I never liked the idea of high-speed rail from the onset.
Instead, build an autobahn. Put a toll on it, police it like crazy for impaired drivers, unsafe drivers, unsafe vehicles, and vehicles that do not meet emission standards.
Make it very clear that there will be check stops and any vehicle not fit to be on the road will be towed, ticketed andor simply sent to the old Hwy 2.
If people are worried about the environment, we should be complaining about some of the obvious offenders like the pickup trucks that are allowed to spew plumes of thick acrid smoke in our faces as they tromp on the gas, treating the environment like their own personal carbon toilet. Cars today are supposed to have strict emission controls — yet this is allowed to occur.
Most cars today do burn very clean so if we had a high-quality, well maintained autobahn people could legally and safely travel at 160 to 200 km/h with their high-speed cars and still have transportation when they arrive.
A high-speed rail could be a infrastructure maintenance nightmare in time. People like their vehicles too much to leave a brand new Lexus in Calgary, hop on a train and then look for public transportation in -30 weather in Edmonton.