High Speed Passenger Rail: Future Development Will Depend on Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role Page: 4 of 6
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rail and how it fits into the national transportation system, an exercise that
has largely remained incomplete. Accountability can be enhanced by tying
the specific, measurable goals required by the act to performance and
accountability measures. In developing analytical tools to apply to the
act's project selection criteria, it will be important to address optimistic
rider and cost forecasts and varied public benefits analyses.
In our report, we recommended that the Secretary of Transportation, in
consultation with Congress and other stakeholders, develop a written
strategic vision for high speed rail, particularly in relation to the role that
high speed rail can play in the national transportation system, clearly
identifying potential objectives and goals for high speed rail systems and
the roles that federal and other stakeholders should play in achieving each
objective and goal. We also recommended that the Secretary develop
specific policies and procedures for reviewing and evaluating grant
applications under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of
2008 that clearly identify the outcomes expected to be achieved through
the award of grant funds and that include performance and accountability
measures. Finally, we recommended that the Secretary develop guidance
and methods for ensuring the reliability of ridership and other forecasts
used to determine the viability of high speed rail projects and to support
the need for federal grant assistance. The Department of Transportation
(DOT) said it generally agreed with the information presented but did not
take a position on our recommendations. DOT said the strategic plan
required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 may
include a vision for high speed rail. DOT also said that this act will
accelerate its involvement with high speed rail.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy to
answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may
For future contacts regarding this statement, please contact Susan
Fleming at (202) 512-2834 or email@example.com. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Relations can be found on
the last page of this statement. Andrew Von Ah, Assistant Director;
Catherine Kim; Richard Jorgenson; and Gretchen Snoey also made key
contributions to this statement.
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United States. Government Accountability Office. High Speed Passenger Rail: Future Development Will Depend on Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role, text, April 1, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292073/m1/4/: accessed February 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.