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China is following the prototype of Japan (pictured) rolling out high speed rail.  (Source: CNN)

Florida governor Rick Scott joined Wisconsin and Ohio last month in rejected plans to deploy high speed rail to his state.  (Source: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP)

Historically the U.S. transporation has upgraded via a major federal-backed push every 50 years (approximately).  (Source: Iowa Pathways)

California will receive the federal funds for the scrapped Florida project. But can the U.S. keep up with China if only half its states are willing to commit to transportation advances?  (Source: AP Photo)
U.S. transportation has leapt forward every 50 years, but this time many states are choosing to stay behind

By 2020, China will be blanketed by high-speed rail.  The Asian giant is investing $1T USD to create 16,000 miles of high-speed rail track -- roughly a third of the total length of the U.S. interstate highway system.  Trains will zip along at 200+ miles per hour, opening inter-city opportunities for businessmen and engineers that were formerly only available to the wealthy elite who own private jets.  Meanwhile, much of the U.S. is stuck in the slow lane, something that may have a dire impact on the nation's competitiveness.

In response to a difficult recovery and growing conservative movement many states have abandoned plans to deploy high-speed rail, despite President Obama promising as much as $53B USD in matching federal grants for state rail projects over the next six years.

I. U.S. States Opt Out of Advancing U.S. Transportation

Some states like Michigan have effectively rejected projects by simply falling silent.  Michigan governor Rick Snyder has simply stopped talking about the state's former project and has refused calls or discussions on the topic.

Other states like Florida are taking a more active stance.  Last month Florida Governor Rick Scott -- also a Republican -- killed his state's high-speed rail project.  The proposed line would have connected Tampa to Orlando -- two of Florida's top metropolitan areas.  Governor Scott cites a 2009 study that stated that the line's first operation year -- 2015 -- would only have 2.4 million riders and would be operating at a deficit, as a factor in his decision.  He also cites advice from the libertarian Reason Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

This week the U.S. Department of Energy released a new study, saying that the initial estimates were incorrect and the line would likely generate a $10.2M USD surplus on its very first year of operation and have 3.3 million riders.  The new study cost $2.4M USD in federal funding and was conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates and Steer Davies Gleave.

The governor responded to this study, saying that "burdening" taxpayers with the $2.4B USD project was unacceptable.  He states, "I had been briefed on their ridership study and I looked at other ridership studies and I’m still very comfortable with the decision I made that I don’t want the taxpayers of the state on the hook for the cost overruns of building it, the operating costs or giving the money back if it’s shut down."

A spokesperson for the governor said he questioned the study's accuracy, stating, "The governor has said all along he believes ridership projections for this and other rail projects are overestimated. Numerous studies support this conclusion."

The governor's opinions may not be backed by many of his constituents, though.  A recent poll showed that 59 percent of residents of Florida's Hillsborough County supported the project.

But it may be too late for Governor Scott to change his mind -- on Friday U.S. Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the $2.4B USD in matching funds that Florida would have received were going to be redirected to California.

II. Federal-backed Semicenturial Transportation Refresh has Historically Been Vital

The issue of high-speed rail projects is sharply dividing the U.S.  Traditionally liberal west coast states like California, Oregon, and Washington have embraced the initiative and have planned a vast interconnect rail network.  Meanwhile conservative and moderate Southeast and Midwest states such as Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio appear on the verge of rejecting rail plans.

Ultimately, history tells us that much of the U.S.'s modern economic golden age is thanks to transportation pushes that mixed federal funding (land, grants, etc.) with private sector investment.  Examples include the push for steam rail in the late 1800s and the push for an interstate highway system in the aftermath of World War II.  These dramatic transportations pushes typically come ever 50 years or so.

Approximately 50 years have passed since the expansion of the interstate highway system, but this time around not everyone is supporting the latest push.  History shows that the economy is intimately linked to transportation.  Thus, whatever the upfront costs of intercity rail, states rejecting it may face a much higher cost as businesses and professionals flee to more technologically advanced states.

But while the states may be among the losers economically, ultimately it's the nation as a whole that will likely be the biggest loser.  If the U.S. can't keep up with China in terms of transportation it will be at a tremendous handicap economically.  And financial trends tell world observers that the U.S. has little margin for error in its bid to stay ahead of a surging China.



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Too bad
By MrTeal on 3/11/2011 11:15:03 AM , Rating: 5
If high speed rail were as simple to ride as a normal train, it would be a huge boon to passenger travel. I think most people would even pay a small premium over the cost of flying to be able to use the service. At 200mph, a direct train from LA to San Fransisco would only take two hours; if you could just show up at the station 15 minutes before the train leaves and hop on it would take considerably less time than flying, without all the hassles of flying. Hell, I'd take a 12 hour train ride from NY to LA over a 6 hour flight just to avoid the airport.




RE: Too bad
By kattanna on 3/11/2011 11:21:24 AM , Rating: 5
yep

it still boggles the mind WHY we dont have a high speed rail link between la and vegas.. i mean come on.. that just begs for such.

plus i would really like to see san diego - la - san francisco - portland - seattle connected

that be sexy as well

i remember as a kid taking a sleeper car on an amtrak train from la to vancouver canada. was a great train ride through some really pretty country. thats one thing i miss with air travel, getting to see the sites on the way.


RE: Too bad
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 12:23:11 PM , Rating: 5
California and Nevada are free to build such links themselves.

The rest of the country shouldn't have to subsidize things that only benefit them. That's not the job of the federal government.


RE: Too bad
By maven81 on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Too bad
By Rasterman on 3/11/2011 2:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Your next conclusion isn't at all logical, there is a huge difference. We CHOOSE to build a rail line which only benefits the states its in. FEMA or NOAA protects the entire country from NATURAL disasters, we don't choose to have a NATURAL disaster, it just happens. Also, NOAAs resources and technologies benefit all states weather forecasting. And FEMA provides relief everywhere, it is national, not just in one state.


RE: Too bad
By maven81 on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Too bad
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 5:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, what I really want is to be able to provide for myself and my family, and not be a burden on others now or in retirement. If more and more of my hard-earned wages and capital gains are squandered on trying to show that the US govt can lead the way in 19th century technology, then it seems that I will be unable to survive on what is left.

I do agree with your objections to paying for bridges and roads in states where you neither live nor even visit. The states could probably provide for these things if the feds weren't already taking so much money to do that job. The feds wouldn't want to relinquish "giving" the states highway money though, because that's what gives them control over the states to implement things like a national speed limit or national air-quality standards.


RE: Too bad
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 6:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The feds wouldn't want to relinquish "giving" the states highway money though, because that's what gives them control over the states to implement things like a national speed limit or national air-quality standards.


Exactly right. If the federal government simply didn't take the amount of money needed for a project from the states that year and let them use it for the purpose the feds would have given it to them for anyhow, it would be more efficient. As it is they take the more money in taxes than is needed, pay a few bureaucrats a nice salary just to handle writing out a bunch of paperwork so they can send the money back to the state for its project. Cut out the middle men and save paper and money by leaving the money where it came from, in the state.


RE: Too bad
By Rasterman on 3/11/2011 11:33:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I see your point, I don't think it makes sense to spend money on things that won't be used or can support themselves though, until we have a high confidence it will it shouldn't be done. It's also hilarious people bicker over spending 53B in our own country, when we spend 685 BILLION (almost more than every other country in the world combined!) on the military policing the world.

Also weather in the Indian ocean effects weather all over the world and I'm certain we benefit from it.


RE: Too bad
By vol7ron on 3/12/2011 1:44:04 PM , Rating: 3
I think it's funny that people complain about military spending when it's the one thing that the US has that other countries don't. Not only is it our #1 industry, it is the most important industry in the world. It is the industry that is most important to securing our safety. I don't complain about putting money in this. Not to mention, we don't abuse the power we have. It is very difficult to determine when it's important to "step in" into a situation - there's moral conflict - and while the US might not be perfect, I believe they assume the role much better than any other country that might have that power.

High speed rail is a delicate technology that is heavily influenced by more than putting theoretics to practice. The weather, for example, significantly impacts the application of such technologies. Northern states worry about snow and temperature changes, southern states also worry about climate shifts and extreme humidity. There's wildlife, hurricanes, wind, rain. We've tried to make a cheap magnetic levitation system, which failed.

BTW people aren't bickering about spending 53B, they're bickering about spending an additional 53B. The the combination of state and federal taxes is already ~40% for most americans. Throw in real estate, sales, gas taxes and you'll find out that you're spending more money in taxes (handed over to other people) than you are to yourself and your family. Some would argue, why pay additional money, when there are clearly inefficiencies in the current system that could be streamlined to reduce tax-payer responsibility.


RE: Too bad
By sinful on 3/12/2011 5:24:11 PM , Rating: 1
Funny you say the military (funded by your taxes) is our #1 industry and then whine about why your taxes are so high.

Do you really not see the connection?!?!?!?

The military sucks so much out of private industry and devotes it to bloated, inefficient government spending.
It's so bloated people like you can't even separate high taxes from the biggest cause of taxes.

Hint: taxing people to pay for 5000 jets that just sit unused in a hanger for WW3 is what's destroying the economy! It's money that could have been used to start a business, invest, innovate, etc.

You know, money that every other country is devoting to improving their country.


