High Speed Rail – Update

This post serves as an update on the High Speed Rail Project.


The Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail (HSR) System could allow for a 90-minute trip between the two cities, due to a travel speed of up to 205 mph. The HSR would be a “closed” system, which means that the train would not share any intersections with roadways or other train tracks. The HSR will require its own dedicated tracks.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Dallas to Houston High Speed Rail (HSR) Project. The draft states that the Speed Railway will use the Japanese N00 Tokaido Shinkansen technology. The proposed system would connect the 240-miles between Dallas and Houston.  

The Draft EIS documents attempt to describe the FRA’s evaluation of the possible environmental impacts of the Project and recommends a preferred alternative from among six Build Alternatives between Dallas and Houston. The FRA will hold 10 public hearings in January and February 2018. The counties and dates of these public hearings are listed as such:

  • Dallas County – January 29, 2018
  • Navarro County – January 29, 2018
  • Ellis County – January 30, 2018
  • Leon County – January 30, 2018
  • Freestone County – January 31, 2018
  • Limestone County – January 31, 2018
  • Harris County – February 5, 2018
  • Madison County – February 5, 2018
  • Waller County – February 6, 2018
  • Grimes County – February 6, 2018

To get more information about the HSR Projects, the government’s website is: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0700

San Antonio Road Funds

In May of 2017, the voters of San Antonio approved the six propositions of the $850 million bonds offered by San Antonio. The bonds will be used to invest in the infrastructure of the city, such as sidewalks, parks, drainage improvements, and roads. One of the projects will include improvements to the Broadway corridor, renovating the Hemisfair street grid, as well as some pedestrian bridges near Hardberger Park. The Hemisfair Park Streets projects will reconstruct Hemisfair boulevard and is expected to begin construction in June of 2019. Broadway Street Corridor is also expected to undergo improvements thanks to the approved bonds, with construction beginning in December of 2018.

South Bexar County will also benefit from the city’s approved bonds. Highland Oaks roads will undergo significant construction improvements. Eight streets will be constructed. They will have 12-foot lanes, with 4-foot paved shoulders. The engineer for the project predicts that the road construction project should be completed by fall of 2019.

Texas Department of Transportation’s Plans for Loop 9

In 2014, Texas Department of  Transportation proposed the construction of a six-lane frontage road system between I-35E and I-45 through Dallas and Ellis Counties, Texas. The project will be constructed in three phases and TxDot will begin engineering and environmental studies for the section of Loop 9 from I-35 to I-45 (Corridor B) first. According to the TxDot, this initial section is approximately 9.5 miles in length and is expected to cost about $710 million.

Various public meetings have been held regarding Loop 9. A typical right-of-way for the Loop 9 project would vary from approximately 384 to 548 feet in width. Currently, TxDot predicts that due to the right-of-way acquisitions there will be at least 25 residential areas displacements, 7 commercial displacements and 68 other facilities such as carports, storage sheds, etc. displaced by the new frontage road. According to our records, TxDot has not yet finalized the route and those who will be affected. This is an ongoing project, and TxDot predicts that Phase 1 could be completed by spring of 2022.

SEC_StudyArea_A

Western Regional Economic Project – Transmission Line

Entergy Texas has plans for new transmission line in Montgomery and Walker Counties, Texas. Entergy has begun the filing process with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. This line is part of the Western Regional Economic Project designed to help support population growth in Texas. The new 230 kV transmission line is expected to be constructed by mid-2020 between the Lewis Creek Substation near Willis, Texas with one of the endpoints as either: A new Rocky Creek Substation west of Huntsville, Texas or a new Quarry Substation north of Huntsville, Texas. The new Rocky Creek or Quarry to Lewis Creek will require approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas through a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity application. Currently, they are still debating the route option. You can check the possible routes here.

