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MaxConcrete

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Good on the supreme court for actually siding with common sense on this one. I really hope this moves forward!

 

(I’m also curious how much land they actually have left to acquire vs what they’ve acquired)

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On 6/26/2022 at 11:23 AM, Amlaham said:

Texas Central notes they remain "open for business," and Michael Bui is now managing the project. 

Texas Top Court Says Private High-Speed Rail Can Use Eminent Domain | 2022-06-24 | Engineering News-Record (enr.com)

 

I'm being very hopeful, but if they start now, and REALLY put everything they got into it, maybe they can finish it by the World Cup 🥴

“We know they don’t have any money,” Beckham says. “I can’t imagine the only thing keeping them from raising money was this case.”

....Yes that's exactly why they couldn't raise money. This very case was going to determine whether they would be able to build or not as it also hinged on the question of whether they were a "railroad". I myself am a small time investor, uncertainty is one of if not the key element of putting money into anything. The current situation in the stock market is an example of this. People are moving risk-off because the FED is raising rates to fight inflation. That kind of uncertainty is going to keep money out of the markets. These people knew exactly what they were doing, and from a realpolitik perspective it was a brilliant play, just sue and wait it out. Respect strategy wise even if I don't like the aim of the strategy. But they lost, and I hope that people that got in TCR's way get what's coming for them. You play stupid games you win stupid prizes.

Going beyond this case, I wouldn't be surprised if this takes a couple more years to gather resources (including the land) before shovels go into the ground. Why?

- The current state of Macro Economics is just awful. The FED is raising rates which will drain liquidity from the market which will make it really difficult to acquire funding. Not to mention its looking more likely by the day that at the start of Q3 we will be in a technical recession.

- TCR might probably want to check in whatever funding they are getting from the Japanese. The Bank of Japan is about to fall on its face, and Japan's economy is in worse shape than we are

- Inflation is nuts right now, and I don't see it peaking until at least Q3 this year, and will probably still have high inflation into mid next year. Probably best to wait. If we do go into a recession, at least the company is already lean from cuts during Covid. If unemployment goes up, and eventually inflation comes down then they might be able to get labor and material for cheap. Not to mention at some point into the bear market / recession you will have investors chomping at the bit to throw their money around again, and this project has the potential if they play their cards right to be one of the first to benefit in the low part of the market.

More importantly is this decision is great precedent going forward even if TCR fails, it breaks a giant wall of BS that has potentially held back rail development for years. This decision clears up ambiguity regarding rail startups in this state, and hopefully this will get others moving once Macro Economics improve in the coming years.

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8 hours ago, tigereye said:

Given TCR’s status on life support, what are the chances another company, say Brightline, steps in a takes over this project? 

Very doubtful. The economic climate just isn't good for a project like this. And all of this crap TCR went through? Any new company coming in will have to deal with a lot of the same crap, including the frivolous lawsuits and political BS, which will scare off future investment. 

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Posted (edited)

Texas Central posted a statement on their web site

https://www.texascentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Press-Release-Texas-Central-Partners-Comments-on-Recent-Developments.pdf

“We thank the Court for its recent thoughtful and considered review of this matter and appreciate the continued support of our investors, lenders, and other key stakeholders, as we continue to advance this important project. Texas Central has made significant strides in the project over the last several years and we are moving forward on a path that we believe will ensure the project’s successful development. We look forward to being able to say more about this at an appropriate time in the near future.”

This creates the impression that pronouncements of Texas Central's demise were premature. I'll update this thread title.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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  • The title was changed to Texas Central Project
Posted (edited)

NCTCOG Director Michael Morris spoke about the project at today's meeting. Agenda item 4, starting at 12:22

"You'll be hearing in the next few weeks that the high speed rail Dallas to Houston may be morphed into Dallas to Fort Worth. Lots of meetings are going on with regard to what I'm calling high speed rail version 2.0. Be prepared for advancing the RTC position of a one-seat ride potentially going from Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and to Houston."

