A group of Chinese firms and the Export-Import Bank of China have put forward a proposal to build and finance large sections of California’s proposed 800-mile high-speed rail project.
According to Reuters, the firms submitted a 23-page document last month to the recently established California High-Speed Rail Authority expressing their interest to participate in the project.
China Railway International, an umbrella company for the various state organisations which construct and operate China’s railways, proposed that it could deliver on large elements of the project, assisting with design expertise, construction, procurement and rolling stock. The Export-Import Bank of China are also said to be amenable to financing the project.
By packaging large pieces of the high-speed rail line together, for delivery by a single contractor, the project’s cost and construction timeline would be greatly reduced, the team proposed.
“To the Chinese team, a relatively large-scale contract is proper and reasonable,” said the letter, obtained by Reuters through a Public Records Act request.
The Californian high-speed line needs to raise a massive $68 billion in funds to go ahead. So far only $13.2 billion has been raised through state and federal funds, including proceeds paid by companies to offset their carbon emissions.
But the Chinese also warned that California should provide additional public financing and guarantee future project debt to appease uneasy investors.
“Due to the huge financing gap of the project, potential private investors and lenders may be cautious,” the Chinese team wrote.
China has been on somewhat of a spree of bids for rail projects in the past year, winning a contract to build a line across Indonesia and making preparations to invest in a separate high-speed rail project between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
More recently China announced its intention to bid for a 11.8 billion pound high speed rail project linking London with the UK’s its northern cities.