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Published on February 9th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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High-Speed Rail Could Get $53 Billion More from Obama Administration [VIDEO]

February 9th, 2011 by  


In addition to the $27 million for solar and $50.5 million for offshore wind Obama just announced, Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also let us know yesterday that another $53 billion is being proposed for high-speed rail. This is in addition to the $8 billion awarded at the beginning of last year and the $2.5 billion awarded since then. This money would be spread out over the next six years for projects across the country. The goal is to give 80% of the U.S. population access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years (no, I don’t think that figure includes legal residents living in Europe,.. like me).

For those all-too-eager to complain about Obama subsidizing this form of transportation of transportation (and completely unaware of the huge magnitude of road subsidies the federal government supplies), I like this line from the White House’s press release: “The proposal will place high-speed rail on equal footing with other surface transportation programs and revitalize America’s domestic rail manufacturing industry.”

Here’s a little more on the details of the investment:

In order to achieve a truly national system, these investments will focus on developing or improving three types of interconnected corridors:

  • Core Express: These corridors will form the backbone of the national high-speed rail system, with electrified trains traveling on dedicated tracks at speeds of 125-250 mph or higher.
  • Regional: Crucial regional corridors with train speeds of 90-125 mph will see increases in trips and reductions in travel times, laying the foundation for future high-speed service.
  • Emerging: Trains traveling at up to 90 mph will provide travelers in emerging rail corridors with access to the larger national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network.

This system will allow the Department – in partnership with states, freight rail, and private companies – to identify corridors for the construction of world-class high-speed rail, while raising speeds on existing rail lines and providing crucial planning and resources to communities who want to join the national high-speed rail network.

While the investment is clearly a good one from a long-term perspective and will also create a ton of new jobs, Christopher DeMorro of our sister site Gas2.org makes a good political point: “If Obama wants to get reelected though, he’s going to have to get these projects going sooner rather than later and convince elder Americans that trains are the future…again.”

And for a little historical perspective and fun, the INFRASTRUCTURIST has a nice piece on how the development national high-speed rail network could parallel the development of our national interstate system. Hopefully the Republican party doesn’t stall a national high-speed rail network for as long.

Related Stories:

1. High-Speed Rail Opposition and Support
2. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Focusing on High-Speed Rail in Florida
3. China Wants to Connect its High-Speed Rail to Europe (Largest Infrastructure Project in History)

Photo Credit: White House


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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