Congress kills Obama’s high-speed rail plan

high-speed-train-shutterstock

The House and Senate voted Thursday to mostly de-fund President Obama’s high-speed rail project, which sought to bring ultra-fast trains nationwide, reports the Associated Press. Obama had requested $8 billion for the project for next year, and $53 billion over the next six years.

Republicans are claiming victory for the death of plan, which was achieved through a deal with Democrats on a broader spending bill for the Transportation Department and other federal agencies. The deal passed the House with a vote of 298-121 and the Senate by 70-30. It is now on its way to Obama for his signature.

“Today’s vote marks the end to President Obama’s misguided high-speed rail program, but it also represents a new beginning for true intercity high-speed passenger rail service in America,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), who serves as chairman of the House subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, in a statement.

Shuster, along with Transportation Committee chairman Rep. John Mica (R-FL), believe that the scope of high-speed rail service in the US should be limited to the Northeast Corridor, which runs between Washington and Boston, with stops in Philadelphia and New York City.

While the full $8 billion Obama requested is no longer on the table, some money remains that could lead to the development of high-speed rail. Of these is a segment of the 2012 spending bill entitled TIGER (Transportation Investment Generting Economic Recovery), which allots $500 million for transportation infrastructure projects. The TIGER money is still up for grabs, however, with highway, transit, port and freight rail markets competing for the funds.

According to the AP, “billions” of additional dollars are still in the pipeline for rail as well. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says more than $1 billion are expected to be spent on high-speed rail-related projects next year.

Of these, the largest is a project in California, which aims to use bullet trains, which can travel at speeds of up to 220 MPH, to connect San Francisco to Anaheim. The project is set to begin next year, with completion expected in 2017. To date, that project has received $3.9 billion in federal funds. In total, Obama has allotted $10.1 billion for high-speed rail projects across the US.

[Image via Ortodox/Shutterstock]

Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Banish the buffer screen with these tips for silky smooth streaming video

If you’ve been having troubles with streaming Internet videos from Netflix and other services in HD, the problem may be your network. Here’s how to make sure your streaming video experience goes smoothly.
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Gaming

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Hawaiian botanists’ drone discovers a plant thought to be lost forever

In what may well be a world first, botanists in Hawaii recently used a drone to find a species of plant that scientists believed was extinct. The plant was located on a sheer cliff face nearly 20 years after its last sighting.
Emerging Tech

Alphabet’s Wing drones now have FAA approval to deliver packages in the U.S.

Alphabet Wing has become the first company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the FAA. This means that it can begin commercial deliveries from local businesses to homes in the U.S.