Obama: We Need High-Speed Rail, Fast
System would fight congestion, save energy, clean air: Prez
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2009 9:47 AM CDT
President Barack Obama makes remarks about the tax code, Wednesday, April 15, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington.    (Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – President Obama is calling for the country to move swiftly to a system of high-speed rail travel, saying it will relieve congestion, help clean the air, and save on energy. "This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It's happening now," he said today in Washington. "The problem is, it's happening elsewhere"—in Asia and Europe

Appearing with Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Obama said the country cannot afford not to invest in a major upgrade of the existing rail system. He said he understands it necessarily will be "a long-term project" but said the time to start is now.