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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 8th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #2261
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Yeah, keep up the good work, America. Oil prices will get you down.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #2262
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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
So, how does something like this exist and operate in the world without being profitable? Someone has to pay. Who is that someone?


pssst. I already know the answer.....and therein lies the arguement.

Usually the society AS A WHOLE benefits but I guess that concept is TOO big for you to grasp.

As for rail system not making a profit, I have news for you JR and all other private commuter lines in Japan are raking in BIG profit because they see it as a SYSTEM making money not only from the trains themselves but everything that surrounds that community. Everything from real estate, to retail all train operators have a virtual monopoly because they are able to set the perimeters in how a community will be laid around the station and further on as they operate feeder bus lines as well.

The problem with US corporations is that they cannot invest in these kind of projects due to nagging stock holders concerned over the short term loss not being able to see the gain in the mid/long term profit promised that takes over ten years to complete so you people are stuck with half baked suburbs not really sufficient to becoming part of a bigger community breeding NIMBYs to further isolation and at the end dropping the real estate value since because it is left behind from progress.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 07:08 PM   #2263
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Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
Usually the society AS A WHOLE benefits but I guess that concept is TOO big for you to grasp.
It's a recurring debate here: why it is so difficult to understand separation of infrastructure and vehicle operation?

As for "this benefits society as a whole", you fall into pure politics. The Interstate Highway System is much closer to actually benefiting society as a whole than any high-speed network will ever be. I'm not saying it shouldn't be built on this assumption, but to say trains are good is (usually) to say - also - that higher density town development is necessarily is better, when majority of US population now live in suburbs - for instance.

At the end of the day, every promoter of any public service will try to fetch is as a 'everyone benefits from it hence taxes should finance it'. It is an argument that could be throw in support of everything - from public education and health care to high-speed trains and air traffic control.

Problem is: if you have too many things that should be financed by taxes because "society as a whole benefit from it", you also have to pay a lot of taxes for services that are not always used by many people, sometimes justifiably - it makes sense to have public epidemic virus authorities to rapidly contain deadly viruses outbreaks even if a thin, thin minority will ever be actually infected with those -, sometimes contentiously - paying for a high-speed train that will attract only a niche of users lured to it by artificially low fares -.

Quote:
As for rail system not making a profit, I have news for you JR and all other private commuter lines in Japan are raking in BIG profit because they see it as a SYSTEM making money not only from the trains themselves but everything that surrounds that community. Everything from real estate, to retail all train operators have a virtual monopoly because they are able to set the perimeters in how a community will be laid around the station and further on as they operate feeder bus lines as well.
Monopolies are not good. This Asian way of doing things, like giving a rail company authority to zone its stations' surroundings, is anti-democratic, even if the rail company were public-owned. Transportation is not THE ONLY essential thing in a city.

Quote:
The problem with US corporations is that they cannot invest in these kind of projects due to nagging stock holders concerned over the short term loss not being able to see the gain in the mid/long term profit promised that takes over ten years to complete so you people are stuck with half baked suburbs not really sufficient to becoming part of a bigger community breeding NIMBYs to further isolation and at the end dropping the real estate value since because it is left behind from progress.
Problem with infrastructure projects is that there is a lot of uncertainty build-up on them. And then, for a completely unrelated cause - an excessive short-term focus on most investors, you just can't find private money for a project that has no benchmark in America.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 08:15 PM   #2264
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[QUOTE=Suburbanist;73956455


Monopolies are not good. This Asian way of doing things, like giving a rail company authority to zone its stations' surroundings, is anti-democratic, even if the rail company were public-owned. Transportation is not THE ONLY essential thing in a city.


