California’s suspension this week of a high-speed rail project underscores the up-hill battle the modern mode of transport faces in the United States — including myriad cultural, political and economic obstacles. Long gone are the days of the 19th century gold rush, when Americans raced to build transcontinental rail links and conquer the nation’s vast expanse. Today modern rail transport is decidedly off track: it has weak political backing and Americans prefer driving or flying while other industries are opposed. Freight companies in particular are not keen to share rail lines with passenger trains. “We have a Congress polluted by special interest money … that has been working for years to stop/prevent any rail investment,” said Andy Kunz, head of the US High Speed Rail Association, pointing to the oil, aviation and auto industries in particular. Published in Daily Times, February 16th 2019.