So it sounds like there is ongoing activity, and the project is not moribund as the recent reports suggested. The first part of Morris' statement initially made me think it could be downsized to Dallas to Fort Worth, but then he mentioned Houston in the second part of the statement. Of course the biggest challenge will still be to raise the funding in the current environment with higher interest rates.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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Back in 2019 or so, there was talk by people in the Rangers organization that a train route through Arlington with a stop at the stadiums could be a possibility once the HSR station in Dallas either was approved or was built, don't recall the exact specifics. I would love to be able to take a train from Houston to any of the big DFW cities, especially for big sporting events. I have seen TRE trains completely packed on multiple occasions but don't know how the ridership was overall, but hopefully there's a market there.

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23 hours ago, Andrew Ewert said:

I wonder if that means building out the route between Dallas and Fort Worth first to start generating revenue while it then gets extended down to Houston. Not a bad idea, but just puts it even farther in the future.

They would need to go through the Environmental Review Process again as the previous, to my knowledge, does not lay out a path from Dallas to Fort Worth. To me this is simply future planning, and going through the process or next steps to get moving on a future extension as these take years with current regulations to get done.

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On 7/20/2022 at 1:34 PM, TXK said:

Back in 2019 or so, there was talk by people in the Rangers organization that a train route through Arlington with a stop at the stadiums could be a possibility once the HSR station in Dallas either was approved or was built, don't recall the exact specifics. I would love to be able to take a train from Houston to any of the big DFW cities, especially for big sporting events. I have seen TRE trains completely packed on multiple occasions but don't know how the ridership was overall, but hopefully there's a market there.

That's an interesting notion.  Each year, both Chicago and New York have a series of baseball games between their two teams (Cubs and Sox in Chicago, Mets and Yankees in New York) that are focused around the train that links the two stadia.  In New York it's billed "The Subway Series."  I forget what the Chicago one is called.

If Chicago and Dallas could get trains close enough to their sports arenas, there could be similar promotional opportunities for baseball, basketball, soccer, and probably some other sports. 

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19 hours ago, editor said:

That's an interesting notion.  Each year, both Chicago and New York have a series of baseball games between their two teams (Cubs and Sox in Chicago, Mets and Yankees in New York) that are focused around the train that links the two stadia.  In New York it's billed "The Subway Series."  I forget what the Chicago one is called.

I've always heard "Crosstown Series" or "Crosstown Classic" for the Cubs-Sox games.

Crosstown Classic

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

See item 7.1 in the agenda for today's NCTCOG meeting

https://kentico-admin.nctcog.org/getmedia/9af64da6-ce3c-4017-9cd2-b007bd0b551e/agendapacketaugust2022.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf

Director Michael Morris is now proposing high speed rail as a more traditional government-funded asset with private operations, similar to many airports. This seems to be further evidence that Texas Central won't be able to move the project forward with its private funding plan. It also appears to suggest that (in the current political climate) federal money would be more readily accessible for a government-owned project. And it definitely addresses the reality that property taxes on a privately-owned high-speed rail corridor would be a major expense contributing to project infeasibility.

Competition would likely give consumers more options and lower prices. Does anyone know of high speed train lines elsewhere that have multiple service providers? It also makes me wonder if the different train technologies are compatible, or if a specific technology would need to be selected (and all service providers would use it).

I can't envision the State of Texas spending any state funds on this project. I don't know of any other way the non-federal share of costs, which would be in the billions and probably $10+ billion, could be covered.

 

Edited by MaxConcrete
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13 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

Does anyone know of high speed train lines elsewhere that have multiple service providers?

Spain expands its high-speed network, adds competition

Quote

Later this year, there will be three high speed rail operators competing on the busiest routes in Spain. The government has encouraged “open access” competition on the government-owned rail network run by ADIF.

 

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On 8/26/2022 at 4:15 PM, MaxConcrete said:

See item 7.1 in the agenda for today's NCTCOG meeting

https://kentico-admin.nctcog.org/getmedia/9af64da6-ce3c-4017-9cd2-b007bd0b551e/agendapacketaugust2022.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf

Director Michael Morris is now proposing high speed rail as a more traditional government-funded asset with private operations, similar to many airports. This seems to be further evidence that Texas Central won't be able to move the project forward with its private funding plan. It also appears to suggest that (in the current political climate) federal money would be more readily accessible for a government-owned project. And it definitely addresses the reality that property taxes on a privately-owned high-speed rail corridor would be a major expense contributing to project infeasibility.

