The Texas Bullet Train has announced its preferred location for its Houston passenger station, at the Northwest Mall site near the interchange of US 290 and Interstate 610
The terminal will be ideally located in a high-growth area, with easy access to employment centers, including the Galleria, the Energy Corridor, the Medical Center and downtown. The station not only will be a catalyst for economic growth but it also will offer a convenient, efficient and direct network for passengers to and from local transit systems.
Maps and conceptual renderings – final designs are pending – that show a multi-level station on a 45-acre site.
The selection comes about a month after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released an extensive environment analysis, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which said the 200-mph, Houston-to-North Texas train would alleviate the strain on the state’s existing infrastructure and is needed to accommodate growing demand.
“Houston continues to grow. Growing the smart way includes providing a wider choice of transportation options that goes well beyond more private vehicles and more roads. The Texas Bulletin Train project fits the transportation paradigm shift I have called for, and now with the selection of a preferred location for the Houston station, we are one big step closer to boarding for an exciting trip to the Brazos Valley and on to Dallas,” — Mayor Sylvester Turner
In the DEIS, the FRA outlined three station options in northwest Houston, including the mall site. Texas Central has named it as their preferred site because of minimal environmental and community impact and ability to connect Houstonians to desired destinations.
Also, it allows the high-speed train largely to follow existing rights of way, while providing passengers with easy, efficient roadway access and connectivity with METRO’s Northwest Transit Center. Studies show the center of Houston’s population base is growing north and west of the Central Business District.
Federal regulators, in the environmental report, cited the Houston station’s many economic benefits, including an increase in property values within a half-mile of the terminal as a result of the train project. That’s in addition to new and related transit-oriented development in the area.
The report provides additional guidance as the project moves into its construction phase, minimizing impacts on the environment and communities along the 240-mile path. The train will create 10,000 jobs during each year of construction and about 1,500 full-time jobs when operations start.
Local companies also will benefit, through building the system and maintenance facilities, supplying materials and providing long-term support for the state’s newest industry. And Texas Central is committed to local sourcing for its workforce and materials.
Station Design & Road ImprovementsThe DEIS
According to the DEIS, the concourses will consist of public areas, restaurants, bars, seating areas, fast foods, concessions and newsstands, along with pedestrian connections to an adjacent parking facility.
Improvements also are planned for Post Oak Road at Hempstead Road, Post Oak Road at Old Katy Road and West 18th Street at Hempstead Road. These will be designed in part to alleviate current congestion and improve traffic flow.
The station selection marks the latest train-related announcement for Texas Central and Houston, whose official seal boasts a train engine as a symbol of progress. Houston once so dominated Texas rails that it was known as the place “where 17 railroads meet the sea.”
In August, the two announced an economic development and jobs-creating plan related to the Texas Bullet Train. Under that agreement, Texas Central is committed to recruiting construction contractors, subcontractors and employees from the local job market for the construction of the project and its maintenance and operation.
In addition, the city and Texas Central will participate in the study and design of “efficient multi-modal connections” between the Houston station and the city’s major activity centers.
The joint agreement says the project will have a “substantial and long-lasting positive impact on the city’s economy, serve as a catalyst for future growth, create jobs and infuse tax revenue into the state and the local communities.”
It says the train will help cut traffic congestion and related air emissions, providing “sound, fast and comfortable transportation alternatives,” using “world-class, proven technology.”
The bullet train is expected to remove 14,630 cars daily from Interstate 45, which will save 81.5 million gallons of gas a year. Also, the train will be using the safest technology in the world, while I-45 is the second deadliest highway in America.
HOW TO COMMENT
The (EIS) process is specifically designed for public involvement. This is your opportunity to provide comments and raise issues you would like to see addressed. Your comments and feedback provided during this process will enable the project to better address community and environmental concerns.
The 60-day public comment period that began with the Dec. 22nd notice (Extended through March 9th, 2018) in the Federal Register provides an important opportunity for the public to review and provide input to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on the Texas Bullet Train’s route and low-impact designs. Texas Central looks forward to continuing to hear from landowners and other stakeholders at the FRA’s upcoming hearings and informally as we are working every day in the community.
You can review all DEIS-related documents and provide comments to the FRA directly at this link: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0779
Comments may also be provided orally or in writing at the public hearings scheduled on January 29, 30, 31 and February 5 and 6, 2018 in 10 counties at the times and dates listed below. Before the public hearing presentation begins, an open house will be held to allow for comments, questions and review of project exhibits. FRA and TCR staff will be available to answer questions at that time.
We look forward to seeing you at these public hearings!
- Dallas County, Monday, January 29, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wilmer-Hutchins High School
5520 Langdon Rd
Dallas, TX 75241
- Navarro County, Monday, January 29, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Corsicana Middle School
4101 FM 744
Corsicana, TX 75110
- Ellis County, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Ennis High School
2301 Ensign Rd
Ennis, TX 75119
- Leon County, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Leon High School
12168 US 79
Jewett, TX 75846
- Limestone County, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Mexia High School
1120 N Ross Ave
Mexia, TX 76667
- Freestone County, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fairfield High School
630 Post Rd
Fairfield, TX 75840
- Madison County, Monday, February 5, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Truman-Kimbro Convention Center*
111 W. Trinity
Madisonville, TX 77864
*NOTE: this is a change of venue
- Harris County, Monday, February 5, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Woodard Elementary School
17501 Cypress North Houston Rd
Cypress, TX 77433
- Grimes County, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Navasota Junior High School*
Navasota, TX 77868
*NOTE: this is a change of venue
- Waller County, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Waller High School
20950 Fields Store Rd
Waller, TX 77484
Texas Central is building YOUR Texas Bullet Train – using the safest, most reliable transportation technology anywhere in the world. Take time to provide your comments…. And let’s make your Texas Bullet Train even better – by working together.