A while ago the transport politic reported that Shanghai has passed London and has the world’s largest metro.* Shanghai started from zero in 1995; not yet satisfied, they plan to add roughly a New York City subway equivalent to that by 2020.
You can always count on China for an absurd superlative. It’s clear that in the United States we couldn’t possibly build so much as quickly, thanks to both property rights and environmental law.** But it’s also worth noting that China has made this a national priority of sorts.
The nation’s budget situation hasn’t been good for a decade or so, but governments of both right and left have, on several occasions in that time, come up with trillion-dollar-plus lumps of funding for their priorities. Sometimes it was deficit-funded, at others they found offsetting revenue. The point is that if we want it enough they find a way.
Don’t let anyone tell you that vision is impossible.
* excludes London’s light rail elements.
** to be clear, both good things.