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Dallas city leaders 'pause' support for high speed rail to Arlington and Fort Worth

A wide image of two bullet trains passing each other on tracks
A Shinkansen bullet train like the one used in Japan could one day connect North Texas to Houston.

Dallas city leaders voted Wednesday to put a "pause" on supporting a potential high speed rail project to Arlington and Fort Worth.

The resolution comes as council members have expressed concerns over the rail's proposed above-ground alignment.

District 8 council member Tennell Atkins brought the resolution to Mayor Eric Johnson last week. It holds that "except for streetcar expansion projects currently under consideration," the council won't support building any above-ground passenger rail lines in Downtown, Uptown and Victory Park. It also states that the council will revisit the proposed project only after an economic impact study is completed by city staff.

"I'm saying this right here to you that whatever major project we do, we need to do the economic impact [study]," Atkins said Wednesday.

Council members requested the study after meeting with officials from Amtrak and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) last March. Amtrak announced in April that it hopes to begin constructing a line connecting Dallas to Houston by the "early 2030's." Meanwhile, NCTCOG is working to secure support and funding for the line to Arlington and Fort Worth.

While most council members support efforts to build high-speed rail to Houston, many are skeptical about the line to Fort Worth because of its currently proposed alignment along Interstate 30.

"With the RTC and the COG moving forward, literally full speed ahead with us not really understanding what the Dallas-Fort Worth connection would look like... I appreciate this moment to pause for us to really think about this and what the impact would be," said District 1 council member Chad West.

Other potential options include building a below-ground station in the Cedars neighborhood of Dallas, or upgrading the Trinity Railway Express, which already provides passenger rail service between Dallas and Fort Worth.

"I truly think if we're going to be really watching how we spend these precious dollars that we're going to get, and we want to maintain a robust connection, I think we should evaluate what we have now and is it economically sound?" said District 9 council member Paula Blackmon.

Council members ultimately voted to approve the resolution to withdraw support until the study is completed, with one member absent.

"I just want to make sure any new development beyond what's been approved by Amtrak for the Dallas to Houston, it's understanding that we are not supporting it until we get the economic impact study and re-analyze that," West said.

Pablo Arauz Peña is KERA’s growth and infrastructure reporter. Got a tip? Email Pablo at You can follow him on X @pabloaarauz.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.