A Culture of High Speeds and Accumulating Debt: A Case Study of French High Speed Rail Financing Practices
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This paper set out to study the methods used to finance High Speed Rail (HSR) in France. It began by introducing the concept of high speed rail and the history of rail development in France to provide context for the state of rail in France today. Rail development history revealed a longstanding tradition of debt which has prevailed in modern times. As France continued to develop its rail network it shifted its financing methods from public debt financing to public-private partnerships. This case study of French HSR financing revealed the true cost of an extensive network which is often overlooked when the country is cited as a model. The paper concludes with lessons to be learned about France’s willingness to subsidize HSR, an ideology which may not be successfully transposed to other countries.