RE: Too bad
By tallcool1 on 3/14/2011 1:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission." -John F. Kennedy


RE: Too bad
By Motley on 3/11/2011 2:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
Because all states have disasters whether it be hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, flooding, mud slides, or blizzards. It wouldn't make sense to have 50 different FEMA's, one for each state, and a single FEMA would be able to be better equipped, better funded that way.


RE: Too bad
By cjohnson2136 on 3/11/2011 6:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I know Maryland has a MEMA which is the EXACT same thing as FEMA except they only work in Maryland. I bet with a little research someone could find FEMA like agencies in other states.


RE: Too bad
By JediJeb on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Too bad
By thurston on 3/12/2011 1:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
So don't think the interstate highway system should have been built?


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:19:02 PM , Rating: 3
California and Nevada are free to build such links themselves.

The rest of the country shouldn't have to subsidize things that only benefit them. That's not the job of the federal government.

You must be talking about a different federal government than the one I'm familiar with.


RE: Too bad
By GTVic on 3/12/2011 12:07:50 PM , Rating: 5
Why would you consider shuttling people back and forth to the biggest black hole in the United States that is Las Vegas, to be something beneficial?

Transportation is supposed to stimulate the economy, not funnel money down the drain.


RE: Too bad
By probedb on 3/11/2011 11:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
I think that's the idea. There's no need for anything special, it's a train :)


RE: Too bad
By probedb on 3/11/2011 11:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
I am officially a dumb ass. Wrong post replied too :(


RE: Too bad
By theapparition on 3/11/2011 11:53:26 AM , Rating: 4
But your scenerio isn't anywhere near real.

Lets start:
Small premium? Yes, many would be willing to pay a small premium to travel by rail instead of flying. Myself included. But right now, Amtrak charges about 2X what that flight costs, all for the priveldge of sitting in seats for 10X longer. Last I looked for a family vacation, that was the difference. If you wanted a compartment, that cost skyrocketed to 8X the cost of air travel. I can't see how a more expensive train will aleviate these costs.

A direct train from LA to San Fran might take 2hrs, but you think they'll do that. Instead, they'll be 100 stops along the way. That simple trip will balloon to 4hrs minimum.

Similar to your example of NY to LA travel. Even at ~200mph nonstop, that would take close to 14hrs, but with all the stops along the way, you are now talking 30+ hrs.


RE: Too bad
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 12:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're comparing apples to oranges here, bud. Amtrak caters to a very small population who are not concerned with how slow their trip is, so the cost is a moot point. You can understand why Amtrak would lose money, given the cost/hr of travel. This article is talking about high-speed rail as a reasonable alternative to flying or driving.
Your NY to LA scenario is unrealistic, and honestly I doubt many consumers would choose a 14+ hour train ride over flight. The sweet-spot of this rail are distances where driving, due to traffic or long distance, and flight, due to check-in times, are inconvenient - metropolitan commutes or LA-San Fran distances.


RE: Too bad
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 12:49:08 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You're comparing apples to oranges here, bud. Amtrak caters to a very small population who are not concerned with how slow their trip is, so the cost is a moot point.
No it's apples to apples. Do you really think that Amtrak customers wouldn't like to get to their destination faster? LOL! Of course they would. Those customers WOULD take high speed rail without thinking about it. I don't think ticket prices are an issue unless it's outrageous. I would be willing to pay as much as I do in gas IF it was indeed faster than driving AND that includes going to and from the train station.


RE: Too bad
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 2:37:27 PM , Rating: 3
You're proving my point for me - the small population who takes Amtrak does so despite the time it takes. If we go from high-speed rail is available, these people would no doubt use it. However, those who would normally fly or drive would consider rail as well.

Your last sentence describes exactly what is proposed. However, using the US's current rail system (apples)as a reference for the proposed high-speed rail (oranges) is a flawed comparision.


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that a big draw for high speed rail will be for shorter trips where time wasted at the airport makes shorter trips impractical. TSA has also turned the "friendly skies" into the "nightmare skies" so no doubt this would also push a lot of people to high speed rail. The problem I see is eventually some radical islamist will come up with the idea of blowing up a train. After that getting on a high speed train will be just as big of a hassle as getting on a plane. Still I think high speed rail between San Fran, LA, San Diego, and Vegas is a no brainer. Anything over say 400 miles doesn't seem like very much fun to me though.


RE: Too bad
By delphinus100 on 3/20/2011 11:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem I see is eventually some radical islamist will come up with the idea of blowing up a train.


Europe's been there, done that.

Granted, it was underground mass-transit trains, but the idea's the same. Indeed, it's easier to sabotage hundreds of miles of open, unguarded rail, than underground subway tracks. At least you can't 'mine' the air, in advance of aircraft...

Oh, and ships? Two words: Achille Lauro.

The bad guys will go after whatever part of the infrastructure they can, to do spectacular harm.


RE: Too bad
By MrTeal on 3/11/2011 1:12:14 PM , Rating: 2
Really? A 5-day unlimited use pass for upgraded business class seating on Japan's JR East bullet trains costs $350. A large part of why Amtrak costs so much is that it isn't transportation, it's an experience.

Similarly, just like a subway stops don't have to take a long time, if the stop is just to embark and disembark passengers. Going from Tokyo to Aomori is 450 miles, with 8 stops along the way the bullet train does the trip in 3 hours, 42 minutes. The fastest train does it in 3 hours 10 minutes. Even with stops SF to LA should be doable in 2.5 hours.


RE: Too bad
By Irene Ringworm on 3/11/2011 7:31:35 PM , Rating: 4
The Japan train prices you quote are for non-citizens only - a heavily subsidized tourism fare that includes only the greater Tokyo area. For most users one-way shinkansen fares are $100 or more for a trip equivalent to LA to San Diego. JR turns a profit but the end user cost is high.


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed with amtrack you have diner cars, sleepers and what not. If you just cram people into the high speed train like they do with planes it should help keep costs down.


RE: Too bad
By cjohnson2136 on 3/11/2011 6:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
You also have to consider that Amtrak is probably charging so much so they can actually make a profit. If demand decreases prices are going to raise.

<trolling>Demand for Macs is low which means price is high</trolling> lol couldn't resist


RE: Too bad
By sorry dog on 3/11/2011 2:11:45 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
if you could just show up at the station 15 minutes before the train leaves and hop on it


But then some terrorist would blow himself up in one and then the TSA would make that 15 minutes turn into 2 hours.


RE: Too bad
By cjohnson2136 on 3/11/2011 6:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
What purpose would a terrorist have to blow up a train station. Think about the 9/11 attacks they took planes so they could crash them into other things. Yeah blowing up a train would be sad but stealing planes and crashing them into buildings is a lot worse.


RE: Too bad
By Rasterman on 3/11/2011 11:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
To promote terror, that's the whole point, they blow up train stations, trains, banks, stores, gas stations, cafes with 5 people in them, it doesn't matter, all over the world every day. You don't hear about 99% of it in our media.


RE: Too bad
By spread on 3/14/2011 10:39:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
To promote terror, that's the whole point, they blow up train stations, trains, banks, stores, gas stations, cafes with 5 people in them, it doesn't matter, all over the world every day.


Sounds to me like they're competing with the US government.


RE: Too bad
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 2:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Please elaborate on why people would pay a premium over air-travel to ride a train? Just because of the airport? Why would the train station be so much better as to make me want to 1) pay more to ride and 2) take more than twice as long to reach my destination?


RE: Too bad
By mmatis on 3/12/2011 10:20:20 AM , Rating: 2
Why would you think that TSA would not insert themselves into the train picture as they have into the airlines? They already DID that in Savannah, Georgia AFTER the passengers got off the train...


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:12:09 PM , Rating: 3
Its easy for China to build all of these trains because they have all of our money.


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
When the article said china was going to invest $1 trillion US dollars that didn't just mean the exchange rate. :)


RE: Too bad
By Aloonatic on 3/13/2011 8:10:09 AM , Rating: 3
No wonder western finances are in such a state if that's the general understanding of the situation as is.

China has leant the west money, not the other way around. We have, and are living off of, their money.

All they have of ours is a big cupboard full of I.O.Us


RE: Too bad
By Jeffk464 on 3/13/2011 9:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not saying we just gave them money for nothing. If you look at everything you buy you will see made in china on it. Our trade imbalance with china is gigantic, and the reason they lend us money is they can't afford the effects of a US depression on their own economy.


Attacks on Conservatives
By tigz1218 on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 1:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
Did you hear about the death threats they were getting? And not just against them but their families too. I mean, come on, death threats?


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By JediJeb on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Lexda on 3/12/2011 5:59:13 AM , Rating: 3
FIT, you say it's "pretty standard" for union activists to hand out death threats. I assume you have plenty of sources and citations? Or are you just generalizing because it's fun?


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By fishman on 3/16/2011 9:27:24 AM , Rating: 2
Many years ago, my neighbor was the contract negotiator for his company. He recieved quite a few death threats.


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Lexda on 3/12/2011 5:57:40 AM , Rating: 2
Did you hear about how there have been no reports of violence at the Capitol, even though there have been tens of thousands of protesters there over the past three weeks? Did you hear about how the state patrol thanked the protesters for their civil protests?

In short: Yeah, of course there are going to be death threats. No matter how right the cause, you can always find a fool following it. By your logic, we can invalidate the entire conservative movement based on white supremacists who want to assassinate Obama.


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 2:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
See: Wizards First Rule

Then shut the f*ck up.


