Why Trump wants you to be afraid of high speed trains



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"I really do not like their policy of kidnapping your car, of your plane rights, of" taking a train to California, "" he said at the time. a speech made in El Paso, Texas, last week. predictable chorus of boos.

He was talking about the Democrats' Green New Deal proposal, but it was a totally mistaken interpretation of its content, recently introduced by New York rookie New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. , and Senator of Massachusetts, Ed Markey. He suggests new American investments in the high-speed train, a cleaner solution to air and automobile traffic.

But it was not the only time the president has plunged into the rail this week.

Trump wasted no time in making fun of California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who announced Tuesday in his State of the State address that he was going to cut his big plans. span on a high speed train. The train could ultimately transport passengers from the Los Angeles megalopolis to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco metropolitan area, but for now, Newsom has announced that they will focus on the Bakersfield line 380,000 inhabitants) in Merced. (population: 83,000).

Does California owe billions to the federal government for its canceled rail project?

"The whole project is a" green "disaster," Trump told Twitter, and asked California to return $ 3.5 billion in funding for the project originally launched under the plan. 2009 federal stimulus to revive the country of the recession world.

The president likes to hate California. He has defeated wilderness management practices in the state, suggesting that his forests should be razed to prevent forest fires, he criticized the state and its cities for protecting immigrants without papers. Its policies go against California's opposition to offshore drilling, its emission standards for cars, its legalized marijuana, and so on.
Newsom – who was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is now Trump's eldest son – quickly fired back, clearly showing the train at high speed the money would not be returned and the rail system is still part of the California plan. But it is also clear that the state began to build something while it was not clear that there was enough federal or private money to complete the work .

While the central part of the valley was still supposed to be the first phase of the project, it remains no less than 11 years after voters announced that they would pay billions to build it, the new Governor conveyed a dose of realism to Californians. The dream approved by voters, which exceeds deadlines and budgets, of a trip of more than 200 km between the two most populous areas of the most populous state, will not come to fruition any time soon .

But why not? One has the impression that all the other developed regions of the world have invested in such trains: they are everywhere in Europe and in Asia. Yet, there is no real high-speed train in North America. Even Canada does not have one.

The northeast corridor, from Washington DC to Boston, includes Acela from Amtrak, but it does not move as fast as bullets in other countries. Acela peaks at 150mph and then only for a brief glimpse of her course. Trains in China, Japan and Europe run more than 200 km / h.

In fact, Trump was complaining about the lack of fast trains in the United States during the 2016 election campaign. He was using the lack of high-speed trains to inform audiences that the United States was losing to China.

"We have the worst transport and train systems," he said in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in April 2016. "In China, they have trains that go at 250 km / h. is more than 60 km, it's like a collision area, and we see it all the time – we have to start rebuilding this country. "
The delay in modernizing the infrastructure of roads, railways and bridges exceeds $ 800 billion, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
Trump's plan to generate $ 1 trillion in private investment in infrastructure with an injection of more than $ 200 billion in federal funding has not yet come to fruition, in part because of the lack of funding. he can not find a way to pay for it. And he did not focus on the rail. The Obama administration had a very early federal plan for high speed trains, but it could not get Congress money. In fact, the last funding for the federally approved high-speed train was included in this economic stimulus bill ten years ago. And the only real high-speed rail project under construction is Bakersfield at Merced.

Amtrak has planned faster trains, but their aging track system prevents them.

There is a private railway line in Florida – Brightline – which runs faster than most other US trains, but far from 200 MPH. But it is operational and carries passengers. Brightline has also resumed a project that would connect Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The ambitious plans for a privately funded high-speed train between Houston and Dallas are progressing, but there are problems this week as they seek to acquire land in rural Texas.

There is a local movement towards the trains. It's very, very slow especially in the absence of any federal leadership on the issue.

Trump's infrastructure plan focused more on new "transformative" ideas. He did not say what, but a suggestion is further away from ideas such as Elon Musk's project Boring Company, which would dig tunnels to whip cars fast in Los Angeles, Chicago and the Washington area. This seems even more remote from reality.
It was an epic railway system, the Transcontinental Railway, a marvel of engineering and determination, which united the United States and allowed the Americans to extend westward with greater ease and efficiency.
But it was an epic road system, President Dwight Eisenhower's interstate highway system, a marvel of engineering and determination, which opened the country 100 years later and created a sort of suburban diaspora.

And the US economy relies more on highways than on train lines today. The suburbs extend around highways and the inhabitants of big cities therefore need cars.

The road network is financed by the tax on gasoline, which brings in more money as people drive more cars. However, even though it is an autonomous system, the gas tax will not cover the cost of roads for long. Trump proposed an increase in the gasoline tax in 2018, but this resulted in nothing.

The money invested in the interstate highway system, coupled with the ease and independence of automobiles, largely drove Americans away from rail traffic in the early 1900s. Today, many of the Americans might consider the high speed train as a way to give them the independence of their cars. But unless a bold investment, it's probably there that they'll stay.
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