FRA Identifies Draft EIS Alignment Alternatives for the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project

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Dallas To Houston High-Speed Rail Environmental Impact Statement

November 2015


FRA Identifies Draft EIS Alignment Alternatives for the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project

The Federal Railroad Administration released its Alignment Alternatives Analysis Report. The report identifies the potential alignments that will be evaluated in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project proposed by Texas Central High-Speed Railway (TCR).  Following a comprehensive analysis of the major corridors proposed for the project, FRA has narrowed the focus of its environmental analysis to six potential alignments.  The report, released on FRA's web site here, is the next step in the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


FRA's analysis began with 22 potential route alternatives in five major geographical areas, and evaluated them, using NEPA screening criteria, to compare their potential to create impacts to the human and natural environment. The five major geographical areas are:

·         Corsicana Area

·         Bardwell Area

·         I-45 Area

·         Middle Area

·         Hockley Area


The driving purpose behind FRA's analysis of the project is to identify impacts to the environment and communities along the potential alignments.  FRA will ultimately issue a Draft EIS detailing this information for the public and that will be discussed at future public hearings on the project. 


From the 22 potential route alternatives, FRA determined that 6 potential alignments will be carried forward for more detailed evaluation in the Draft EIS, as illustrated below.

NEPA Process Funnel chart

Table 1 Potential Alignments

Potential Alignment Table

Figure 2 Potential Alignments

Map of potential alignments.

In its Alignment Alternatives Analysis Report, FRA describes the detailed process it used to review and analyze the potential route alternatives. In addition, as required by NEPA, FRA will evaluate a No Build Alternative in the Draft EIS. The No Build Alternative will serve as the comparison against which the 6 potential alignments or “build alternatives” will be evaluated.


For More Information

FRA posts project reports, maps, and updates as new information is available on FRA’s project website:

Current Activity

·  FRA identifies 6 potential alignments to be studied in the Draft EIS

·  Federal, state and local resource agency coordination to gather data for use in the Draft EIS

·  Environmental analysis and investigations





Project Status

    FRA published a Corridor Alternatives Analysis Technical Report in August 2015. FRA concluded the Utility Corridor is the only feasible end-to-end corridor alternative.


    FRA is conducting environmental field studies in support of the Draft EIS, which will continue into 2016. The six potential alignments will continue to be refined and evaluated as potential environmental impacts are identified, as required by NEPA.

    Next Steps

    Next, FRA will begin preparation of the Draft EIS.  The six potential alignments will continue to be refined as they are evaluated for potential environmental impacts, as required by NEPA. After the Draft EIS is published, FRA will hold public hearings along the project corridor to inform the public of the potential impacts, proposed avoidance and mitigation strategies, and the Agency’s preferred alternative. The public hearings serve as one of several opportunities for public input and comment on the Draft EIS.


    In conjunction with the public hearings, there will be a 45-day comment period during which FRA will receive comments and input from the public, local and state agencies, and any other interested parties.  More information on how the public may provide comments will be made available when the Draft EIS is published.