Bill of the Week: Planes, High-Speed Trains or Automobiles

Let the lobbyist death match begin

Bill of the Week: Planes, High-Speed Trains or Automobiles

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!

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Richard Whittaker
Other Worlds Review: <i>Minor Premise</i>
Other Worlds Review: Minor Premise
Lo-fi sci-fi updates Jekyll and Hyde for modern psychology

Dec. 6, 2021

Other Worlds Review: <i>Utrasound</i>
Other Worlds Review: Utrasound
Mindbending comic adaptation is more about mood than momentum

Dec. 6, 2021


High-speed rail, 85th Lege, Brandon Creighton, Texas Central Partners, Lois Kolkhorst, Kolkhorst Petroleum, Texas Central Partners, Jeff Moseley

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle