What Does America’s Struggle With Fast Trains Reveal About Policy Capacity? |

What Does America's Struggle With Fast Trains Reveal About Policy Capacity?


The United State first began to pursue high-speed rail (HSR) development in 1965, yet today still lacks any trains that meet the international standard for HSR. This struggle to implement HSR represents the longest delay in adopting a new transportation technology in U.S. history. Such procrastination in grasping new technology is unprecedented, and essentially un-American. Could one imagine, for example, that the U.S. would still be struggling to deploy the technology enabling human space travel more than a half century after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had first orbited the earth?

This paradox can be explained by America's lack of plan and implement passenger rail transportation. An important understanding about the nature of policy capacity can be gleaned from America's 47 years of inertia in deploying HSR. Identifying what has been missing from prior attempts to deploy this technology in America will highlight the constraint posed by a lack of administrative and fiscal mechanisms that would be needed to build and operate HSR technology.

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Prof. Anthony Perl, Professor of Urban Studies & Political Science, Simon Fraser University

Tuesday, 06 November 2012
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 2-2
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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