High-speed rail, long considered the future of fast medium-distance travel, is in trouble. California’s grand plan for a statewide high-speed network is mired in cost overruns and may never be built. New Jersey has cancelled a planned tunnel under the Hudson River, which would have cleared a key bottleneck in the Northeast Corridor. Straightening out the slow, curvy rail corridor between Boston and New York would be hugely expensive and take years.
But there is another option for expanding our intercity transportation capacity at much lower cost: reform of our nation’s airports and airways. By changing the way we charge airlines to use airports, we can get a lot more travel out of the infrastructure we already have — and reduce fares and delays while we’re at it.