When you spend as much time on the road, as I do, especially overseas, you start realizing that automobiles really aren’t the only way to get around. Even in car-centric states like California, mass transit is gaining traction. In Europe and Japan, rail is increasingly the way to go, whether for your daily commute, or to travel cross-country.
And if President Obama has his way, the same thing could happen here. The president wants to spend $13 billion to seed the development of a nationwide, high-speed rail network, much like Japan’s legendary bullet trains and the nearly 200 mph French TGV. The White House this week identified 10 possible routes, including a network in California, and others along the East Coast.
The president also gave a boost to long-standing hopes to create a Midwest high-speed rail system that would have its hub in Chicago, and link to cities including St. Louis, Milwaukee and Detroit.
“This was incredible,” responded Rick Harnish, executive director of the advocacy group, the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “He has set a new direction for the country” – and not only for the millions of potential passengers advocates believe a U.S. bullet train could lure out of cars and airplanes.