Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 11/13/2014  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon Submission of Comments to the Federal Railway Administration for inclusion in the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Texas Central Railway High-Speed Rail Project;
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
BACKGROUND:
In late October 2014, the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) held six Scoping Meetings to gain public input concerning the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be developed for Texas Central Railway’s proposed project to build High-Speed Rail (HSR) between Houston and Dallas.  

While nine potential rail routes were initially released by the FRA in a June 2014 Notice of Intent for the project, recent Scoping meetings revealed that after preliminary consideration only two of the initial routes are to be included for further study and evaluation in the EIS. Those routes include a right of way that generally follows the BNSF Railway line that enters the region in the Tomball area. The second option would include right of way along an existing utility easement for high power electric lines that enters the region in the Cypress area and along the U.S. 290 corridor.

It appears that the Texas Central Railway is initiating steps to build in one of two corridors based on cost to construct the project as evidenced by information provided during Scoping meetings.

Staff developed a draft Township letter to submit to FRA/TxDOT urging that asks that additional consideration be given to the  IH-45 corridor.  The draft of proposed comments was provided to members of the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee for review prior to presentation to the Board.

In summary, The Woodlands Township comments ask that FRA and TxDOT develop a viable plan for high-speed rail service between Houston and Dallas supported by the project Environmental Impact Statement. The Township asks that an IH-45 alignment be included and considered for implementation during the EIS process with consideration of a passenger station located to accommodate passengers in the area substantially north of downtown Houston.

FRA will accept comments through November 14, 2014.
 
RECOMMENDATION:
 Consider approval of the proposed Township letter providing comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be developed for Texas Central Railway’s proposed project to build High-Speed Rail (HSR) between Houston and Dallas. Authorize the Chairman of the Board to sign the letter for submission of comments on behalf of The Woodlands Township.
Attachments
FRA letter


    

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