With pollution levels hitting record highs these days, the Obama administration decided that a nationwide high-speed rail system is a broad and strategic solution that will boost regional economies, and help reduce highway congestion and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
And, if you think of it, that could generate thousands of construction jobs over several years, as well as permanent jobs for rail employees.
A very good solution to air or car traveling, Obama is trying to push an $8 billion stimulus package through Congress to improve existing rail lines (where trains could “fly” at 100 mph or faster) and to develop at least six high-speed corridors— which have already been identified, with Chicago the main hub.
- California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
- Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
- South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
- Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
- Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
- Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
- Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
- Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
- Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
- Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)
Although the $8 billion stimulus is not enough to get everything done, Obama considers it a downpayment on the future if they can just get the program started.
Of course, the biggest problem might not be getting the money. In California, one environmental group wants the rail line to cut back on dependence on fossil fuels, whereas other environmental groups do NOT want the rail line because of the ‘cost’ to the environment to get it installed. Now what do we do ?
Image by Shi Yali