Competition would likely give consumers more options and lower prices. Does anyone know of high speed train lines elsewhere that have multiple service providers? It also makes me wonder if the different train technologies are compatible, or if a specific technology would need to be selected (and all service providers would use it).

I can't envision the State of Texas spending any state funds on this project. I don't know of any other way the non-federal share of costs, which would be in the billions and probably $10+ billion, could be covered.

 

Government official says the only way something can be done is if the government does it. I'm shocked by what I'm reading here I tell you...shocked.

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  • 1 month later...

Not good. I’d also be surprised if any Japanese firms were doing any big movements on international projects- the yen is ridiculously weak right now (145JPY to 1USD- it’s normally 100:1 or so). 

if a company like Brightline could pick it up, that could be our last hope to see this one get momentum (albeit it would likely use different technology)

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1 hour ago, Andrew Ewert said:

I will forever hate the little handful of people who fought tooth and nail to kill a project that would have benefited millions of people and the environment.

So you hate the landowners in the middle of nowhere that would get zero benefit and have their land messed up? That's harsh. One of the failures of the promoters was they treated rural landowners like crap. Ask any petroleum landman what happens when you treat rural people like that.

I was never against the project, but I never believed anything the promoters said about ridership. I don't believe the volume of riders is as high as claimed, and if the  fares were set to compete with SW Airlines, I would be driving to Dallas, not taking the train, especially if the whole family was going.

 

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22 hours ago, Ross said:

So you hate the landowners in the middle of nowhere that would get zero benefit and have their land messed up? That's harsh. One of the failures of the promoters was they treated rural landowners like crap. Ask any petroleum landman what happens when you treat rural people like that.

I never had high hopes in this project, but yes. Those landowners are selfish, shortsighted, and interested only in the politics of this project. That Texas Central didn't learn from the petroleum industry is one thing, but those landowners were never going to give land for a "commie train." Buy their land and put the state and environment first. 

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2 hours ago, HoustonBoy said:

I never had high hopes in this project, but yes. Those landowners are selfish, shortsighted, and interested only in the politics of this project. That Texas Central didn't learn from the petroleum industry is one thing, but those landowners were never going to give land for a "commie train." Buy their land and put the state and environment first. 

The route could have gone up the I-45 RoW without any eminent domain issues.

I don't think you understand the desire of people in rural areas to not be bothered, especially for a project that does nothing for them.

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5 minutes ago, Ross said:

The route could have gone up the I-45 RoW without any eminent domain issues.

I don't think you understand the desire of people in rural areas to not be bothered, especially for a project that does nothing for them.

No it couldn't.  Turn radiuses for at speed travel would have it deviate outside of the ROW.  Also TXDOT isn't given up any of their ROW when they'll want to tack on more lanes in the future.

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3 hours ago, Ross said:

The route could have gone up the I-45 RoW without any eminent domain issues.

I don't think you understand the desire of people in rural areas to not be bothered, especially for a project that does nothing for them.

. if it was so easy don't you think texas central would have considered that? there is significant amounts of planning that goes into these routes, its not just people randomly deciding to bother rural land owners 

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4 hours ago, BeerNut said:

No it couldn't.  Turn radiuses for at speed travel would have it deviate outside of the ROW.  Also TXDOT isn't given up any of their ROW when they'll want to tack on more lanes in the future.

If the high speed rail was going to be so great, there wouldn't be a need for more lanes on 45. That was supposed to be one of the benefits. Of course, a family of 4 isn't going to take the train when they can drive for less than half the cost of going by rail.

Or, make it a 140mph train that can use smaller radius curves. I think people got so wrapped up in the bullet train concept and its 200mph+ speeds that hey failed to look at other alternatives that would be less expensive to build and still provide a reasonable transit time between Houston and Dallas. As it is now, there won't be any highish speed rail in Texas for 50 years.

