For 53 years, Japan has enjoyed the luxury of high-speed Shinkansen trains. Now, the United States is still trying to catch up.
Texas Central, a private rail company, has a plan to implant the N700-I bullet train, based on the Shinkansen, between Houston and Dallas. The bullet train, which can zip across the state at about 205 mph, will potentially shave up to two hours off of driving time or nearly an hour off of air travel (including check-in, security and boarding).
If green-lit, the project will cost an estimated $12 billion, but will possibly reap $36 billion in "economic benefits" for the state within 25 years.
The money will come from investors, not government-sponsored subsidies or state taxes, which may allow Texas' bullet train dreams to come to fruition. In 2011, a proposal to build a high-speed rail in Florida was rejected by Gov. Rick Scott, who worried about a $3 billion price tag that could be billed to the state.
But even when plans are approved, the U.S. doesn't exactly have the best track record for actually building high-speed rail (or any rail, for that matter). California, for example, is still deliberating their project, which was initially approved in 2008. They already built their first 119 miles, but construction was about 50% over budget. Their 2016 business plan estimated the project would cost about $64 billion.
If Texas' bullet train does become a reality, previous experience tells us that it will be many years down the line. However, that doesn't mean we can't take pleasure in the thought of blasting through American heartlands at wild speeds.