Survey on Air-Rail Connectivity, Part II

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Introduction

  As you may recall, the first stage of this survey, conducted in January and February, consisted of five open-ended questions about various aspects of air and intercity passenger rail connectivity. Based on the responses received during the first round of the survey, we have developed questions and responses to obtain your views on the opinions provided by other experts participating in this survey.

The questions in this second stage of the survey can be answered by checking boxes. We estimate that this second stage of the survey will take about 60 minutes to complete. It can be completed over multiple sittings. You may need to consult with officials and staff within your organization to answer these questions. To learn more about completing the questionnaire, printing your responses, and whom to contact if you have questions, click here for help.

Your responses will provide critical information that will be shared with Congress. While the results of the survey will generally be provided in summary form in our report, individual answers may be discussed, but they will not include any information that could be used to identify individual respondents.

Thank you for your time and assistance.
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Section I. Benefits of Airport and Intercity Passenger Rail (Air-Rail) Connectivity

1.  How important, if at all, is each of the following potential time and convenience benefits resulting from air-rail connectivity?
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Very important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
Not a benefit
No opinion
a.  Increased convenience to passengers
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b.  Increased overall traveler satisfaction
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c.  Reduced travel time to and from airports
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d.  Reduced traffic on the roads to and from airports
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e.  Reduced congestion on major interstate highways due to increased modal diversion
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f.  Increased number of travel options for employees to access airports
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g.  Increased number of travel options for passengers to access airports
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h.  Increased use of public transit
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i.  Increased safety of transportation network
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j.  Increased reliability of travel to the airport
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k.  Increased air capacity at airports
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2.  How important, if at all, is each of the following potential economic benefits resulting from air-rail connectivity?
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Very important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
Not a benefit
No opinion
a.  Reduced overall cost for travelers connecting to the airport
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b.  Collocation of multiple modes of transportation at the airport, so each mode can take advantage of parking, concessions, security, and infrastructure at a lower cost than if each had to provide for itself
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c.  Reduced parking congestion for airport passengers
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d.  Incentivizes airports to be built further from the city; permits cheaper land acquisition for expansion and reducing environmental consequences of expansion over less dense area
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e.  Reduced need for airport expansion and roadway access
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f.  Supplement need for Essential Air Service
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g.  Allows short-haul flights to be replaced by intercity rail connections between airports; allows airlines to use slots for long distance flights
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h.  Increased commercial development and jobs creation near the airport
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i.  Allows airlines to attract passengers from outside the current airport service area
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j.  Allows airports to attract passengers from outside the current airport service area
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k.  Allows intercity passenger rail operators to attract riders from the airport service area
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3.  How important, if at all, is each of the following potential environmental benefits resulting from air-rail connectivity?
(select one response per row)
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Very important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
Not a benefit
No opinion
a.  Reduced carbon emissions from vehicles
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b.  Reduced energy use
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c.  Reduced noise pollution
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d.  Other (please describe)
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  If other environmental benefit(s) specified in question 3, what was the benefit(s)?
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Section II. Strategies to Improve Airport and Intercity Passenger Rail (Air-Rail) Connectivity in the United States