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 5:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's a shame you didn't seems to apply any of the series truth and meaning to your own life. Or shall I point out the fallacy of your statement to which I responded to above?


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Kurz on 3/12/2011 8:25:57 AM , Rating: 1
Nope you can not reason with liberals even if you bash them in the head with historical evidence and facts and long term accepted theories.

I've tried and its impossible, At least with conservative minded people they critically think about it before casting judgment.


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Hyperion1400 on 3/12/2011 8:09:47 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, more logical fallacy! I'm beginning to notice a trend among people with rather "prodigious" egos. They seem to have trouble differentiating opinion from fact, especially their own. And, they have an especially hard time thinking critically, yet they believe themselves to be God's Gift to any given conversation.

You used the exact same logical fallacies as FIT did above, and in the same style and order. Interesting correlation, no?

Personal attack through generalization:

So much for thinking critically eh?


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Kurz on 3/13/2011 11:53:40 AM , Rating: 3
Nope just sharing my personal experience in my personal life.
I have experienced what I experienced first hand.

I didn't argue that all liberals are like that, just the ones I have encountered.

So no logical fallacy. ;)


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Hyperion1400 on 3/14/2011 3:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
Well, maybe not the Fallacy of Generalization proper, but you are certainly, by your own addition I might add, using anecdotal evidence to prove your position, which, in and of itself, is a subset of generalization.

Bleh, there's a wordy sentence for you.

quote:
One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance that the proofs it is built upon warrant.
-John Locke

And this one is for you FIT:

quote:
No one is as wrong as the man whose knows all the answers.
-Thomas Merton


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Kurz on 3/14/2011 8:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know all the answers, though it would be blind to assume that even a man who is trained in a profession can make mistakes. Socrates going around Athens trying to prove the Oracle of Delphi wrong when in fact his quest showed that indeed even the experts base their knowledge on Custom rather than science. Science being historical, factual, and repeatable.

Again I state I don't know the answers, though every time I am presented with something I don't know; I look it up, critically think about it and come up with my own conclusions. However, I leave myself open to evidence to contrary when it comes by.

Again you try to label me when you don't even know me.
Why do Libertarians know more facts/knowledge of their own country than liberals and even conservatives? We took the time to read and look at history and the effects of government policy. I pride myself in reading and researching though that doesn't mean I am infallible.


RE: Attacks on Conservatives
By Lexda on 3/12/2011 5:49:35 AM , Rating: 3
FIT, please explain what "facts" the liberals in Wisconsin are ignoring. Are you referring to the "fact" that collective bargaining allows unions to write a blank check that the tax payers have to cash? I much prefer the "lie" that collective bargaining has absolutely no fiscal impact, given how its reality is it allowing educators to negotiate with school boards over how a set budget should be used, in such broad areas as salaries, pensions, class sizes, technological investment, etc.

Are you referring to the "fact" that teachers are far overcompensated for what they already do? I mean, I much prefer the "lie" that talks about teachers working 50-60 hour work weeks, spending much of their own money on class supplies, being more educated than the average private sector worker yet receiving less, etc. All bullshit, I tell you.

Are you referring to the "fact" that unions today have no place? You're right, the "lie" in which unions provide a collective group for a bunch of vital workers, as well as simplifying the contracting process for school districts is nothing but balderdash. It'd be much better if districts negotiated each contract individually; after all, negotiating hundreds is much more fun than negotiating one.

Are you referring to the "fact" that educators haven't had to share in the pain like the private sector? The "lie" that describes a university professor receiving the same salary the past three years (no CPI increases), in addition to taking furlough days (on a salaried job, nonetheless; what, do the students just go away for a week?), and teaching more sections than ever due to hiring freezes in most departments, is far more suitable to the liberal cause than the "fact" described.

So, I really can't think of any more "facts" that liberals, or libertarians such as myself, or conservatives, such as Sen. Shultz and Rep. Trannel (both being my reps in the state legislature), aren't acknowledging.

DISCLAIMER - I live in SW Wisconsin, and damn near my entire family is composed of educators at one level or another. As such, I must confess to most probably being well informed about unions, what they do, what the "budget repair" bill is trying to destroy, and how that will impact those affected. At the very least, I'm probably better informed than Gov Walker, who dropped out of school after two years as barely a C student.


Roads are never profitable
By zephyrprime on 3/11/2011 1:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Roads are never profitable since they are free. Seriously, you can't consider the cost efficacy of rail without taking into account the fact that the primary competitor to rail is roads which are provided entirely for free.




RE: Roads are never profitable
By GotDiesel on 3/11/2011 1:29:48 PM , Rating: 3
what ?.. road are NOT free.. you pay for them with your taxes..


RE: Roads are never profitable
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 3:43:13 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly, if the roads were free, then gas and tires would cost much less. Next time you buy tires, look for that item listed as excise tax.


RE: Roads are never profitable
By Kurz on 3/12/2011 8:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing free about taking the road...
You have depreciation on your car since you are putting miles on it.

Gas tax, Tire Tax, Stress of driving, Parking fees for traveling to a city.

There is also the Federal Money (Aka more tax dollars) to pay for the Interstate Highway system. Though this is paid regardless wither you use it or not.


RE: Roads are never profitable
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
The other thing to remember is the $4 plus gas is probably going to be the new reality. Its not really cheaper for one person to drive a long distance than it is to fly if you are on a major route.


RE: Roads are never profitable
By Kurz on 3/14/2011 12:12:25 AM , Rating: 2
Depends... Remember Air planes also use fossil fuels.


RE: Roads are never profitable
By Fritzr on 3/12/2011 10:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
Paying for a national rail system, including subsidies to maintain it is very simple.

Balance the Federal budget & pay down the national debt. The interest payments to investors who fund the national debt costs more than the high speed rail would need, both to build and to operate at a loss (reported as profitable after subsidies are deducted from expenses)


RE: Roads are never profitable
By Kurz on 3/12/2011 1:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Except a significant part of Government revenue stems from Credit creation.


State-of-the-art
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 1:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
I still don't understand why there is such a fascination with these trains. People seem to have romantic thoughts about these faster versions of 19th century technology.

How many people would REALLY choose to spend twice as long traveling between LA and LV just to say they rode on the rails? Probably good turnout at first due to the novelty factor, then decilining as people decide to cut the travel time in half.




RE: State-of-the-art
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 5:05:21 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you come up with your second statement? 200 mph in a train will get you to your destination faster than 70 mph in a car. 200 mph vs air travel is closer time-wise, but the ability to avoid airports and a very distinct possiblity of cheaper tickets makes it viable.


RE: State-of-the-art
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 5:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
200MPH vs nearly 500MPH still leaves a big travel time gap. Not sure that going to a train terminal would be that much different than going to an airport.


RE: State-of-the-art
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:53:48 PM , Rating: 3
Airports are often far away from the main part of the city. Running the train into denser parts of the city means there will probably mean you spend less time getting to and from the train than you would for the airport.


Cost?
By svenkesd on 3/11/2011 11:46:01 AM , Rating: 5
I wonder how many miles of high speed rail $1T would get in the United States?

China can get 16,000 miles supposedly but they have cheap labor, cheap manufacturing, low regulations.

Imagine the US trying to build railways by paying union labor, probably having to import the manufacturing or pay double to have it done here, and having to deal with countless regulations on where it can be built, and lawsuits alleging the rail disrupted some endangered frog or something.

We would probably end up with 2,000 miles for the same $1T.




RE: Cost?
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure China is going to Germany to build their high speed rail. If I remember right the California project was going to do the same. I don't know how much regulations would be involved because Germany has already figured out how to build and operate these things safely. If I remember right the company is Siemens.


Cinders and Ashes...
By Suntan on 3/11/2011 10:51:56 AM , Rating: 4
Trains go Toot-Toot!!!

-Suntan




RE: Cinders and Ashes...
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 3:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
lol Images of Major Payne popped into my head when reading that.


Work from home.
By CU on 3/11/2011 11:23:17 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming high speed rail is only for passagers, then this 50 year push may not be as important as the last transportation pushes. With the invention of the computers and the internet people can work from home more and more. I would expect this to increase in the future not decrease. Thus high speed rail may not be the best option. I would rather see the money spend on high speed internet.




RE: Work from home.
By MrFord on 3/11/2011 12:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe invest in both. What if since you can work from home, maybe some can get along with a single car, instead of 2. Or maybe no cars at all, if they live in a more densely populated area.

Something that would be easier to do if you can travel by train, instead of having to drive the distance yourself.
High speed trains are generally not meant for daily commute, but for longer trips. Something that, even when working from home, will still happen, to meet a client for example.


RE: Work from home.
By nafhan on 3/11/2011 3:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly my thought. The US is primarily NOT factory workers, and transportation (regardless of method) is expensive. If we could reduce transportation down to mostly leisure travel and moving goods, high speed rail might not be important at all. Normal (or "slow", I guess) rail is perfectly acceptable for bulk goods. Put infrastructure money into data networks and research, I say.


What?
By bug77 on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: What?
By Flunk on 3/11/2011 11:34:52 AM , Rating: 2
You've never heard of the United States States of America?


RE: What?
By Continuity28 on 3/11/2011 11:38:43 AM , Rating: 3
The individual states of the country named "The United States of America".


Why not just raise the speed limits?
By jimbojimbo on 3/11/2011 5:26:22 PM , Rating: 3
Come on, let me drive 100MPH!




