Remember President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGovernment's misguided holiday to celebrate itself Virginia can be better than this Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket MORE’s disastrous high-speed train plan announced in 2009?  Even though Americans wanted jobs, even shovel ready ones, Obama forced Congress to include nearly $11 billion in the stimulus bill for high-speed rail projects. Three states, Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin received grants to build high-speed trains.

But when Republican governors were elected in all three states, they canceled the projects, realizing what a colossal waste of money it was. After their Democrat predecessors spent $45 million, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker canceled their train projects to spare taxpayers the costs. Compare this to Democrat run California that is wasting $68 billion of taxpayer money on its high-speed, high cost rail project.

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Amtrak, America’s inefficient, accident-prone, government run, debt riddled rail system, is evidence enough that the federal government shouldn’t be in the rail business.  

Yet, Texas Central Railway, a private company, is racing down the tracks to build a taxpayer subsidized  $10 billion bullet train from Houston to Dallas.  The company acknowledged it wouldn’t rule out applying for federal loans to help fund the project and partnered with a Japanese company, Central Japan Railway, to provide the technology for the rail line. TCR boasts that the project will create 10,000 jobs but neglects to mentionmost of those jobs could very well end up created in Japan.

Of the 11 counties the train will run through, 9 oppose the project.  Last but not least, this project will be funded almost entirely through government-backed loans and Japanese investors.

“Texas Central Railway has been adamant that it will never accept subsidies or government money and that the project will be 100% privately funded. Quite the opposite is true, Texas Central has finally come clean and admitted that only its equity will be private, and that Texas Central will seek federal debt programs such as RIFF and TIFIA, both of which are federally subsidized,” said  Blake Beckham, Special Litigation Counsel, Texans Against High Speed Rail, a group opposing the project.

Beckham added that:

“With regards to their so called financial plan,  TCR has not shown the regulators, much less the public, a shred of proof supporting any ability to build this project. Nobody knows how much financing they have in place or where they got it from. But we do know a few things. We know the $100 million they have claimed to have raised from Dallas and Houston investors is at least $11,900,000,000 short of what they need to construct the rail line.”

Interestingly, according to the Texas Transportation Commission , on June 24, 2014, Texas Central Railway paid $18,108  travel costs of three employees of that commission to visit Japan. The “donation” covered the costs of “airfare, hotels, and meals, for Russell Zapalac, Chief Planning and Project Officer, and Erik Steavens, Rail Division Director, to participate in a technical fact- finding visit to Japan to study their high-speed rail system and to assess system safety including structures, environmental considerations, inspection testing, maintenance, safety procedures and operations.”

On April 19, 2016, Texas Central Railway and Central Japan Railway submitted two petitions with the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the independent federal commission that oversees railroads nationwide. 

The partnership requested an exemption from 49 U.S.C § 10901, which governs the authority to construct and operate a railroad in the United States.  In a second filing, the companies asked for an exemption from SB 18, Texas’ law limiting eminent domain abuse. Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature worked together to enact SB18 specifically to protect Texans from abuses of Eminent Domain by private companies for profit. TCR and its Japanese partner are trying to do an end run around Texas law and violate the constitutional rights of its residents.

The filings further revealed that the consortium plans to seize land from Texas private property owners “in locations not ultimately identified” on its final route.

“In other words, Texas Central has no problem taking private property it does not even need for its project so long as the steady stream of funds from its Japanese partners keep flowing in,” noted Beckham.

On May 10, 2016, more than a dozen Texas State Senators and Representatives sent a letter to Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, Daniel Elliot III demanding it reject these petitions for exemption from federal laws.  In another letter sent the same day to Senators Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again MORE, John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE and members of the Congressional delegation, the group wrote that “it is unfathomable to us that an unelected group of federal bureaucrats appear able and read to grant eminent domain authority to a project contained wholly within our state’s borders.”

Even more alarming is that Texas Central Partners admitted in a presentation about the project that high-speed rail in the US is unprofitable.

A report by the Reason Foundation—a respected free-market think tank—is often cited as proof that a national high-speed rail network doesn’t make sense in America, and points out that only two high-speed rail systems in the entire world actually earn a profit. Actually, we agree with the Reason Foundation report!,” the company noted in its Rumors vs. Reality Presentation, Page 8.

According to the Reason Foundation report, high-speed rail in the US are underutilized, high cost endeavors with questionable economic benefits.

“There is considerable political pressure for both governments and consultants to underprice high-speed rail. If the accurate cost of the Los Angeles-San Francisco California line—$98 million for mostly true high-speed rail since reduced to $65 million for a blended approach—had been divulged to taxpayers, the California bond referendum would have been much less likely to pass. While any infrastructure project can be underpriced, a recent study indicates that rail projects are the most numerous and worst offenders,” noted the Reason Foundation High Speed Rail report.

The foundation added that “since transit usage is one of the greatest indicators for rail success, ridership is important: only in the New York urban area does transit account for more than 15% of total travel.”

The Texas bullet needs to be stopped dead in its tracks before taxpayers are railroaded and left holding the tab. It will make a private company rich while violating the constitutional rights of Texans. "You don't just move into Texas. It moves into you," observed New York Times reporter Manny Fernandez. 


Crystal Wright is Editor of the Blog Conservative Black Chick and author of the book Con Job: How Democrats Gave Us Crime, Sanctuary Cities, Abortion Profiteering, and Racial Division.