Believe it: Bullet trains are coming. After decades of false starts, planners are finally beginning to make headway on what could become the largest, most complicated infrastructure project ever attempted in the US. The Obama administration got on board with an $8 billion infusion, and more cash is likely en route from Congress. It’s enough for Florida and Texas to dust off some previously abandoned plans and for urban clusters in the Northeast and Midwest to pursue some long-overdue upgrades. The nation’s test bed will almost certainly be California, which already has voter-approved funding and planning under way. But getting up to speed requires more than just seed money. For trains to beat planes and automobiles, the hardware needs to really fly. Officials are pushing to deploy state-of-the-art rail rockets. Next stop: the future.
The rest of the Wired article, by James Glave and Rachel Swaby, which has great diagrams, charts and time lines, is here.
Illustrations by Paul Rogers