Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Texas Central Signs Contract for Design, Building Work

September 17, 2019

Texas Central has signed a contract with the Salini-Impreglio joint venture and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction Co. for the design and construction of a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

In a news release, Texas Central said Salini-Lane will supply the civil infrastructure work, including design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the entire route, the installation of the track system and construction of related buildings and services along the route that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Texas Central said it had signed a limited notice to proceed agreement with Salini-Lane last year.

Since then Salini-Lane has focused on front-end engineering, design and planning of the train’s civil infrastructure.

That work helped to develop this design-build contract, Texas Central officials said.

Texas Lawmakers Want Hearing on Rail Corridor

August 29, 2019

A bipartisan group of 20 Texas state legislators is seeking a hearing on what it would take to create a rail passenger corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

The lawmakers delivered a letter to House Transportation Committee chairman Terry Canales asking him to set hearings on the matter.

The hearings could be held before the 2021 legislative session if approved by the chairman and the speaker of the house.

Texas Rail Associates chairman Peter LeCody described the letter as “an amazing show of bi-partisan support from members of the Texas House that realize we can’t move people and goods in the I-35 corridor by only laying down more concrete and asphalt. Leaders realize there must be multi-modal answers in the future so we don’t have a traffic meltdown.”

Planners have noted that in the next 50 years the population along the I-35 corridor will grow by 2 million.

Rail advocators said the region already has some of the worst traffic congestion in Texas.

TRA also is pushing for the transportation committee to move on the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study, which was completed in 2017 but has not been acted upon.

The group also called for movement on an initial study by the I-20 Corridor Council on rail service from Dallas-Fort Worth to East Texas with multi-state memorandum of understandings in place for Louisiana and eastward, and for the legislature to act on the stalled 2011 Texas Department of Transportation study on rail service between Houston and Austin.

Bills Seeking to Hinder Texas Rail Project Fail to Pass

June 3, 2019

The Texas legislature adjourned last week without approving any of the 15 bills that had been introduced in an effort to stymie develop of a high-speed rail project in the state.

The legislature will next meet in 2021 so Texas Central Railway will be able to continue development of the network between Dallas and Houston.

“I want to thank all of the concerned citizens that voiced their opinions through e-mail, phone calls and even by making trips to Austin,” said Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. “By keeping government bureaucrats out of this fight, we are preserving a level playing field for all forms of transportation in Texas. High-speed rail will now be able to succeed on its own merits, without anyone placing their finger on the scales to protect their own special interests.”

Texas Central Beats Back Adversaries in Legislature

May 18, 2019

Texas Central has managed to turn back 11 bills that were introduced into the Texas legislature during the current session that had been designed to delay or thwart its plans to develop a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

Most of the bills had been introduced on behalf of landowners located next to the proposed right of way.

However, Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody told Trains magazine that there was still a chance that an amendment or rider detrimental to the interests of Texas Central could be attached to a bill before the legislature ends its session on May 27.

One such rider has already been struck from a budget bill that would have banned the Texas Department of Transportation from coordinating with Texas Central.

Some land owners have expressed fear that Texas Central might use eminent domain laws to condemn property, an authority granted by Texas law for purposes of developing highways, railroads, and such public utilities as power lines and pipelines.

Some Texas Central opponents have argued that TC is not yet a railroad because it doesn’t yet operate any trains.

A draft environmental impact statement has noted that 52 percent of the Texas Central right of way will be adjacent to power line corridors.

The proposed high-speed rail operator continues to determine the route it will take, including the process of negotiating and signing deals with property owners.

The company has said it has more than 30 percent of its needed parcels of land under an option contract.

Much of the Texas Central right of way will be elevated and built on earthen berms or viaducts.

In an unrelated matter, Texas Central recently released an updated ridership study that found more more than 6 million passengers are expected to rider TC trains by 2029.

Ridership is expected to reach 13 million by 2050. The latest study was conducted by L.E.K. Consulting and updated a study it conducted in 2016.

The study also found that TC trains will save 60 to 90 minutes per trip between Houston and Dallas and that 72 percent of frequent travelers between the two metropolitan areas who responded said they “probably” or “definitely” would take the train.

