Bechtel: The Global Corporation

  • Jason Henderson


This chapter provides a brief history and overview of Bechtel, the largest builder of megaprojects in the United States. Tracing the company’s 110-years of involvement with megaprojects, I discuss some of the controversy surrounding Bechtel, focusing on how Bechtel is criticized for being too cozy with government and business elites at the helm of the fossil fuel economy, or the organization of the U.S. political economy, and the everyday life around oil, gas, and coal. These controversies are political and not necessarily about Bechtel’s engineering, but have implications in how Bechtel may fare in the future. Bechtel is one of the world’s largest builders of urban rail transit and has a record of work in high speed rail transportation projects, both considered key components for reducing fossil fuel consumption in response to global warming and volatile energy prices. Bechtel has been involved in most of the new urban rail transit systems in the U.S. and is engaged in mega-rail projects in Europe and elsewhere. The chapter will conclude with some thoughts about how Bechtel might be poised to contribute to steering the U.S. away from the last century of access to cheap fossil fuels.


Saudi Arabia Rail Transit High Speed Rail Light Rail Business Elite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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