Politico Morning Transportation: Can private funding save high speed rail?

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By SAM MINTZ, With help from Tanya Snyder, Politico Morning Transportation; April 17, 2019

CAN PRIVATE FUNDING SAVE HIGH-SPEED RAIL? Privately backed ventures, like Virgin Trains USA’s Florida project, could help expand high-speed rail in the United States, according to a new report from analysts at Fitch. Virgin’s so-far successful expansion to Orlando gives more credibility to private passenger rail projects, the report says. That’s especially relevant given the high-profile failure of the government-funded high-speed rail project in California. But “significant challenges,” including the lack of precedent for similar projects, political opposition and land rights issues, will continue for the private companies looking to fill the void. Virgin is also planning a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and Texas Central is looking to develop passenger rail between Houston and Dallas (although the latter has been struck legal blows over eminent domain questions in recent months).

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