Head-to-head: New high-speed rail system costly, inefficient use of nation’s resources
2 mins read

Head-to-head: New high-speed rail system costly, inefficient use of nation’s resources

In the days of his 2008 campaign, current President Barack Obama promised a high-speed rail system for the United States. This promise has gone largely unfilled, as the U.S. lags far behind China and Europe in terms of high-speed rail systems.

The Obama administration has spent $11 billion since 2009 to develop faster passenger trains. In July, the administration asked Congress for an additional $10 billion. With $21 billion on the bill, why don’t we have our high-speed rail?

Because the idea of high-speed isn’t one that works in 2016.

Look at California, for example. High-speed rails were first proposed in California in the late 1970s by then-governor Jerry Brown. A total of $68 billion and 40 years later, the project is running years behind schedule and is not set for completion until 2028. It also lacks funds and the correct parcels of land.

If one state can’t implement a high-speed rail system, we can’t expect the federal government to do so.

And while time and money are two rational concerns, so is the current freight train industry. An advancement in high-speed rails would likely lead to high-speed freight trains. High-speed freight trains would certainly mean job losses in the industries which high-speed rails would render inefficient. This means jobs of hard-working train conductors and freight truck drivers would be stolen from them, leaving them in the cold.

Not only would a high-speed rail system cost U.S. jobs, but it’s an inefficient use of resources. The U.S. has a crumbling infrastructure system. According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, 61,000 U.S. bridges are “structurally deficient.”

Furthermore, U.S. Department of Transportation data reveals a backlog of over $115 billion in bridge work and $755 billion in highway projects. We shouldn’t start new projects before we finish our old ones, especially when they’re necessary to the function of our country.

There’s no reason for the U.S. to build a high-speed rail system.

The project hasn’t made significant progress and has already cost a potential $21 billion. High-speed rails would cost blue-collar Americans jobs, while putting already-delayed work on the back burner. We need to finish the necessary work on our roads and bridges before we decide to start a new, costly, time-consuming project.