NTX Magazine Volume 4 - Page 38

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT Transportation Dallas (left) and Fort Worth (right) cityscapes. ©iStock.com/David Sucsy “Our project will be a great boon for business in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and the entire region,” Robert Eckels, president of Texas Central HighSpeed Railway, noted. “Construction of this high-speed railway alone will inject billions of dollars into Texas’s already-thriving economy and create hundreds of permanent high-paying jobs for rail operations.” 36 www.ntc-dfw.org much more known for its polite sharing of space than open prairies and limitless land. Texas Central High-Speed Railway, a privately held company, is speeding toward creation of the nation’s first privately-funded, high-speed rail line. The line would offer North Texans the ability to travel from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes just slightly more than the average plane trip - by utilizing Japan Railway’s state-of-the-art N700-I Bullet train, a train that is safe and comfortable at speeds that top more than 200 mph. “Our project will be a great boon for business in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and the entire region,” Robert Eckels, president of Texas Central High-Speed Railway, noted. “Construction of this high-speed railway alone will inject billions of dollars into Texas’s already-thriving economy and create hundreds of permanent high-paying jobs for rail operations.” Anyone who has sat in a car for hours along the I-45 corridor knows how traffic snarls can complicate an already-busy roadway. Those conditions were widely apparent as Hurricane Rita, the storm that immediately followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, forced Houstonians north along the highway to North Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), drive time between the two cities is close to five hours without traffic delays and highway construction. By 2035, traffic congestion is expected to double, causing the average travel speed to drop by nearly 33 percent – from 60 miles per hour to 40. That means drivers can expect to be in their cars for seven hours or more. Winter/Spring 2015 ©iStock.com/Aneese “With Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth being two of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in America, we are both faced with many of the same challenges: growing traffic congestion, ever-increasing commutes and limited public transportation dollars from the state,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said. “It is imperative that we give our residents an innovative alternative. If successful, Houstonians will have a reliable, private alternative that will help alleviate traffic congestion and drastically reduce travel times.” Today, the Dallas/Fort Worth area totals more than 6.8 million people, a number that is expected to be more than 12.6 million by 2035. Meanwhile, the 5.9 million people in the greater Houston area are expected to number more than 12 million by 2035. In Forbes magazine’s “America’s Fastest Growing Cities 2014,” Dallas was ranked fourth, while Houston was close behind at number ten – the result of two strong, local economies. Options for travel modes between the two cities are currently limited to travel via air or car. On the train, passengers will view the Texas countryside from the comfort of well-appointed, wide cabins, which will be arranged in seating configurations of one by two, or two by two, effectively eliminating the dreaded “middle seat squeeze.” The trains will offer Wi-Fi, food and beverage service – even mobile phone connectivity – and will be comfortable for the busy professional, the resting commuter and traveling families alike. According to Passenger Rail, a leading industry rail publication, Texas Central High-Speed Railway