Mar 8, 2024 - News

Dallas-Fort Worth could be "first true high-speed corridor"

A photo of an Amtrak high-speed train

A high-speed Amtrak train in Philadelphia. Photo by Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Travelers could get from Fort Worth to Houston in two hours if two proposed high-speed rail projects come to fruition.

Why it matters: A bullet train connecting Dallas to Houston would create the "first true high-speed corridor" in the country, per Amtrak officials.

  • A separate high-speed train connecting Fort Worth and Dallas would be transformational to both cities and open fast travel opportunities within Texas and to other states.

Between the lines: Dallas city leaders support a bullet train to Houston but expressed skepticism about the logistics of high-speed rail to Cowtown.

  • They said an above-ground train through downtown could alter the city's appearance and derail other projects, including redevelopment planned around the new convention center.

The big picture: The federal government is pledging a massive investment in passenger trains, earmarking $8.2 billion for high-speed rail and other projects nationwide.

  • The funding could finally bring to fruition the long-dreamed-of but recently dead-in-the-water bullet train between Dallas and Houston.

The latest: Amtrak officials briefed the Dallas City Council this week on what's next for the proposed high-speed rail project, and regional transportation officials urged council members to support a connection along Interstate 30 to Fort Worth.

  • The projects would be developed separately but could ultimately connect Fort Worth to Houston via fast rail.

Catch up quick: The current plan puts a high-speed rail station in the Cedars neighborhood, south of downtown.

  • Developers would have to connect that Amtrak station to Union Station north of I-30, where a bullet train from Fort Worth would arrive. The high-speed train connecting the sister cities would be developed separately by the North Texas Council of Governments.

Friction point: Hunt Realty Investments — which owns large swaths of land in the southwest corner of downtown near Reunion Tower — said a train through downtown could hinder their development plans and the tower itself, per WFAA.

By the numbers: An express train between Dallas and Fort Worth would take 21 minutes.

  • With a stop in Arlington, the ride would take 25 minutes.
  • Travelers can expect to get from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes on high-speed rail and from Fort Worth to Houston in two hours.

What they're saying: Amtrak conducted an analysis to see if ridership projections made before the pandemic are still valid. They found business travel might have decreased, but an increase in leisure travel makes up for it.

  • "You would be able to go to Houston to go and see a game, to have dinner and come back the same day," Andy Byford, Amtrak's senior vice president of high-speed rail development programs, told the City Council.

What's next: The Dallas-Houston project isn't fully funded and does not have all of the right-of-way along the track secured.

  • Amtrak officials say they're working on getting grants to have enough funding by next year to "put a spade in the ground."

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