GRIMES COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Randa Calhoun loves her family’s property in rural Grimes County. She doesn’t love the idea of a high speed train, because she says based on the current planned route, it would cut her property in half. Property in which they’ve invested so much.
"This just is our home," said Calhoun. "There’s lot of work we’d like to do, but it’s difficult to put more money in not knowing what our land is going to look like in a few years if this project were to go through."
The route takes the train from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes at 186 miles per hour.
Much of the route cuts through rural, privately owned property.
The trains would run every half hour, something Calhoun and her congressman Kevin Brady oppose.
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"My main focus in on the route," Rep. Brady told ABC13 in a phone interview Tuesday. "It’s so damaging to our rural communities. They believe that by cutting across lands and homes for families for generations, that it will ruin the quality of life and make it tougher economically."
Brady sent a letter this week opposing giving the private company eminent domain and providing a federal guarantee on loans.
"This has been sold as a privately financed Texas project. But the group in Washington D.C. that is looking for billions of dollars of federal subsidized loans guarantees, and maybe most objectionably, that they want Washington to give them the power of eminent domain. "
Texas Central advocate Jack Drake, co-founder of the Transportation Advocacy Group "Jack," which supports better mobility, told ABC13 the current proposed path is the least obstructive and best option.
"It was the corridor that was identified as the corridor that would have the least impact on the land, the people, the roadways, the existing freight railways," Drake said. "Much of this right of way that is going to be used is already held as right of way for public utilities."
"My hope is that our friends in the countryside would give this a chance, would work with TCR as they are working with them now," he said. "About 30 percent of the land has been under contract with willing land owners."
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Randa Calhoun isn’t convinced and neither is her neighbor, Becky Morris.
She and her husband have built a life on forty-five acres, and she doesn’t want a 186 mile per hour train running through her land.
"My thoughts about high speed rail are pretty negative," she said. "If a high speed rail does come through, it will take away a lot of our property. It will take away our way of living. My husband and I, and many others just feel like it is just a boondoggle."
Texas Central has said publicly it is shovel ready for the project and that they have contractors lined up and ready to build.
Detractors say that’s not the case, at least not without what they’re seeking from lawmakers.
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In a statement to ABC13, Texas Central Railway wrote:
"Texas Central is making significant progress in bringing the nation’s first true high-speed train to the United States right here in Texas. We remain committed to communicating our progress and meeting with citizens along the route, and to bringing economic benefits and jobs to these communities."