Inherent limitations to current public funding mechanisms and regimes place elevated rail systems in jeopardy of long-term deficit and under funding. By typically concentrating the vast majority of federal and state funding of new public transportation systems on the planning and construction phases of development, the federal and state agencies place the burden of long-term financial support of passenger rail systems onto local government agencies and tax bases. Whenever projected ridership and income do not materialize, or maintenance and operational costs are significantly greater than anticipated, local government authorities and operators of elevated rail systems must fill the deficits from any of a variety of fiscal sources. In most such cases, the financial drain on local agencies and taxpayers is difficult to accommodate, and reverberates throughout the full range of public transportation services, as well as, the fiscal budgets of transportation and municipal authorities and local governments.
It is, therefore, critically important that the financial conditions and projections of any new transportation system development be accurately considered and planned for the entire operational life of the system. Where the financial viability, and the sources of funding for proposed transportation systems cannot be credibly demonstrated and planned for, the systems must be redesigned and financially restructured, or fundamentally reconsidered.
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