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Texas Central High-Speed Rail (Texas Central) – the company developing the new high-speed train line connecting North Texas and Greater Houston – has announced that the development of the planned high-speed rail project could be impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
CEO of Texas Central High-Speed Rail, Carlos Aguilar, said: “This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is. Our engineering partner is in Italy, our operations partner is in Spain and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States. Understanding the impact of COVID-19, and the challenges those countries and the U.S. are facing, is a new fact of life. We are already implementing work from home and other measures to deal with the crisis, but still do not know what other impacts this will have.”
In collaboration with the federal government, the State of Texas and a team of experts, Texas Central has advanced all aspects of this historic project and is now ready to begin the construction phase, following the stabilisation of global financial markets and once the federal approvals process is complete.
Carlos continued: “Our immediate next step is to continue working with our partner organisations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), to finalise our permits. The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by [31 July 2020]. From an execution standpoint, the project is shovel-ready. Once we receive our permit approval, our ability to begin construction will be contingent upon financial entities in the United States, Europe and Japan, all of which are dealing with urgent priorities generated by COVID-19, completing their due diligence process.
“Like other companies and organisations around the world, we are trying to make the best use of the funding we currently have, paying close attention to COVID-19 updates and putting plans in place to move our project forward as soon as the world is on the other side of this uncharted territory,” concluded Carlos.
Within the project, Texas Central expects to create more than 17,000 jobs during construction of the high-speed line and a multi-billion-dollar economic impact across the U.S via contracts for U.S. steel mills and other manufacturers, minority and women owned businesses, veterans, rural businesses along the alignment and throughout the nation.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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