By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 6:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
Surely building an Autobahn in the places where they want to put these trains would be much cheaper to build and not incur the cost of purchasing and maintaining the train and equipment. Five lanes wide, very very limited number of access ramps, and enforce the same rules used in Germany would make them safe and fast. Of course drivers here would never go for the German road rules since it means you have to actually pay attention to what you are doing while driving. Maybe even give each lane a separate speed limit(upper and lower limit)and certify cars and drivers for which max lane they can use to keep the 20 year old mini vans out of the highest speed lanes.


Rail transport
By CalWorthing on 3/12/2011 11:35:52 PM , Rating: 4
Forty years ago I traveled Europe by train and was shocked at how superior their passenger rail system was than that at home, in the USA. Once home, I sought out the why. It had to do with a combo of cheap airlines and total the dominance of the cargo carrying rail companies (SP, BNR etc) in lobbying/politics. The cargo carriers dictated who got to use the rails. Amtrak was stifled from any growth by business and politics.

In the back and forth of comments about not wanting taxpayers to pay for rail what was rarely discussed is that our commercial air travel infrastructure has been, and is, almost entirely subsidized by the taxpayers. Airports and ATC (air traffic control) are immensely expensive on ongoing basis. Sure, there are 'fees' collected from passengers, but it's no where near the real costs involved. Airlines themselves are just scraping a little off the top. The rest, we're paying for. I'm a pilot and love airplanes, and I somewhat understand the efficiency moving things and people from here to there. Trains are much more efficient that airplanes. Not faster, just more efficient. (Remember - look at the big picture)




Typical MORONS
By Belard on 3/15/2011 3:18:26 AM , Rating: 2
Typical stupid morons.

These guys have been costing us JOBS for years.

1 - Building NEW hispeed rail for years CREATES JOBS
2 - It makes us more efficient.
3 - The rest of the WORLD laughs at the USA when they visit here and there are no trains like in Asia or Europe.
4 - the USA is becoming a 3rd world country. Thank you KOCH Brothers and your tea-bagger cover groups.

In Dallas, they put in JUST light rail about 10 years ago and its not expanding fast enough, we love it. Our highways would be a total mess without it.

USA... land of the stupid.




RE: Typical MORONS
By Aloonatic on 3/15/2011 4:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
There's talk of high speed rail in the UK too. People have made pretty similar arguments that you make. When the nation needed stimulating, back in the recession days, and we had some money (well, debt) to burn, I might have got behind it.

I like the idea of railways too, but then you hear the stories about how much high speed rail costs the tax payer in nations that have it (especially in mainland Europe) then I am happy to give it a miss.

There might be more use for it in the US though, where there are long distances to be covered. If you use it purely for inter city travel, so not stopping at every little hamlet on the way (like an air travel alternative) while letting low speed rail carry people shorter distances around and out of cities, then it might be worth while.

For some reason, high speed rail still costs a lot of money, and rarely ever seems to be even remotely cost effective, so I wouldn't be too hard on decision makers turning it down. Those jobs that would be created could be the most expensive in US history, and a fair chunk of the investment might well end up overseas, unless there are US high speed train makers that I don't know about. (not meaning to sound sarcastic there, btw)


There's a reason why we don't have much rail.
By sorry dog on 3/11/2011 11:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Rail is one of the most expensive ways to move people around in the U.S. It's a fantasy to think that we can have all major cities interconnected with a high tech rail system. I mean look at Amtrak- it loses money in the more densely populated northeast.

LaHood's comment on Florida's money going to California spells out what this is all about...which is Obama's pet pork project givebacks. Of the 50 something billion he's promised, it's only partially funded and the estimates for a truly viable system are many multiples higher than 50 billion. So why would a state go in on project that is underfunded and guaranteed to because either a too big to fail boondoggle, or just abandoned?

I think superfast trains are cool as hell, but this while idea is like the Big Dig on steriods, and the poster child of Obama's BS as he talks about cutting spending with a scapel on one hand and proposing unfunded trillion dollar projects with the other.




By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 12:26:40 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah my mom would have loved the link between Tampa and Orlando. I would open up many job opportunities for her.

But she doesn't think that those who can't take advantage of it should have to pay for it. And as Rick Scott determined, it would never make enough money to support itself. So until such time that it would, it won't get built nor should it be built.


By Chaser on 3/11/2011 11:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't for profit, private companies jump on these rail projects? Because they are almost always a financial disaster with uncontrollable cost overruns that never can make enough money to even sustain themselves. No one hardly anyone rides them.

These governors know their states will get stuck with the bill after the short term. Look at Amtrac. I don't understand why the taxpayer keeps burning money into that disaster.

Sorry Mr. President. You've got responsible governors in office now that don't want to get stuck with your "legacy" building attempts. You'll have to find another way of using taxpayer and borrowed money to put yourself in the history books.




Don't compare China to the US
By aguilpa1 on 3/11/2011 12:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
The US already has a thriving road system and millions of individually owned vehicles for transportation that works. It has a thriving air transportation system that is much faster than trains and more flexible on where they can go. It has a good existing freight train and trucking system that already connects all cities and states efficiently. How can this compare?




Be careful what you wish for
By YashBudini on 3/11/2011 12:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
Such a train could easily become a senator's next "bridge to nowhere."




By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 1:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
The article says:
"Trains will zip along at 200+ miles per hour, opening inter-city opportunities for businessmen and engineers that were formerly only available to the wealthy elite who own private jets. Meanwhile, much of the U.S. is stuck in the slow lane, something that may have a dire impact on the nation's competitiveness."

I'm not too concerned about inter-city opportunities and competitiveness without the trains, because we have airports available for the masses, not just these "wealthy elite" that are mentioned. Even better, air travel is at least twice as fast as these trains, so more business can be conducted in the same amount of time.

I don't consider myself a "wealthy elite", yet I have traveled by air numerous times both for business and vacation. Flexible routes, schedules, and competition between airlines also benefits my travel options and cost. I don't see a competitive model for the trains, but maybe there could be some such business model created (seems unlikely, but who knows).




By sorry dog on 3/11/2011 2:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
Rail is one of the most expensive ways to move people around in the U.S. It's a fantasy to think that we can have all major cities interconnected with a high tech rail system. I mean look at Amtrak- it loses money in the more densely populated northeast.

LaHood's comment on Florida's money going to California spells out what this is all about...which is Obama's pet pork project givebacks. Of the 50 something billion he's promised, it's only partially funded and the estimates for a truly viable system are many multiples higher than 50 billion. So why would a state go in on project that is underfunded and guaranteed to because either a too big to fail boondoggle, or just abandoned?

I think superfast trains are cool as hell, but this while idea is like the Big Dig on steriods, and the poster child of Obama's BS as he talks about cutting spending with a scapel on one hand and proposing unfunded trillion dollar projects with the other.




By bgold2007 on 3/15/2011 9:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
So DailyTech is run by stateist toadies??!!

There is some GOOD reporting explaining why this particular route is useless, a sucker deal. The cities are too close (within driving distance esp. considering air terminal/security delays). This route was the least favored selection, chosen only to make political hay because it could be completed soonest (2015 if no delays /overruns); California will take until 2020.

As a Floridian we don't need this. As an American we have got to stop these boondoggles. Better we show the political will to fast-speed Amtrak through all the up-bridge sections in the NE corridor.

We can't eat useless tech. I love trains,esp high-speed. that's not enough. It must pay. Florida can't even run tri-rail on time. (Hour and a half delays both ways one Sunday). Bus system brags about its being transfer-less (you could miss a connection by 2 minutes!) Still no text system for current timetable/schedule (on-time/real-time).

And the sudden 'updated' profitability ESTIMATE - by those with no financial stake - is so much politically-motivated CRAP.

Fix the laws/regs against imaginative vehicles on the roads
(why must all scooters be treated as motorcycles? such a lie. hence the downfall of the Segway).

We have to fix the little things and loosen up regs where appropriate and necessary and stop being robot control freaks, perpetuating the same nonsense through every (bureaucratic/politico) generation.

THEN when we have a real pro-progress culture, THEN we can sensibly invest in tech projects that should SUCCEED.




By Chaser on 3/11/2011 12:58:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The issue of high-speed rail projects is sharply dividing the U.S. Traditionally liberal west coast states like California, Oregon, and Washington have embraced the initiative.

And how are those projects doing today? Washington's is a complete mess and a massive tax burden to state and local taxpayers. California's the same except in smaller localities like Bart. And even Bart is struggling.

I'm not sure about Oregon but again lets look at the private sector's overall avoidance of these irresponsible, good intentioned powered, short sighted, pipe dreams.

quote:
Thus, whatever the upfront costs of intercity rail, states rejecting it may face a much higher cost as businesses and professionals flee to more technologically advanced states.
Hearsay. Baseless. Wishful, dribble.

quote:
If the U.S. can't keep up with China in terms of transportation it will be at a tremendous handicap economically. And financial trends tell world observers that the U.S. has little margin for error in its bid to stay ahead of a surging China.
These China parallel attempts are laughable if not frivolous. 1) China has no "invested" highway infrastructure anything like the U.S. So how was China's transportation looking "50 years" ago? 2) The U.S. auto owner supports the U.S. highway system with taxes on each gallon of gasoline they buy. So the user pays. Even though China's economy is rising, more people are owning cars etc, it won't even come close to our highway network. 3) Most Chinese don't drive. So expanding public transportation works in high population, low driver type countries like Japan and China.

