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MaxConcrete

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Pony Up! I would definitely do train or air. I flew many times from Dallas to Houston and back. Train would be great because it seems more casual and I could walk on after a day of tailgating and sleep / rest.

More options the better. And less cars on the road the better.

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  • 3 weeks later...
55 minutes ago, sapo2367 said:

The last tenant in the Northwest Mall is closing (the antique store). This is the soon to be location of the Houston HSR station.

https://houstonhistoricretail.com/2021/12/22/thompsons-antique-center-to-close-doors-leaving-northwest-mall-with-no-retailers-by-2022/ 

Not if Ken Paxton has his say.

(I understand that people can have different opinions over the legal concept of eminent domain, but Ken Paxton’s entire career has been just 100% political theater.  When he isn’t criming, of course. Such a loathsome individual who will probably win another term.)

https://texasrailadvocates.org/2021/12/21/texas-ags-office-now-inserts-into-texas-central-high-speed-rail-lawsuit/

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9 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Not if Ken Paxton has his say.

(I understand that people can have different opinions over the legal concept of eminent domain, but Ken Paxton’s entire career has been just 100% political theater.  When he isn’t criming, of course. Such a loathsome individual who will probably win another term.)

https://texasrailadvocates.org/2021/12/21/texas-ags-office-now-inserts-into-texas-central-high-speed-rail-lawsuit/

I apologize to anyone here who may have voted for this schmuck, but Ken Paxton is an idiot. My only question is who's paying him off to get involved at this point? Or who benefits from his involvement? Because the only reason I can see him getting involved here is because it benefits somebody he's attached to (or in the pocket of) to stop this railroad. Its the age old question of politics: who benefits? Not him. Not the state. Not Dallas or Houston. So who benefits? His legal argument would, taken at a face value, make it impossible for any brand new railroad to be built in Texas, which was almost certainly not the actual point of the law.

And even more distressingly, why the hell did the Texas Supreme Court even bother reopening this open and shut case?

 

Edit: Oh, and check this out, in case you needed any more proof this guy is a slimeball.

https://www.gadsdentimes.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/13/ken-paxton-texas-attorney-general-sued-allegedly-abusing-office/6278836002/

Edited by Big E
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15 hours ago, Big E said:

I apologize to anyone here who may have voted for this schmuck, but Ken Paxton is an idiot. My only question is who's paying him off to get involved at this point? Or who benefits from his involvement? Because the only reason I can see him getting involved here is because it benefits somebody he's attached to (or in the pocket of) to stop this railroad. Its the age old question of politics: who benefits? Not him. Not the state. Not Dallas or Houston. So who benefits? His legal argument would, taken at a face value, make it impossible for any brand new railroad to be built in Texas, which was almost certainly not the actual point of the law.

And even more distressingly, why the hell did the Texas Supreme Court even bother reopening this open and shut case?

 

Edit: Oh, and check this out, in case you needed any more proof this guy is a slimeball.

https://www.gadsdentimes.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/13/ken-paxton-texas-attorney-general-sued-allegedly-abusing-office/6278836002/

Jackass rural landowners trying to throw their weight around. Sadly, the Bushies don't have enough power in the Texas GOP to beat the yahoos into submission anymore (thanks, Trump!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tx Supremes hear arguments on high speed rail

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Oral arguments were aired before Supreme Court Justices Tuesday by attorney Jeffrey Levinger, on behalf of a Leon County landowner who wouldn’t allow Texas Central Railway to survey his land for a proposed 240-mile long bullet train route. The rail route, which was approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, would need a 100-foot wide path through a 600-acre property owned by James Miles. Texas Central has steadfastly said that, if needed, they have the right to exercise eminent domain authority like other railroads and utilities under Texas law, for public use.

 

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Thank you for posting, I just watched the whole thing, and I still think TX Central is going to prevail. 

It seems like the landowner's case is just so thin here. I also think TX Central's attorney came across much stronger here.

