AUSTIN (KXAN) – As Amtrak and a Texas company announced a potential partnership Wednesday to connect the state’s two largest cities by high-speed rail, the Travis County Judge said Austin should be part of the proposed plan.

Amtrak said Wednesday it and Texas Central have submitted applications to several federal programs “in connection with further study and design work” on a 240-mile route between Houston and Dallas with a stop in College Station. The total travel time of the 205 mph route would be less than 90 minutes, according to Amtrak.

Travis County Judge Andy Brown said Wednesday he wanted the proposed line to extend from College Station through Austin and then to San Antonio and beyond.

With the continuation through Travis County, travel time from Fort Worth to Austin, via Dallas, could also be under 90 minutes, the county said in a release announcing Brown’s proposal.

Brown told KXAN, “(Rail) is a safe way to travel, it’s more energy efficient way to travel, and I think we’ll really help this region to have that asset.”

The next step towards a building a line to Travis County and beyond would be initiating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), according to the county’s statement. 

Amtrak said it has worked with Texas Central since 2016 when it entered into agreements to provide through-ticketing using the Amtrak reservation system and other support services for the planned high-speed rail line.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled in June 2022 that Texas Central had eminent domain authority. The Texas Tribune reported in August 2022 that the company’s CEO and president had resigned and land acquisition “seemed to have all but stopped in the last two years.”

In response, a spokesperson for the company, who is employed by a consulting firm that handles Texas Central’s media requests, said the project was still in the works.