Building the Political Infrastructure for High Speed Rail in North America

Dunn Jr., James A.; Perl, Anthony
January 1996
Transportation Quarterly;Winter96, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p5
Academic Journal
In this paper we examine the institutional and political obstacles that have held back development of high speed rail (HSR) policies and projects in North America, and the prospects for overcoming them. We demonstrate how national level institutions in both the U.S. and Canada could sustain only weak and amorphous HSR policy networks. At the sub-national level, we identify three funding formulas for HSR that failed to win broad enough political support to get projects off the drawing board. We then asses the political risks and incentives that political leadership must consider in building a broader HSR coalition, and highlight the importance of crafting a distributive benefits formula to ensure that a broad range of new stakeholders will "buy into" HSR policy.


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