XpressWest, the private interstate high-speed passenger railroad company developing a line in the South-western United States has terminated its activities with its Chinese partners. The project which aims to connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles commenced joint venture with China Railway International (CRI) in September 2015, intended to advance the substantial work already completed by XpressWest. CRI was selected to assist develop, finance, build and potentially operate the XpressWest rail. And they even launched a Chinese version of their website. But after less than a year after the agreement, the relationship is over. In a statement, XpressWest stated the decision to terminate the relationship was based primarily upon difficulties associated with timely performance and CRI’s challenges in obtaining required authority to proceed with required development activities. In response the Chinese industry has been highly critical of the decision.
Tony Marnell, CEO of XpressWest said in a statement that; “The team at XpressWest is optimistic CRI and its affiliates will one-day succeed in establishing a viable presence in the United States rail market, however, our ambitions outpace CRI’s ability to move the project forward timely and efficiently. XpressWest is undeterred by this development and remains dedicated to completing its high-speed passenger rail project. XpressWest will now aggressively pursue other available development partnerships and options expected to result in a more efficient and cost-effective project implementation experience,”
Chinese government news agency, Xinhua cited a China Railway International manager as saying the move was a “double-dealing manoeuver” and “an irresponsible decision” and the Chinese side would seek to express opposition to the U.S “according to the law.” China Railway International is a specially formed company that includes state-owned China Railway Group, CRRC Corporation and China State Construction Engineering Corp.
Xinhua, also stated that “XpressWest's passive way of dealing with problems that occurred during the implementation of the project dealt a sudden blow to U.S.-China cooperation in the field of high-speed rail construction.”
XpressWest added to their own statement by pointing some blame at the US Government; “Our biggest challenge continues to be the Federal Government’s requirement that high-speed trains must be manufactured in the United States. As everyone knows, there are no high-speed trains manufactured in the United States. This inflexible requirement has been a fundamental barrier to financing high-speed rail in our Country. For the past 10 years, we have patiently waited for policy makers to recognize high-speed rail in the United States is a new enterprise and that allowing trains from countries with decades of safe high-speed rail experience is needed to connect the Southwest region and start this new industry.
Before continuing; “The bottom line is XpressWest is ready to go and we are excited to bring true high-speed rail to our Country. The real question is: do those in Washington D.C. have the courage and vision to proceed or is our leadership going to force projects throughout the United States to seek financial support for infrastructure in our Country from foreign governments?”
The United States currently has no high-speed rail lines, lagging far behind China, Japan, South Korea and Europe. Since beginning high-speed rail construction 12 years ago, China has built 17,000km of railways.
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