A 'shinkansen' or bullet train speeds amongst buildings in Tokyo. Will California get its own one day?
A 'shinkansen' or bullet train speeds amongst buildings in Tokyo. Will California get its own one day? - 
Listen To The Story

The advocacy group pushing for high-speed rail in the United States begins its annual meeting today in Los Angeles. California is something of a poster child for the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, thanks to a $68 billion plan for a bullet train to connect L.A. and San Francisco.

But many hurdles remain for advocates pushing for greater high-speed rail nationwide. To get there, the U.S. would need to prioritize rail over highway spending, said Stan Feinsod, of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State. 

“You can’t buy more lanes,” he said. “Passenger rail is a hell of a lot less expensive than building out your highway network, and trying to add lanes and lanes and lanes. It just doesn’t work.”

Rail will also have to overcome the threat posed by driverless cars and more efficient air travel, said Cato Institute senior fellow Randal O’Toole.

“Rail makes a lot of sense for freight,” he said. “It really doesn’t make much sense for passengers anymore.”

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.