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Current Event Journal- U.S. Modernization

Current Event Journal- U.S. Modernization

Article Summary      

Ngo’s article in the New York Times on December 20, 2021, delves into efforts by the U.S. government to improve the rail system. In a renewed initiative to renovate the crumbling rail lines and bridges, the U.S. will spend a whopping $66 billion to improve the rail system. The initiative is the largest in a passenger train system since the creation of Amtrak in 1971. Apart from improving the state of passenger train transportation, the investment will go a long way to bridge the gap that exists between the U.S. rail system and those of other big economies like China. Currently, China has made significant improvements in the rail system. One such milestone in China is the construction of 20,000 miles of the high-speed rail system (Ngo, 2021). Besides, China has some of the fastest trains, travelling at a super speed of 370 miles per hour. On the contrary, the U.S.’s fastest train travels at a speed of 150 miles per hour, and there are only a few such trains in the Northern Corridor (Ngo, 2021). The renewed financial commitment will improve the U.S. rail system overall.

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The Connection Between the Article Content and Coursework

The article and course textbook emphasize the rail transport system’s contribution to U.S. economic growth. In Clack et al.’s (2009) article, the role of the rail system during the U.S. Civil War and the consequent reconstruction period is outlined. Among others, the rail system played a significant role in improving trade links. Key trade items such as tobacco, cotton, and wheat were transported to the port through the rail system. Also, the rail system facilitated people’s movement between the North and South of the Union. After the end of the Civil War, the rail system was overwhelmed due to huge traffic (Du Bois, n.d.). Following heavy traffic and constant usage, the railway has never been repaired (Ngo, 2021). Therefore, the Amtrak deal will go a long way to cure failures by previous governments.

President Biden’s focus on rail system improvement is based on its growing importance in the U.S. More specifically, awareness about environmental preservation is pushing people to adopt the rail system as the preferable means of transport (Andrade et al., 2016). Socially responsible citizens are aware that if they use the railway, they will reduce the amount of carbon monoxide released to the atmosphere, thus reducing the country’s footprint on fossil fuel gas emissions. Notably, efforts to improve the rail system may not bear fruits immediately. One of the reasons for this is that the investment is phased; hence, it will take some time before some significant work is observable. Besides, it will take time before the government convinces travellers that the railway is an equally reliable means of transport. However, as things stand, it is just a matter of time before Americans embrace a sustainable means of transport such as rail.


I believe previous American regimes have somehow ignored the rail system. Despite being one of the world’s earliest and most solid infrastructure systems, it has received limited attention from successive governments, exacerbating its damage (Horgan, 2021). The lacklustre attitude towards the system by previous regimes is probably due to the notion that the rail system is outdated. Nonetheless, the rail system will play a huge role in environmental conservation in the future.


Andrade, C. E. S. D., & D’Agosto, M. D. A. (2016). The role of rail transit systems in reducing energy and carbon dioxide emissions: The case of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Sustainability8(2), 150.

Clack, G., Mildred Sola Neely, & Hamby, A. L. (2009). Outline of U.S. history. Nova Science Publishers.

Du Bois, B. (n.d.). Accept the Terms and Conditions of JSTOR. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from

Horgan, T. (2021, June 18). Perspective | The government screwed up the American rail system. Now it can make amends. Washington Post.

Ngo, M. (2021, December 20). Billions in Amtrak Funding Could Modernize Aging Rail System. The New York Times.


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Over the course of the class, you will be retrieving and evaluating current event articles (in the last 5 years); making connections between the units we are currently studying and today. You will be responsible for finding an online article from a reputable news source.

Current Event Journal- U.S. Modernization

Current Event Journal- U.S. Modernization

For example,, USA Today, The New York Times, etc.
See the attachment for specific details and grading criteria for the Current Event Journal Assignment for Unit 7. Current Event Journal Assignment for Unit 7. – Alternative Formats

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