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The Obama administration has been admonished by critics for supporting California's high-speed rail project, which has seen rising costs. In reality, this may be one of the administration's more reasonable investments as it would put the U.S. in a rare class of tech leaders.  (Source: Google Images)

The rail project is now estimated to cost as much as $50B USD, based on the latest revisions from the CHSRA.  (Source: CHSRA)

The U.S. spends $80B USD to imprison almost 1 percent of its population -- more than any other country in the world. Meanwhile, some begrudge the federal government spending $8B USD to allow the U.S. to join Europe, Japan, and China as the sole proprietors of high speed rail.  (Source: LA Times)

High speed rail would relieve the traffic burden that has stretched national highways to the breaking point. It would also allow people to reach their destinations much faster, opening new inter-city business opportunities.  (Source: Google Images)
Critics and supporters conjure up factually lacking reports and claims -- politics as usual, you could say

California's rail project is a glowing beacon of progress according to its proponents and a horrid mark of financial gluttony to its critics.  Now, yet another injection of federal funding has arrived, and despite its small size it has sent the figurative train of political debate hurtling from the station with little pause for reason.

I. High Hopes

In the horror classic The Blob a gelatinous alien space beast attacks a hapless small town, slowly engulfing its residents and bleeding them dry.  If critics are to be believed, a similar situation may be playing out financially, 53 years later, in the home of Hollywood -- California.  

The state has planned an ambitious high-speed rail project, which looks to connect many of the state's biggest cities -- Los Angeles, Fresno, Anaheim, and San Francisco, to name a few -- with 220 mph lines.

Under the controversial American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, pushed by President Obama, states could receive matching federal funds for high speed rail projects.  California, already deep into its high speed rail plans jumped at the opportunity.

In 2008 Californian voters, under the narrowly passed Proposition 1A, had authorized the state's creation of $9B USD in bonds to directly support the construction project.  Under the proposed scheme, the construction of the initial San Francisco to Anaheim stretch of track would cost up to $33.6B USD, a sum which would see private investors pay $7.5B USD, the federal government pay up to $16B USD, and the state pay the remaining $10.1B USD.

Some sources such as Fox have erroneously suggested or alluded that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) did not accept federal funds while incoming Governor Jerry Brown (D) did.  Writes Fox News in a story co-authored by the Associated Press:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, while governor, said the total $43 billion cost was too prohibitive to create the 220-mile per hour system, but his successor, Gov. Jerry Brown, has accepted federal cash, in what will now be divided between three areas.

Reality is a bit different.  It was in fact Gov. Schwarzenegger who requested those funds in the first place, requesting $4.7B USD in an Oct. 2009 ARRA application.

And the Republican governor's request was answered by the Obama administration.  In Feb. 2010 California received $2.25B USD in funding for the construction, followed by another $715M USD in Oct. 2010.  And in Dec. 2011, California received $624M USD in federal funds that were going to go towards cancelled high-speed projects in Ohio and Wisconsin.  And in May 2011, California received $300M USD more in funds from the cancelled Floridian high-speed rail project.

The project looked poised to get off to a terrific start, with $9B USD in voter-approved state funding and $3.889B USD in federal cash on hand.  But all was not well.

II. Pouring Money on a Wounded Beast?

If you ask proponents of the high speed rail project they'll defend it saying that, true, costs have risen, but that they won't rise further and that the costs of inaction will be much higher.  If you ask critics (like Fox News), they'll be quick to point out that costs have already risen and will likely rise more.

Regardless of who is right, the bottom line is that costs did rise -- even by the state's accounting.

The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) in 2009 revised its estimate from $33.6B USD to $42.6B USD.  The question became where the extra funding will be obtained.  There's still no clear answer on that, as federal funding will require matching state or private contributions, and state contributions will require additional voter debt initiatives.

The cost of an initial third of the San Francisco-Anheim line, pegged at $7.1B USD, recently was revised upwards $2.9B to $6.8B USD, with CHSRA CEO Roelof van Ark speculating that a bump to the $42.6B USD total line cost would likely occur as a result.  He comments, "We've had cost increases, but I believe the costs are now realistic and fair."

Some say the problem of rising costs may be exacerbated if the state is unable to sell the original approved debt obligation.  Some sources have suggested that bonds are not selling as expected [Fox News], with some reporting [San Francisco Chronicle] that the state is also issuing a multitude of other bond-driven projects, which may result in multiple projects going underfunded due to lack of debt purchasers.

Such criticism, however, may be unfounded.  Foreign governments have jumped to support the project.  China, who looks to sell high-speed trains to the Calif. rail system, offered to loan it up to $7B USD, contingent on U.S. federal government support.  And Japan offered an even bigger $40B USD loan, which could come in the form of bond purchases.

In short, the state should have no trouble in coming up with debt obligations, if voters are charitable enough to approve them.

But these critics may be missing the point.  Even if the state can muster an infinite supply of money, where will the end point be?

That's a tough question that no one can seem to answer.  People tend to fall into the camp of the optimists who predict that the line will generate a surplus, allowing early construction to pay for costs on later construction.  They also cite that the early part of the line cuts through urban areas, so the cost is predictably higher and will drop as construction reaches less population-dense areas.

Critics meanwhile have floated bold predictions -- some in excess of $100B USD.  State Sen. Doug La Malfa (R-Willows) is among the critics.  He's billed the train as the "train to nowhere" (ouch, Anaheim and San Francisco!) and stated, "This thing is well on its way to massive cost overruns."

The key thing is that anyone could be right at this point.  Construction hasn't even started yet.  For all the financial tug and pull, shovels aren't set to hit the ground until Sept. 2012, and the full line (including the extension to Los Angeles) won't be complete until 2020, under the current plan.

III. So What's the Big Fuss?

The debate that's playing out is largely based on principal, with both sides pretending as if the construction has already started and that the line has either been a tremendous success or an epic failure.

In short, there's no shortage of rhetoric of all flavors, but precious little reality.

The latest debate was triggered by the Obama administration (or, more aptly, the Department of Transportation) granting $179M USD more in ARRA funds to the high-speed rail project.  Considering that the government has loaned nearly 20 times that to the state already, it's somewhat surprising that the loan triggered such a fiery debate, but, hey, people love to argue.

Somewhere along the way, the debate on both sides has yet again been hijacked by speculative political ramblings.

For a more realistic example of both the good and evil of high speed lines, one can look to China.  China has pledged over $1T USD ($1,000B USD) to build high speed lines that vastly outstretch the respectively "small" stretch of track in California.  And they've actually built some of the track.

The track is working -- and has growing levels of riders.  That's the good.  The bad is that government construction left the line with substandard stretches of track that has forced it to slow the lines to less-than-record speeds -- speeds more similar to those of their European and Japanese peers.

Still at the end of the day, China now has a certified high-speed rail system, which is in active use.  It was expensive, as were similar systems in Japan and Europe, but it puts China in a rare class.

The U.S. is not in that class -- yet.  It's still stuck in the slow lane, with urban commuters putting along at 60-70 mph (or taking the occasional plane when they're lucky).

IV. Does the U.S. Want to Lead the World?

Ultimately the rail debate is a question of whether the U.S. is going to be a world leader or accept being a technological laggard.  You'll seldom here critics framing the debate in that context.  And you'll seldom hear proponents voicing that kind of thought without adding embellishments on how "cheap" and "profitable" the projects will be.

High speed rail isn't cheap and it may not be directly profitable for some time.  But it is a game-changer to a nation's broader economy.

Obviously a careful eye must be kept on these kinds of projects to make sure they're done as affordably as possible.  But ultimately -- like the national highway system in the mid twentieth century -- high speed rail is a modern era project that must be done if a nation wants to be a legitimate modern superpower.  In other words, cost is important, but abandoning projects is not a viable alternative.

It's interesting that the nation is so obsessed with debating the $8B USD in federal funding (from the ARRA) at a time when few are talking about other areas where the budget is being so liberally (not in a political sense) applied.  

For example the U.S. in 2010 spent a projected $80B USD or more [source] -- much of it from a federal level -- to incarcerate almost 1 percent (~2 million) of its adult population, with another 2 percent (~5 million) released on probation or parole [source].  That's more prisoners, per capita than any other nation in the world.  Of those incarcerated, 70 percent were imprisoned [source] for non-violent crimes and drug offenses.  A high percentage of these drug offenses are for a certain forbidden substance that is decriminalized in several states and authorized for medical use in many states.

Meanwhile the U.S. federal government gave $17B USD [source] in 2009 to the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan.  Of these nations, Egypt has seen its government overthrown since on allegations of corruption, while Afghanistan has struggled under the weight of similar allegations of sweeping bribery and corruption.  And Pakistan has been implicated in sheltering Osama bin Laden, the world's most famous terrorist.

So while politicians bicker about what may be $10B USD in federal funding, nearly eight times that gets blown on questionable foreign aid and on imprisoning non-violent would-be taxpayers.  When looked at in that context, you'll realize that no matter where most of the voices fall in the rail debate, it's the same old story -- politics.


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"investment"
By DockScience on 8/10/2011 4:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Using the term "investment" for this boondoggle pretty much sums up your position.




RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:14:39 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Using the term "investment" for this boondoggle pretty much sums up your position.

The cost of the national highway system was an estimated $425B USD in 2006 dollars. Modern transportation isn't cheap.

Do you have any specific complaints about this project, or are you just opposed to the concept of large transportation projects in general?


RE: "investment"
By vortmax2 on 8/10/2011 4:22:51 PM , Rating: 5
I have a specific complaint...stop investing in China. We owe them too much already.


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:27:48 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I have a specific complaint...stop investing in China. We owe them too much already.

Now that I can appreciate.

The primary source of Chinese involvement the trains themselves. Hopefully an American firm will step up to the plate and offer a locally-produced high-speed locomotive that's superior in price and quality.

I agree our nation's over-reliance on China, particularly in the face of its alleged financial and political cyberterrorism is an issue...

Sadly almost none of the commentary has focused on demanding domestic locomotives.


RE: "investment"
By Iaiken on 8/10/2011 4:45:06 PM , Rating: 4
My problem is that the Chinese trains are ripped off from Samsung, Bombardier, Siemens designs that were licensed to Chinese firms for use within China only.


RE: "investment"
By Lord 666 on 8/10/2011 4:46:08 PM , Rating: 3
I was going to say that the conspiracy is China wants a new train system in CA so when they or Korea invade us (just like in Homefront) there will be a rail system to transport troops.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 5:18:37 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Hopefully an American firm will step up to the plate and offer a locally-produced high-speed locomotive that's superior in price and quality.
Fat chance! Business is LEAVING the state, not coming into it, at a rate of 5.4 businesses per week (first 6 months of this year) WAY up from 3.9 per week for the entire last year. In 2009, it was ONE per week for the whole year. BTW, that does not include small businesses. There will be no locally built anything.


RE: "investment"
By tng on 8/12/2011 9:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Fat chance! Business is LEAVING the state, not coming into it
Couldn't rate you up any higher so I will just say that it is the same in the North end of California as well. The small and large businesses that can, are moving to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, anywhere with less regulation and taxes.

Other businesses that can't move are slowly dieing. What the people in the state capitol of Sacramento don't realize is that all of the better paying jobs that provide state funds are leaving. Yet they still spend like drunken sailors in a cathouse.


RE: "investment"
By Samus on 8/11/2011 1:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
The China Zhejiang High Speed Rail crashed killing (at least) 32 people two weeks ago. It has only been operating in that region for two months!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43865656/ns/world_news...

Japan's bullet trains have never suffered a fatal crash, and they've been operating since the 60's while having the most reliable timetable in the world. Arrival/departure times have never been delayed more than one minute, with 20 seconds being 'unacceptable.'

Although an exploding iPod incident delayed a non-bullet train in Tokyo 8 minutes awhile back, the longest delay in the rails history.

I'll use Dailytech as a reference this time since they strangely didn't report of the China HSR crash two weeks ago.

http://www.dailytech.com/Overheating+iPod+Forces+R...

Basically what I recommend to the government is: don't work with China, work with Japan like we used too in the 50's and 60's developing technology. Not since post-WWII has Japan needed support of this magnatude.


RE: "investment"
By cbf on 8/11/2011 6:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with most of your post, but to say the Shinkansen has "never" been delayed more than a minute is just an incredible exaggeration. The 8-minute flaming iPod delay is far from the only incident. In fact, just this April, the Tohoku line was completely shut down for 49 days (something about a large Earthquake and Tsunami: http://article.wn.com/view/2011/03/30/Full_Tohoku_... Service has even been disrupted by "heavy rain" (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go1915/is_20...

Perhaps it's more important to note that Japan Rail understands the limitations of its system and doesn't take needless chances with human lives.


RE: "investment"
By tng on 8/12/2011 9:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
I would much rather see expertise and manufacturing provided by the Japanese than Chinese. However our government has devalued the Dollar so much over the past 4 years that it has made buying anything from overseas difficult and expensive.


RE: "investment"
By drycrust3 on 8/11/2011 11:57:20 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
We owe them too much already.