Sorry poster but your world view and your contrived arguments are a bit too sanctimonious for us. But you can get a one way ticket to China for around $5,245 Yaun. And for the record there are still a several excellent bloggers on DT I can recommend to my colleagues that stick with tech related facts and news but leave their personal politics out of their columns.




By vision33r on 3/13/2011 12:36:47 AM , Rating: 1
Well documented that car makers lobbied hard against building mass transit in California in the 60s...




Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Tough
By theapparition on 3/11/2011 11:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. This isn't rocket science people.

And I severely doubt the DOE's conclusions. Amtrak has yet to make a profit. Why would high speed more expensive Amtrak change that.


RE: Tough
By StraightCashHomey on 3/11/2011 11:36:52 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know.. maybe because it's high speed?


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 12:12:20 PM , Rating: 1
High speed rail just means higher costs to build it. You still won't have enough riders to maintain the rail line, pay the employees, and make back the money you sent.


RE: Tough
By acer905 on 3/11/2011 12:40:24 PM , Rating: 5
Just a thought... With every passing year Air travel becomes more and more tedious due to "security measures" and many people are put off because of it. However, for the last 30 years, Air travel has killed the interest in trains, and ocean liners as transportation, which shut down the industry.

Right now, if a person wants to travel overseas, they are almost certainly stuck using an airplane. Likewise, a person traveling across the country has limited options. It is certainly a situation we put ourselves in, air travel was faster than others and thus preferred, but now many people would like a second option, but none is available.

Its possible that if a true high speed rail system was established, something that actually averaged 200+ mph between major hubs (assume 6-10 major hubs for the continental US), people would be interested as a way of avoiding air travel and the crap that comes with it.

It might be a situation where if you build it, they will come...

Or not.


RE: Tough
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 12:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
people would be interested as a way of avoiding air travel and the crap that comes with it.


I think it would transfer to the high speed rail because such a high profile target would need to be protected. You will probably still have to endure the long lines and body scans just to travel at a slower speed.


RE: Tough
By MrBlastman on 3/11/2011 12:58:58 PM , Rating: 5
I think Americans just need to stop living in fear and instead start packing more "heat." The terrorists will think twice when they realize that anyone around them could plug them in a split second if they get a gist of what they're planning on doing.

Since when have Americans put up with being "afraid" to live in their own country. This fear-boating has to stop.


RE: Tough
By rcc on 3/11/2011 2:24:21 PM , Rating: 3
: )

I love the movie scenes where some moron tries to rob a bar without realizing it's a cop bar. They holler "everyone on the floor" and all you hear is 50 slides/hammers getting jacked back. ....Oops....

I'm mostly in favor, unfortunately I'm not sure that most of the population has the self reliance and common sense to pull it off anymore.

Think we can get firearms training added as part of the manditory Physical Education programs in high schools? I could get behind that.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 2:48:42 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand allowing carry for trains and buses and what not, but if you miss on a plane, the effect is a bit more dramatic than hitting some farmers corn stalk :)


RE: Tough
By MrBlastman on 3/11/2011 4:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
Mythbusters already proved that if you poke a hole in the side of a plane it won't suck everyone out a la Goldfinger.


RE: Tough
By smackababy on 3/11/2011 5:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
But will it cause sudden lose of pressure in the cabin? That would be pretty discomforting for everyone flying. Not to mention the panic of just having a firearm go off within 20ft of you.


RE: Tough
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 5:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hahah

That is so ridicolous.

The FAA requires that the sudden removal of up to 14 square feet not cause significant decompression. Have you ever seen the pictures of the Quantas 747 that had an oxygen bottle explode during pressurized flight?

Passeneger windows go missing sometimes.

Uncomforable, yes. Significantly... no.


RE: Tough
By rcc on 3/14/2011 3:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, more or less discomforting than being hijacked to (insert your least favorite destination here).


RE: Tough
By rcc on 3/14/2011 3:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
Think about the positive reinforcement at the door of the plane as the crew hands out clips of rubber bullets.

: )


RE: Tough
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 3:20:43 PM , Rating: 1
I agree, problem is the government wants us to depend on them to keep us safe. Seems they want us to tell the criminal breaking into our house to wait at the door until the police arrive to detain them instead of us defending ourselves.


RE: Tough
By Ammohunt on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Tough
By StevoLincolnite on 3/11/2011 7:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have never taken from the government that which i didn't earn and don't rely on them for me or my families safety in the microcosm.


If you work, you pay taxes, pay taxes and you pay the Government.
So the Government works for you (The People) because you (The People) pay them.

That's like owning a Business and paying all your employee's to just sit around so you can do all the work. :P


RE: Tough
By Clenathan on 3/11/2011 3:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
And when gas prices eventually inflate beyond inflation (which they will) and air travel increases correspondingly, we'll then decide we need a railroad system which takes 20 years to develop. Lagging, again.


RE: Tough
By lyeoh on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Tough
By zixin on 3/11/2011 12:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of inflation? If you pump too much money into the economy inflation will go out of control. China, with its fast growing economy, is facing this issue right now.


RE: Tough
By lyeoh on 3/13/2011 3:34:31 AM , Rating: 2
Ever learn to read? I mentioned inflation in the 3rd paragraph.

Creating money/inflation is a way of taxing people who hold net positive amounts of it.

The US is in an advantageous position because OTHER COUNTRIES hold large net positive amounts of US dollars and use it to buy and sell stuff.

So when the US Gov prints money, it's not just the US citizens who get "taxed"/poorer - but the rest of the world gets "taxed"/poorer too.

What the US Gov does with the transferred wealth is the problem - currently they're passing it to a few who are already very rich. Whereas if they passed it to the general US public (for example by spending on projects that creating jobs and assets (like infrastructure) for the USA), it means more of the US public would remain richer than those in other countries.

The US owes China trillions, but in US dollars (that's like Hasbro owing its suppliers in Monopoly money, except the US Fed can create trillions more easily than Hasbro), China has long linked its currency to the US dollar, and as I've mentioned much in the world is priced in US dollars (oil, wheat, even Chinese products) so no surprise they have inflation when the USA creates many trillions of US dollars.


RE: Tough
By Lerianis on 3/11/2011 4:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
Who says it is only going to be used for passengers? Also, with the ever increasing prices of plane travel, I see people switching over to train travel even if it takes a couple of days to get to where they wish to go.

They will just take off for a little longer than usual.


RE: Tough
By cjohnson2136 on 3/11/2011 5:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
FYI a train traveling at about 200mph going across the country roughly about 3000 miles would take 15 hours with no stops. So it would be a nice little in between option between driving a car and flying


RE: Tough
By bobny1 on 3/11/2011 7:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
This past summer I had the pleasure of traveling to Italy for 10 days. Went from Rome to Naples, Florence, Venice on a single day trip to each city. Thanks to the wonderful high speed train system. " frecia Rossa". At 200 mph life has a different perspective. What a shame the greatest country in the planet "USA" is light years behind the rest of the civilized world


RE: Tough
By torpor on 3/11/2011 12:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
High-speed over short/medium hauls is inane.

For example, Amtrak's Acela train (high-speed eastern corridor service) can go over 150mph, but averages less than half of that, and rarely ever gets to top speed. Even in that highly-populated service run, the line bleeds money.

Now, you want to link all the square states with a scheme that costs more than an airplane, goes slower than an airplane, destroys the landscape and can't even earn it's keep on the eastern seaboard?

I think you're stuck on stupid.

Let China do it if they want to. It's wrong for US.


RE: Tough
By mcnabney on 3/11/2011 12:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
Acela is limited by having to run on legacy tracks in many areas.

True high-speed trains actually need to have tracks built with rails that are a mile long per segment(amazing, I know).

If we built a true high-speed track it would be very straight (to allow high speeds) and use very long and custom made track segments.


RE: Tough
By euler007 on 3/11/2011 12:59:09 PM , Rating: 1
"High-speed over short/medium hauls is inane."

"Let China do it if they want to. It's wrong for US. "

You think the US is smaller then China?


RE: Tough
By Solandri on 3/11/2011 4:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a matter of size, it's a matter of population density. Just look at our highways. In most of the U.S. the highways run fine. In cities where the population density is higher, the highways suffer from congestion. Same transport system, but very different results in different areas based entirely on population density.

High-speed rail in most of the U.S. would bleed money from lack of use. It's only between a few high-population density metro areas where it's viable. Most of those are already linked by planes (and for distances greater than about 1000 miles, a plane is still going to be superior even with all the lines and delays). China is very different in that it has lots of high-population density areas in relatively close proximity to each other. They can build these trains and have them running 24/7 at 1-2 hour intervals, with each city linked to a half dozen other cities. In the U.S. the market for them is probably just 2-5 trips a day with each city linked to just one other city.

Remember - we should be building this because it's useful, not because it's neat or because we feel we have to prove something to the world.


RE: Tough
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure no transportation system operates without government subsidies. The government provides air traffic control, security, airports, maintenance oversite, etc for commercial aviation. The government builds roads and emergency services for our cars and trucks and city buses always run at a loss. Nope, transportation is always subsidized.