[/QUOTE]

Just to argue this point in particular, that a very basic error you've made by assuming that no monopoly is good. Even basic economic theory shows that there are some benefits to a monopoly, and even situations where a monopoly is preferrable to any other form of market structure. For example, in industries which require heavy R+D or a lot of capital input to function well, monopoly profits can lead to firms providing those goods and services at a much more efficient level, increasing society's welfare as a whole. (And no, societal welfare is not some wishy-washy leftist topic, it is at the core of economics itself [Allocating scarce resources in order to achieve maximal societal welfare]) In the case of these "natural monopolies", the consumer benefits greatly form the vast increase in the quality and efficiency of the goods and services provided, even though there may be a rise in price as a result, it is offset by the gains in welfare. On that point as well, monopolies that exist in contestable markets, where other firms can easily enter and compete away supernormal profits, have no room to exploit the consumer, as the consumer will simply switch to the other firm's good or service that is provided at a cheaper rate (or at better quality), if the monopolist charges exorbitant fees.

I agree with many of your points in principle, but please don't base your arguements on false assumptions.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 11:31 PM   #2265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maarten Otto View Post
Hey uncle Sam guess what...

The former soviets got their HST
The communistic Chinese got an entire HST network
Oh... and Iran is building one.

In Europe we build High Speed Lines under a sea, through mountains and under parks with outstanding natural beauty....

Where we enjoy free WiFi on the train you get clogged up in traffic jams all day.
Where we invested in a future transport mode before oil prices kill low coast airlines and even the car..... you are still asleep, dreaming about lower taxes and a dream which turned out to be a massive failure...


Sleep well.
This, indeed.

I wonder why people are trying to convince Americans to build Highspeed Rail. If they don't want it, they don't. Their loss once speculation and dried up oil wells will get oil prices so high even in the US gas becomes unaffordable for regular Joes.
I know i do it because i have friends who are regular Joes and they're the ones who are going to suffer.


P.S. Does anyone else think Suburbanist permanently lives in a basement, the walls of which are covered with selectively picked stats and figures that support his ideologically driven viewpoint, from places all around the world that he's never been to?
No? Guess i'm the only one
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Old March 8th, 2011, 11:56 PM   #2266
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
Here's Rick Scott/Teaparty logic:

1. No private company has officially submitted an ironclad bid to absorb 100% of all cost overruns. (Problem: he pulled the plug before Florida Rail Enterprise even had the OPPORTUNITY to solicit bids, so OF COURSE there were no ironclad, up-front bids.)

2. Because of #1, Florida's risk is infinite (Problem: FRE had no independent source of funds, and the Senate sure as hell wasn't going to kick in any extra funds, so unless condition #1 could be satisfied, it wasn't going to get built anyway.)

3. Everything Rick Scott reads from a Teaparty talking point is Holy Writ, not subject to independent verification or questioning. If Rick and the Teaparty said Florida might end up having to repay the $2.4 billion after spending $3 billion in overages without completing the job, then it MUST be 100% true, even if LaHood himself was jumping up and down screaming that it's a baldfaced lie, that Florida wouldn't have to repay a cent -- even IF the private company completely defaulted in the worst way possible, and that Florida would never be required to contribute a cent towards its operation, and could leave the tracks to rust in the median of I-4 if the private company went under and nobody else could be found interested in taking it over.

It's scary, but trying to reason with Teaparty people is like trying to deprogram somebody who's in a religious cult. You can go down their list of talking points, debunk every single one of them in 5 minutes with Google, and they'll tell you with a straight face that China is engaged in cyber-warfare against the US, hacking servers, and posting falsified documents online to mislead people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TampaMike View Post
You still ignore the part where you're a complete ass comparing construction workers to uneducated rednecks.

This is transportation money. Goes in from transportation, comes out for transportation. I don't see how hard it is to understand that, but I guess it is for some. And money has gone to education and social programs, its not like the federal government abandoned those issues to fund High Speed Rail.

I believe Florida is #11 in corporate taxes with a tax rate of 5.5%. We also don't have a personal income tax, reason why we pretty much have a statewide sales tax. So #11 in corporate tax and no income tax, why are companies relocating to states with both an income tax and higher corporate tax rates than us?

