(Adds details on land deals)
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas Feb 7 A Texas high-speed rail
company announced agreements to withdraw nearly all its pending
land survey court cases on Tuesday, days before the leaders of
Japan and the United States are expected to discuss a joint
jobs package that may include the project.
Texas Central Railways, a private firm seeking to build a
240-mile (386 km) high speed rail link between Dallas and
Houston, said it had withdrawn 17 cases concerning access for
land surveys to initiate more talks with property owners. It
added that only one further land survey case remained.
Land option agreements have been reached on about 30 percent
of the parcels needed for the train’s route in a 10-county
stretch between North Texas and Houston, the company said. An
option agreement for 50 percent of the parcels in a county that
will be a midway stop had also been reached, it said.
The United States is one of the few leading developed
countries without high-speed rail links. Central Japan Railway
Co, a world leader in the field, said it has provided
the Texas project technical assistance through a subsidiary.
Japan is putting together a package it says could generate
700,000 U.S. jobs and help create a $450-billion market, to
present to U.S. President Donald Trump this week, Japanese
government sources familiar with the plans said.
The five-part package, to be unveiled when Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe visits Trump on Friday in Washington, envisages
investments in infrastructure projects such as high-speed
trains, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they
were not authorized to speak to the media.
The proposal comes after Trump attacked long-time U.S. ally
Japan for what he called unfair trade practices.
The Texas high-speed rail project is one of several floated
in the United States, including a network in California where
construction started in 2015. Texas Central, which has been
seeking about $10 billion in funding, said its project will
create 10,000 jobs each year of the railway's four-year
The link between the fourth and fifth most populous U.S.
metro areas of Dallas and Houston is expected to use Japanese
Shinkansen, or bullet train, cars.
Texans Against High Speed Rail, which opposes the project,
said the railway will infringe on private property rights and
has called on Texas lawmakers to put the brakes on the project.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Tom