Italian firm to help build Japan-style bullet train in Texas

Fluor and a subsidiary of Italy’s Salini Impregilo have been chosen to build a Japanese-style bullet train between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.

Texas Central, the developer of the line, announced yesterday that it had reached agreement with Fluor Enterprises and the Lane Construction Corporation. The two companies will now carry out studies for the proposed route. Once the project has raised the necessary financing, which is expected to be a minimum of $12bn, and has bought the land and secured federal and state approvals, the companies would take over the work on a design-and-build basis.

Texas-based Fluor Enterprises is the second largest contractor in America, after Bechtel. Lane, which is based in Connecticut, is a subsidiary of Italy’s largest contractor, Salini Impregilo.

Carlos Aguilar, the chief executive of Texas Central, said: "This underscores the attention the Texas Bullet Train has received from world-class firms wanting to be part of a project that will revolutionise travel here and generate long-lasting local economic benefits."

Hans Dekker, the president of Fluor’s infrastructure business, said: "Fluor’s global expertise in developing the world’s largest megaprojects, matched with its ability to provide integrated solutions for clients across the globe, position the    company well with Texas Central."

The company intends to run its service using Japan’s N700 Series Shinkansen trainsets. These will travel at 205mph, and will make the 240 mile trip between the two urban centres in 90 minutes, with a stop in the Brazos Valley.

In January 2017, President Trump’s administration listed the project as a national infrastructure priority. At present, Texas Central are buying land options along the route. In February it announced that it had bought options on about 30% of the land parcels that it would need. The project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement is due out later this year. Texas Central says on its website: "Depending on the timing of that and other variables, we could begin construction in late 2018."

Once complete, further stages may extend the system to Texas’ second city of San Antonio.

Image: A Shinkansen train, of the kind that Texas Central want to use on its line (Texas Central)

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