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Is the Policy Window Open for High-Speed Rail in the United States: A Perspective from the Multiple Streams Model of Policymaking

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Document pages: 38 pages

Abstract: With the election of a new government, intercity passenger rail, which had faded for years, is now back on President Obama’s agenda. Technological innovation has brought focus to high speed intercity passenger rail transportation. This new focus has revealed too many people who are tired of modern transportation problems, such as airline delay and highway congestion, a new hope for future travel. This paper will begin with a chronological introduction of the intercity passenger rail policy in the United States. John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams model (MS) is adopted to explore the roles of political streams in the processes of shaping the national strategic plan for high speed rail development. Three main questions will be answered through the analysis: (1) Why is High Speed Rail (“HSR”) on President Obama’s agenda now?; (2) What role does HSR play in the US?; and, (3) what can be done in order to have such big infrastructure project implemented both efficiently and effectively over the long term and without facing the hurdles of a shift in the political tide.

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