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Texas Central signs $16 billion contract with Webuild to build Texas high-speed rail

A rendering of the high-speed train. (Texas Central Partners)
A rendering of the high-speed train. (Texas Central Partners)(KWTX)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 2:30 PM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (KBTX) - The developers of the high-speed train between Houston and Dallas, Texas Central Railroad, has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild, an industrial group that specializes in construction and civil engineering, to lead the civil construction team that will build the Texas passenger line.

The 200 mph train would connect two of the largest cities in Texas, with a stop in the Brazos Valley along the way. The project will create a super-economy, connecting people in the 4th and 5th largest U.S. markets looking for safe, reliable, green and productive travel options, according to a release from Texas Central.

“Our goal is to put together a team of the best players in the world from each industry needed to bring this project to life. The addition of Webuild helps us accomplish that goal,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central. “Webuild has 115 years of experience designing and building some of the worlds’ best-known projects and we are proud to have them as a leader on this historic project.”

Webuild has worked in the U.S. since the 1980′s and has experience building 8,500 miles of railway and metro infrastructure in more than 50 countries on five continents. This project would not be their first high-speed train, according to Webuild they’ve built many in Europe.

According to the contract, Webuild will execute all the heavy construction for the project, designing and building all 236 miles of the alignment. Nearly half of the high-speed rail will be on a viaduct, a type of bridge that consists of a series of arches, piers or columns that support an elevated railway.

While Texas Central believe the railway will bring quicker, safer transportation and create new jobs, some, like Texans Against the High-Speed Rail and some property owners, say the the railway will hurt more than it helps.

“If it is built, the project will hit rural and minority communities along the proposed route like mine the hardest, including the other end of the proposed route of south Dallas where entire low-income minority neighborhoods would be displaced because only one route was ever considered,” said Waller County Judge Trey Duhon III when he testified against the high-speed rail to congress in May.

In April, six Brazos Valley counties joined a federal lawsuit to stop the high-speed rail project. The lawsuit claims the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it issued a Rule of Decision (ROD) approving a Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) for the proposed high-speed rail project.

According to Texas Central, the project is expected to bring an estimated 17,000 direct jobs during the six years of construction, over 20,000 supply chain jobs and more than 1,400 direct permanent jobs when the train is fully operational.

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