Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There's no business like the high-speed rail business

I wonder if any of these 2,000 business reps. who will show up at this laugh-fest read the newspapers.  I also wonder if their company attorneys do any due diligence before they submit bids.   Do you suppose they don't know that federal funding for this caricature of a rail project is going to vaporize before their very eyes?  Even if they do start in the Central Valley, unless there are more dollars forthcoming, that's where the project will end; a useless train-track from nowhere to nowhere with no one to ride it.

This is meant to be a gathering of the famous "private sector" we keep hearing about.  The private sector that is supposed to provide a third of the funding.  And, the word "financing" is indeed the first word in their task-list that also includes "planning, construction, maintenance and operations."  Wait a minute, haven't they been doing the planning already?  Well, never mind.

My own guess is that this will be more of a public relations exercise than an actual trade-show for companies seeking to get in on those federal and state dollars. 

There are now two senior executives with European names. (Roelof van Ark; Hans van Winkle) That's not a coincidence.  I expect many more, since they, and their professional Asian counterparts, are the only people who know anything about high-speed rail construction and operation. We do not have such a skill-set in the US.  So, what does that mean for future hiring?  
High-Speed Rail Authority meeting with 2,000 business reps
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 AT 11:16 A.M.

Whatever the political struggles over high-speed rail, businesses seem to be interested in climbing on board as potential partners in the California high-speed rail project.

About 2,000 representatives of private firms will be gathering Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center to learn about how they can participate in the development and construction of the $42 billion bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“The private sector will be playing a significant role in the financing, planning, construction, maintenance and operations of the California high-speed rail system, the largest infrastructure project underway in the nation” according to a California High-Speed Rail Authority spokesman.

The day-long seminar provides an overview on the project by CHSRA CEO Roelof van Ark , followed by a detailed project presentation by project manager Hans Van Winkle and staff, followed by information on the contracting process. The afternoon session covers information for small businesses and companies interested in roles as prime contractors.

Introductory remarks will be made by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and HSRA board chairman Curt Pringle.

Online registration for the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seminar is closed but limited registration is available onsite on Tuesday, according to the CHSRA.