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Examination of Economic Competitiveness of Passenger Rail Service for Sustainable and Economically Efficient Intermodal Corridor Integration
  • Published Date:
    2016-01-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-3.05 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Contributors:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
    NCITEC Project: 2013_38
  • Resource Type:
  • TRIS Online Accession Number:
    01627914
  • Edition:
    Final Report
  • Corporate Publisher:
  • Format:
  • Abstract:
    According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the issue of increased congestion in the United States transportation system poses a substantial threat to the U.S. economy and to the quality of life of millions of Americans. Highway congestion occurs when traffic demand approaches or exceeds the capacity of the highway system. Increasing use of rail can contribute to increased mobility as well as decreased congestion as well as decreased emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, the economic viability of many communities is dependent upon the flow of traffic and the easy exchange of commerce throughout the U.S. The effectiveness of the transportation system to permit the flow of goods to various communities is essential to the maintenance of higher levels of economic activity. Currently, Southern Colorado suffers from a lack of ready access to sufficient ground transportation especially rail, which may limit its economic competitiveness over the next twenty years as new nodes of transport such as Miami, Gulfport and Jacksonville become more developed as a result of the widening of the Panama Canal. Many factors will affect this including population, level of economic activity and the like. However, several factors may be coming into play which could suggest a need for expanded freight and passenger traffic through Colorado. The present report investigates the factors affecting the expansion of passenger rail into Colorado and the Economic Competitiveness of Passenger Rail Service for Sustainable and Economically Efficient Intermodal Corridor Integration. Data examined in this study review point to the fact that Colorado as a whole and to a lesser extent the southern and southeastern regions of Colorado will continue to experience both population and economic growth over the next decade and into 2040. Data from passenger ridership and proposed new passenger initiatives were found to be supported by ridership projection estimates. The political environment for an expansion into passenger rail has been demonstrated with the existing communities have contributed cash and raised additional grant monies to support the upkeep and upgrading of nearly 100 miles of existing track to support Amtrak service which requires a higher standard of infrastructure than traditional freight movements. Examination of the existing commodity flows into the state suggest that about 20% to 30% might be transferred from highway to rail which would require additional and ongoing upkeep of the rail lines over which passenger service might also travel. Analyses by two separate groups provided data which suggest that the economic cost benefits of the expansion of passenger and commuter rail into Colorado from Eastern states could be sustainable. There would be a sufficient increase in passengers to operate the equipment and a resulting increase in economic impact in the neighborhood of $3 million annually. Additional study is needed however, by the freight lines, which own and operate the existing infrastructure to determine the capital needed to fully upgrade the proposed rail lines for full passenger use.

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