The Texas Central team is committed to working hand-in-hand with landowners along the length of the 240-mile route, treating all parties with respect and negotiating in good faith in a fair and respectful process consistent with all Texas laws.
You can read about this commitment and the tenets that this Railroad team embraces in the Texas Landowners’ Bill of Rights.
In building the high-speed train, minimizing any disruption to the environment, landowners and communities is paramount, which is why the tracks will follow existing utility corridors and public rights-of-way as much as possible. High-speed trains will run along elevated viaduct structures or on grade-separated berms to allow for the free movement of people, animals, vehicles and equipment from one side of the alignment to the other.
Whether elevated on a viaduct structure or not, each mile of the route is being designed with as narrow a footprint as possible to allow farming activities, livestock grazing and other surface activities to continue as they do today.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Preferred Build Alternative route was identified by the Federal Railroad Administration in the its Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Informed by public comment and extensive engineering and environmental analysis, the route was identified because of its minimal impact on the environment and because it follows existing utility corridors and right of way to the maximum extent possible.
It is the sincere intent of this Railroad team to reach mutually agreeable terms that satisfy the desires of landowners and meet the needs of the Railroad. That is why the Railroad is committed to compensating landowners fairly, including spending the time to understand each landowner’s concerns and their unique property. As part of the process, the Railroad will consider the market value of the land, as well as take into account other unique considerations in order to determine the offer to each landowner.
The Texas Central team will work to understand how landowners use their property and how the Railroad can accommodate these uses to minimize impacts on the land.
When an offer is accepted, a portion of the agreed-upon purchase price will be paid to landowners at that time. Landowners will keep this payment whether the project ultimately needs to purchase the land or not. The landowner will then receive the remainder of the purchase amount when the project proceeds to the construction phase and the full purchase of the property is executed at the agreed upon terms.
Safety and security are at the heart of every decision being made to develop this system – for passengers, employees and those living along the route – which is why this Railroad will deploy the safest high-speed train technology in the world. The Shinkansen system has been in operation in Japan for more than 53 years, having carried nearly 10 billion passengers without crash or single fatality due to operations.
The Texas Central team includes industry experts with extensive experience in transportation security who are already working on security plans and procedures. Members of the project’s security team have ongoing dialogue with the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration to discuss every aspect of the project. Project representatives will also work closely with officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI and local law enforcement.
One of the keys to the safety design, is that the Railroad will be “grade separated,” which means it will cross over or under all public roads and will have no at-grade intersections with people or vehicles. There will never be cars waiting on trains to pass and there will be no risk of trains interacting with cars. In addition, the track itself will be protected to prevent people, domestic animals or wildlife from accessing the tracks.
The Railroad team will also provide training and equipment to law enforcement and first responders along the route to help improve coordination, reaction time and enhance the capabilities of these officials.
The question of “access” is frequently brought up around two key topics — Land Access and Emergency Services Access. From day one, this team has worked diligently to find the lowest-impact solutions to ensure that landowners will be able to access their land while also ensuring that the train lines do not adversely impact the response times of emergency services. In fact, our goal is to help improve emergency access to rural landowners wherever possible. To support this commitment, the Railroad is prepared to provide training and equipment when necessary, which will serve to improve general response times, methods for emergency access to the train line, and capabilities of emergency responders along the route.
The Texas Central team is committed to preserving access for landowners to their property.
A majority of the project will be constructed on elevated viaducts, preserving the free movement of livestock and wildlife under the train. Where the train is on a grade separated berm, access can be provided by openings along the alignment for drainage structures, wildlife crossings and public roads or other uses. Our commitment is to continue to work with each landowner in a fair and personalized manner and to take great care to accommodate the safe and convenient movement from one side of the railroad to the other.
Furthermore, as part of the overall project development processes, the Texas Central team and their representatives are meeting with landowners to discuss specific needs – including necessary underpasses or overpasses for landowners to cross the right-of-way.
This project was planned and designed to minimize disruptions and impact to the surrounding communities and environment, which is one important reason the Tokaido Shinkansen system will be deployed. Once in operation, it will be the largest low-emission vehicle in the United States, emitting just 1/12 the carbon per passenger mile as a typical commercial jet. Shinkansen high-speed trains are also 6 times more efficient than car travel.
The growth in Texas and in this region have led to four of the counties (Harris, Waller, Ellis and Dallas) already reaching air quality non-attainment status. Relieving congestion with this train as the population continues exponential growth is a positive impact for these areas.
After construction, the Railroad team is committed to restoring lands surrounding the train to pre-existing conditions or improving them through beautification measures. For example, sites adjacent to a station could be repurposed for development, and sites near forested lands would be restored to pre-existing conditions and include planting native plants and trees. These beautification measures would be completed in coordination with regulations, landowners and surrounding communities.
The designs are made with the intent to minimize the environmental impacts in order to avoid negatively impacting streams, wetlands, floodplains and other natural and cultural features. Where avoidance is not possible, an integrated mitigation plan to offset these impacts is being designed. Additionally, the project will employ best management practices such as silt fences, straw bales, swales and ponds for protecting waterways. And natural terrain will be installed to minimize runoff into any nearby bodies of water, wetlands, roads or other sensitive areas.
At completion, the natural features and vegetation will be restored along the alignment with permanent low-impact-design erosion control measures, as needed.