The group backing a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston has secured engineering and pre-construction support for the project’s development phase.
Texas Central Partners, the private firm behind the project, on Tuesday announced an agreement with Dallas to Houston Constructors, a joint venture between Archer Western Construction and Ferrovial Agroman US Corp. to provide work valued by Texas Central at $130 million.
Texas Central Partners said it heard from more than a dozen of the world’s largest design-build construction firms interested in helping develop and build the nation’s first high-speed rail project along a 240-mile corridor.
In its decision to hire Dallas to Houston Constructors, Texas Central Partners cited the firm’s background in designing, building and maintaining high-speed rail, its experience in rail operations and construction experience in Texas.
“This team is capable of handling the engineering and design work, cost estimation and pre-construction analyses required in this current phase of the project that will establish the basis for an on-time and on-budget delivery,” said Tim Keith, CEO of Texas Central Partners, commenting in a news release.
Sharing that sentiment were executives from Archer Western and Ferrovial Agroman.
“High-speed rail will provide a safe and comfortable alternative to highway-and-air travel. We are excited to be affiliated with this project and this great success,” said Daniel Walsh, president of Archer Western.
“This is an exceptional opportunity to take part in a project of the highest quality, deserving of world-class expertise,” said Ignacio Vivancos, managing director of Ferrovial Agroman.
The agreement marks a key step in advancing the proposed high-speed passenger train between North Texas and Houston and underscores the attention the project is attracting from companies interested in having a role its development, according to Texas Central Partners officials.
Combined with the $75 million in capital raised from private Texas-based investors, Dallas to Houston Contractors’ commitment means Texas Central Partners has secured more than $200 million in capital. That’s halfway to the approximately $400 million needed to be committed to the project before moving onto the final construction phase, according to Texas Central Partners.
Dallas to Houston Constructors has no equity or ownership stake in the project and will not be involved in land acquisition, officials emphasized. Its work will be focused on engineering, cost estimation and construction- related activities and not as the project’s developer.
Archer Western has subcontracted more than $750 million in projects to Texas firms. It talso was awarded Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s first Annual Diversity Award for its excellence in small and minority firm inclusion.
Ferrovial Agroman has been awarded for its partnerships with small and minority-owned businesses, including Texas Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights Small Business Advocacy Award in 2013. It has handled more than $500 million in DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) subcontracts in recent years.