While politicians, lobbyists and NIMBY-minded residents are still debating the merits and flaws of the approved high-speed rail system that will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, HSR has been a standard mode of travel in Europe and Asia for decades. Almost half a century after Japan developed the first of its Shinkansen “bullet train” rail lines in 1964, the United States has been slower to adopt this form of transit.
Currently, Amtrak’s Acela Express line from Boston to Washington, D.C. is the only operational HSR line in the nation. With average train speeds less than 90 mph, the Amtrak line “does not even qualify as high-speed,” according to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica. Continue reading