The third year of Texas Central’s push for a high-speed rail has not been kind to it according to the Grimes County Judge, neither legislatively nor in the courts.
Both bills just passed about it in Austin, Ben Lehman recently told County Commissioners, were negative. One focused on safety, he said, requiring Texas Central Partners or its affiliates to perform certain studies and be financially responsible. The other one, he added, forbid using any state money to subsidize this high-speed rail project.
And that one, Lehman continued, was a big black-eye he’s happy to see, as it means the state’s not willing to subsidize it, and prevents TxDOT from spending any more than it’s legally required to do.
But, he added, the most significant thing to him was that Texas Central did not get a law passed that supersedes or overrules the county regulation we had previously put in place that requires a permit to construct a high-speed rail project through Grimes County.
And despite sending thousands of threatening letters and filing nearly 40 lawsuits, Lehman reported Texas Central lost the first two suits, then dropped the rest, including one against the County of Grimes.
Even by Texas Central’s own estimates, the judge said the project’s eventual cost has gone from $10 to $16 billion, adding there’s also no support for it from the Trump Administration.
So, Lehman concluded, although Texas Central continues to insist that the project is moving forward, he sees no evidence of that.