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Congressman proposes high-speed rail project that would cut travel time between major US cities in half: 'We must take steps now'

"Saving millions of riders something money can't often buy: time."

"Saving millions of riders something money can't often buy: time."

Photo Credit: iStock

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

Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, as Newsweek reported, Representative Mike Quigley believes a journey that would typically take around five hours in the car could be completed in around half the time if the investment in transportation infrastructure is made.

"Two and a half hours," Quigley wrote in the Tribune. "That is how quickly one 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 riders something money can't often buy: time."

The United States is lagging behind many nations when it comes to high-speed rail options. Since this method of transportation is far better for the environment than dirty-fuel-powered cars and short-haul flights, there is a sense of urgency to fully embrace this technology to reduce pollution that is causing temperatures to rise worldwide. 

In addition to producing significantly less planet-warming pollution than gas-guzzling cars and aviation-fuel-reliant planes, high-speed rail is much more efficient for passengers. Boarding and disembarking from trains is much easier than going through notoriously time-consuming airport security.

Additionally, using a laptop or reading while riding the train is a welcome use of time for some train travelers, which isn't possible when 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 the building of 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 the steps now to invest in a high-speed rail future while making improvements to our current passenger rail network."

The Brightline high-speed rail service in Florida has already won fans, transporting over 2 million passengers in 2023 alone. 

That success is hoped to be replicated in the West, with ground broken on a new high-speed line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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