Interstate High Speed Rail System Needed

American companies built the world’s largest collection of seaports, freight & passenger railway lines and American government added world-class highways & airports. We could have built Interstate High Speed Rail and greatly expanded Rapid Transit too. But powerful opponents and more wars prevented their investment. Excluding NYC-Washington corridor, we are left with haphazard, slow Amtrak lines that do not maximize ridership between the Top 100 Metro Areas. The results are more greenhouse gas & smog pollution, a slower economy, and a Traffic Congestion Tax on every American. Black travelers also miss a special benefit. — Thomas Dorsey, Soul Of America

Amtrak System Map, Interstate High Speed Rail

America once had the world’s best passenger rail infrastructure. If you are curious about that backstory, spend 7 minutes reviewing American Passenger Rail History to understand how the USA built the greatest railway network after 1828, then let it atrophy.

After World War II ended in 1945, powerful industries convinced Congress, Presidents, State Legislatures and Governors to invest $1.6 trillion in Interstate Highway and $600 billion in Aviation infrastructure. Public funding built national infrastructure for automotive and aviation industries to blossom. Those same industries influenced Congress, Presidents, State Legislatures and Governors to NOT invest in passenger rail.

Excluding the Northeast Corridor, they prevented intercity passenger rail from morphing into an Interstate High Speed Rail System like other advanced nations enjoy. Opponents manipulated news media, politicians and citizens to erroneously believe that:

• Interstate High Speed Rail is not cost-justifiable in America
• We don’t need Interstate High Speed Rail because widening Interstate Highway solves congestion
• We don’t need Interstate High Speed Rail because Americans prefer regional flights

Though fewer industries oppose High Speed Rail today, remaining opponents want American politicians, news media and citizens to continue believing a dozen more anti-HSR arguments that are outdated, opinion misrepresented as fact, half-truths and lies.

Understand High Speed Rail Before Judging It

Understanding High Speed Rail enough to pass informed judgment about the need for a comprehensive Interstate High Speed Rail System requires more than one or two short videos or news articles. For example, the video below includes several truths, but exaggerates when it says America has no High Speed Rail.

What they mean is, America does not have an Interstate HSR System befitting its global-economic status, geographic scale and 21st century requirements.

A better approach to inform the public on this subject is a narrative series in digestible parts. It should include contextual videos, informative charts, and relevant photos to make a complex subject simpler. To accomplish that goal, I have written each page using mostly plain talk that is digestible in 7 minutes or less. For those who want a deeper dive, the series includes many bolded weblinks to subject experts and related facts.

Let’s begin with the international definition of High Speed Rail (HSR). It is railway infrastructure featuring trains that substantially operate at least 124 mph — that translates to 200 kph in the metric system. As you’ll read later, there is a trend towards 137 mph (220 kph) minimum for HSR routes.

All passenger railway, highway, airport and rapid transit infrastructure costs are high. All mass transportation modes compete for public funding. When infrastructure projects are judged for funding, the elephant in the room is always, do Benefits outweigh Costs?

Defining HSR Benefits over Costs is best left to experienced civil engineers and transportation planners who know the costs of relocating underground utilities, geological conditions, tunnel & viaduct building, and environmental impacts, to name just a few items. They form what’s called a “Benefit/Cost Ratio” for each project.

When forming HSR Benefit/Cost Ratios, transportation planners and civil engineers also compare train speeds, train frequencies, passenger capacities, track conditions over mileage, electric, signaling & communication systems, and safety features versus their construction & operating costs.

No infrastructure project should be funded with Benefit/Cost Ratio below 1.0. The challenge for the public to grasp however, is that it takes from 5 years to 15 years to construct infrastructure projects that have high Benefit/Cost Ratios. That length of time invites public cynicism and pressure on politicians to under-build projects for faster completion.

Interstate High Speed Rail, Special Benefit to Black Travelers

For African Americans who’ve felt the sting of Driving While Black on highways, an Interstate High Speed Rail System is more than good transportation infrastructure. Though the vast majority of cops are good, there are too many bad cops. One result is that American policing harbors systemic racism. That in turn, produces too-frequent violation of civil rights when Driving While Black.

Every black driver knows family & friends afraid to leave Interstate Highway in parts of the country, particularly at night. Many others driving highways have been profiled by police that invent reasons to pull them over. At best, the bad cops make citizens late for destinations. You’ve seen enough news evidence to imagine the worst.

