President Obama unveiled a plan Thursday on a system of high-speed railway service, hoping to stimulate the economy and help the environment.

He said it will relieve congestion, help clean the air and save on energy.

Building a new system of high-speed rail will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system, and everybody will benefit from it, said Obama at an event in Washington before leaving for Mexico.

The president allocated $8 billion from the $787 billion economic stimulus package for a start on establishing high-speed rail corridors nationwide. He also plans to invest an additional $5 billion over the next five years.

He said he understands it necessarily will be a long-term project but the time to start is now.

And also some states like California, which has a $30 billion plan to upgrade train travelling between Los Angeles and San Francisco will receive grants to accelerate their programs.

The rail upgrades are critically needed, Obama said, because the nation's highways and airways are clogged with traffic.

Many other regions are hoping to draw on the funds to set up fast rail corridors.