Many nations have high speed trains: Japan, Taiwan, China, France, Spain, South Africa. But not the US. Even though rail is the most fuel efficient way to move large numbers of people, the country that once led the world in passenger miles now lags.
Here's a look at the pathetic condition of Amtrak's best passenger corridor, Boston to Washington. Billions are needed just to make a speed goal set in 1970! Let's not even think about the half day it takes to train from San Francisco to L.A. Or Chicago to New York.
And let's get over the myth that passenger rail services should turn a profit. Schools, highways, bridges, sidewalks, fire departments, traffic signals, public parks, public libraries--these are services that do not have to be profitable to be worthwhile. I would nominate good, high-speed pasenger trains to that list.