Ever since becoming the new United States President, Barack Obama has made a complete 180 degree turn from the policies of his predecessor, former United States President George W. Bush. For those keeping track of the news, one should have known quite a few of the Bush policies that Obama has reversed. On top of that, Obama has unveiled many hefty and ambitious plans as well.
Today, Obama has unleashed his latest and hefty ambitious plan. He called forth for a nationwide high-speed rail. Yes, Obama wants to invest in a high-speed train. Obama explains that it will be long term. He explains that it is an investment that the country needs. $8 billion has been partitioned from the economic stimulus package for this project.
Obama explains that it is not some future vision. For that part, Obama is right. High-speed rail is already available in parts of Asia and Europe. In Japan, there is the bullet train.
The project will be done in three parts: upgrade approved projects that require funding, commitment, and plans without stimulus funding. One needs to pay close attention to the third and final part which is: to continue when the stimulus funds cannot be used anymore. Perhaps that is pretty much the most important part of this hefty and ambitious project.
In a New York Times article, Obama explained the problems of congested highways and clogged up airports. Obama stressed the importance of a transportation system that increases ones mobility and productivity.
Potential projects already announced are: northern New England (upgrade), east to west New York state, lateral rail through Pennsylvania, DC to Florida and the Gulf Coast, Texas to western Alabama, central to southern Florida, Texas to Oklahoma, San Francisco to Los Angeles, and the Pacific Northwest.
There is only one high-speed line: Boswash via the Acela Express. What is Boswash? Boswash is the shortened term of “Boston to Washington D.C.” and vice-versa.
Obama implied that patience is required. He explains that this plan is in its infantile stages compared to already existing high-speed rail lines in other parts of the globe. However, these projects will be fiercely competing for government funding. New England is going to fiercely compete according to an article on Boston.com.
One could ask: Which projects will be granted federal funding?
It is also revealed that the New England rail project could connect to Montreal, Quebec. That should be interesting.
On the Washington Post article, a map from the US Department of Transportation is available. It details the proposed projects and routes.
“A major new high-speed rail line will generate many thousands of construction jobs over several years, as well as permanent jobs for rail employees and increased economic activity in the destinations these trains serve,” Obama explained.
To critics that say it is too much money, Obama implied that the $8 billion was peanuts to what is spent in Europe and Asia on their high-speed rail systems. To those that say $8 billion is not enough, Obama said that it is a down payment and an investment.
Overall, this is a very hefty and ambitious plan from Obama.