Part of the stimulus packages suggested by President Obama for further growth of the economy and modernization of America is high speed rail. It is controversial in some circles, and conservatives are outraged. However, the existing high speed rail in America is already a fantastic success.
Rage at the dying of the no high speed rail
Some people have been decrying the initiative from President Obama to install high speed rail lines in the United States. Currently, the plan is to spend $53 billion to install high speed rail lines across the country by 2018, which would link both coasts and most major metropolitan areas, according to Reuters. President Obama’s pending 2012 budget includes $8 billion to improve existing lines. As the president stated in the recent State of the Union address, the intention is to provide access to high speed rail for 80 percent of Americans. It would be an expensive and massive undertaking.
Boston to D.C. in seven hours on Acela Express
The U.S. already has one operating high speed rail line, along the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak, called the Acela Express. It runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., at speeds up to 150 miles an hour, completing the trip in about seven hours. It takes about eight hours by car, not accounting for time spent in traffic. The Acela Express already attracts more than 3 million riders per year, according to Bloomberg, though the Acela line is a traditional train that runs at high speeds. The Northeast corridor from Boston to Washington D.C., though, would be a perfect fit for a mag-lev, or bullet train. Mag-levs operated by using electromagnetic energy to propel the train, rather than traditional wheels and rails.
Proven successful overseas
The nations that are already pioneers in high speed rail technology, such as China, Japan, and the extensive network in Europe have already proven that high speed rail lines can be incredibly successful. For instance, the Central Japan Railroad Company operates high speed rail lines and is currently installing a mag-lev line from Nagoya to Tokyo, which can travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. In 2010, 138 million people used CJR trains, compared with 100 million or fewer people that flew on Continental and United combined. The company had cash flow of more than $2 billion.