From: Judi Foster
Sent: Monday, January 9, 2017 1:08 PM
To: Vicki Fullerton
Subject: TAR Endorsement of High speed train
I read in the December issue of the Texas Realtor Magazine that TAR has endorsed the proposed Texas Central Railway high speed train and can’t tell you how upset I am at that endorsement. As a longtime member of TAR, I am extremely upset that a membership poll wasn’t taken about this very important issue that will not only affect the Realtors, but Texas landowners all along the route.
In short, the train will, on its current proposed route, cut through beautiful rural properties on its way from Houston to Dallas. Some of this route will go through the middle of working farms and ranches, in effect, cutting them in half and making farming and ranching those properties very difficult. In other cases, it will be cutting right through people’s land and homes, some of which have been owned for many years or generations in some cases. Almost all of the rural county commissioners, judges, senators and representative have voiced their opinion against this. The railroad is trying to acquire land through an obscure 1800’s eminent domain Federal law that was enacted when our nation was sparsely populated and rail was needed. It will destroy land values where it cuts through these properties and render some unsaleable. The money is coming from Japan and we don’t need foreign countries coming in and destroying land values in Texas to profit a very few.
I was one of the organizers of a meeting in Montgomery early last year about the proposed train. We sent out word of the meeting via social media, emails and phone calls and hoped to have 300 attendees. We had over 800 in attendance from all over Montgomery and surrounding counties. The county judge, commissioners, state representatives and senators were all in attendance and ALL were adamantly opposed to the train. Mark Castleschouldt, Montgomery County Appraisal District spoke and told us how the train would decimate property values along its route for the foreseeable future, making some land worth pennies on the dollar in comparison to current value. We had appraisers say exactly the same thing. Kyle Workman from Leon County is heading the “opposition group” which is comprised of affected counties along the proposed route spoke of exactly the same thing……loss of property values and destruction of beautiful rural Texas lands, not to mention disrupting the very lives of so many landowners.
As Realtors I believe we should do all we can to protect, preserve and cherish private land rights for Texans, not promote something that will destroy these very things/rights. Larry Jacobs, Jacobs Properties, is a longtime, local Realtor, rancher and is very much opposed to the railroad. He is also a rancher who would be affected. We have friends in Leon County that have been told the line will cut their 250 acres in half. They fear it will make cattle ranching impossible and will so devalue their ranch it will become worth pennies on the dollar. This is their retirement dream and now they fear that dream is going away and their investment ruined. Who wants a train running through their property every 30 minutes at 250 miles per hour?
This proposed train will ONLY benefit a very few in Harris and Dallas counties. Do they really expect Texans to give up their vehicles to drive to Houston or Dallas, park a car, go through security, travel to their destination AT THE SAME COST OF A PLANE TICKET, have to rent a car or take a cab at the Dallas or Houston station and then do the same thing in reverse when they are ready to return. Doing all that will take almost the same amount of time as taking a plane or driving a personal car. They have proposed a stop in Shiro, saying it would be a “mid” point for students from A&M and Sam Houston State. Shiro is a tiny, beautiful, rural area and I have spoken to residents from there and I guarantee they do not want a station or the train. Do they really believe students are going to drive there and leave their cars? Not gonna happen!
I would encourage TAR to take a second, reasonable look at their endorsement. I have spoken to many Realtors in this area since the article came out and have not found 1 I favor. I believe TAR listened only to Houston and Dallas Realtors and did not read the membership that would be most affected by this land grab. Rural Realtors count!!!
Thanks for listening to my side and I sincerely hope TAR will talk with government officials along the proposed route and understand why this train is such a bad idea for Texas landowners.
Judi Foster, GRI, ABR, CHMS, Coldwell Banker United, Realtors