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High-Speed Trains

May 1, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 17
Does the United States need supertrains?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

An artist's rendering envisions the future of high-speed rail travel in California. In November voters approved the sale of bonds to help pay for a 220-mph system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)
An artist's rendering envisions the future of high-speed rail travel in California. In November voters approved the sale of bonds to help pay for a 220-mph system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

The Obama administration has designated $8 billion in stimulus funds for high-speed passenger rail, buoying hopes that supertrains will operate throughout the American landscape as they do in Europe and Asia. The money, most likely to be divided among multiple corridors, won't buy a single fast-rail system. But supporters say it will help traditional trains run faster and pay for planning to make true high-speed rail networks a reality. Washington's support signals a transformation in federal policy that has long favored highway and air travel, experts say. Some argue that money should be focused first on building true high-speed service in the busy Northeast Corridor. But supporters in the Midwest, Florida, California and elsewhere are expected to vie for a portion of the rail funds. So far, California appears furthest ahead in planning for fast rail, aided by a $9.95 billion bond issue. But critics say the plan's benefits are exaggerated.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Railroads
May 01, 2009  High-Speed TrainsUpdated
Oct. 18, 2002  Future of Amtrak
Apr. 16, 1993  High-Speed Rail
Mar. 10, 1978  Future of American Railroads
Mar. 07, 1975  Railroad Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1973  Railroad Nationalization
Nov. 17, 1961  Railroad Subsidies
Aug. 24, 1960  Railroad Mergers
Jan. 01, 1958  Condition of the Railroads
Jan. 31, 1951  Railway Safety
Oct. 04, 1944  Railroad Freight Rates
Jun. 12, 1939  The Government and the Railroads
Apr. 21, 1938  Government Ownership of the Railroads
Dec. 07, 1937  Railroad Rates and Revenues
Jul. 17, 1937  Advances in Railway Passenger Service
Sep. 27, 1934  Railroad Rates And Federal Regulation of Transportation
Jan. 11, 1933  Railroad Receiverships and Reorganizations
Aug. 26, 1932  The Railroads and the Depression
Oct. 13, 1931  Wages of Railroad Labor
Jul. 09, 1931  Railroad Freight Rates
Feb. 14, 1931  The Railroad Consolidation Controversy
Sep. 19, 1927  The Problem of Railroad Valuation
Mar. 30, 1927  Railroad Consolidation and Prospective Legislation
Mar. 26, 1927  Principles of Railroad Consolidation
Mar. 08, 1926  Railway Labor Disputes Legislation
May 04, 1925  The Baltimore and Ohio Cooperation Plan
Sep. 12, 1924  National Railroad Consolidation and the Van Sweringen Merger
Aug. 14, 1924  Automatic Train Control in Relation to Railroad Casualties
May 28, 1924  The Condition of American Railroads
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Railroads
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