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China to accelerate bid for California infrastructure packages

(CGTN)    13:08, October 07, 2017

A newly-minted task force in California will help Chinese investors and contractors seize business opportunities for building roads and infrastructure in the US state.

A worker cleans a train. [File photo: CGTN]

The unit will help Chinese developers - both public and private - collaborate on infrastructure projects in California including major railway expansions and potentially, bullet trains – an area of manufacturing that China has demonstrated prowess in.

Representatives from many of China's largest construction firms including China Communications Group and China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd., were present at the task force launch in San Francisco on Thursday.

During the event, China's Consul General in San Francisco Luo Linquan stated that the team's objective of leveraging technical expertise and prices to increase Chinese participation in the state's plans to renovate its transport system will also be a chance for China and the state of California to explore cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

This comes as US President Donald Trump continues to highlight his commitment to sprucing up America's roads, highways and bridges, bringing them to world-class standard with the proposal of a one trillion dollar federal infrastructure bill. The plan is still pending approval from Congress, but many have lamented that even that figure would be one third of the necessary amount to catch up on decades of underinvestment in the sector.

Chinese interest in participating could prove to be the answer for insufficient or delayed funds.

There are already clear models for public-private partnerships in California with Chinese investors at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland – a strategy that could prove the most effective in filling a funding gap. "As other projects (in California) develop, efforts should be made to standardize and create effective vehicles for investment from foreign funds, Chinese or otherwise," said a research note by the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica-based think tank.

California has been one of the largest recipients of Chinese capital over the past few years, totaling 16.6 billion US dollars in 2016, more than five times that of the prior year. Of that amount, six billion US dollars was poured into transportation and infrastructure, according to data compiled by consultancy Rhodim Group.

Earlier this year, Chinese and US political and business leaders, from both the public and private sectors, met in San Francisco to develop new partnerships at the China-US Infrastructure Cooperation Forum, with both sides eager to take new projects forward.

"We're getting ready to do an early train operator selection, and we're also working on rolling stock procurement," said Chad Edison, Deputy Secretary at the California State Transportation Agency. "There are many different opportunities and I know there has been Chinese interest in many of those bid packages," he said at the June event. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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