Following months of legal hurdles and challenging news reports, Carlos Aguilar—president and CEO of Texas Central, the company behind the Dallas-Houston bullet train project—announced his resignation on LinkedIn over the weekend.
His resignation comes as the Texas Supreme Court is poised to issue an eminent domain ruling that some believe could imperil the project’s future.
“I am immensely proud of the achievements of our team, gaining among many other accomplishments, end-to-end regulatory approvals for the first true high-speed rail project in our nation’s history,” Aguilar wrote on LinkedIn. “This was a most conscientious and complex endeavor, carefully addressing concerns from land owners, stakeholders, and providing opportunities to all sectors of our society, a first for U.S. Infrastructure.”
Rocky times for the project revealed in headlines
As seen above, Aguilar spoke about the project in the past tense. Months of headlines about the project include Congressmen urge Texas Supreme Court to kill bullet train and Texas Bullet Train Challenged Over Property Taxes.
Still, “as more people flock to the state and its metro areas swell, Texas could benefit from robust passenger rail,” writes the Texas Tribune, citing U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a visit to Texas in March.
“I actually think Texas as a geography is a great candidate for high-speed rail because what you have are major population centers that are part of the same overall economic region but are also independent,” Buttigieg said in an interview with the publication.
“There’s no reason that quality, speedy train service should only be something in the Northeast. This is a great place for those kinds of deployments,” he added.
Despite the recent headlines, Aguilar wrote about his team’s achievements in his resignation announcement.
“The Texas Central staff grew from a small start-up to an expert interdisciplinary and integrated team that became a true leader in this sector worldwide, attracting the best of the best talent from Texas, the U.S., and, the world, to execute this project properly,” Aguilar wrote.
“Most of the ‘graduates’ of our effort will continue to contribute to our economy through their roles at other companies,” he added. “Eventually, this team could implement this desperately needed project to improve safety, reduce traffic, reduce greenhouse emissions, and connect two of the most important metro centers in the country with the most advanced train service available.”
“While I could not align our current stakeholders on a common vision for a path forward, I wish the project the greatest success and remain convinced of the importance of this venture for the safety and prosperity of all Texans,” he wrote. “Texas and the U.S. deserve the best transportation options, and I am convinced that in time, these will become a reality.”
Thanking various political, civic, and business leaders, Aguilar said he would “be announcing next steps soon.”
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