State High-Speed Rail Reports

The Antiplanner’s latest case against high-speed rail is now available in the form of reports published by a variety of think tanks. The reports are pretty similar, so download the one for your state if you see it, or a nearby state if you don’t see yours. The short (6-page) reports make the main arguments; the long (30-page) ones get into the nitty gritty.

Colorado (Independence Institute): Long report or short report

Florida (American Dream Coalition): Long report or short report

Georgia (Georgia Public Policy Foundation): Long report or commentary

Illinois (Illinois Policy Institute): Full report or one-page summary

Indiana (Indiana Policy Review): Long report

Iowa (Public Interest Institute): Long report

Louisiana (Pelican Institute): Long report

Missouri (Show-Me Institute): Long report or short report.

New Mexico (Rio Grande Foundation): Long report

North Carolina (John Locke Foundation): Long report or commentary

Ohio (Buckeye Institute): Long report

Oklahoma (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs): Short report

Oregon (Cascade Policy Institute): Long report or summary

Texas (Texas Public Policy Foundation): Long report

Washington (Washington Policy Center): Long report or short report


6 thoughts on “State High-Speed Rail Reports

  1. John Thacker

    I’d also suggest citing the GAO report on high speed rail.

    Figure 3, on page 16, has Japanese governmental statistics discussing travel mode based on distance traveled. You can see that people traveling 1000 km (625 mi) in Japan fly (80% share) or drive (15% share), they don’t take rail. Flying and driving also beat rail in 750 km (470 mi) to 1000 km ranges as well. That’s despite a pretty straight and fast shinkansen line between, say, Hiroshima and Tokyo.

    If trains aren’t superior to driving and flying for distances over 500 miles in Japan on the shinkansen, then they aren’t going to work in the US for such distances either.

  2. John Thacker

    The Antiplanner correctly points out that most rail boosters use the overall average car occupancy numbers when attempting to claim that rail has energy benefits. In actuality, intercity driving tends to have more passengers than intracity driving, which includes a lot of single passenger commuting and errands.

    However, I can imagine a partial counterargument. Intercity rail will likely be expensive for passengers. Like flying, intercity rail may be more attractive than driving alone, but more expensive than carpooling. Therefore, we can conclude those car passengers who do switch from driving to rail will be disproportionately drawn from those driving alone and there can still possibly be marginal benefits. (OTOH, some will certainly come from profitable and energy efficient when loaded intercity buses.)

  3. msetty

    Of course, the success or failure of any HSR and other intercity rail corridor project in meeting its ridership projections will also depend on how useful a network of connecting services is available at stations. This essential area seems to be something almost universally missing in U.S. HSR and other intercity rail proposals.

  4. John Thacker


    That aspect is sometimes studied, but most of the projects that study it don’t go forward as a result. Most of the projects still being proposed are ones where they’re ignoring that issue.

    The Southeast High Speed Rail planning documents at least admit that upgraded Charlotte-Raleigh service isn’t cost-effective unless the Raleigh-Richmond line is also restored and upgraded, connecting to the Northeast Corridor. And similarly their Macon-Atlanta-Greenville-Spartanburg-Charlotte feasibility study argued that upgraded service would not be cost-effective unless the Charlotte-Raleigh-Richmond section existed.

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