The Texas Bullet Train has inched closer to the goal of becoming a reality with the securing of a loan of up to $300 million.
Texas Central, the company implementing the high-speed train between Houston and North Texas, announced Thursday that it has secured the loan from the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport & Urban Development, or JOIN, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Texas Central will use the funds to move ahead on permitting, design and engineering, as well as other preliminary work needed to launch construction during 2019.
The interest-bearing loan along with the equity provided to date – mostly coming from Texas entrepreneurs – will provide enough funding for all activities required for the project to reach financial close, Texas Central said in a news release.
The Texas financial backers include developer Jack Matthews and former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr., among others.
The Texas project will inject an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits statewide over the next 25 years, including creating 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and 1,500 permanent jobs when operational, the developer’s release said.
Bullet train backers continue to chip away at financing, environmental concerns, property acquisition and other challenges that must be overcome for the project to happen.
The high-speed train from Dallas to Houston would cut what is now a four-plus hour drive to 90 minutes for its projected 5 million annual riders. Officials hope that it will open as soon as 2024.
The project will cost $12 to $15 billion by Texas Central’s estimate. Others say it could cost $20 billion.