RE: Tough
By gorehound on 3/11/2011 5:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
i will travel on high speed trains as i hate going to an airport and being treated like i am a criminal.
anyways the way things are going in the country we will be turning into krap.china and other countries will be leading not us any longer.
watch the future and see what it brings to our great prosperous country


RE: Tough
By seamonkey79 on 3/11/2011 6:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
They're already starting to put full body scanners in rail stations, so get used to it faster.


RE: Tough
By Amiga500 on 3/11/2011 11:28:53 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see the difference between a government building high speed railways and building interstate highways/freeways/motorways.

They could easily build the basic infrastructure then charge companies for delivering services on it... kinda like tax for the roads.

I don't see the private sector building too many roads... unless the govt contracts them to do it...


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Tough
By zixin on 3/11/2011 12:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
That might have been the intent but who is benefiting most from the system now, us or the military?


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 1:19:40 PM , Rating: 1
The point is that the federal government has a requirement to provide for the national defense. It does not have a requirement or the power to help states expand their infrastructure to benefit their state economies. That is the state governments job.

What will really help these kinds of projects get built is to ease the number of environmental and other regulations which drive up the cost of building these kinds of projects. That will lower the costs for private investors who see money to be made with these rail lines. If there is a demand and it is economically viable, it will be built. It shouldn't be built to benefit just those who use it at a cost to everyone else who doesn't.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 2:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"

I think that about sums up how wrong you are?


RE: Tough
By JediJeb on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Tough
By tigz1218 on 3/11/2011 3:13:56 PM , Rating: 4
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"

And thus we defeated the big British Government and established our own limited government. You actually think by that phrase our founders meant to tax projects like this? Please don't quote our founders unless you have an idea of what they were fighting for. All of which stated above is referencing is something called individual liberty. By the looks of it, you don't know what that means.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 3:21:40 PM , Rating: 1
"People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

You are inferring your own beliefs and conclusions into the preamble by citing vague notions. Are you a medium? Can you commune with dead spirits? I didn't think so.

Last time I checked, the definition of the word "general" was pretty general.


RE: Tough
By Solandri on 3/11/2011 4:30:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You are inferring your own beliefs and conclusions into the preamble by citing vague notions. Are you a medium? Can you commune with dead spirits? I didn't think so.

Actually, you are also inferring your own beliefs and conclusions into the preamble. The historical interpretation of the general welfare clause has been mixed, but most SCotUS interpretations of it have been of limited scope. In particular, the clause you quoted is generally regarded as simply being a preamble - reasons to justify the powers granted in the rest of the Constitution, not a grant of powers in itself. The general welfare clause which (purportedly) grants powers comes later:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"

A broad interpretation of "general Welfare" as you've proposed would essentially be unlimited in scope - the Federal government would be allowed to do anything and everything as long as it could in some way benefit (parts of) the country. Clearly that's can't be the correct interpretation; if it were, the founders would've just written "the government can do anything and everything it wants as long as it is for the betterment of the people" and called it a day. No need to write the rest of the Constitution.

From the 10th Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."), it's pretty clear that the opposite is true. They were constructing an "opt-in" system where the Federal government's powers are limited to those explicitly given to it in the Constitution. Not an "opt-out" system where the Federal government can do anything it wants to promote the general welfare, unless prohibited by the Constitution.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 5:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
"The point is that the federal government has a requirement to provide for the national defense. It does not have a requirement or the power to help states expand their infrastructure to benefit their state economies. That is the state governments job."

My point was to refute FIT's line of "logic." Not to re-write the popular understanding of the Constitution, just his :P


RE: Tough
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 4:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
Uh huh, and we have a navy large enough to defeat all of the rest of the world's navies combined. I think we can afford to cut back a little on defense. British doctrine back in the day was to have a navy capable of defeating the next two largest navies combined. There are a lot of people in the defense industry making a lot of money, I'm a little suspicious.


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 4:01:46 PM , Rating: 1
Now actually go fucking educate yourself about what they meant by "general welfare". Defense and liberty have nothing to do with this debate. This about high speed commuter rail. You don't have a right to it nor is it for defense.

"The general welfare" does not mean to take care of the people. Otherwise the Constitution means nothing because the federal government has the power to do anything it wants.

quote:
With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

--James Madison


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 4:05:40 PM , Rating: 1
Domestic tranquility and justice are also not at issue here.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 5:31:22 PM , Rating: 3
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth FIT, than are dreamnt of in your philosophy"


RE: Tough
By Kurz on 3/14/2011 12:14:46 AM , Rating: 2
Though its a philosophy that is regarded as the foundation of one of the greatest civilizations in mankind's limited history.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/14/2011 4:03:00 AM , Rating: 2
You are just chock full'a fallacy aren't you? :P

No, it is a philosophy regarded by you, FIT, and the people you introject information from as the foundation of this nation. (lol Firefox thinks introject isn't a word)

In fact, wasn't it Andrew Jackson's conflict, i.e. direct involvement by the federal government, with the National Bank that finally made this country economically independent and created what are only two points in the entire history of the country when we didn't incur a deficit?

What has made America one of the best nations in the history of civilization is our ability to discuss and change our collective philosophy to suit our needs, not stick steadfastly to views of previous generations or our interpretations of those views.


RE: Tough
By Kurz on 3/14/2011 11:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
The national bank was argued, but was taken out of the constitution. There was several attempts of having a national bank. Andrew Jackson "I beat the bank" got rid of the last one. It was then replaced by the Federal reserve in 1913.

No its the notion of Freedom, Liberty, Private Property, Equality under the law (Not forcing economic and social equality) that has made this country great.

We can always discuss for social change however I am against mandating social/economic change under the law.


RE: Tough
By twhittet on 3/11/2011 7:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Please take your 5mpg car that you have every right to choose to drive, and choose to drive on your toll roads then. You definitely aren't helping our national defense by driving on the interstate. Practice what you preach.


RE: Tough
By donjuancarlos on 3/11/2011 11:30:28 AM , Rating: 3
+1
And these things always go way over budget. Trains seem to make most sense in or between super-dense metropolitan centers where most residents don't own cars.


RE: Tough
By Darkefire on 3/11/2011 11:31:36 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, just like the interstate highway system and the Transcontinental Railroad were. Oh, wait...

Massive multi-billion dollar transportation projects simply cannot be funded by the private sector, the kind of capital required can only come from federal funding. It says a lot that we're waffling and trying to appease any number of dissenting lobbies while China just does it.


RE: Tough
By theapparition on 3/11/2011 11:58:10 AM , Rating: 1
What happens when the US government breaks down your door, forces you out of your home at gunpoint, and tells you that you don't live here anymore because your land is now required by the great republic for the new high speed railway.

Oh right, that's what happens in China.


RE: Tough
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2011 2:53:15 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, in the US they give you a check for way less then the value of your house... THEN they kick down your door citing Eminent Domain.


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Tough
By tdawg on 3/11/2011 12:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
High speed rail can potentially make the US effectively smaller in making it much quicker to travel long distances. If I could travel from Seattle to Portland in 1 hour by high-speed train instead of 3+ by car and have to deal with traffic, I'd choose rail. This, of course, is dependent on rail ticket prices and schedules/train frequency.

If we can interconnect major metropolitan areas, skilled workers would have a larger pool of opportunities to choose from, all workers would have a larger job pool. The bigger push, to me, would be to interconnect suburbs/rural areas with major metropolitan cities so people can live where they want and work where they want without having to deal with long commutes and lost time.


RE: Tough
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 12:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The bigger push, to me, would be to interconnect suburbs/rural areas with major metropolitan cities so people can live where they want and work where they want without having to deal with long commutes and lost time.
This is the dream but the reality is most states don't have the money for these projects. I would love to have super fast transportation down to the LA area. It would open up a ton of job opportunities for me (and a lot of other people). Downside, other than the money issue, is the public transportation in LA is horrendous and unless my job is near the train station, it would likely suck butthole to get there.


RE: Tough
By OCedHrt on 3/11/2011 1:28:59 PM , Rating: 3
Do you know that LA has a subway? And with free bus transfer? It really can get you where you want to go.


RE: Tough
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 1:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you know that LA has a subway? And with free bus transfer? It really can get you where you want to go.
Yep, I live in SoCal.


RE: Tough
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 4:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, what if I live in Hollywood and want to go to Seal Beach. What transfers do I take?


RE: Tough
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Tough
By tdawg on 3/11/2011 6:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think I mentioned who should pay for the construction in my post, I just pointed out what I see as potential benefits to having a high-speed transport system.

However, states operate on much smaller budgets so federal grants/matching federal dollars makes sense. I know everybody wants to just shut down the government to try to erase the deficit asap, but there has to be some spending, and not just in the military-industrial complex.

Infrastructure spending can create jobs across states and put spending money in more people's pockets. Since our economy is unfortunately tied to consumer spending rather than robust manufacturing, we have to have more people spending. This seems to be a better way to spend federal dollars than a stimulus in the form of a few hundred dollars via a government check.


RE: Tough
By AntiM on 3/11/2011 11:41:14 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. China can build with cheap, non-union labor and as far as I know, don't have to worry too much about right of way. A similar project here in the States would be double or triple the cost. It will certainly be a money loser. If there's money to be made with high speed rail, then a private company will invest in it.
If the government has so much money to throw around, I say spend it on high speed internet access infrastructure. That's an investment that will certainly pay off.


RE: Tough
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 12:50:07 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The new study cost $2.4M USD in federal funding and was conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates and Steer Davies Gleave.


