Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time overseas will have noticed, and probably appreciated, the availability of inexpensive and convenient rail travel ["What Do You Think of Obama's Plans For High-Speed Railways?" usnews.com]. It is about time that we incorporate this mode into our travel mix. This form of travel is ideal for dual-tasking (many folks work from portable computing devices during their rail travel). Unlike air travel, there is often a relatively seamless transition from the other travel modes linked to trains. This is a far more efficient mode of travel and the availability of convenient and rapid trains will lower the carbon cost of trips significantly.
Comment by Rich Bradley of OH
This is a waste of money. If it made economic sense, it would have been done already by private investment. Remember, the federal government doesn't have any money; this is going to be paid for by taxpayers, to the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Let Texas build railroads in Texas, and California build railroads in California. Why do we all have to pay for it? If Virginians want a high-speed light rail, let us decide to build one. Why should people in North Dakota and Colorado have to pay for it? To paraphrase something I heard once: Government "investment" is a great illusion whereby everyone tries to benefit at the expense of everyone else.
Comment by Michael of VA
The United States is so far behind in investing in high-speed rail, so the president's plan cannot meet all the needs, but it has to start somewhere. High-speed rail must be focused on long-distance, key corridors. It is not a commuter rail service and cannot have too many stops. But the stops should provide for multi-modal links to bus, rail, and other mobility connections. High-speed rail can provide safe, energy-efficient transportation. It is time the USA took action!
Comment by Dennis Coffey of MA
New expressways are being built and old ones are being upgraded every day. Highways consume a lot of tax money and encourage more and more greenhouse gas production. All highway projects should be assessed for the option of adding passenger rail in the same land use. Short-distance air routes would become less viable, reducing a lot of greenhouse gas. Pleasant high-speed rail would also attract mail, time-sensitive parcels, and perishable food transport, reducing our carbon footprint in the process. These are all concepts that are proven effective. Creative and foresighted planning will pay higher dividends than whipping the same old dead horses that have gotten us into our current problems.
Comment by Marvin Bartel of IN
Trains work in Europe because of high population density and high taxes (subsidized). Trains in America will have to overcome many obstacles associated with the conveniences of automobile and air travel. The train will need to be cheaper, faster, and provide the modern day conveniences people enjoy in their own personal craft. Trains have not been able to compete in the last 50 years. What new big government plan will now make them more competitive? Faster rails ... faster than a plane? Ha! Sorry, this is another special interest pork project promoted by a president that refuses to accept the reality of free markets further supported by local congressional reps who will use our money to fund another boondoggle.
Comment by Peter of GA
Please approve the funding for Amtrak and high-speed rail service. In the 1940 & 1950s, the U.S.A. was the best in the world. Because of our selfish focus on cars, the U.S.A. lost major employers like Pullman. We need rail. It is cost-effective and will ease the congestion on our roads. Though many long-distance trains may not be needed, local and medium-distance trains can link our cities and help to reduce the way the U.S.A. consumes oil. Our highways are everywhere, and we cannot afford to keep all of them in good condition. Rail makes sense. As soon as improvements are made to rail, the younger generation can experience what a joy it is to take the rails.
Comment by David Bristow of IL