Japan Pitches Its High-Speed Train With an Offer to Finance

Eric Pfanner, reporting for the New York Times:

To build the proposed American line, Japan has come up with a method of financing that is similarly novel. In a meeting with President Obama last winter, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered to provide the maglev guideway and propulsion system at no cost for the first portion of the line, linking Washington and Baltimore.

“We are going to share this technology with the United States because the United States is our indispensable ally,” said Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman of the Central Japan Railway Company, which runs the maglev test track and is building the Tokyo-Osaka line.

Officials have not placed a dollar figure on the value of the aid but say it would cover close to half of the overall cost of construction. Based on the estimated cost of the maglev line from Tokyo to Osaka, which is more than $300 million per mile, that means the Japanese financing could be worth about $5 billion.

The financing can be viewed as either a savvy incentive or international aid, depending on your perspective.

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