Reasons Why USA Has No High-Speed Rail


The United States of America one of the most glamorous, prosperous countries in the world doesn’t have any High-Speed Rail.

Before the Second World War USA was one of the global leaders in Railway transportation with a very extensive Railway system. But the scene suddenly changed after the 1945 war.

In 1956 United States of America’s 34th president  Dwight D. Eisenhower implemented the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, which is a network of controlled-access highways that forms part of the National Highway System in the United States.

The Interstate Highway System system extends throughout the contiguous United States and has routes in Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. This National highway scheme was allocated around 25 billion dollars to build around 41000 miles of highway around the country. Within 10-15 years the USA changed its transportation system completely from being Railway dependent country to an Automobile served nation.

Slow Speed

The airplane runs around 500 – 600 mph, whereas the high-speed train runs around 220-250 mph.

Also, the high-speed train slows down at various stations which decreases the average speed.

Armstrack Acela has a top speed of 150 mph but during the journey, it slows down to 90 mph. In most of the country, the average speed of a Highspeed railway lies between 150-180 mph which is far below the aviation transport system.  

High-speed Railway Consumes Time To Build:

It takes many years to build a high-speed railway path depending on the complexity of the route. Sometimes citizens deny selling plots to railways authority that come across the railroad.

A High-speed rail commission was created in 1994 by the California legislature to study the possibilities of High-speed rail traffic but the construction didn’t start until 2015.

Also, spending on High-speed projects, rail contracts, and routes depends upon the ruling government, they may halt any ongoing project proposed by themselves or the previous government.                                                     


In most of the government-sanctioned mega projects, some corrupt politicians divert the dollars unethically for their gains.

Also, politicians sometimes influence the project not according to citizens’ needs, the measure according to to vote bank, caste, creed, and religion. e.g in 2010 Obama government issued a plan which included a Rail line to Minnesota, Duluth. It was an urban area and only 120000 people lived there. Later an investigation revealed the truth, at the time of map was issued the house of the transportation and infrastructure committee was from the Duluth area.

Also In 2010 politics played a big role in the California High-speed Railway project.  

Consume Energy:

A Japanese railway company East Japan Railway claimed that moving a High-speed rail by one kilometer requires 57 percent more resources than normal trains. A study found that High-Speed rail construction releases a huge amount of greenhouse gas.

Another study stated that it produces 18,650 tons of greenhouse gas per mile to build California’s 520 miles long High-Speed railway path. 


The high-speed railway transportation system is an obsolete, slow, and expensive technology compared to the USA’s citizens’ economic scenario.

In the era of fuel-efficient, less polluting electric cars High speed railways’ environmental benefits are questionable. It also runs with the help of electricity produced from fossil fuels.

We stated some of the reasons why USA has no high-speed rail till now compare to other wealthy nations around the globe.

But the scenario is certainly changing. People are asking questions if other countries can overcome those obstacles and run High-Speed rail why not the USA? in 2010 2.5 billion USD was sanctioned for High-Speed rail projects.

A survey shows that the USA has 850 cars per 1000 citizens. Currently, those vehicles are causing heavy traffic jams and pollution around the country. Some states of the USA can’t expand their highway due to a shortage of space.

Read Also: American Workers Are Not Paid Enough Wages

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