When black people ride Amtrak, you never hear of their civil rights being violated. It’s no surprise that 19% of Pre-COVID Amtrak riders are African American, despite comprising only 13% of U.S. population. Since it preserves dignity and safety while traveling, a comprehensive Interstate High Speed Rail System will invite black and brown travelers to enjoy far more of this great country.

Today, let’s examine nations who paved the way for “Intercity High Speed Rail” that Americans would call “Interstate High Speed Rail” or simply “Interstate HSR.” They are the compass to navigate through cynicism and build High Speed Rail the right way. For better Benefits/Cost Ratios and successful ridership, the Interstate HSR System should primarily model after one of these nations.

Should Japan be America’s Nation-Model for Interstate High Speed Rail?

Since America was not bombed during World War II, it remained the only superpower capable of investment at home and abroad when the war ended in 1945.

Heavily bombed in World War II, Japan had to quickly rebuild railway, rapid transit, highways, airport and factories to restore their economy. Under American-supervised occupation until 1952, post-war Japan entered a future with high gasoline prices and excessive dependence on imported oil. To reduce foreign oil dependence, Japan built nuclear power plants for electricity, modernized its electric grid and built more electric-powered mass transportation. America invested $2.2 billion ($22 billion in 2020 dollars) to help rebuild Japan’s infrastructure in part, to make it an export market for American goods.

Japan Central Railway Company used some space cleared by bombing to ease railway curves for straighter track. It built over/underpasses at level railroad crossings between its four largest metro areas — Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. Hitachi converted from building diesel-powered passenger trains more powerful electric passenger train engines that accelerated faster to higher speeds. Electric Commuter Rail and Metro Rail systems in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya expanded to train stations. The historic city of Kyoto upgraded electric Streetcars to a faster mode of service they call “Trams”, or what Americans call “Light Rail” or more specifically, “Metro Light Rail.”

When Japan Central Railway launched the world’s first HSR line (“Shinkansen”) during the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, it was celebrated as the world’s fastest train in operation. Top speed was 130 mph in 320-mile Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto-Osaka corridor. Shinkansen’s 2 hour 40 minute travel time attracted so many riders that it cut flights between Tokyo and Osaka.

Since electric trains do not emit fumes, train stations invited patrons to spend more time and money in their cafes and shops. Those conditions generated profits for Japan Central Railway, who also owned the stations. Equally important, the spider-web network of Shinkansen, Commuter Rail, Metro Rail and Trams enabled Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Kyoto residents to get most places with fewer cars per household.

Like American citizens, Japanese citizens wanted personal mobility to explore more of their nation by car. By the late 1950s, Japanese automakers convinced their government to build a national tollway system. To prevent excessive dependence on foreign oil however, the 4-lane tollway system had a strict 62 mph speed limit and high tolls connected to narrow 4-6 lane urban freeways.

When the Commercial Jet Age began in 1958, Japan also modernized its airport hubs.

By 1993, Japan had 2.5 times the population of America’s densest region, the Northeast. Unfortunately, the hyper-dense population of an island nation, high imported oil costs, full embrace of HSR and Rapid Transit combined with slow intercity tollways, narrow urban freeways and lower percentage of car ownership were too dissimilar from America for Japan to be our HSR nation-model.

Which Country Should Be HSR Nation-Model for America?

Railways, roadways, airports and factories in Europe were also heavily bombed in World War II. In 1948, America invested $15 billion ($161 billion in 2020 dollars) to help rebuild European infrastructure and renew it as an export market for American goods.

After seeing Shinkansen success in 1964, the railway agencies of European nations were no longer satisfied with 99 mph (160 kph) diesel-powered passenger trains either. So they began R&D for intercity passenger trains to achieve higher speeds. Faster intercity passenger trains sparked interest to improve Commuter Rail using portions of the same track.

Western European nations wanted to compete for commercial airplane business, but did not have an aerospace company as powerful as Boeing. In 1970-71, a consortium of companies from France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain and Netherlands formed Airbus to produce commercial airplanes strong enough to compete with Boeing. The Airbus consortium successfully lobbied for more public-funded airport expansion across Europe.

