October 20, 2015 - Dallas  - (TRA Newswire)

Design-build development partnership announced

Two world-class design-build firms to provide work valued at $130 million for Texas’ high-speed rail project
Backers say commitment shows strong international interest

Project reaches 50% milestone in development capital

A private group backing a high-speed rail line that will revolutionize travel in Texas has secured support from two world-class firms with extensive experience in Texas to conduct engineering and pre-construction work during the project’s ongoing development phase.

Texas Central Partners (Texas Central) announced today an agreement with Dallas to Houston Constructors (DHC), a joint venture between Archer Western Construction and Ferrovial Agroman US Corp. (FAUS), that will provide work valued by Texas Central at $130 million.

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.

In a news release, Tim Keith Chief Executive Officer, Texas Central Partners stated that  “the business venture pairs the best in global high-speed rail construction expertise with the values of a century old family-owned American business -- and builds on years of success in Texas. Both companies possess a deep understanding in resources for an undertaking of this magnitude.” Keith said “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.”

Combined with the $75 million in capital raised from private Texas-based investors previously announced in July, DHC’s in-kind commitment means Texas Central has secured more than $200 million in capital and work product. That’s halfway to the approximately $400 million needed to be committed to the project before moving onto the final construction phase.

Texas Central initially heard from more than a dozen of the world’s largest design-build construction firms, a reflection of the increasing interest in developing and building the nation’s first true high-speed rail project along a 240-mile corridor in Texas.

DHC has no equity or ownership stake in the project and will not be involved in land acquisition, according to Texas Central Partners. Its work will be focused on engineering, cost-estimation and construction- related activities and not as the project’s developer.

DHC shares Texas Central's commitment to innovative efforts that provide maximum benefit to Texas. As such, during the life of the project, DHC will focus on hiring other Texas talent to complete the design and engineering, emphasizing its work with small businesses and minority, women and veteran-owned companies.

Archer Western has subcontracted more than $750 million to D/M/WBE firms in Texas. They were also awarded DART’s First Annual Diversity Award for its excellence in small and minority firm inclusion.  Archer Western President Daniel Webster said “high-speed rail will provide a safe and comfortable alternative to highway-and-air travel. Texas Central has the vision and the plan to provide an incredible resource for Texans and to complement the state’s booming economy. We are excited to be affiliated with this project and this great success." In North Texas, it managed more than 200 subcontractors in the DART Green Line light rail and DCTA commuter rail expansions, a $1.1 billion program that included 47 miles of transit rail, 26 stations, and two new maintenance facilities. The company is a member of the Walsh family of companies, a 117-year old American family-owned business group, the largest bridge builder in the U.S. and the fourth largest domestic transportation contractor. Archer Western’s work has included more than $1.1 billion in Texas rail projects in the last ten years and its Texas regional office has completed more than $3 billion in heavy civil construction projects.

FAUS has received numerous awards 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 met or exceeded Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals on its Texas projects, with more than $500 million in DBE subcontracts in recent years. Ignacio Vivancos, Managing Director, FAUS: “This is an exceptional opportunity to take part in a project of the highest quality, deserving of world-class expertise.”

Ferrovial Agroman has constructed 450 miles of high-speed rail in regions with similar terrain and geology to Texas, brought the $2.1 billion LBJ Express managed lanes project ahead of schedule, and the $1.45 billion North Tarrant Express Segments 1 & 2, which opened nearly nine months ahead of the contracted completion date.

It has expertise designing and constructing every element of a high-speed rail project – including track embankments, viaducts, roadway overpasses/underpasses, stations and maintenance facilities.

Texas Central and its affiliated entities will be responsible for the system’s design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance.