PRESS RELEASE September 12, 2018

DALLAS HOUSTON HSR TRUMPETING JAPANESE INTEREST BEARING LOAN…
STILL ONLY HAVE LESS THAN 2% OF NEEDED FUNDS

The Proposed Dallas Houston HSR Received a Notes Purchase Agreement from the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corps for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) for up to $300M

Jewett, Texas – Although the proposed Dallas Houston HSR project is trumpeting having received a maximum $300M loan backed by JOIN and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Texans Against High-Speed Rail is strongly refuting reports that characterize the loan as enough to “finish the project” or even “clear the way” for construction.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

With simple math and deductive reasoning, it’s clear this interest bearing loan, which if fully funded, would inject less than 2% of needed funds to construct the $18B-$20B project, is necessary for Japan to move it’s project along since the “Texas-based investments” have dried up and there aren’t enough domestic investors lining up to support the project into the next phase. Additionally, previous investors are nervous that their investment has been squandered on buying influence, propaganda, and a huge amount of wasteful spending.

Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against HSR, said of this most recent ploy, “This project has long wanted to be recognized as a Texas project in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. This loan is further proof that this is not a transportation solution for Texas but simply an attempt by the Japanese to export their antiquated 1950’s HSR technology. It is clear, the primary funding source for this project is the Japanese Government; no one domestically wants to lend money to this boondoggle. This latest news does nothing to change the facts…Texas Central is not a railroad, has no authority to condemn property, has only a fraction of the money necessary, has no approval(s) to construct, has no regulatory framework in which to operate their ride, and therefore cannot execute this business venture even if they had all the funding. Simply put, this is just another waste of Japanese taxpayer dollars, spent on lobbyists, consultants, and the harassment of hardworking Texans.”

Workman went on to say, “We are concerned that this is yet another unchecked attempt to mislead the public to believe this project is progressing forward and is inevitable. The company currently has no permission to operate, much less construct, this proposed HSR. Do not be misled.”

###

PRESS RELEASE December 8, 2017

TAHSR CHAIRMAN BEN LEMAN TO SEEK SCHUBERT OPEN SEAT IN TEXAS HOUSE

Ben Leman to resign as Grimes County Judge; remain TAHSR Chairman

Jewett, Texas – Texans Against High-Speed Rail (TAHSR) Chairman Ben Leman has been a champion for protecting taxpayer dollars and private property rights and, in his capacity as Grimes County Judge, county rights in a fight now entering its fourth year against the proposed Dallas Houston HSR.

While Leman will continue to serve as TAHSR Chairman, he will resign as Grimes County Judge today, December 8, 2017, and begin his candidacy to seek election to the Texas House of Representatives for the position soon to be vacated by Leighton Schubert representing District 13.

Kyle Workman, President of Texans Against High-Speed Rail, “On behalf of all Texans, we would like to express our gratitude to Representative Schubert for his tireless work and coordination with us and wish him the best.”

“We are also excited for Judge Leman as he begins this new chapter and know unequivocally that, if elected, he will continue the hard work started by Representative Leighton Schubert to represent Texas landowners who are being negatively impacted by this proposed HSR project.”

“Knowing Ben personally, the voters of District 13 should be eager to head to the polls and elect Ben as their next Representative. He is a man of character and wisdom and has a genuine motivation to serve his constituents,” Workman said.

###

Download / Print

PRESS RELEASE December 8, 2017

BRADY RAISES LEGAL CONCERNS OF DALLAS HOUSTON HSR DRAFT EIS WITH TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY AND FRA ACTING ADMINISTRATOR

Congressman Kevin Brady made official inquiry on behalf of constituents about illegal surveys and trespass

Jewett, Texas – On the eve of the intended publication date for the Dallas Houston HSR Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Congressman Kevin Brady sounded the alarm with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Federal Railroad Administration Acting Administrator Heath Hall about the proposed HSR project citing constituent concerns of trespass and illegal survey. As of this morning, per an FRA official, the DEIS has been delayed yet again and will not be published today as previously intended.

Landowners shared personal accounts and photos with Brady indicating surveyors for the Dallas Houston HSR project had trespassed on their property, some including photos of agents illegally surveying. Brady also noted in his letter the concerns of Grimes County Judge Ben Leman who explained the permanent injunction against Texas Central Partners and their agents from surveying county property as a result of an illegal survey and damage to county property.

Kyle Workman, president of TAHSR, said, “This Draft EIS has been delayed an unprecedented amount of times so while we are not surprised it has been delayed again, we are appreciative that the FRA and the Department of Transportation are taking these concerns highlighted by Congressman Brady seriously. With this news brought to their attention, it will be difficult process of determining what information contained in the DEIS is based on legally obtained information and what is not. We hope there will be a thorough investigation into this matter. Providing illegally obtained information to the federal government to formulate a DEIS is a serious issue.”

