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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

October 2014





Part 1 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Preface

Part 2 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Amtrak and transit agencies in California

Part 3 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Colorado and Florida

Part 4 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Georgia, Illinois and Missouri

Part 5 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in New York

Part 6 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Tennessee and Texas

Part 7 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Virginia and the state of Washington

Part 8 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail At A Glance: Metrolinx in Ontario, Canada

Rail News: Passenger Rail

Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Preface



— by Angela Cotey, senior associate editor

North American transit agencies are investing in passenger rail at a steady clip. From New York to Denver, Los Angeles to Toronto, Dallas to Chicago, and many cities in between, projects are under way or scheduled to begin soon that will increase reliability, add service and/or enhance safety.

But those investments are not enough. The capital needs associated with maintaining a rail system in a state of good repair are great; the funding needs to add service to meet ever-growing demand are even greater. In this year's agency survey, we asked them what their top challenges are. The majority of agencies mentioned funding shortages in their response. Officials at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) took their response a step further, outlining in detail the implications of a funding shortage.

By 2025, BART estimates 100,000 more people will use the system on a each day, increasing ridership to 500,000 passengers; by 2040, they expect the number to jump to 600,000. To accommodate the surge, BART will need to invest in aging infrastructure and expand its system. The agency expects it will need nearly $20 billion in operating and capital dollars over the next decade. BART staffers have identified a "substantial" amount of funding to meet their needs, but they will need to turn to other funding partners to fill the gap, according to their survey.

If adequate funding is not secured, the agency will be forced to cut service and system failures will become more frequent, BART officials believe. Transit users would resort to driving, and the Bay Area's economic and environmental health would suffer, they say.

Funding shortages are not unique to BART, or a new challenge. But several years' worth of steady ridership increases indicate that Americans' travel patterns have begun to shift. Growth projections have added an increased sense of urgency for many transit agencies to expand accordingly.

It will be a tough task, especially absent any additional federal funding, but it's one that agencies have grown accustomed to handling. There are plenty of system expansions and improvements under way, as indicated on the pages that follow. More than two dozen agencies provided capital project information for this year's guide. On ProgressiveRailroading.com, additional information can be accessed on a handful of other projects from agencies that are working to launch new rail systems. We believe it is a representative sampling of the transit-rail projects under way, and indicative of the growth taking place in the industry.

 

Part 1: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Preface

 

Part 2: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Amtrak and transit agencies in California

 

Part 3: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Colorado and Florida

 

Part 4: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Georgia, Illinois and Missouri

 

Part 5: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in New York

 

Part 6: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Tennessee and Texas

 

Part 7: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Transit agencies in Virginia and the state of Washington

 

Part 8: Passenger Rail at a Glance 2014: Metrolinx in Ontario, Canada

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