Politics

High-Speed Rail A Highlight Of Gov. Brown’s Upcoming China Trip

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Artist's conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

Artist’s conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown will be eyeing China’s massive high-speed rail system as he tries to lure billions of dollars in investments to California during his trip to the country next week.

Brown said Thursday that the Chinese have approached building their massive high-speed rail system “with exuberance,” and he feels equally excited about the prospects for California’s proposed $68 billion system even as public support for the project has fallen.

“High-speed rail, it’s a bold idea. Sure it’s got critics, but it’s taking technology and imagination and reshaping our future,” Brown said in an interview Thursday with a handful of reporters in his Capitol office.

Brown and the business leaders who are accompanying him on the seven-day trip plan to ride the Chinese system. Brown said he would welcome Chinese investment in California’s high-speed rail project, or anything else.

“I’m open. I’m going there, if they want to invest,” he said. “I think we’ve got to get it further down the road before people want to come in and invest in it. Maybe they can buy part of it at some point.”

China’s high-speed system spans 5,800 miles but is highly subsidized by the government and does not face the same legal and environmental hurdles. Brown said he was not sure what he could apply from China’s approach to his project in California, but he is interested in seeing it.

The chairman of the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Dan Richard, is also accompanying Brown on the trip.

He said building personal relationships and showing government support for projects are crucial when doing business in China. Even so, he said he does not expect to come home with billions of dollars in immediate investments.

“They’ve got $400 billion or $500 billion they’re going to invest abroad, so California’s got to get a piece of that,” Brown said. “I don’t know about in the next two weeks, but they have all this money.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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