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4/30/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Nation needs infrastructure planning 'overhaul,' report states


The United States needs an overhauled regional infrastructure planning process and a viable federal framework or the nation won’t be able to compete in the global marketplace, according to a report co-published by nonprofit education and research organization the Urban Land Institute and professional services firm Ernst & Young.

Released yesterday, “Infrastructure 2008: A Competitive Advantage” analyzes current and planned infrastructure investments and touches on infrastructure needs in 23 of the country’s largest metropolitan regions.

Among the report’s findings: The nation is “witnessing a historic shift away from highway spending toward transit spending,” as most regions are planning significant transit expansions with minimal changes in highway programs. But, transit-oriented development needs to play a larger role in cities’ transportation plans.

“Land use and transportation planning must be coordinated at state and regional levels … and transit authorities need to operate with common purpose,” the report says.

Meanwhile, freight railroads since 2000 have spent $10 billion to upgrade tracks, equipment and facilities and have budgeted another $12 billion for additional expansions and improvements. However, $175 billion is needed to help railroads handle anticipated demand during the next 20 years and a coordinated federal funding formula is needed, the report states.

“Government needs to set a policy course that enables greater mobility and productivity as the nation’s population grows and concentrates in major gateways and mega regions,” the report’s authors said.




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