I don't know how TX Supreme Court will rule, or how TX Central is gonna raise the cash, but still interesting to see the result. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

Thank you for posting, I just watched the whole thing, and I still think TX Central is going to prevail. 

It seems like the landowner's case is just so thin here. I also think TX Central's attorney came across much stronger here.

I don't know how TX Supreme Court will rule, or how TX Central is gonna raise the cash, but still interesting to see the result. 

 

 

I'd agree, except that these justices are elected, and the yahoos will come out to vote.

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Part 1 of 4: A Temporary Victory for High-Speed Rail in the Lone Star State

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This case could be a seminal one in the decades-long struggle to establish high-speed rail (HSR) in the United States, or even new conventional rail lines that would be established by entities that have not yet reached the point where they are running trains on track that they own. The issue, in a nutshell, is whether an entity that is engaged in planning a new railroad can acquire the land that would be needed to build the first line. If the Court in Texas says no, it could spell not only the demise of the Texas Central plan to build a line between Dallas and a point at the intersection of two highways northwest of Houston, but such a rejection could apply the brakes to similar potential projects elsewhere.

 

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1 hour ago, ADCS said:

I can't believe this comes down to English having only two tenses.

Traditionally, when your opponents arguments come down to semantics that not exactly a good sign. Also when your opponent continuously has to keep moving the goal post in effort to claim victory, that also isn't a good sign. When you have to push the courts to "fix" a definition of what is defined as a "railroad" in order to keep your narrative going, that is also not a good sign.

We have seen this play out in my spheres over the past few years. It doesn't matter what side of any issue, or whatever tride is pushing whatever narrative. When you see these sorts of points playout and stack up, the side that is at this point usually loses.

Edited by Luminare
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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

Traditionally, when your opponents arguments come down to semantics that not exactly a good sign. Also when your opponent continuously has to keep moving the goal post in effort to claim victory, that also isn't a good sign. When you have to push the courts to "fix" a definition of what is defined as a "railroad" in order to keep your narrative going, that is also not a good sign.

We have seen this play out in my spheres over the past few years. It doesn't matter what side of any issue, or whatever tride is pushing whatever narrative. When you see these sorts of points playout and stack up, the side that is at this point usually loses.

Isn't the famous quote "If you're explaining, you're losing"? I feel like that fits this pretty well. 

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8 minutes ago, sapo2367 said:

Isn't the famous quote "If you're explaining, you're losing"? I feel like that fits this pretty well. 

Well showing is always better than telling. Ironically TCR can't show anything because tellers won't allow them to show because they think (the tellers) that TCR (those that want to show) are the real "tellers".

Imagine being stuck in this crazy circular loop of nonsense:

TCR: Your honor we are a railroad, but how can we prove it if our opponents keep suing us preventing us from building it in the first place

Opponents: Ha see your honor! They just admitted that they aren't a railroad because they don't have any tracks yet.

TCR: Then stop suing us and we will get to work building our railroad

Opponents: No we won't because we don't think you are a railroad because you don't have any tracks.

TCR: We will have tracks if you just let us be.

Opponents: But you aren't a railroad company, so how can we trust you to lay track because if when you do lay down tracks then you will have to be recognized as a railroad and we don't want that.

TCR: ...what?

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7 minutes ago, Luminare said:

Well showing is always better than telling. Ironically TCR can't show anything because tellers won't allow them to show because they think (the tellers) that TCR (those that want to show) are the real "tellers".

Imagine being stuck in this crazy circular loop of nonsense:

TCR: Your honor we are a railroad, but how can we prove it if our opponents keep suing us preventing us from building it in the first place

Opponents: Ha see your honor! They just admitted that they aren't a railroad because they don't have any tracks yet.

TCR: Then stop suing us and we will get to work building our railroad

Opponents: No we won't because we don't think you are a railroad because you don't have any tracks.

TCR: We will have tracks if you just let us be.

