Don’t Delay High-Speed Trains In The US
In a recent article, the New York Times said “Spanish trains whisk passengers from Madrid to Barcelona in little more than two and one-half hours. Japan has bullet trains. China is building a vast network of high-speed rail routes, including the recently opened line between Guangzhou and Wuhan, which covers 1,070 kilometers at the world’s fastest average speed.”
The line from Madrid to Barcelona is 631 km long (386 mi) and the direct trains make the journey in 2 hours 38 minutes from/to main stations in the city centers.
It took more than 20 years to plan and develop the line, which was not finished until 2008. The first high-speed line in Spain, from Madrid to Seville, opened in 1992 for the World Expo and has convinced travelers to stop traveling by air and use the train.
Most people traveling by air now are making connections at Madrid Barajas airport to other destinations. Since the start of the high-speed projects in Spain, thousands of jobs were created, and now the lines in operation are profitable.
The US has the potential to develop highly profitable high-speed connections, with a lot of work done in the planning of some corridors in California, Texas and the Northeast. Why should it take seven hours to go from Washington to Boston (using the “high-speed” Acela Express) when is possible to do it in two and a half?
Currently the US plans for a real high-speed train service are in big trouble due to economic woes, with many people saying that “it is not the time.” But high-speed rail creates jobs and saves time and money. It is good for the environment and it is profitable. And the cities with the service will profit more.
Delaying the projects now will set back the future of train travel in the US for many years and will be more damaging to the current economic situation. Many foreign corporations are interested in developing, funding and managing the projects, manufacturing most of the products in the US.
I believe this is not the time to delay projects; it is the time to look at the potential of new technologies in transportation, and reducing the environmental impact of oil consumption.