Groups Respond Overwhelmingly to Solicitations for New U.S. HSR

» Representative Mica’s proposal has received a strong response

Back in December, Representative John Mica (R-FL), Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City (I), and former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters held an event at New York’s Penn Station where they announced that they would be soliciting bids from private and public groups for the development of high-speed rail along the Northeast corridor and/or any of the other corridors designated by the Federal Railroad Administration. Now, Mr. Mica has announced that more than 80 groups produced an initial response to the request for proposals, including architectural, engineering, and construction firms, train manufacturers, and state transportation departments. Here’s his presser. Final bids will not be submitted until September. No money is guaranteed for the winning projects; Mr. Mica simply wanted to use this process to encourage Congress to envision what could be done with a large investment in rail.

The number of groups responding is quite large and indicates a broad consensus in both the public and private spheres for U.S. high-speed rail. Below is a list I’ve compiled of the organizations that have submitted. None has yet presented a business plan, but all of the world’s major train constructors, the rail agencies of France, Germany, and Spain, the Departments of Transportation of many states, and a number of the world’s major engineering groups submitted their names for future consideration. It is unclear why the state of California, which has by far the most advanced plan for high-speed rail, did not submit. It should be pointed out that the fact that an organization submits its name for consideration at this stage does not necessarily mean that it will continue through with the process by September, but one assumes that the big names – of which there are many – on the list below will in fact do so, making this government request incredibly interesting.

I do remain concerned about the government’s repeated efforts to take advantage of private corporations to invest in what is public infrastructure. I discussed this matter at length in December, and now that we’ve actually seen bids come in, it is important to remember what we’re trying to get at when we invest in rail systems: profit for a few or maximum benefits for the entire society. While we certainly love to see this massive interest in high-speed rail in the United States, let us not forget that it is in the public interest to keep the rail system in public hands.

Groups that submitted basic information

Governmental Agencies

  • New York State DOT
  • MTA Metro-North Railroad
  • North Carolina DOT
  • Florida DOT
  • Georgia/South Carolina/North Carolina DOTs
  • Texas High-Speed Rail
  • Baltimore Development Corporation
  • Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District
  • Missouri DOT
  • Florida High-Speed Rail Authority
  • Connecticut DOT
  • Oxford Area Transit Services
  • Ohio Rail Development Commission
  • Michigan DOT

Existing Operators

  • Stagecoach/Virgin Group (some U.K. rail)
  • DB (German rail)
  • RENFE (Spanish rail)
  • Peter Pan (U.S. Bus Operations)
  • Systra (controlled by France’s SNCF rail)
  • FirstGroup America

Train Manufacturers

  • Siemens
  • Alstom
  • Samsung
  • Hitachi
  • Mitsui
  • Hyundai Rotem
  • Talgo
  • Kawasaki
  • Sumitomo
  • Bombardier

Other Corporations or Individuals, including Engineering Groups and Architects

  • Roesling Nakamura Terada
  • VBN
  • Dahlin Group
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Wilbur Smith
  • Steer Davies Gleave
  • HDR
  • Skanska
  • Bouygues Travaux Publics
  • ARUP
  • Railway Service Corporation
  • HNTB Corporation
  • Firetall Energy Systems
  • AECOM Transportation
  • Ansaldo STS
  • Prointec
  • Maglev, Inc.
  • Global Rail Consortium
  • RIM Services
  • J&J International
  • John Gilmer
  • Gateway Planning Group
  • Edward Cho
  • Balfour Beatty
  • PassPort Railroad
  • Maria Pose Aller
  • FirstGroup America
  • Moffatt & Nichol
  • Gannett Fleming
  • Kevin John Scott
  • Quandel
  • Consultrans
  • Robert H. Terry
  • Cintra
  • Hatch Mott MacDonald
  • Macquarie Capital
  • Triangle Railroad Company
  • AZTEC Engineering
7 Comments | Leave a Reply »
  • t1ewis

    ah just like i thought, VA is nowhere to be found on that list. another state that actually is interested in hsr.

  • Allan

    Nor is PA. But at least there is still time for other organizations to submit their solicitations. Time to start writing our governors and state representatives

  • tom

    Should FirstGroup America be included in the Existing Operators list? They have more buses than Peter Pan and their parent company runs more rail in the UK than Stagecoach.

  • randy

    The number of groups responding is quite large and indicates a broad consensus in both the public and private spheres for U.S. high-speed rail.

    It indicates no such thing. The only thing it indicates is that lots of people are interested in bidding for taxpayer-funded government contracts.

    If HSR is such a good deal, why aren’t private investors lining up to put their own money into it?

  • PPP


    Randy, private investors are clearly interested in investing on HSR in the US. For instance, in California the business plan for the HSR is counting on $6 billion of private money.

    We have to be realistic, the administration has no so much money to finance all infrastructure projects in the US, there is a clear need of private money.

    I like your blog. thanks for all the information. I´ll add it to my feeds reader.

  • randy

    Randy, private investors are clearly interested in investing on HSR in the US. For instance, in California the business plan for the HSR is counting on $6 billion of private money.

    The fact that the CAHSR is countiing on it obviously doesn’t mean that it will be forthcoming.

  • Jim Ullrich

    Why don’t we take the approach we do on concrete highways? The government build the right of way with open access and private industry (J.B. Hunt, Greyhound, Seimens,etc.) invest in and operate the trains. These steel rail routes would compete with the concrete highways in speed, reliability, and price. Trains would pay a toll for maintenance and depreciation of the right of way. Move both freight and passengers just like the concrete highways do now.

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