Airplane Travel is So Last Century - Page 2
President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden certainly think so, that's why the two of them have been actively stumping for Congress to approve a multi-billion dollar plan to develop a national network of high-speed trains, which could serve up to 80% of the population by 2030. Because high speed trains run on electricity, a national network of such trains could go a long way toward ending our dependency on foreign oil.
Many conservatives in Washington are questioning the price tag of the project, which according to the U.S. High Speed Rail Association could cost as much as $500 billion over the next 20 years. However, Amtrak's Acela service, which runs from Washington, DC to Boston and can travel at speeds of up to 150 mph, currently the only approximation of high-speed train service in the United States, is both popular with travelers and profitable for Amtrak. Under the new high speed rail network that the President is proposing, major cities throughout the country would be connected with 220 mph trains, with a support network of 110 mph trains connecting smaller cities and rural areas.
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The reason the Acela is so popular with travelers is simple: train travel is far more comfortable than plane travel. There is considerably more space on trains, as well as the ability to get up and walk around, perhaps to visit the "quiet car" which is crying baby free, or grab a sandwich and check your email at one of the many roomy tables in the cafe car. You can even hope off and get a breath of fresh air at one of the train's stops before you hit your destination. Additionally, train stations are typically located in the middle of downtown, allowing travelers to cut time commuting to and from the airport, while simultaneously avoiding the TSA's happy fun place.California is using some its 2009 stimulus money to build America's first 220 mph train, which will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, according to the California High-Speed Rail Association.