The new railroad era?

Will Americans become train trained? Europe and Japan have long had high-speed rail systems linking major metro areas.

Will Americans become train trained? Europe and Japan have long had high-speed rail systems linking major metro areas. Can America rediscover rails or are we too much in love with the shoeless security probes and two-hour waits at the local airport?

President Obama wants to see more high-speed rail in this country. And that's not going to please auto dealers, airlines, Boeing and Exxon very much. Expect heavy lobbying blowback on this proposal. As I found in earlier blogs, railroads in America are almost as controversial as some kind of national health care law. One thing that could help high speed rail in Washington: apparently the National Rifle Associaton, Goldman Sachs and the Catholic Church are neutral on railroads.

The AP report on Obama's railroad plan points out how far behind the U.S. is in rail transit: "The United States trails other developed countries... The Spanish can travel the 386 miles from Madrid to Barcelona at speeds averaging almost 150 miles per hour. Japan's Shinkansen links its major cities at speeds averaging 180 mph and France's TGV train averages about 133 mph...."

So the tehcnology for high-speed rail travel exists, though very little of it is now available from American companies. WHO'LL GET FIRST ROUND OF HIGH SPEED RAIL MONEY?

Projects that are ready for work to begin: one connecting Chicago and other metro areas in the Midwest, perhaps LA to San Francisco, Seattle-Portland, San Antonio-Dallas, New Orleans and some nearby Gulf cities. Of course, some money will go to the Boston-D.C. corridor once used frequently by then-Senator Joe Biden. [poll id="118"]