4.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' adoption of each of the following federal funding strategies; and how feasible, if at all, is implementation of each strategy?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' adoption of each of the following federal funding strategies?
How feasible, if at all, is implementation of each strategy?
  a. Permit greater flexibility in using federal transportation grant programs (such as the Airport Improvement Program) for air-rail connections
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  b. Ease restrictions on using funds collected through Passenger Facility Charges to develop air-rail connections
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  c. Provide dedicated funding for intermodal projects, including air-rail connections
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  d. Provide additional funding for intercity passenger rail service
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  e. Provide additional funding for terminal and airfield improvements at airports to facilitate air-rail connections
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  f. Insulate federal transportation funding decisions from political considerations
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  g. Establish intermodal connectivity as a criterion for federal transportation funding
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  h. Incentivize public-private partnerships to help fund and construct air-rail projects
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5.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' adoption of each of the following regulatory and legislative actions; and how feasible, if at all, is implementation of each action?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' adoption of each of the following regulatory and legislative actions?
How feasible, if at all, is implementation of each action?
  a. Provide additional federal guidance on air-rail projects, clarifying requirements for air-rail project planning and development
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  b. Establish a federal entity to work across modal administrations to champion intermodal projects, including air-rail connections
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  c. Establish a national framework for intermodal collaboration
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  d. Emphasize intermodal connectivity as a core federal planning requirement
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  e. Establish national goals for air-rail connectivity through a national transportation policy
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  f. Limit the number of flights between markets which are also connected by high speed rail service
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  g. Allow manufacturers, rather than the federal government, to develop and specify maintenance requirements for intercity passenger rail
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6.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is transportation planners' (at the federal, state or local level) adoption of the following strategies; and how feasible, if at all, is implementation of each of these strategies?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is transportation planners' adoption of each of the following strategies?
How feasible, if at all, is implementation of each strategy?
  a. Create multistate, multijurisdictional partnerships that can effectively coordinate planning across large regions
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  b. Align long-term transportation plans across modes
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  c. Develop incentives for increased coordination among stakeholder groups during the planning and development of air-rail connections
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  d. Include connections to the airport in the initial planning during the establishment of intercity passenger rail service
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  e. Reform current multi-modal planning process to include greater emphasis on private sector solutions
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  f. Develop business cases to support the creation of air-rail connections
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7.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is intercity passenger rail operators' adoption of the following strategies; and how feasible, if at all, is implementation of each of these strategies?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is intercity passenger rail operators' adoption of each of the following strategies?
How feasible, if at all, is implementation of each strategy?
  a. Integrate existing rail service with airports, including locating the terminal as close to the rail station/service as possible
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  b. Reduce booking and traveling fees for group travelers on intercity passenger rail
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  c. Increase the frequency of intercity passenger rail service
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  d. Upgrade and relocate rail infrastructure in critical regions
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  e. Connect intercity passenger rail to other modes of transportation, including mass transit
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  f. Connect intercity passenger rail to city centers and other urban attractions
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  g. Align intercity passenger rail schedules with airline schedules
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8.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is airport operators' adoption of the following strategies; and how feasible, if at all, is implementation of each of these strategies?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is airport operators' adoption of each of the following strategies?
How feasible, if at all, is implementation of each strategy?
  a. Increase availability of remote baggage check-in at airports
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  b. Give check-in and security priority for delayed air-rail travelers at airports
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  c. Encourage the dominant airline at each airport to pursue code-sharing with intercity passenger rail operators
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9.  How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' further study of the following topics related to air-rail connectivity; and how feasible, if at all, is accomplishing each study?
(select one response for importance and one response for feasibility)
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How important, if at all, to improving air-rail connectivity is federal policymakers' further study of the following topics?
How feasible, if at all, is accomplishing each study?
  a. Ridership preferences across transportation modes
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  b. Potential locations for air-rail connectivity
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  c. Air-rail policy issues and lessons learned from other countries
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Section III. Factors That Facilitate and Hinder Airport and Intercity Passenger Rail (Air-Rail) Connectivity

 
In the first stage of the survey, respondents suggested a number of factors that affect air-rail connectivity. Some of these factors will appear twice in the following questions because their presence facilitates the development of air-rail connections, while their absence hinders the development. Questions 10 and 11 examine how much the presence of factors identified in the first round of the survey facilitate the development and use of air-rail connections while questions 12 and 13 examine how much the absence of many of the same factors hinder the development and use of air-rail connections.
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10.  How much, if at all, does each of the following factors related to connectivity characteristics facilitate the development and/or use of air-rail connections?
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Greatly facilitates
Facilitates
Somewhat facilitates
Does not facilitate
Not a factor
No opinion
a.  Close proximity between the airport and the intercity passenger rail station
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b.  Frequent intercity passenger rail service
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c.  Intercity passenger rail service schedule alignment with airline schedules
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d.  Reliable intercity passenger rail service that departs and arrives on schedule
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e.  Intercity passenger rail service to large population centers
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f.  Ease of baggage transfer across modes
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g.  Cost of using the intercity passenger rail service is less expensive or equal to the cost of using other modes
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h.  Travel time to the airport on intercity passenger rail service connection is comparable to the travel time using other modes
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i.  Intercity passenger rail service connectivity with other transportation modes
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j.  Passenger preference to use intercity passenger rail service over other modes of transportation
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k.  Sufficient passenger demand for intercity passenger rail service
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Greatly facilitates
Facilitates
Somewhat facilitates
Does not facilitate
Not a factor
No opinion
l.  Integrated ticketing and reservation systems across both air and intercity passenger rail services
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m.  Security integration across air and intercity passenger rail service
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n.  High speed intercity passenger rail service connects to the airport
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o.  Available parking at (non-airport) intercity passenger rail stations
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p.  Profitability of the air-rail connection for the intercity passenger rail operator
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q.  Intercity passenger rail service operates in a clean (sanitary) environment
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r.  High quality customer service on intercity passenger rail service
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s.  Quality, condition, and comfort of intercity passenger rail car accommodations
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t.  Ease of use of the airport-rail connection
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u.  Advertisement of the air-rail connection through various media, on websites, or in publications
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v.  Availability of information, including signage, provided to make the connection between the airport and rail service
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11.  How much, if at all, does each of the following factors related to planning, stakeholder coordination, and funding facilitate the development and/or use of air-rail connections?
(select one response per row)
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Greatly facilitates
Facilitates
Somewhat facilitates
Does not facilitate
Not a factor
No opinion
a.  A federal government vision for air-rail projects
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b.  Integration of the air-rail connections into an overall, multimodal plan or strategy
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c.  Communication, collaboration, and consensus across stakeholders, including local, state, federal, and private sector entities
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d.  Public support for air-rail connectivity projects
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e.  Available funding for air-rail connectivity projects
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12.  How much, if at all, does each of the following factors related to characteristics of the air-rail connection hinder the development and/or use of airport-rail connections?
(select one response per row)
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Greatly hinders
Hinders
Somewhat hinders
Does not hinder
Not a factor
No opinion
a.  Lack of existing intercity passenger rail infrastructure, including tracks and stations
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b.  High crime rate near the airport and intercity passenger rail station
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c.  The potential loss of airline revenue to originating airport resulting from the intercity passenger rail connection to the airport
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d.  The potential loss of airport revenue resulting from an intercity passenger rail connection to the airport
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e.  Lack of close proximity between the airport and the intercity passenger rail station
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f.  Lack of frequent intercity passenger rail service
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g.  Lack of alignment across intercity passenger rail and airline schedules
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h.  Lack of reliable intercity passenger rail service
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i.  Lack of intercity passenger rail service to large population centers
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Greatly hinders
Hinders
Somewhat hinders
Does not hinder
Not a factor
No opinion
j.  Difficulty transferring baggage across modes
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k.  Cost of using the intercity passenger rail service to get to the airport is more expensive compared to the cost of using other modes
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l.  Travel time between origin and destination using intercity passenger rail to the airport is greater compared to other modes
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m.  Lack of intercity passenger rail connectivity with other transportation modes
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n.  Passenger preference to use other modes of transportation over intercity passenger rail
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o.  Lack of demand for intercity passenger rail service to the airport
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p.  Lack of integrated ticketing and reservation systems across both air and intercity passenger rail services
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q.  Lack of security integration across air and intercity passenger rail
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13.  How much, if at all, does each of the following factors related to planning, stakeholder coordination, and/or funding hinder the development of air-rail connections?
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Greatly hinders
Hinders
Somewhat hinders
Does not hinder
Not a factor
No opinion
a.  Time required to develop and implement air-rail connection
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b.  Lack of available right-of-way, land, or other physical space for air-rail projects
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c.  The financial cost of air-rail connectivity projects
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d.  Lack of dedicated funding for air-rail connectivity projects
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e.  Federal funding restrictions on the use of federal grant funding (such as through the Airport Improvement Program) for air-rail connectivity projects
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f.  Restrictions on the use of funds collected through Passenger Facility Charges for air-rail connectivity projects
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g.  Lack of understanding of the benefits and costs of air-rail connectivity by aviation or rail industry stakeholders
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h.  Lack of leadership for air-rail project or leadership is diffused across many stakeholders
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i.  Lack of a federal government vision for the air-rail project
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j.  Lack of integration of air-rail connections into an overall, multi-modal transportation plan/strategy
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k.  Lack of communication, collaboration, and consensus across stakeholders, including local, state, federal, and private sector entities
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l.  Public opposition to the project
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Section IV. Differences between the United States and Europe Contributing to Variations in Their Respective Airport and Intercity Passenger Rail (Air-Rail) Connections

