The Future Is Made of Asians and Railroads

We live in perilous, uncertain times, my friends, but we know one thing for sure: the shiny brightness and/or looming darkness of our future is going to require a lot of work and adjustments. Transportation, energy use, and even eating habits have to adjust as we adapt our society to a sustainable, 21st-century model.

When it comes to thinking through transportation policy and public works projects, I’m a big fan of Matt Yglesias‘ recurring thread touching on those issues.  In fact just today he wrote a post defending California’s Prop 1, a plan to build a clean, high-speed rail system running up and down the state.

One of the important things to note about our impending futurescape that I have gleaned from Matt’s blog is that air travel is going to be increasingly cost-prohibitive as fuel costs rise. Now maybe solar-powered eterna-jets will make this a non-issue, but certainly during the painful transition period we are about to undertake, reviving and updating our rail system with magnetic rail is simply an awesome and cool step towards goals of carbon neutrality and energy innovation.

With current high-speed rail technology, renovating and expanding the U.S. rail system would serve as a source of jobs and industry in addition to alleviating car congestion and providing a cleaner and cheaper alternative to aeroplanes.

Meanwhile, as with many other aspects of the emerging 21st century, the Asians are ahead of the curve on this issue of clean, high-speed trains.  So everybody bone up on their Mandarin and get their boarding pass, it’s time to stop worrying and love our globalized utopian/dystopian future. Mono-d’OH!


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