Senate Committee Aims To Stop The Dallas-Houston Bullet Train

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Michael MarksApril 6, 2017 3:02 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Texas Senate will consider a series of bills that could hinder progress on a privately-funded bullet train between Dallas and Houston. Rural landowners in the train’s proposed path oppose the project.

The bills approved by the Senate Transportation Committee include measures to bar private rail projects from using eminent domain and prevent them from receiving public funds.

Tim Keith is the president of Texas Central, the company behind the rail line. He says the bill singles out his group.

“…and seeks to separate it from the body of law already in place for all railroads and all other industries working to build public good assets. We have no desire to use eminent domain, are doing everything we can to avoid it, and will only do so as a last resort,” he says.

Similar legislation has been filed in the Texas House of Representatives

A Navy training program in Kingsville for the T-45 training jet has been grounded due to concerns about the plane’s oxygen system. T-45 pilots have experienced a lack of oxygen, and oxygen contaminants in the cockpit. Many instructors have refused to fly until the Navy figures out what’s causing the problems.

The Naval Air Station-Kingsville is one of three bases to ground its T-45s. The pause in training is expected to last at least two days.

The problem isn’t new. In August, a trainee and instructor in Kingsville were forced to eject from their T-45.

Neither pilot in this week’s accident was seriously harmed, but the plane crashed.

The expected arraignment of former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman took an unexpected turn Thursday.

Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider has more from the federal courthouse in Houston.

Stockman was expected to plead not guilty to all charges. Instead he asked the court to appoint him a new attorney as he could no longer afford to pay his current legal team. Emerging from the courthouse with his wife Patti, Stockman said only “See you Friday.”

Stockman served two terms in Congress and mounted an unsuccessful primary challenge to Senator John Cornyn. Stockman is alleged to have taken charitable donations and used them to pay for campaign and personal expenses.

The South Texas Republican told the judge that he had just 17 dollars in his bank account. He also said that he couldn’t work because the overseas travel his job requires would violate the conditions of his bond.

Stockman claims to be innocent of all charges.