High Speed Rail Finally Coming to the US: A Look at the Plans (Video)


Image via Wired

Yes, high speed trains are finally coming to the United States. Thanks mostly to funding from last years stimulus bill, 13 high speed rail lines may be up and operating as soon as 2025. Inn less than fifteen years, you may be able to take a bullet train from San Diego to San Francisco, or from St. Louis to Chicago. It's about time. Nearly an entire year ago, we first reported on Obama allotting $8 billion for rail funding in his stimulus bill, and some $5 billion more in his budget. Now, working with states, which are often matching those funds, Obama has finally unveiled how he plans on bringing the US up to speed (I refuse to apologize for that pun, btw).

Wired has a must-read feature that goes in depth into the future of American high speed rail. It's called Superfast Bullet Trains are Finally Coming to the US, and it's right. The graphic above shows the map of where the planned lines are going.

And here are the stats of the projections for each line, via Wired:

First Phase - San Francisco to Los Angeless
Ultimate Goal - Sacramento to San Dieago
Estimated Completion Date - 2025
Top Speed - 220 mph
Final Tab - $45B

First Phase - Tampa to Orlando
Ultimate Goal - Orlando to Miami
Estimated Completion Date - 2017
Top Speed- 180 mph
Final Tab - $11.5+B

First Phase - Chicago to Madison, Detroit, and St. Louis.
Ultimate Goal - Hub-and-spoke network: 20 major cities using 3,000 miles of existing railway.
Estimated Completion Date - 2025
Top Speed - 110 mph
Final Tab - N/A

Ultimate Goal - "T-Bone" connecting Dallas/ Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Houston
Estimated Completion Date - 2020
Top Speed - 220 mph
Final Tab - $12-22B

Ultimate Goal - Speed-boosting upgrades to existing lines to get Washington-to-Boston travel time down to five hours, 45 minutes.
Estimated Completion Date - 2023
Top Speed - 150 mph
Final Tab - $12B

Other lines will grace Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Behind the High Speed Rail Plans
Wired is optimistic that all of these lines can be completed in 2025, and that their completion will spur further investment and growth in high speed rail. CNBC isn't as certain, but when was the last time CNBC was actually right about anything? Anyhow, the video nonetheless provides a pretty good synopsis of the plans:

Here's more info, from the AP, via Huffpo Green:

High-speed rail projects in California, Florida and Illinois are among the big winners of $8 billion in grants announced Thursday by the White House -- the start of what some Democrats tout as a national rail-building program that could rival the interstate highways begun in the Eisenhower era ... Thirteen passenger rail corridors in 31 states will receive grants, which are funded by the economic recovery act enacted last year.

After a half century wait--Japan has had high speed rail since the 60s, for crying out loud--it looks like some concrete plans for rail will finally help provide Americans with viable transportation alternatives. Perhaps our casting off of 4 million cars last year will mark a continuing trend. One can only hope . . .

More on High Speed Rail
Is High Speed Rail Coming to a City Near You? A Guide to Obama's Rail Plans
China's High Speed Rail Will Leave U.S. in the Dust
Is High Speed Rail the Answer?

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