It has been turned down and it still cost us (the rest of the tax payers in the country) $2.4M that is what keeps it from being build here. Funny also how the studies not conducted on the tax payers dime say it won't work but one that gets $2.4M of our money says it will.

By the time all the Environmental Impact Studies are conducted for every inch of the proposed routes, land purchases and litigation over such purchases, rerouting, redesign, inaccurate construction cost estimates, ect that will happen as they always do, $1T would not buy us much high speed rail mileage and yet we are putting up much less to even begin with.

Also for those that think it will be a quick and easy thing to get aboard compared to flying, I imagine you will still have the long lines, body searches and every thing else carry over from flying to this because they will definitely become suspected terrorist targets seeing how new and shiny a target they would make. It all sounds great when seeing the marketing put out by those in favor of such projects, but all the little gotchas they don't show will surface soon after the go ahead is given.


RE: Tough
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 1:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
Total cost for California alone is estimated to be anywhere from $42 to 59 billion. And we only have 4 billion and half of that is from the government. Not going to happen. Even if we were lean and mean and didn't have a recession, it would still put us in the red or we'd have to cut a bunch of stuff to do it (2006 budget was $100 billion).


RE: Tough
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 4:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah the mismanagement of the California budget for a long time has kind of put projects like this into question. If a budget is well run where you don't spend into oblivion during good times than it makes a lot of sense to build projects like this during bad times to act as stimulus. Unfortunately I don't see California's idiot legislature getting any better at managing the budget any time soon.


RE: Tough
By Solandri on 3/11/2011 4:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also for those that think it will be a quick and easy thing to get aboard compared to flying, I imagine you will still have the long lines, body searches and every thing else carry over from flying to this because they will definitely become suspected terrorist targets seeing how new and shiny a target they would make.

The lines will be shorter because to bring down a plane, you have to get yourself or you luggage onto it. You don't have to do anything to a train to conduct an attack on it. You just have to dislodge a section of its rail. So the security inconvenience would be mostly removed from train passengers, but it would have to be exponentially increased to maintain the integrity of the tracks.

That said, the risk of terrorism is vastly overblown. Our airport security measures probably kill more people than terrorists. By making it inconvenient to fly, people choose to drive instead of fly. And your chances of dying in an accident while driving are much higher than while flying.


RE: Tough
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 6:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That said, the risk of terrorism is vastly overblown. Our airport security measures probably kill more people than terrorists. By making it inconvenient to fly, people choose to drive instead of fly. And your chances of dying in an accident while driving are much higher than while flying.


Yes.

All it would take though is one bomb on one train and we would have the same security as at airports. People's fear of things they can't 'control' is just way too high.

quote:
The lines will be shorter because to bring down a plane


I guess I must fly at the wrong times or something. I fly very frequently and I rarely need to wait more than 15 minutes for security. Far more annoying is people's boarding habits to the actual aircraft. Not sure I would enjoy a crowded train any better than a crowded aircraft.


RE: Tough
By MikieTImT on 3/11/2011 4:22:32 PM , Rating: 5
Last time this country built a transcontinental railroad, they also used cheap, Chinese, non-union labor.


RE: Tough
By skaaman on 3/11/2011 9:41:30 PM , Rating: 1
Delusional as always Fit. The private sector would buy the politician to write the bill to get you to pay for it. Oh wait! They already do that!.

By the way were not broke. We have severe problems to address and I share your fear. The problem is it will take Congress to fix it and no one on either side of the aisle has the stomach to touch the third rail issues required to get a handle on the problem. I am so sick of the current dialog around the current cuts on the table that will do NOTHING to fix our problem. 60B from the discretionary budget which is 16% of the total pie. What a joke.


We don't want trains
By ketchup79 on 3/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: We don't want trains
By zmatt on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: We don't want trains
By gamerk2 on 3/11/2011 11:34:23 AM , Rating: 3
Using that logic, the IHS was a waste of money as well, as its never once brought in more money then its cost to maintain.

Of course, the areas directly served by the largest artiers have experianced massive growth, and those areas, both locally and state wide, have made lost of money due to the economic growth provided by the service.

Amtrack is the same way; while it operates at a loss, its positive economic impacts [increase in business] more then offsets the cost to operate, and is thus a net positive.


RE: We don't want trains
By flybefree on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: We don't want trains
By Motley on 3/11/2011 2:00:27 PM , Rating: 3
Interstate Highway System. The thing eisenhower pushed, and why we currently have interstate highways.


RE: We don't want trains
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: We don't want trains
By mcnabney on 3/11/2011 1:00:29 PM , Rating: 5
They moved toward a privatized model some time ago. That is why they just don't provide service in many areas. However, a non-private model will mandate service to more areas, but doing so is unprofitable.

I will remind you that without similar public/private arrangements there wouldn't be phones or electricity in vast swaths of rural areas. There also wouldn't be very many small regional airports either since those are also supported by the Federal government.


RE: We don't want trains
By FITCamaro on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: We don't want trains
By tastyratz on 3/11/2011 2:04:38 PM , Rating: 5
I disagree, its a matter of if you build it they will come. An area without any form of development will remain a rural area. If we want to expand as a country we need to provide incentive on populating these more rural areas and expanding or we will continue on the path of densely populated cities with poor living conditions and penalize rural industry. There is a lot of power in land, and tapping that land allows us to more effectively utilize our resources. Maintaining rural areas can be expensive but is offset with local state and town tax. More people more jobs less square footage per taxpayer and more taxable revenue for the state. Idle land does nobody any good.

Every town started as a rural town, and it is easy to say basic utilities should not have been built when you live outside these areas.

I live in a populated area, but still support my taxes going towards developing less populated areas.


RE: We don't want trains
By bildan on 3/11/2011 2:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
"its a matter of if you build it they will come"

Not sure about that.

I am planning a trip next January from Denver to Reno for a convention. Since Amtrak leaves Denver for Reno at 8AM, it's a perfect fit.

However Amtrack is the most expensive and least convenient of all travel modes. Parking at Denver's Union Station is a nightmare, the trip will take at least 24 hours (More than a car) and the cost is higher than flying or driving.

I still may go Amtrack just to say I've done it.


RE: We don't want trains
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 3:00:50 PM , Rating: 1
But many of us in rural areas would like our areas to remain rural, yet everyone wants to develop the land around us and ruin our nice quiet areas. Also it seems that developers want to build on the nice flat farmland and leave only the rough rocky areas behind, that causes a loss of farm lands which sooner or later is going to lead to higher food prices. Crime rates almost always rise as the little rural towns begin expanding due to industry and that is not wanted either. Little towns that were once 40 miles from a larger city begin to grow because everyone living in the city wants out, but they also don't like living next to a farm because it might smell bad so they end up legislating those farms out of business. I am seeing this happen more and more often here in Kentucky and I know of others saying the same thing in other states.

quote:
There is a lot of power in land, and tapping that land allows us to more effectively utilize our resources. Maintaining rural areas can be expensive but is offset with local state and town tax.


The power in that land gets taken from the original owners and transferred to corporations which in turn are supported on the backs of the local tax payers. Why would I want a stinking, noisy factory build next door to my nice peaceful cabin and then be taxed more to support it?

quote:
If we want to expand as a country we need to provide incentive on populating these more rural areas and expanding or we will continue on the path of densely populated cities with poor living conditions and penalize rural industry.


Then the rural areas are no longer rural. You talk as if an area being rural is a bad thing. Also most of the industries in rural areas are there for a reason, they want them in a rural area. If it was a penalty to be there, they wouldn't have been built there in the first place. You don't build up an industry somewhere then say "wow wouldn't be nice if we were in a totally different type of setting" if you do then you didn't plan very well before starting.

quote:
An area without any form of development will remain a rural area.


BINGO, we have a winner! If those of us living in those rural areas wanted to live in a city we would move there. Cities need to learn how to clean themselves up and maintain themselves first, then maybe they can expand out into the rural areas. Why would the rural areas want to become like the crowded inner cities everyone is trying to escape from.


RE: We don't want trains
By GaryJohnson on 3/11/2011 8:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would the rural areas want to become like the crowded inner cities everyone is trying to escape from.


Everyone isn't trying to escape. I live in a rural area and I love it, but I'm not vain enough to think that everyone wants the same thing I do. Cities are growing because there's demand for that.


RE: We don't want trains
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 1:27:17 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, there is no way that consumers of this technology could or would cover these costs without the help of the rest of us. Actually, government subsidy crowds out private investment, I don't see any evidence to suggest that this infrastructure would not have been created without the rest of us paying for it.

If providing train service to areas where not many people want to go (or prefer other means of travel) is not profitable, why don't we just let it be that way and people can then take their preferred mode of travel without sucking money out of our pockets?


RE: We don't want trains
By JediJeb on 3/11/2011 3:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
I find it rather ironic that the federal government funded the building of the interstate highway system which is what actually killed off rail passenger service in rural areas and now the government is wanting to fix that by funding the high speed rail. It is like paying to have the windows removed from your house, then paying more to use a bigger furnace to keep it warm in the winter.


RE: We don't want trains
By tastyratz on 3/11/2011 4:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
more like expanding your house and needing a bigger furnace to keep up while everyone is arguing for coats.