This is exactly the problem America has. It owes too much, and in that situation your number one priority is to get back into a situation where the books are balanced. This idea of "If I owe $100M to the bank, then they have a problem" over looks the fact that they own your house and everything else that once was yours, i.e. your financial freedom and independence. In this situation, the $80B isn't an investment, it is a loosing more money and loosing more of your freedom and independence. All it does is divert time and effort away from your primary goal: balancing the books.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 4:38:27 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The cost of the national highway system was an estimated $425B USD in 2006 dollars. Modern transportation isn't cheap.


Key word, national. As in benefiting the entire nation, not just a train that only a few Californians will enjoy.


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:44:09 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Key word, national. As in benefiting the entire nation, not just a train that only a few Californians will enjoy.

The highway system wasn't free. Nor was it built in a day.

This is one of a number of state level projects around the country, which will be connected, much like the highways system, such that all can benefit and the overall potential of the system increased. Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are all working on projects as well, and a number of other states have projects in the works.

Once these lines are connected, the whole nation should benefit.

Political factors may make it difficult to reach some states in the short term, but even the plan for California calls for an interstate line to Nevada.

As for the holdouts, once the other states are connected, political pressure will likely mount to not let themselves be left behind economically...


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:16:04 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Yes because by that point we'll be so bankrupted as a nation with such a poor standard of living due to taxation, unemployment and inflation that in a twisted sense, they will actually be a "benefit" to our downtrodden masses.

Funny you should mention standard of living, because several European nations rank ahead of us in IA HDI, a leading measure of standard of living for your "average joe". And Japan is also near the top.

All of these nations have high speed rail.

Also...

The U.S.'s standard of living issues has more to do with Obama, Bush, et al. handing huge tax breaks to GE and other megacorporations that have bought and paid for them with campaign donations than it does investing on worthy infrastructure projects.

This year GE got a tax return of over $3B USD , while making $14B USD in profit. That's a SINGLE company making more than has been given IN TOTAL to the entire California railway project.

Now THAT'S something you should be upset at Obama about.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 5:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
You're a joke. I seriously can't even have a realistic discussion with you. Every single time, on every topic, you bring up GE.

Jason if we taxed GE and other companies 500% more, it still wouldn't even make a DENT in the debt crisis we are facing. You can't seem to grasp that. In fact, forget taxes. If you took every penny of GE's $14B profit it wouldn't even make a dent! How can you not get this?

The fact that you bring up taxation in the face of rampant government spending and the 'Fed printing money like it's a Monopoly factory is, frankly, offensive to me. You don't seem to get it.

quote:
Now THAT'S something you should be upset at Obama about.


GE's tax return. Not Obamacare? Not the "stimulus"? Not the Wall Street reform bill? But GE's tax return is what I should be upset about? Really!?

You know what, not even Jason Mick would say this. I'm convince you're a member of Lulz or Anonymous who is getting revenge on him and has hacked his computer. Bring Jason Mick back to us you potsmoking hippie!!


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason if we taxed GE and other companies 500% more, it still wouldn't even make a DENT in the debt crisis we are facing. You can't seem to grasp that. In fact, forget taxes. If you took every penny of GE's $14B profit it wouldn't even make a dent! How can you not get this?

Really?

So you're complaining about Obama spending ~$3.5B USD on rail, is bankrupting us, but you're claiming that giving $3B USD in taxpayer money to GE is no problem?

You see nothing wrong there???

How about, instead of taxing companies "500% more" we stop giving tax refunds to them and bailout money to support risky investments and tax them at the same flat rate we tax our small businesses.

Instead we're breaking the tax payers backs and small to midsize businesses' backs to funnel money to a fortunate few corporations and still bankrupting our government in the process. It's pure lunacy, and it's even crazier that you support it.

quote:
The fact that you bring up taxation in the face of rampant government spending and the 'Fed printing money like it's a Monopoly factory is, frankly, offensive to me. You don't seem to get it.

You don't get it??? The fed is printing money and taxing you and I to GIVE money to these companies. Big fat billion dollar checks. It's well documented on the public record.

And you'll merrily defend it, because you blindly argue anything (D) says is bad and anything (R) says is good, while failing to recognize that both parties are suckering you in to the same old losing game.

quote:
GE's tax return. Not Obamacare? Not the "stimulus"? Not the Wall Street reform bill? But GE's tax return is what I should be upset about? Really!?

I agree the Wall Street bailout was atrocious too,

We can agree on that, most definitely.

But you're just proving my point. That's Obama (and Bush before him) bankrupting our nation to funnel money to big business. It's plain as day.

The money poured into AIG didn't go towards keeping jobs in America. It went towards allowing a privileged few treasured corporations to make risky investments, with no fear of consequences.

From the GE tax return to the AIG payout, it's all equally atrocious in my book.

Those are the kinds of things you SHOULD be focused on though. I'm glad you at least agree w.r.t. the WS bailout...


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 7:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So not only do you directly put words in my mouth, but now you're telling me what I "should" focus on? Narcissist AND condescending, you have a gift.

Here's a little parody of how you debate:

Me : Man, milk is $3.50 a gallon now? That's too high.
You : WHAT! Ketchup just went up to $2!!! Why aren't you upset about that?? How can you support this ketchup price hike!!!???
Me : Ummm I'm not, I was just complaining about the milk...
You : OH SURE!! You're just a big Ketchup lobby SHILL aren't you. I'M ONTO YOU!!!!!!!! EVERY TIME YOU BRING UP MILK, I'M BRINGING UP THE KETCHUP!!!!

Your parody ignores the glaring fact that YOU are the one who brought up the overall state of the economy.

Your accusations that my arguments are red herrings are unfounded. You entered the topic of the economy in general into our debate. Funny that you should later question me for discussing it.

Additionally, when it comes to financial policy and people demanding cuts be made, of COURSE considering the big picture is important. That's not red herrings, it's common sense.

To borrow your example, if milk went up in price, of course you would be concerned if ketchup went up in price too, and consider which one you needed more.

I think we agree on some issues and disagree on others, rhetoric aside.

At the end of the day I agree absolutely that cuts to government spending MUST be made. But I think where those cuts are made is an important thing to look at.

I think rail is an example of a worthwhile investment.

The flip side is government revenue. With its level of deficit spending it's absolutely unacceptable to continue with a policy of financial bailouts and tax exemptions for lucky corporations. Those revenue holes literally tip the balance into bankruptcy.

If we weren't in a situation where sweeping spending cuts were necessary, talk of revenue and taxation would be an independent issue and inappropriate for a discussion of limited spending cuts. Given the state of sweeping cuts, though, it's a critical issue to address.


RE: "investment"
By The Raven on 8/11/2011 1:05:35 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think we should stop arguing about the price of ketchup or milk. If the prices are too high they are too high. Sure if we only could pick one to reduce that would call for debate on which is costing us more. But that is not the case and we can call for a reduction in both. I hate hearing this crap because the political parties do this all the time.
The Reps say we need to cut entitlement spending and show good sound reasons to and then the Dems say well why don't we cut the defense spending and show good sound reasons to and then guess what?... They both grow. In this case, I'd just stick to the topic at hand and that goes for you too Jason. You can't just add the rest of the country into this mix claiming that the CA rail will (eventually) benefit the rest of the country. You haven't put up any cost numbers for that and therefore can't make such broad assumptions. Especially when you are comparing the US to high density areas like Japan and the EU. Stay focused on CA and the effect that the rail will allegedly have there.


RE: "investment"
By SPOOFE on 8/11/2011 2:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
YOU are the one who brought up the overall state of the economy.

Are you saying that if we had only gotten another $3 billion from GE the economy would be fine?

[quote]Your accusations that my arguments are red herrings are unfounded[/quote]
No, they were completely accurate.

quote:
You entered the topic of the economy in general into our debate.

And the state of our economy in general was NOT caused by GE not giving up $3 billion.

quote:
Additionally, when it comes to financial policy and people demanding cuts be made, of COURSE considering the big picture is important. That's not red herrings, it's common sense.

The red herring is your undue focus on what amounts to less than one percent of our debt.

quote:
I think rail is an example of a worthwhile investment.

Well, then you're stupid. California wants rail to ease its traffic congestion, because it is losing billions of dollars a year because of it. Except, historically, rail does NOT ease the traffic congestion that costs California money. In fact, rail systems in California tend to COST EVEN MORE MONEY. They are MONEY LOSERS.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 1:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, why did you even bother? Logic and absolutes never mix.


RE: "investment"
By Arc177 on 8/11/2011 10:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
Scoreboard.
Reclaimer=500000
Mick=0
Emote script for Mick=
/Igotpwned
/facepalm
/epicfail

Why do liberals always attempt to argue from a position of precedent? Yes the retarded Marxists have all built bridges to jump off of so now we should do the same?

And anymore red herrings? Mick sure goes fishing a lot.

You lose Mick.
Your debate tactics are definitely low quality non-sense like most liberals.


RE: "investment"
By AssBall on 8/11/2011 3:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a liberal, but your entire comment was as nonsense as it gets. Did you have a point or are you just a troll?


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2011 6:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
I kind of like it because it's pro-me and anti-Mick. So back off :P


RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 1:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
You liberals and your liberal liberalness. Get off my yard!

I think you're bitter because liberals have better sex. It's true. Just ask your wife.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 11:56:01 AM , Rating: 2
Your best post BY FAR Reclaimer! Good stuff. BTW, for those reading, I am neither a Repub or Dem although I am a registered voter AND do vote. I stand for what makes sense and will work. Doesn't matter who it comes from. Although there is that saying about not accepting gifts from your enemy.


RE: "investment"
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2011 6:15:21 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
How about, instead of taxing companies "500% more" we stop giving tax refunds to them and bailout money (a)to support risky investments and (b)tax them at the same flat rate we tax our small businesses.


a) You mean like high speed rail projects that won't be able to support themselves with revenues once built?

b) Both small businesses and large corporations use tax shelters and deductions to pay less in taxes. GE got a refund because it moves much of its profits overseas. Want it to keep more money here to be taxed on? Lower the corporate tax rate. We're the highest in the world. So of course companies are going to juggle the books to avoid paying taxes here if they can.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 6:59:22 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
b) Both small businesses and large corporations use tax shelters and deductions to pay less in taxes. GE got a refund because it moves much of its profits overseas. Want it to keep more money here to be taxed on? Lower the corporate tax rate. We're the highest in the world. So of course companies are going to juggle the books to avoid paying taxes here if they can.


GE paid all the taxes legally owed by them. But you see, that's not the point. Jason and Libs like him believe that somehow rich people and businesses have a moral imperative to pay as much taxes as possible. Or else it's a travesty.

Bypassing the fact that he and millions of American's go to tax firms like H&R Block to get the maximum return with the smallest amount of taxes paid every year. Never let hypocrisy get in the way of a good rant.


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 7:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GE paid all the taxes legally owed by them. But you see, that's not the point. Jason and Libs like him believe that somehow rich people and businesses have a moral imperative to pay as much taxes as possible. Or else it's a travesty.

But that's the problem... they bought and paid for tax loopholes by funneling money to politicians like Obama and Bush.

You would agree that GE making $14B USD in profit and being handed >$3B USD in tax returns is a bad idea, correct?

That's $6B USD in additional taxes you're paying right there, in order to give GE a whopping tax break. I don't see Joe the plumber getting that same fat return.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 7:46:46 PM , Rating: 1
You only get a "tax return" if you paid taxes. I think by leaving out the amount of income taxes GE paid to get that return, you aren't debating honestly.

But again, it's all a red herring anyway. The taxes GE pays or not pays has nothing to do with light rail or government debt. And I'm tired of discussing them.

quote:
That's $6B USD in additional taxes you're paying right there


???

Our tax rates haven't changed since the Bush tax cuts. How are we paying $6B in "additional taxes" because someone else got a tax break?

You say you aren't a Liberal but I really think your true colors are shinning through here. Your class warfare tactics are tiring enough and blaming the "rich" on the state of our Government, but now you're just making things up regarding taxes.


RE: "investment"
By Targon on 8/11/2011 8:10:32 AM , Rating: 1
Joe the plumber should be forced to pay an idiot tax, because he really is an idiot. If the government were to actually police how much things cost the government, and then file charges against those who charge the government far more than the private sector would get charged, that would save a LOT of money.

This is the primary issue that has caused the government to run a deficit, this idiocy that government pays far more for services and goods than the private sector would pay for those same services and goods. Do people in basic clerical jobs for the government really need to get paid over $65,000/year PLUS get a pension when they would only be making $45,000/year for the same job in the private sector which would not get a pension? When is paying someone more in government jobs a sacrifice that deserves a pension for "community service"?

