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High Speed Rail Continues its Slow Speed Move Toward Construction

HOUSTON/DALLAS (Covering Katy News) - Developers of a proposed high speed train from Houston to Dallas are reporting two recent accomplishments that they believe puts them on a path to beginning construction as early as next year. The project has been in the planning stages for years and if constructed will zip passengers from the two major cities in 90 minutes at speeds of up to 240 miles-per-hour.

"On the heels of the recent regulatory announcement on the RPA, we’re excited to announce another major accomplishment," said a press release from Texas Central Railway. "We’re pleased to share that we have signed a design-build contract with the joint venture of Salini Impregilo, one of the largest civil engineering contractors in the world, and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction Company. Salini Impregilo is active in more than 50 countries on five continents, with experience building more than 4,000 miles of railway infrastructure around the world – in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas," the press release said.

"This agreement brings us one step closer to beginning construction of the civil infrastructure segments of the project," said Carlos F. Aguilar, CEO, Texas Central. Salini-Lane’s unmatched track record with rail infrastructure, and very specifically its world class high-speed rail expertise across the globe, will be central to the completion of America’s first end to end high-speed rail system.”

Salini Impregilo has built many high-speed train projects in Europe and iconic, complex projects around the world within the wider transportation sector, including the expansion of the Panama Canal.

“We are thrilled and honored to bring our large-scale railway expertise to this unique opportunity, said Pietro Salini, CEO Salini Impregilo Group. This inclusion in bringing high-speed train service to Texas and America, through leading the project’s design and construction, is an invaluable experience.”

Texas Central hoped to break ground in 2017 and then again in 2018. Now they believe construction will start in 2020. Opponents of the project say this most recent announcement is more of the same and means nothing.

“I don’t see it being anything new; it is the same thing they announced last year,” Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail told the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Central says the project will create an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits statewide over the next 25 years, including the creation of 10,000 jobs per year during construction and 1,500 permanent jobs when fully operational.

If construction starts next year, the project is still years away from carrying passengers. The earliest that trains would begin zipping between Houston and Dallas would be 2026. Tickets will be comparable to airline prices for a ride between the two Texas cities.

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