DFW High-Speed Transportation effort moves into environmental study

Published on January 12, 2022

a high-speed rail train car

The proposed high-speed transportation project between Dallas and Fort Worth has moved into Phase 2, focusing on route alignment, potential station locations and – most importantly – potential social and environmental impacts.

The route alignments to be evaluated run along I-30 between downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth, with a stop in the Arlington entertainment district.

The technology that will be evaluated is High-Speed Rail, which can operate at up to 250 mph. Over the next two years, a study of potential environmental effects on everything from air quality to noise, wetlands, wildlife, water crossings, and neighborhoods and businesses in the corridor will be conducted following federal guidelines.

The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration will serve as the lead federal agencies during the National Environmental Policy Act study, while the North Central Texas Council of Governments will continue to monitor the real-world readiness of cutting-edge Hyperloop technology for future consideration.

“This will be a continuation of a comprehensive study to ensure high-speed transportation between Dallas and Fort Worth has a limited and/or mitigated environmental impact,” Michael Morris, director of transportation for NCTCOG, the study sponsor, said. “The public will continue to have significant opportunity to view the proposals and comment on what they like and where there could be challenges.”

First phase completed

The Dallas-Fort Worth High-Speed Transportation Connections Study has been underway since mid-2020. The Regional Transportation Council is NCTCOG’s transportation policy board. In mid-2021, the RTC approved moving the study to Phase 2, with the focus on an alignment along the existing I-30 corridor and the consideration of both High-Speed Rail and Hyperloop technologies.

In Phase 1, the study identified multiple possible locations for an Arlington station, and multiple prospective sites for the Fort Worth station in and around the city’s Central Business District. A location of the Dallas station has already been determined.

The study team also eliminated Conventional Rail, Higher-Speed Rail and MAGLEV from consideration, leaving High-Speed Rail and Hyperloop.

High-Speed Rail – commonly known as bullet train – has been in operation for decades in Asia and Europe. Hyperloop technology is still in development. Texas transportation planners envision a high-speed transportation loop connecting Houston, Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley.

“High-speed transportation, whether High-Speed Rail or Hyperloop, is the way of the future for the state,” Morris said. “This mode of travel connects distant, dense urban areas with service that is easy to use and affordable. A day trip to major Texas cities from North Texas becomes much easier to imagine. This will be a great boost to economic activity and business in the state.”

Potential environmental justice impacts will be evaluated as part of the study. Through Phase 1 of the project, NCTCOG has completed more than 150 meetings on the proposed project.

“We have collected substantial public comment, and the public will continue to have every opportunity it wishes to engage with this project,” Morris said.

 

Source: NCTCOG

 

 

Photo: High-Speed Rail is safe, fast, convenient, proven and passenger friendly, proponents say.

 

 

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