JudicialTransportationTexas Central Files Letter with Texas Supreme Court Abating Rumors of the High Speed Rail’s Demise

The departure of Texas Central's CEO sparked rumors that the project is ending, but lawyers claimed otherwise to the Texas Supreme Court.
June 22, 2022
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The news of high-speed rail Texas Central’s CEO’s departure prompted some landowners to file amicus curiae letters with the Texas Supreme Court while awaiting its decision in the Miles v. Texas Central eminent domain case heard in January.

In response to the letter filed on behalf of landowner Calvin House, Texas Central’s attorneys filed a letter attempting to abate rumors that Texas Central’s fate is sealed and its dissolution imminent.

“Contrary to such unsupported speculation, Texas Central remains open for business under its new management, is continuing to seek further investment, and is moving forward with the development of this high-speed train. Texas Central looks forward to this Court’s opinion in this case,” Marie Yeates, appellate attorney for Texas Central, wrote.

No details about new management or plans to seek investment were included.

In his letter, House asked the court to rule in favor of landowners because of the recent resignations at Texas Central. The letter noted that former Texas Central Chairman Richard Lawless said that the rail project is now being managed by Michael Bui, who works for FTI Consulting and “advises clients through distress events, bankruptcy, reorganization, and sale.”

The Texan Tumbler

Texas Central’s former CEO and President Carlos Aguilar announced his departure from the venture on Sunday, June 12, via LinkedIn.

“Given news reports in the international press today, I am announcing my departure from Texas Central,” Aguilar wrote.

News about his departure was reported on a Spanish news site because Texas Central had entered an agreement with Renfe, a Spanish train operator, in 2018.

Aguilar’s biography has been missing from the Texas Central website since April, and no other executive team members are currently listed on the site.

The railroad has been engaged in litigation with Miles over eminent domain authority to gain property along the rail line since 2016.

In May 2020, the 13th Court of Appeals ruled that the project can exercise the power of eminent domain because it qualifies as a railroad under Texas law.

The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Miles case in January, but no opinion has yet been issued.

The high-speed rail project planned between Dallas and Houston has also faced funding issues. While originally advertised as funded by private investors, Aguilar commented last fall that the fate of the railway was largely contingent upon federal infrastructure funding.

Furthermore, Texas Central has yet to file an application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that is required before construction may begin. The STB’s analysis would consider the economic viability of the project, engineering work, and application of the rules promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.