And I said investing in our infrastructure and education right there after the comment you quoted.
I agree with both of these points. It still maddens me what Rick Scott did because of ideological nonsense.

@Slipperydog: I have no clue where you're getting your "reasoning" from. Why don't you go back and do your fact check before saying anything else about HSR.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 01:04 AM   #2267
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Here in Albuquerque, we had the choice of spending $1 billion for a limited service rail system that proponents said could carry as many as 30,000 people per day while studies showed a likely ridership closer to half that many; or we could spend that same money expanding our freeway capacity to move an additional 200,000+ people per day. We built the freeway. That's how we do things in America. We're cheap, efficient bastards who don't buy into every flashy fashionista trend regardless of the long-term benefits for a FEW.

In China, they will have a wonderful megabillion$ HSR system that could carry over 3 million (out of 1.3 BILLION) people per day. What do the rest of Chinese commuters who don't have the money to spend on a trip that costs THREE TIMES what a regular rail fare costs do? They cram themselves onto regular trains and buses, some walk, some still bicycle, for longer trips they fly, but increasing TENS OF MILLIONS of them DRIVE:




Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours. We FLY between cities in the US for most trips over 300 miles. The drive is still cheaper though, and will be cheaper yet, when suitable alternatives to gas are fully developed.

HSR has a place in the US, between cities in congested corridors like the Northeast where existing highway and airport capacity cannot be increased without spending at levels comparable to an HSR. That's how it will work. Florida has ample room for expansion of existing modes and that cost-benefit ratio simply isn't working in favor of an HSR there. But if a private firm wants to build (ask yourselves, if it's such a great idea, why hasn't a private developer stepped up there?) then wonderful. The bond markets will kill them but so be it. California may see HSR as well. Caltrans has no plans for any additional freeways and NIMBYs oppose anything resembling an airport expansion so the squeeze (which is more political than anything else) should prompt HSR development there. Tie ins are inevitable as states resuscitate their finances over the next 10 years. But dreams of a fully national network are just that: dreams.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 02:36 AM   #2268
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"Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours"

That is a stupid comparison by Bloomberg.

First of all. There is no high speed rail in Denmark( top speed is 110 mph)
2: There is 300 miles of water between England and Denmark
3: A roadtrip from London to Copenhagen is 800 miles.
4: The high speed rail link from London, towards Copenhagen, ends in Amsterdam. And it is 500 miles from Copenhagen.

Why don´t they make the same comparison on London to Paris/Bruxelles/Cologne/Lyon and Amsterdam.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #2269
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Quote:
This Asian way of doing things, like giving a rail company authority to zone its stations' surroundings, is anti-democratic, even if the rail company were public-owned.
I don't quite understand the point samurai made about "monopolies", and I didn't realize rail companies "zoned" their surroundings (I thought that was the job of government), but I see nothing wrong with (and quite capitalistic) for railway companies to use their own (private) property as they see fit-for railway infrastructure, for retail, for residential, for office space, and what have you. At least here in Japan, most railway companies are for-profit businesses, and their railway operations are seen as synergistic with other business ventures.
=Pacific Electric (So. CA) circa early 20th century, Hankyu Railway (among many others) today.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 02:49 AM   #2270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milipumba View Post
"Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours"

That is a stupid comparison by Bloomberg.

First of all. There is no high speed rail in Denmark( top speed is 110 mph)
2: There is 300 miles of water between England and Denmark
3: A roadtrip from London to Copenhagen is 800 miles.
4: The high speed rail link from London, towards Copenhagen, ends in Amsterdam. And it is 500 miles from Copenhagen.

