During a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., Texas Congressman Kevin Brady secured a commitment from Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory to hold a public hearing to seek landowners and local officials’ comments in the rural counties impacted by the proposed Texas high speed rail.

Brady represents the 8th Congressional District, which is comprised of suburban and rural areas and located north of Houston.

The FRA, which is drafting federal rules on safety and the environmental impact of the project, is expected to announce proposed rules this month, at which time it will begin to seek public comments.

Brady and Texas Congressman Ron Wright, whose 6th Congressional District includes Ellis County, both oppose the high speed rail project and are fighting Texas Central Railroad’s efforts to obtain eminent domain power from Washington to seize Texas landowners’ property without their consent.

Brady said he was encouraged by the meeting.

“All we want is for our rural voices to be heard,” he said. “Administrator Batory is committed to reaching out beyond just Dallas and Houston to hear directly from our landowners and community leaders about the impact on our rural communities, including safety worries, damage to our rural countryside and documented questions about the financial shakiness of this controversial project.”

The FRA is expected to announce the public hearing sites and dates as the draft rules are announced.

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