If Texas Central still plans on breaking ground on a high-speed rail project by the first half of 2021, some paperwork needs to be pushed through.
The $20 billion project still needs to get the approval from the Surface Transportation Board, and according to the Texas Tribune the permit has not been applied for yet. The Texas General Land Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also are looking for permit applications, and the Texas Department of Transportation needs to approve permits for the rail line to cross state roads during construction.
To make matters worse, Texas State Rep. Steve Toth has authored a bill that would prohibit state agencies from giving permits to high-speed rail projects that have yet to receive the necessary federal permits and approvals.
Texas Central is in the process of acquiring land along the proposed route, and says more than 600 parcels covering 40 percent of the lots have been secured. The company is facing a lawsuit by a Leon County landowner that claims Texas Central is not an operating railroad and that it could not use eminent domain to take land that is needed for construction. The Texas Supreme Court will make a decision on whether or not it will hear the case in the coming months.