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High-Speed Rail Markets, Infrastructure Investments, and Manufacturing Capabilities

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Document pages: 216 pages

Abstract: Driven by increasing demand for passenger transportation and congestion in key corridors in the U.S., such as in California, the Northeast, Florida and parts of the Midwest, the U.S. has embarked on various initiatives to examine alternative solutions to this important problem. One of the initiatives relates to the possibility of either introducing or considerably upgrading high-speed rail services. The U.S. currently has little or no comparative advantage due to the lack of this industry in the past. This however does not imply that the U.S. firms cannot develop expertise in specific areas, spur growth, and form profitable alliances and partnerships with the global heavyweights to meet the U.S. investments and service needs. To understand the core issues and potentially provide an answer to the overall high-speed rail investment feasibility question, we need to study the international trainset suppliers, examine the components’ supply-chain, the nature of contracts that have been observed in the recent past, the types of partnerships that have formed, do case studies of the economic and business development that have occurred in other countries, and then make an assessment of potential benefits that may accrue to the U.S. The costs of high-speed rail investments are high and somewhat clearer. But the benefits picture is more uncertain and complex. I primarily focus on making an attempt to clarify some of the complexities that lie at the heart of the potential benefits question. This deeper understanding of the high-speed rail industry may help formulation of appropriate investment policies. In this paper, I focus on this initiative and conduct a detailed study of the high-speed rail industry to provide guidance for policy.

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