China bids to build high-speed rail in California

14:41, April 09, 2010      

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China is bidding for a chance to bring its high-speed railway technology and equipment to California and other places in the United States, said an official with the Ministry of Railways.

The New York Times reported that, about 150 years after American railroads brought in thousands of Chinese laborers to build rail lines across the West, China is poised to play a role in American rail construction, again.

The report said a cooperation agreement deal with the State of California and General Electric has been reached. The agreements, though preliminary, show China's desire to become a big exporter and licensor of bullet trains that travels more than 300 kilometers an hour.

Currently, China has several such high-speed routes already in operation, including Beijing-Tianjin, Guangzhou-Wuhai, Xi'an-Zhengzhou and Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan. The Beijing-Shanghai line will be open to business later in 2011, shortening the travel between the two most important cities to four hours from 10.

"We are the most advanced in many fields, and we are willing to share with the United States," Zheng Jian, the chief planner and director of high-speed rail at China's railway ministry, told The New York Times in a recent interview.

Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has closely followed progress in the discussions with China and hopes to come to Beijing later this year for talks with rail ministry officials, said David Crane, the governor's special adviser for jobs and economic growth, and a board member of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

China is offering not just to build a railroad in California but also to help finance its construction, Crane said.

However, China is not the only country interested in exporting high-speed rail equipment to the United States. Japan, Germany, South Korea, Spain, France and Italy have also approached California's High Speed Rail Authority, the report added.

The agency has made no decisions on whose technology to choose. But Crane said that there were no apparent weaknesses in the Chinese offer, and that Governor Schwarzenegger particularly wanted to visit China this year for high-speed rail discussions.

General Electric has estimated that the United States will spend $13 billion in the next five years on high-speed rail routes. China, with a much more ambitious infrastructure program, will spend $300 billion in the next three years to vigorously expand its rail routes, mainly high-speed routes.

For the American market, Zheng, the railway ministry official, told The New York Times , "we can provide whatever services are needed."

By People's Daily Online


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