In the 1970s, Italy had modest population density on a peninsula, half of America’s Median Household Income and half of America’s per capita car ownership. Italy imported most of its oil and its airports were not congested. Drivers often exceeded Autostrade Tollway’s 81 mph speed limit. Italian sports cars were celebrated and exported worldwide. Italian trains were not.

Since Italy had fewer cars per capita than America, Italians still rode intercity passenger trains. Rome also had small Metro Rail and Commuter Rail systems, and Florence had a small Commuter Rail system. Those conditions were sufficient for Italy to open Europe’s first electric HSR line between Rome and Florence in 1979. Unfortunately, that first HSR line was plagued with poor infrastructure that crippled speed & frequency, depressed ridership and slowed expansion plans for nearly a decade. Italy would not be a good HSR nation-model for America.

Fortunately, an Italian company introduced the Pendolino, whose tilt-train technology lets passenger trains go faster in curves. Today, an advanced version of its tilt-train technology is embedded in many High Speed Trains (HST) operating worldwide.

Germany started building its “No Speed Limit” Autobahn Tollway in the 1930s. After World War II ended in 1945 and the country was split. West Germany rebounded to high Median Household Incomes. The speed engineering from its sports car industry and Autobahn culture helped West Germany market cars for export. In 1958, West Germany started modernizing airports for the Jet Age. West Germany rebuilt Metro Rail and Commuter Rail systems in its large cities.

West Germany was also inspired by Japan’s HSR system to build faster, frequent trains. By 1974, West Germany’s High Speed Rail R&D yielded promising results. But lawsuits over property acquisition for straighter HSR lines prevented construction start for a decade. Instead, West Germany focused on rebuilding its passenger rail between cities whose curvier lines did not attract lawsuits.

After World War II, East Germany was under Russian control. As a “Forced-Communist” nation, it received very little help rebuilding infrastructure. Its economy languished until East Germany and West Germany re-unified in 1990. Given those strained conditions, Germany did not open its first HSR line until 1991.

In 1993, Germany was not a good HSR nation-model for America. Nor did United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland or Spain satisfy enough conditions to be the HSR nation-model for America.

France Is the Nation-Model for High Speed Rail in America

France had a population size similar to America’s Northeast Region. Unlike the rest of Europe, Paris train stations and most railway between Paris and Lyon, the two largest French cities, were spared from bombing. That helped the French government-funded railway agency (SNCF) rebuild 99-106 mph intercity passenger rail quicker.

French automotive companies influenced their government to fund a comprehensive Autoroute Tollway System with an 81 mph speed limit the same time French aerospace companies influenced their government to modernize airports.

In the early 1970s, the French economy was good and population density was increasing in Lille-Paris-Lyon-Valence-Aix en Provence-Marseilles-Nice corridor. The corridor had about 70% of America’s Median Household Income. People were traveling more. As leading participants in the Airbus consortium, French aerospace companies succeeded at convincing their government to further expand airports to encourage more regional travel.

Though higher dependency on imported oil produced more expensive gasoline than in America, the French enjoyed a relatively high percentage of car-ownership. Parisians frequently drove south to Lyon, Valence, Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles and Nice. That caused Autoroute to clog on holidays and warm weekends.

To remain competitive with tollway and air travel, the French train-building company Alstom funded R&D on a High Speed Train (HST) that utilized a modified jet-turbine engine whose fuel is based on oil. It reached 140 mph. Before Alstom could introduce its new HST, France was forced to make a policy shift in October 1973. The OPEC oil embargo exposed that France’s economy was too dependent on foreign oil. When oil prices increased, people cut intercity driving and airlines jacked-up fares.

To reduce foreign oil dependence, the French government prioritized the building of nuclear & hydroelectric power plants and electric passenger rail. The government persuaded SNCF to start converting all passenger railway infrastructure from diesel-power to electric-power, beginning with its three largest cities — Paris, Lyon and Marseilles. Alstom R&D had to re-engineer the oil-powered HST to an electric-powered HST. Paris rapidly expanded electric-powered Metro Rail. Lyon and Marseilles built their first Metro Rail lines.

Paris and Lyon, were only 274 miles apart. Modest distance, population size, and no mountain range between them made the city-pair ideal for the first HSR line in France. Since France never abandoned passenger trains, SNCF had some of the world’s best railway engineers develop HSR infrastructure called Ligne a Grande Vitesse (LGV).

