U.S. News

California seeks China's help for high-speed rail

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks during a Bay Area Council business event in Shanghai September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Aly Song

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - California will seek China’s help in financing its high-speed rail system and welcome bids from Chinese firms to help build it, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday.

Earlier this year, California was awarded $2.25 billion of the $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail projects under the U.S. government’s stimulus plan. The state plans to build a high-speed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“We look to China to build our high speed rail, to be part of the bidding process that we are going to go through,” Schwarzenegger told a gather of U.S. businesses in Shanghai.

“Many countries will be bidding to build our high-speed rail, (and we plan) also to look for financing from China,” he said.

The $8 billion, part of the $863 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will introduce high-speed rail to a country that has long relied on a vast interstate highway network and air travel.

Completing high-speed lines will require a mix of federal, state and private investment, experts have said.

California, which has entered into its fiscal year without a budget signed into law, has seen its financial problems crimp its ability to move ahead with projects such as the high-speed rail.

Last year, California temporarily issued IOUs during a lengthy budget impasse.

U.S. government transportation officials have also recently toured China and other Asian countries as the United States embarks on its plans to build more high-speed rail lines.

Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Jason Subler