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"Taxpayer resources should be focused on our public health crisis – not on private railroads."

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Washington, July 2, 2020 | comments

CONROE, TX -Today, Congressman Kevin Brady spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives against a plan – backed by Texas Central Railroad and special interest groups– that would leave American taxpayers footing the bill for a private Texas project.

Click here or above to watch the full remarks.


I want to thank the Ranking Member for his insistence that both parties work together to develop and fund infrastructure priorities in America. This is the way it ought to work.

This issue has never been partisan in the past. Mr. Graves has made the point; he’ll come to the table and work together. He is exactly right, and I support his efforts.

I rise today to support Representative LaMalfa’s amendment to strike certain credit risk premium provisions in the underlying bill. The amendment protects federal taxpayers all across America to make sure they aren’t stuck holding the bag when a specific railroad defaults on its loans.

The author of the original provision readily admits this is an earmark for Texas Central Railroad in Texas. This is a private company that claimed for years that they would fund this privately and it would be a state railroad.

But they have reneged on that.

They are now considering one of these loans to build a high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas. But Texas Central’s train is so risky and their financial situation so poor, they say they can’t even pay the risk premium up front.

And for this reason, they’ve requested legislators change the federal law in order to help the company qualify for a loan they would never receive under standard rules.

This is a huge red flag.

That is why I feel that it’s important for legislators of both parties to support Representative LaMalfa’s amendment to ensure that we don’t lose important taxpayer protections for these RRIF loans and allow for prolonged CRP payment schedule.

Here’s the situation – Texas Central Railroad is privately funded state railroad. And they always promised to Texas this project “does not need, does not want, will not ask for government grants for construction or public money to subsidize.”

It is now clear that promise – which was used to get the support of communities across Texas – was misleading. In April, Texas Central announced they would renege on their original promise and they will now seek federal stimulus money.

There is a reason they’re doing that. The project’s costs have tripled from its original estimates to thirty billion dollars. These ballooning projections are especially concerning considering the project also faces other significant hurtles; lack of financial feasibility, they have no power for eminent domain, thank goodness – but they are coming to Washington for the power to seize peoples’ lands without their consent.

There are potential safety and flooding issues, and near uniform opposition from local and state officials along the rural route of this.

Texas Central is now asking House Democrats to allow a change in the Green New Deal legislation to make it easier to renege these loans.

We should not condone this; we are in a COVID crisis. Those dollars should be used for healthcare, not a boondoggle.

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