I'm a huge proponent of rail travel - not only because I love trains, but because I think when used properly, it is a very efficient and comfortable mode of transit.
As much as I love riding the train (which I do as often as possible), the majority of Amtrak trains are slow, aging, and too expensive in comparison to other first-world nations. I love nothing more than sitting and watching the world go by to the tune of a locomotive horn on a 13 hour train ride from Charlotte to NYC, but the average traveler would consider that absolutely ridiculous, especially for $101 one way. Outside of the Northeast and parts of Michigan and Illinois, passenger trains are not allowed above 79mph, and that's simply not getting it done. In addition, the passenger trains are at the mercy of the freight dispatchers since the freight railroads own the tracks Amtrak travels on outside of the Northeast.
What some posters on here don't realize though is that the national highways and airports receive tens of billions in subsidies each year, when rail only receives a measly 1.3 billion. Yes, Amtrak operates at a loss overall (it actually makes a profit in the Northeast, where the infrastructure has been in place since the early 20th century) but that pales in comparison to the "losses" of the highways and airports.
High speed rail has worked for China. There's no reason that, given the proper funding, it can't work for America as a link between large cities in relatively close proximity to each other. The people crying about these proposals simply don't realize the advantages HSR could bring.