US$16 billion Texas high-speed rail contract

By Andy Brown16 June 2021

The project will reduce journey times from Houston to Dallas from four hours to 90 minutes

Webuild and its US subsidiary Lane Construction have signed a final agreement worth US$16 billion with Texas Central LCC to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas, US.

The Texas high-speed railway is one of the single biggest infrastructure projects in the US in terms of value and has faced a number of legal challenges, such as over acquiring land for the project.

Webuild says that the agreement is the final step ahead of the financial closure – foreseen in the coming months – and the start of construction.

It is estimated that approximately 17,000 direct jobs are to be created and around US$7.3 billion worth of materials from US suppliers across 37 states are to be used, together with services provided by highly specialised Italian suppliers. Once the trains come into service, more than 1,500 direct jobs are to be created.

The contract brings the value of construction orders in Webuild’s backlog from the US to 35%, confirming the country as the single biggest market for the contractor.

While high-speed rail has been popular for over a decade in countries like Japan, parts of Europe and China, the US has not embraced the concept. The current US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, recently said, rather ambitiously, that he wanted his country, “leading the world when it comes to access to high-speed rail.” 

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works, which entails the design and construction of the 236 miles (379km) of railway, the viaducts, as well as the buildings and services for maintenance and other equipment, industrial buildings, train depots and facilities.

The Dallas-Houston high-speed railway is based on Central Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen system. It will carry travellers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (320km per hour) and cut the journey time between Dallas and Houston to 90 minutes. It is planned to be fully operational by 2026. 

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