Tutor Perini Corp. announced on Tuesday that its joint venture has executed a contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority for construction of the first segment of the state’s bullet train.

The Sylmar construction firm put the total value of the contract at $985 million, plus $53 million in payments for possible additional work. Tutor Perini will get about $500 million, with its partners Zachry Construction Corp., of San Antonio, and engineering firm Parsons Corp., of Pasadena, receiving the remainder.

“We are truly excited to be building the groundwork for America’s first high-speed rail system and look forward to working with the authority to deliver a high-quality project that will modernize California’s transportation system and support economic growth,” said Chief Executive Ronald Tutor in a statement.

The bidding process for the contract was fraught with controversy because the rail authority changed the criteria after bids were received to give more weight to price and less to technical capability. Tutor Perini, the lowest bidder, won the contract despite having the lowest technical capability rating among the five finalists.

The contract includes preparing the route and building the rail bed, but not laying any rails. The segment will run from Madera to Fresno in the Central Valley.

Tutor Perini shares gained 45 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $19 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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