High Speed Passenger Rail: Future Development Will Depend on Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role

Source: Government Accountability Office, GAO-09-317 March 19, 2009

From the summary:
Federal and other decision makers have had a renewed interest in how high speed rail might fit into the national transportation system and address increasing mobility constraints on highways and at airports due to congestion. GAO was asked to review (1) the factors affecting the economic viability–meaning whether total social benefits offset or justify total social costs–of high speed rail projects, including difficulties in determining the economic viability of proposed projects; (2) the challenges in developing and financing high speed rail systems; and (3) the federal role in the potential development of U.S. high speed rail systems. GAO reviewed federal legislation; interviewed federal, state, local, and private sector officials, as well as U.S. project sponsors; and reviewed high speed rail development in France, Japan, and Spain.

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