High-speed rail puts U.S. on fast track

By Editorial Board

President Barack Obama recently unveiled plans to build a high-speed rail system in the United States, finally zooming in on what should be a national priority for our country—providing fast and affordable travel options to citizens.

For students, a system like this would be incredibly beneficial. Instead of suffering through painfully long and uncomfortable Amtrak rides or shelling out hundreds for plane rides, high-speed rail would be a budget-friendly and much quicker way for people to get around and explore the U.S. from coast to coast.

Development for the new (and massive) system will obviously take time, as the $13 billion plan identifies 10 areas of the country that would be receiving this service and updating existing rail systems.

But perhaps one of the most exciting things about the proposed plan is that Chicago would serve as the hub, finally placing the Midwest at the forefront of a new wave of travel for the U.S.—and potentially solving Chicago’s pesky pothole problem.

Another major benefit of implementing a high-speed rail system is that it would create thousands of long-term jobs for people, also increasing economic activity in the destinations the trains serve.

Obama and the U.S. Department of Transportation are correct in realizing that the nation’s dependence on cars and planes is insane, not to mention our dependence on foreign oil. By implementing a high-speed train system, it seems as if our administration is finally recognizing the environmental benefits of mass transit, something that has taken far too long for a country where the car has been king.

As big as the United States is, it is shocking that it has taken this long to invest in something so necessary. Travel plays an important role in the daily lives of millions of Americans.

In Europe and Asia, high-speed travel has been a staple in the continental infrastructures for decades. The time is long overdue for the U.S. to adopt a similar system.

Otherwise, we’re really going on a fast track to nowhere.

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