All these corporations also need to lose tax breaks for sending jobs out of the country. So, GE makes $3 billion in tax loopholes...the government could charge them $4.5 billion for all those foreign workers. Make companies bring jobs back to the USA if you want to funnel money to them, at least it would spur the economy with new jobs.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 11:59:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's $6B USD in additional taxes you're paying right there, in order to give GE a whopping tax break. I don't see Joe the plumber getting that same fat return.
I don't think it works like that Jason. GE would indeed have to pay taxes to get a return, just like you and I would. I would also like to see how much tax GE paid in order to get that return. Typically, we don't get ALL of our tax money back. I doubt GE did either.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2011 3:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think it works like that Jason. GE would indeed have to pay taxes to get a return, just like you and I would. I would also like to see how much tax GE paid in order to get that return. Typically, we don't get ALL of our tax money back. I doubt GE did either.


^^^ Exactly!

He's confusing, ignorantly or intentionally, income taxes with Corporate taxes. GE paid no corporate taxes because they took a huge loss in the recession, like a lot of businesses. That's just how it works, and ALWAYS has. There was no "loophole" put in bought and paid for by "corporations". GE DID pay a crapton of income and other taxes, hence the TAX RETURN Jason is harping on. It wasn't money "given" by the Government, it was their own money they got to keep more of.

But Liberals do not understand this difference. In their minds, ALL your money belongs to the government and they get to decide how much of it you can keep.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/0...

" Much of the confusion seems to be due to a technique that the New York Times has become very fond of: comparing financial accounting results to tax accounting results, and assuming that differences between financial accounting income and tax accounting income represent some sort of tax chicanery. "

Once again this garbage of "GE paid no taxes" is nothing but more Liberal dishonest and half-truth reporting by the media. Repeated by Liberal dipshi$s ad-nausea until it's just presented as a given fact, the way Jason is trying to.


RE: "investment"
By SPOOFE on 8/11/2011 2:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they bought and paid for tax loopholes by funneling money to politicians like Obama and Bush.

And that is their mandate: To make as much money as possible.

quote:
You would agree that GE making $14B USD in profit and being handed >$3B USD in tax returns is a bad idea, correct?

Yes, but only unintelligent people would see that as an indictment of anyone other than the politicians that allowed it.

quote:
That's $6B USD in additional taxes you're paying right there

Only if you're not part of the almost 50% of Americans that pay no Federal income taxes.


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: "investment"
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2011 10:39:22 PM , Rating: 2
So the issue to you isn't whether or not the rail line will be able to sustain itself but that it will provide a boost to GDP because it creates commerce that wasn't there before? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. If I borrow $10,000 to go buy things, sure it creates commerce. But I still didn't have the money to do it and will eventually have to pay it back. A high GDP doesn't mean anything if we're bankrupt later. Sure it might look good on paper, but in reality, you're screwed.

There's no way a flat tax will ever happen because then the poor would have to pay taxes. And the Democrats would never allow that.

A Fair Tax however effectively doesn't tax the poor. Because the necessities are covered by the tax prebate every year. And if they're poor they shouldn't be buying tons of luxury items like Xboxs, HDTVs, iPhones, etc. It has the added benefit of being collected in the act of commerce thereby driving commerce, allowing no loopholes, and taxing ALL forms of income (aka income gained by the sale of drugs, money paid to illegal immigrants, etc).

Neither me nor Reclaimer is saying that companies buying politicians to create loopholes for them is good. Just that even if those loopholes all weren't there, it still would not solve our debt problems, nor our deficit problems. $3 billion dollars is about .002% of our current deficit. Even if every US-based company started paying taxes on ALL of their revenues in the US, we still wouldn't even close the deficit. The problem is not that taxes are not high enough but that spending is too high.

And I know liberals will say "end the wars". Well guess what that's less than $200 billion a year. So now we're down to a $1.4 trillionish deficit every year. Cut out the ENTIRE military budget. $8-900 billion a year deficit. So now what? No wars. No defense budget to protect ourselves with. Nevermind the millions of people out of work. What do you plan to cut now?


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 11:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And I know liberals will say "end the wars". Well guess what that's less than $200 billion a year. So now we're down to a $1.4 trillionish deficit every year. Cut out the ENTIRE military budget. $8-900 billion a year deficit. So now what? No wars. No defense budget to protect ourselves with. Nevermind the millions of people out of work. What do you plan to cut now?

Entirely off topic, but...

Clearly there needs to be reform of medicare and public health spending.

Here's my personal suggestion.

If a person is obese they must be entered in to a weight loss program and show commitment or results or they're automatically dropped from medicare. If the obese individual shows up at a hospital without insurance who isn't enrolled in the weight loss program, they are turned away -- they don't receive a single red penny of federal funding.

And if an individual is on the program for over a year without significant results, then they're automatically dropped from medicare and precluded from free gov't funded hospital visits.

BAM, you've just cut hundreds of billions in federal healthcare costs. (I'd estimate this would cut around $200-$300B USD of the $530 USD in medicare costs from 2010...)

Sounds harsh? Life is harsh. Nature is harsh.

Obese individuals are a plague on the American healthcare system and on taxpayers, seeing as the "equality" obsessed gov't sees the need fund there enormously expensive healthcare.

Call it a bit of natural selection. If obese people are gainfully insured and get insurance, great you're only hurting yourself. But if you have no insurance and want to be a lard-@ss on the government dollar, guess what -- either you enter a weight loss program and show timely results, or your the winner of this round of natural selection (i.e. denied gov't funded health care).

By eliminating obesity-related medicare payments and hospital payments for unemployed obese, etc. this would dramatically slash costs.

Now that's just a small step, but it's a logical place to start.


RE: "investment"
By The Raven on 8/11/2011 2:11:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'd vote for that at the moment because it is better than what we have going now. But how about cut out the middle man (the gov't)?

If a person is obese they must be entered in to a weight loss program and show results or they're automatically subject to health risks and the resulting higher insurance premiums. If the obese individual shows up at a hospital without insurance who isn't enrolled in the weight loss program, they are turned away -- unless they have the cash to pay for it.

And if an individual is on a weight loss program for over a year without significant results, then they're automatically continue on in the above hell.

BAM, you've just cut hundreds of billions in federal healthcare costs. (I'd estimate this would cut around $200-$300B USD of the $530 USD in medicare costs from 2010...) Plus an extra, oh I don't know just out of my a$s?...$50B in administrative and bureaucratic cost for cutting the gov't out. Oh and there is no way any one can cheat this system.

Sounds harsh? Life is harsh. Nature is harsh.


RE: "investment"
By bigdawg1988 on 8/11/2011 2:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think your figures are anywhere close to reality. Most of the spending is for the obese is for people over 65. Now you tell me how the hell you're supposed to get them to vote for something like this? Even the tea party is scared of the old folks.

Another thing about health care... tell me how the Mayo clinic provides some of the best cost in the world, yet has some of the lowest costs in the country? It's their business model. That is the 2nd (and most important part) of "Obamacare." Unfortunately the healthcare is too strong and there is no way the Republicans will go for it. We don't need a government system, we just need better healthcare than we're getting. Unfortunately, there is not enough pressure right now on the healthcare providers to switch to better, lower-cost models. Everybody blames the government and health insurance companies, but hardly anyone is taking aim at the hospitals and doctors themselves. Just because you have an M.D. doesn't make you a good business person. "Luckily" the cost of getting an education is forcing many doctors to give up private practice and accepting a salary working for a medical group. And more of those groups are looking at the Mayo Clinic model of providing healthcare. Unfortunately it will take too long for all the old doctors to die off. We need to reform healthcare now. And if Obama wants to take it on, might as well, they certainly aren't going to do it themselves anytime soon.

Oh yeah, I think this rail thing sucks. People in the burbs don't ride trains, they drive cars. All you're doing is replacing some air travel, which means air costs rise even more everywhere else. If they do it, I hope they force the train manufacturers to locate their plants in the US.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2011 3:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
I literally cannot believe, from one American to another, that you wrote this. Forget the reasons, you are advocating for the wholesale segregation and oppression of an entire segment of our population. A singling out. A forced enrollment into "weight loss programs" and a cancelling of benefits or entitlements that aren't equally applied to all. There is absolutely no Constitutional precedent for what you are proposing. Frankly it's abhorrent.

You claim you aren't a Liberal, yet you have done nothing but spew Collectivist mantra's in your comments. But this takes the cake.

quote:
Obese individuals are a plague on the American healthcare system and on taxpayers


So are the poor, illegal immigrants, and a large segment of the African American population given their illegitimate birth rates by Welfare mothers. Yet if anyone ever proposed doing something about these, they are tarred and feathered as being racists and bigots.

As much as you scream about Freedom's, rights, and equality when it concerns issues you're passionate about, I cannot believe you are sitting here dispassionately discussing singling out the obese for wholesale discrimination.

If you wanted to make equal cuts to medicare and entitlements across the board, I would gladly get behind you. But simply pulling numbers out of your ass to push an agenda to single out and prejudice the nation against a single segment of the population is unbelievable.

Smokers and "fat" people have become the new politically correct targets for "equality minded" Leftists who preach tolerance and understanding. But hey, it's okay, because they do it to themselves. The poor, homeless, and those who constantly birth children while on Welfare to receive more benefits are like that because some "rich" guy made it that way. So it's just not fair to them.

quote:
Sounds harsh? Life is harsh. Nature is harsh.


How ironic.

Thankfully our Constitution and system of governance isn't based on "nature" or "life". Fairness and equality are some pretty big ideals in America. I don't agree with so many people being on the Government dole, but if we're going to go down that road, I cannot support the arbitrary segregation of one party that's not equally applied to another.

quote:
By eliminating obesity-related medicare payments and hospital payments for unemployed obese, etc. this would dramatically slash costs.


Case in point. If an uninsured Illegal immigrant can walk into an emergency room or clinic and not be turned away, I'll be damned if we start turning away American's just because you think they are too fat.

I guess now you know (I hope) why us Conservatives are so afraid of opening the Pandora's Box that is entitlements.


RE: "investment"
By The Raven on 8/11/2011 2:01:58 AM , Rating: 2
You are proposing that CA (and beyond) build a high speed rail based heavily on the fact that Europe and Japan have had success with HSR. Umm...the population density of the least dense European countries are around 230ish people/sq mi vs 83 people/sq mi in the US. And that is the LEAST dense countries in the EU.

California is at 235 people/sq mi, which pretty much equals the low end of the spectrum of your model EU.

Couple that with a history of a failed slow rail system (which Japan and the EU do not have) and you certainly are the one who is making wild speculations about risky investments.

My guess is that density is key. And I'm not just talking about the numbers that I am spouting here. It will not work were the houses and infrastructure are so spaced out. I remember when gas prices were going up in '08 I watched an interview where a guy in England was saying that the fuel cost didn't affect them as much as it does in the US because they already live close to work, the roads are small, shops are close to home, etc. It is old and "cramped" (Japan is new and "cramped" lol) whereas the US is new and spaced out. It is a completely different story over there and in Japan. There is nowhere in CA remotely like either area.

If we want to be the smart ones, we should find a way to avoid travel altogether. Even if the proposed rail costs 50% of what air travel costs, we are still spending that money. Want to be technologically advanced and save money? Push telecommuting or just plain shortening/eliminating the commute. Don't make it easier (the gov't I mean. If some private company wanted to do this than I don't care).

Also, off the topic of riskiness, I don't get your reasoning of, "Since we backed a national highway system, we should back the HSR." This doesn't make sense because back when we pushed for the Interstate, we didn't have something to compete with it. With regard to the HSR we already have the Interstate and air travel as competition.

Come to think of it, if as many people jumped on this train as we're hearing projected, I would imagine air fares would rise and route availability would tumble because this will cut into the ridership of air travel. There will not be as many of the the SoCal<-->NorCal connecting flights available, right?


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2011 10:18:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
BS. Small businesses may use deductions and tax shelters, but they don't have the pockets to donate the kind of $$ to federal politicians needed to receive hand-crafted tax federally legislated loopholes.


Jason we couldn't possibly have a more anti-business administration in Washington. If corporations have the power to simply dump money onto people and have legislation "hand crafted", then how are these jokers even in office in the first place passing all kinds of regulation and proposing increased taxes?

Obama has made his position perfectly clear from the outset of the debates back in '08. He intended to erect a socialist state here, built on the backs of the "rich" and "greedy" corporations, banks, etc etc. If the rich and corporations had the power you seem to claim they do, then how did we get to this point?


RE: "investment"
By thurston2 on 8/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: "investment"
By SPOOFE on 8/11/2011 2:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
The right isn't the right, at least as far as financial stability is concerned. The average Repub pol's idea of "fiscal conservative" is spending just slightly less than Democrats.


RE: "investment"
By HurleyBird on 8/11/2011 8:25:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So you're complaining about Obama spending ~$3.5B USD on rail, is bankrupting us, but you're claiming that giving $3B USD in taxpayer money to GE is no problem?


Absolutely false. That $3B was never "taxpayer money", that was money that the government was taking from GE. To think the other way around betrays an exceptionally warped worldview. Examples of giving money to corporations would include subsidies and bailouts.

All of these, the subsidies, the bailouts, and large corporate tax rates need to go away to heal the economy. Let the market work, and make America a country that companies want to do business in.

The solution is simple, yet seemingly impossible due to vested interests. Stop policing the world. Stop the failed war on drugs (and let those non-violent drug offenders out of prison), and get rid of bloated useless bureaucracies like the department of eduction.


