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Houston-to-Dallas high-speed train project accelerates with big financial boost

Houston-to-Dallas high-speed train accelerates with financial boost

3 Texas Central Rail high-speed bullet train rail
The Houston-to-Dallas bullet train is one step closer to reality after the announcement of a Houston stop. Photo of the N700 courtesy of © JR Central
High speed train stop Northwest Mall
The Houston terminal will be located at Northwest Mall near the interchange of 610 and 290. Rendering courtesy of Texas Central
Houston high speed train rendering bluebonnets
The high-speed train will travel some 240 miles, and is said to alleviate traffic and increase highway safety.  Rendering courtesy of Texas Central
3 Texas Central Rail high-speed bullet train rail
High speed train stop Northwest Mall
Houston high speed train rendering bluebonnets

Plans for a Texas high-speed train are still on the rails, thanks to help from a deep-pocketed international partner. Texas Central, the company behind the bullet train’s development, has announced that it has secured a loan of up to $300 million from a Japanese investment group.

The influx of cash comes courtesy of the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The interest-bearing loan, along with the equity provided to date (the majority coming from Texas entrepreneurs) will provide enough funding for all activities required for the project to reach financial close, according to a statement.

With this injection of funds, Texas Central can move ahead on permitting, design, and engineering and to begin construction by 2019.

As CultureMap previously reported, Texas Central is partnering with Amtrak that will allowing passengers to use Amtrak's reservation system to buy tickets. Supporters of the high-speed train claim it will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits statewide over the next 25 years, with 10,000 direct jobs per year created during construction and 1,500 permanent jobs created when operational.

However, there is an estimable anti-train contingent, as the proposed rail line cuts a line through 240 miles of Texas land — much of it private property.

Here in Houston, Northwest Mall, at the interchange of Loop 610 and U.S. 290, is the preferred site of the project's new passenger station.