With America’s infrastructure aging to the point where replacement is desperately needed, every subset of it has come under the microscope.
Many are calling for Amtrak’s aging diesel fleet to be upgraded to a high speed rail system comparable to what can be found in nations like France and Japan.
While there are detractors out there who view these proposals to be a waste of money, many others see tremendous value in them.
John Kleinheinz Fort Worth is a strong believer in the potential of high speed rail – so much so, he laid down a decent chunk of his fortune to help get a line started between Dallas and Houston.
Still don’t see a clear case for high speed rail? In this article, we will attempt to convince you how adopting this rail technology will ultimately make America a stronger place.
1) More Americans than ever are living in cities
Ever since the founding of the Republic, America has largely been a rural nation. Cties like NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles have resonated the strongest in the consciousness of foreigners, but in the past, more Americans lived in towns and villages than in cities.
Today, 63% live in urban areas, and that number is only expected to increase. When we decide to travel, most of us go from one city to the next rather than heading to/from the countryside.
As a result, the economies of scale needed to make HSR (high speed rail) work are starting to work in its favor.
Furthermore, it makes sense to speed up the pace of the trains, as doing this will allow them to better fit the busy schedules of people today.
2) They will help in the fight against climate change
The threat of climate change has become more serious in recent years, as the rapid development of strong hurricanes and extended droughts has prompted the global community to respond with increased urgency.
The development of a robust HSR system will do much to fight global warming, as its speed will make it a legitimate alternative to carbon spewing short/medium haul flights and driving.
3) They will reduce congestion on our highways
As some of our most popular cities grow, so do the number of cars on the road. By putting in an HSR system between cities in densely populated areas like the Northeast, Southern California and the Midwest, more people will opt to take it instead.
This will take vehicles off the road, making it easier for those who choose not to take the HSR to get from point A to point B.
4) High speed rail will provide additional competition to air and bus lines
Right now, the lumbering nature of most Amtrak train lines only make them a viable option for those whom time is a luxury.
The establishment of a legitimate HSR system will make them superior to buses and competitive with airlines in terms of travel time. This will apply pressure to bus and plane fares, creating a situation where consumers win.