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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is urging Americans to dream big and believe that we, too, can build a high speed rail system just like those we admire in Europe and Asia. LaHood wrote a piece, originally published in the Orlando Sentinel, in which he touts the benefits of high speed rail – less congestion on roads, reduced carbon emissions and reliance on oil – while also warning that building the infrastructure will take a lot of effort and time. He wrote:

When we look to America's past, it can be easy to forget that America was never predestined to have the world's best highways. Progress only became possible because generations before us dreamed big and built big - because they imagined, invested and sacrificed for the infrastructure on which we rely to this day.

Like our parents and grandparents, we, too, must exercise the foresight and courage to invest in the most important infrastructure projects of our time. If we work together, a national high-speed-rail network can and will be our generation's legacy.

You can read LaHood's full article here.

An added benefit will be the economic stimulation such a massive project will bring. The Obama administration has nicely included a "100 percent Buy America requirement" in its legislation covering high speed rail contracts. In fact, LaHood says, the foreign and domestic manufacturers bidding for contracts have also committed to employing American workers. If a high speed rail system creates jobs, positively impacts the environment, and offers us a reliable transportation option, what's not to like?

[Source: BizTimes via Treehugger | Image: Bruce Tuten – C.C. License 2.0]