High-speed rail is set to come through California and connect the state. But before it is built, leaders are looking to other countries that have been successful. On Monday, Spanish rail experts spoke at a high-speed rail conference at Fresno State.
"So this is an opportunity also for local, Californian, American industry to prepare, to get the skill ready for the future," rail industry expert Eduardo Romo said.
Several businesses from across the state and here in Fresno were on hand for the conference, including some that have already secured contracts.
"Everybody here has an interest that it will get going pretty soon," Cornerstone Structural Engineering Group President Todd Goolkasian said.
Other firms came to the event, hoping to get a greater understanding of rail lines.
"Our firm is looking at one of the construction management segments of this project, and this is one of the great networking opportunities at Fresno State," ARCADIS Regional Transportation Manager Charlie Guess said.
Students got a chance to speak with industry experts.
"As transportation engineers, we see these designs a lot in Europe, China and Japan, so I'm really interested in seeing them in the United States and bringing them here too," civil engineering student Sarij Sarieddine said.
Fresno State educators say the high-speed rail project is providing an education for students in and out of the classroom.
"It's going to give them tremendous new opportunities for employment, for innovation," Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Ram Nunna said. "This project's going to last maybe 20 or 25 years, and we really need our students to be engaged in learning about the systems so they can become the builders of the future."
And local engineers are hoping they too can find work and be a part of the future.
"This is my chance to work on one of the United States' mega projects," Guess said.