If you think high-speed rail is some kind of newfangled obsession of liberal elites who would rather not sit in traffic behind SUVs covered in bumper stickers announcing loyalty to their ideological foes, you're only partly right. As early as 1910, inventor Fletcher E. Felts proposed an elevated, high speed railway system to connect Oakland to San Francisco and beyond, all the way to Los Angeles, notes Matt Novak at Paleofuture.
The bullet-shaped cars on this suspended railway would have traveled at up to 150 miles per hour, making the trip to L.A. an easy four-hour jaunt. Fletcher's plan never came to anything, but at least we can know that as early as the turn of the previous century, people were already thinking about a better way to traverse the West Coast. (And as late as 101 years later, we still haven’t managed it.)