‘We have to take steps now’

The potential of high-speed rail in the United States has piqued the interest of an Illinois congressman, who is calling for the construction of a new line between Chicago and St. Louis.

The combination of the cities of Illinois and Missouri could provide a low-pollution travel option that would also allow for faster travel.

Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Rep. Mike Quigley believes, as Newsweek reported, that a trip that normally takes about five hours in the car could be completed in about half the time if investments are made in transportation infrastructure.

“Two and a half hours,” Quigley wrote in the Tribune. “That’s how fast you could travel from Chicago to St. Louis with new high-speed rail infrastructure. That could cut travel time nearly in half from current levels, saving millions of passengers something that money can’t often buy: time.”

The United States lags behind many countries when it comes to high-speed rail. Because this method of transportation is much better for the environment than dirty fuel cars and short-haul flights, there is a sense of urgency to fully embrace this technology to reduce the pollution that is causing global temperatures to rise.

High-speed rail not only produces significantly less planet-warming pollution than gas-guzzling cars and planes that rely on jet fuel, but is also much more efficient for passengers. Getting on and off the train is much easier than the notoriously time-consuming airport security.

In addition, using a laptop or reading while riding the train is a welcome pastime for some train travelers, which is not possible when you are behind the wheel of a car.

“The Midwest has a number of major cities, all within a day’s drive, providing an excellent geographic canvas for building an effective passenger rail network,” Quigley continued.

“This network could connect people and economies in a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly way. To achieve this, we must take steps now to invest in a high-speed rail future while making improvements to our current passenger rail network.”

Florida’s Brightline high-speed rail line has already won fans, carrying more than 2 million passengers in 2023 alone.

It is hoped that this success will be repeated in the West, with the start of a new high-speed line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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