RE: "investment"
By AssBall on 8/10/2011 5:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Why do your diatribes always have to degenerate into name calling off topic froth?

Settle the f_ck down, take a deep breath, think twice, and then post your ideas.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 5:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GE's tax return. Not Obamacare? Not the "stimulus"? Not the Wall Street reform bill? But GE's tax return is what I should be upset about? Really!?
You make a great point here. Why is business always singled out as the big issue when it's perfectly clear that OUR government is the one spending us into oblivion?


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You make a great point here. Why is business always singled out as the big issue when it's perfectly clear that OUR government is the one spending us into oblivion?

Because big business (not small or midsize) has clearly bought and paid for the federal government in its current form, via campaign donations.

And because they're the only ones (besides the federal politicians) ultimately profiting as the nation is spent into oblivion.


RE: "investment"
By espaghetti on 8/10/2011 7:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
Jason,
Don't forget the giant union contributions to the DNC.
If I had my way they would never be allowed to take donations from anyone other than individual U.S. citizen....only individuals, never corporations or organizations.
Let's see how the afl-cio foundation or the Koch brothers would adapt to that.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And because they're the only ones (besides the federal politicians) ultimately profiting as the nation is spent into oblivion.
Well, they're not the only one's. If you have a 401K or other investment, you are profiting also. I have an issue with bought and paid for too, who doesn't? We could fix the bribing today and still be in this situation of deficits and debt. See? Government overspending is the main problem. Now, I live in reality. Spending cuts are not going to do it totally (because of the compromising needed to get this done). At least not in short order (not sure this needs to be done in short order yet). There will need to be taxes raised.


RE: "investment"
By SPOOFE on 8/11/2011 2:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because big business (not small or midsize) has clearly bought and paid for the federal government in its current form, via campaign donations.

It's the other way around: Government worships Big Business in one way or another because, as soon as they're out of office, Big Business is where a lot of otherwise career pols see their backup plans.

Remember: The smartest and most driven businessmen wind up successful in business. The worst wind up in government. That's why the SEC can't compete with the accountants of your typical Fortune 500... the government "oversight" is composed of the WORST of the lot, and they want the same jobs as the BEST.


RE: "investment"
By DNAgent on 8/10/2011 6:08:29 PM , Rating: 3
Big business is targeted as an issue because our government is in the pockets of these corporations.

You want to take a huge step towards fixing what's wrong witht his nation? Take away the CITIZENSHIP STATUS of corporations. That kind of personal privilege and protection was never meant for soulless profiteering organizations.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Big business is targeted as an issue because our government is in the pockets of these corporations.
Being in the pocket of corporations may sway your decision in their favor but doesn't fix the debt and deficit problem.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 6:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why is business always singled out as the big issue when it's perfectly clear that OUR government is the one spending us into oblivion?


Because it works. Obama did it when he was elected, and it worked. If you whip up the masses in a frenzy of anti-business rhetoric, they won't even notice or care that your hand is in the cookie jar. And if called on it, just say "I'm having to do this because of the corporations", and nobody will be the wiser.

Corporations, terrorists, Jews etc etc. If you want to take more power than your oath grants, just pick something and make it everyone's enemy.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/10/2011 5:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
I have no issues with high speed rail. Extending job opportunities for those living in the sticks is the biggie for me. What it won't do is alleviate congestion. There's too many cars in CA for even a handful of trains to make any dent in that.


RE: "investment"
By Dr of crap on 8/11/2011 9:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
This is where you loose me -

Funny you should mention standard of living, because several European nations rank ahead of us in IA HDI, a leading measure of standard of living for your "average joe". And Japan is also near the top.

All of these nations have high speed rail.

So in order to keep our super power status we need to have high speed trains?????
And we get a better living standard because of these trains by.....


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2011 4:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that Europe and their currency briefly surpassed the U.S on their way to a fiery collapse (yet again) is not a screaming endorsement for their way of life.

And of course your "standard of living" is going to be higher when the Government practically pays for or highly subsidizes your lifestyle.

quote:
All of these nations have high speed rail.


And it has fu#$ all to do with the "standard of living". The idea that high speed rail in the U.S would create commerce and prosperity out of thin air that didn't exist before is a complete and total pipe dream.


RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 7:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The idea that high speed rail in the U.S would create commerce and prosperity out of thin air that didn't exist before is a complete and total pipe dream.


People sound stupid when they speak in extremes and absolutes. Rail won't make rainbows fly out of everyone's a55 but if you think it would have NO impact on commerce or prosperity then you're mistaken.

What do you think our commerce and prosperity would be like without the Ike highway system we have today? Was that a stupid investment?


RE: "investment"
By StanO360 on 8/10/2011 5:08:57 PM , Rating: 4
And it is wide ranging and it's repair and maintenance are paid for by gas tax.

High speed rail is "profitable" (and I quote that, because I'm sure it does not include the cost of building it or long term capital costs)on only 2-3 alignments in the world. The rest are show pieces.

So the proposition is, let's build this rail system that will probably cost a minimum of $60-$70 billion (based on government spending history) that will never even cover the cost of operation and maintenance. Built with foreign technology. All so that we can say we are "advanced"?

Understanding that Amtrack has one profitable line, DC-NY. The rest are all subsidised heavily. For the life of me as a small business owner in CA, I can't come up with a scenario where I would ever ride it. And can't think who would in any significant numbers.

Business people? A few maybe, but very few
Families? Never
Rich? Never
Poor? Never they can't afford it.
Students? Only on vacation (they have their stuff at the beginning and end), if they have a car . . then no. Only urban schools.

Who will pay what will surely be a premium to ride this thing?


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 5:18:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So the proposition is, let's build this rail system that will probably cost a minimum of $60-$70 billion (based on government spending history) that will never even cover the cost of operation and maintenance. Built with foreign technology. All so that we can say we are "advanced"?


Exactly. That's how Liberals think. I just do not get it.

Where is the common sense anymore? Stan I haven't seen you around here but I certainly hope you will stay. Reading your post was like a breath of fresh air.


RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:33:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
High speed rail is "profitable" (and I quote that, because I'm sure it does not include the cost of building it or long term capital costs)on only 2-3 alignments in the world. The rest are show pieces.

Direct profits are nothing compared to economic gains of citizens being able to quickly and affordably travel between major cities on a daily basis, something not possible with auto travel.

As to these "show pieces" you claim -- I'm unaware of them. Only Europe and Japan have fully implemented high speed rail projects (China has one in the works) -- both are highly used and highly successful. So I'm not sure where these phantom failures you speak of are.

Please provide details if you know them.

quote:
Understanding that Amtrack has one profitable line, DC-NY. The rest are all subsidised heavily. For the life of me as a small business owner in CA, I can't come up with a scenario where I would ever ride it. And can't think who would in any significant numbers.

Your criticism of HIGH-SPEED rail rests on the performance of Amtrak's dinosaur models?

That's like comparing the auto industry's performance with how well the Model T drives over potholes.

Most Amtrak trains are lucky to do 60 mph -- that's no faster than a car. Why would anybody in their right mind want to pay a slight premium to ride one?

These high speed trains will travel at 225 mph -- almost four times the speed of a car on the highway. It's common sense why you would pay to travel on one. An impossible 4 hour daily inter-city commute would become a manageable 1 hour.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the tremendous value of that.


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 5:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
I love how you pretend to be neutral in your article while you're clearly in the tank for these trains. Your talking points read like they are pasted straight from the transportation secretaries feasibility and impact studies.

quote:
So I'm not sure where these phantom failures you speak of are.


Probably the same place you got...

quote:
Direct profits are nothing compared to economic gains of citizens being able to quickly and affordably travel between major cities on a daily basis


What economic gains? Can you find a report showing huge economic gains between personal transportation and light rail that isn't terribly biased?

And what do you mean "direct profits are nothing.."? Excuse me? If you aren't the Liberal you claim you aren't, you wouldn't even have to question the value of direct profits over subsidies.

By the way, do you realize a tiny minority of our country travels regularly from one major city to the other? It's not because of a lack of trains, it's because there isn't a need to for the vast majority of us.

But I realize questioning why everyone should have to pay for things hardly anyone uses got thrown out of deductive reasoning long ago. Probably wasting my time...



RE: "investment"
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I love how you pretend to be neutral in your article while you're clearly in the tank for these trains. Your talking points read like they are pasted straight from the transportation secretaries feasibility and impact studies.

Editorial /= neutral

I have no objection in stating I support the concept of high speed rail for its huge benefits.

quote:
What economic gains? Can you find a report showing huge economic gains between personal transportation and light rail that isn't terribly biased?

Well you're going to say that any report that claims benefits is "biased", so I'm probably shooting into the wind, but here goes:

http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25106/

http://www.ushsr.com/benefits.html

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/5880_HSRinvestmentano...

http://www.engineeringdaily.net/exchange/conferenc...

quote:
By the way, do you realize a tiny minority of our country travels regularly from one major city to the other? It's not because of a lack of trains, it's because there isn't a need to for the vast majority of us...

It's because of a lack of feasibility. There's plenty of compelling business reasons and personal financial reasons to do so. (a better job, better home prices, operating businesses in two cities, etc... the list goes on and on)


RE: "investment"
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 6:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well you're going to say that any report that claims benefits is "biased", so I'm probably shooting into the wind, but here goes:

http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25106/


Dude. You don't have to go any further than Munich (Muenchen) itself to see the benefit.

That place's public transport is like a city of the future. *You do not need a car*. Seriously even people that can afford to drive BMWs (HQ there in Munich) leave them at home.

It's nuts. Go to that City then come back to the US and you'll feel like you returned to the 1950s.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 7:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's nuts. Go to that City then come back to the US and you'll feel like you returned to the 1950s.
You'll get no argument from me that Germany has its sh!t together but public transport is not the sole indicator of progress or prosperity. Besides, if Germany is the "city of the future" to you, why did you come back here? Before the Euro, I LOVED Spain, planned to move there (still like it but it's not as cheap as it used to be). Changed my mind when I got older and "discovered" the US (yes I'm American). Although I had visited many states previous to this "discovery", I never gave a second thought to how beautiful it was here nor did I realize how much there is do see and do. Decided not to move. Just sayin, if you really love it there, go move there.


RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 11:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
You sound like a 6 year old.

"If you love Munich so much why don't you just get maaaarrrrieed?"

I might like snorting coke of a hookers a55 in Vegas too. Doesn't mean I want to live there.

But no, public transportation is not the sole indicator of progress or prosperity. WTF? Germany is the #1 economy in europe but they are not the only ones with advanced public transport.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 1:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You sound like a 6 year old. "If you love Munich so much why don't you just get maaaarrrrieed?"
Huh? LOL! You're the one that stated how much you loved Germany. I loved Spain. So that makes two 6 year olds I suppose.

quote:
But no, public transportation is not the sole indicator of progress or prosperity. WTF? Germany is the #1 economy in europe but they are not the only ones with advanced public transport.
Didn't I say they had their sh!t together? And I'm the one telling you that rail isn't the "sole indicator of progress or prosperity" that you and Jason (maybe some others) are failing miserably at selling us on.

Maybe if you read better, you would've seen my two posts about how I am not against high speed rail. I'm against BS spending of ANY type when we don't have the money to do so.


RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 3:57:01 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Huh? LOL! You're the one that stated how much you loved Germany. I loved Spain. So that makes two 6 year olds I suppose.


Um, no. I didn't say I love Germany. I happen to be impressed with Munich (and Triest, Mumbai, Venice, Athens, *PALMA*, Dubai, yada) but the country I love is my own. So no, still just one 6 year old (at reading comprehension too :P ).

quote:
Didn't I say they had their sh!t together? And I'm the one telling you that rail isn't the "sole indicator of progress or prosperity"
The implication was that I do think it's the sole indicator of progress or prosperity. I don't.

quote:
.. that you and Jason (maybe some others) are failing miserably at selling us on.
I'm not selling you jack. There's the water. Drink or don't. Just don't bitch in the future if you're thirsty.

quote:
Maybe if you read better, you would've...


I don't believe I was responding to you to begin with, friend.


RE: "investment"
By AssBall on 8/10/2011 5:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't Veitnam have a kickass rail project in the works too?

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/08/13/viet...

It's largely Chinese tech, but it surely is not "unprofitable". That's as ignorant as saying power lines are unprofitable. I'd say some modern rail would be a nice investment in infrastructure, and one thing I don't mind my taxes going toward.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:28:26 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's largely Chinese tech, but it surely is not "unprofitable". That's as ignorant as saying power lines are unprofitable.
I'll put it to you this way, busses are NOT profitable at all in CA even in the LA area where it makes the most sense. They're all money losers and heavily subsidized by the local governments. Same with public trains. So, we'll add and even MORE expensive public transportation system when the current "cheap" one's don't even work? We would be better served finding out why people don't use the current system AND fixing that then adding another potential burden the current one.


