Chinese tour Fresno for high-speed rail

FRESNO, Calif.

The group spent several hours in Fresno looking at plans for the high speed rail that is expected to break ground next year. High speed rail will pass right through Downtown Fresno.

In fact, there are plans to build a 4-story train depot here.

This is just one of many spots Chinese officials visited Saturday on the ground, as well as several others, using the help of a Fresno County Sheriff's helicopter.

Twelve Chinese officials got a bird-eyes' view Saturday of what will be the first phase of California's high speed rail system.

With a price tag of $45 billion, the entire project will link LA to San Francisco through Fresno.

Fresno County supervisor Henry Perea says aside from China, other countries including Japan, Germany and France, are all interested in the project.

"I think the Chinese are going to be very competitive in the application they put forward, but they understand and embrace the fact that they are going to partner with local valley businesses and hire local labor to do the work, so it's a win-win all around," Henry Perea said.

High speed rail is expected to create more than 100,000 jobs in the valley.

The Chinese want to build the trains, the tracks and possibly a manufacturing facility in Fresno.

Jeffrey Chang works with a transportation investment group based in Beijing. He says China can bring its money and expertise to the billion-dollar project.

"Cause they build more high speed rail in the last ten years then the entire world put together so they do have the experience, they do have the expertise, they have the most modern technology," Chang said.

Whether they'll commit to investing is still unknown. But, Chang maintains--at this point the Chinese are impressed with what the valley has to offer.

"This is one of the highlights of this particular trip. This is a seven day trip they have in California and this is a very important stop."

The Chinese visitors left Fresno just a couple of hours ago.

Meanwhile, county officials say potential investors from other countries will likely visit the valley over the next several months.

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