Hear that loud WHOOSH? That’s the sound of China whizzing past the United States in its development of a high-speed rail technology. China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. The country’s not satisfied to rest on its laurels though. It has plans to have 8,125 miles of the network in operation by 2012—and 10,000 miles by 2020.
In late October, China inaugurated the world’s fastest train. “The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 420 kilometres per hour (kph) (262 miles per hour (mph), a world speed record, though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 350 kph (220 mph).”
According to an article in The Mainichi Daily News, the United States leads the world in freight railroad technology but has little high-speed rail expertise. The United States will most likely “have to import the technology for the 13 regional projects that have won $8.5 billion in initial federal funding, with $2.5 billion more to come this year and hundreds of billions needed before lines are up and running.”
Back Here in the United States
Two newly elected GOP governors have pledged to kill $1.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail in their states—John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. According to Think Progress, “Walker warned he would fight President Obama to keep the Milwaukee-Madison link killed ‘if he tries to force this down the throats of the taxpayers.’” Kasich has called the high-speed rail project that would link Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati “one of the dumbest ideas that he’s ever heard. He even used his victory speech to announce, “that train is dead.”
Kasich and Walker and politicians like them are definitely not progressive thinkers. I guess they prefer the status quo. Is this what conservatism is all about? Is our country on a high-speed train to becoming the United States of Luddites???
I wonder why Huey Lewis’s song Back in Time came to mind when I was writing this post???
Picture Credit: 颐园新居
-Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger