Texas Central says that the project is now ‘shovel ready,’ and following collaboration with the federal government, the state of Texas and a team of experts, it is ready to begin the construction phase once global financial markets stabilise and the federal approvals process is complete.

“Our immediate next step is to continue working with our partner organisations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, to finalise our permits,” says Texas Central CEO, Mr Carlos Aguilar. “The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by July 31.”

However, with partners in Japan, Spain and Italy, Aguilar concedes that there is now a chance that the project will not proceed on schedule.

“This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is,” Aguilar says. “Our engineering partner is in Italy; our operation 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 US 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.

“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.”

Texas Central expects to create more than 17,000 jobs during construction and have a multibillion-dollar economic impact across the US.

Salini Impregilo has been awarded a design and construct contract for the line, with Renfe and Adif selected as strategic partners for the operation and maintenance of line.

Central Japan Railway (JR Central) is the technology provider, while Team Shinkansen United (TSU), comprising Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba, NEC, and JR Central, will also supply high-speed rail technology.

Texas Central has signed an early contract involvement agreement with Mass Electric Construction for installation of all necessary power, signalling and communications equipment for the project.

Other companies involved in the project include Bechtel, Kiewit, Matthews Southwest (MSW) and Suffolk Construction.

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