Texas Central—the ‘other’ U.S. high-speed rail project

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar has resigned.
Texas Central

When it comes to high-speed rail in the U.S., the California High-Speed Rail Authority gets a lot of attention in the press.

This is due in part to the fact that the CHSRA is a government-funded project, while the other big high-speed rail project in the U.S. – the Texas Central – is privately funded. We thought it would be worthwhile to cover some of the major milestones the Texas Central reached in 2020.

Major Milestones Reached in 2020

Legal:-May 7: The 13th Court of Appeals of Texas issued a unanimous ruling confirming Texas Central’s status as a Railroad under Texas Law

Regulatory:-May 21: US Army Corps of Engineers issued its preliminary designation affirming the FRA selected route as the Least Environmentally Damaging Proposed Alternative (LEDPA), agreeing with FRA on the chosen alignment- May 29: FRA released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)- July 17: Surface Transportation Board (STB) confirmed jurisdiction over the Texas Central project-September 11: FRA issued its Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) establishing Federal safety standards under which Texas Central Railroad will operate the high-speed train and giving environmental clearance for the selected alignment from Dallas to Houston

Land:-Texas Central has control of over 600 parcels of land needed for the project-Texas Central has control of the three station sites in Dallas, Houston and the Brazos Valley

Jobs and Impact:-Texas Central is ready to build and will proceed to construction as soon as possible to contribute to the Nation’s COVID-19 recovery-This project will create more than 17,000 direct jobs during the six years of construction and over 20,000 supply chain jobs-This project will have over $10 billion dollars in immediate economic impact across the U.S. via contracts for steel mills and other manufacturers, minority and women owned businesses, veterans, rural businesses-The project will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits over its first 25 years in the form of direct spending during construction, employee payroll and spending related to the maintenance and operation of the system

To execute this project, Texas Central has put together a world-class team of experts and industry leaders including:

Webuild: In September 2019, Texas Central signed a design-build contract with Webuild (SaliniImpregilo/Lane Construction Corp.) to supply the civil infrastructure work for the project.This includes the design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the entire route, the installation of the track system and construction of related buildings and services along the route that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment.

Bechtel: Based in Virginia, Bechtel is the world’s leading rail program manager. They will be our lead to oversee all aspects of this project as well as the integration of all scopes.

Central Japan Railway (JRC)/Renfe: We have two of the world’s leading rail system operators. JRC, based in Japan, is the technology provider and Renfe, based in Spain, is the operator of our system.

The Shinkansen United: The best high-speed rail technology (Tokaido Shinkansen) in the world. The Shinkansen United includes Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba, NEC, and JRC.

Kiewit: Kiewit, based in Nebraska, and Mass Electric Construction Company, based in Massachusetts, market leaders in Rail systems construction and installation, will install the core systems that will operate the train, in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Matthews Southwest (MSW) and Suffolk Construction: MSW, a Texas-based real estate developer, along with Suffolk Construction, based in Massachusetts, which has recently completed the most advanced rail terminal/commercial space in the nation, will develop and build the Texas Central stations.

Business and Workforce Opportunity Policy. From the highest levels of leadership throughout the whole company and supply chain, Texas Central Railroad is committed to living and fostering a culture of inclusiveness. As part of this commitment, our Business and Workforce Opportunity Policy (BWOP) outlines our strategy to attract, include and maximize the participation of Texas-based rural, minority, women, small, disadvantaged, veteran, and disability-owned businesses in building and operating the Railroad. This commitment is at the core of all decision-making processes throughout our organization, from contracting and recruiting to the allocation of financial resources.

About Texas Central. Texas Central, which includes its operating subsidiary Texas Central Railroad, is the company undertaking the development, design, construction, finance, and operation of the innovative new high-speed passenger train line that will connect the fourth and fifth largest economies in the country, North Texas and Greater Houston, in less than 90 minutes, with one stop in the Brazos Valley.

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