LGV has under/overpasses at every railroad crossing for train safety and schedule reliability. It has premium track bedding for flatter rides and precisely shaved tracks for smooth rides. LGV had more tunnels and more aerial viaducts for straighter route than Japanese HSR. Unlike European intercity passenger trains using 1.5 kV and 3 kV from old electric power systems, a more powerful 25 kV power system was built for LGV to support higher speeds.

Alstom re-engineered an electric HST to run on LGV. SNCF spawned a new government agency to operate that HST. Since the HST was called “Train a Grande Vitesse”, the HST Operator became known as “TGV.” SNCF and TGV designed an advanced signaling & train control system. SNCF implemented a premium maintenance regimen to ensure that TGV would run safer and more reliably than flying or driving.

In 1981, 168 mph TGV service launched on LGV between Paris and Lyon. TGV immediately captured accolades as the world’s fastest train. For an advanced European nation that never built a substantial export market for cars, like Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Sweden, the world’s fastest train evoked French national pride.

By 1988, Alstom upgraded TGV engines and signaling to reach 186 mph, matching the LGV track speed rating. TGV frequency increased and Coach Fares lowered. More travelers diverted from driving and flying. Paris and Lyon train stations that interconnected TGV, Commuter Rail, Metro Rail and Trams increased retail, hotel and tourism in their cities.

TGV success and national pride inspired the French to vote for LGV expansion from from Paris to LeMans and Paris to Tours in 1990 and from Paris to Lille in 1993. Travelers anxiously awaited the Channel Tunnel opening for Paris-Lille-London HSR service and LGV expansion south from Lyon to Valence in 1994. Paris-Lille-Brussels HSR construction was on pace to complete in 1995. Construction on the Valence-Marseilles HSR extension would follow.

In 1993, the LGV System enabled TGV to achieve success in conditions similar to America’s Northeast, California and Chicago-Midwest. Without a doubt, France was the best HSR nation-model for an Amtrak-HSR project.

President Clinton’s Lackluster Initiation of High Speed Rail

In 1993 Northeastern America, Interstate Highways 95 and 295 in NYC-Washington corridor returned to 75 mph, but traffic congestion and tollway stations limited drivers to 60 mph Average Speed. Even with 4 stops between NYC and Washington, Amtrak Metroliner averaged nearly 70 mph. It proved that Americans would ride intercity passenger trains, if average train speed was competitive with driving and ticket fares were reasonable.

The Northeast Region had higher Median Household Income and more business flyers than France. To be more specific, the Northeast Corridor had higher population density than Brussels-Lille-Paris-Lyon-Valence-Marseille HSR corridor:

457 Miles: Boston (5M) – New Haven (500K) – NYC (17M) – Philly (6M) – Baltimore (2M) – DC (4M) = 34 Million Pop.
523 Miles: Brussels (1M) – Lille (1M) – Paris (9M) – Lyon (2M) – Valence (1M) – Marseilles (2M) = 15 Million Pop.

President Clinton’s U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reasoned that Northeast Corridor demographics were strong enough to produce a TGV-like ridership success. To accelerate economic recovery in 1993, Clinton intended that a portion of stimulus funds upgrade the corridor for 165 mph HST service. Amtrak’s first HST would run slower than 186 mph because, unlike TGV on straighter railway, it would need to tilt often on curvy New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut railway. At the time, tilt-train technology was only certified up to 165 mph.

That top speed would still be reason for marketing hoopla in America. Amtrak HST was branded “Acela”, a portmanteau representing “Acceleration” and “Excellence.”

The American Highway Users Alliance (Highway Lobby) feared that successful Acela service would spark nationwide demand for HSR. Should a comprehensive Interstate HSR system be built, they feared it would reduce oil consumption from intercity car drives, intercity bus rides, tire purchases, car rentals, concrete & asphalt sales for highways. The Aviation Lobby by Boeing and major airlines, also feared loss of regional flights and less public funding for airport expansion.

The HSR threat motivated Highway and Aviation lobbies to fund think tanks whose editorial slant misled Congress, Presidents, State Legislatures, Governors and news media to believe that HSR projects cost too much. They convinced enough politicians that intercity passenger rail should be evaluated as “for-profit ventures”, rather than infrastructure. As such, they wanted no further public funding for Amtrak infrastructure upgrades. Since the two lobbies prevented highways and airports from being evaluated as for-profit ventures, they wreaked with hypocrisy.

