Working on the Railroad: Obama's Green Pitch for High-Speed Trains

05/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This morning (coverage here and here), President Obama announced his plan to spur the creation of a high-speed rail network across the country. With $8 billion allocated for high speed rail corridors from the recovery package, this move would both upgrade existing rail corridors to accommodate high speed travel and establish new corridors to bring rail service to previously un- or under-served areas. 1

There are plenty of reasons to support more high speed rail, but curbing greenhouse-gas emissions isnt one of them. The White House didnt provide any new details on the administrations high-speed rail blueprint: There are still 10 potential rail corridors, from the Northeast to California, that could someday see passenger trains moving upward of 150 miles an hour. The $8 billion included in the stimulus package for rail upgrades is a down payment on the new system ; another $5 billion is tentatively included in the presidents budget. The presidential fact sheet on high-speed rail cites a spate of potential benefits: job creation, more transportation options, reduced dependence on oil, and even rural development. 2

Appearing with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Obama said the country cannot afford not to invest in a major upgrade to rail travel. 3

  1. Obama Choo-choo-chooses High Speed Rail (It's Getting Hot In Here)
  2. Working on the Railroad: Obama's Green Pitch for High-Speed Trains (Environmental Capital (WSJ))
  3. Obama Calls for High-speed Rail Development (MSNBC)


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