Moments ago, Obama was talking about his high-speed rail plan.
It's ambitious, and if approved, will provide lots of jobs. He is proposing a two-stage competitive grant process. In the first stage “applications will focus on projects that can be completed quickly and yield measurable, near-term job creation and other public benefits” and then there will be a “next round to include proposals for comprehensive high-speed programs covering entire corridors or sections of corridors.”
The question, of course, is where are these corridors?
—California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
—Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
—South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
—Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, , Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
—Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville,)
—Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
—Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
—Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
—Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
—Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)
What does that mean locally (in the Southeast Corridor)? Here's a blowup from the US DOT website:
Now, that looks to me like Greensboro is incorporated in that route. But it also appears to me, based on this map, that Greensboro is about 80 miles north of its present location. I hope someone gets that worked out before they start laying the track.
Anyway, the DOT notes that the D.C.-Richmond-Charlotte segment has been the object of the "most intensive work" within the southeast corridor, so it may be online before, say, the Jacksonville-Raleigh part. The DOT also notes that, when completed, one should be able to travel (assuming speeds of 110 mph) from Charlotte to D.C. in about 6.5 hours. I would estimate that G'boro to D.C. would be in the neighborhood of 4 hours. Not too shabby.
The D.C.-NYC-Boston line, called the Northeast Corridor, isn't slated for high-speed rail. So if you want to take the train for G'boro to NYC, it'll be high speed until D.C. Then it's regular Amtrak.
It should be noted that the Southeast High-Speed Corridor was announced back in 1992. That's right, 1992. It's just that, until now, there wasn't the political will or capital to do more than devise plans for it. Under Obama, this might finally become a reality.