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Transportation

Think of California High-Speed Rail as an $11 Billion Streetcar

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to complete only a Central Valley segment of the rail link risks turning the transportation project into an economic development tool.
Not canceled! High-speed rail is, in fact, already under construction in Fresno, California.
Not canceled! High-speed rail is, in fact, already under construction in Fresno, California.Rich Pedroncelli/AP

On U.S. railroads, it’s been a week of emotional whiplash.

Just days ago, an outline of the much-anticipated Green New Deal— a proposal from Democratic lawmakers to dramatically cut U.S. carbon emissions—described the country’s need for high-speed rail network to help replace short-haul flights with lower-emission trips. Commentators on both sides of the aisle ridiculed the idea as politically impossible, even as environmental and transit advocates staunchly defended it.