A new high-speed rail project is gaining traction, having reached a 50% milestone in development capital this month and will move forward with engineering and pre-construction with the announcement of its design-build development partnership.

Texas Central Partners—a private Texas-based company behind the development of the railway and associated facilities—on Oct. 20 announced 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 at $130 million on the rail project. DHC has no equity or ownership stake in the project and will not be involved in land acquisition. The joint venture will conduct the engineering, cost estimation and pre-construction work during the project’s ongoing development phase.

“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,” Tim Keith, CEO, Texas Central, said in a statement.

A firm timeline has yet to be set, but the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) continues to work on the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Texas Central tells ENR. “This environmental review will determine the overall project timeline and final route. Once a final alignment is identified and approved, detailed engineering will continue, and we will have a better idea of the initial construction starting point of the project,” the firm notes.

Texas Central further noted that once the environment review is complete, construction is anticipated to take four years. The firm hopes service will begin in 2021.

More than a dozen design-build construction firms submitted bids for the project for the chance to develop and build what could be the nation’s first true high-speed rail project along a 240-mile corridor in Texas, according to Texas Central.

Combined with the $75 million in capital raised from private Texas-based investors, which was announced in July, DHC’s in-kind commitment means Texas Central has secured more than $200 million in capital and work product. This is the halfway point to the approximately $400 million that’s needed before the project can move forward to the final construction phase.