I have been in Europe 3 times in my life. During my childhood I lived in the Netherlands for a year. I returned to Europe in 1978 for a 5 week vacation, by then I was old enough to ride the trains on my own. I finally made it back to Europe in 2018, when I had a week and a half to revisit some of my favorite places there.

With these trips I basically concluded, that after World War II the United States made a major mistake, with its neglect of passenger trains and local public transportation. In 1971 Amtrak was formed, to preserve what was left of the intercity passenger rail system. And also mainly in the 1970's, local public agencies were formed to subsidize and preserve local public transportation. But in many areas it was too late. Most Amtrak trains continue to operate over what now is primarily a freight railroad system. An inefficient system where stations are maintained for trains typically operating once or maybe twice a day. And sprawling suburban areas were developed, with winding streets and cul de sacs. Built strictly with the automobile in mind. And no consideration of the possibility of buses ever being able to serve the areas efficiently.

This was never allowed to happen in Europe. Policies have always encouraged extensive use of trains and public transportation, including gasoline being priced at perhaps twice as much as in the US. Land use in Europe has always been better planned, with suburban sprawl avoided. The US overall is more sparsely populated than Europe, and land use planning sometimes becomes less critical. But in too much of the US, it becomes assumed that everybody can use an automobile. But in Europe, almost every place is near some form of public transportation.

In the US, the Northeast Corridor was the only area with sustained frequent passenger rail service. Although for a few years, the owning railroad was Penn Central. The existing Northeast Corridor needs to be modernized and improved. Corridors with faster trains are starting to be developed in other parts of the country, and hopefully their successes can inspire further development of high speed rail services. And in the sprawled suburban areas, as they run out of room for additional highways and lanes, hopefully they will expand the public transportation options. But the United States has not always been good at making plans for the future, and committing to the needed investments. While the European countries do plan for the future, with transportation infrastructure, and in other areas including renewable energy and means of flood control.