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hours on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.136 The worst, most costly mistake Amer- ica can make going into the 21st century is to not
invest adequate resources in upgrading and expanding our passenger rail network. Failing to invest will neces- sitate
even greater spending on highways and airports, deepen our costly depen- dence on foreign oil, and forestall the
economic growth that can result from improved connections among people, businesses and institutions. The first step in
determining an adequate level of investment is to recognize that America is digging out of a very deep hole when it comes to our nation’s rail
infrastructure. If the federal government had invested the same amount of money over the last half-century in rail as it had in aviation, roughly
$400 billion worth of upgrades would have been possible. That amount of money would have been more than enough to build a high-speed rail
network worthy of the world’s most economically advanced nation. To begin to dig out of that hole...
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