Toot, Toot! Administration Pledges Billions to High-Speed Rail

Anyone who's spent time in many European and Asian countries (and others, too) with great rail systems knows the true pleasure of a high-speed rail journey taking you from urban center to urban center at lightning speed, and more often than not spinning past beautiful and interesting scenery to begin with. In addition to the ease, there's the comfort of knowing it's a more ecologically sustainable mode of travel than car travel, it's often more affordable in countries where the infrastructure is done right, and it makes travel more accessible to more people. Always a good thing.

For years, the US has lagged far behind these other nations, but that might change thanks to a proposed $53 billion-dollar, six-year investment in high-speed rial infrastructure by the Obama administration, including an initial $8 billion as part of the spending plan 9with overall budget cuts) released monday. The money would go to developing faster trains and also firming up existing rail networks, the AP reported last evening:

Obama's push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new spending on infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month's State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. 

Rail spending, of course, has long been a hobbyhorse of Vice President and former commuting Senator Joe Biden, who made the announcement yesterday.

Read more at the Associated Press.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at February 9, 2011, 4:32am

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