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SOUTHLAKE (CBS11) – A former member of the Donald Trump transition team casts doubt upon a report that claimed two North Texas rail projects were among the top infrastructure priorities for the new president.
Brigham McCown of Southlake, who previously served in the George W. Bush administration, said he and other members of the transition team involved with infrastructure were surprised by the report in the Kansas City Star.
The newspaper said the Texas Central Partners’ high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston, with a stop in the Brazos Valley, was on the list that had been circulating in Congress.
Another project mentioned on the list, the proposed Cotton-Belt commuter rail line between Plano and DFW International Airport being developed by DART.
While President Trump repeatedly campaigned on a platform of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, McCown said he and his colleagues on the transition team never developed an actual list of infrastructure projects.
The time while we were there, we were looking at the types of items that ought to be on a list, what type of policies need to be changed in government, but we never got down to a specific list,” said McCown.
McCown said some of the projects on the reported list had already been built, while others were in the construction phase.
Tim Keith, President of Texas Central Partners, said from the beginning, they made it clear they won’t accept federal or state grants, and that they are being funded by private investors.
“There are private loan programs as well as federal loan programs that could be of interest to us, but the project will not take grants to build or operate the system,” said Keith.
Keith said he was glad to see the Texas high speed rail project being talked about and that he agrees with President Trump that functioning infrastructure drives economies.
The federal government is still conducting the environmental impact study on the Texas high speed rail project, which will help determine the final route.
Texas Central Partners said it hopes to start construction early next year.
While that project will connect Dallas and Houston, another group is trying to develop a separate high speed rail connection between Dallas and Fort Worth, with a stop in Arlington.
As for the Cotton-Belt commuter rail line, a DART spokesman didn’t return a call from CBS11.
But the agency told the Dallas Morning News it had no involvement in the document’s creation and that it didn’t know who produced it.
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