Opponents: But you aren't a railroad company, so how can we trust you to lay track because if when you do lay down tracks then you will have to be recognized as a railroad and we don't want that.

TCR: ...what?

Agree — if you have to explain that the company building a railroad is not a railroad company, you’re losing :)

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3 minutes ago, sapo2367 said:

Agree — if you have to explain that the company building a railroad is not a railroad company, you’re losing :)

We both agree on this, but for others looking at this. Imagine if, I Luminare, finally get my architecture license and now I have the ability to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

The argument against TCR would effectively be like saying...Luminare you aren't an architect because you haven't built anything yet, therefore you aren't allowed to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

I can't believe this has even made it to court. Its absurd.

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On 1/14/2022 at 3:40 PM, Luminare said:

We both agree on this, but for others looking at this. Imagine if, I Luminare, finally get my architecture license and now I have the ability to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

The argument against TCR would effectively be like saying...Luminare you aren't an architect because you haven't built anything yet, therefore you aren't allowed to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

I can't believe this has even made it to court. Its absurd.

I like the example of trying to build a restaurant.

Imagine if you bought a piece of land that is zoned for restaurant use only, and the city won't give you a permit to build a restaurant because you aren't actually selling burgers anywhere yet. 

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On 1/14/2022 at 3:40 PM, Luminare said:

We both agree on this, but for others looking at this. Imagine if, I Luminare, finally get my architecture license and now I have the ability to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

The argument against TCR would effectively be like saying...Luminare you aren't an architect because you haven't built anything yet, therefore you aren't allowed to practice architecture, design buildings, stamp drawings, etc...

I can't believe this has even made it to court. Its absurd.

It’s so anti-startup it’s crazy. If this argument can stand, I feel like it could be used to basically re-inforce monopolies in some industries

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  • 2 months later...
13 hours ago, Triton said:

Ladies in Gentlemen welcome to the world of politics. First you grant tax exemptions because they are railroad. Then you file a lawsuit claiming that they are not a railroad. Then you revoke said tax exemptions because you claim they aren't a railroad, and now if you are Texas Central you are stuck with taxes you didn't think you had to pay, and stuck with property you can't build on because counties and people are suing you because apparently in this post-modern world we live in you can make up whatever interpretation for the word "railroad" you want if it aligns with your political viewpoint. Brilliant......

Heres the thing though. None of this matters if the Supreme Court sides with TCR and states the obvious which is...yes you are a railroad. Then TCR will be able to successfully sue all these counties which revoked tax exemptions for political and arbitrary reasons. These counties and people are playing a stupid silly game, and I hope they win stupid and silly prizes.

Edited by Luminare
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2 hours ago, Luminare said:

Ladies in Gentlemen welcome to the world of politics. First you grant tax exemptions because they are railroad. Then you file a lawsuit claiming that they are not a railroad. Then you revoke said tax exemptions because you claim they aren't a railroad, and now if you are Texas Central you are stuck with taxes you didn't think you had to pay, and stuck with property you can't build on because counties and people are suing you because apparently in this post-modern world we live in you can make up whatever interpretation for the word "railroad" you want if it aligns with your political viewpoint. Brilliant......

Heres the thing though. None of this matters if the Supreme Court sides with TCR and states the obvious which is...yes you are a railroad. Then TCR will be able to successfully sue all these counties which revoked tax exemptions for political and arbitrary reasons. These counties and people are playing a stupid silly game, and I hope they win stupid and silly prizes.

Just larger variations on the "bridge of death" play.  If they know what they're doing, TCR should already be expecting stuff like this to keep coming until tracks are laid and trains are running.

 

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1 hour ago, august948 said:

Just larger variations on the "bridge of death" play.  If they know what they're doing, TCR should already be expecting stuff like this to keep coming until tracks are laid and trains are running.