I am not opposed to or fighting this project. I just don't see how it works using the current route and design. There's no way it makes any money.

1 hour ago, pokemonizepic said:

. if it was so easy don't you think texas central would have considered that? there is significant amounts of planning that goes into these routes, its not just people randomly deciding to bother rural land owners 

I don't think they considered alternatives to bullet trains that would make other routes more feasible while still providing reasonably fast travel to Dallas.

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15 hours ago, Ross said:

If the high speed rail was going to be so great, there wouldn't be a need for more lanes on 45. That was supposed to be one of the benefits. Of course, a family of 4 isn't going to take the train when they can drive for less than half the cost of going by rail.

Or, make it a 140mph train that can use smaller radius curves. I think people got so wrapped up in the bullet train concept and its 200mph+ speeds that hey failed to look at other alternatives that would be less expensive to build and still provide a reasonable transit time between Houston and Dallas. As it is now, there won't be any highish speed rail in Texas for 50 years.

I am not opposed to or fighting this project. I just don't see how it works using the current route and design. There's no way it makes any money.

I don't think they considered alternatives to bullet trains that would make other routes more feasible while still providing reasonably fast travel to Dallas.

Translation: "I" wouldn't use it because "I" rather drive, so "I" don't think this project is going to make money 😂

  • i45 adding lanes literally has nothing to do with the train? Thats like saying "why is Houston even building bike lanes if TxDOT is expanding highways?"
  • "A family of 4 isn't going to take the train when they can drive for less than half the cost"... clearly there are many variables for traveling, not just cost. Some people need to get the other city quicker, some people won't be traveling with a family of 4, some people need to work while on the way and need wifi, the list can go on and on. Your case scenario is only YOUR case scenario, there are about 15 million other case scenarios between the 2 metros :) 
  • You do know travel is a booming industry right? There's lots of "luxury buses" that go between all Texas cities. Theres frequent flights that go between all Texas cities. There's even lots of affordable jets like JSX that fly between cities. So clearly there is a market for traveling outside of "driving with a family of 4" scenario.
  • Less expensive to build? This is a private project...its legit not costing us anything.

 

I never understand comments that oppose transportation projects outside of the "car/ highway" bubble. It comes off a little selfish IMO, because Texas highway infrastructure is clearly not an issue. Our highways are HUGE, I've driven in many states and Texas highways are by far the most impressive. However, traffic and driving in general is also horrible; road rage shootings, bad drivers, car maintenance. A lot of people want to avoid it completely. Some would rather bike to a location, some would rather take a bus/ train, some would rather walk........so there has to be adequate infrastructure to support that population too. Its' obvious how one transportation method gets WAY more money/ attention than others. i10, 610, i59, all these highways in great shape, yet I can name maybe a handful of areas in Houston that you can walk/bike safely in. THENNN you have people that STILL feel like the solution is more highways and NOTHING else. Some of you guys sound like you sold your soul to the car devil 💀

 

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4 hours ago, Amlaham said:

Translation: "I" wouldn't use it because "I" rather drive, so "I" don't think this project is going to make money 😂

  • i45 adding lanes literally has nothing to do with the train? Thats like saying "why is Houston even building bike lanes if TxDOT is expanding highways?"
  • "A family of 4 isn't going to take the train when they can drive for less than half the cost"... clearly there are many variables for traveling, not just cost. Some people need to get the other city quicker, some people won't be traveling with a family of 4, some people need to work while on the way and need wifi, the list can go on and on. Your case scenario is only YOUR case scenario, there are about 15 million other case scenarios between the 2 metros :) 
  • You do know travel is a booming industry right? There's lots of "luxury buses" that go between all Texas cities. Theres frequent flights that go between all Texas cities. There's even lots of affordable jets like JSX that fly between cities. So clearly there is a market for traveling outside of "driving with a family of 4" scenario.
  • Less expensive to build? This is a private project...its legit not costing us anything.

