BRYAN, Texas — Texas Central Railway, the company building the proposed high speed rail connecting Houston to Dallas and stopping in Grimes County, say the project is what Texans want.
"The data shows that people will ride the train," said Holly Reed, Managing Director External Affairs for Texas Central in an interview with KAGS. "The numbers prove this is an exciting thing and Texans will ride this train."
The company touts the train's potential economic impact, saying it will connect Houston and Dallas, building a "super-economy." The Brazos Valley, Texas Central says, will be a much needed midpoint, allowing for commuting between cities and opening up the state to Texas A&M students in College Station.
"Your rider experience will be exceptional because we will use technology to get you from your desk to your desk, or your couch to your couch, seamlessly," said Reed, adding that the train offers more elegant travel.
Some landowners, particularly in Grimes County, have come out against the project. Court skirmishes have ensued with landowners suing over planned surveying. At least one case has declared that Texas Central is not a "railroad," something that could impact the firm's use of eminent domain. A judge in Harris County ruled differently.
"To us, it's not a question to call ourselves a railroad. We're doing everything a railroad does," Reed said, referring to potential rider data collection and infrastructure building. "We have been purchasing land voluntarily with landowners. There are no eminent domain cases out there."
“If they’re not a railroad they can’t use the power of eminent domain underneath the statutes,” said Grimes County State Representative Ben Leman, a vocal critique of Texas Central, in a March interview with KAGS.
The company is moving forward on the project, partnering with Citi Group and Mitsubishi UFG to help secure financing.