The Dallas to Houston route looks like it may be on-line faster than California’s Madera to somewhere-near-Bakersfield segment, per Jeff Turrentine at NRDC:
So what’s the secret sauce that enables Texas to get moving while California plods along, aiming to finish sometime in the 2030s? Well, I’m sure it’s cheaper and easier to build in a place like Texas, with fewer environmental restrictions and a flat terrain (no Tehachapis to deal with).
But perhaps more importantly, the rail system would connect two major cities on a straight line, covering a distance that’s a bit too far to drive and pretty close to fly. In other words, it’s the sweet spot for high speed rail. And with that fast connection, private money is flowing.
Contrast that approach with California, which is zigzagging its train from Los Angeles to San Francisco in order to satisfy various political constituencies. The result is less private sector appetite to invest and a rail connection that requires significant public support and a long time horizon to build.
I’m certainly rooting for California to build high speed rail, but red state Texas may just beat California to the punch.