RE: "investment"
By Lord 666 on 8/10/2011 10:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
Mick,

Amtrack operates the Acela high-speed train between Boston-NYC-DC. The NYC-DC is highly utilized with the perks of free wifi and ability to work while someone else is driving.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/11/2011 12:56:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Key word, national. As in benefiting the entire nation, not just a train that only a few Californians will enjoy

One wonders what your stand would be if the same money was spent in your state.

Not really.


RE: "investment"
By thurston2 on 8/11/2011 10:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One wonders what your stand would be if the same money was spent in your state.


It would all depend on if it was proposed by a Republican or a Democrat.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/12/2011 5:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it would, how else could one be "fair and balanced?"

</roll eyes>


RE: "investment"
By cruisin3style on 8/11/2011 3:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
The original plan was to include several states in a interstate highspeed train system but some states refused to participate iirc


RE: "investment"
By Iaiken on 8/10/2011 4:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe he is just mad that high speed rail on major routes like SD-LA-SF or Boston-NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC are practically perfect locations to apply high speed rail.

Other nations that have HSR didn't built an entire network overnight. They did it like this, one series of lines at a time in areas where they would have the highest impact. While concessions were made for future planning so that they could be integrated with other future lines.


RE: "investment"
By Cerin218 on 8/10/2011 5:50:28 PM , Rating: 4
Well, especially large projects proposed in a state that is already BILLIONS in debt, with a paying tax base that is leaving because the state is hostile to business, and a population of freeloaders that increases daily. All so that the Federal government which is TRILLIONS in debt can take more money from me to give to them. Notice that I don't buy a Ferrari on a credit card that I am trying to pay with my McDonald's salary, just so that I can go to work really fast every day.


RE: "investment"
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2011 6:07:33 PM , Rating: 2
So if the state wants it, they can pay for it.

And the interstate system was built for national defense reasons. It so commuters can get around easier. There's no constitutional grounds for the federal government providing funds for commuter transportation projects.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/12/2011 5:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
And there's nothing to prevent military hardware or personnel from being moved by trains, high speed or not, if such moves are in their best interests.

Trains played a major role in WWII.


RE: "investment"
By DockScience on 8/15/2011 6:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
I love people who compare high speed PASSENGER rail to the interstate highway system which serves as a backbone of commerce via trucking.

Apples and volkswagens folks.

Highways created wealth, primarily through commerce, but passenger-only rail doesn't.


RE: "investment"
By cruisin3style on 8/10/2011 4:49:34 PM , Rating: 1
in·vest·ment/in'ves(t)m?nt/Noun
1. The action or process of investing money for profit or material result.

Building something with the hope of inter-city investment or other gain, for instance, would be an investment.

Hey look I just called Fox a news channel


RE: "investment"
By JoJoman88 on 8/10/2011 8:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yes"investment" is just a new way of selling you on putting the money down now so that you can save money in the future.Example,how many people"invest" in a new car ie,longer parts coverage, changing oil every 3000 to 5000 miles,bring it in for check-ups. With rare exception,no one makes their money back or makes more that what was put into it. They may have put off the time that they will have to replace the car maybe,and that's all.

Also, I read that the reason that China wanted high speed rail is to get people off the freight lines so they can run more coal trains on the freight tracks to power plants.


RE: "investment"
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
No one except an idiot invests in a car. Generally, cars are NOT investments. There are exceptions, you and I aren't driving them.


RE: "investment"
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 11:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
The wise investments:

The $500,000 car.
The $500 car.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 1:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
This needs a slight correction:

The wise investments:

The right $500,000 car.
The right $500 car.


RE: "investment"
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 1:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
Cars for the most part are not profitable, yes. But you can "invest" in a car, with proper maintenance, researching resale value and reliability, and pretty much parking one's ego on the sidelines. The idea is to mitigate losses.


RE: "investment"
By cruisin3style on 8/11/2011 3:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody sold me on anything, nor do I think cars are an investment. The value of a car plummets every year. I only buy a car if my old one is dead or will cost too much to repair. What the hell are you talking about cars as an investment for lol?

The idea that someone could say using the term investment essentially makes you biased on an issue, while using the term boondoggle, is so laughable as to almost warrant being ignored outright. Especially when it is 100% an investment, the question is just whether it is a wise one.

I suggest anyone who agrees with the original poster should seriously consider stopping their viewership of Fox News or any other biased news outlet, whichever way they lean.

Using the term investment on something that is built with the hope of making things better is not biased, it is fact.


RE: "investment"
By TheEinstein on 8/13/2011 11:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
I drive through California delivering freight at least once a week on average, if not more. Meh the math matters not..

What does matter is that California does not need this system. If they install this system it will instead result in longer commutes from other regions with a higher need for yet more public transportation on either end.

The costs go up for the Government exceedingly when you add in those factors.

Instead leave it as it is, where people decide their commutes based upon cost versus time in a reasonable manner. '

On a side note... it would not be bad for California to increase the truck speeds to auto speeds... This alone could reduce gridlock fairly significantly.


couple issues...
By nafhan on 8/10/2011 4:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
1. I completely disagree with you here:
quote:
Ultimately the rail debate is a question of whether the U.S. is going to be a world leader or accept being a technological laggard.
Being a technological leader is a good and all, but if you're building a transport system, first and foremost consideration needs to be how well it will function as a transportation system. Whether or not we've got the awesomest trains in the world should probably not be part of the conversation at all.

2. Wasting money in one area isn't an excuse for wasting it another. You know, "two wrongs don't make a right", etc. The fact that our government blows on money on stupid crap means that they need to stop blowing money on stupid crap. Is the war in Afghanistan helping the economy? No. Is it a good excuse to waste money on unrelated items? Also no.

That said. I'm not necessarily against high speed rail. In situations where it's the most cost effective way to improve regional or national transport, I'm absolutely fine with it. This whole deal has me thinking about the monorail episode of the Simpsons, though...




RE: couple issues...
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:40:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Being a technological leader is a good and all, but if you're building a transport system, first and foremost consideration needs to be how well it will function as a transportation system. Whether or not we've got the awesomest trains in the world should probably not be part of the conversation at all.

And what about high speed rail makes brings into question whether it can "function as a transportation system" when it comes to transporting large amounts of people between cities?

It works for China, Europe, and Japan. Is there some inherent incompatibility with America?
quote:
2. Wasting money in one area isn't an excuse for wasting it another. You know, "two wrongs don't make a right", etc. The fact that our government blows on money on stupid crap means that they need to stop blowing money on stupid crap. Is the war in Afghanistan helping the economy? No. Is it a good excuse to waste money on unrelated items? Also no.

But if there's a choice between spending money on foreign nations or on robbing Americans of liberties vs. spending money towards a project that directly benefits Americans, that seems like a clear cut choice, right?

quote:
That said. I'm not necessarily against high speed rail. In situations where it's the most cost effective way to improve regional or national transport, I'm absolutely fine with it. This whole deal has me thinking about the monorail episode of the Simpsons, though...

Usually I'm a pretty harsh critic of the Obama administration of late, particularly when it comes to digital privacy or its support of corporate tax loopholes.

That said, if America can't keep up with China and Europe and devise a high-speed rail project that's not a bad parody of a Simpsons episode, we're really screwed...


RE: couple issues...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 4:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That said, if America can't keep up with China and Europe and devise a high-speed rail project that's not a bad parody of a Simpsons episode, we're really screwed...


We're "screwed" if people can't board super trains instead of their automobiles? Since when was that the case? Is there some huge transportation issue in this country leading to it's demise that I wasn't aware of?

quote:
It works for China, Europe, and Japan. Is there some inherent incompatibility with America?


If an American has the choice (and many do) of owning and driving their personal vehicle somewhere, or boarding a train full of smelly unfriendly strangers then I think you know which form of transportation will win out. I'm sure this will come off as being tripe, but Americans have an ingrained sense of personal liberties, freedoms, and an expected standard of living that people in those other countries just wouldn't understand. People in China, for example, don't use these trains because it's desirable. They use them because they usually don't have a choice. It's really as simple as that.

Jason we're absolutely BANKRUPT as a nation. But you don't seem to get that we're already "screwed" because of that. And yet, if we don't try and compete with other countries public rail we'll be "screwed"? No matter how much it costs or whatever the risks. How and why?

I'm trying to understand the premise that we'll be screwed as a nation if we don't compete with other nations standards of public transportation.

Honestly this article is so extremely politicized, was that really necessary? Any "tech" facts about these trains are simply going to be washed away by the extremely polarized nature of the discussion.


RE: couple issues...
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 5:10:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
We're "screwed" if people can't board super trains instead of their automobiles? Since when was that the case? Is there some huge transportation issue in this country leading to it's demise that I wasn't aware of?

Yes, there is. But it is more of a creeping issue.

Traffic congestion in the U.S. is widely known. We've all encountered it. Millions of hours in productivity are lost a year.

A high speed transit system won't instantly fix that. But it will over time.

But there's more to it than that.

Currently most can't fly daily between cities. It's too expensive. And most cities are prohibitively expensive to drive between.

But in Japan, China, and Europe people ARE affordably commuting daily via high speed trains. It's opening a world of new business.

I don't blame you for not realizing this. It's non-obvious unless you live in one of those regions or think about the issue a lot.

But it is an economic game changer.

If we can't keep pace we will be "screwed" from an economic perspective.

quote:
If an American has the choice (and many do) of owning and driving their personal vehicle somewhere, or boarding a train full of smelly unfriendly strangers then I think you know which form of transportation will win out. I'm sure this will come off as being tripe, but Americans have an ingrained sense of personal liberties, freedoms, and an expected standard of living that people in those other countries just wouldn't understand. People in China, for example, don't use these trains because it's desirable. They use them because they usually don't have a choice. It's really as simple as that.

Hey! Watch who you're calling foul and smelly!

But no one is forcing you to take the train or drive on the highway... they're just at your disposal should you want to exercise your freedom and use them.

quote:
Jason we're absolutely BANKRUPT as a nation. But you don't seem to get that we're already "screwed" because of that. And yet, if we don't try and compete with other countries public rail we'll be "screwed"? No matter how much it costs or whatever the risks. How and why?

I'm trying to understand the premise that we'll be screwed as a nation if we don't compete with other nations standards of public transportation.

So we should stop on worthy infrastructure projects because we're "broke", while continuing to spend on pork?

If you're of that mindset, we might as well just throw in the towel and turn to anarchy.
quote:
Honestly this article is so extremely politicized, was that really necessary? Any "tech" facts about these trains are simply going to be washed away by the extremely polarized nature of the discussion.

It's an inherently politicized tech issue. There's no escaping it. That's why I put the "editorial" tag in the interest of fairness. But it is an important issue that's being misrepresented on all sides, in my mind.

As the other op Smilin said, high-speed rail is expensive, will likely suffer from corruption, and will take time to deploy, but there's no escaping that it provides a game changing economic and social advantage.


RE: couple issues...
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2011 6:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
You can't build a high speed rail that will be effective in most areas of the US. Because the city isn't laid out to support it. Ok I got from one place to another really quick. Now what? Oh now I have to walk 5 miles to get to where I needed to be or pay for an expensive cab to get there quicker.

Cities that have commuter rails do so because it makes sense. Those who don't, don't because it doesn't.

Why should the rest of the nation have to cover the costs of someone who wants to live in a different city than they work in in California? They shouldn't. The people of California should. This high speed rail isn't going to save the state from the massive amount of companies and jobs fleeing the state either. I personally don't understand why anyone would open a business there. Nice weather only goes so far.


RE: couple issues...
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 6:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can't build a high speed rail that will be effective in most areas of the US. Because the city isn't laid out to support it.

We aren't trying to build it in most areas of the US though are we? I used to live in Indy. There are thousands and thousands of people who drive daily to/from chicago and/or take daily/weekly planes. When they arrive they either get a cab, rent a car, or take the L.

The Chicago hub would be *perfect* for high speed rail.

Any city that has an airport and all the transit/rental car infrastructure surrounding it would do fine with intracity highspeed rail.

quote:
Cities that have commuter rails do so because it makes sense. Those who don't, don't because it doesn't.


Bullcrap. Cities don't because of political tripe, not any rational decision. (some tripe of course being caused by backlash from bad *political* decisions to try rail where it doesn't fit).


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 12:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We aren't trying to build it in most areas of the US though are we? I used to live in Indy. There are thousands and thousands of people who drive daily to/from chicago and/or take daily/weekly planes. When they arrive they either get a cab, rent a car, or take the L. The Chicago hub would be *perfect* for high speed rail.
LA is a "perfect city" for rail also but it doesn't work for whatever reason. It's heavily subsidized and threatened with total shutdown on occasion by the local governments. I don't agree that it wouldn't work in "most areas" of the US but it doesn't seem to work in all the places it should either.


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 12:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So we should stop on worthy infrastructure projects because we're "broke", while continuing to spend on pork?
You're being a little ridiculous here Jason. If we don't have the money to spend, it doesn't matter what it does or doesn't get spent on. We don't have it! What is so hard to understand here? Especially in places like CA where we're broke and it anything that needs to be built costs 100's of millions in environmental studies and lawsuits alone. And that's BEFORE a shovel hits the ground. I won't even get into the fact that those figures you quoted on who's paying what and how much are WAAAAYYYY under inflated. The line from Merced to Bakersfield (mostly BFE) alone will cost anywhere from 10 to 14 billion. Total cost is projected to be anywhere from 43 to 87 billion. 65 billion is being floated around quite a bit, I'm more inclined to believe that number.