Why don´t they make the same comparison on London to Paris/Bruxelles/Cologne/Lyon and Amsterdam.
Precisely. The reason that example is used, is that the relevant examples you mentioned would make the OP's argument untenable, methinks.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #2271
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Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
I don't quite understand the point samurai made about "monopolies", and I didn't realize rail companies "zoned" their surroundings (I thought that was the job of government), but I see nothing wrong with (and quite capitalistic) for railway companies to use their own (private) property as they see fit-for railway infrastructure, for retail, for residential, for office space, and what have you. At least here in Japan, most railway companies are for-profit businesses, and their railway operations are seen as synergistic with other business ventures.
=Pacific Electric (So. CA) circa early 20th century, Hankyu Railway (among many others) today.
I wrote VIRTUAL monopoly not actual since the train operators are basically the only ones who knows how ROW stretches and the exact location of stations since they are the ones planning it.
Although not possible today, rail operators like Tokyu purchased patch of land at dirt cheap prices, developed the entire ROW aisle around the station and near-by area placing a major bus depot and shopping center operated by group corporations adjunct to the station.
Entire neighborhoods are developed by group developers with bus routes going to and from the station and houses are sold through again group real estate agencies.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #2272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milipumba View Post
"Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours"

That is a stupid comparison by Bloomberg.

First of all. There is no high speed rail in Denmark( top speed is 110 mph)
2: There is 300 miles of water between England and Denmark
3: A roadtrip from London to Copenhagen is 800 miles.
4: The high speed rail link from London, towards Copenhagen, ends in Amsterdam. And it is 500 miles from Copenhagen.

Why don´t they make the same comparison on London to Paris/Bruxelles/Cologne/Lyon and Amsterdam.
Because that trip illustrates the shortcomings of HSR. While it's fast between direct route locations, assuming few or no stops, it's painfully slow compared to flying, between other locations. You can't build high speed rail everywhere unless you have TRILLIONS to spend. But you can fly between MORE points in far less time and you can drive at ANY time between ANY points. For the US, that's the big difference. When we were flush economically 12 years ago, Clinton never proposed any major rail upgrade other than Amtrak Acela. It all boils down to numbers, to the math. And the numbers say HSR makes little sense in most of the US. If it did, BNSF, Union Pacific, and Norfolk Southern would be selling bonds on Wall St. like crazy to fund HSR.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 04:37 AM   #2273
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"Because that trip illustrates the shortcomings of HSR"
Bloomberg compares hsr with planes.
But there are no hsr, on this stretch, to compare with.

Btw flying is fast when it is a direct flight. But what if you have to chance flight in another airport. Thats maybe several hours more to the trip.

Hsr only loses 5 min at every station.
Hsr is also flexible regarding numbers of stops. You can have all stop, Non stop, or stop at major stations.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 04:57 AM   #2274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milipumba View Post
"Because that trip illustrates the shortcomings of HSR"
Bloomberg compares hsr with planes.
But there are no hsr, on this stretch, to compare with.

Btw flying is fast when it is a direct flight. But what if you have to chance flight in another airport. Thats maybe several hours more to the trip.

Hsr only loses 5 min at every station.
Hsr is also flexible regarding numbers of stops. You can have all stop, Non stop, or stop at major stations.
London to Copenhagen. Which would you choose? Plane? or train? Or do you only care to travel to cities served by HSR? It doesn't take me 16 hours to fly to any destination in the US from where I live. Even Alaska and Hawaii can be reached within 8 hours. Only if I were to miss a connection due to bad weather (we don't have strikes here) would it take any longer.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:11 AM   #2275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milipumba View Post
"Because that trip illustrates the shortcomings of HSR"
Bloomberg compares hsr with planes.
But there are no hsr, on this stretch, to compare with.

Btw flying is fast when it is a direct flight. But what if you have to chance flight in another airport. Thats maybe several hours more to the trip.