 

or in life its similar to what is know as a "sh i t test". Something specifically designed to test you to see if you are actually what you say you are. You fail the test if you fold, make concessions, or start walking backwards from a lack of confidence. Luckily it doesn't seem like they are walking back, making concessions, or folding, but I'm sure it must be incredibly frustrating. I mean they had to first go through a multi-year Environmental Impact Study (which is already bogus to begin with), but that alone should be enough to make the claim that you are a railroad. Its a game. I understand that there are and will always be games like this, but its getting really silly and unethical at this point. The only thing TCR can do right now is wait for a judgement on the current case that establishes they are a railroad. Once that is cleaned up they can get started on building, and then in the meantime they should threaten to sue every county for walking back their promises.

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That really helps explain it, @Luminare, thanks for writing it all out. 
 

6 hours ago, hindesky said:

Sounds like the Texas airline lobby filled some politician coffers with legalized bribery.

I’ve wondered this. It certainly wouldn’t shock me. This line would just print money for TCR, and take a bite out of airline profits.

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33 minutes ago, BEES?! said:

That really helps explain it, @Luminare, thanks for writing it all out. 
 

I’ve wondered this. It certainly wouldn’t shock me. This line would just print money for TCR, and take a bite out of airline profits.

Southwest was against the Texas triangle because during that time the Wright amendment limited where they could fly from Love field.  That's no longer the case so maybe Southwest is interested in flexibility for more profitable routes since they're gate limited.   SNCF sided with the anti TCR crowd...probably still salty since they were one of the front runners for the Texas Triangle.

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  • The title was changed to Texas Central Project (appears to be DEAD)
Posted (edited)

Texas Central appeared to be on life support recently, unable to pay its bills. With this report, I think we can pronounce the project as DEAD.

https://thetexan.news/texas-central-high-speed-rail-ceo-carlos-aguilar-announces-departure/

The recent inflation probably put the final nails in the coffin. Bids for large TxDOT projects are up around 33% in just the last few months. Texas Central was always too expensive to be financially feasible in any realistic analysis. Add another 33% to the cost and you can forget about it.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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I think this project is looking more dead by the day but my main concern is the major price increases on everything that make this project harder to see going forward.

That being said, I'm not sure how you can say it was never financially feasible. This is a private company... I'm pretty sure they had detailed analysis on how they could make this thing run, in the right conditions. Plus, I'm sure support from the federal government was going to be part of the goal as well.

 

Edit:

That being said, I don't see how any American can applaud this project's demise. Seeing a private company trying to accomplish what other developed nations have proven time and time again... to see that come to our soil... to see a group of people trying to actually build something, instead of tearing it down... that truly says something. Almost all the infrastructure you drive on today was once someone's property and sometimes it takes some fields to get things built in this country. We don't dream big anymore and if this project were to collapse, this would further strengthen that argument.

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  • The title was changed to Texas Central Project (appears to be moribund)
1 hour ago, ADCS said:

The reactionary psychos in the hinterland who killed this are a main reason I'm not sad about leaving the state.

I don't think they killed the project, but they did fight it tooth and nail, which was totally predictable. They were never asked what their opinion was, or asked for input on mitigation for the objections. When TCR popped up and used the ED words, it really raised the hackles of rural landowners who didn't see why they should have to suffer just so city folks can get to Houston or Dallas faster.

I doubt the airlines lobbied against TCR, since they are apparently getting close to saturation with flights between Houston and Dallas

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How many private long-distance passenger rail projects are there in America?  I can only think of one: The Brightline in Florida.  Lots of other proposals, but I can't think of any.  Happy to be wrong about this.

I think history has shown that private enterprise can't build long-distance passenger rail in America.  It requires government involvement.

Honestly, I think the only way we get any reasonable passenger rail is to either give Amtrak a metric ass-ton of money to build its own rails, or give the freight companies a financial incentive to get back into carrying passengers.