RE: couple issues...
By vFunct on 8/10/2011 6:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm trying to understand the premise that we'll be screwed as a nation if we don't compete with other nations standards of public transportation.


It's because rail (and public transportation) is a more energy efficient transportation system.

Additionally, driving has a labor costs, whereas rail doesn't.

What country do you think is going to have the advantage: country A with a more energy efficient transportation infrastructure? or country B that needs to pay a certain percentage of its GDP in foreign oil for transportation.

People are going to pick whatever is cheaper, and a rail system, because it is more energy efficient, is cheaper than having a car.

Do you understand now?


RE: couple issues...
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 11:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
plus one.


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 12:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People are going to pick whatever is cheaper, and a rail system, because it is more energy efficient, is cheaper than having a car.
Because soo many people are doing that already with the systems we have in place. For whatever the reason, the masses (there are exceptions) are staying awy from public rail. We would be better served to find out WHY and FIX the problems BEFORE wasting even more money that we don't have on any more projects.


RE: couple issues...
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 12:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
We already have that answer and it's being addressed in new projects.

Some places just aren't suitable for rail.

High speed regional Intracity rail (replacing aircraft) is ideal. Intercity rail works in high density areas (think displacement of taxi/bus).

In lower density suburban sprawls light rail needs some serious help to really work. Americans love the convenience of cars. If you can arrange decent transportation at their destination they'll leave cars behind at the origin. Fail to do that and you're left with a 1/2 way decent solution for the future that is too cost prohibitive in the present.


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 1:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm talking about the California HSR project and the realities of implementing that. I'm not talking about the idealism of HSR. I LIKE the idea of HSR and implementation of it under certain circumstances. A few things:

1. The CA HSR Project is NOT being sold as a replacement for flying.
2. The CA HSR Project is NOT being sold as a replacement for intracity rail.
3. The CA HSR Project IS being sold as congestion alleviation.

Why this won't work:

1. One rail line won't reduce the congestion 32 million cars produces.
2. Present public transportation systems are heavily subsidized due the low ridership. Need to figure out why instead of pouring money into yet another project.
3. We're broke and the cost estimates are anywhere from Jason's low 40 billion (BS) to as high as 87 billion (also BS). 65 billion is probably more accurate.
4. With the 5.4 businesses leaving the state per week up from 1 per week in 2009, and given the cost increase, who are going to be the private investors for this?


RE: couple issues...
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 3:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
There are 32 million cars per day that travel the route of the California HSR project??


RE: couple issues...
By Pirks on 8/10/2011 6:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We're "screwed" if people can't board super trains instead of their automobiles?
Exactly. I wanna live far from city and street bums and street dirt, the only way to do this is to travel from work to my house and back fast enough.

In Germany they have really fast highways with no speed limit. If we had the same no limit highways around major urban centers (NY, LA, Toronto, Vancouver, SF, Boston, Chicago etc etc) the problem would have been solved decades ago. Get in your car and travel to your home far away pretty fast, around 150mph or so, the way Germans commute on their highways every day.

But no, due to widespread people stupidity in North America and especially imbecile local politicians there's no way we can adopt a decent highway system like the German one.

Hence the only way out of this is high speed rail, unfortunately. I can travel by car from a HSR parking lot to my house and back and take the rest by HSR. So I can easily live say 100 miles from my work place and travel there and back every day pretty fast, say one hour one way or close to that. Thus I can live in a nice cheap detached house outdoors instead of a closet sized megaexpensive microapartment next to my downtown job for instance. Well, you get the idea.

So you keep living in your tightly packed urban dirt, and I will vote for high speed rail every opportunity I get 'cause I enjoy living like a man not like a city dirt bum from a closet packed by my family and kids and myself. I've lived in those microapartments long enough with my family and I say to similar closet dwellers like you who are against HSR - please EFF OFF, and let other people live free, ya freakin' closet dwellers.


RE: couple issues...
By nafhan on 8/11/2011 10:42:40 AM , Rating: 2
You know what's better than high speed rail in that respect: telecommuting.


RE: couple issues...
By corduroygt on 8/10/2011 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It works for China, Europe, and Japan. Is there some inherent incompatibility with America?

Yes, it's called population density.


RE: couple issues...
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 6:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, it's called population density.

So? Target the major urban areas with lines. You're covering most of the population then.

Your argument is like saying cellular phone networks won't work in America because we have too low a population density. Obviously cell phone providers target cities first, and in the end develop a working network, despite the differences in population distribution.


RE: couple issues...
By corduroygt on 8/10/2011 6:09:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So? Target the major urban areas with lines. You're covering most of the population then.

They're already being targeted, there are Acela high speed trains in the DC-NY corridor, which is the ONLY area in the US that has the required population density to make it viable. I'm all for a higher speed latest technology train in that region.

All other regions are not densely populated enough to be ever warrant high speed rail. Not even between LA and SF.


RE: couple issues...
By GatoRat on 8/10/2011 7:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, let's use LA; where would you put the high speed train stations? Do remember that as you add stations, it ceases to be high speed. So where? And how do you move those people to their eventual destination once they arrive at the stations?

Earlier you asserted that high speed rail would reduce congestion, but high speed rail goes long distances and congestion along highways such as I-5 isn't an issue. Few people actually commute on high speed rail anywhere in the world. They may commute on rail, but that is quite difference from high speed rail (I'm sure you know that else that would just make you look stupid.)


RE: couple issues...
By TheEinstein on 8/14/2011 9:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yes the I-5 Cooridor is very effective.

Additionally I have MANY questions about the viability of an LA extension as the mountain range there is very significant. I expect this part of the line would cause huge cost spikes and that the actual costs could rise to 100 billion to cover this issue.

Currently we are talking about making rail lines....

But what about the required infrastructure to support the highspeed rail such as how to move people from the terminals to their destinations?

If we dramatically change the game, then more buses at BOTH ends will be required. Or other transportation methods for the public will be needed. Or do you expect parking at both ends and people to own a car on each end?

In a State where finances are already stretched, this is a BOONDOGGLE.


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So? Target the major urban areas with lines. You're covering most of the population then.
There's 35 million people in CA with 32 million personally owned vehicles. How does ONE rail line (there's only going to be one built), high speed or not, do anything but eventually need to be subsidized like every other state and local public transportation project?


RE: couple issues...
By YashBudini on 8/11/2011 12:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
In our area our "representatives" sided so much with the TA that we subsize a profitable line, let alone a line losing money.

The problem? Politicians losing sight of whom they represent. It's "We The People....," not "We The Corporations...."

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Benito Mussolini


RE: couple issues...
By nafhan on 8/11/2011 10:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
To make it a little more clear: I think the "high speed" part is what's unnecessary and driving the cost up. On the east coast at least, most of the congestion is regional commuters, and I think an expensive high speed rail between cities would do a lot less to alleviate congestion then a well laid out (normal speed) regional rail system. I just don't see there being a lot of daily commuters between SanFran and LA.


RE: couple issues...
By Spuke on 8/12/2011 12:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just don't see there being a lot of daily commuters between SanFran and LA.
There aren't and with both cities having, for the most part, enough jobs to support their residents, what is the point in connecting the two? IMO, the only benefit comes to those that have long commutes to either city. High speed rail would open up some opportunities for those people. I live at least two hours (in traffic) from LA. It would be nice to not have to drive. I could work in OC or anywhere down there for that matter. But the state is broke, we've cut back on police, fire, teachers and quite a few state employees. I'd rather hire the firemen back with bond measures than build a train that will eventually be subsidized (and it will be).


RE: couple issues...
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 5:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
There are some 200-250 flights *per day* just between SF and LA.

Definately a demand for high speed rail. To bad CA is broke and can't afford it.


Da$$@ is censored??
By ppardee on 8/10/2011 4:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
DailyPolitics? How is this tech related? And why would you censor Daily in the subject???

Anyway, you could say "Is it wrong to blast Obama?" and the answer is no. Regardless of the topic. Everything this man does is a disaster of proportions so epic, it leads people to theorize that he is involved in conspiracies to bring down the US.

Spending MY money (because it *IS* my money) to improve transportation in California (or any other state) is wrong. The only way it would not OK to blast Obama for it is if the bill came across his desk, he vetoed it and Congress overruled his veto. In reality, the ARRA was a blank check to Obama and they've had no say in it since. Should we bash Ray the Hood instead, or whichever crony made the decision to pass the money to CA? In the end, Obama is responsible for the actions of his appointees. And they're all bumbling buffoons. But don't take my word for it, check out the bang-up job they've done improving the economy, how quickly they pulled us out of the middle east and how long Gitmo's been closed.

Doesn't matter if you're a liberal or conservative. Unless your eyes are closed, you can see that Obama is a failure.

Does that answer your question? :)




RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Smilin on 8/10/2011 4:47:31 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not to happy about spending MY money (because it *IS* my money) on GW Bush's stupid war (because it *IS* GW's) in Iraq.

So how about you pay for the war and I'll give California a train?

Obama may suck at getting us out of the ditch but I'm sure as hell not electing another one of those GOP jackasses that got us here to begin with.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obama may suck at getting us out of the ditch but I'm sure as hell not electing another one of those GOP jackasses that got us here to begin with.

The sad part is that in the next election, we likely will have to pick between two jackasses.

Too bad Ron Paul or Gary Johnson stand no chance... honesty and good ideas don't get you far in federal politics.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By ipay on 8/10/2011 6:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're seriously a Ron Paul supporter? That guy has some seriously messed up ideas. The gold standard? Really? That's one of those things that people like to imagine would magically solve all the world's issues, but look more closely and it would destroy the modern economic system and cause a whole host of new problems even more severe than the ones we already have.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 6:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
The only good thing Ron Paul is for is stealing votes from Republicans so Obama can win again.

I like his idea of shutting down the Federal Reserve. But come on, that's like promising we can live on Mars next year. No President has a hope in hell of pulling that off in today's climate. And the gold standard? Yeah, you said it all.

Plus Ron Paul associates with some REALLY strange and abhorrent folks. I can't get behind someone who blatantly supports racists and the like.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Iaiken on 8/10/2011 7:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I like his idea of shutting down the Federal Reserve.


More than anything... DO THIS!!!


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 7:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're seriously a Ron Paul supporter? That guy has some seriously messed up ideas. The gold standard? Really? That's one of those things that people like to imagine would magically solve all the world's issues, but look more closely and it would destroy the modern economic system and cause a whole host of new problems even more severe than the ones we already have.

I'm not saying I agree with every idea he's ever had, but I do think that the majority of his ideas I've heard or read are good ones... which is more than I can say about most politicians I've followed closely.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 3:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Same. The guy is a nutback and thank God he'll never be president. But.. he's got the occassional very brilliant and out of the box idea.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 3:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The sad part is that in the next election, we likely will have to pick between two jackasses.

And how is that any different from any past elections?


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 5:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obama may suck at getting us out of the ditch


Obama turned the "ditch" into the Grand freaking canyon, hate to tell you. It would be literally impossible for a GOP "jackass" to do even close to what he has. No Republican would even become a candidate in the first place if he intended to do anything remotely similar.

Obama took Bush's 400 billion dollar deficit (still too high, don't get me wrong) and a year later turned it into 1.5 TRILLION! All while feeding people like you the line that it was Bush's fault and that he's just trying to get this "out of the ditch". And you seriously buy that crap that they got us here to begin with?

Obama took a mild recession and turned it into a depression with no end in sight. What more proof do you need?


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By corduroygt on 8/10/2011 6:06:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Obama took Bush's 400 billion dollar deficit (still too high, don't get me wrong) and a year later turned it into 1.5 TRILLION!

Bush turned a $236M surplus into $1.2B deficit...
http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9958/01-08-Outlook_...


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Reclaimer77 on 8/10/2011 6:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bush turned a $236M surplus into $1.2B deficit... http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9958/01-08-Outlook_...


Again, we're all in agreement that Bush grew the size of the federal government too high. However why is this used as an endorsement for Obama to do more of the same on an even larger scale?


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Chaser on 8/10/2011 9:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bush turned a $236M surplus into $1.2B deficit..

Comparing this against 1.5 trillion? And more trillions wanted to raise in a debt ceiling? Really?

Please take off the Obama colored glasses and take a look at a simple calculator. Anyone today would be overjoyed with a mere 1.3 billion deficit. Well except liberals that even now say we aren't spending enough. Really? My god. At least Bush had a concern about deficit spending. Whereas our incompetent President today cast responsibility to the wind by: creating an additional, unaffordable, healthcare entitlement, bailing out the GM UAW workers union by using borrowed tax dollars to pay off their pensions and ridiculously lavish healthcare benefits and of course buying most of GM's stock and this ridiculous 800 billion dollar stimulus that funded mostly government and union pet projects? That did nothing to stimulate anything except our country being downgraded the first time in history from it's AAA credit rating?

