Today’s Fort Worth Business Journal carries a fine opinion piece on the future of high speed rail in Texas. I have some opinions about this, and I expressed them in an interview you may be reading online soon. Texas is wa overdue for good ground transportation, and I think they might seriously consider letting Southwest Airlines run the “above the rail” operation. I’ll develop that thought later, but here is the highlight from today’s story.
The Texas T-Bone will provide High Speed Rail connectivity to the state’s international airports with trains traveling in excess of 200 miles per hour. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport would become a multimodal transportation hub for the 21st century, providing one-stop connectivity for air travel, rental cars, DART, DCTA, and The-T, and high-speed rail. Effectively shrinking the state, this system will create thousands of permanent jobs and attract a significant amount of investment, helping to ensure the continued growth of Texas’ economy. I predict that bringing high-speed rail to Texas will create for the Metroplex a sustained economic boom that will ensure the economic vitality of North Texas for many, many years to come. And it will do all of this while using roughly a third of the energy per passenger mile of air travel.
Furthermore, the visionary financing strategies advocated by the THSRTC do not require additional local, state, or federal tax money to make this revolutionary system a reality. High-speed rail is among the few profitable transportation modes and, therefore, unlike our highways and transit agencies, this system will not require annual operational subsidies to stay afloat. Instead, it will bring enormous financial benefits to the communities it serves by creating jobs, generate new investment and Transit Oriented Development (TOD), and provide to city and regional planners a tool to responsibly orchestrate future development, aiding their efforts to mitigate sprawl and protect our precious rural areas.
Gary Fickes is Tarrant County Commissioner for Precinct 3 as well as secretary of the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation (THSRTC). For more information on high-speed rail, visit www.thsrtc.com