Bill of the Week: Planes, High-Speed Trains or Automobiles
Let the lobbyist death match begin
Senate Bill 973, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
Japan has it. Sweden. France, Germany, Britain. Even Uzbekistan gets around with it. High-speed rail has proven to be fast, convenient, and efficient. But Texas has seemingly dug its heels in against it. This session, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, has filed SB 973, adding extra hoops to any rail company's efforts to start surveying for a high-speed rail line (any line capable of carrying trains at speeds faster than 110 mph).
Creighton's bill is all about derailing development of a planned HSR link between Houston and Dallas, which private rail firm Texas Central Partners has proposed as a 200 mph, 90-minute alternative to a short flight or the misery of driving I-45. And Creighton is not alone: Over a dozen bills have been filed to add extra impediments to such construction. Among the stack is SB 981 from Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brennan, who has a long history of voting against alternatives to gas-guzzling road transportation – and, by sheer coincidence, happens to own Kolkhorst Petroleum, a family concern that used to own the Rattlers roadside convenience store chain.
Of course, the road and airline industries have long held a vested interest in blocking development of a bullet train-style system in Texas. Fighting from the other side may well be the influential Texas Association of Business, whose new CEO Jeff Moseley arrives from his old job as state vice president of government affairs for (guess who?) Texas Central Partners. Let the lobbyist death match begin!