What Europe Can Teach America About High-Speed Rail Development

In this article, the author takes a look at the high-speed rail environment and suggests that there is much to be learned from the European experience. The author notes that interest in high-speed rail in the U.S. is extremely high at this particular time, and that California is farthest along and most likely to begin building first. U.S. federal policy toward transportation in general and rail in particular is also explained. The author suggests that Spain’s high-speed rail program may be the best model for California; it is one of the younger programs in Europe, opening only 17 years ago. Based on Spain’s and other high-speed rail programs in Europe and Asia, the author states it is essential that the strong policy initiatives articulated by state of California and federal administration leaders be sustained beyond current terms in office; changes of government commitment and fiscal challenges can compromise projects. In addition, a long term funding mechanism must be found—something more stable than annual appropriations. Finally, the author warns that the future of high-speed rail in the U.S. needs an early win such as France’s Paris-to-Lille line or Spain’s Madrid-to-Seville line.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Illustrations; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 76-79
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01142730
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 14 2009 5:08PM