Research: High-Speed Rail

Fall 2022 (Research):

U.S. High-Speed Rail

Each year, the National Speech and Debate Association releases a series of debate topics for students to debate at contests. For the Fall Session (September and October), the topic asks us to consider the desirability of the United States to increase its investment (and commitment) to developing high-speed rail. The documents and information contained here are designed to help students prepare for the upcoming contests. 

The formal topic language is as follows:
The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its investment in high-speed rail.

For more information about the upcoming contests, and how you might participate, please use the “events calendar (see above),” which is coming soon.

[NSDA Research Topic] September/October 2022: U.S. High-Speed Rail

The debate topics for the 2022-2023 Fall Session will be the same for all grades:
Increasing high-speed rail in the U.S. is desirable.

Will a new oversight position help California’s high-speed rail plans get on track? (Cal-Matters, 2022-07-07)


The U.S. has no high-speed trains, besides a few small sections of Amtrak’s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. China has more than 19,000 miles of high-speed rail, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade. Japan’s bullet trains date back to the 1960s. France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed. Watch the video to see why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed trains, and the companies that are trying to fix that. — CNBC News, May 7, 2019

The main disadvantage of high‐speed trains, other than their slow speeds compared with air travel, is that they require a huge amount of infrastructure that must be built and maintained to extremely precise standards. Since the United States is struggling to maintain the infrastructure it already has—particularly its urban rail transit systems and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which together have more than $200 billion in maintenance backlogs—it makes no sense to build more infrastructure that the nation won’t be able to afford to maintain. — CATO Institute, April 20, 2021


Will A High-Speed Rail Network Ever Be Built In The U.S.?,
NBC News, August 21, 2021 [4 min]

Biden’s infrastructure plan and the future of high-speed rail in the U.S.,
Yahoo Finance, July 19, 2021 [7 min]

This high-speed rail project is a warning for the US,
Vox Media, July 29, 2022 [8 min]

Why the U.S. has failed with high-speed rail compared to the rest of the world,
CNBC News, May 7, 2019 [16 min]


Why the U.S. needs to get on track with high-speed rail,
Marilyn Waite, GreenBiz News Blog, August 24, 2021

Benefits of High-Speed Rail for the United States,
American Public Transportation Association, March 17, 2021

High‐Speed Rail Money Sink: Why the United States Should Not Spend Trillions on Obsolete Technology,
Randal O’Toole, CATO Institute, April 20, 2021
Note: This is a rather long article, please skim it for facts. Elementary students are allowed to skip it.


Bill Eddy,
714.655.8135 (I prefer text)
When contacting me, please include your name and class information (day/time). Thanks

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