Dallas could be on track to revolutionizing its transit system with high-speed rail, and all eyes are on the Dallas to Fort Worth proposal as the possible pioneer route. Officials are making a full-throttle push for a high-speed rail line that could whisk Texans between the two cities in a fraction of the current travel time as per The Dallas Morning News.
The rail could cap a trip from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth in a mere 23 minutes. Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), which has been diligently chipping away at the plans since spring 2020, confirmed this vision. However, questions loom regarding funding, land use, and the project's synergy with another high-speed line to Houston, which has been running into its own set of snags.
In a recent announcement that pumped new life into the high-speed rail discussion, Amtrak has joined forces with government planners to embrace the vision. "Dallas Fort Worth goes first. Market it to the world as you're building the section to Houston," Morris stated, revealing his strategy of demonstrating the project's viability on a local scale before extending it statewide. With a speed of about 180 mph, the train would also service Arlington, known for its bustling entertainment district but currently without traditional mass transit per NBC DFW.
Meanwhile, challenges mount with respect to the alignment, especially through Dallas, where high-speed rail dreams meet the hard ground of private land. Among those concerned is Hunt Realty Investments, unwilling for years to cede a plot near Reunion Tower, crucial for the current alignment, and advocating for a below-grade approach akin to parts of Fort Worth and Arlington. The NCTCOG has signaled their openness to revising the rail's course.
Further, the overlap with the envisioned Dallas to Houston line has officials and residents alike in a state of flux, awaiting clarity on whether high-speed transit can indeed deliver on its lofty promise of transforming Texas transit. And with a mighty $3 billion convention center project slated for completion by 2028 adjacent to the proposed Dallas station, the stakes for get-it-right planning couldn't be higher. Jack Matthews, the force behind the convention center, is keenly aware of the rail station's proximity, tying into his vision for the Cedars to become a vibrant district, according to The Dallas Morning News.