Giant Communist Robot wrote:What problem is this rail addressing? We need this? 21st century technology applied to a 19th century problem.
I think it's the other way around. When Mr. Obama talks 'high speed rail', he talks about 100 MPH trains. We had trains capable of doing 100 MPH in the 19th Century.
Transportation is a 21st century problem. Domestic air travel has devolved to the point that it has all charm of airborne city buses. Airports have become expensive monuments to a dream that was never realized. Security measures mean you have to get to the airport two hours early so you can be on time for a plane that will be delayed by two additional hours. Fewer flights, smaller planes, fewer amenities, tacked-on fees, and higher fares make air travel inglorious, at best.
It's getting too expensive to maintain the meriad of highways, with all the traffic we place on them. We've been scimping on maintenance for decades, spending the money building new roads instead of maintaining old ones. Congressman love to cut ribbons on new freeways, but there's little glamour in having your photo taken with a patched pothole, so we get newer, wider, costlier freeways to bypass the old ones, but the new ones are either overcrowded as soon as they open, or they're routed so far from people's destinations that they defeat their purpose.
The 20th century solution was to build more roads, which would result in more automobile sales, which would keep Detroit rolling. We're still building the roads, but they're filled with Japanese autos. As goes Detroit, so goes America, they say. If so, then we're in deep do-do.
I like the idea of high-speed rail, but I expect the government to muck that up, too. At 100 MPH, you may as well drive. If you can get exactly where you need to be at 70 MPH, it doesn't make sense to go out of your way to get where the trains run at 100, because you've still got to get from the station to your destination, such that timewise, it'll probably be a wash.