Could this be the moment the US hasn’t realised it has been waiting for? Today, Pres Obama will be presenting which of the 13 high speed corridors that have been proposed will be getting federal funding. In total there is expected to be 13 such routes that will be getting money together with a number of other routes that will be receiving money for upgrades. Unless he has a secret stash of cash, the money on offer is unlikely to see the US criss-crossed with a fabulous new high-speed rail network, but it is at least a start.
At the same time, the Florida corridor has been receiving much attention in the (local) news, even going as far as suggesting that the state will be the first in the Us to be running high speed trains. I like the proposed route and the idea of linking up the major points (i.e. the airports, downtowns, and major sites along the way, like Disneyworld). They key to success, at least in my humble opinion, is that for any new high speed rail links to work they need to include airports, main downtown areas (this gives you the additional benefit of feeding incoming people to the downtown areas), and then key places along the way. Even more important is to consider integration at the main stations – do you really want to get somewhere and find you can’t actually get anywhere else after that, like local metro lines.
Let’s see what is announced today, and then whether or not the routes are delivered. or even how long the things will take to build.
The announcement will see California, Illinois (Minneapolis-Milwaukee-Chicago-St Louis) and Florida getting huge buckets of cash heading their way. The document below details all the winners, and the consolation prizes (smaller chunks of cash)
- Whitehouse (PDF)