Sure seems like they’re getting close to actually laying track.
The developer of a long-planned — and controversial — high-speed rail line that would get passengers from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes announced Tuesday that it signed a $16 billion contract with an Italian company to build the project, in what could be a step toward realization.
Webuild, based in Milan, will oversee heavy construction of the planned 236-mile (380-kilometer) project for developer Texas Central, the companies said in a news release. Webuild will operate through U.S. subsidiary Cheshire, Connecticut-based Lane Construction Corporation.
Nearly half the distance the bullet train will cover — at speeds up to 200-mph (320-kph) — will be elevated to reduce the impact on property owners, the companies said.
Webuild CEO Pietro Salini said the project brings further focus to the company’s work in the U.S., its single biggest market.
“Being part of such a challenging project as leader of the design and construction of the railway is a unique experience that we are extremely proud of,” Salini said.
Webuild was created in 2020 from Salini Impregilo, a leading player in major infrastructure projects that acquired Lane in 2016 and more recently Italy’s Astaldi engineering firm. Building the project will employ 17,000 people directly, Webuild said. The rail link itself would use Japanese bullet train technology and would employ 1,500 people once completed.
As it happens, Texas Central had signed a manufacturing deal with Salini Impregilo in 2019. Texas Central got their final federal approvals in September, and made it through yet another legislative session intact, which looked a little shaky to me going it. Is this finally The Year That It Happens? We’ll see. See the press release for more.