LONG-STANDING readers may remember the Texas TGV, a proposal to build a 1000 km high speed network linking Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. This bit the dust in 1994 after Texas TGV Corp failed to raise sufficient funding for a franchise to build and operate the routes. Something similar, if a trifle more challenging, is now back in the arena.
Billed as the Trans Texas Corridor, the proposal consists of ’a series of infrastructure corridors located throughout Texas’ with a total length of 6700 route-km. If that is not impressive, read on.
Each 66m wide corridor would have six rail tracks, two for high speed passenger trains, two for commuter services, and two for freight. There would also be a 10-lane highway, with two lanes in each direction reserved for lorries. Not only that, but a 60m strip would be allocated for utilities - electricity, oil and gas.
Priority segments would link Denison to the Rio Grande valley, Texarkana to Houston and Laredo, Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston, and El Paso to Orange. Price tag for this monster project is $142bn to $183bn, and the ’development span’ is 30 years, during which time the population of Texas is expected to nearly double from 21 million to 40 million.
The gigantic scope of the Corridor explains why representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation began touring Europe in September, with stops scheduled in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Roma. The roadshow was organised by Halcrow as part of its work for Texas DoT.
Texas TGV was killed off by an unholy alliance of farmers and airlines. This looks altogether bigger and may have more momentum. Time will tell. n