Is Obama the first president to approve of high speed rail projects?



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    No. If you mean the first US President to approve a high speed rail project, that distinction belongs to Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed a bill in 1965 to direct the US Department of Transportation to work with the Pennsylvania Railroad in developing the “Metroliner” high speed rail project in the Northeast. That didn’t last long, however, because the federally-funded rail system was reorganized in 1967 under Amtrak, and high-speed rail largely dropped off the radar screen in favor of more traditional rail projects. Amtrak struggled throughout the 1980s and 90s, and it was during Bill Clinton’s second term that Amtrak announced its plans to return to the high-speed rail business with the Acela Express. That train, which began service in December 2000 just as Clinton was leaving office, is now billed as Amtrak’s premier service and carries 3 million passengers yearly.

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