APTA, AASHTO Release High-Performance Rail ROI Report

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have issued a new high-performance rail return on investment report, quantifying the economic and social benefits of passenger rail corridor investments.

It was developed to assist cities, metropolitan agencies, state DOTs and federal agencies by “providing a common methodology—utilizing best practice methods—to measure public benefits and assess return on investment (ROI) for proposed high speed and intercity passenger rail (HS&IPR) projects,” according to APTA and AASHTO.

The “Assessing the Business Case ROI for Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Investment” report includes a guide for decision-makers and an associated methodology and ROI toolkit (download below). It was prepared by EBP US Inc. with assistance from the Mineta Transportation Institute.

“America has an opportunity to build a high-performance rail network to position us to overcome our economic challenges and compete in the global marketplace in the coming years,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said. “Passenger rail is an underutilized mode, and ripe to connect with national and local transportation networks and rural areas with high-performance corridor services. Development of a national network and national rail plan should be guided by federal, state and regional planning efforts, and coordinated with the various state-supported intercity passenger rail corridors. The Business Case ROI Tool included with this new guide will be vital to calculating a societal return on investment for intercity passenger rail investments as viewed from the perspectives of these stakeholders.”

“I commend the members of APTA and members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for collaborating in the development of the comprehensive new methodology,” said Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, Chair of the APTA Committee on High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail, and Co-founder of the Commuter Rail Coalition (CRC). “In earlier corridor studies, certain benefits were too often overlooked. This approach will assure the full range of economic, environmental and social benefits will be considered.”

In other developments, CRC Vice Chair Mike Noland (South Shore Line) and Director of Government Affairs John Cline (Cline Strategic Consulting) recently discussed how the issue of excess liability insurance has become an existential threat to commuter railroads with Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono.

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