High Speed Rail in France: Le TGV — C’est Cool.
Since 1981, France has had a true high speed rail service, the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). We here in the US are only about 30 years behind the French in this regard ... and counting. As US politicians continue to dither on high speed passenger rail, throwing loose change at development, the French corporations like Alstom have perfected this product for export to its former colonies in the developing world making big profits. Since the US is on par with developing world rail infrastructure, we may be best served by swallowing our pride and purchasing this technology from French post haste.
The TGV’s maiden voyage was between Paris and Lyon on September 27th, 1981. Ridership is expected to hit the 2 billion mark in 2010. It is a smashing commercial success, but goes further than that as a symbol on national pride and technological prowess. It is a cornerstone of European integration as it connects France to the UK and her continental neighbors with speed and dependability. Let us parse out the credit for this success to everyone, but one small group of people deserves a mention: the riche.
The fundamental difference between the French and the Americans is that rich French people are taxed much more than wealthy Americans (which leaves them more money to spend on holiday...in France). This is why Republicans hate, hate, hate the French. French-bashing was a fervent national pastime from about 2002-2005 in the fair and balanced American media. Our mainstream media was very inclined to fan anti-French sentiment, because if Americans learned that the French government taxes the rich to strengthen civil society, there's a small chance it could happen here. It will never happen though. The wealthiest Americans not only sidestep being taxed, but coerce the government to pay their bonuses if their businesses don't pan out.
Article continues: http://blog.cleantechies.com/2009/12/24/high-speed-rail-france-tgv/