imagined railways

Matt Yglesias thinks that Amtrak should focus all of its efforts on bringing high-speed rail to the Northeast Corridor, because of course he does. But the distances between those cities are sufficiently small that the speeds don’t matter as much. What this country really needs is high-speed rail connecting more widely-spaced cities. Consider: Houston ➡ Austin ➡ El Paso ➡ Albuquerque ➡ Phoenix ➡ Los Angeles. Or, even more plausibly: San Antonio ➡ Austin ➡ (Waco?) ➡ Dallas ➡ Oklahoma City ➡ Kansas City ➡ Des Moines ➡ Chicago. I don’t think I’m alone in seeing high-speed connections among these cities as dramatically preferable to air travel.