"To Americans, high-speed trains evoke the gee-whiz factor of a trip to Tomorrowland: Ride futuristic cars that zoom you to a destination in a fraction of the drive time - without having to fight your way through an airport. Read a book, do paperwork, take a nap while you whoosh ahead in high-speed comfort. To governments, they evoke benefits to the common good - reduced freeway traffic, lower carbon pollution and more jobs.
But...President Barack Obama, intent on harnessing new technology to rebuild the devastated economy, made a last-minute allocation of $8 billion for high-speed rail in his mammoth stimulus plan.
It sounds good, but that amount isn't enough to build a single system, or to dramatically increase existing train speeds, transportation experts say."