“Congressman Brady has been a steadfast ally in representing the concerns of all Texans who will be negatively impacted by this proposed HSR project. His letter highlighting illegal activity on which the all-but-printed-DEIS is based is a strong show of his commitment to protecting private property rights and the integrity of our federal government,” Workman added.

###

Download / Print

PRESS RELEASE October 12, 2017

ATTORNEY GENERAL AND TXDOT CONTINUE HIDING SECRET HSR “FEASIBILITY STUDY” FROM LANDOWNERS

Travis County Court Rules State Agency Can Hide Information from the Public

Jewett, Texas – In exchange for the use of its taxpayer-funded resources, Texas Central disclosed a Feasibility Study to TxDOT in 2015, and now the Texas Attorney General and a district judge are blocking this document from review by the public. The study – commissioned and paid for by Texas Central’s foreign partner the Japan Bank for International Cooperation – allegedly shows that the proposed high-speed rail will attract millions of passengers each year while generating billions in economic benefits to counties along the affected corridor. Yet, Texas Central has fought hard for the past two years to make sure the study never sees the light of day.

TAHSR filed an open records request for the Feasibility Study, but the Attorney General ruled that Texas Central could withhold the document from the public. The Attorney General made this ruling even though the document is now a government record in the possession of TxDOT, a state agency.

TAHSR filed suit in Travis County against TxDOT and the Attorney General, seeking judicial review of the Attorney General’s decision. Texas Central intervened in the lawsuit, and moved for a summary judgment claiming that release of the study would “give advantage” to its competitors and “substantially harm” its competitive position. This is despite the fact that Texas Central has pushed back the project’s start date to 2023 (at the earliest), and secured less than 1% of the $20 billion in financing it needs to construct the rail line. Additionally, even though the document is not even owned by Texas Central, the company also claimed that it should be allowed to hide the study from TAHSR and the public because “TAHSR’s stated purpose is to inflict substantial harm on TCR.”

At the summary judgment hearing on October 5, Texas Central appeared with an army of attorneys and corporate representatives. Unfortunately, the court sided with Texas Central’s corporate interests and granted its summary judgment. As a result, Texas Central can continue to hide the Feasibility Study from the thousands of landowners who stand to lose their private property to the Japanese government for this ill-advised project, as well as keep the public in the dark about the public necessity and long-term feasibility of this project.

Although TAHSR is disappointed that the court put Texas Central’s private interests before those of the public, TAHSR will continue to demand transparency from Texas Central, TxDOT and the Attorney General. And TAHSR will continue to fight Texas Central at every turn so property rights and tax dollars are not stolen for a foreign-driven private project destined for failure.

TAHSR President Kyle Workman said of the judgement, “The public doesn’t need their trade secrets, but we do need justification for their plans to take private property. If this document held such a fantastic forecast for their project, it should be part of their marketing materials…not hidden at all cost. This is yet another attempt to hide the truth from the public.”

###

Download / Print

PRESS RELEASE August 1, 2017

TEXAS CENTRAL APPEALS GRIMES COUNTY SURVEY INJUNCTION

Jewett, Texas – Grimes County officials have released a statement regarding the county’s lawsuit against Texas Central Partners, in which Judge Albert McCaig permanently enjoined Texas Central or its agents from conducting surveys that would alter or damage county rights-of-way, and Texas Central has now appealed this ruling. The summary judgment by Judge McCaig was issued in April and prohibits Texas Central from performing the types of surveys needed to progress the high-speed rail project forward to construction. Although Texas Central attempted to downplay the significance of the ruling, the company’s appeal indicates they need this ruling to be overturned in order to proceed with their proposed Dallas Houston HSR plan.

Following a press conference held by Grimes County Judge Ben Leman on May 9, Texas Central attempted to spin the ruling by claiming that the company was still able to perform surveys, just not ones that alter or damage county rights-of-way.

In addition to his statement following the Grimes County summary judgment ruling (found here), Judge Leman added, “If determining property lines and elevation were the only things needed to construct a high-speed rail across our county rights-of-way, the company could be in the clear to move forward with surveys. However, information that can only be obtained through surveys that alter or damage county rights-of-way is required to determine foundation material type and design, among other critical construction decisions. Additionally, Grimes County requires proof of eminent domain authority prior to issuing a permit for high-speed rail construction on county rights-of-way. The county’s understanding of Judge McCaig’s ruling is that if Texas Central had the power of eminent domain, the court could not have enjoined the company from conducting the activities prohibited by the court’s permanent injunction. Having failed to provide proof of eminent domain authority to Judge McCaig, we feel confident that Texas Central will be unable to satisfy Grimes County’s regulation requiring proof of eminent domain authority. This regulation has also been passed in seven other counties along the affected corridor. Without proof of eminent domain authority, Grimes County and these other counties will not issue an HSR construction permit to Texas Central.”

