President Barack Obama wants the United States to join other
industrialized countries in having an extensive high-speed rail system.
The president has unveiled his plan to accelerate the development of
high-speed rail in the U.S.
President Obama says high-speed rail
could do for America what it is already doing for other countries,
including China and Spain.
"A high-speed line between Madrid
and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those
cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service
began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail
service than any other country just five years from now," he said.
rail only serves America's Northeast corridor, between Washington, D.C.
and Boston, Massachusetts. But plans are under way to extend the rapid
transit to other areas of the country.
Before leaving for Latin America, Mr. Obama outlined his two-part strategy for accelerating those plans.
our existing rail lines, to make current train service faster, but also
identifying potential corridors for the creation of world-class
high-speed rail," he said.
Congress included $8 billion for rail
development in the economic stimulus legislation it passed in
February. Mr. Obama is including another $5 billion for high-speed
rail in his federal budget.
High-speed rail has had mixed
political support in the past. But President Obama says it could
strengthen the U.S. economy, in addition to improving the country's
transportation system. He says the United States should not be left
behind while other nations are moving ahead with high-speed rail.
it is being done. It is just not being done here. There is no reason
why we cannot do this. This is America. There is no reason why the
future of travel should lie somewhere else, beyond our borders," he
The president was joined at the announcement by Vice
President Joe Biden, who, in 35 years as a U.S. Senator, is estimated
to have taken almost 8,000 rail trips between Washington and his home
in Wilmington, Delaware.