LAS COLINAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Backers of a plan for high-speed rail in Texas say budget cuts in Congress won’t affect their plans. The co-chairman of the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation says they’re not going to look for federal or state tax money to build the rail system, they considering working with the Japanese.
“The Japanese are very, very interested right now in building high-speed rail in the state of Texas,” said co-chair William “Bill” Jones. “They do high-speed rail in Japan and they’re looking to expand into different parts of the world.”
Tuesday Jones was promoting building a high-speed rail system at a transportation summit in Las Colinas.
Jones told the group that Japanese investment is wanted and needed to get the project done. “It’s gonna be essential, because they know what high-speed rail is,” he said. “They get it. They understand it and they see the potential, particularly in a state like Texas.”
Jones, who is the mayor of Temple, says such a system would travel at about 200 miles an hour. “We’re talking about being able to go from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes.”
In the past some people have expressed concerns about a train moving that fast in such a populated area. Jones says the plan he supports takes care of that.
“It’s a system that’s totally grade separated, there’s no crossings, there’s no access from the ground level to any of the tracks. It’s extremely safe,” he claimed.
As far as the majority of the money for the system coming from foreign investors Jones said it only makes sense, because other parts of the world understand the importance of 200 mph trains.
“Japan’s been doing high-speed rail since the early 60s, France since the early 80s, and China as you can only imagine is just exploding with their high-speed rail.”
In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $15 million toward a Dallas/Fort Worth high-speed rail project study. The money was sent to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to fund an engineering and environmental study of high-speed rail.