The US, despite decades of research and exploration, remains without authentic high-speed rail capabilities.

Since 1987, investors have been trying to bring bullet train service to Texas. In 2014, a group organized under the name Texas Central made the latest attempt to connect Dallas to Houston with a bullet train that travels at more than 200 miles per hour, cutting a three-and-a-half-hour drive to a 90-minute ride. a train.

“You can’t do that in a car,” said Andy Byford, senior vice president of high-speed rail programs at Amtrak. “You can’t do that if you’re flying, if you consider going to the airport, going through security, coming back from the airport at the other end.”

Byford is the latest in a long line of US political pundits to call for more high-speed rail in the US. In 2023, Amtrak revived hopes for the Texas Triangle bullet train when announced its intention to expand its partnership with Texas Central.

The fast-growing region includes both the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Houston, two of the nation’s largest population centers.

“If you don’t build high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston, then you only have two options,” said Congressman Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a former managing director at Texas Central. “You can either expand the airport or expand the highway. This will not reduce travel time between these cities. It will still take at least three hours to get between Dallas and Houston.”

Local experts told CNBC that Texas’ growing driver population has affected the area’s roads, leading to traffic jams and safety issues.

“Our transportation system is really trying to keep up with our population growth,” said Brian Glover, a senior research fellow at Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute. “Commuters are delayed by around 40 hours every year.”

The Texas Central project has been repeatedly delayed as its backers deal with various regulatory hurdles, including environmental reviews and property rights disputes. In 2022 Supreme Court of Texas declared that Texas Central, a private entity, met the statutory definition of a public interurban electric railroad company, giving it the power of eminent domain.

“When I was notified by my nephew through an eminent domain article, I was absolutely shocked,” said Jody Berry, a Dallas farmer who opposed the Texas Central initiative. The proposed route for the Texas high-speed rail project crosses the Morney-Berry farm, which the Berry family has farmed for generations.

“Finding out that high-speed rail could potentially go through our property made it very difficult for me to sleep,” Berry said.

The project is expected to cost at least $33.6 billion, according to a March 2023 estimate from the Reason Foundation. Similar high-speed rail projects around the world face significant development cost overruns, including Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen system. The Texas route is designed to use the N700 cars found in the Shinkansen system.

The Texas effort received significant support from businesses in Japan and the US government. In 2018, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation provided a $300 million loan to support the project. And in late 2023, Texas Central received a Corridor ID grant to explore the route’s potential for a partnership with Amtrak.

With historical $66 billion passenger rail commitment, the US government under Biden appears to have the best bet in generations to build high-speed rail systems. But the project and other publicly subsidized ones, such as the California Project connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, remain uncertain. The estimated cost of the California project has skyrocketed from $33 billion to more than $100 billion amid delays and pushback from rural landowners, according to the California High Speed ​​Rail Authority.

“The Biden administration’s aspirations for high-speed rail fail to account for several realities, including a lack of customer demand, economic viability and impact on existing rail infrastructure,” said Congressman Troy Nels, R-Texas, during a congressional hearing in November 2023 of intercity passenger rail systems.

Backers of Texas Central declined repeated requests from CNBC for comment on the project’s progress and expected completion date.

Watch the video above to learn about the long effort to bring high-speed rail to the Texas Triangle.