Financing Privately Developed Transportation Schemes: Precedents from the First Transcontinental Railroad

  • Howard E. McCurdy
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


McCurdy steps back one hundred years to examine the transcontinental railroad and the precedents it established for American transportation initiatives. Public officials decided to “do enough and just enough” to encourage private entrepreneurs to complete the railway line. Following the main chapter, McCurdy presents a short section that inspects the evidence supporting the claim that railroad entrepreneurs needed government help (in the form of land grants) to expedite the raising of private capital.


Transcontinental railroad Land grants Government bonds Public-private partnerships Central Pacific Railroad Return on investment 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard E. McCurdy
    • 1
  1. 1.American UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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