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"Longer-distance intercity rail gets short shrift as a transportation mode in a lot of circles, often treated as more novelty than honest-to-god mobility solution," says Shane Phillips. "Air travel, on the other hand, is generally considered completely legitimate. In reality, even with relatively poor facilities by international standards--and massive federal investments in airport infrastructure--rail is competitive with air travel in much of the United States, and in some cases vastly more popular as this chart [from Amtrak] illustrates."
Phillips goes on to explain why this state of affairs is actually good for both Amtrak and airlines, and helps make the case for investment in High-Speed Rail.