Around the world, as many as 25 countries have high speed rail systems connecting major cities But the US has been lagging behind in modern methods of public transportation Recent reports suggest that American cities rank among the worst for transit systems So, why is US transit so bad? Well, after World War 2, countries like Japan and Germany invigorated their economies through federally-sponsored rail construction But the United States chose to invest in their Interstate Highway System Beginning in the 1950s, the government paved tens of thousands of miles of road all over the US
This road network helped encourage the popularity of automobiles, and more spread-out city planning, called “sprawl” But the effects of city sprawl on commute times, the rising cost of gasoline and oil, and growing traffic, have become a problem In major cities, like Los Angeles, car traffic constantly clogs the freeways Even the New York city transit system, which can serve up to 6 million commuters on a busy day, is known to many as being dirty, unreliable, and underfunded On the other hand, London, England has the oldest subway in the world, and is significantly more efficient
The “Tube” was constructed in the mid 1800s, and serves a billion people per year, covering an area of 600 square miles London also has a great rail infrastructure, with high speed trains reaching out to Scotland and France Another success story is Seoul in South Korea Its subway system is the longest in the world, with 315 miles of track The transit stations are high-tech and modern
Free wifi, heated seats, and TV are available for riders In many Asian and European countries, trains are almost always on time, whereas New York’s subway, for example, sticks to the schedule about 75% of the time Part of the reason for the America’s transportation deficiency is the difficulty in passing spending legislation Republicans in particular have been reticent to raise taxes to federally fund transit programs And a high speed rail could potentially cost $150 billion dollars
But soon, legislators may have no other choice but to invest heavily in newer, better forms of public transit In 2014 the White House reported that up to 65% of America’s major roads were rated in “less than good condition” Also, nearly half of American citizens lack access to public transit Clearly, if the US wants to keep pace with other nations, public transportation needs to be a higher priority China is making a great deal of investment into many sectors of the American economy
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