Since a funding halt in 2015, and amid many other starts and stops, the Texas bullet train has been covering ground toward its goal of being the first up-and-running high-speed rail project in the U.S. On Monday, it announced another milestone: the selection of the design and construction firms that will lead the project connecting Dallas and Houston.
Texas Central Partners chose Fluor Enterprises and the Lane Construction Corp. to refine the designs of and build the 240-mile rail line. Fluor and Lane are also the project’s preferred design-builder, the Houston Business Journal reports.
The step toward making the bullet train a reality comes as good news for the project, which was deterred when the 2016-17 state budget stipulated that no state funds would be allowed to be put toward construction of the rail. As it stands today, however, the project is being backed by private investors and the company has vowed not to seek any public money. A design competition for the project’s stations signaled that things were more-or-less back on track last year.
Still, according to the Business Journal, private investors have committed around $125 million — still far shy of the $15 billion estimated for total project cost. Texas Central will start having conversations with private investors once the project cost and schedule are “firmed up.”
Trains traveling the route will run at 205 mph, departing every 30 minutes during peak periods. A potential path for the train will be mapped out in an environmental draft coming this fall from the Federal Railroad Administration.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.