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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 10th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #2321
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
In Western Europe, trains move anywhere from 3 to 16% of all passenger-km among all land transport. Not that much, apparently.
Overall that is correct. However, if you'd stop the trains where I live you'd have twice as many cars on the road during rush hour. The place would just stop functioning.
Rail doesn't take that much cars of the road on average in Europe, but does make a significant contribution towards lowering the peak demand for roads.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #2322
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In Western Europe, trains move anywhere from 3 to 16% of all passenger-km among all land transport. Not that much, apparently.
Ahhh the percentage game. But now let's see how this translates into practice.
Have you ever taken a train in Holland during rush hour? Those things are PACKED.
Otherwise all those people would be on the road, clogging the streets, polluting our lungs.

I prefer those commuters stay in their trains.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #2323
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Are you kidding?

Seriously. I am strongly for HSR. I also own a car which I drive primarily on intercity trips and I currently own stock in at least 3 major oil companies (Suncor, ENI and Petroleo Brasileiro).
sarcasm man, sarcasm.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #2324
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Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
Ahhh the percentage game. But now let's see how this translates into practice.
Have you ever taken a train in Holland during rush hour? Those things are PACKED.
Otherwise all those people would be on the road, clogging the streets, polluting our lungs.

I prefer those commuters stay in their trains.
He is talking about passenger km, which is amount of km each mode of transportation travels.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #2325
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A Houston to Dallas HSR corridor could actually work out it you do realize that it's 12.7 million people(and growing) in there metro's combined. You could also add in San Antonio and Austin and the total amount of people with access to HSR would be 17.1 million. Come on that's one area where you can't say no to HSR. They both need it it could be one of the best HSR corridor's in the country. Now I do agree that a Tampa to Otlando could be a risk and there are some place where it would risky to use public funds for HSR. But Dallas to Houston isn't one of them. the only place that needs HSR more is Southern California to San Francisco.
I haven't taken a look on the specifics of that area, but the distances and population seem to work in favor of a HSR case. However, I fear a HSR-Texas Triangle project would start by assuming stations should be downtown in each city, which makes access to stations easy for the tiny fraction of people living and working in their inner area, and a nightmare for everybody else, while also increase tunneling costs a lot.

So, why don't they come up with a plan for major HSR stations near major highway interchanges, with massive parking lots and maybe even some light-rail connection to downtown - in other words, why don't they treat an HSR station like an airport in terms of localization. That would save construction costs and time a lot where they are most critical and spur greatest NIMBYsm: urbanized areas.

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I don't think anyone particularly loves giant public companies but it is a fact that no private company wants to run passenger rail service so, if we are to have it, it will have to be governmental.
If there is a chance for profit, private operators will run services. That is my essential case: if the government is to subsidize anything, let it be ONLY the construction of infrastructure. Put the tracks, and let the state DOTs maintain them. Then, let PRIVATE operators decide which trains will be run, at which schedule, at which price, without any government interference. Take the example of Greyhound: of course a bus company would never make money to build roads, even in the "golden years" of bus service. However, government doesn't interfere with Greyhound dictating schedules, fares or the likes (at least not since 1974).

Take the Northeast Corridor, for instance: since Amtrak brags about its profitability, why not keep Amtark maintaining only the the tracks, stations, signlaing and yards, and auctioning off all rolling stock and letting private operators run the actual trains? The idea of train conductors, train engineers and ticket clerks being public employees shouls annoy the American public (and the pulbic of other countries also).

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What puzzles me, actually, is why anybody is willing to run passenger air service. Are you aware that if you add up the income and outgo of all US airlines since the beginning of commercial air travel, you will find there has been a net loss? In other words, nobody is making any money running air service either (yet hope, apparently, springs eternal) in spite of the fact that governments build air terminals and fund them not just with fees paid by airlines but by renting space to all manner of businesses, charging for parking, and myriad other income streams to amortize the (municipal) bonds that are normally issued to actually build an airport.
That loss count only exists if you don't assume inflation. Moreover, there are reasons by which companies just don't give up on air service: there is an expectation of future opportunities available only for those that stay in service. Finally, not all airlines are created equal: Ryanair and Easyjet have been posting profits for years.

In another view, there will be some demand for air travel, even a smaller one, because it is fundamentally fast and the only feasible way for long-haul transport across oceans. Trains face competition from planes and cars. So not having any air service is far more problematic than not having any rail service. Here, in Europe, if by some reason they scrapped all high-speed lines, we'd just see the comeback of short-haul flights like Bruxelles-Paris, Milano-Bologna etc.

