I’ve been critical of the Obama Administration for its lack of adequate financial commitment to high speed rail in America. Well they shut me up, as Vice President Biden announced $53 billion over the next five years for HSR projects.
The goal is to make high speed rail accessible to most of America within a generation. That’s a laudable-yet-lofty goal considering the high costs and anti-train attitude of many older people, whose parents ironically relied on trains as their principal form of transportation. It’s about damn time the government sank some serious money into high speed rail though, as to date just $13 billion has been spread out among at least a half-dozen different HSR projects. That’s hardly enough money to even start one project (the California HSR project is estimated to cost $40-50 billion alone.)
However, $53 billion over the next five years is a serious chunk of change and should go a long way towards obtaining Obama’s goals. The money aims to improve or create three kinds of high speed rail corridor:
- Core Express: These will be the main lines with trains traveling at average speeds of 125-250 mph
- Regional: Money will be used to improve already-existing corridors like the Northeast to increase average speeds to 90-125 mph (America’s only high speed train, Amtrak’s Acela, runs the Northeast corridor but currently averages around 70 mph because of outdated tracks and infrastructure)
- Emerging: Start new rail lines connecting cities with speeds up to 90 mph
It’s an ambitious plan to be sure, but it will create millions of jobs and give commuters an option other than traffic jams for getting to work. If Obama wants to get reelected though, he’s going to have to get these projects going sooner rather than later and convince elder Americans that trains are the future…again.
Source: The White House
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.