The Obama Administration has announced a $53 billion plan to build new high speed railways, and make existing rail networks faster.
It is hoped that the program will help the U.S. to get to Obama’s goal of allowing 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years, as stated in his State of the Union address recently. Another aim is to revitalize America’s rail manufacturing industry by using the $53 billion to construct a national high speed rail network, creating numerous green jobs in the process.
The first stage of the 6 year plan will be to invest $8 billion in expanding access to a high speed passenger rail service. Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement at Philadelphia’s busy 30th Street station with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood has said,
“This historic investment in Americaâ€™s high-speed rail network keeps us on track toward economic opportunity and competitiveness in the 21st century.Â Itâ€™s an investment in tomorrow that will create manufacturing, construction, and operations jobs today.â€
Biden asserted that the United States should follow the example of Japan and China and build high-speed rail, Biden said,
“If we do not, you tell me how America is going to be able to lead the world in the 21st century,”
Republicans in the House of Representatives have immediately slammed the plan, saying building high speed rail should come from private investment, rather than from a government plan. Republicans have suggested the program could face problems getting legislative approval.
High Speed rail in the USA lags behind other nations such as China, which is planning to invest $451 billion in its high speed rail between 2011 and 2015.
Image CC Linensed by Alain Stoll