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Obama gives Twin Cities-Chicago speedy rail a thumbs up

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President Obama unveiled his big plans for high-speed rail in the United States. His plan identifies ten high-speed rail corridors that could receive federal funding.

And lucky us. The Twin Cities-Chicago connection was one of them. The plans would likely include a train hitting speeds of 110 mph that would get Twin Cities riders to Chicago in 5 1/2 hours.

And why are we doing this exactly? We're America damnit! So says Obama:

There's no reason why we can't do this. This is America. There's no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system -- and everybody stands to benefit.

With high-speed rail system, we're going to be able to pull people off the road, lowering our dependence on foreign oil, lowering the bill for our gas in our gas tanks. We're going to loosen the congestion that also has great impact on productivity, I might add, the people sitting at stop lights right now in overcrowded streets and cities. We're also going to deal with the suffocation that's taking place in our major metropolitan areas as a consequence of that congestion. And we're going to significantly lessen the damage to our planet. This is a giant environmental down payment.

The money for the plan could be here as early as this summer. The rail line would first extend to Madison, Wis., and then the Twin Cities would be the second phase.

And if you can actually believe it, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is all for it too. That's a first.