Here's Where High Speed Trains Are Expanding in the U.S.
We may be behind the rest of the world but we're (slowly) catching up.
If you've ever traveled to other parts of the world, you may notice it's a bit easier to get around. Not just the public transportation, but the trains in general. Not only are there a lot of them… but those puppies are fast. And as any train enthusiast will tell you, we over here in the US are years and years behind most other countries when it comes to high speed trains.
For a country with such a high GDP and a propensity for spending around $40 billion a year on combat aircraft, you'd think we could scrounge up the budget. And yet, the entire Department of Transportation has a total annual budget of $43 billion. And a good chunk of that budget is going towards highways and airports. President Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill allotted $66 billion towards passenger rail infrastructure, to be spent over a period of years.
Fortunately, there are high speed train projects popping up around the country, and in the next few years there will be more ways to zip around between and across states. Most of them being constructed are through private ventures, not government investment, but hey it's a start. Here are some of the high speed trains that are already here or are coming soon.
In Florida, Brightline is connecting the state in a way that was hard to imagine even a few years ago. Now, you will be able to get from Miami to Orlando in just under three hours, for a starting price of $79 each way. That's cheaper than driving or flying, with none of the hassle involved in either. It is the largest expansion of the Brightline rail line, which is already running service between Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.
Brightline's Las Vegas to California route
The same privately funded venture bringing high speed rail to Florida will also begin connecting the west coast as well. Brightline's planned route connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas will take just two hours by train. Construction is set to begin this year, and when complete, the train will run at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. The project is expected to cost around $10 billion. Construction is expected to be completed by 2027.
Amtrak's high speed train
Amtrak's new high speed Acela trains were initially planned to launch in 2021, but the pandemic delayed the launch. The high speed train currently serves Boston, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Washington in seven hours. The train travels at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, but starting in late 2023, a new fleet of trains will serve the Northeast Corridor, and those trains will operate at top speeds of 160 miles per hour.
Right now, that's pretty much all we've got. There have also high-speed projects in very early stages connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as Houston and Dallas, but both projects seem somewhat doomed if not just massively delayed at this point. But there is a loud and growing call among politicians and citizens for the expansion of high speed rail for inter- and intra-state travel.
"I just don't know why people in other countries ought to have better train service and more investment in high-speed train service than Americans do," said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.