Obama Announces New High-Speed Rail System

President Obama today announced a series of new high-speed rail connections. Most will affect the East Coast. The New York Times reports:

President Barack Obama on Thursday highlighted his ambition for the development of high-speed passenger rail lines in at least 10 regions, expressing confidence in the future of train travel even as he acknowledged that the American rail network, compared to the rest of the world’s, remains a caboose.

The government has identified 10 corridors of 100 to 600 miles in length with greatest promise for high-speed development.

They are: a northern New England line; an Empire line running east to west in New York State; a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania; a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast; a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama; a corridor in central and southern Florida; a Texas-to-Oklahoma line; a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours; and a corridor in the Pacific Northwest.

The president noted that his administration’s investments in improving roads, bridges and ports constituted “the most sweeping investment in our infrastructure since President Eisenhower began the interstate highway system in the 1950s.” Still, spending on rail travel in the United States remains a tiny portion of what Eisenhower spent or what Europeans or some Asians are spending.

I absolutely agree with Obama on this. It has been a long time coming.

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