As your Congressman, I strongly oppose the route of the Texas Central Rail and have helped successfully block its Washington petitions for eminent domain and construction authority.
Don't get me wrong, I support infrastructure improvements that address the dynamic growth of Texas. However, transportation improvements must work for local communities; not against them as TCR does.
This is why I remain committed to ensuring that Texas Central Rail does not complete their proposed project between Houston and Dallas against the wishes of a majority of the residents of Grimes, Madison, and Leon counties.
Landowners in my district have made it clear: they don't support this project. They have legitimate concerns with the land grab it represents. This route fractures our rural lifestyle without offering any direct benefits to our communities.
The only acceptable option for the TCR high-speed rail project is alongside the already developed I-45 route. The current route designated by TCR simply does not make sense for the majority of Texans who will be impacted.
I also strongly oppose any attempt by TCR to use eminent domain to take away land from hard working Texans, or use federal dollars to fund this project. Your tax dollars should not be used to split your land in half.
The TCR project is privately funded and wholly within Texas. Therefore, it is not a federal project, has no federal funding, and is not regulated as a railroad under federal law. However, in order to prevent this project from advancing along this current route, my staff and I are working with state and local officials to ensure that anything that can be done — is being done.
The Texas Legislature sent a strong message last year by prohibiting state funds from going to this project. In solidarity, I introduced equally strong legislative language in Washington that would accomplish the same goal at the federal level.
This isn't my first high-speed rail dispute. As a Texas state legislator representing many of these same rural counties, I helped lead the successful 1990's fight against the proposed "bullet train" which cut through much of the same rural countryside. It was a difficult battle, but in the end we prevailed.
A project of this magnitude will permanently impact rural Texas, and the livelihood of its citizens and landowners. There has never been a completed high-speed rail project in the United States, and understanding the impact on our communities, our economy and our environment is a difficult and time-consuming task.
To make sure your voice is heard I am requesting that the Federal Railroad Administration extend the public comment period by forty-five days in order to give citizens and local officials more time to respond to this project. The current comment period is open until March 9, 2018; I have requested that it stay open until April 23, 2018.
If you would like to share your opinion on the project or comment period, you can send an email to email@example.com; or complete the form electronically: http://dallashoustonhsr.commentinput.com/?id=TXHSR1.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady chairs the House Ways & Means Committee.