2011 is the year of the Rabbit.
China has led the race in developing high-speed rail technology in the past decade, and the rabbit does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
But America, the world’s only superpower at the moment, is still a developing country in terms of railways.
That doesn’t seem right, and the Obama administration agrees.
On Tuesday, Vice President Biden gave an encouraging speech for America to not only compete in, but lead the high-speed rail race. He proposed $53 billion to be spent on high-speed rail, $8 billion of which will be spent in the next year.
These figures coincide with the Administration’s goal of 80% of Americans accessing high-speed rail within the next 25 years.
The plan would build new high-speed rail networks and make existing ones faster. American train speed is nearly a century behind train speeds in other countries. Our rail networks are embarrassingly below international standards set by Europe and East Asia.
Beyond bringing our rails up to speed, the bullet-train plan would also boost our economy. Infrastructure projects like these create new markets and provide thousands of jobs.
Yet economists and politicians are still wary of the bullet-train plan. They fail to see the positive outcomes of building up our nation’s infrastructure.
This moment is critical in developing high-speed trains, and political hesitation is deadly.
We have a lot of catching up to do, with China already operating 5,000 plus miles (the world’s longest) of high-speed rail and proposing much more in the coming years.
China plans to spend $606.6 billion on high-speed networks in the next four years alone.
It seems unlikely that America will lead rail transportation in the 21st century let alone be able to compete internationally.
Building high-speed rail infrastructure has been a political nightmare thus far, and it is doubtful things will look up anytime soon.
Economic growth alongside energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies seems like a safe be — just not in the United States anytime soon. Politicians here continue to ignore the economic successes experienced by Europe and East Asia from rail speed revolution.
Luckily for investors, China does not adhere to this same ignorance.
Until next time,