Am I saying high-speed trains are useless? Certainly not. But they are not something desperately needed either. It is an acessory infrastrcuture with a defined market where it can be competitive with success: journeys 150-350 miles long.
If you look at it this way, air travel has been subsidized over the decades by the suckers willing to buy the stocks of money-losing airlines and hold them as the airline gradually goes broke (you do realize how many airlines have gone bankrupt, right?).[/QUOTE]
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Old March 10th, 2011, 05:22 PM   #2326
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I don't understand why pro-car people(not all) tend to have a grudge against railroads of all kinds.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 06:00 PM   #2327
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I don't understand why pro-car people(not all) tend to have a grudge against railroads of all kinds.
I don't have anything again railroads. They are technologically interesting and so (well, if you are not talking about crappy 40 years old stock and cabooses). However, most passenger train projects are not promoted as transportation projects as they should (case in which I'd be in peace with them), but as "game changers" meant to "shift development patterns" and "promote higher density living around stations".

As such, I'll automatically react to any transportation project that disguises such social engineering premises that Western cities must "change their development patterns" and that "people should stop thinking in terms of cars first" out of the sake of some feel-good greenwashery.

But my main opposition it so have rail projects postponing or cancelling road projects.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 07:33 PM   #2328
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That loss (by airlines in the history of commercial air service) count only exists if you don't assume inflation. Moreover, there are reasons by which companies just don't give up on air service: there is an expectation of future opportunities available only for those that stay in service. Finally, not all airlines are created equal: Ryanair and Easyjet have been posting profits for years.
Excuse me if I question your accounting. What I said was if you add up the revenue and costs of running airlines from the beginning,you get a net loss. I'm not sure why inflation would negate that fact but the number of bankrupt airlines suggests it's true by any accounting method.

Even over just the last decade, it isn't a pretty picture:


Source: http://chartingtheeconomy.com/?p=1541

Yes, a few airlines manage to run profitably serving a few selective routes and I suspect it might be possible to run a few rail services profitably the same way (say, New York to DC), but that would not give us either a national air system or a national rail system from which we benefit even if no one makes a profit.

And that's what you don't seem to understand. The nation's productivity can benefit mightily from its transportation infrastructure even if no company can figure out how to make a profit providing it. In the end, that's why government builds roads, airports, train stations and so on. It's also, incidentally, why government subsidizes rural phone and internet service and other forms of infrastructure that just aren't possible to run at a profit. The benefits from these things, while real, may be too intangible to charge for directly (or to convince skeptics that they do exist).
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Old March 10th, 2011, 10:38 PM   #2329
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He is talking about passenger km, which is amount of km each mode of transportation travels.
Yes, and i am talking about rush hour trains that are packed, completely full, stuffed.
I don't want those people out on the road in cars, making traffic jams worse. So the percentage may seem small, but it would make a big difference if all those people were on the road during rush hour.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #2330
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I don't have anything again railroads. They are technologically interesting and so (well, if you are not talking about crappy 40 years old stock and cabooses). However, most passenger train projects are not promoted as transportation projects as they should (case in which I'd be in peace with them), but as "game changers" meant to "shift development patterns" and "promote higher density living around stations".

As such, I'll automatically react to any transportation project that disguises such social engineering premises that Western cities must "change their development patterns" and that "people should stop thinking in terms of cars first" out of the sake of some feel-good greenwashery.

But my main opposition it so have rail projects postponing or cancelling road projects.
Oh please, even if we stay with your call of "promoting", it's not like we're saying "Hey you, move from your homes with backyards and a driveway and live near these stations... or else." People like living in communities that allow you to have your own personal pool and have enough room to hold a barbeque and others like living in the city near a light rail/HSR station and having ammenities very close near by. Just like HSR and cars, people will favor for one or the other.

We're not forcing people to change their way of life, not saying they need to, not manipulating their minds or any of that nonsense; HSR gives people another option like affordable housing give people that the ability to live in a downtown city without paying $400,000 for a 2-room condo.

When you have politicians recieving thousands in dollars from oil companies and voting against mass transit projects like light rail and High Speed Rail, you have to question their motives. Is this because its not a good plan or is it that these oil companies are saying to say "no" to it? Thats my problem.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #2331
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Oh please, even if we stay with your call of "promoting", it's not like we're saying "Hey you, move from your homes with backyards and a driveway and live near these stations... or else." People like living in communities that allow you to have your own personal pool and have enough room to hold a barbeque and others like living in the city near a light rail/HSR station and having ammenities very close near by. Just like HSR and cars, people will favor for one or the other.

