High-speed rail routes needed throughout the U.S.

The federal freeway system has been finished for decades. States must maintain them. Meanwhile, the progressive nations have not only developed commercial air travel but many nations have built high-speed rail. One can not catch a train in Seattle for Yakima, Pendleton, Baker, LaGrande, Ontario, Boise, Yellow Stone, Oklahoma City, Omaha, and St. Louis.

The United States really has no highspeed rail. In fact, it’s passenger rail is concentrated in connecting East Coast urban hubs for commuters. Long-distance rail in the United States is a joke. Auto train exists only on one East Coast route.

To begin with, passenger rail travel should connect high density urban centers. Amtrak does not. The Empire Builder starts its route in Seattle, overlays in Spokane, then never sees a large city until it reaches Minneapolis/St. Paul. The next city is Chicago. Cities between Chicago and Seattle with large numbers of population would be Moses Lake, Spokane, Missoula, Boseman, Billings, Bismarck, Grand Forks, then Minneapolis, Madison, and Chicago. But no, the BNSF route is the freight route and leaves out those cities and competes with long haul freight for track priorities across the northern border of the United States where there are few cities of any size at all and fewer passenger dollars.

The only fully complete intercontinental route between Los Angeles and Tallahassee ended at New Orleans after hurricane Katerina, but the track opened quite soon after the rails were rebuilt for freight. Amtrack has never reinstated the Tallahassee passenger rail reconnect.

These trains are all slow, and antiquated. It is time the federal tax payers got their money’s worth with high-speed long distance rail.

Samuel Bess


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