Support Marketplace

Cali seeks help from China on rail

U.S. and Chinese flags hang at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: On a trade mission to China last weekend, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger laid out a proposal for the Chinese to invest money into high speed rail. The Golden State's $19 billion in the red, and the governor's looking for investments.

Marketplace's China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports, the Chinese might be the best choice out there.


ROB SCHMITZ: From Anchorage, Alaska, to New York City: that's the length of China's high-speed rail network. It's the longest system in the world, and the country plans to double its size by 2020.

John Scales is the World Bank's transport coordinator in China.

JOHN SCALES: If China was able to take the knowledge and experience they have in building and developing the railways and effectively use that knowledge elsewhere, I think it would be beneficial to whatever country they were to work with.

European and Japanese companies have traditionally dominated the $155 billion global market for building railways. Watch out for China -- Chinese companies are building high-speed rail projects from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to Venezuela. Is California next? First, the cash-strapped state needs to come up with the money. Once that's in place, the Chinese will want to make sure they get a better reception than the last time they came to the U.S. to build railroads 150 years ago.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...