1.2 Billion vs 1.5 Trillion?? Seriously? Chump change compared to where this incompetent Chicago corruption machine has gotten us. Thanks Oprah. But not to worry. He won't have a second term. But he'll still get his pension and the Zillions of dollars of speaking engagements and book deals if anyone that has any money left bothers shows up.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By corduroygt on 8/11/2011 1:34:25 AM , Rating: 1
I was off by a factor of 1000. Bush turned a $236B surplus into a $1.2T deficit (The $700B TARP was signed during his presidency).

We are right in that there isn't much more to cut, the next step is to increase revenue...


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 10:02:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please take off the Obama colored glasses


WOW. Speaking of 'colored glasses'

You didn't even catch his mistake. Do you REALLY think Bush left office with just a 1 billion deficit?

Dude he left office with some nearly 1.5 TRILLION deficit. Two wars at roughly 300-600B/year each (that Bush didn't even include in the budget!) and an unfunded round of tax cuts at some what 700B? Those alone make up MOST of Obamas deficit. As for the rest? Oh yeah that's right Bush left the economy in an obsolute free fall. No gravity...free fall.

Obamas recovery spending binge is exactly what you are supposed to do to help in a recession. When the cycle of money from company to/from the consumer-worker grinds to a halt the govt is supposed to step in and hit the nitrous. Normally this is nothing to freak about but this time around the nitrous bottle was already emptied by Bush before there was a problem.

I haven't forgotten what the GOP did. And unlike the tea party I remember that Bush gave me a check in the mail that was never paid for. I knew the money would have to be paid back so I'm not going to fault Obama or any other congressman who has the balls to tell me what I need to hear: Time to pay back that money so your kids don't get smacked with worst interest payments than you already owe.

Until this debt ceiling crap finally settled did you happen to notice that congress didn't pass a single f'n budget since the GOP won the house? No sir. No more of that crap.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By ipay on 8/10/2011 6:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obama took a mild recession and turned it into a depression with no end in sight. What more proof do you need?

As bad as the economy is right now, it's far more stable than it was when Obama took office. What's with this revisionism that everything was dandy under Bush? Doesn't anyone remember why Obama got elected in the first place? (hint: it never would have happened if the economy wasn't in the middle of a free-fall)


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By ppardee on 8/12/2011 3:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
How about I NOT pay for nation building and NOT pay for a train?

Saying that the GOP got is into the ditch when the car was driven by the Democrats (who controlled Congress) during Bush's reign when things went south is either ignorant or intentionally misleading.

The rhetoric that the GOP put us here is the biggest lie from the real jackasses (there is a REASON the donkey is the dem's mascot) running the show. Bush left Obama with a 7.6% unemployment rate that is now higher than 9.1% even after the TRILLIONS of dollars spent with the promise that it would never go above 8%. What portion of the additional $12 trillion of deficit that Obama has amassed is related to the part of the war in Iraq that he 'inherited'? I'd guess less than 5%.

In reality, it WAS Bush's war... it is NOW Obama's war that he could pull out of there at any moment. Instead, he invested more troops in Afghanistan and stirred up trouble in Libya knowing that both of those things would hurt the interests of his party base.

One of the defining characteristics of people who vote for one party or the other regardless of the people running (and often completely ignorant of the party policies and beliefs) is that they do so blindly and support the party with such fervor. I'd find it rather amusing, like a 5-year-old trying to be stern, if it didn't have such dire impact on the country. Put away the party rhetoric and open your eyes to the truth.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 5:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How about I NOT pay for nation building and NOT pay for a train?

Cool. How bout you go live in a 3rd world country where they have neither...or just stick around. The tea party will have us there soon enough.

quote:
What portion of the additional $12 trillion of deficit that Obama has amassed is related to the part of the war in Iraq that he 'inherited'? I'd guess less than 5%.


WOW! Obama racked up $12 Trillion? Plus Bush left him almost $10 Trillion so we're up to $22 trillion in just 3 years!

Oh nevermind. You're just a dumbass.

If you mean the $2 trillion that aligns with reality then it's about 25% ($480 billion spent in 2008-2011 on Bush's wars)

quote:
In reality, it WAS Bush's war... it is NOW Obama's war that he could pull out of there at any moment.

That's a false choice. I'm not going to play "simon says" with you. It would go like, "Simon says 'now jump in the air'.... 'now land on the ground' ... I didn't say Simon says!"

quote:
Put away the party rhetoric and open your eyes to the truth.

Typical GOP hypocrisy (along with being fiscally conservative *snicker* ). How about you put yours away first..
quote:
there is a REASON the donkey is the dem's mascot


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:48:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Doesn't matter if you're a liberal or conservative. Unless your eyes are closed, you can see that Obama is a failure.

Does that answer your question? :)

But just because he's a failure overall doesn't mean he can't support a good idea.

I personally feel both of the last two presidents failed in many ways, but both supported a few good ideas, this being one of them.

My point isn't that it's wrong to question the government. Far from it. I question the government all the time, myself, and by covering the topics I do.

By "wrong" I mean, is this particular criticism shortsighted or lacking in judgement.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By ppardee on 8/12/2011 4:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But just because he's a failure overall doesn't mean he can't support a good idea.


I'm not saying he can't support a good idea. I'm saying he never does. He has the touch of death. Nothing he does EVER turns out positively for the country. EVER. He may do something positive in the future, but I doubt it. He is too wrapped up in his superiority complex and his deluded visions of how life should work to really understand how it actually DOES work. Marx and Engles had the same issue.

Under the right circumstances, it would be wrong to bash Obama. If he is able to negotiate lasting peace in the Middle East (without sacrificing Israel), works with Congress to balance the budget NOW (not in 10 years) or single-handedly cures cancer, then I would give him credit. Otherwise, he stands as the worst (i.e. most destructive to the future of the US) president since Wilson, and his only saving grace will be if he doesn't get re-elected.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 4:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
When you speak in absolutes (Nothing, Ever, never) you sound like an idiot.


RE: Da$$@ is censored??
By ppardee on 8/16/2011 5:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you speak in absolutes (Nothing, Ever, never) you sound like an idiot.


Always? Sounds like a way of avoiding any substance and simply engaging in ad hominem attacks because you don't have a valid argument. I'd say the fact that you've used this response twice already in this article alone confirms that you are a troll, and nothing more.

Absolute truth: S&P had NEVER downgraded the credit rating of the U.S. before, but did while Obama was president.

Wow... I sounded like a total moron there... I guess you're right. I should never speak in absolutes.

I sure hope you were simply trying to be a troll, or trying to be ironic.


I have a dream
By Smilin on 8/10/2011 4:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
Can you really envision us 100 years from now with no high speed rail network?

Europe and asia will likely be running f'n superconducting trains at high subsonic speeds powered without fossil fuels.

US? We'll be cramming 600million Americans onto the circa-1950 Eisenhower highway system gobbling gasoline or driving our coal fired electric cars.

I'm kinda joking but kinda not. I mean really these things take decades to complete and we're in the year 2011 still deciding if we should start. I truly think in 100 years we're won't have squat. You'll hear the clanking of pots on the side of a donkey.

We gotta do this.

Yes, it's expensive. Very. There will also be mismanagement and waste. Lots of it. It's also 100% vital that our country move FORWARD. There *IS* an ROI on these things even with some incompetent govn't involvement. The money building it doesn't just vanish either. Sure they are government expenses...they are also the paycheck of another taxpayer.

*sits back, grabs popcorn, waits for everyone to lambast me for being some socialist liberal tree hugging something...*




RE: I have a dream
By Goty on 8/10/2011 4:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Europe and asia will likely be running f'n superconducting trains at high subsonic speeds powered without fossil fuels.


Even IF someone is able to develop a room-temperature superconductor (not likely, in my estimation), how do you think the electricity used to power the trains will be generated? Without major advancements in wind or solar power, the sheer size of the installations necessary to provide any meaningful amount of power to our civilization is mind-boggling. Nuclear power is certainly an option, but I also don't believe we're anywhere close to sustainable fusion reactors and fission reactors of any type will always have the same stigma that they have today.


RE: I have a dream
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/10/2011 4:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nuclear power is certainly an option, but I also don't believe we're anywhere close to sustainable fusion reactors and fission reactors of any type will always have the same stigma that they have today.

Clean, modern nuclear fission is most definitely an option, and one which would fulfill all the needed power with little waste.

As for fusion, it's hard to say if it will be available in 20, 50, or 100 years. To predict in 1911 that we'd be splitting atoms, chatting on internet boards, or soaring into space would seem pure fiction and fantasy.


RE: I have a dream
By Strunf on 8/10/2011 8:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
The superconductors don't need to be at room temperature, they could work at liquid nitrogen temperature, from what I've heard liquid nitrogen is even cheaper than bottled water. I think there are a few projects going on that use superconductors to transport energy, maybe liquid nitrogen will be the commodity of tomorrow.


RE: I have a dream
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 6:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
Good thoughts but:

First, room temperature isn't required... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JR-Maglev

Second, if it's a superconductor it's going to be "super" :P efficient by definition.

Third, even in the worst case scenario it will be far more energy and money efficent to use such a train instead of aircraft or cars.

The whole green energy thing is another discussion...although a similar one. Heavy up front costs and an awesome ROI but bogged down by tea party type politics.


RE: I have a dream
By kattanna on 8/10/2011 4:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
sadly i have to agree.

i honestly dont think america has the stomach as a whole anymore for progress.

im hoping within the next 20 years as we lose our standing in the world we will regain our spirit and drive to excel again.

i mean.. if we had the same attitude we have now back in the 60's.. it would have been a russian flag up there on the moon with the US doing nothing but complaining about how environmentally unfriendly the whole thing is and feeling superior about their do nothingness


RE: I have a dream
By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
i honestly dont think america has the stomach as a whole anymore for progress.
Nope! We don't have the stomach anymore for wasteful spending on BS projects while be taxed and "fee'd" to death to support them. People just want a friggin job right now.


RE: I have a dream
By onkg on 8/10/2011 5:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
For those who think infrastructure spending should be like any other money making venture, ask yourself when was the last time your local roads or highways made money.


RE: I have a dream
By Cerin218 on 8/10/2011 5:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
Toll roads? MNPass? Roads make money, by people paying for the "privilege" to use them. Amusingly enough, the same gas tax and registration fees that I pay that are supposed to fund my transportation needs build a roads that other people that pay more money get to use, while the rest of the traffic jams.


RE: I have a dream
By Smilin on 8/11/2011 6:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
Really?

When was the last time money was made without roads involved?


RE: I have a dream
By StanO360 on 8/10/2011 5:19:22 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-eujus.htm

Again, who is going to ride this? Where is the ROI? By my estimation, including the cost of building it and maintenance (Say 60bil plus 1bil a year for 10 years) IF 35mil Californians ride it once a year for 10 years it will cost $200 per trip. Of course the ridership numbers in that calculation are grossely overestimated and the cost probably underestimated.

If you want to propose this "enhances" the state somehow, the way a sports stadium "enhances" a city, well make that argument. It won't move people more efficiently, it's not designed for goods. Businesses aren't made more efficient by it. The biggest travelers, salesman, could never use it.

Who is going to use?


RE: I have a dream
By Smilin on 8/12/2011 5:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
You realize this rail will be in place for at *least* half a century right? The path carved through the mountains and the foundation will still be in use (as they are with current rail) for some 200+ years.

That's a problem with our mindset now. We aren't 7th generation thinkers we're "next election" thinkers.

quote:
It won't move people more efficiently, it's not designed for goods. Businesses aren't made more efficient by it. The biggest travelers, salesman, could never use it.

Who is going to use?


You really think it won't get used? HA! I dunno who *exactly* would use it but there are 200-250 flights per day from LA to SF.

http://bit.ly/pwpPRv (forgive the shortner...DT saw the full link as spam)

If you've ever lived somewhere that high speed rail is available you'll take it in a heartbeat before a plane.


RE: I have a dream
By DockScience on 8/15/2011 7:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
I have a dream.
Where people and cargo can go where they want, when they want, and can stop along the way when ever and where ever they please.

It's not a railroad.

It's an automated highway where machines do the driving most of the time for cars and virtually all delivery trucks are automated. Suppose it also had convenient drive over full speed charging points where supercapacitors in the vehicles store up the energy for the next 20 miles.

Now that is a dream for the future.
High speed passenger rail is a 19th century construct.


TL; DRA
By shin0bi272 on 8/10/2011 5:17:25 PM , Rating: 3
While I only got about half way through this I'd like to point out that 70% of all projects go over budget and take longer than estimated. Your questioning of whether or not its ok to blast a president for spending billions more than the government takes in via a program to build a rail system that no one wants (especially in an earthquake prone area) shows your political leanings. Put it this way if Bush spent this kind of money on blackwater would you waste any time blasting him? If no then you are a leftist. If you are concerned about the debt and still dont mind the social spending then you are a libertarian leaning towards statist.

