Future on the Fast Track

Do you get frustrated on the morning commute? How about at the airport? Both of those questions are ridiculous for this reason: I already know that your answer is a resounding “Yes.”

Everybody gets frustrated at one point or another while commuting in rush hour traffic or getting hassled at the airport. Personally, it is difficult for me to maintain my composure when it takes me 1.5 hours to drive 22 miles. I can ride a bike faster than that!

Is there a better way to get around besides driving a car that is expensive to maintain, pollutes, is noisy, etc? How about better than flying? One solution could be high-speed rail.

800px-Shinkansen_tokyo.jpg

A Japanese Shinkansen Train Rockets along the Rails


Countries like France, China, Germany and Japan have long been using
this type of transit with great success. Imagine being able to board a
train in Washington, D.C. and arrive in New York an hour later. That is
three hours faster than either car or bus, all while avoiding the
inconveniences of air travel.

With that in mind, there is good news for travelers in major urban
areas of the country: this week, President Obama added $8 billion
dollars to the economic stimulus package to fund high-speed rail
transit systems
, much like the ones already in place in Europe and
Asia. What could this mean for the future of transit and commuting in
the USA? Hopefully, decreased carbon emissions, reduced travel time,
and less highway congestion; among other benefits.

According to Washington, there are ten other areas of the country where
high-speed rail transit could compete, time wise, with cars and planes.
Those include routes such as Chicago to St. Louis and Milwaukee; Miami
to Orlando, Fla.; Eugene, Ore., to Seattle; and Ft. Worth, Texas to
Little Rock, Ark.

There are, however, some detractors. Daniel Mitchell, senior fellow at
the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, argues that the action is
equitable to “throwing money down a rat hole.” Additionally, Mitchell
asserts that the government might as well “invest in nuclear-powered
bicycles” because, “that’s probably the only thing [he] could imagine
that would be more of a waste of money than inter-city rail.”

A nuclear-powered bicycle? Really?

What do you think? Are there better ways to spend $8 billion? Is it
time that our public transportation system “catches up” to the rest of
the world?

Cameron for My Wonderful World

Source: ABC news

One response to “Future on the Fast Track

  1. I can think of no better way than to spend this money on rail systems in the U.S. In Tulsa, where I live, we have run-down pollution making buses for our public transit system. Not good for the environment. It would be absolutely wonderful if we had a rail system connecting cities, esp. Tulsa to OKC. Could you imagine that, Cameron—how awesome would that be?
    I know this—that residents of Chicago love their system, although I think it only serves the city as a whole. But if we could take that concept further and connect major cities—wow. Yes, let us spend that money on rails!!

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