WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady waded into the Texas high-speed rail issue by penning a letter to the Surface Transportation Board opposing the project.
Earlier this month, Texas Central Partners, the development company seeking to construct a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston, sought certification from the STB, as well as to begin negotiations with landowners and use of eminent domain to secure property along its proposed route.
“I sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, D.C., strongly opposing TCR’s petition to begin accelerated use of eminent domain or construction.
However, the project has met with opposition throughout the affected counties, including Madison.
Brady said the high-speed rail route is wrong.
“It splits and really damages our rural communities, especially in Madison County, so I don’t believe they should get permission from the federal government to begin construction or take people’s land without having an approved route,” he said.
TCB doesn’t actually have a permit to construct, and even starting the process of condemning land forces landowners into extra costs during the very stressful process, Brady said.
The railway is required to complete an environmental study, which has not yet been approved, according to Brady.
“(The environmental study) is really the only federal role here,” he said. “This isn’t a project ready for prime time. To begin the process of negotiating for or taking someone’s land is harmful. We’re putting the cart before the horse big-time, and there’s consequences for Madison County landowners.”
Brady said that the route that has been proposed, which splits Madison County in two around the current utility corridor, actually will devalue the land.
“I’m against this route, and I’m against the federal government either approving it or giving it financial loans,” he said.
Brady said this is a state project, and should be regulated by Texas.
Brady said he also opposed a similar project while a state senator, and fought against the use of eminent domain with it. The project ultimately failed.