Saturday, February 28, 2009

Highspeed Rail Finally Coming to America?

I read a Wired Blog article that reports that $8 billion from the $787 billion economic stimulus bill will go to developing high speed rail in the US. That sounds genius to me. It will give people jobs while working on the track, it will give the US a much needed infrastructure boost, and it just might lower emissions from all of the cars people will leave in the garage when they choo-choo-choose the train.

Japan has a train system that far surpasses our own, and I've had the pleasure of using it a great many times(I rode the "bullet train" with Angelica here). Japan is a very small country and the high concentration of people is good for a train system, but the US has areas with similar population density that can really benefit. It sounds like a great public works project to me. The Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration page has some dry governmental things to say about the effort here.

The article points out that Chicago stands to be a big winner in this plan as the hub of the Midwest. That line from St. Louis to Chicago looks dangerously close to Springfield. Let's hope the train bothers to stop for us!

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: "I think President Obama would like to be known as the high-speed rail president, and I think he can be."


  1. 8 bil is a drop in the bucket. Probably won't make any difference. Just more money down the rat hole.

  2. According to the article, it looks like the plan is to somehow upgrade the existing track instead of laying a whole new one. Not sure how that works but I assume it will be cheaper. Maybe they will get one little line done so that everyone can see how awesome it is before they expand out. Hopefully the money is just the beginning of a larger continuing commitment.

    It will be nice to see some of the huge stimulus bill go towards actually building something, as opposed to being sucked into the mysterious banking system never to be seen again.