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As High Speed Rail heats up, it’s not too early to see State and Local implications

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included $8 billion in grant funding for new high speed rail projects across the country, not exactly pocket change. Just last week, at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., the Japan International Transport Institute hosted a seminar dedicated to the high speed rail and just a day after the State of the Union address, President Obama visits Tampa, Florida to announce plans for the high speed rail initiative. While the implications of such a plan are numerous, including increased energy efficiency, convenience and more mobility, the benefits to the state and local government may be slightly less clear so soon.

Part of the high speed rail plan is to develop and build these projects across the country in specific corridors and eventually build out to encompass the country. State and local governments that are part of the first roll out will likely have to determine what types of security and other technological aspects will be necessary. The early build out of tracks and system infrastructure will provide a much needed economic boost in those cities, and further down the road, public safety agencies, emergency management offices, among others, will need to formulate their strategic plans to provide security for the new system. Technologies such as biometrics, card readers and scanners, surveillance equipment will all be required.

As more funding becomes available in the future, as part of new grants and Department of Transportation funding, vendors will need to work with cities and counties to develop short and long range plans to make the transition easier and more efficient. It may be soon to start designing closed caption tv systems for these high speed rail sites, but it's not too soon to start planning.

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