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High-Speed Rail Project Reaches Another Milestone

Tue October 09, 2018 - West Edition #21
Texas Central Railway



The selection of the Italian firm, one of the largest civil engineering contractors in the world, reflects the participation of global organizations that are designing and building the high-speed train connecting Houston and North Texas.

Salini Impregilo's knowledge and experience in designing, building and leading large scale railway projects across the world is impressive, and its presence in the U.S. market with Lane is also strategic for the project,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos F. Aguilar. “Their inclusion in the consortium highlights the stature of the Texas project and the interest of global infrastructure companies to be part of America's first high-speed train.”

Salini Impregilo is active in more than 50 countries on five continents, with experience building more than 4,000 mi. of railway infrastructure around the world — in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas. It built many high-speed train projects in Europe, and some iconic, complex projects in the world in the wider transport sector, including the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The company has worked in the United States since the 1980s and expanded its presence in 2016, merging with The Lane Construction Corporation, a United States-based company with almost 130 years of experience in infrastructure work.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Pietro Salini, CEO of the Salini Impregilo Group. “We are delighted to be invited to take part to bring high-speed train service to Texas, as we have in Italy and other countries. It is precisely the kind of large, complex infrastructure project in which we have decades of experience. The United States is now our biggest single market, with a consolidated presence in highways, bridges and tunnels, and are pursuing the high-speed rail sector.”

The announcement is the latest milestone for the investor-led project — a 200 mph train connecting the state's largest population and economic regions in 90 minutes, with a midway stop in the Brazos Valley. The project will create a super-economy, connecting the 4th and 5th largest U.S. markets in fast-growing communities looking for safe, reliable and productive travel options.

As the lead of the civil construction consortium, Salini Impregilo will be responsible for all work up to the top of the rail, including viaducts, embankments and drainage.

Under the Limited Notice to Proceed (LNTP) agreement, the project's design-build participants will proceed with the front-end engineering and design of the train's civil infrastructure. Other services include optimizing execution approaches, strategies and logistics, as well as performing analysis to develop construction costs and schedule estimates.

That work helps to develop a design build contract that will be used to complete the civil infrastructure program. This is a precursor to financial close, after which construction of the civil infrastructure segments of the project will begin.

The agreement is the latest example of the project bringing the best subject matter experts to the team, creating a new industry in the United States. The train will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits statewide over the next 25 years, including creating 10,000 jobs per year during construction and 1,500 permanent jobs when fully operational.

The Texas train will be based on Central Japan Railway's Tokaido Shinkansen train system. It has operated for more than 54 years with a perfect record of zero passenger fatalities or injuries from operations, and an impeccable on-time performance record.

The Texas project will be built and operated without taxpayer-funded state or federal grants.

Texas Central and its partners are refining and updating construction planning and sequencing, guided by the Federal Railroad Administration's recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the project.

That federal review cited many factors in support of the project, saying the train “is needed to accommodate growing demand” in Texas and to provide a more environmentally favorable travel alternative.

The FRA now is working on a final environmental review that will help determine the project's timeline and final route.