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Who’s spending $53 billion on high-speed rail?

February 10, 2011

You getting on board, Barack?

Our president, that’s who!

Here’s an article all about Obama’s rail funding in The Washington Post.

What do you think of the plan?

Critics, like Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio, think we should forgo federal high-speed-rail funding and focus instead on highway improvement.

Supporters, like Vice President Joe Biden—who took more than 7,900 round trips on Amtrak trains between Washington and his home in Delaware during his years in the Senate—think building a rail infrastructure to rival those of China and Europe is essential  to continued U.S. prosperity.

You can probably guess what I think, but I want to know what you think:

Will our car-ophile nation ever be won over to train travel in sufficient numbers to justify a substantial federal investment?


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Shawn Sweeney permalink
    February 10, 2011 4:24 pm

    Hey Amy, this is all too important to me. It takes me less time to drive to Washington, DC right now than it does to take a bus or a train. And more often than not the trains are late and I miss a connection, or something happens to make the trip a disaster. Really frustrating and I always find myself saying that we need better infrastructure for this kind of travel.

    • avaerewyck permalink
      February 11, 2011 1:48 pm

      Thanks for the East Coast input, Shawn! (To clarify for others, Shawn’s work often requires him to travel from Danbury, Conn. to Washington, D.C.)

  2. February 10, 2011 5:13 pm

    I would absolutely love to see regional high speed rail, but I’m skeptical that people will be enthusiastic about it with the low gas prices we have in the US, ubiquitous heavily subsidized parking, and Amtrak’s catastrophically bad customer service.

    • avaerewyck permalink
      February 11, 2011 1:53 pm

      Good points, Zane. Gas prices are rising though, and people ride Trenitalia even though their customer service leaves much to be desired. I can’t counter your parking observation though. Maybe we should start lobbying to turn parking lots into skate parks? 🙂 On a non-related note, did we live together at Masala Coop in Boulder?

  3. jalairbox permalink
    February 10, 2011 11:44 pm

    On the East Coast I can see it. Perhaps Chicago area and S. California. There are dedicated lines for passenger rail on the East Coast that make it practicable. However, in the West we do not have dedicated lines for passenger rail. It is impossible to combine high-speed rail with freight, so I don’t think it would come to pass for us here in Seattle. However, I’d be glad if the East Coast got it.

    Also car free–in Seattle.

    • avaerewyck permalink
      February 11, 2011 1:56 pm

      Wow, we’ve got commentary from coast to coast! Thanks for chiming in, Jalairbox. Have any good stories of car-free life in Seattle? We’d love to hear them!

  4. February 12, 2011 6:27 pm

    I ride Amtrak fairly regularly. I am for improving the overall speed of rail, currently I believe that “high speed” as in 250mph bullet trains is too pie in the sky. Get the base built then add the cream.

    @jalairbox…the only place on the east coast with dedicated rail is the NE corridor above DC. In the deep south we have to share the freight rails too.

    I would much rather see money spent to improve rail infrastructure than continue to pour it into what is going to become a very expensive system that is going to be under utilized as energy costs rise.

    And for the pundits that think that roads are unsubsidized.


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