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Companies Selected To Design, Build Proposed D-FW To Houston Bullet Train

Norihiro Kataoka
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

Irving-based Fluor Enterprises and the Lane Construction Corp. have been chosen to design and build a proposed high-speed rail between North Texas and Houston, developer Texas Central Partners announced Monday.

Texas Central has been developing the $12 billion-plus project for several years. The 240-mile bullet train would shuttle passengers to and from downtown Dallas and northwest Houston with a midway stop in the Brazos Valley in 90 minutes on train cars traveling 205 miles per hour.

The company promises to complete the project without taking any public money and to help increase tax revenue for cities, counties and school districts along the route.

Texas Central, Fluor and Lane will work together on “refining and updating the project’s construction planning and sequencing, scheduling and cost estimates, procurement and other design and engineering activities related to the civil infrastructure,” according to a news release.

After development and financing, Fluor and Lane would be the “preferred design-builder of the project,” the release says.

Lane Construction is a subsidiary of the Italian company Salini Impregilo. Fluor is an engineering and construction firm.  

No estimate was provided for when construction would start or finish.

“This underscores the attention the Texas Bullet Train has received from world-class firms, wanting to be part of a project that will revolutionize travel here and generate long-lasting local economic benefits,” Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar said in a statement Monday.

A 2015 impact study commissioned by the company estimated the project would generate $36 billion in economic benefits over 25 years, The Dallas Morning News reports. An estimated 10,000 jobs would be created over four years of construction and Texas Central would hire 1,000 permanent employees.

Texas Central has drawn support from investors, federal officials and the mayors of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. But it has drawn “intense opposition from some of the communities in between,” according to the Texas Tribune.

Landowners along the route oppose the rail project for several reasons. Opponents don’t understand why their land should change to benefit the state’s major urban hubs. Some doubt how many riders the train would attract as well as Texas Central’s promised economic benefits.

“Others don’t think a company using Japanese technology and equipment for a privately-owned transportation project should have the ability to use eminent domain to buy up their land,” according to the Tribune.

State lawmakers in 2015 tried unsuccessfully to strip Texas Central of its power to use eminent domain and to block state agencies from helping developers of the project, the Tribune reports. Efforts to hinder the project were made again in the most recent regular legislative session.

Texas Central plans to use the N700-I bullet train system, The Dallas Morning News reports. That's the same one used by the Central Japan Railway Company on its Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka.

Learn more

Learn more about plans for a bullet trainfrom this 2013 KERA story.