Traffic backed up on westbound I-80 near Waco, Neb. after a camper collided with a pickup. June 18, 2009.
Nobody loves a traffic jam. More cars mean longer commute times. It also means more CO2 pumped into our atmosphere every day. But new high-speed rail lines could help reduce traffic, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.
They're part of the Obama administration's blueprint for a new national network of passenger trains. The program would establish 10 new rail corridors around the country, ranging from 100 to 600 miles long. Some trains could hit top speeds of 150 mph.
Funding for the project would come in part from the stimulus plan, which includes $8 billion for rail improvements. Obama has also proposed a separate five-year, $5 billion investment in high-speed rail as part of the fiscal year 2010 budget.
Research shows that if the faster and greener rail network is put into action, there could be 29 million fewer car trips and nearly half a million fewer flights every year. That would reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 3 million tons a year. It also clears up those traffic jams.