SNCF Presentation Revealed!

SNCF Presentation

07/12/12 Filed in:

Now that the California
High-Speed Rail Authority is doing everything
possible to discredit and bury the story of the
proposal by the French National Railways, SNCF, the
time has come to show the world what all the hubbub
is about. The
SNCF Powerpoint addresses what SNCF saw as the
key weakness of the CHSRA project–its insistence
on building the initial system without private
capital and without the direct involvement of a
firm with HSR operating experience. The
presentation suggests CHSRA use the structure of a
Pre-Development Agreement to bring an experienced
operator on board immediately to direct the

With all the slurs flying around now, it is important
to note that SNCF was not asking CHSRA to turn the
project over to them. They were instead asking that
CHSRA establish a Request for Qualifications process,
leading to an open Request for Proposals process,
which would result in the selection of an operator.
They were totally aware that the winning proposer
could be another firm.

Note that, despite all the recent talk about the
merits and demerits of an I-5 route, the SNCF
proposal was not premised on a specific route. It was
solely a process to bring in private capital and an
experienced operator.

The Authority’s rejection of this seemingly
commonsense proposal to reduce the risk to the State
of California raises disturbing questions of where
CHSRA’s loyalties lay. CHSRA’s 2012 Business Plan
insists untruthfully that no private firms would
invest in the project until after (1) the State had
spent $6 billion on 130 miles of Central Valley
track, (2) somehow found $27 billion to connect it to
Los Angeles, and then (3) showed an operating profit.
By contrast, the SNCF proposal would have brought in
the expertise needed for critical design decisions
along with private capital willing to assume
ridership risk, thereby greatly reducing the State’s

By rejecting the proposal, keeping it secret, and
then mounting an all-hands-on-deck damage control
effort to snuff out the story, CHSRA is clearly
telling the world that its commitment to its army of
consultants outstrips its commitment to the people of

Comments are closed.