resold it. No federal monies would have been lost in my unfortunate misadventure. I suggest the same would happen if All Aboard Florida or Texas Central eventually fails.
Whether or not the Federal or State governments step in to run these trains later is a choice not yet made, they may or may not do so in the future. I'm sure those about to lose a lot of money will be screaming for a government takeover. To suggest government will do so one way or another is a big lie.
  by merrick1
 
Don't many failed business ventures get a government subsidy in the sense that stockholders or bond holders are allowed to write off their worthless investment while the business reorganizes and continues to operate?
  by electricron
 
merrick1 wrote:Don't many failed business ventures get a government subsidy in the sense that stockholders or bond holders are allowed to write off their worthless investment while the business reorganizes and continues to operate?
They will be able to declare bankruptcy, which eventually ends up in a court where a judge determines who gets what. They may or may not be able to write off debts and continue to operate. Although I expect railroads to continue to exist. At some time in the past, every large railroad company in America has declared bankruptcy, and most of the airlines have too. Again I repeat, it's the debtors, banks, and bond holders who lose - not the government. ;)
  by pbj123
 
To the extent that a profitable company or individual can deduct losses from his taxable income, the public does ,in fact, underwrite failed investments to some degree. But so does a gambler. It is when the investment is "too big to fail" that the people are on the hook. Penn Central is a good example of that. A lot of public money was used to turn Conrail into the success that it became.
  by kaitoku
 
The Federal Railroad Administration announced this month that the general route preferred by the project developer of a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston is indeed the best choice.

Known as the “utility corridor,” it runs somewhat along high-voltage electrical transmission lines and capitalizes on relatively straight, existing easements.

“It’s of interest to us because it provides a source of power for our system, is straighter for a larger portion and therefore more suitable for the engineering,” said Tim Keith, chief executive of Texas Central Partners, the developer.
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transpor ... -route.ece" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, in North Texas:
A new allocation of public money supports connections for high-speed rail in North Texas.

The $4.5 million in public dollars from the Regional Transportation Council will be used for additional North Texas rail system design and planning in light of a private company's planned Houston-to-Dallas high-speed rail line.

Texas Central Partners hopes to offer a 90-minute trip by 2021, but it plans an end-of-the-line station near Downtown Dallas. The company refuses to accept public money.

The RTC wants connections to existing Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail trains and high-speed rail service west to Fort Worth. North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director, Michael Morris, said the RTC money will help answer many questions for the public.
http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/High-S ... 59901.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Balerion
 
Study finds high-speed rail line an economic shot for Texas
A study commissioned by Texas Central Partners, the company planning a high-speed train between Houston and Dallas, estimates the 240-mile line would have a $36 billion impact on Texas over the next 25 years.
FWIW.
  by kaitoku
 
Texas Central selects joint venture for high-speed rail line's pre-construction work
Texas Central Partners announced today the company has selected Dallas to Houston Constructors (DHC) to perform engineering and pre-construction work for the private company's plan to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

The announcement is a milestone in the company’s history in that it moves the proposal into the pre-construction phase, company officials said in a press release.

DHC is a joint venture between Archer Western Construction and Ferrovial Agroman US Corp. Texas Central valued their work on the project at $130 million.
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/h ... ork--46200" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by electricron
 
FRA recently release alignment analysis
https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L17203
They have been eliminating potential alternate routings of the proposed utility corridor.
Many sections of the entire corridor has been settled, one section has been reduced to three routes, and another has been reduced to two routes.
Amongst the sections settled has been both terminus sections, the routes entering Dallas and Houston and how far to go into both cities. Reaching the south side of downtown Dallas is possible, but apparently there are too many environmental obstacles to overcome to reach downtown Houston. Looks like the Houston HSR station will be located near the northwest mall site near the intersection of US-290 and I-610.
The two sections where the route has not been finalized are
(1) Hockley area where the route leaves the US-290 corridor and (2) the Teague-Jewett area where the route has to maneuver around power plants, lignite mines, and oil & gas wells.

Amongst the factors being considered I found interesting is the minimum radius curve statistic being 15,000 feet. Which means maximum speeds could be achieved along the entire corridor until the approaches of Dallas and Houston. There will not be speed restrictions caused by sharp curves.
The other factor I found interesting was crossovers at station approaches having a speed limitation around 30 mph. Does anyone have an idea what the corresponding switching number would be, #4, #6, #8?
  by kaitoku
 
A speed limit of 30mph would indicate a switch size of #12 or thereabouts.
  by kaitoku
 
Recent news:
Texas Central Partners LLC announced that it has added three new executives to help it develop a high-speed rail system between Dallas and Houston.
http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news ... -high.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
*note that two of the three individuals named are connected with multinational contractor Balfour Beatty
A Japanese public-private fund has announced its intention to invest $40 million in Texas Central Partners LLP's proposed bullet-train service between Houston and Dallas.
The Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) received approval from Japan's Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on Nov. 21 to invest in the Texas project, JOIN officials said in a press release.
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/p ... ain--46625" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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