Ride of the future: High-speed trains in America?


People love trains; they are fast and avoid all the hassles of traffic. But they aren't used in the U.S. like they are in Japan and much of Europe. Why? They are too slow.

Obama and a number of governors want to change that, with an $8 billion investment in high-speed rail using trains that go over 200 miles an hour. Not only could this reduce gridlock and our dependence on oil, it would cut pollution and create jobs.

So what's with the county executive, Scott Walker, in Milwaukee? He has been fighting light rail, creation of high speed rail between Milwaukee and Chicago and other efforts to update transportation for the city for many years. He insists that more buses are what we need. Finally last week, the 17-year dispute was decided thanks to Sen. Herb Kohl and Rep. David Obey. They quietly inserted a provision in the massive federal spending bill to hand 60% of the money for a downtown rail line and 40% to Milwaukee County for buses. President Barack Obama signed the $410 billion package into law last week.

It's about time. Walker just doesn't get it. In the 1950's people rode buses. In 2009 we want something faster and, frankly, a bit more exciting. After all, the Jetson's had flying cars in the 1960's, you would at least think the roads would be done by now. We certainly don't want buses. It's time to move forward with modern transportation in Milwaukee and across the country. I'm still hoping for a flying car.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro