Coronavirus causes layoffs for Texas Central’s high-speed rail project

Texas Central plans to start construction of the Texas high-speed rail connecting Houston and Dallas by the end of 2020. (Courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central plans to start construction of the Texas high-speed rail connecting Houston and Dallas by the end of 2020. (Courtesy Texas Central)

Texas Central plans to start construction of the Texas high-speed rail connecting Houston and Dallas by the end of 2020. (Courtesy Texas Central)

Texas Central officials announced multiple employees would be laid off March 27 in the wake of a worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

"Unfortunately, like many other companies and organizations around the world, we have been forced to make hard decisions in an effort to make the best use of our current funding, and the result has been the layoff of approximately 28 employees,” CEO Carlos Aguilar said in a statement. “Our core team of experts and planners remain actively engaged and prepared to move this project forward when we have our permits and the financial markets have stabilized.”

Aguilar said the project—a bullet train connecting Houston to Dallas—would create more than 17,000 jobs during construction once it officially breaks ground.

With project partners spread across the globe, officials said further consequences of the coronavirus are still yet to be determined.

"Our engineering partner is in Italy, our operations partner is in Spain and our technology provider is in Japan,” Aguilar said. “Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States...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.”


Texas Central officials continue to work with federal and state agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration, to receive final approvals before starting construction. Aguilar said he anticipates having those permits finalized by July 31.

“From an execution standpoint, the project is shovel-ready. 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," Aguilar said.

For more information about the project, visit www.texascentral.com.
By Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

The June 2 march will culminate with a rally at the steps of Houston City Hall. (Courtesy city of Houston)
Houston city buildings, some METRO services planned to shut down ahead of June 2 march for George Floyd

Ahead of the June 2 march with members of George Floyd's family through downtown Houston, several city services are planning to shut down early in the afternoon.

With protests over the death of George Floyd expected to continue this week in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has called for social distancing, and use of sanitizer and masks among protesters. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 388 new cases, 3 deaths confirmed June 1

With protests over the death of George Floyd expected to continue this week in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has called for social distancing, and use of sanitizer and masks among protesters.

Businesses shuttering their doors due to coronavirus restrictions lowered the sales tax revenue collected by cities in May compared to May 2019. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas comptroller reports 13.2% year-over-year state sales tax revenue drop in May

Tax collection revenue fell significantly in several sectors from May 2019 to May 2020, according to the comptroller's office.

A march for George Floyd culminated at Houston City Hall on May 29. Another march is planned for June 2. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ahead of June 2 George Floyd march, Mayor Turner calls for peace, coronavirus protection

The march is led by Houston rappers Bun B and Trae Tha Truth and by members of George Floyd's family.

Families can pick up breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
Cy-Fair ISD to continue serving curbside meals through August

The program will continue until school returns in August.

Demonstrators gathered at the Texas Capitol on May 31 to protest police brutality. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas officials respond to demonstrations, unrest in wake of George Floyd killing

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster in Texas on May 31, while various city officials and law enforcment responded to protests and violence over the weekend.

Attendees look over maps of Cypress Creek at the first meeting of the Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership in 2019. The partnership met again May 29 to discuss pollution sources and possible solutions to mitigate them. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plans to improve Cypress Creek water quality zero in on pet waste, sewer systems

A partnership on Cypress Creek is looking to improve water quality in the creek by reducing the amount of fecal waste and bacteria.

LocalServes offers a digital, pictorial menu-sharing service to restaurants in the Cypress area. (Courtesy LocalServes)
Mobile app helps Cypress restaurants promote menus during pandemic

Pictorial menus in the LocalServes app are helping local restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rate of new cases being confirmed is still up compared to the end of April and early May. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Weekly total of new cases falls after two weeks of increases

The rate of new cases being confirmed is still up compared to the end of April and early May.

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center sees another week-over-week decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29.

Some camps have been canceled, but others are implementing new safety precautions to cope with the coronavirus. (Designed by Elyssa Turner/Community Impact Newspaper)
See how Cy-Fair, Houston area summer camps are adapting to the coronavirus

Some camps have been canceled, but others are implementing new safety precautions to cope with the coronavirus.

The Willie's Grill & Icehouse restaurant in Copperfield is temporarily closed after reopening in mid-May. (Courtesy Willie's Grill & Icehouse Copperfield)
Study predicts coronavirus spike and other top Houston-area stories

Read some of the most popular Houston-area content on Community Impact Newspaper’s website from this week.