Image: DOT. Click to enlarge
Recent political developments may have led us to believe that the federal plan for high speed rail is falling apart (and perhaps getting replaced by out-of-control high-speed buses). A few governor-elects campaigned on the promise to shut down the rail projects in their states, after all. But HSR is indeed still (slowly) inching its way towards becoming a reality. Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood announced some new updates, and the map above is the latest incarnation of the plan. Remember, the Ohio corridor and the Milwaukee-Madison line are likely to be terminated by the new governors when they come into office. The other planned lines above (click image to enlarge) are still slated to proceed, creating jobs and moving towards long-term, sustainable transportation. The California High Speed Rail Authority estimates that building that state's corridor will create 600,000 jobs.
CAP has a series of graphics that break down the rail plans' benefits:
Intercity passenger rail received $8 billion total from the Recovery Act, which is a huge increase in funding. It traditionally receives much less federal funding than highways and air travel:
Intercity rail, some of which is high speed, is also more energy efficient than commuter rail systems--and much more efficient than automobiles or aircraft ...
So, we're still en route to getting high speed rail ... someday. While encouraging, these are baby steps, and it will be a while yet before we see anything close to resembling a national high-speed rail system. All eyes will be on California to see how smoothly the rail project goes. With support from its governor-elect Jerry Brown, the project could prove to be a major economic boon, and could inspire those unconvinced states to change their tune.
More on High Speed Rail.
High Speed Rail Finally Coming to the US: A Look at the Plans ...
Is High Speed Rail Coming to a City Near You? A Guide to Obama's Plans
New Governors Kill $1.2 Billion High Speed Rail Lines in Ohio, Wisconsin