In a decision that could change the calculus on a beleaguered high-speed rail project, the state’s highest court rules that the railroad has the right to acquire land along the project route.
According to an article from the High Speed Rail Alliance, a Texas Supreme Court decision could provide a major boost to the faltering central Texas bullet train project. “The court affirmed by a 5-3 vote that Texas Central Railroad is an interurban electric railway company, which allows it to exercise the right of eminent domain—i.e., it can pay fair-market rates to acquire the land needed to construct the 240-mile railway.”
As we pointed out in a prior story, the project faces an uncertain future due to the eminent domain issue, the departure of a CEO, cost overruns, and unpaid property taxes.
The High Speed Rail Alliance argues that the train is “desperately needed” by residents and commuters in a region with one of the nation’s fastest growing ‘super commute.’ “One stretch of Interstate 45, which connects Dallas and Houston, ranks as the most dangerous road in America. Congested and deadly in the best of times, the road is a gridlocked nightmare when the region is hit by hurricanes and flooding. A world-class HSR system would help immensely with evacuation planning and execution.”
The article points to the futility of expanding freeways to reduce congestion. “Meanwhile, Texas’s efforts to relieve road gridlock by building and expanding highways leads to one boondoggle after another. Most infamously, it spent $2.8 billion to widen Houston’s Katy Freeway to 26 lanes. Morning commute times spiked, as did afternoon commute times, which were soon 50 percent longer.”
Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’
Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.
Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments
Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.
Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity
A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.
Free Transit Starts September 1 for Seattle Youth
Sound Transit is launching a fare-free program for young riders in the hopes of educating and recruiting future riders and making schools and jobs more accessible to transit-dependent youth.
California Governor Outlines Plan for a ‘Hotter, Drier Future’
With California’s water supply expected to drop by 10 percent in the next two decades, Governor Newsom’s strategy calls for conservation and increased investment in water collection, storage, and desalination infrastructure.
Sealing the Cracks in Weatherization and Home Repair
Deferred home maintenance can lead to serious structural, safety, and health issues. A new program in Pennsylvania aims to fill the gaps in home repair and weatherization programs.
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
City of Mesa
Town of Gilbert, Arizona
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.