Former Houston Astros owner and Temple-based businessman Drayton McLane Jr. was named the Chairman of the Board for Texas Central, the company announced Friday.
Texas Central, developers of the high-speed "Texas Bullet Train", made the announcement 11 months after McLane joined the board in January.
As chairman, McLane brings to the board ample experience in business, serving as owner, chairman, and CEO of the Houston Astros from 1992 to 2011. McLane is also a graduate of Baylor University and former chairman of Baylor's Board of Regents.
“Drayton McLane’s track record of success with mega-projects and multibillion dollar companies, as well as his enthusiasm to deliver the best transportation system in the world to Texas, will provide unique expertise as the Texas Bullet Train is designed and built,” Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar said.
The Texas Bullet Train, which would connect North Texas and Houston, is in its pre-construction phase, and McLane said he is ready to lead the project.
McLane issued the following statement regarding the Texas Bullet Train project:
“The more involved I have gotten with the Texas Bullet Train the more I realize its positive transformational impact on our state and our nation, “I am a business man who is meticulous about what I get involved in, and I am excited to be leading this project that leverages the capital and spirit of entrepreneurs instead of relying on taxpayer dollars. The Texas Bullet Train is a game changing transportation project that may well be the largest private civil construction project ever undertaken in the country, and it is right here in Texas.”
According to a Texas Central press release, McLane said the the train is a key solution to the state’s transportation problem as congestion continues to grow with the state’s population.
The Texas Bullet Train will not be McLane's first mega-project, either.
In 2012, McLane gave the lead donation for the construction of Baylor’s on-campus football stadium, a project that cost $260 million and now bears his family name, McLane Stadium.
Once completed, the train would reportedly travel up to 205 miles per hour, and link Texas' largest commercial hubs within 90 minutes.
The project is expected to generate $36 billion in economic activity over the next 25 years, according to the company.
McLane will replace Richard Lawless as chairman, even though Lawless will remain a board member.
“Richard has our heartfelt thanks for the tireless work on behalf of this project. His effort here and around the globe on behalf of this project has positioned us well to enter a new and exciting stage,” McLane said. “From the very start, he recognized Texas as the ideal spot to deliver the nation’s first true high-speed train. And he rallied Texans far and wide in support of the bullet train.”