We're not forcing people to change their way of life, not saying they need to, not manipulating their minds or any of that nonsense; HSR gives people another option like affordable housing give people that the ability to live in a downtown city without paying $400,000 for a 2-room condo.
I surely agree with the proposition you laid on your first paragraph. However, it is very common to see rail projects tried to re-zoning as to restrict and "direct" new developments and construction to "infill" areas near brand new train stations.

In this sense, it is a completely different approach than opening up a region near a highway corridor to development and subdivision. Except in very specific cases, allowing new development along a highway corridors doesn't come with "restrictions" on development elsewhere, whereas many "transit-oriented" schemes designed to support rail projects assume not only the need to allow higher-density construction near train stations (akin to allow subdivision near a new Interstate or Turnpike), but also - and often - imposing restrictions to "compel" developers to build near transit corridors.

Roads can attract development like magnets, and most US downtown areas were severely depopulated of their middle-class taxpaying base without any need to restrict development there when new highways were opened on the cities' outskirts. On the contrary, most rail advocates are always seen the "need" to "tame" what they call "unsustainable" development that is "car dependent" - and this bother me a lot, all this negativity and the need to curtail other options (new freeway lanes, new subdivisions) to force people use rails.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 06:27 AM   #2332
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Highway construction was a magnet back in the 60's, 70's, and a part of the 80's, but to say that it is now is unrealistic. I-4 near Ybor City down here in Tampa was redeveloped to make traffic easier to flow and there isn't any new developments near the exits. I-275 is getting redeveloped and there isn't any new developments planned near the exits there. You don't see companies moving to Tampa because of these highway projects because companies and corporations don't care of these developments like they did 40 years ago.

People have the rights to live in subdivisions all they want. But if you realize how much new subdivisions cost county taxpayers, you might reconsider the support of them. Not only utilities and drainage, but also new fire stations, police stations, road construction, schools, etc. The county and the city would save money if they focused on supporting more affordable housing together in a city instead of allowing new subdivisions be its own economic engine. It has been the way to go both here in Hillsborough County and the State of Florida and look where we stand now.

Like I said, people will continue to live in their suburban homes because of its pro's. Even with affordable housing and mass transit options, people will do so, no matter what. But if you don't have the options like affordable housing and mass transit for current and future residents to choose from, how can you say it won't work?
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Old March 11th, 2011, 06:41 AM   #2333
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Oh please, even if we stay with your call of "promoting", it's not like we're saying "Hey you, move from your homes with backyards and a driveway and live near these stations... or else." People like living in communities that allow you to have your own personal pool and have enough room to hold a barbeque and others like living in the city near a light rail/HSR station and having ammenities very close near by. Just like HSR and cars, people will favor for one or the other.

We're not forcing people to change their way of life, not saying they need to, not manipulating their minds or any of that nonsense; HSR gives people another option like affordable housing give people that the ability to live in a downtown city without paying $400,000 for a 2-room condo.
But is it a good, sensible option? Simply adding another option isn't always better. And you've made the common mistake in assuming that light rail and HSR are one and the same. Let's try to stay on the topic of this forum. INTRA-city light rail that connects suburbs to urban areas has a lot of merit. I am actually a fairly staunch supporter when it comes to intracity rail, but that's because it's mainly used for day commutes and encourages people not to clog up our roadways during rush hour. However, high-speed rail is primarily INTER-city, and there's a big difference there. Connecting Tampa to Orlando via high speed rail is pointless when a car can get an entire family over the same distance for a FRACTION of the cost and nearly the same time when you factor in getting to the station and waiting time. The numbers just don't add up in Florida. The northeast is a different matter.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #2334
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In this sense, it is a completely different approach than opening up a region near a highway corridor to development and subdivision. Except in very specific cases, allowing new development along a highway corridors doesn't come with "restrictions" on development elsewhere, whereas many "transit-oriented" schemes designed to support rail projects assume not only the need to allow higher-density construction near train stations (akin to allow subdivision near a new Interstate or Turnpike), but also - and often - imposing restrictions to "compel" developers to build near transit corridors.
Transit oriented development creates the need/demand for high density construction along its hubs/stations. This is bcoz it is very convenient for people who use transit regularly to be able to live, work and perform other aspects of their daily life in the vicinity of transit facilities. If train station plans assume/anticipate the need more high density development in the vicinity then that is a good thing since it means more facilities for train travellers. However I don't think any train/transit project is calling for restricting development in neighbourhoods far away from from its location (just so that everyone has to stay near transit and is compelled to use it). That sounds more like a blown up conspiracy theory.

