Dallas City Council pressing brakes on high-speed rail line between Dallas and Fort Worth

The Dallas City Council is trying to press the brakes on plans for a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Fort Worth

The line would be an extension of a planned Amtrak line between Dallas and Houston

Before plans move ahead for the rail line, Dallas City Council members unanimously approved a resolution calling for an economic impact study to happen first. 

Picture an elevated rail line carving through downtown past Reunion Tower with a high-speed train connecting Dallas to Fort Worth. That's the preliminary vision for the project.

But some members of the Dallas City Council are worried it is already on a fast track with the North Texas Council of Governments.

"Several of us had concerns on this one. This came up in committee as an RTC and the COG moving forward literally full speed ahead with us not really understanding what Dallas to Fort Worth connection would look like," said Councilmember Chad West.

While a lot has been said about what the Dallas to Houston part of the line would look like, West pointed out the specifics about an alignment between Dallas and Fort Worth have not been released. 


Amtrak explores involvement in high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston

The proposed 240-mile rail line, which has faced years of hurdles and setbacks, would get passengers from Dallas to Houston in less than 90 minutes.

"The core of my frustration with this whole process is you just said that there’s no alignment that has been chosen yet. However, we understand that the COG is moving forward with environmental designs," West said.

Councilmember Paula Blackmon brought up another unanswered question. 

"Do we want to maintain the connection between Dallas and Fort Worth or are we trying to serve Arlington?" she said.

The council wants to commission an economic impact study to look at specific neighborhoods and not just the region.

But Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn pointed out none of this is necessary if the main Amtrak section from Dallas to Houston doesn't happen.

"Otherwise, we are just providing a way for our convention business to go to Arlington, for our residents to go party there. We are going to be doing something extremely detrimental to our city," she said.

Mendelsohn says more needs to be revealed about what the downtown connection would look like.

"We have robust conversations about 345 and how horrible it is to go underneath the highway, but we’re just creating that same kind of structure."

A city memo revealed Arlington and Fort Worth reached out to Dallas in hopes of collaborating with the study.

Councilmember Paul Ridley is skeptical of that potential impact on the results.

"I want to make sure we are insulated from any influence by those other communities which could skew the results of this consultant’s conclusions that are not in the interest of Dallas," he said.


Company gives first look at design of Texas high-speed train

The company behind a high-speed train that would connect North Texas to Houston gave a first look at the train's design.

Interim city manager Kim Tolbert said the city hopes to reward the contract for the study in October. The results would then be expected at the end of next year.