US transport chief in Spain to inspect high-speed rail system

30th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

US Transport Secretary Ray LaHood began a visit to Spain Friday to study the country's high-speed rail network, a system the administration of President Barack Obama hopes to build in the United States.

MADRID - US Transport Secretary Ray LaHood began a visit to Spain Friday to study the country's high-speed rail network, a system the administration of President Barack Obama hopes to build in the United States.

LaHood arrived in the northern city of Zaragoza in a high-speed train and visited a railway control centre accompanied by Spain's Transport Minister Jose Blanco.

On Saturday, the secretary, who began his fact-finding trip in France, is to meet with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian and business leaders.

President Barack Obama's administration has set aside USD 13 billion (EUR 9.4 billion) in order to start work on the United States' first fast railways, decades after Europe and Japan began to develop theirs.

"High-speed rail is long overdue, and this plan lets American travellers know that they are not doomed to a future of long lines at the airports or jammed cars on the highways," Obama said last month.

Obama's strategy envisions 10 high-speed rail corridors, including in California, Pacific Northwestern states, the Southern United States, the Gulf Coast and Florida.

AFP / Expatica

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