Gov. Brown praises Chinese for bullet train

  • California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to journalists on board a high speed rail leaving from the Beijing South train station in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 11, 2013. Brown highlighted his state's interest in infrastructure by traveling on China's high-speed rail system, which is the longest in the world. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown got a firsthand look on Thursday at the world's most extensive high-speed rail system and praised the initiative that created the Chinese railway, saying he was anxious to start building similarly ambitious projects in California.

During a five-hour ride covering more than 800 miles, the governor also touted the possibility of Chinese investment in the $68 billion high-speed rail project he is pushing in California.

Covering the cost of the unpopular rail system is one of the project's biggest unknowns.

The Democratic governor walked the aisles during the trip between Beijing and Shanghai, shaking hands with Chinese passengers and marveling at how much the country has developed since his only other visit to China in 1986.

"We sit around and mope. And process. And navel gaze," Brown said, according to KXTV-ABC in Sacramento, which sent a reporter on the trade mission. "And the rest of the world is moving at Mach speed. So when we go back, we'll emulate some of that."

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