Obama’s proposed high-speed rail network stuck in station

December 23, 2015

By Keith Laing – 12/20/15 in The Hill

President Obama is entering his final year in office with one of his most ambitious first term promises — a nationwide network of high speed railways — largely unfilled. Website Insert Cars and Financing copy

Obama spoke frequently in his first term about developing the network.

He imagined a U.S. rail system that would rival the interstate highway system, citing similar train systems in European countries that are widely popular.

Obama included $8 billion in his 2009 economic stimulus package to jump start the high-speed rail program in the U.S.

But seven years later, Obama has little to show for the effort.

His stimulus offer was rebuffed by Republican governors in states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, who rejected the money.

The best chance of a new federally-funded railway in is California, but a line there that would link San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major California cities has been beset by delays and funding problems.

Meanwhile, private companies are considering the development of high-speed railways in places like Texas and, ironically, Florida.

A company called All Aboard Florida is planning to open a privately-owned high-speed railway between Miami and Orlando in 2018.

“Vacationing, doing business, commuting or otherwise traveling between Orlando and Miami is about to get easier,” the company said of its forthcoming rail service, which covers a part of the route was supposed to be connected to Obama’s initial Tampa-to-Orlando proposal.

“All Aboard Florida proudly introduces Brightline, ​an express train service that will provide state-of-the-art fast, safe, relaxing travel in one of the most populous and visited regions in the United States,” the company continued.

Obama spoke similarly highly of the potential for high-speed rail in the congested Interstate 4 corridor in his first State of the Union address in 2010.

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