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Slate: Requiem for a Train

Author: Will Oremus
December 7, 2011


Will Oremus discusses the failure of the U.S. high-speed rail system to materialize, despite Obama's commitment in 2010 to spend $8 billion in fiscal stimulus on transportation infrastructure.

If you live in Los Angeles, Orlando, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, Raleigh, or any number of other U.S. cities, chances are you've read a news story that started something like this: "Imagine stepping on a train in [your city] and stepping off in [another major city] just two-and-a-half hours later. This dream could become a reality in the next [unrealistic number] years, thanks to plans for a national network of high-speed rail lines."

Well, you can stop imagining it now. High-speed rail isn't happening in America. Not anytime soon. Probably not ever. The questions now are (1) what killed it, and (2) should we mourn its passing?

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