Polluting Air Travel vs. Zero-emission High-speed Trains?

Virgin America recently announced a 15% increase in fuel efficiency with new jet engines. How does this compare to clean-energy powered high-speed trains?

While I applaud Virgin America and Richard Branson's efforts of reducing aircraft pollution, the airline industry as a whole will remain for decades to come one of the most polluting industries.

So while some people are celebrating a small but futile victory, I can't stop thinking of high-speed trains. Powered by clean electricity from solar and wind, high-speed trains could quickly become very efficient zero-emission people movers.

Your ride to and from the city-center train station will certainly cost you less gasoline (your own or that of an old taxicab) than a ride to the far-away airport.

High speed trains would also bring a lot of green jobs to the US with train cars manufacturing and track construction.

I know some environmentalists don't like the idea because of the environmental impact of the new tracks, but it seems obvious to me that it's a choice between the lesser of two evils.

What are we waiting for? Well, I keep forgetting that while Europe and Asia are leaving us far behind, the Republican House of Representatives still doesn't believe in long-term investments in infrastructure that would keep the US competitive.

Read more about Virgin America's New Jet Engines.

More On Obama's high speed train proposal. June 20, 20011.