Photos: merfam, CC and LWY, CC
Catching Up With the Rest of the World
At a time when many politicians and pundits are trying to shoot down the high-speed rail projects in the U.S., Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is sticking to his guns and even wrote an op-ed to sell the idea - once again - based on its economic, environmental, and social benefits. He even calls it a "legacy" to future generation on the scale of the U.S. highway system (though hopefully high-speed rail will turn out to be more sustainable than that...).
Photo: LWY, CC
Secretary LaHood writes:
For years, we have watched other countries pass us by as they build faster trains. Indeed, the benefits of high-speed rail are tough to ignore.
It will seamlessly integrate large metropolitan communities and economies through a safe, convenient and reliable transportation alternative. It will ease congestion on our roads and at our airports. It will reduce our reliance on oil as well as our carbon emissions. And it will provide a much-needed boost to America's hard-hit manufacturing sector during a time of economic struggle. (source)
Not to mention that it can help, over time, to change the culture in the US. Many European and Asian countries are a lot less car-centric than the US, and that's partly because of shorter distances, higher gas taxes, etc.. But also because they've had great alternatives to cars for a long time and they're now completely normal.
By staying on track with President Obama's vision, modern, high-speed passenger service could connect 80 percent of Americans and restore the United States' economic competitiveness.
When we look to America's past, it can be easy to forget that America was never predestined to have the world's best highways. Progress only became possible because generations before us dreamed big and built big - because they imagined, invested and sacrificed for the infrastructure on which we rely to this day.
Like our parents and grandparents, we, too, must exercise the foresight and courage to invest in the most important infrastructure projects of our time. If we work together, a national high-speed-rail network can and will be our generation's legacy.
Amen to that!
See also: Yes, High Speed Rail is Still On the Way
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