Thursday, December 14, 2006

General Accounting Office releases a report on National Policy and Strategies for Intercity Rail

The GAO released a report laying out the state of passenger rail in the United States. It's important to remember that Amtrak is not a synonym for national passenger rail; it's just the current provider with most of its structure still the original 70s-era design.

We don't have a clear goal for national passenger rail.

We don't have a clear role for stakeholders (Congress, Amtrak, the corporations that own and maintain the tracks and the state governments).

And we definitely do not have a reliable source of funds.

We need the three of those set up, as most other nations enjoy.

The full report is here.

Now, the report suggests we should dump the long-distance routes in favor of so-called corridor routes of less than 500 miles. We take the position that long-distance routes are misunderstood and undervalued. We think we should be adding frequencies to our long-distance routes, especially those that regularly sell out. But this report is worth a read (if you're into passenger rail policy).


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