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I think its easy to build high speed rail in countries where people are literally sitting on the roof of the train and they have to hire cops to shove people in, so the doors will close. However in countries like the US where train usage is already at record lows it’s difficult to justify a 300 mph train, if there’s only 4 riders a day on a line it’s not going to magically increase by making the train superfast. So where we will see the most support for high speed rail is actually where you see the most air traffic not road or rail traffic. LA to San Francisco is one of the most heavily trafficked air routes in the world, and since it’s all contained in one state its not surprising to see California take the lead. Hopefully one day, they’ll be able to expand up to Juneau and Tijuana. However the next major high speed line will likely be between Washington DC and NYC which is actually the most heavily trafficked air route in the US. However that train will go through 5 states not including the territorial government of DC.
That’s going to require alot of cooperation, even from states that will see little to no benefit and might not even have their own stop, like Delaware. So Texas, Florida, maybe even Illinois might develop their own intrastate systems, before we see a DC to NYC line because of that. So these long distance high speed rail lines should be promoted as an alternative to air travel in the US, not highways, or the current train system. There is however a great need for high speed subways, and more subways in general all over the US. There is also alot more wiggle room in the per mile cost, NYC just spent $5 billion building less than 2 miles of new subway, while the California rail project will be over $100 billion it will be stretching over 500 miles. So the cost per mile building a subway will be astronomically higher already. So the added costs of highspeed rail will seem insignificant.
So I predict Atlanta will actually become the new US mecca for high speed rail because it currently has a subway but its very small so it wouldn’t cost much to upgrade, and its one the largest international airport hubs in the world, so any long distance high speed rail project would need to rely on Atlanta as a major terminal. The city is growing, as is the whole region. It can also expand virtually 360 degrees to DC, Chicago, Texas, Florida, etc whichever is easier later on. There’s also no major intrastate traffic demand problems like we’re seeing in California. Portland and San Diego aren’t even being discussed, much less Tijuana or Juneau. However If Georgia were to build a major long distance high speed rail line it will definitely be to an out of state city, as they have no other major metropolitan area in the state.