President Joe Biden has generally eschewed in-depth media interviews thus far in his term, but he participated in another televised town hall event on CNN earlier this week.
While attempting to defend his infrastructure agenda, he made the startling claim that he wants to take millions of cars off of American roads.
“You take the train”
As CNS reported, the president recalled in detail his extensive use of Amtrak to commute by train between D.C. and his home in Delaware.
He went on to tout the supposed benefits of a high-speed rail system, suggesting investment in such a program could make the United States more competitive on a global scale.
“You realize the Chinese are now building another high-speed rail line that will go up to 300 miles per hour?” Biden asked rhetorically. “You say, ‘What difference does that make, Biden?’ Well, guess what? If you can get on a train and go from here to Washington much faster than you can go in an automobile, you take a train, you take the train.”
If his plans come to fruition, he said the nation’s roadways would look much different.
“We will take, literally, millions of automobiles off the road, saving tens of millions of barrels of oil, dealing with cleaning up the air,” he said. “This is not hyperbole. This is a fact. These are facts.”
“The costly delusion”
High-speed rail has been adopted successfully in nations including Japan, though its use in America has been notably less auspicious.
As National Review’s John Fund wrote in 2018, California encountered massive cost overruns in its planned high-speed route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“I have traveled on high-speed trains in China, Germany, France, and Sweden,” he explained. “In densely populated countries with crowded air corridors, they are a pleasant, safe, and justifiable way to travel.”
He argued that the United States is “a continental nation,” though, and its environmental restrictions further complicate the process of building such an extensive transportation system.
Fund echoed the assessment of millions of Americans who want to modernize the nation’s existing infrastructure, writing at the time: “Let’s work on improving what we know makes sense — reliable inter-city air transportation — before chasing the costly delusion of high-speed rail.”