China Railway Drops Out of L.A. to Las Vegas High-Speed Rail Project
"Nine months after announcing that China would help build a high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the private U.S. company behind the plan said late Wednesday that the deal was off," writes Julie Makinen, a reporter in the Los Angeles Times' Beijing bureau.
A major impediment for China Railway International (CRI) was the inability to use its own rail equipment. It would seem that the $100 million may have come with some strings attached.
"XpressWest [previously called DesertXpress] indicated that its 'biggest challenge' was a federal government requirement that high-speed trains must be manufactured in the United States to secure regulatory approvals," writes Makinen.
An October post about CRI expressing interest in the California high-speed rail project and beating out the Japanese in a high-speed contract in Indonesia indicates that the rail company works with the Export-Import Bank of China whose "main mandate is to facilitate the export and import of Chinese mechanical and electronic products..."
It would seem that the same 'build-in America' requirement would deter CRI in pursuing a contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority as it did with XpressWest.
"XpressWest is undeterred by this development and remains dedicated to completing its high-speed passenger rail project," state's the company's June 8 press release.
XpressWest will now aggressively pursue other available development partnerships and options expected to result in a more efficient and cost-effective project implementation experience,” said Tony Marnell, CEO of XpressWest.
New Palmdale Station
Makinen also clarifies where the train route would begin in California. The September post on the project indicated the line would start in Victorville, San Bernardino County, 85 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
But in wake of the September announcement, Chinese officials described the project as a 230-mile route with an additional stop in Palmdale and eventual service throughout the Los Angeles area using some of the same track that would be used by the publicly backed California high-speed rail project.
The press release indicates that the company is performing environmental review for the new segment.
XpressWest is eagerly anticipating the completion of the final environmental work required for the development of the line connecting the project to Los Angeles through Victorville and Palmdale, California, The environmental approvals for the Victorville-Palmdale segment are expected no later than September 2016.
Southwest (Rail) Network
XpressWest also has its sights on a much broader market which it calls the Southwest Network.
Other high-speed rail lines in United States:
Unless XpressWest finds another backer, the only two high-speed rail projects under construction or in planning are the California high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles being planned and constructed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and Texas Central Railway's Houston to Dallas line, projected to begin operations in 2021.
All Aboard Florida, now called Brightline, is a diesel-powered 'higher-speed', 240-mile intercity rail line to run between Miami and Orlando, with service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach projected to start next year.
Acela is an existing high-speed train that runs from Washington, D.C. to Boston, though it needs lots of upgrading to attain a uniform 150 mph speed.
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