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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Announces High Speed Rail Station
by Garrett Bryce w/photos courtesy HTV
Monday, February 05, 2018

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today hosted a news conference to announce the selection of Northwest Mall as the site of Houston’s passenger rail station for the proposed high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas.

Turner was joined by officials with Texas Central, the developer of the Texas Bullet Train, for the announcement.

“They once called Houston the place where 17 railroads meet the sea, and a train appears on our city seal as a symbol of progress going back to 1836, but today we are talking about rail service for the future,” Turner said in the news conference. Listen (30:47)

Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central, spoke to announce Northwest Mall as the site. He stressed the size of the economies of Houston and Dallas, which he said was second only to New York City in the United States.

“A high speed trail, along with all other options of connectivity in this region will ensure that we will be number one in the next decades,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar noted that the site offered connectivity to the area, employment centers that will be served by it, and the site was selected due to its high economic development potential.

Houston’s site for the passenger rail station will be one of three stations. Texas Central has announced locations in Dallas and the Brazos Valley area.

According to a news release from Texas Central, the selection of Houston's site comes about a month after federal regulators released an environmental analysis that 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 demands. News Release

Aguilar noted that the next step is for federal regulators to conduct additional reviews of the site and include it in the final impact statement, which he said is expected to be released by the end of the year.

“These three stations, each of them, will reflect the communities they serve and they will be uniquely Texan,” Aguilar said.

Turner discussed the economic impact of the rail on the state, noting that it will result in 10,000 construction jobs per year, and 1,500 permanent jobs, a third of which will be in Houston.

“You know that Northwest station, or the mall, has been pretty much kind of dormant for a long time, far too long, and everyone’s been trying to figure what’s the next step,” Turner said. “Well, this is not only a small step, this is a huge step, and not just for the Northwest Mall location, but for the entire quadrant.”

Greater Houston Partnership Chair Marc Watts also spoke on the economic impact the rail could bring.

“We believe that growing our transportation connections to other big cities like Dallas and elsewhere is critical,” Watts said.

Harris County Precinct Four Commissioner R. Jack Cagle spoke on how the project can unify Houston and Dallas to compete against other markets. The station will be within his district.

“Right now we compete against Dallas, but once we have that 90 minute trip, then we will have that unity where we will compete with Dallas against the rest of the world,” Cagle said.

Drayton McLane, Jr., chair of Texas Central, praised the potential rail project.

“I like big ideas, and ideas that lift everybody, everybody wins,” McLane said. “And this, I think, is a big idea that is good for every person, not only in Texas, but the United States.

Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
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