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Highlights

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) and subsequent appropriations have dramatically increased federal funds available for high speed intercity passenger rail from $120 million in fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009 combined to $10.5 billion available in fiscal year 2010. Other issues, such as developing industry capacity to supply rail equipment and fostering multiyear public support for such systems must be resolved. As part of its efforts to assess Recovery Act initiatives, GAO reviewed (1) how states started or improved passenger rail services in the recent past, (2) rail industry plans to accommodate the increased passenger rail investments, and (3) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) plans to oversee the use of federal intercity passenger rail funds. GAO reviewed federal legislation; interviewed state, industry and federal officials; and reviewed selected literature. GAO is not making any recommendations. The Department of Transportation did not express an overall opinion on a draft of this report. It did provide technical and clarifying comments, which GAO incorporated.

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