The United States is far behind Europe and other developed countries when it comes to its rail systems, but officials are looking to Spain as a guide while planning how to spend the $8 billion allocated by the government for high-speed railways in the U.S.
Spain’s highly efficient bullet train system has specially designed, electrified tracks that are not as expensive to lay and run as German and Japanese alternatives.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to discuss how building such a rail system here in the U.S. can stimulate job creation.
"Yesterday I traveled on a train at close to 350 kilometers (215 miles) per hour, the fastest I've ever ridden on a high-speed train," LaHood said, telling reporters that he found the experience “very civilized”.
He also predicted that by the end of this summer, high-paying jobs will be available to Americans building high speed rail links in the U.S.
LaHood will be meeting with Vice President Joe Biden next week in Washington, D.C., to discuss the best way to spend the stimulus funds allotted for the project.