When negotiation dust settled between President Clinton and Congress, federal funding of Northeast Corridor HSR was limited to a fraction of its infrastructure need. Clinton’s USDOT mistakenly spread that funding over the 457-mile Boston-NYC-Washington corridor. States reduced their share of project funding as well. Equally bad, President Clinton fight for more Northeast Corridor HSR funds over that last 6 years of his administration, when the economy was booming and generating a budget surplus.

When Acela launched in 2000, its 165 mph trains were hamstrung by woeful infrastructure. In 17 miles of rural railway between Boston and Providence, parallel tracks remained too close for passing trains. For safety, speed there was limited to 150 mph. Another 60 miles in New Jersey and Maryland were partially upgraded to support 125-135 mph. The remaining 365 miles of Northeast Corridor was well below the 124 mph HSR speed minimum.

Highway and Aviation lobbies called on think tanks to exploit Acela’s under-performance. They issued a stream of editorial articles and TV appearances to convince politicians and news media that no further Amtrak infrastructure should be public-funded. The result was predictable. News media complained that Acela failed to reach its speed promise without criticizing Congress for underfunding HSR infrastructure. Having more faith in news media at that time, the public bought it.

American railway is primarily owned by freight rail companies and to lesser degree by commuter transit agencies. Only the Northeast had two corridors owned by Amtrak. By federal law and contracts, freight rail companies and transit agencies lease track to Amtrak at low fees. In the Northeast, Amtrak does the same for freight rail companies and transit agencies.

A good chunk of Northeast Corridor has 2 tracks for bi-directional freight & commuter trains and 2 tracks for bi-directional Amtrak trains. But in segments of less than 2 or 3 tracks, train speeds, frequency and schedule dependability reduce.

Outside the Northeast Corridor and greater Chicago, most railway consists of 1 or 2 tracks owned by freight rail. In rural areas, freight trains run up to 60 mph, while Amtrak is limited to 80 mph on the same track conditions. In urban areas, there are many places where autos, people and animals cross tracks, so freight trains seldom exceed 40 mph. Amtrak and commuter trains seldom exceed 60 mph on the same track conditions. Freight rail companies typically limit Amtrak to only 2-3 trains per day on their track and freight train delays often cause Amtrak trains to miss their schedule.

Those track conditions are fine for freight rail, barely tolerable for commuter trains, but horrible for Amtrak.

New Opportunity For Interstate High Speed Rail in America

Not long after President Bush II arrived, he pounced on Amtrak’s slow speeds, infrequent trains and undependable schedules. He nearly killed Amtrak funding outside the Northeast Corridor.

Then a global event caused business travelers to overlook Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor shortcomings. After 9-11-2001, security-check hassle & pat-downs became the norm for air travel. Jet taxi time on runways before take-off & after landing got longer. Legroom between standard seats shortened. In summary, travel irritation increased, particularly for short flights.

In contrast, Amtrak did not hassle people before boarding trains. Travelers appreciated Acela’s, legroom, wide seats and wide tray tables like First Class flights. The fast boarding & unboarding, electric outlets, cafe cabin and any-time restroom access were better than flying. They also liked slightly shorter NYC-Washington travel time and higher schedule reliability without long taxi rides from airports to Central Business Districts.

Less time-sensitive travelers also benefitted from less expensive train rides on the Northeast Corridor. Acela has a sibling HST with more intermediate stops called “Northeast Regional.” Its top speed is 125 mph. Northeast Regional fares cost one half as much as Acela, making it perfect for the heavy concentration of college students and others on a tight budget.

Acela became so popular by 2006, that Amtrak increased Acela Business Class fares to match airline Business Class fares in the corridor. Northeast Regional fares remained competitive with airline Coach Class fares. To the surprise of critics, Amtrak Northeast Corridor HSR services entered operating profit that year.

Amtrak Keystone in Philadelphia-Harrisburg corridor is owned by Amtrak. Over 2008-18, Amtrak built over/underpasses at every railroad crossing and upgraded from diesel-power to electric-power in Keystone corridor. As a result, Amtrak Keystone upgraded from 80 mph to 110 mph and from 6 daily to 13 daily roundtrips to double ridership and lower its taxpayer subsidy. Its next goals are to reach 125 mph and extend to Pittsburgh.

