A high-speed rail line deal that was set to be a collaboration between a U.S. company and China has been called off less than a year after it began, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
XpressWest, a private U.S. company, said Thursday it was ending its venture with China Railway International due to “difficulties associated with timely performance and CRI’s challenges in obtaining required authority to proceed with required development activities,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Despite these problems, XpressWest said it will push forward in establishing a rail system in the United States. After ending its deal with China Railway International, the company said it would “aggressively pursue” other partnership opportunities.
“As everyone knows, there are no high-speed trains manufactured in the United States,” the company said in a statement. “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 policymakers 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.”
China Railway International is a company that includes the state-owned China Railway Group Ltd., CRRC Corp. and China State Construction Engineering Corp. China started its own high-speed rail service in 2007 and it now covers more than 12,000 miles there, making it the world’s largest network of such trains.
The end of this deal comes as a blow to China, as the country has been hoping to sell its high-speed rail technology to other nations. The project with XpressWest — which was set to run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas — would have been its first contract in the United States. China Railway International said last September it would put $100 million into the project.
American media outlets were not able to reach China Railway International Thursday due to a public holiday in China, but Xinhua, the Chinese government news agency, cited a China Railway International manager saying the change of plans was “irresponsible,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
XpressWest is moving forward with plans for its project in Las Vegas. A ridership study is in the works and should be finished this summer.
“We are hopeful policymakers in Washington, D.C., will allow the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt a more flexible and realistic approach to support high-speed rail,” XpressWest said in its statement. “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?”