High speed rail works and works well in all other countries it is deployed in. The usa is widely criticized for its lack of alternative transportation for good reason. This will bite us in the ass as gas prices continue to skyrocket. We tend to be reactionary spenders here instead of proactive spenders... well the writing is on the wall that we need better transportation and it will be a problem LONG before this could be deployed.
Look at china investing in enough rail to compete with the dimensions of the usa. This is for mass transit long distances, they are investing in their future. Do we really need china to gain ANOTHER advantage to manufacture cheaper goods?

Rail cargo transport is also incredibly cheap compared to air transport... so the manufacturing of goods in America remains more competitive (in turn keeping American jobs)
Sometimes you have to spend some to save some more.


RE: We don't want trains
By avxo on 3/11/2011 2:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amtrack is the same way; while it operates at a loss, its positive economic impacts [increase in business] more then offsets the cost to operate, and is thus a net positive.


Please provide evidence -- preferably not of the hand-waving kind -- to back up your statement. Thank you.


RE: We don't want trains
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 11:35:21 AM , Rating: 2
The issue is that most of the public can't see past the current trains - archaic, 200-year-old technology traveling at ~30 mph crammed full of "questionable" individuals.
If we had the trains of Europe/China/Japan, the story would be different.

This problem is that people like you don't understand, and refuuse to consider, that value that these projects could bring to our country.


RE: We don't want trains
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 12:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
No its an issue of population density. The areas that have the population to support public transit are free to build it on their own. The rest of the nation shouldn't have to subsidize it for them. Europe, Japan, and China have the required population density to support it. We do not in most areas of the country.


RE: We don't want trains
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 2:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
The population density of Tampa-Orlando and Michigan (the Detriot area no doubt) is quite high. Why would investment in sparse population areas even be considered?


RE: We don't want trains
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 3:53:18 PM , Rating: 2
Except all the proposed light rails in the Orlando area only service an extremely small section of the population. And right now there are very few people who commute from Orlando to Tampa or vice versa every day. Certainly not enough to sustain the rail line. And you're not going to be able to build a rail system through either city all the main sections of town that would be required for it to be useful to a good portion of the population.

Another problem is even if you get to the other side of town via rail line, you still aren't necessarily close to work. And there's no good way to get there.


RE: We don't want trains
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2011 3:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wow dude, I tend to disagree with you 100% of the time.


RE: We don't want trains
By ebakke on 3/11/2011 1:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This problem is that people like you don't understand, and refuuse to consider, that value that these projects could bring to our country.
The assumption that those who don't agree with you are ignorant/stupid is just plain insulting. I understand the potential value. I also understand the costs, and the value/costs of alternatives. And to me the value doesn't outweigh the costs. That doesn't make me stupid or uninformed.


RE: We don't want trains
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 3:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
Failing to understand or refusing to consider the value of something by writing it off as something no one considers or because of preconcieved notions about transportation freedom is a problem.
You did not state any facts about potential value, alternatives or costs. Consider this: the florida project is $28.6 million per mile. A DOT project here in Texas involves simply widening a 7-mile long stretch of an existing suburban highway- only 2 of which will be repaved- costs $80 million.


RE: We don't want trains
By JediJeb on 3/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: We don't want trains
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 4:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
The TXDOT road project was mentioned as an example; a reference for a transportation project. It's not too much of a stretch to assume that a brand-new highway would cost double the project I mentioned, putting it in line with the high-speed rail project.
I don't think either of us are informed enough to come to a conclusion on which is a more effecient use of taxpayer funds.


RE: We don't want trains
By ebakke on 3/11/2011 3:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
Where to start...

First, can we please get past the assumption that people who disagree with your opinions/values 'fail to understand'? Stop assuming I just don't it. Let's start a discussion by assuming the other person has a decent head on his shoulders and not that he's some dolt who just needs to be educated.

Second, what exactly is a 'preconceived notion about transportation freedoms'? Does me wanting (and having, mind you) the freedom to pick walking, biking, driving, flying, riding bus/train fall into that? If not, please elaborate what you were referring to. If so, please elaborate on how that freedom is problematic for you.

Third, your example doesn't carry much weight as you've only provided a singular piece of information in very complex situations. That's like me telling you my recent visit to the hospital cost me $2000 and my mom's cost her $5,581,204. Without any details about what was done, the circumstances leading up to that, who did it, cost of labor in my/her markets, etc those numbers alone don't provide much value. Furthermore, even if the numbers you provided came with all of the supporting info, it doesn't really defend your argument well at all. The Florida project is $28.6M /mile while the Texas project is $11.43M /mile. I think you were attempting to illustrate that the highway costs more, when in fact you argued the opposite.


RE: We don't want trains
By Tabinium on 3/11/2011 4:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
The preconceived notion I mentioned is that the freedom to get in your car and drive somewhere is more important than considering which one is faster, cheaper, easier or more efficient. In addition, Mr. ketchup mentioned something about being packed in like sardines, which may or not be true- but a conclusion cannot be made based on the idea alone.
My response to the above post explains the value I gave. $2.4B is a lot of money, but not orders of magnitude off from a very large highway project.
Please assume that I have a decent head on my shoulders, and that I can divide 80 by 7.


RE: We don't want trains
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 6:29:02 PM , Rating: 1
There is a major issue with Rail projects.

A Railroad is a closed platform transportation method. Only a very specific type of transportation can be used on the construction, often a Rail Road is under the domain of a single entity. Doubt me? Call up the local light rail in your area and ask if you can use thier facilities (for a price) to conduct your own transportation company....

In contrast, Roads and Airports are typically open source. A wide range of transportation can use a road, without any need for retrofit. Although roads can locked to single entities, roads typically aren't....

If I had lived in a town, and I had to choose one to connect my town to the "big city" a Road or a Rail, I would choose the Road every time. If I had to choose constructing 2 or 3 more lanes of road or a new rail system. I would choose the road. Its hard for me to envision choosing the Rail.


RE: We don't want trains
By Moohbear on 3/11/2011 11:51:12 AM , Rating: 2
You can't compare driving almost 20 hrs from L.A. to Seattle (a 2 days trip realistically) to boarding a high-speed train and doing the same distance in less than 8 hrs (single day/overnight trip). It's not even that bad compared to flying (2hrs 40): high-speed trains take you from city center to city center, unlike airplanes and you don't need to show up way in advance.


RE: We don't want trains
By MikieTImT on 3/11/2011 4:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
Don't think for a second that the TSA isn't chomping at the bit to setup "security" at train stations, especially if higher fuel prices drop plane ridership. That'll take another chunk of incentive from riding the rails.


RE: We don't want trains
By MrFord on 3/11/2011 12:16:35 PM , Rating: 4
While in certain parts of the US, it is much more convenient to rely on cars, in others, the volume of traffic is just too imposing for the highway system.

What they should have done from the start, is target 2-3 corridors (California, Northeast, Cascades), invest the money where there is demand, acceptance and where it would make for a good example of what can be done. It was stupid to spread that money on a bunch of half-baked projects with dubious returns.

Build up the California link, upgrade the Northeast Corridor, that's where the money is. If Amtrak can make money and grab over 50% of the market with 135mph Acelas and 100mph Regionals, they will with a 200mph HSR. People there are using it, the roads are at over-capacity, and the population is concentrated in close distances.

Make that work, then they can discuss about opening new markets.


RE: We don't want trains
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 12:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
LA doesn't even have the ridership for these projects. This is a VERY common topic here in SoCal. They spend tons of money on trains and buses and hardly anyone uses them. All of them are money losers (and subsidized to boot...thank God not my tax dollars). The high speed rail proposal is a joke. They literally only have the money to build one short stretch out in the middle of nowhere (and they're going to build it too).


RE: We don't want trains
By wookie1 on 3/11/2011 2:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
Two comments:
"If Amtrak can make money and grab over 50% of the market with 135mph Acelas and 100mph Regionals, they will with a 200mph HSR."

I don't think that Amtrak has made money in decades, if ever. Why would they all of a sudden make money with HSR?

Also, if politicians are in charge of building these systems, they won't be put where the most revenue could be generated, but rather where the politicians stand to gain the most benefit. See the bridge to nowhere in AK, and the proposed train to nowhere in CA.


RE: We don't want trains
By MrFord on 3/11/2011 3:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
Amtrak as a whole, not, but the Northeast Corridor does cover it's costs and then some more. The main reasons are density of the population covered, and the fact that then can not only compete with driving and flying, they are in fact the fastest way around.

IF they build it correctly in CA (meaning it goes from one big city's downtown to another's), they will easily be able to compete with flying, not even counting the time to get to the airport in the first place. But you're right, they cannot try to pull one like in Florida, and expect it to be popular.


RE: We don't want trains
By Mr Perfect on 3/11/2011 2:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
I would see high speed rail as an alternative to air travel, not cars. At speeds of 200MPH, they're not making a run to the grocery store. This is long haul stuff.

Not not show up at the airport five hours early, do not get groped by the TSA, go directly to the train station!


RE: We don't want trains
By ebakke on 3/11/2011 3:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
Realistically though, if rail became half as popular as air travel, you can bet TSA would start screening everyone there too.


RE: We don't want trains
By superPC on 3/11/2011 9:07:01 PM , Rating: 1
ah yes the americans wants more highway. but it seems the US doesn't build those either. china has almost as much highway as the US and already more than the entire EU and they're still growing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressways_of_China)... so china has highway AND high speed rails (both growing at a very brisk pace). while the US only has highway and are not building new ones. how is not building a high speed rail a good thing again?


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