Kyle Workman, President of Texans Against High-Speed Rail, weighed in on the appeal saying, “Texans Against High-Speed Rail has a long enough history with Texas Central to quickly recognize their spin and switch tactics. On one hand, they dismiss the severity of the ruling, pointing fingers at county officials. On the other, they quietly appeal because they cannot progress their project with this injunction in place. They have just enough marketing money to spin any negative news about their project to protect investor confidence; yet, they have secured little, if any, of the now 16 billion dollars (and growing) estimated construction costs. This project is nowhere near shovel ready; it doesn’t meet any of the America First requirements set forth by the Trump administration, and our state leaders have said they want nothing to do with helping to advance this project. It’s becoming more clear every day that Japan’s HSR export dreams are turning into a financial, legal and regulatory nightmare.”

Media representatives are encouraged to reach out to Texas Central for the spin on their appeal of this ruling. Texans Against High-Speed Rail, a group of average, everyday landowners attempting to protect property rights of all Texans, works to hold Texas Central to their claims while uncovering information vital to public review to prevent irreversible property value loss and eminent domain abuse.

###

PRESS RELEASE May 25, 2017

ABBOTT HAS OPPORTUNITY TO STEER CLEAR OF TRANS-TEXAS CORRIDOR REDUX

Jewett, Texas – Two bills requiring additional security and precluding state funds for private high-speed rail are heading to the desk of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign the bills in keeping with his fiscal conservatism and to set a higher standard for HSR safety and security. Authored by Senator Brian Birdwell and House companion bill authored by Representative Leighton Schubert, SB 975 (HB 2169) sailed through the Senate and House as it relates to requiring highspeed rail providers to have increased security above and beyond what the current promoter of the Dallas Houston HSR has in its plans. SB 977 (HB2172), Senator Charles Schwertner (et al) and Representative Trent Ashby (et al) faced only slight opposition from Dallas and Houston area Democrats but ultimately made its way to passage when the vastly conservative Legislature supported precluding state funds from being spent on private high-speed rail projects.

It is important to note that both SB 975 and SB 977 were opposed by Texas Central company officials in public hearings in the Senate Transportation Committee. Their position on SB 977 was especially ironic since company officials have been publicly stating for the last several years that no state funds would be needed for their private project. However, once company officials and their twenty-plus lobbyists realized the majority of legislators supported these common-sense bills, company officials changed their position(s) during subsequent committee hearings. Texas Central’s official position was neutral on HB 2172, yet still opposed the companion to SB 975 (HB 2169). And on the day before the floor vote in the House for both bills, in keeping with the status quo of saying one thing then changing it later, the company disseminated information capitulating their opposition to avoid the perception of a devastating loss under the dome.

Kyle Workman, President of Texans Against High-Speed Rail: “We are a humble group of landowners who are standing up to protect our land, our neighbors and our state. We are thankful that the entire Texas Legislature shares our concern about the negative effects the Dallas Houston HSR could have on our state. These bills don’t discriminate and don’t hinder their opportunity to move this project along as a free-market, private venture. And while we highly doubt they can construct this project without proof of eminent domain or state funds, should they proceed, tax dollars, landowners and communities will be much better protected from this Japanese funded boondoggle.”

Representative Leighton Schubert, HB 2169 author: “We live in a time when we must be practical and realistic about threats to our society, particularly threats to public transportation. This is a common-sense measure that requires that any future high-speed rail operation, if built, ensures the safety of passengers and employees, as well as the communities in and around the rail routes.”

Senator Brian Birdwell, SB 975 author: “While I maintain my steadfast opposition to the Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail project―both for the landowners who will be harmed by it in the short term and for the Texas taxpayers who will likely be asked to subsidize it in the long term―I am proud of the legislature for passing my SB 975 to ensure the public safety and security of all those on and around any future high-speed rail line in Texas.”

Senator Charles Schwertner, SB 977 author: “Despite their insistence that this high-speed rail will be built entirely with private funding, Texas Central nonetheless fought efforts to hold them to that promise at every turn. By prohibiting the state from spending public funds on a private high-speed rail project, SB 977 will finally require Texas Central to put their money where their mouth is and guarantee that state taxpayers are never asked to subsidize, bail out, or otherwise financially support this ill-conceived high-speed rail project.”

Representative Trent Ashby, HB 2172 author: “While I hope this boondoggle never materializes, I felt it was important to go ahead and codify that no state dollars will be appropriated for the construction and operation of this proposed high speed rail project. The passage of Senate Bill 977 will bind this private company to their claim that they do not need state funding for this project.”

###

 

Pin It on Pinterest