Entergy - Western Regional Economic Project

New Epic Pipelines

Three companies have teamed up to build the largest pipeline since 2008. The EPIC pipeline will stretch approximately 730 miles long from the Permian Basin Shale field to the Corpus Christi region. “EPIC” stands for Eagle Ford, Permian, Ingleside, and Corpus. The pipeline is projected to transport up to 440,000 barrels per day of crude oil.  The three companies developing the EPIC pipeline are TexStar from San Antonio, Ironwood Midstream Energy Partners which is a Texas-based midstream company, and Connecticut-based commodities trader Castleton Commodities International. The EPIC pipeline will run a “batch system,” which means it will transport and store two types of crude from the Permian and one from the Eagle Ford. Construction is set to be completed by March 2019, two years after this pipeline was announced.

Epic Y Grade Pipeline LP also recently announced a new NGL line that will run for 650 miles and connect the Permian and Eagle Ford regions to Gulf Coast refiners, petrochemical companies, and export markets. This line is expected to run parallel to the 730-mile pipeline. Orla, Benedum, and Corpus Christi are some of the origin points the companies have announced as destinations for the line. Epic is actively acquiring rights of way. This pipeline is expected to be completed in 2019.

EPIC - 650 mi, 2 lines

Valero Energy Corporation and Magellan Midstream Partners Announce New Pipeline

V-Tex Logistics, LLC owned by Valero Energy Corporation has announced that it will jointly build a new pipeline with the Magellan Pipeline Company, owned by Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. The new pipeline will span about 135 miles from Houston to Hearne, Texas. This 16 inch pipeline will be assisted by a separate V-Tex Logistics, LLC 12 inch pipeline that will stretch 70 miles to connect the new terminals in Robertson County and in Williamson County. Representatives for Valero have already begun survey activity for the V-Tex 70-mile pipeline passing through Williamson and Milam counties. The 70-mile pipeline will impact Robertson, Milam, and Williamson counties. This project is expected to be completed in 2019.

 

Buckeye Partners New Crude Oil Pipeline

Buckeye Partners plan to build a new crude oil pipeline that will connect the Permian Basin to Corpus Christi. This new South Texas Gateway line will deliver crude oil and condensate from the originators in Wink and Midland Texas to the existing Buckeye Partners refining and export facilities in Corpus Christi. Property owners in the following counties may be impacted by the Buckeye Partner’s pipeline project: Live Oak, San Patricio and Nueces.

The pipeline is expected to be 24 inches in diameter and have the total capacity of transporting up to 400,000 barrels per day with multiple segregations. Buckeye Partners expects the new South Texas Gateway pipeline to be in service by 2019.

In late 2015, the United States ended the ban that had once made it impossible to sell American oil to any country except Canada. Since the ban has been lifted, it  has led to a very large increase in oil exports, especially in 2017. Buyers from all over the world are purchasing the new American supplies. In Texas, Corpus Christi’s port has begun a $1 billion capital investment program that involves deepening and widening the shipping channel for bigger tankers to dock and load. Crude exports from Corpus Christi have already increased from an average of 68,000 barrels a day during the first half of 2016 to 384,000 barrels daily as of this past April in 2017, according to a report by RBN Energy.

Buckeye Partners is one of the companies that has made major investments in the area. Since 2015, Buckeye has invested $1.2 billion in docks and other export facilities in Corpus Christi. Buckeye told the New York Times that they still have plans to put more than $1 billion into additional investments, including the new South Texas Gateway pipeline.

 

Targa’s Plans for New Grand Prix Pipeline

Targa Resources Corp., a Houston pipeline company, announced plans for a new natural gas liquids pipeline called Grand Prix this past May. The newly constructed line will stretch about 635 miles long and transport natural gas liquids from the Permian Basin of West Texas in addition to the company’s North Texas system to the final destination of  Targa’s complex in Mont Belvieu, located in east Texas.

 

 

Targa’s new natural gas liquids pipeline will be able to transfer as much as 550,000 barrels per day. Targa in the Permian area of west Texas has about 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of current gas processing capacity. Representatives from Targa have stated that surveying is already underway. Grand Prix is expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2019. Numerous counties that will likely be impacted by the Targa easement takings, including Eastland, Evath, Hood and Johnson.