Dallas — Texas Central, developers of the state’s high-speed train, announced today that it has marked a significant milestone in its land option program, the result of collaborative and ongoing engagements with property owners and stakeholders along the project’s potential route.
The company said it has reached option agreements on about 30 percent of the parcels estimated to be needed for the bullet train’s route in the 10-county stretch between North Texas and Houston.
Negotiations have resulted in option agreements in all 10 counties, including 50 percent of the parcels for the proposed route in Waller and Grimes counties. Grimes County is the site of a Brazos Valley passenger station, a midway stop on the 240-mile line between the state’s top metro areas.
Texas Central’s option program compensates owners today in exchange for the right to acquire a parcel at a future date at an agreed price. The option offers are being made in select areas of alignments that are under review as part of the project’s environmental assessment. To date, options have been negotiated representing about 30 percent of the parcels estimated for the potential route.
“This is a significant step in the progress of the high-speed train and it reflects the positive dialogue we have had with landowners along the route,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “Texans see the many benefits of a system that will provide a safe, reliable and productive alternative to the state’s transportation demands.”
Since the beginning of the project, Texas Central has pledged to engage in personalized, open and collaborative discussions with landowners, listening to concerns, outlining the project’s benefits and answering questions. Texas Central so far has hosted 28 information meetings throughout the 10 counties, allowing for additional individual conversations with project managers and subject matter experts.
As a result of this cooperative approach, the company said more than 3,000 families and businesses signed letters giving surveyors access as part of the environmental assessment. A substantial portion of the initial survey work has been completed and is continuing where needed.
In those few cases in which Texas Central sought a court decision to allow survey access, conversations with landowners later resulted in a favorable resolution reached out of court in a majority of these instances.
Because of the positive collaboration with Texans along the route and the progress of the environmental assessment, Texas Central has withdrawn the remaining 17 cases to allow it to work with all landowners on an amicable approach for permission to survey.
The Texas bullet train continues to progress every day with action on many fronts, including infrastructure engineering design, development of world-leading safety practices and rules, design of the interior of the trains, best practices for the customer/rider experience, minimizing environmental impact and much more.