Hsr only loses 5 min at every station.
Hsr is also flexible regarding numbers of stops. You can have all stop, Non stop, or stop at major stations.
All those points are valid. HSR should be given full consideration in a fair analysis that includes the two main alternatives; roadway and air. No one here hates HSR where it makes sense. But when it's obvious that HSR has little chance of success against either one of those options and is simply burning taxpayer monies that could be used to fund TRUE infrastructural needs in our cities, people have an obligation to take a stand against it. The World Bank's recent study on high speed rail stated "High-speed projects have rarely met the full ridership forecasts asserted by their promoters, and in some cases have fallen woefully short (such as the forecasts for the Eurostar services between London and Paris and Brussels)." Which is what we've all said from the beginning. We should be smart about HSR, and not fall victim to optimism bias.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:16 AM   #2276
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All those points are valid. HSR should be given full consideration in a fair analysis that includes the two main alternatives; roadway and air. No one here hates HSR where it makes sense. But when it's obvious that HSR has little chance of success against either one of those options and is simply burning taxpayer monies that could be used to fund TRUE infrastructural needs in our cities, people have an obligation to take a stand against it. The World Bank's recent study on high speed rail stated "High-speed projects have rarely met the full ridership forecasts asserted by their promoters, and in some cases have fallen woefully short (such as the forecasts for the Eurostar services between London and Paris and Brussels)." We should be smart about HSR, and not fall victim to optimism bias.
+1000

Thank you. Smart development means deploying scarce assets where they are most needed, NOT wasting them on some delusional nationalist trophy.

There was serious discussion of a bid for HSR funds for a line from Albuquerque to Denver. I was dead set against the idea because it was a waste and the money would be better used in the Northeast Corridor. Thankfully that proposal died a death. If we discover huge oil and gold deposits, maybe we can revisit the subject.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:50 AM   #2277
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"London to Copenhagen. Which would you choose? Plane? or train?"
Plane of course. There are no other option.

But you wrote " a HIGH SPEED RAIL trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 hours"

But there are no hsr, for airplane to compete with.
i can travel to Las Vegas faster by plane, than to London by train.

So when you use the Cph to London example, to reject the overall hrs system. You can not be more wrong.

Btw
Albuquerque to Denver is of course a stupid idea.
But Houston to dallas, San Francisco to Los Angeles and the northeast should all be build

Last edited by milipumba; March 9th, 2011 at 05:56 AM.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:57 AM   #2278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milipumba View Post
"London to Copenhagen. Which would you choose? Plane? or train?"
Plane of course. There are no other option.

But you wrote " a HIGH SPEED RAIL trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 hours"

But there are no hsr, for airplane to compete with.
i can travel to Las Vegas faster by plane, than to London by train.

So when you use the Cph to London example, to reject the overall hrs system. You can not be more wrong.

Btw
Albuquerque to Denver is of course a stupid idea.
But Houston to dallas, San Francisco to Los Angeles and the northeast should all be build
You left out Eugene,OR - Vancouver,BC or the Cascadia Corridor
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Old March 9th, 2011, 05:58 AM   #2279
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Out of curiosity desertpunk, do you strongly flavor investing in mass transit of US cities?
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Old March 9th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #2280
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Out of curiosity desertpunk, do you strongly flavor investing in mass transit of US cities?
I do but again, where you get the best return on the investment. Out here in the West where cities are almost all low density, it's difficult to identify routes that deliver the highest impact for commuters. Where we have these systems, park and ride garages dot the landscape since most people live miles from a transit route and there's some stigma associated with riding buses or the buses have weak schedules. Albuquerque has few such identifiable routes so we invested half the money it would have cost for 10 miles of light rail into the bus system and DOUBLED its size and the ridership has soared.

Elsewhere in the country there's a bizarre LACK of light rail ( Brooklyn anyone? ) and NIMBYs have made developing those systems challenging (see: Washington DC and the NIMBY assault on 'view-blocking' overhead cables). In the end, the best approach is to dramatically upzone areas along transit routes and get the densities up so ridership is no longer in question. But we can't even build a 4 story condo building out here without a NIMBY war...
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