P3 planned for California high-speed rail

EXCLUSIVE: Private financing under a P3 model is now being considered for part of the procurement of California’s high-speed rail project.

In addition to recently announced plans to include the private sector in the operation and management of the deal, sources told P3 Bulletin that the state was considering an availability payment contract to oversee wider elements of the proposals.

One source revealed that the plans could involve the development, operation, maintenance and financing of the rolling stock, as well as an extension of the proposals to include travel to Las Vegas.

Under the plans, officials in the state are hoping to co-operate with the privately backed XpressWest project, which will see a 150-mph line connecting Palmdale with Las Vegas.

These proposals are also gaining traction within various levels of government, with support coming from state governor Jerry Brown and at federal level, another source confirmed.

Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, last week confirmed private sector involvement in the running of the line.

"We are not going to be a government-run railroad," Richard said. "Our business model is that the private sector will come in and bid for the right to operate on our system."