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HCA Welcomes David Hagy with Central Texas Partners to discuss High Speed Rail

Thursday, April 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeffrey Nielsen

March 2016 Cover Story

HCA Welcomes David Hagy with Central Texas Partners to discuss High Speed Rail


The Houston Contractors Association was pleased to welcome Mr. David Hagy a managing partner with Texas Central Partners, LLC as our March luncheon presenter.  Mr. Hagy spoke on his company’s progress in creating a privately backed bullet train between Houston and Dallas.

Mr. Hagy stated that the project started six years ago with meetings with the chairman of the Central Japan Railway talking about bringing high speed rail to the United States.  Mr. Hagy stated that what most people don’t realize is that there is no high speed rail in the U.S. or in the western hemisphere at this point in time.  Other nations have attempted to bring a project like this into the U.S. but were unsuccessful.  Mr. Hagy stated that the difference between those projects and this one is that the Central Texas project will be a for profit, privately funded project, while the others all sought public funding.

To make a high speed rail line successful, according to Hagy, the train has to stay in a four to five hour trip window.  If the trip is too long, people take a plane, too short and they will take their car.  After reviewing the research data, the Dallas to Houston trip turned out to be the number one choice in the United States.  The east coast has a lot of people, but you have to travel through multiple states and you have to compete with a subsidized Amtrak.  The west coast terrain is difficult and the politics is not as business friendly.  Texas is a very business friendly state and is used to doing very large projects like the Port of Houston and NASA.

Mr. Hagy said that they were lucky that it was the Japanese that approached them with the project.  He stated that he thinks the Japanese line is one of the safest, most reliable and most profitable in the world.  The train that would be coming to Houston would be the fifth generation of the model originally used in Japan and will be the most technologically advanced.  The current Japanese line runs between Tokyo to Nagoya and moves 1300 passengers every four minutes and is within 36 seconds of being on time for the year.

The Texas train will travel at 205 miles per hour with three stations, one in Houston, one in Dallas and one in between probably near College Station.  Trains will run every 30 minutes during peak hours, and will run between 5:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.  During non-peak time the trains will leave every hour.  Mr. Hagy stated that the trains must go relatively straight with no grade crossings so there will be a minimum of 100 miles of elevated track coming into each city to avoid all of the road crossings.  Mr. Hagy stated that even when the train will be at grade level it will still be on an elevated berm with openings large enough to allow farm equipment and animals to move underneath.

Mr. Hagy stated that they expect to start construction on the line next year with a running train in 2021.  Central Texas Partnership will have a $10 billion plus investment in the line prior to operation. The estimated economic impact on Texas over the next 25 years will be $36 billion in direct impact.  It will pay the state in taxes $2.5 billion and the investment in Grimes County for the midway station will be approximately one billion dollars.  

According to a study, there are approximately 50,000 people who currently travel between Houston and Dallas at least three times a week.  These are considered the super commuters.  Both cities are expected to see a population increase of 50% over the next 35 years.  “With the current base of regular commuters, the casual users and the estimated growth, we believe that we can provide an affordable option for commuters in the future.” said Hagy. Trip time will be under 90 minutes and the security will be more passive than active as it is at the airport.  Passengers will be able to board a train when you arrive and begin working.  Trains will have wifi, they are extremely safe and smooth and can run no matter the weather.  Ticket prices will be variable based on demand much like an airline ticket, but they will have to be competitive with the airlines and private car travel.  Mr. Hagy also noted that they will have to fill up 400 seats every 30 minutes so they will price the tickets to make sure that happens.