An artist's rendition courtesy of the California High-Speed RailAuthority shows a high speed train passing through Mission Beach, California. REUTERS/California High-Speed RailAuthority/Handout
LOS ANGELES, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has said that XpressWest's termination of cooperation with a Chinese company has no impact on its project in which a Chinese team led by China Railway International (CRI) also expressed interest to participate.
"The news about XpressWest has no impact on the California High-Speed Rail Program," the CHSRA told Xinhua on Friday, two days after the private U.S. firm XpressWest unilaterally announced termination of its cooperation with CRI in building a high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Southern California.
A CRI manager responsible for the joint venture has told Xinhua that XpressWest was precipitate and irresponsible to make such a statement while its talks with the CRI were still going on, vowing to spare no effort in defending CRI's interests.
As for the California High-Speed Rail Program, the CHSRA said on Friday that approximately 119 miles (190.4 km) of construction were already underway in the Central Valley and a lot of progress was being made.
The Chinese High Speed Rail Delivery Team consisting of CRI and five other companies expressed their interest in participating in the California High-Speed Rail program last September.
CHSRA's CEO Jeff Morales told Xinhua last September that the high-speed rail construction in China during the past 10 years was impressive. He hoped the Chinese team will have a good performance in the fair competition to bid for the California High-Speed Rail project in the future.
The California High-Speed Rail aims to connect Sacramento with San Diego eventually, totaling 800 miles (1,280 km) with up to 24 stations along the line.
The line between the Silicon Valley and the Central Valley will be the first segment to construct and will be completed by 2024 and start operation in 2025.
CHSRA's Chairman of Board Dan Richard told Xinhua in February that the construction of the California high-speed rail was picking up pace.
The California government started to pursue the idea of a Southern California high-speed rail corridor in 1981. On Jan. 6, 2015, the CHSRA held a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Governor Jerry Brown in Fresno, a city in Central Valley, to start the construction of the nation's first high-speed rail system.
Compared with XpressWest, a private project, the California High-Speed Rail program is much bigger and got support from most of the public.
XpressWest's project, if connects Las Vegas with Victorville in Southern California, will have a length of about 300 km and cost around 8 billion dollars, while the Phase I only of California High-Speed Rail will extend about 800 km from San Francisco to Los Angeles and cost at least 68 billion.
In 2002, the California Senate passed a bill to authorize a 9.95-billion-dollar bond measure to finance the California High-Speed Rail system. In November 2008, the bond measure was approved by the state's voters, making it the nation's first ever voter-approved financing mechanism for high-speed rail.
In 2009, 8 billion dollars in federal funds were made available nationwide as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and California sought and successfully secured 3.3 billion of the funds.
Besides, a long-term, continuous funding will come from the California Cap-and-Trade program, as the amount for fiscal year 2014-2016 will be 650 million dollars.
The XpressWest is now facing more difficulties without cooperation with CRI. As the company has no background in transportation construction, it will have to look for new partner for the designing, developing and building of the high-speed rail.
The XpressWest intended to renew its request for the federal loan. Its request of 5.5 billion-dollar federal loan was indefinitely suspended by the Department of Transportation in 2013.