Ralph Nader once said that GAO reports are the most underread critical reading in this country. There’s a particularly interesting one [PDF] just released regarding intermodal transportation between the nation’s airports and the national rail system (namely that there’s very little).

While I will admit I haven’t read every word yet, and that the report might serve more than one purpose as bedside reading, one section comparing US air-rail connections to those in Europe caught my attention. The GAO concludes that there are “three basic differences between the United States and Europe that affect the ability to use the European model in the United States”:

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  • population density
  • geographic differences
  • lower vehicle use costs

The full report goes into more detail and discusses roles for federal and local government as well as the private sector in developing further connections. There’s also some interesting schematics of the nation’s airports.

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