The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project.
The proposed project would connect Dallas and Houston with a dedicated High Speed Rail (HSR) system proposed by a private company, Texas Central Railway (TCR).
FRA completed an independent evaluation of potential high-speed rail corridor alternatives and determined that the Utility Corridor is the only feasible end-to-end corridor alternative. FRA’s Alternatives Analysis Technical Report documents the potential high-speed rail corridor alternatives that were evaluated, and describes FRA’s screening process.
FRA identified 6 draft alignment alternatives for further evaluation in the Draft EIS, following a comprehensive analysis of major corridors proposed for the project.
Through the natural progression of the NEPA process, FRA has narrowed the focus of its environmental analysis in its Alignments Alternatives Analysis Report. FRA evaluated of 22 potential route alternatives within five major geographical areas using environmental constraints screening criteria, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
As part of the EIS, the environmental and social impacts of various alternative HSR route alignments will be analyzed including possible routes that share corridors with an existing rail line and along electric utility lines. The TCR’s proposed high speed line would operate on a dedicated right-of-way and would not share track or infrastructure with existing trains or rail lines. In addition, the EIS will analyze the potential impacts of stations, power or fueling stations, and maintenance facilities to support HSR operations.
The Texas Department of Transportation is providing technical assitance to FRA in carrying out the NEPA process for the project and has information on their website: http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/rail.html
More information on the train system is available at TCR’s website: http://www.texascentralhighspeedrail.com/page4/index.html.
FRA will begin preparation of the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS will present to the public and stakeholders FRA’s environmental analysis of the 6 draft alignment alternatives and open the Draft EIS for public input. FRA’s responsibility in conducting the environmental analysis is to ensure the project is federally compliant, mitigates potential impacts, and is safe. A key step in this environmental analysis process is public involvement. More information on the public hearings, public comment period, and methods for providing input will be announced as the FRA prepares the Draft EIS for publication and public review later in 2016. As the FRA continues through the EIS process, the 6 draft alignment alternatives will continue to be refined as they are evaluated for potential impacts to the human and natural environment, as required by NEPA.
Note: Comments received outside of the public comment period will be considered in the EIS document as feasible, and all comments received will be included in the administrative record.