Walker County officials will continue to back surrounding counties in an effort to block a planned high-speed railway that would connect Houston and Dallas.
The Commissioners Court on Monday once again unanimously approved a resolution opposing the project that privately-owned Texas Central Partners currently has in the works. The high-speed rail lines are not expected to cross through Walker County, but county officials want to make sure their stance is known in case the proposed route changes.
“We have done several of these (resolutions), but they expire and we want to keep them up to date on the record,” County Judge Danny Pierce said. “We are joining other counties, which include Montgomery, Brazos, Waller, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington counties in their opposition to the high-speed rail.”
The resolution states that Walker County is opposed to any railways or facilities related to the train to cross-county roads because it would cause an increase in the costs of maintenance for those roadways.
County officials also believe the bullet train could be a public safety concern and they support all legislative actions prohibiting Texas Central from acquiring private land for the project through the use of eminent domain.
Texas Central said it is moving forward with the project despite opposition, but the company wants to work with local entities to ensure the railway is beneficial to all the parties involved.
“Instead of embracing this groundbreaking project that the majority of Texans recognize as a new, high-tech solution for congestion and as an economic driver for the state, some counties are taking an anti-business position,” Texas Central said in a statement. “Walker County roads will not be disrupted, it will not face maintenance costs and the train technology is the safest in the world. Regardless of the county’s actions, this project will continue, working closely with local governments to make this a success for each community it will serve.”
The Commissioners Court also approved the acceptance of a $5,000 donation from SM Energy to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office to help the agency buy equipment to provide officers with training.
“SM once again has been very generous to the first responders in Walker County,” Capt. Tim Whitecotton said.
In other business Monday, the Commissioners Court:
• Approved the purchase of an ambulance remount from Peach State Ambulance in the amount of $109,950.
• Approved the purchase of a rifle for Pcts. 1, 2, 3 and 4 constable’s offices in the amount of $6,940 that will be paid from the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office’s commissions fund from tax sales.
• Approved an invitation for bids for a used bulldozer for the Precinct 1 Road and Bridge Department.
• Approved approximately 4,374 feet of right-of-way easement on Dickey Loop.
• Approved approximately 553 feet of right-of-way easement on Dickey Loop.
• Approved the appointment of Lisa Olson to commissioner for Emergency Service District No. 1.