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As the world economy continues to grow, and the law of comparative economic advantage takes on greater significance at both the national and regional level, the importance of having efficient and effective freight transportation systems continues to increase. Local economies are no longer immune, or insensitive to shifts in trading patterns and alliances on the global level. A region that is strategically placed geographically, and well-equipped from a freight transportation system standpoint, will profit significantly from being able to deliver goods and services in a fast, efficient, and effective manner, anywhere in the world, at any time, with the right combination of price and level of service. Determining how to mold and shape such a transportation network is no small task. It takes careful analysis of the multi-dimensional needs of the system's "customers," the manner in which those needs are expected to change and grow in the future; a vision of how those needs can be met, and a plan for turning that vision into reality. Moreover, the plan must take into account the system's current status; the technological, operational, and institutional options available for improvement; and a perceptive understanding of the financial options available for raising the capital needed to make that vision a reality.