Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Will High Speed Rail Come to the United States?
If you've ever traveled on the TGV trains, you know what I'm talking about: upwards of 200 MPH, International service, and an experience both gracious and efficient. Connecting France with Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, with Paris as the hub, the TGV is more fun than any flight I've ever been on.
High Speed Rail is not new. The Japanese really developed the technology in 1963, followed by West Germany (before the Wall fell) and then France. HSR is a staple in Europe, and Asia, so I've wondered why we just don't have it in the USA? I know so many people who are real train buffs, who love to travel by rail and love rail history. What's holding us back?
Well, there's always Amtrak, and their overwhelming financial problems. Born in 1971, Amtrak has never managed to be solvent. Ever. That's not a great record! But now, President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail designed to create jobs and bolster our sagging infrastructure.
From a travel perspective, I believe this to be good news. I grew up in Chicago and have so many memories of traveling on The Super Chief to visit my grand parents and cousins. Now, living in Los Angeles, I would love a high speed rail route to go back to visit family in Chicago. What do you think? Would you travel by train if it were fast and efficient?