A national project would show a commitment by the U.S. to fundamentally change the way we consume energy.A serious change in the thought process and consumption patterns of Americans is needed in order to show to the world that we are serious about addressing the ways in which we impact the environment. A national mass transit solution that has been working well for Europe is one step towards that commitment.
A great opportunity to boost the economyLike all large public works projects such an undertaking would allow the US to employ a large number of skilled people, and foster an era of research into high speed rail related fields. We did this before with the Highway system in this country, why can't we do it again?
We deserve itWe spend $620B or so on defense alone in this country. We nearly spend more on our defense then the rest of the world combined http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States. That is a lot of cash that we are spending... and I can't exactly figure out what our justification is for such a high limit... "defense" just is not cutting it. I would really like to see at least some of that money re-directed into some large public works projects around the country. Things that will impact many citizens and improve quality of life.
Why don't we have options like this in our country? Are we not dense enough (people/sq mile) to make this a good solution? Do we have other alternatives (airports & cars). Do we need to keep spending so much on war and defense? Or can we re-direct some of our spending into something that will more directly benefit citizens?
While $40 B is a lot of money, be assured... it is not so much when you consider the amount it would cost to expand critical road infrastructure. According to the folks over at The Seattle Transit Blog the cost to add 1 lane of highway to I5 through Seattle would run roughly $25B. Compare that to an 800 mile high speed train track and cost is a drop in the bucket. The issue... we were not planning on spending $25B to expand I5... but it is good information to have when you are talking to people who want us to vote down any ST transit proposals that we put on the ballot this November