New high-speed rail system set for US

The Obama administration is proceeding at full speed with plans to create a national high-speed rail system, proposing billions in next year's budget to help lay the groundwork. But political opposition and hefty costs could mean the ambitious program goes nowhere fast.

President Obama's 2012 budget unveiled Monday includes $8 billion for high-speed rail next year, part of a planned $53 billion investment in enhanced train service over six years. The money would further Obama's vision of providing high-speed train access to 80% of Americans in 25 years.

Vice President Biden trumpeted the initiative last week at a historic train station in Philadelphia, and the administration previously allotted $10.5 billion for rail projects from California to Florida that it says will create thousands of jobs, relieve congestion and improve the nation's ability to compete with countries where trains surging over 160 mph are the norm.

But the plans have met resistance from Republican lawmakers. GOP members of the House voted last week to eliminate $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail in this year's budget. And in response to Obama's proposed budget for 2012 on Monday, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said that "we don't have the money" to pay for "trains and windmills." 

Source: USA Today