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A Bombardier high-speed train (Tony Frank)
A Bombardier high-speed train (Tony Frank)

Global experience could give Bombardier an edge in U.S. high-speed rail plans Add to ...

Bombardier Inc. is well positioned to participate in a major high-speed rail stimulus initiative expected to be announced Thursday by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Montreal-based company has rail manufacturing facilities in the United States, has expertise in high-speed rail manufacturing via its extensive operations in Europe and has been a prominent lobbyist for high-speed in the U.S. for decades.

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A report Wednesday says Mr. Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden will announce an $8-billion (U.S.) high-speed and intercity rail stimulus package as part of a job-creation push.

The report, quoting a White House official, says the Obama Administration is targeting 13 major corridors, including a proposed Orlando-Tampa high-speed line in Florida and a link between Sacramento and San Diego in California.

Bombardier was part of a consortium that tried but failed to get a high-speed project going in Florida several years ago. It has also been closely monitoring a proposed high-speed rail project in California.

Bombardier has an edge on many U.S. rivals in that it has wide- ranging expertise in high-speed rail as a major global player in the segment. In contrast, U.S. high-speed rail proponents have blamed domestic rail equipment manufacturers' lack of experience in high-speed on the country's lack of commitment - so far - to rail transportation.

Bombardier is also a major supplier of rapid transit rail equipment to U.S. cities. And it was the key manufacturer of Amtrak's Acela high-speed train in the U.S. Northeast.

The rail and aerospace giant could easily meet Buy American conditions with its U.S. manufacturing facilities.

A Bombardier official said last year the company could make high-speed rail equipment at its facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Bombardier is one of 30 companies that recently committed to establishing or expanding their U.S. operations if chosen in the bidding process to build the next generation of high-speed trains, or to build new cars for intercity transit.

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