 

I never understand comments that oppose transportation projects outside of the "car/ highway" bubble. It comes off a little selfish IMO, because Texas highway infrastructure is clearly not an issue. Our highways are HUGE, I've driven in many states and Texas highways are by far the most impressive. However, traffic and driving in general is also horrible; road rage shootings, bad drivers, car maintenance. A lot of people want to avoid it completely. Some would rather bike to a location, some would rather take a bus/ train, some would rather walk........so there has to be adequate infrastructure to support that population too. Its' obvious how one transportation method gets WAY more money/ attention than others. i10, 610, i59, all these highways in great shape, yet I can name maybe a handful of areas in Houston that you can walk/bike safely in. THENNN you have people that STILL feel like the solution is more highways and NOTHING else. Some of you guys sound like you sold your soul to the car devil 💀

 

I said several times I wasn't opposed to the project. The ridership numbers were way over inflated, and far too optimistic, and the projected costs were too low.

The comment on I-45 lanes was in response to another comment that said that TxDOT would never give up space where it could build more lanes. Well, if the train was going to be successful, the need for more lanes  would go away, since the number of riders would reduce the use of the freeway.

I don't have a family of 4. However, I've seen any number of comments that the rail would mean families wouldn't have to drive to get to Dallas. That's weak thinking, because very few people are going to spend $400 to save 2 1/2 hours in teh car. Again, that's all part of the overly optimistic ridership projections.

There may be a market for alternatives to driving. However, the demand is not nearly as high as the TCR projections for riders.

 What does "not costing us anything" have to do with my comment? My point, which you clearly missed, was that if TCR built a less expensive project, then the fares wouldn't have to be as high, nor would the required ridership have to be as high. If speeds were reduced, then the I-45 RoW could be used, and the eminent domain issues would be far fewer. Instead, TCR enabled the "this stupid commie project will drive people off of land that's been in their families for 600 years" faction, which made the project even less likely to succeed.

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If this does fail at the very least what we got out of it is a court precedent where you don't have to have rail to be a "railroad". That fight alone pushed this project back by 3-4 years. Not going to get away with it the next time. So at least there is that.

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Next question .... how will the cancellation of this project affect the proposed BRT link along I-10 as future transit demand along that route was predicated on the Texas Central being built. Anyone still wanting to get to the Galleria from downtown/Medical Center will still be able to use the "University Line" (a less expensive buildout) so why build spend the extra funds at this time?

 

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20 hours ago, Ross said:

The comment on I-45 lanes was in response to another comment that said that TxDOT would never give up space where it could build more lanes. Well, if the train was going to be successful, the need for more lanes  would go away, since the number of riders would reduce the use of the freeway.

This rail line's relative success or failure will not effect TxDOT's decision to expand I-45. There is a whole lotta factors that will determine that that this rail line will have no effect on.

 

1 minute ago, 77002er said:

Next question .... how will the cancellation of this project affect the proposed BRT link along I-10 as future transit demand along that route was predicated on the Texas Central being built. Anyone still wanting to get to the Galleria from downtown/Medical Center will still be able to use the "University Line" (a less expensive buildout) so why build spend the extra funds at this time?

 

This project isn't officially cancelled yet, so kinda putting the cart before the horse.

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20 hours ago, BEES?! said:

What a fascinating read. I’m pretty firmly in the camp that HSR in the US will have to be a private project if it’s going to be done right without a ton of compromising and hands in the cookie jar, if you will.

Counterpoint to the NYT article with some additional background, via Twitter:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1579183443224989696.html

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2 hours ago, 77002er said:

Next question .... how will the cancellation of this project affect the proposed BRT link along I-10 as future transit demand along that route was predicated on the Texas Central being built. Anyone still wanting to get to the Galleria from downtown/Medical Center will still be able to use the "University Line" (a less expensive buildout) so why build spend the extra funds at this time?

 

I'm sure that will still get built at some point because it's meant as a minimum stop link between downtown and northern stop of the silver line.

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8 hours ago, 77002er said:

Next question .... how will the cancellation of this project affect the proposed BRT link along I-10 as future transit demand along that route was predicated on the Texas Central being built. Anyone still wanting to get to the Galleria from downtown/Medical Center will still be able to use the "University Line" (a less expensive buildout) so why build spend the extra funds at this time?

