Obama’s high speed rail initiative is being covered across the web today. This is not surprising as informed Americans recognize that construction of more roads, along with the commensurate increase in cars for those roads, is the wrong path towards a sustainable and connected Union.
High speed rail is designed to be a substitute mode of travel within a defined economic corridor. Air travel will remain the primary mode of transportation; however, rail system will be vastly more convenient and accessible for most people. For instance, it will not require thousands of acres of scorched earth suburban development as airports do. Rather, a train station, a single building, could be placed inside the urban core of the connecting cities.
Of course, it’s easy for me to be excited about this vision since Austin is one of those connected cities. Notice the “fly over” states? What is their incentive to support this vision? Pheonix, Denver, and Las Vegas are three large cities that are NOT connected in this vision. That’s a significant oversight, IMO.