Pros and Cons of High Speed Rail

High speed rail looks to be one of the transport methods of the future, with more and more lines being constructed across the world. In Japan, the bullet train has been running for years, and now others are following its lead. But is high speed rail the savior it seems to be, or will it be just a source of new complications and a burden on the already strained budgets of the world?

Proponents of high speed rail argue that the lines will reduce traffic burdens, provide an environmental benefit, and create jobs. If people come to favor the high speed rail lines over transit by car, especially over longer distances, there will be a positive effect for the environment, as far less pollution will be created overall. In addition, this will reduce traffic congestion, leaving far less people on the roads. The act of the creation of the rail line will in itself provide a benefit - many workers will be needed to work on the project, providing economic stimulus. In addition, if the high speed rail does indeed make travel easier and cheaper, many who would have previously been unable to may be able to get jobs further away from their homes. Supporters of high speed rail say that the benefit to the community, the environment, and the economy far outweighs any costs.

Detractors, however, say that the high speed rail program will just eat the budget and reap no real rewards. They argue that, especially in America, very few people will take the trains, opting instead for the freedom offered by personal automobiles. Some also claim the prices for high speed rail tickets might be too expensive for many people to take the trains regularly. This lack of riders will render the supposed benefits of the high speed rail network moot. Given the amount of government funding that is being used on the project and the doubter's lack of belief in its success, they argue that the funding should be instead used for improving the current transportation infrastructure. Some even argue that it seems unlikely that many of the proposed high speed rail lines will even be built at all, with the money being left untouched and unused.

The future of high speed rail is rapidly approaching, with many lines planned and some already constructed, but whether this future will be a good one is in question. There's no way of telling at this juncture whether the project is a boon to the world or an albatross weighing the world down.