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Clean Transport vision-for-high-speed-rail-united-states-of-america

Published on February 19th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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U.S. High-Speed Rail We Can Dream About

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February 19th, 2013 by Zachary Shahan 

Reposted from EVObsession:

U.S. high-speed rail (HSR) is a dream of many, including President Obama and Vice President Biden. The Obama administration and Congress dedicated a good bit of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for high-speed rail in locations across the U.S. This excited a good number of people, but there’s no denying that the funding was probably a few decades late and far too little to get U.S. transportation systems to where they need to be. Could Obama have gotten Congress to put more into HSR? Who knows. But at least he got what he did.

Billions of dollars are now being used or will be used to help upgrade and expand rail lines in the U.S. The overall, generalized vision, as presented by the Obama administration, is this:

vision-for-high-speed-rail-united-states-of-america

Better than what we have, that’s for sure. But high-speed rail advocate and map creator Alfred Twu recently decided to create a U.S. high-speed rail dream map that paints an even much more ambitious picture. Here’s that map:

US-High-Speed-Rail-System-by-FirstCultural-2013-02-03

Writing in the Guardian, Twu comments:

I created this U.S. High Speed Rail Map as a composite of several proposed maps from 2009, when government agencies and advocacy groups were talking big about rebuilding America’s train system.

Having worked on getting California’s high speed rail approved in the 2008 elections, I’ve long sung the economic and environmental benefits of fast trains.

This latest map comes more from the heart. It speaks more to bridging regional and urban-rural divides than about reducing airport congestion or even creating jobs, although it would likely do that as well.

Instead of detailing construction phases and service speeds, I took a little artistic license and chose colors and linked lines to celebrate America’s many distinct but interwoven regional cultures.

For more reflections from Twu, his recounting of some of the many reactions to the map that he has read, and some high-speed rail mythbusting, check out the Guardian piece: A U.S. high speed rail network shouldn’t just be a dream.

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Hans

    High speed rail is good when it replaces air travel, but it can also seduce people to commute over longer distances. This is happening in France.

    One should also think about what helps people and the environment the most: prestigious and expensive high speed rail, or a dense local public transport infrastructure. In Germany there is a big controversy about a prestigious multi-billion railway project called Stuttgart 21* that will mainly benefit a small group of long distance business travellers, while at the same local public transport that serves millions is neglected, with the consequence thatshort distance commutes have become slower.

    I guess what I want to say is: don’t do high speed rail in isolation, but start with the local public transport first.

    *Also infamous for an immense cost explosion and business profiting from public land sold too cheap.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Interesting points.

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