 
Air and intercity passenger rail connectivity is fairly limited in the United States but much more prevalent internationally, in places like France and Germany, as well as in other European countries. The following questions relate to differences between the United States and Europe identified in the first round of this survey.
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14.  How important, if at all, is each of the following differences with regards to explaining variations in air-rail connectivity planning and development between the United States and European countries?
(select one response per row)
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Very Important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
Not a difference
No opinion
a.  In the United States, the intercity passenger rail network is less extensive, serves fewer locations, and is less connected to other modes of transportation than the rail networks in other European countries.
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b.  In the United States, airports are further from intercity passenger service than European airports.
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c.  The U.S. federal system of government gives states and localities flexibility to shape transportation planning and policy, while in some European countries, the national government plays the central role in transportation planning and policy.
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d.  In the United States, planning is generally undertaken by mode, while in some European countries planning emphasizes intermodal connectivity.
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e.  In the United States, federal regulatory agencies tend to focus on their respective mode of transportation while some regulatory agencies in European countries work to promote intermodal connections.
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f.  In the United States, collaboration on air-rail projects among airport authorities, government, and the private sector is less extensive and cooperative than in European countries.
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g.  In the United States, federal funding for transportation projects is generally provided by mode while in some European countries there is additional funding available to support intermodal connectivity projects.
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Very Important
Important
Somewhat important
Not important
Not a difference
No opinion
h.  In the United States, the overall funding of intermodal transportation infrastructure projects is less of a national priority than in European countries.
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i.  In the United States, the government provides proportionately less funding for intercity passenger rail than governments in European countries do for intercity passenger rail.
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j.  In the United States, federal ground transportation policy emphasizes investment in roads, while European countries' policies emphasize investment in public transportation.
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k.  In the United States, federal transportation policy places less emphasis on energy conservation and environmental benefits than national transportation policies do in European countries.
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l.  In the United States, reliance on private automobiles is greater than in European countries.
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m.  In the United States, airlines do not own or operate any intercity rail passenger service; in some European countries, there is some common ownership of airline and intercity passenger rail services, either by private companies or the government.
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n.  Outside of the Northeast Corridor (between Boston and Washington D.C.), dense population centers in the United States are further apart than in European countries.
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  This completes the second stage of the survey. Are you ready to submit your final completed questionnaire to GAO?
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