We are also talking about giving billions to california. The state thats billions in debt already and considering opening their prisons... dont cut entitlement spending like union members pensions nooo lets go ahead and open the F*CKING PRISONS!

Lets do some quick math since Im a tea party member and know you guys on the left cant stand hearing ideas that will actually solve the problem rather than continue to pander to the looters and slobs that back democrats. In Keynesian economics ( the type of economics of socialists and most American leftists) when the government takes a dollar from a rich person and gives it to a poor person (or in this case a poor state) it generates $3-4 in the economy. The real number? 80 cents.

More quick math for you the US took in 2.1 trillion dollars last year and they spent 3.8 trillion. Standard and Poors this year said show us a path to you cutting your debt or we'll down grade your credit. Tim Geitner came out and said there's no risk of being downgraded... then we had quantitative easing 2.. which is where the fed dumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy and devalued all of our money juuust a little more. Then we have a couple of months of bickering where republicans ended up caving on entitlement cuts and the democrats laughed at cut,cap, and balance (which is exactly what moody's and S&P said they wanted to see) and poof we get downgraded. The white house immediately comes out and claims its politically motivated because they were off by 2trillion dollars in their calculations. Lets get real here Barry... You just said that the credit card company shouldnt have raised your APR from 8.9% to 39.999% because you paid 200 of your 20,000 dollar bill. We are on track to be spending an extra 1 trillion or more a year for the next ten years than we take in and we cant cut any spending other than in the DoD? Seriously?




RE: TL; DRA
By Bostlabs on 8/10/2011 6:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
Crap, out of votes.

+10 sir!


RE: TL; DRA
By vFunct on 8/10/2011 6:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
I also agree we should raise taxes and increase the size of government and to promote socialism. That is the only way out of our economic mess created by capitalism.

The more control we give to government the better. We need less "competition", which eventually leads to dangerous monopoly, and more "government solution".


RE: TL; DRA
By dxf2891 on 8/11/2011 4:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
How about this as solutions:

1) End farm subsidies (welfare for rurals)

2) Enter into a flat tax without loopholes, say 28 % across the board (inheritance, estate, income, etc) for individuals and corporations

3) Pull out of the war in Afghanistan as of Dec 31, 2011.

4) Base state federal aid on taxes collected.

5) Ensure that foreign spending does not exceed 1/4 of domestic spending

6) Bust unions, if and only if, corporations institure a $200k cap on corporate salaries

Yeah, hard chargning, Marine Corps, lefty


By ZorkZork on 8/10/2011 4:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
They choose Eurostar by a wide margin for convenience. If Fox had been around 70 years ago there would be no airports nor highways.




By StanO360 on 8/10/2011 5:26:17 PM , Rating: 2
Oh spare us your dribble! There is no comparison between dense metropolitan areas of Europe with California. In Europe only 5-10% take rail, much higher than the US. But I doubt it's cheaper, it is only convenient for certain locations.

Regarding Fox News, apparently a lot of people disagree with you as more watch them then all the other Cable news shows combined.


By ZorkZork on 8/10/2011 6:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
London and Paris compares very well to California when it comes to highspeed rail. Highspeed rail replaces flying - NOT driving in your car. And between London and Paris, highspeed rail is by far the most convenient (though not cheapest) way to travel - the numbers are not lying.

With regards to Fox: If Fox and friends ruled 60 years ago, there would no airports, no highways. More people watching the stuff doesn't make it right.


By Spuke on 8/11/2011 12:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
London and Paris compares very well to California when it comes to highspeed rail. Highspeed rail replaces flying - NOT driving in your car.
That's not how they're selling it here bud! They're selling it as alleviating traffic congestion period and promoting long distance commuting period. Neither of which is going to happen with a state population of 35 million and 32 million cars on the roads. I won't even mention that's just ONE train.


My Thoughts...
By eek2121 on 8/10/2011 10:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
This whole conversation thread annoys me.

...and I will tell you why.

The United States of America NEEDS a high speed rail system. I don't care what your political leanings are. I don't care what you think it will cost taxpayers. The number of jobs alone would lift this country out of a recession. It's estimated that such a project could add MILLIONS of jobs. Such a system could potentially be used for both passengers and light freight. Even if it took 50 years to pay back the investment, it'd be profitable.




RE: My Thoughts...
By dxf2891 on 8/11/2011 3:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
Would that be the same jobs that some are saying have yet to materialize? I often wonder which is more important: Watching this president fail or watching this country succeed.


RE: My Thoughts...
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 12:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's estimated that such a project could add MILLIONS of jobs.

Millions? Perhaps in China.

quote:
I don't care what you think it will cost taxpayers.

As "Transit Authorities" mature they become extremely top heavy in management, which makes them ultimately very inefficient. They refused to police themselves (as do most professions), let alone purge themselves of excess. Long term it becomes very costly to those that have to use it, and then to those that have to subsidize it, which is inevitable.


Been a long time already...
By The0ne on 8/10/2011 9:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
The Rail idea in CA is way before Obama. Same for other states. In fact, China really really wants to do it. In fact, DT had an article similar to this where I said I wouldn't trust China to build our rail system in the US, even if they are/consider themselves experts in the field.

Anyhow, pointless flame news.




RE: Been a long time already...
By YashBudini on 8/14/2011 12:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anyhow, pointless flame news.

Yeah, this is getting to be a habit here, like repetitive stories on Amazon collecting state taxes and the duplicate arguments and insults that follow.

quote:
In fact, China really really wants to do it.

A warning flag of ever there was one.

Somehow the prestige of having a rail system that's as screwed up as the Chinese HS Rail escapes me. Not to mention the lead content.


Investment in Infrastructure
By jdonkey123 on 8/11/2011 4:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
Greed is the driving force behind capitalism, but it's not the lynchpin! Personal interest is what motivates us to do what's best just for ourselves and there is no country in the world that has ever lacked for self-interested people.

The lynchpin to our success has been tempering self-interest with investment in the common good. Good and sufficient infrastructure investment is critical to achieving or maintaining status as a leading economic power.

Electricity, telephone, highway system and every other national infrastructure program had major detractors who made the same kinds of arguments as people do now to say we can't afford to invest.

Hindsight provides the clear distinction that the only thing we could NOT afford was to be left behind and give the immense economic power to those who were bold enough to invest in a more productive future.

I can't say for sure if this is the right project or the right time. But what I can say is that if it will continue to be economically important for people to move about this country, then we better find a way to do it that competes with the speed and cost efficiency of the high speed rail that other countries are using.

If we do not, our economic advantage will be choked out in a slowly moving cloud of gas.




By DockScience on 8/15/2011 7:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Overpriced high speed rail essentially only for "business class" travelers is hardly the same as highways, electricity, telephone, sewer, water, and virtually all other infrastructure.

And no amount of progressive handwringing will make it so.


Obvious solution
By HoosierEngineer5 on 8/10/2011 4:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Have the inmates build the railroad.

(you know you were thinking that)




TFTFY
By mattclary on 8/10/2011 5:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...a sum which would see private investors pay $7.5B USD, all American taxpayers pay up to $16B USD, and the state taxpayers pay the remaining $10.1B USD.




By overlandpark4me on 8/10/2011 8:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
project, another half a bill for the payoff and bribes to city officials, another quarter mill for the union under the table extortion, oops I meant protection, oops, I meant "how'd you fall in front of that speeding car..................




Spelling corrections
By vailr on 8/10/2011 11:09:39 PM , Rating: 2
"based on principal" to "based on principle"
"You'll seldom here critics" to "You'll seldom hear critics"




By mattinv on 8/10/2011 11:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It works for China, Europe, and Japan. Is there some inherent incompatibility with America?

Jason, having leaved in EU for 20 years, I can definitively say that there are huge advantages to the high speed rails.
However, to your question "Is there some inherent incompatibility with America?", I have some very mixed feelings.
In EU, population is very much concentrated in small to large cities with generally very well developed common transportations. The first time I leaved there, I was 10 minutes away (walking distance) from a train station, serviced by a high speed train. It was great. The concept is incredible. When you think you can go shop in another country and then come back home the day after (or same day if you'd like) while enjoying a romantic evening in this totally unfamiliar but beautiful city, what's not to like? I can see a handful of situations where this would apply in the US, especially on the East Coast.
I also lived 45 min (by car) away from the train station (EU) with a high speed rail connection. In this case, I never used it. It was just easier and cheaper to get into the car and reach my destination. Even with a 4h drive, it would have only saved me 1h at best. In fact, the train only travels at 225MPH on 60% or less of the distance traveled. You have to be there way in advance as you literally cannot afford to be late, and finding a parking place can be a nightmare (45 min to station + 20 min. wait for train + train ride: 1h45 min + x minutes for rental car + 25 minutes to destination).
Finally, 3 people or more travelling on a high speed train is more expensive than taking your car, and a lot more difficult to organize (limitations on what you can carry, car rentals at destination, parking expenses , etc...). Plus my wife and I just loved having some freedom when visiting there ;-).
I leaved with the high speed train next door for almost 20 years and I only used it a few times. When I did, it was great, so much better than the planes. But as soon as I was away from it (30-45min), I stopped using it.

This brings me back to your question. Is it compatible with America?
I guess this is the real question. The answer is fairly simple. It does work for China, EU and Japan because they all have a very high concentration of population in a few connected cities.
On the upper East Coast (US), it is a must. Having lived in NYC, I can see how nice it would be to commute from one town to another hours away in a fraction of the time it would normally take. Driving is just a nightmare are rarely an option if you leave anywhere in or around Manhattan.
On the other hand, people are so widely spread in California, I can only see the high speed train as a more comfortable alternative to the plane (better services, less wait, no security checks -at least now-, etc...). Even Portland and Seattle are spread.
So my point of view is, as a business owner who mostly depends on the freeway access (for the business) and the plane for my personal long distance trips, that the high speed train is a luxury I would sometime enjoy but rarely use. I have meetings all over the US and could rarely take the high speed train, unless it would travel 500mph and connect LA to Chicago. San Fransisco, Las Vegas? Maybe. But only if it was cheaper than the plane.




Realtalk
By dxf2891 on 8/11/2011 3:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a vet who collects guns. They protect my family and I. My wife lost her job and we had to make some cuts to our budget. We gave up cable, we gave up dinners out, we reduced vacations to one a year versus our usual four a year. I gave up my $300 a month comic books. In addition to my 9 to 5 job, I have a PC repair business that is priced to annihilate the big box prices. Now here's the question: Am I justified in raising my prices to my customers or should I fear that they will discontinue purchasing this service from me? Should I give up the purchasing of my guns? Now, because my wife is the one who lost her job, shouldn't she be the one to give up her creature comforts instead of both of us?




Fock it....
By dxf2891 on 8/11/2011 4:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
Let's just invest in teleportation devices, transporters or what ever you want to call it. Beam me over, Scotty!!!!!! Oh and don't forget all of my $h!t.




A Waste
By netminder69 on 8/12/2011 8:20:54 AM , Rating: 2
I'm all for technology, but trains are not new technology. Neither is high speed rail. The fact remains that while the rest of the world has it, there's only 2 of these rail lines in the world that are profitable. One being the Tokyo shinkansen line... but it costs just as much as flying. The rest of those lines lose money hand over fist. Are people going to be willing to pay that much for the train when they drive for less?

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/05/hig...




Government Construction?
By toyotabedzrock on 8/16/2011 1:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think the people the government contracted with, who are private companies. Are filled with corruption.

A corruption that seems to be rampant all over the world and is only prevented with an open and transparent government.




By Super Speed Train on 8/11/2011 8:06:38 PM , Rating: 1
Totally agree with this article. Great job! Now, let me first say that I am not a space hater but use space and the recent space news as a launch pad into this discussion. In the last few days we sent a rocket ship to Jupiter to determine what it's made of, piloted a little remote control car on mars that has taken a few years just to go a few extra miles to the rim of a crater, and lost a super sonic glider somewhere over the Pacific just so we can get to New York to Los Angeles in under 12 minutes for god knows what ever reason. Can't we find it in ourselves to use this same creativety and drive to develope high speed rail in America? In case no one has figured this out - we will have high speed trains in the U.S. The real question is when. Do we wait until we are the last nation in the world to do it, or do we start now so that in say 50 - 60 years our grandchildren will have this transportation option available to them? We know our population is growing by the millions annually and our traffic sucks everywhere. Why is is such a bad idea to invest in this exceptional mode of transportation? If anyone follows building and engineering trends you will notice that materials and building codes in the US are years behind many other leading nations. It's usually after we are forced to use better construction methods that we use them. Why is that? Because Americans are so into the profit today mentality and make me feel good today mind set that we forget about tomorrow. Let's build, make, engineer, invest whatever you call it, in advanced mass transportation solutions today so that by the time our roads come to a stand still, and we no longer have a sensible way to move people efficiently, we have a a solid, well designed high speed rail network. If we can invest in botox, crap magazines, so much food most of are fat and obese - can't we scale back a little in other areas of our lives and use our resources to build Super Speed Trains? Just a thought http://superspeedtrain.com




O$*! on DT...
By Phynaz on 8/10/11, Rating: -1
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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