President Obama Kickstarts Interstate High Speed Rail Beyond Northeast Corridor

Sensing opportunity for similar success, 37 governors and more mayors adopted Amtrak-HSR upgrade plans. In his first months of office, President Obama received 259 state applications requesting $57 billion of USDOT funds for intercity passenger rail projects. States promised to commit smaller matching funds to complete projects. There was documented demand for better Amtrak-HSR service.

Over 2009-10, Obama could not convince Congress to meet the level of funding demand from states, but he was able to direct $13.5 billion of economic stimulus and $2 billion of standard USDOT funds towards Amtrak-HSR projects. California committed over $11 billion towards California HSR and Amtrak California projects. Several other states added $3 billion towards Amtrak projects. That $29.5 billion was America’s largest ever federal and state investment to intercity passenger rail.

America’s first black president was expanding the Interstate High Speed Rail System amidst two Middle East wars and the Great Recession. His actions suggested a poetic bookend to President Lincoln, who authorized construction of the Transcontinental Railroad amidst the Civil War.

Since the 44,000-mile Interstate Highway System cost taxpayers over $1.5 trillion, President Obama knew that $6.2 billion of previous Northeast Corridor investment and $29.5 billion of new investment was only a kickstart. He needed more help.

By 2010, labor unions, infrastructure builders and Chambers of Commerce warmed to HSR. Since President Obama promised that his U.S. Transportation Proposal to Congress would also fix highways, automotive and freight trucking industries stopped their opposition. His USDOT would also fund HSR infrastructure for non-Amtrak projects that lease operations to private passenger train companies. That pleased some critics who want private companies to run trains.

In 2011, Obama U.S. Transportation Proposal included $53 billion/6 years for Amtrak-HSR projects. Based on previous interactions with state DOTs, Obama’s USDOT believed it would attract roughly $20 billion/6 years in state funding to Amtrak-HSR projects. By 2021, that $73 billion investment on top of $29.5 billion would open enough HSR lines for a broad swath of citizens to appreciate fast & frequent trains. Greater citizen demand would make it politically easier to increase federal funding to more Amtrak-HSR projects.

If that scale of federal funding was authorized, it would trigger 35-40% in matching state, local & private funds for more HSR projects across the country. The Interstate HSR would create a legacy for President Obama similar to Interstate Highway for President Eisenhower. More important than legacy vanities, Americans needed jobs to emerge faster from the 2008 Great Recession.

Since the U.S. Transportation Bill was coming up for congressional vote on funding, Obama believed timing was right to expand a comprehensive world-class Interstate HSR System. Unfortunately, he underestimated the power and influence of Coal, Oil & Natural Gas industries.

Interstate HSR Map, 2019

2019 U.S. Intercity Passenger Rail Map; source USDOT

Oil & Gas is the richest industry in America. That industry uses its large number of jobs and campaign funding for outsized influence with Congress, particularly in leading oil producing states and in leading natural gas producing states.

In the 20th century, coal was the dominant fuel source to electric power plants. In the 21st century, coal is being replaced by natural gas, wind and solar fuel sources. Eight U.S. Senators hailed from the Coal States of Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. To preserve coal-related jobs in their states, many Congressmen from those states are delaying the inevitable death of coal as long as possible, by fighting against wind & solar energy. Some Pennsylvania Congressmen do pretzel-like contortions trying to protect both coal and natural gas production.

Since electric-powered mass transportation currently reduces coal and oil consumption and will eventually reduce natural gas consumption, Coal, Oil & Gas industries maintain pressure on Congress to underfund HSR and delay Rapid Transit projects. Though President Obama made annual proposals to expand Amtrak-HSR and Rapid Transit project funding, its no surprise that a majority of Congress would not budge.

Government & Highway Lobby Crippled America’s Transportation Alternatives

In summary, Highway and Aviation lobbies convinced federal and state governments to lavishly fund highway and airports. The same lobbies convinced Congress to limit Rapid Transit funding and starve Amtrak-HSR funding. As a result, America’s airports and interstate highways are overstressed, producing more air pollution and a Traffic Congestion Tax on every American.

Before examining the compelling rationale for an Interstate HSR System, see how aggressively in America’s Global Economic Competitors are developing HSR in the next part of this series. Massive benefits are motivating them.


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