Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Obama talks up high speed rail, Amtrak

Some interesting news for those who are wondering how passenger rail transit will be playing into this year’s presidential race. During a lunch/political event with a family in Beech Grove, Indiana Obama lamented America’s lack of high-speed rail in comparison to other industrialized countries. Further, he supported the idea of implementing high-speed rail between the major Midwestern cities… “Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis.” To my chagrin, he forgot Minneapolis/St. Paul, but I’m willing to overlook that. If you can set aside the cynicism generally necessary when hearing campaign promises such as this, it’s a pretty encouraging read.

On HSR in the Midwest:

“The irony is with the gas prices what they are, we should be expanding rail service. One of the things I have been talking bout for awhile is high speed rail connecting all of these Midwest cities – Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis. They are not that far away from each other. Because of how big of a hassle airlines are now. There are a lot of people if they had the choice, it takes you just about as much time if you had high speed rail to go the airport, park, take your shoes off.”

On the advantages of rail and America’s lag in HSR implementation:

“This is something that we should be talking about a lot more,” Obama said. “We are going to be having a lot of conversations this summer about gas prices. And it is a perfect time to start talk about why we don’t’ have better rail service. We are the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t have high speed rail. We just don’t’ have it. And it works on the Northeast corridor. They would rather go from New York to Washington by train than they would by plane. It is a lot more reliable and it is a good way for us to start reducing how much gas we are using. It is a good story to tell.”

And of course, Obama’s policy compares very favorably to McCain’s staunch anti-rail position.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, United States High Speed Rail, , ,

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May 2008