Nearly a half a century ago, following the economic slump of the Post-War era, President Eisenhower created the largest infrastructure plan in American history. Using modern technology, the Federal Highway Act of 1956, connected the major cities of the United States. While creating millions of jobs from architects and engineers, to day labors and surveyors, this program also led to the American obsession and dependence with the automobile. We have a present opportunity, as a Nation, to redesign our infrastructure with the technology that exists today, to connect our cities using fast, clean, and efficient high-speed rails. With the passage of the stimulus bill, the federal government has allocated $8 billion to the development of high-speed rails within 11 corridors throughout the country. Working in corporation with state governments and private businesses, this decade long project is apart of the current administration’s commitment to revitalize our society. For the last several years state governments have proposed high-speed rails to connect regional cities. States like Florida, California, and Texas have experienced rapid growth and suburban sprawl. Clogged roadways and interstates beyond capacity have caused residents to lobby for alternative methods of travel. Coupled this with the increase in fuel costs and the rise of environmental consciousness, legislation in several states have passed to begin development of high-speed rails. With the investment of $8 billion by the federal government and an additional $5 billion over the next five years, the proposed rails will become a reality. Using a strategic plan that must be submitted to Congress by mid-April, the Federal Railroad Administration must determine the guidelines of the project, such as: what corridors are the first to be developed, the amount of grants to distribute, and a timeframe of completion. There is also a provision that obligates the federal government to provide high-speed funding as part of its budget by 2012. However, the bulk of the responsibility falls on individual states, such as financing and development contracts. The construction of the rails would be half as expensive than to develop new freeways or runways and can carry large amounts of people as well as light freights. When redesigning its infrastructure, the US should consider its rate of growth. Major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas; cities that are plagued with congestion and pollution issues have begun doing so. The new high-speed rails will decrease the amount of congestion on the roads and airports as well as relieve the necessity to further expand them. Travel time will greatly decrease as cities are connected. Traveling at 220 mph between San Francisco and Las Angelas will only be 2.5 hours. As an alternative means to travel, the new trains will be electric powered, saving about 324 lbs of CO2 on a trip from San Francisco to Las Angales. The savings will be even greater with the expansion of alternative energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal as a means to power the United States. As the population of the United States continues to grow, the effects will be felt in all sectors. More energy is then consumed, more resources depleted, more land is then developed, more sprawl occurs. The Obama administration has provided funds to a program that would not be able to exist without it. Not only will the federal government create skilled jobs throughout this country by the increase in productivity, it will lesson our environmental impact and progress the United States’ Environmental Agenda.

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