And in the process modernize the very concept of

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Unformatted text preview: te and relatively free of red tape. The line is set to open by 2015, the environmental -impact assessment has already been done, and the state owns more than 90% of the route's right of way. That should reduce the property struggles and legal challenges that have slowed other new rail projects. "Florida is relatively cheap compared to other projects," says Todorovich. "This is the sort of project they can use to build support on a national basis. You need a success." Still, the initial round of $8 billion — which Biden referred to as "seed money" during his remarks in Tampa — is just a tiny percentage of what it would cost to significantly overhaul the country's rail system. And there are concerns that by spreading the funds to so many different projects in so many different states, it won't be possible to make a real difference in any one place, as Mark Reutter wrote in a new report for the Progressive Policy Institute. It doesn't help that the one region that could most obviously benefit from truly high-speed rail — the Boston-to-Washington corridor — received a mere $112 million in funding, in part because building new track in the congested area woul d be prohibitively expensive and politically challenging. Nevertheless, high-speed rail is an idea whose time has come — at least for environmentalists. According to Environment America, high-speed rail uses a third less energy per mile than auto or air travel, and a nationwide system could reduce oil use by 125 million bbl. a year. In addition, high speed rail represents the kind of long-term infrastructure investment that will pay back for decades, just as the interstate highway system of the 1950s has. "This is a down payment on a truly national program," said Biden, who has logged more than 7,900 round trips of his own on Amtrak. "It will change the way we travel and change the way we work and live." Greens will be happy to see that. 28 | P a g e High Speed Rail Affirmative BDL Article: Obama Plans Massive New High Speed Rail Treehugger, February 17, 2009, “Obama Plans Massive New High Speed Railroad,” More good news from that economic stimulus bill that's poised to pump some serious money into green projects across the country: a big chunk of the funding will be used to create a huge new railroad system. Now I know what you're thinking—either I'm reporting on the wrong major recession, or now Obama is just copying the New Deal line by line. Not so. This is the biggest investment in rail in US history—and it could seriously change the way Americans travel. Here's how. 
The $8 billion investment in a high-speed rail system could effectively modernize much of the US railroads. And in the process, modernize the very concept of traveling by train as well —an idea of travel deemed antiquated by much of the nation. The only sector in which Amtra...
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