Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 18:14 UK

Obama plans high-speed rail in US

US President Barack Obama outlines his high-speed rail plan
President Barack Obama wants less congestion on roads and in the air

US President Barack Obama has announced his "vision for high-speed rail" in the country, which would create jobs, ease congestion and save energy.

He said the US could not afford not to make the investment in 10 routes.

Six of the routes already approved, including California and Florida, could get some of the $8 billion (£5.4bn) earmarked for rail improvements.

Mr Obama said his plan would provide faster journeys, increased mobility and better productivity.

His strategy envisions a network of short-haul and long-haul corridors of up to 600 miles, with trains capable of speeds of up to 150mph (240km/h).

Although super-fast trains in Japan, Germany and China run at 300km/h (186mph) or more, the fastest service at the moment in the US averages only 120km/h.

He said: "Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel.

"Our airports are choked with increased loads. We're at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices all too often," he said.

"We pump too many greenhouse gases into the air. What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st Century."

List of potential routes

  • California corridor : Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego
  • Pacific Northwest corridor : Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver British Columbia
  • South Central corridor : Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock
  • Gulf Coast corridor : Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta
  • Chicago hub network : Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville
  • Florida corridor : Orlando, Tampa, Miami
  • Southeast corridor : Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville
  • Keystone corridor : Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh
  • Empire corridor : New York City, Albany, Buffalo
  • Northern New England corridor : Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany

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