Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
friend of mine asks this question first: “What do they know that I
don't know?” It's a sensible question, and it's a shame we had to
wait so long before our elected officials began asking that same
question about passenger trains in general and high-speed rail in
The High-Speed Advantage
Let's start with two safe assumptions: First, our population will
continue to increase. Second, all those people will want the same
kind of mobility we enjoy now. If those assumptions prove to
be true—and they will, of course—it will invariably mean more
cars on more highways. It will also mean more airplanes flying
around in the same amount of sky. In other words, it means more
congestion, more pollution, and more safety concerns.
But what if we didn't commit those megabillions to support
and expand our car-plane transportation habit? What if, as a
nation, we threw serious resources into building a nationwide
passenger rail system instead, with high-speed trains operating
in and around 15 or 20 of the major urban areas? The answer
is that people would travel just as efficiently and quickly but in
greater safety. Furthermore, we could stop and even reverse the
degradation of our environment caused by our automobile and
airplane addictions. The catch is that it can only be done if people
can be convinced that the high-speed train is indeed a reasonable
transportation alternative.
Trains Can Be as Fast as Planes
Well, all right, I'll concede that a train certainly won't get you
from New York to California as fast as a passenger jet. But in
most cases, it will be comparable for a trip under 400 miles (that's
a two-and-a-half-hour run for a high-speed train).
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