Of those surveyed, 85 percent said they had traveled between Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in the past year.

The Houston-North Texas “super economy” is expected to grow by 1.5 percent per year to 2050, nearly twice the U.S. national average.

Texas House Committee Hears Anti-Rail Bills

April 24, 2019

Eleven bills designed to stymie development of the proposed Texas Central high-speed rail project have been considered by a transportation committee of the Texas House.

Although none of the bills has yet to receive a committee vote that might occur later.

Representatives of Texas Central spoke against the bills at a hearing. Also opposing the legislation were the North Central Texas Council of Governments and members of various local and regional businesses and advocacy groups.

Rail advocates say that many of the bills are repeats of bills that failed during the 2017 legislative session.

They include proposals to require trains to be elevated at least 40 feet above ground level, mandating that the technology used conforms to that of existing railroads, allow a county commissioners court to stop a project if permission is not granted for access to a county road, banning the use of private activity bonds for a high-speed rail project that runs contrary to other transportation efforts, imposing rules that would it make it difficult or impossible to survey land for a rail project; setting up rules concerning bonds and options on land needed for construction, and forcing a route to be dismantled and the land put back into its original condition in the event of a railroad going bankrupt.

Texas Congressmen Back High-Speed Plan

April 10, 2019

The proposed high-speed rail line being developed in Texas has drawn support from some members of the state’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Reps. Colin Allred (D-Texas) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) led a bipartisan group in support of the proposed project by Texas Central to build a Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line.

Those members of Congress have written to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in support of the proposed rail line.

Also signing the letter were U.S. Reps. John Carter (R), Lizzie Fletcher (D), Sylvia Garcia (D), Lance Gooden (R), Kay Granger (R), Sheila Jackson Lee (D), Van Taylor (R) and Roger Williams (R).

Texas Central Hires Advisers

February 27, 2019

Texas Central had hired Citi and MUFG to serve as its  financial advisers and lead capital-raising activities.

The two firms will help Texas Central acquire financing across debt and equity to finance a privately funded high-speed rail service between Houston and North Texas.

In a news release, Texas Central said that Citi will serve as the sole global coordinator and lead financial adviser, while MUFG will be a co-global financial adviser.

Texas Central Expects 2019 Groundbreaking

December 5, 2018

A Texas intercity rail firm expects to break ground late in 2019 for a route between Dallas and Houston.

Texas Central said the equipment to be used on the route is likely be an N700I model train, which is a modified version of the N700 bullet train that Central Japan Railways operates.

The letter T in the model designation denotes international use and intention for export.

The N700I is thought to be similar to the recently-released N700S, which is lighter and more efficient than the original N700.

However, the Texas trains will be eight cars rather than 16.

Texas Central plans to seek funding once its proposal has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration.

It has said it already has plans to acquire a third of the property it needs and is in negotiations to obtain the remaining land that it needs.

Texas Central Secures $300M Loan

September 17, 2018

The developers of a Texas high-speed rail passenger system have secured a $300 million loan.

Texas Central Partners will use the money to work toward getting permits for the rail line as well as engineering work.

A Dallas newspaper said the loan is being backed by financiers in Japan.

The 240-mile rail line would link Dallas and Houston and become the first privately owned high-speed train in the United States.

Texas Central has said it plans to use Japanese Shinkansen technology for the train.

“This is a loan to be paid back with interest,” the company said in a statement. “It does not change the train’s majority-Texan ownership.”

Texas Central has also received funding from investors living in Texas. The project is expected to cost between $12 billion to $15 billion.

Texas Central Chooses Houston Station Site

February 16, 2018

Texas Central Partners said its preferred site for a Houston station on its proposed Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line is located near the Northwest Mall.

because the area is expected to increase in population and jobs in the coming years.

“We look forward to helping create a new community that will also bring a transportation asset to all Houstonians,” said Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest, which will be developing the station. “We are excited to work in an area with so much potential for vibrancy, including transit-oriented development.”

A Federal Railroad Administration environment analysis had outlined three potential sites for Houston, although Texas Central wants to build at the Northwest Mall.