Moving Forward—At Restricted Speed

As the Obama-Biden Administration began in 2009 and 2010, “High-Speed Rail” (HSR) became a buzz-phrase in transportation circles. The High-Speed Intercity Rail Program began, but quickly went nowhere. Democrats sponsored it; Republican governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida killed proposed routes in their states.

Only California planned a genuine HSR line, and that project was nearly dead three years ago. Today, it is alive again and making steady progress. So is Brightline in Florida and its subsidiary, Brightline West in Southern California and Nevada, at least as far as Las Vegas. What about the prospect of more fast and frequent service, which seemed possible for a brief moment about 12 years ago? How is the nation faring with efforts to establish high-performance passenger trains?