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 HSR 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 HSR corridor alternatives that were evaluated, and describes FRA’s screening process.
FRA identified six 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 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, FRA has narrowed the focus of its environmental analysis in its Alignments Alternatives Analysis Report. FRA evaluated 22 potential route alternatives within five major geographical areas using environmental constraints screening criteria, as required by 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.
FRA signed the Draft EIS on December 15, 2017 and it was published in the Federal Register on December 22, 2017. The Draft EIS analyzed six end-to-end Build Alternatives (Alternatives A–F) as well as the No-Build Alternative. The Build Alternatives include a terminal station in Dallas and an intermediate station in Grimes County near College Station, home of Texas A&M University. The Draft EIS also evaluated three Houston terminal station options: the Industrial Site Terminal, the Northwest Mall Terminal, and the Northwest Transit Center Terminal.
The Draft EIS is available for public comment until March 9, 2018. During this time, FRA will hold 10 public hearings in the affected counties in Texas.
The Draft EIS does not grant any approvals or authorizations for the Project. As FRA continues through the EIS process, the six Build 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.
Environmental Review Process contact:
Environmental Protection Specialist
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, MS-20
Washington, D.C. 20590
Media Queries contact
The Texas Department of Transportation is providing technical assistance 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 .
The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.