Obama: Trains Foster Energy Independence

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Cutting down on traffic congestion, cleaning the air and saving money on energy are all reasons President Obama says the U.S. should invest in major upgrades to rail travel.

Before leaving for Mexico Thursday, Obama said an improved train system is critically needed. He admitted it would be a long-term project, but said the time to act is now.

"This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future," Obama said. "It's happening now. The problem is, it's happening elsewhere."

Funding of High-Speed Rail Corridors -- $8 Billion

About $8 billion of the $787 billion stimulus package is earmarked for construction of high-speed rail corridors nationwide.

The President also spoke of superior high-speed rail travel in countries like China, Japan, France and Spain.

The rail upgrades are critically needed, Obama said, because the nation's highways and airways "are clogged with traffic."

The government defines high-speed rail as trains that travel more than 90 mph. But the standard in the European Union is above 125 mph.

The money will go not only to high-speed rail development, but also to another effort to improve rail service along existing lines - upgrades that would allow faster train travel.

Sources:  CBN News, The Associated Press

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