Read TxDOT's Rationale For Need For High Speed Rail Between Houston, DFW (Or ... Not?)

Categories: Transportation
HighSpeedRailRouteBetweenDallasHouston.JPG
Click to enlarge potential routes for high-speed rail routes between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.
On Tuesday we noted that the Texas Department of Transportation is looking for a firm to ID would-be routes for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, using $15 million in Federal Railway Administration High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funds awarded over the summer. Shortly after that, this landed in the Unfair Park in-box courtesy an interested party out of Houston: TxDOT's summary of the project, which was sent to the feds earlier this year.

Full of maps and charts, it's the best sum-up I've seen yet about where TxDOT thinks the rail would run and why. And it even mentions Southwest Airlines, which, as many Friends of Unfair Park pointed out earlier this week, has long opposed high-speed rail.
Although not mentioned in the TxDOT research project, even with over 100 flights daily, air travel between Dallas and Houston has experienced a decline in passengers of over 36% since 1990, according to a published report by the Dallas Morning News on January 9, 2011. The major contributing reasons for this decline were heightened security at the airports, rising cost in airfares, and a change in marketing geared toward an emphasis on longer flights, which may make core express service more appealing. Southwest Airlines, once an opponent of a HSR project, has seen a decline in annual passengers between Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby Airport from 1.5M passengers in 1990 to 1.0M in 2009.
But, says the sender of this doc, the most intriguing revelations made in the doc are the figures found on Page 24: the potential cost of the project (around $4 billion for close to 250 miles of track) and the time it's guesstimated it would take to travel from Dallas to Houston (between 190 and 200 minutes). Says the man who dispatched the doc: "This is 15 million dollars that will be absolutely wasted." Read the whole thing after the jump. TxDOT Overview of Houston-To-Dallas High Speed Rail

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19 comments
richard schumacher
richard schumacher

This will be a much easier sell when gas and jet fuel go permanently north of $6 a gallon.

Steven Wolfe
Steven Wolfe

"It will be a waste of money because I personally might not use it!" That's the best argument the opponents of high-speed rail can ever come up with. That's one of the reasons why Texas is becoming increasingly more like a third-world country than a part of one of the most powerful nations on earth.

Sidewalkastro
Sidewalkastro

4 billion for 250 miles. Not too bad when considering widening I35 will cost 4.5 billion for 12 miles.

The Scarlett Pimpernel
The Scarlett Pimpernel

It doesn't take much longer then 200 minutes to drive to Houston and when I get there...I already have a car to drive around town so I don't have to rent one or take taxis or the bus (nothing says success like asking a business prospect to pick you up at the bus station!) to my destinations within Houston. So 4 billion dollars to improve exactly nothing about the commute between Dallas and Houston and to make some things much worse and less convenient? Sound like government planning for sure.

Anon
Anon

The Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation has a vision for true high speed rail. http://www.thsrtc.com/

G_David
G_David

Will we be able to roll coolers full of beer onto the trains and go joyriding, like we used to do late at night on old Airtrans shuttle at DFW?  If so, I'm totally onboard.

Its So Sad
Its So Sad

Why high-speed rail only to Houston?

Can't tell you how many traffic jams i have sat in in the middle of nowhere on I-35 from Dallas to San Antonio. People go to conventions and vacations in San Antonio constantly. Taking a train there would be AWESOME! And almost everything people do is located in downtown.

If you took a train to Houston, you would still have to RENT A CAR OR A TAXI once you got there.

Mike
Mike

How much does it cost to build system that will take 4 hours, approximate rate of a car? If we are not getting something really fast, why spend the extra money? If we simply had a train on dedicated track that did not have to wait for freight cars, is not that good enough? I can see need for a train, but not a gold plated one that will not be competitive with planes.

elbueno
elbueno

High speed? If we are investing in high speed it needs to be TGV quality. TGV in France goes 300 km an hour. Thats 186 mph which would put you in Houston in about 80 minutes...

The99Percent
The99Percent

I'd rather spend $4 Billion on a rail system than an $8 Billion high way expansion

Anon
Anon

So you're saying that every single person who flies from Dallas to Houston is making an economically irrational choice? Just like rail, they show up in the new city with no car and have to cab it or rent a car. And just what does a rail line make "worse"? Because if you ask me, building a highway for cars with no long-term mechanism for adequately funding its maintenance or eventual need for expansion is the epitome of (failed) government planning. It's the sort of cash accounting nonsense that has our government trillions of dollars in debt. There are legitimate cases where the government should stay the hell out of the private market, but transportation planning definitely isn't one of them. 

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Please don't even remind me. Just coming from the Valley to Dallas isn't hard enough, with a drive from 8-12 hours, and even I remember on Thanksgiving Weekend last year traffic started in Hillsboro to Austin. The Last time I went home, took me about 8 hours, and no traffic on a Monday Morning all the way to McAllen on the Mexican Bus Line.

Observerist
Observerist

6 million in DFW and 6 million in Houston area + high GDPs in both area make the connection possibly viable. Steel on steel most efficient energy wise. More wifi bandwidth possible in a train than in a plane adds to passenger productivity.

Shawn Ryu
Shawn Ryu

That still saves time over flying to Houston. And it will still have all the convenience of trains (not having to go through security, not having to wait 2,3 hours on runway)

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I would also remind you that the TGV lines are always being re-laid ensure reliability at those high speeds.  If memory serves me it is a 4 track main line with one of the tracks always being maintenanced.  That said (and being a train lover too) I would think that this would be great.   While I enjoy flying the climate of the airline industry today makes a root canal more pleasurable than all the hassles of dealing with the airline BS.

Montemalone
Montemalone

This is the You Ess of Fuckin' A.You think they're gonna do anything remotely French?

urban cowboy
urban cowboy

why not....As I'm typing this I'm staring at an exact copy of an Italian bridge built w/ Italian steel and built by Italians...........

marc
marc

Is Chinese better for you?

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