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Submitted by Tierra on July 30, 2013
UTRC Press Release

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Contact: Nadia Aslam
Assistant Director for Technology Transfer
University Transportation Research Center - Region 2
Tel: 212-650-8051

The University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) Publishes the Final Report: "Financing Rail Capital Projects: Historical Lessons; Contemporary Cases"

UTRC has released a final report for the research titled: "Financing Rail Capital Projects: Historical Lessons; Contemporary Cases", funded by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration/USDOT (RITA).  The principal investigator was Dr. James K. Cohen, Professor Emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).

Two questions informed the research for this article: first, how and why did the mid‐20th century shift from private to public ownership? Second, does high speed rail create opportunities for the return of the private sector to a significant role in passenger rail transport, such as financing and operating new lines? To answer these questions, we adopted a historical, cross‐national approach. While a number of articles have been written about general lessons that can be learned from foreign experience with high speed rail, our approach analyzes the specific reasons why the U.S. has lagged behind other countries. France was selected as a comparison case because of its history of moving from private to public provision of passenger rail services closely paralleled American rail history up to the Great Depression; and, because the divergence between the two countries at the end of the Great Depression provides powerful evidence for analyzing the causes of the decline of U.S. passenger railways in the post‐World War 2 period.


The full report is available for a free download at the UTRC website:


About the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)

The University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) is a USDOT Regional Transportation Center addressing surface transportation operations, management, design economics and planning.  The Region 2 University Transportation Research Center is one of ten original National Centers, established in 1987, in recognition that transportation plays a key role in the nation’s economy and in the quality of people’s lives. Located at the City University of New York, the Center is a Consortium of 17 major Academic Institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico. Through the Grant supporting the Center, the mission incorporates research, education and the transfer of technology in the field of transportation. Academically based, the work of Faculty and Students – graduate and undergraduate provide a critical link in resolving our national and regional transportation problems while training the future and current professionals who address our transportation system and their customers on a daily basis. For more information, visit