I have written before about the need to improve the rail infrastructure in the United States, including noting some states doing silly things about high speed rail and that China’s high speed rail is light years ahead of the U.S. Since I’ve flown far too much over the last few years given my work in Asia as then director of the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law and given the high carbon footprint of airplanes, I have decided the take the train far more of late. I’ve now travelled roundtrip on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago and am taking the Silver Star from NYC to Florida. These are overnight trains and the folks on the trains are quite nice and the accommodations are fairly comfortable. Once I tell people I’m doing this, most have been shocked to find out the you can even take an overnight train in the U.S. to these destinations. I wish we were investing more in high speed rail in the U.S., and that more of the federal investment after the 2008 economic crisis went to trains rather than roads. Perhaps this dream scenario could develop: http://mashable.com/2013/02/10/high-speed-rail-map/. I think norms would shift dramatically in this country and people would use rail more frequently if it was cheaper and nicer, especially given how much flying seems to be a challenge of late.

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