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17 hours ago, Ross said:

I don't think they killed the project, but they did fight it tooth and nail, which was totally predictable. They were never asked what their opinion was, or asked for input on mitigation for the objections. When TCR popped up and used the ED words, it really raised the hackles of rural landowners who didn't see why they should have to suffer just so city folks can get to Houston or Dallas faster.

I doubt the airlines lobbied against TCR, since they are apparently getting close to saturation with flights between Houston and Dallas

And that's the problem - sometimes, you've got to suck it up for the greater good, and rural landholders around here think they're entirely exempt from that. It's a completely toxic notion of freedom.

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54 minutes ago, ADCS said:

And that's the problem - sometimes, you've got to suck it up for the greater good, and rural landholders around here think they're entirely exempt from that. It's a completely toxic notion of freedom.

Then someone needs to explain to the rural landowners why they should give up their property for the common good. If a decent argument is made, they may come around. Threatening to use eminent domain isn't going to convince the landowners of anything, except that "city folk" are jerks. It is especially hard to convince someone that they should suck it up when they get zero benefit at all. This is all too common when dealing with people in rural areas, no one makes the effort to understand their issues and speak to them in a way that doesn't just piss them off. 

Now, I don't have strong feelings about this project at all. I would probably never use the train, as it's too expensive, assuming the prices we've seen are anywhere close to accurate. I do think that the project's published economics are the result of too many doses of illegal drugs, but as long as it's not funded with tax dollars, that's an investor issue. It's always good to pick up a project where the original party went bankrupt, because it reduces the new operator's overall costs. That was one of the good outcomes of the Enron failure - lots of fiber run all over the place at great expense became available for 10 cents on the dollar.

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Sad…

I hope one day maybe a company like Brightline could resurrect this line- since they seem to be doing well in FL, if Amtrak doesn’t do it first. (I’d prefer someone who has ROW on the tracks though, otherwise it’s a pointless endeavor if you’re trying to get less people to make the drive)

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On 6/15/2022 at 12:19 PM, Ross said:

Then someone needs to explain to the rural landowners why they should give up their property for the common good. If a decent argument is made, they may come around. Threatening to use eminent domain isn't going to convince the landowners of anything, except that "city folk" are jerks. It is especially hard to convince someone that they should suck it up when they get zero benefit at all. This is all too common when dealing with people in rural areas, no one makes the effort to understand their issues and speak to them in a way that doesn't just piss them off. 

Doesn't Texas have more than 200,000 miles of pipelines and large pieces of them were done with eminent domain? I don't see much grinding of teeth over those by rural landowners or conservative texas politicians. 

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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

Doesn't Texas have more than 200,000 miles of pipelines and large pieces of them were done with eminent domain? I don't see much grinding of teeth over those by rural landowners or conservative texas politicians. 

You would be surprised how much tooth grinding goes on over pipelines. A friend has a pipeline easement across his property. He wanted to fight it, but his lawyer told him it's not worth the effort, as pipeline companies have far too much influence. All he could do was push to get as much compensation as possible, and ended up with twice as much as the pipeline offered.

Pipelines have been restrained a bit after a State Supreme Court ruling imposed more requirements than just a sign off by the Railroad Commission, which had been rubber stamping eminent domain approvals forever.

Pipelines are somewhat different as well, since a pipeline doesn't build a berm that cuts property in half. You can walk across a pipeline easement at pretty much any point. That's not the case with the railroad.

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I have noticed that the Nursing school has now left the old Northwest Mall. 

They were the last tenant. Even if this TCR project is dead I wonder if a demo is still in the works for the property? 

Has anyone heard anything? 

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On 6/24/2022 at 11:35 AM, hindesky said:

"In a 5-3 decision, the court ruled Texas Central — the company planning to build the Houston-to-Dallas railway — has eminent domain authority."

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2022/06/24/bullet-train-eminent-domain-texas-supreme-court.html

Should have been a unanimous decision. No, scratch that, the court should never have taken this case. Oh well, hopefully, this gives some life to the project.

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  • The title was changed to Texas Central Project

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