High-Speed Rail

TGV.jpg

It seems that during the debate last night, Mike Huckabee proposed adding two extra lanes on I-95 all the way from Bangor to Miami. David Freddoso doesn't approve, sniffing a hint of FDR about the plan. Ross Douthat's all for it.

I won't rehearse the standard argument against the view that if we just build enough highways our traffic problems will go away, but what I'd really like to see in our urban corridors is true high-speed intercity rail. The TGV in France cruises at 200 miles per hour for commercial purposes. That'd make the 400 or so mile trip between DC and Charlotte something you'd probably want to do on the train. Similarly, the 250 or so miles between Charlotte and Atlanta, the 345 miles between Atlanta and Jacksonville, and the 349 miles between Jacksonville and Miami. And that, of course, is to say nothing of the possibilities of high-speed rail along the Boston-Washington corridor. In the real world, of course, there are a million reasons why we're not going to build a Boston-to-Miami high-speed rail line up to European or Asian standards. But we really should (and there are, of course, other appropriate corridors in parts of the country where I don't happen to live) it would make a lot of things in life better, and it's a bit pathetic that dysfunctional politics in the United States has just doomed the erstwhile Greatest Country Ever to get by with inferior infrastructure.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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