 

I think METRO wants to work on the Inner Katy BRT regardless of the HSR project (on their project map I think the extension from NWTC to Northwest Mall is only shown as conceptual) because 1) it’ll be another (maybe faster?) route into Downtown from Uptown and also serve people living along the I-10 corridor. I believe The University Line stops at Wheeler Transit Center and you have to transfer to the Red Line. Inner Katy doesn’t require any transferring. They badly want that connection- one of the specific reasons they’ve given is because they want to link the hotel capacity between Uptown and the east side of Downtown (so…GRB, basically) since the BRT extension will also run along the Green/Purple Line alignment downtown and to St Emmanuel St without any transfers).

 

7 hours ago, mkultra25 said:

Counterpoint to the NYT article with some additional background, via Twitter:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1579183443224989696.html

Interesting, thank you for the link! 

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11 hours ago, BEES?! said:

I think METRO wants to work on the Inner Katy BRT regardless of the HSR project (on their project map I think the extension from NWTC to Northwest Mall is only shown as conceptual) because 1) it’ll be another (maybe faster?) route into Downtown from Uptown and also serve people living along the I-10 corridor. I believe The University Line stops at Wheeler Transit Center and you have to transfer to the Red Line. Inner Katy doesn’t require any transferring. They badly want that connection- one of the specific reasons they’ve given is because they want to link the hotel capacity between Uptown and the east side of Downtown (so…GRB, basically) since the BRT extension will also run along the Green/Purple Line alignment downtown and to St Emmanuel St without any transfers).

Inner Katy BRT transfers at Northwest Transit Center and (i believe) the future west terminus of the LRT in the city courts area. That makes at least two or perhaps three transfers to get to mid downtown from the Galleria ..... the University Line route would also be two  (Bellaire and Wheeler).  Most people don't like even one .....

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Last I saw the plans, the Inner Katy BRT is supposed to terminate at St Emanuel & Rusk, riding in the light rail lane through downtown. I do think it should just be an extension of the silver line though instead of a separate line

Also it should be a train but that’s too expensive for some reason

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4 hours ago, 77002er said:

Inner Katy BRT transfers at Northwest Transit Center and (i believe) the future west terminus of the LRT in the city courts area. That makes at least two or perhaps three transfers to get to mid downtown from the Galleria ..... the University Line route would also be two  (Bellaire and Wheeler).  Most people don't like even one .....

Wrong on both counts.  They plan through-service (single vehicle) from Uptown/Galleria to downtown, with a stop at NWTC.  The BRT will go all the way through downtown, terminating in EADO, not in the city courts area.

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On 10/10/2022 at 12:51 PM, 77002er said:

Next question .... how will the cancellation of this project affect the proposed BRT link along I-10 as future transit demand along that route was predicated on the Texas Central being built. Anyone still wanting to get to the Galleria from downtown/Medical Center will still be able to use the "University Line" (a less expensive buildout) so why build spend the extra funds at this time?

 

The "cancellation" of the HSR will almost certainly have zero impact on the Inner Katy BRT project.  The extension from NWTC to the proposed HSR station at the Northwest Mall site, was an "if and when" extension of the project, and the BRT project was neither predicated nor reliant upon projected traffic from Texas Central. As others have mentioned above, the Katy BRT will provide more direct, single-vehicle service between Uptown and Downtown than can be provided by the University Line.  In addition, the elevated/separated lanes will serve Park and Ride buses (or they will switch to BRT at NWTC; I'm not certain how they plan that).

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With the state of the US economy and soring inflation of construction materials. I am wondering if this project has been halted due what would be an major increase in buildings cost for the railine. If inflation and the economy have a resurgence this project could pick back up. TCR has made agreements with builders, track operators, and other entities recently, so it doesnt make sense to make all these contractual agreements to then pull the plug on the highspeed rail line completely now. It could just be with the state of  the US economy this project has been put on hold like so many other projects outside of transportation due increase construction costs and inflation. Those Build Back Better Funds did not go to this project so it also is coincidence that AMTRACK who did receive funds is now wanting to expand their routes, even though times of trips still won't beat out a car to Dallas compared to highspeed rail.

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