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NEW STUDY SAYS HIGH-SPEED INTERCITY TRAINS FEASIBLE

 NEW STUDY SAYS HIGH-SPEED INTERCITY TRAINS FEASIBLE
 WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study of intercity


passenger transportation concludes that trains capable of speeds up to 200 mph are technologically feasible and could operate safely to relieve airport and highway congestion.
 The study, sponsored by the Department of Transportation, strongly recommends that planners consider all forms of transportation, including high-speed rail, in order to evaluate the best alternatives for future transportation systems. It also suggests the possibility of tapping the Airport and Airway and Highway Trust Funds to support such systems where they would benefit air and highway travelers.
 Secretary of Transportation Samuel K. Skinner stated: "This study was one of the first initiatives launched under our National Transportation Policy (NTP) and I am pleased that it contains such a comprehensive and multimodal perspective. The NTP also urged flexibility in the use of transportation funds to permit investment in alternative modes of transportation that offer the most cost-effective solutions.
 "The Congress is now considering legislation that would provide such flexibility with respect to the Highway Trust Fund. We must ensure, however, that funds are used in the most prudent manner and the flexibility is fair to those who pay the fees," he said.
 He commended the Transportation Research Board (TRB), which conducted the study, and said: "The study emphasizes maintenance of the transportation infrastructure, intermodal flexibility, environmental preservation and public-private cooperation. The findings and recommendations will be reviewed carefully to help us define innovative policy as we shape new programs and legislative proposals in the coming years."
 The study concludes that:
 -- High-speed ground transportation systems could be a safe alternative to planes and highway vehicles in heavily used corridors where travel demand is increasing and expansion of existing facilities is impractical.
 -- A number of high-speed rail technologies are now available that can operate safely at speeds up to 200 mph, and systems currently under development will be able to exceed this speed.
 -- Higher speeds, however, come with additional cost and energy penalties.
 -- It is unlikely that any new high-speed rail system in a major corridor would cover its capital and operating costs from farebox revenues.
 -- Neither a categorical nor an intermodal fund currently exists at the national level or in most states to fund high-speed rail implementation.
 A new approach to transportation decision-making is needed, according to the study, to support the evaluation and planning of high-speed rail systems in the United States. The study recommends that the Department of Transportation and the states develop the capability to evaluate high-speed rail systems in the context of alternative modal investments, in order to reach decisions on the most cost-effective way to serve the market.
 The TRB is a unit of the National Research Council, which is part of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.
 For further information, or to obtain a copy of the report, titled, "In Pursuit of Speed: New Options for Intercity Passenger Transport," call the TRB's Office of News and Public Information at 202-334-3255.
 -0- 11/13/91
 /CONTACT: Roslyn Kaiser of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 202-366-5571/ CO: U.S. Department of Transportation ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU: TW-SB -- DC024 -- 4045 11/13/91 14:54 EST
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Date:Nov 13, 1991
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