High Speed Rail: Learning From Service Start-ups, Prospects for Increased Industry Investment, and Federal Oversight Plans, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 781KB]

From the Document: "State successes to initiate or improve intercity passenger rail services in the recent past (the last 15 years), hinged largely on their abilities to build public and political support, secure funding, obtain equipment, and manage their services. Public and political support and funding provided a foundation for these services. States acquired equipment by using collaborative and cost-saving approaches. Further, states managed their rail services by building consensus with stakeholders, borrowing expertise, and developing state capacity. All of these activities will be important for states that seek to initiate or improve services in the future, including developing conventional passenger rail (operating at speeds up to 79 miles per hour), higher speed passenger rail (operating at speeds up to 150 miles per hour), and even high speed rail services (operating at speeds of 150 miles per hour or more). Rail industry stakeholders are optimistic that they can meet increased public investment in intercity passenger rail; however, they are looking for (1) federal leadership in setting safety standards for high speed rail and in promoting interstate cooperation for service across state lines, among other things, and (2) stable funding to create a structure for developing a passenger rail marketplace. Additionally, stakeholders said that a stable federal funding stream would encourage firms to enter and invest in the intercity passenger rail marketplace. However, even with strong federal leadership and funding it could take several years to provide the necessary infrastructure, such as for building new passenger rail cars, potentially making it difficult to spend some Recovery Act high speed rail funds by 2017, as required by law."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov
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