The Texas Bullet Train announced its preferred location for its Houston passenger station.
The terminal, at the Northwest Mall site near the interchange of US 290 and Interstate 610, a high-growth area, with easy access to employment centers, including a medical center and downtown.
The selection comes about a month after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released an extensive environment analysis, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which said the 200-mph, Houston-to-North Texas train would alleviate the strain on the state’s existing infrastructure and is needed to accommodate growing demand.
In the DEIS, the FRA outlined three station options in northwest Houston, including the mall site. Texas Central has named it as their preferred site because of minimal environmental and community impact and ability to connect Houstonians to desired destinations.
Also, it allows the high-speed train largely to follow existing rights of way, while providing passengers with easy, efficient roadway access and connectivity with METRO’s Northwest Transit Center. Studies show the center of Houston’s population base is growing north and west of the Central Business District.
Federal regulators, in the environmental report, cited the Houston station’s many economic benefits, including an increase in property values within a half-mile of the terminal as a result of the train project. That’s in addition to new and related transit-oriented development in the area.
The report provides additional guidance as the project moves into its construction phase, minimizing impacts on the environment and communities along the 240-mile path. The train will create 10,000 jobs during each year of construction and about 1,500 full-time jobs when operations start.
According to the DEIS, the concourses will consist of public areas, restaurants, bars, seating areas, fast foods, concessions and newsstands, along with pedestrian connections to an adjacent parking facility.
The bullet train is expected to remove 14,630 cars daily from Interstate 45, which will save 8.5 million gallons of gas a year.