The high-speed rail project from Houston to Dallas has hit a bump in the form of layoffs. According to a release, Texas Central High-Speed Rail let go of 28 people, which they attributed to an impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO Carlos Aguilar says in a statement that it was a hard decision.
"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," Aguilar says. "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 points to the virus' international spread as a factor.
"This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is," he says. "Our engineering partner is in Italy, our operations partner is in Spain and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States."
The company has implemented work from home and other coronavirus-related measures.
"Understanding the impact of COVID-19, and the challenges those countries and the US are facing, is a new fact of life," he says.
The release says that the company is ready to begin construction once global financial markets stabilize and the federal approvals process is complete. Just two tiny steps: the stabilization of global financial markets, and approval from the feds.
The most immediate next step is to finalize permits. Their hoped-for due date on that is by July 31.
"Like other companies and organizations around the world, we are trying to make the best use of the funding we currently have, paying close attention to COVID-19 updates and putting plans in place to move our project forward as soon as the world is on the other side of this uncharted territory," he says.