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 Lloyd
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.


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