High Speed Rail And Its Viability
It’s well documented and known that the Obama Administration launched dreams of a high speed rail line in California as well as in DC (for the whole country actually). The ultimate goal is to connect communities and allow better access to jobs between cities. The idea being not to replace major routes, but to supplement public transport, automobiles, and the airways. The projects have several phases, the first; being the NEC improvement project, Amtrak’s Acela train that runs between Boston, New York, and Washington DC. The train hits speeds of 150 mile per hour and delivers it passengers to their destination in relative comfort.
DOT is now looking to expand high speed rail service by developing an exclusive line that will serve only high speed trains, these trains will reach a minimum of 150 miles per hour and go up to 220 miles per hour. It is believed that they will prove to be a catalyst that will spur economic growth by opening more travel options for job seekers as well as creating manufacturing jobs for the duration of the project. In addition, the hope is that commuters will opt for the rail service and reduce the amount of time they spend on wheeled transport. The reduction would in turn create positive environmental benefits.
Florida is another key area that has been chosen for speed train development. However, like the other locations, it lacks the proper amount of positive support from locals. Two separate national groups have issued analyses in recent weeks finding fault with cost and ridership projections. The libertarian Reason Foundation found that one out of the two projects could cost more than double the amount initially projected. The added cost would then be passed on to the taxpayers creating extra strain on an already weak state budget. Another New York based group mentions ridership will not reach the estimated levels because populations are too widely spread out near the planned route.
Many business groups in all three proposed areas disagree. Most state that on top of creating a large amount of new engineering, construction, and labor jobs, it will also bring positive international attention to the USA as well as to the areas the lines would be located in.
High speed rail is being pursued by other countries like China, Japan, and many Eurozone countries. While the United States is a rather large country that is spread out, there are some useful designated routes that high speed rail lines would be useful.
DESIGNATED HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDORS:
- Pacific Northwest Corridor
- South Central Corridor
- Chicago Hub Network
- California Corridor
- Florida Corridor
- Southeast Corridor
- Empire Corridor
- Keystone Corridor
- Northern New England Corridor
- Gulf Coast Corridor
There’s a lot of good information on high-speed rail on the Federal Railroad Administration’s website, so you should definitely head that way to find more specific info on a particular corridor, or just click one of the links in the list above.
Photo Credit: US Department of Transportation
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