SHANGHAI - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made building a high-speed rail system a priority of his administration, arrived in Shanghai on the bullet train from Beijing on Thursday night, admiring the station as he alighted.
"Yeah, it's good," he said. "Look at all this space, the trains, people moving."
The Democratic governor and senior officials traveled more than 800 miles in about five hours on the train, part of China's rapidly expanding high-speed rail network. Brown told reporters en route that "we've got to step up the pace in California," where officials plan to begin construction on a $68 billion high-speed rail system this summer.
California High-Speed Rail Authority officials traveling with the governor met privately this week with potential Chinese investors in the rail project, including the Chinese Investment Corporation, a major sovereign wealth fund. Brown was accompanied on the train by representatives of Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co., a Chinese company that designs and builds train-sets in China.
"What they've done here is impressive," said Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board
The Chinese government has built more than 5,000 miles of high-speed rail track in just more than five years, vastly expanding China's transportation infrastructure.
Public confidence in the rail system was shaken, however, by a deadly collision in 2011, and Brown's trip followed a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Wednesday that China's former rail minister, Liu Zhijun, has been charged with bribery and abuse of power in a corruption scandal that led to his ouster two years ago.
Brown arrived at his hotel in Shanghai close to midnight, as his week-long trade mission moves south from the nation's capital city. Brown is scheduled to oversee the opening of a foreign trade office in Shanghai on Friday, the state's first official presence in the country since it closed 12 foreign trade offices amid controversy in 2003.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters on the bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai on Thursday. David Siders / Sacramento Bee