President Obama Unveils High-Speed Passenger Rail Plan for Ten CorridorsBy Cuong Huynh • Apr 16th, 2009 • Category: Rail and Public Transits, Videos
President Obama today announced a national network of high-speed passenger rail lines with funding revolving around the $8 billion in the Recovery Act plus $1 billion per year for the next five years.
The investment provides a much needed kick-start to modernize the aging U.S. passenger rail system into high-speed “bullet” trains, able to transport people over long distances efficiently, reliably and comfortably in addition to helping to take drivers off the road and reducing pollution in populated areas.
Currently the nation’s only high-speed rail service exists in the Northeast corridor (NEC) from Washington to Boston. The ten high-speed corridors identified to be potential recipients of this new federal funding include lines in California, Pacific Northwest, South Central, Gulf Coast, Chicago Hub Network, Florida, Southeast, Keystone, Empire and Northern New England. Under the plan the NEC will have an opportunity to compete for funds to further improve services to riders in its busy area. Below is the map showing the high-speed rail lines being considered, courtesy www.whitehouse.gov.
What we’re talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It’s been happening for decades. The problem is it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth, remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations. In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now. And Japan, the nation that unveiled the first high-speed rail system, is already at work building the next: a line that will connect Tokyo with Osaka at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. So it’s being done; it’s just not being done here.There’s no reason why we can’t do this. This is America. There’s no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system –- and everybody stands to benefit.
Among other dignitaries attending this momentous event are Vice President Joe Biden and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Transportation and Infrastructure Chair James Oberstar along with other members of Congress. Public transportation leaders in attendance included American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Chair Dr. Beverly Scott (MARTA, or Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) and APTA President William W. Millar. Vice President Biden said in his speech:
With high-speed rail system, we’re going to be able to pull people off the road, lowering our dependence on foreign oil, lowering the bill for our gas in our gas tanks. We’re going to loosen the congestion that also has great impact on productivity, I might add, the people sitting at stop lights right now in overcrowded streets and cities. We’re also going to deal with the suffocation that’s taking place in our major metropolitan areas as a consequence of that congestion. And we’re going to significantly lessen the damage to our planet. This is a giant environmental down payment.
Here’s a video clip showing portion of President Obama’s announcement, courtesy CNN, March 16, 2009.
Cuong Huynh is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at marketingautopsyblog.com. You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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