Residents speak out against proposed bullet train routes

HOUSTON - More than 200 people turned out Thursday to voice their concerns over the proposed track of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) train that would take travelers from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes.

"I think that the HSR is a great solution for inter city travel but I believe it doesn't really have to go into the Central Business District," said opponent Tammy Merrick.  "I believe we're too congested in the routes they've selected."

As of now, one of the two proposed routes cut through the heart of the city near Memorial Park.

"Our neighborhoods would be further separated by this massive infrastructure that is necessary to put in to track a high speed rail system," said Super Neighborhood 22 President Tom Dornbusch. 

The man fielding the countless concerns Thursday night was Texas Central Rail President and former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels.

"I think the answers are good," Dornbusch said of Judge Eckels.  "I also think we need to be sure that the interaction continues.  The community needs to have input in the process as the design goes forward."

Opponents of the plan even offered an alternative route, suggesting that the tracks stop at the Northwest Transit Center outside the loop.

"We're really urging Metro to step up and take a light rail line over to the Northwest Transit Center.  That would take more folks to this high-speed rail train and would not disturb the urban neighborhoods."

The deadline for public comment is Jan. 9.  Then Environmental Impact Study will be conducted.

Once construction begins, the HSR is expected to take 4 years to complete.

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