Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transporation, assured the nearly 1,000 international attendees of the Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Las Vegas that the United States will indeed have a high-speed rail system within 25 years.
The $10 billion system, which will impact 80 percent of Americans, will take passengers from Southern California to Las Vegas, or from Boston to Washington, DC “in a fraction of the time it takes to drive.”
“We will be getting people on trains going where they want to go at a cost they can afford,” he said, noting that he’s traveled to 15 countries to examine their high-speed rail networks.
LaHood, who noted he is a Republican working in a Democratic administration, said that “we’ve never had a government that made the investment in such a system. Americans are ready for high-speed rail, he said. “It’s time to get them out of their cars and out of the congestion.”
Only three states, Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin, have turned down federal funding to implement their rail systems, LaHood told the audience.
In other transportation issues, LaHood said many cities have invested in making the conditions of their airports better so that the passenger experience has been improved. “We want people to realize that when they go from one city to another they will be treated with respect.”
Additionally, “We want airports to be “multi-modal,” so that they will have transportation from the airport once they arrive,” he added.
As for Open Skies, “there will be more agreements,” said LaHood. “We are meeting with more countries right now.”