(October 7) Notwithstanding a “buy America” requirement, European railroad engineering firms are lining up eagerly and in force to enter what they see as a modern day “gold rush” to get a stake in the U.S. high speed rail market, fueled by President Obama’s $8 billion in stimulus funds. So far, 13 routes in a wide geographic area, including California and Florida, have been proposed. See recent European Affairs article raising the curtain on this push.
High speed rail is a long-overdue concept for the U.S. economy whose time has finally come. But only European companies can bring it to pass.
President Barack Obama has promised $8 billion in stimulus funds to build the first real U.S. high-speed trains. The announcement, made by the President the day after his annual State of the Union speech in January, in which job-creation was a major theme, came in Tampa, Florida, the terminus of a planned link with Orlando. That is a prime high-speed project, along with two others: Sacramento and San Diego in California and a third one, a nine-state proposal in the Midwest with Chicago as its hub.
The U.S. engagement in Afghanistan, including the 30,000 “plus-up” currently underway, represents one of the most difficult logistical challenges in the annals of war – a challenge even for the United States, which is the world champion of supply solutions. Afghanistan is harder than the Vietnam “land war in Asia” or the Berlin airlift or Iraq I and II. These previous engagements, although difficult logistically, pale in comparison to the task of supplying 100,000 troops and as many contractors in Afghanistan over nine years and counting. Landlocked, mountainous, beset by civil war, banditry and extreme underdevelopment, Afghanistan is surrounded by a clutch of hostile, suspicious, barely functioning sovereignties.
Obama, in Tampa, Will Cite Economic and Environmental Benefits
High-speed railways – an established feature of public transport in Europe – are finally on their way to existence in the U.S. in a long overdue move finally taken by the Obama administration.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
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