The Unbreakable U.S. High-Speed Rail System

September 24, 2015

Without federal funding, bullet train projects across the country have gotten creative.

The Republican smackdown of federal high-speed rail funding was supposed to be the death of the national system of fast trains the White House envisioned early in President Obama’s first term. And yet cities across the country keep trying to make HSR happen.Website Insert Development Finance and Management copy

The latest example is XpressWest, the proposed bullet train between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Last week project officials announced a new partnership with China Railway International, complete with $100 million in seed money, to “accelerate launch” of the line. The September 2016 target date to start construction seems ambitious, but given that the project’s environmental documents are already in order, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

If you’d given up much hope on XpressWest, you’re not alone. One insider tells CityLab the China Railway announcement caught even top Nevada officials by surprise. The project hadn’t made much noise since being denied a federal RRIF loan in June 2013 on the grounds that it violated the “Buy America” provision that encourages recipients to use parts manufactured in the U.S.—the obvious problem being that America doesn’t really have a high-speed rail industry at the moment.

Read Eric Jaffe’s full story in City Lab by clicking here.

 

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