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Roads can attract development like magnets, and most US downtown areas were severely depopulated of their middle-class taxpaying base without any need to restrict development there when new highways were opened on the cities' outskirts. On the contrary, most rail advocates are always seen the "need" to "tame" what they call "unsustainable" development that is "car dependent" - and this bother me a lot, all this negativity and the need to curtail other options (new freeway lanes, new subdivisions) to force people use rails.
Actually many interstate highways around downtowns were build after bull-dozing poor and minority dominated neighbourhoods. If roads can attract development so can transit. And I don't think anybody wants to force people out of their cars. Instead the emphasis is to provide an alternative mode of transit which didn't exist. Nobody is assuming that every single person will like transit and stop using their car. However many people will learn the benefits of using transit and will voluntarily start using public transit.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #2335
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Bullet train will boost Kern jobs, business
The Bakersfield Californian | Thursday, Mar 10 2011 11:00 PM

Last Updated Thursday, Mar 10 2011 11:00 PM

When California voters approved bonds in 2008 for a modern high speed rail system connecting northern and southern California, they may not have realized they were also creating a program that would stimulate Kern County's economy.

And that "stimulus" could benefit Kern County more than other parts of the state, according to Rob Ball of the Kern Council of Governments, or KernCOG.

Speaking at a recent Kern Transportation Foundation meeting in Bakersfield, Ball noted that Kern County potentially stands to benefit more than other parts of the state as the system is built.

That's because almost a quarter of the system's route rolls through Kern, which has the most track mileage for the new system. The line will also cross the Tehachapis, requiring several tunnels.

Not only does Kern benefit from mileage, but the first 120-mile section of the line to be constructed is in Kern, linking Bakersfield with Fresno. Although this first segment of the state system has been derided by some as a "train to nowhere," it will link the San Joaquin Valley's two largest cities along what once was one of the nation's fastest rail passenger routes.

This first section will be used initially to test equipment, and could host existing Amtrak California trains until the rest of the system is completed, Ball noted.

That could significantly speed up trains, which are currently limited to 79 mph because of numerous highway crossings.

When the high speed system is up and running, passengers traveling on a grade-separated right-of-way at speeds of up to 220 mph will zip from Bakersfield to Sacramento in under two hours, city center to city center, even in weather conditions that halt or slow highway and air traffic.

Ball said that the state's High Speed Rail Authority believes it can begin construction on the tracks between Bakersfield and Fresno next year. That would put people to work on the project and pump much-needed money into Kern's struggling economy.

As the High Speed Rail Authority moves toward building the new line, the chair of the state Assembly Select Committee on High Speed Rail is urging small businesses to get involved.

"We need to do everything in our power to ensure participation by small, emerging businesses in the largest infrastructure project in California's history," said Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston.

The High Speed Rail Authority is currently seeking "expressions of interest" from public and private groups and firms interested in participating in the design, construction, financing, core systems, operations, and maintenance of the 800-mile system.

Roelof Van Ark, the Authority's new CEO, said that information will be used to help shape the procurement process, "which will lead to the first official Request for Proposals at the end of this calendar year."

Construction of the line between Mojave and Bakersfield will require 12 to 18 tunnels through the Tehachapi Mountains to ensure the 3.5 percent grade for the line.

"This tunneling project will be one of the largest in North America, rivaling the Channel Tunnel project connecting France and England, which employed 8,000 people for six years," said KernCOG's Ball.

"With over 110 miles of right of way needed to cross Kern, this county will have more construction within its borders than any other county in California, which could total more than $9 billion in construction investment in the region by 2020," Ball noted.

At his Kern Transportation Foundation presentation, Ball discussed plans to expand the current Bakersfield Amtrak station to handle high speed trains, which will boost downtown property values. Some European communities have seen a 43 percent increase in office space after HSR comes to town.

The rest of the world is eating our economic lunch by building fast, modern transportation and related systems. Providing a modern high-speed rail passenger system will continue Kern County's international reputation for innovation.

Bill Deaver, a Mojave journalist and consultant, is chairman of the Kern Transportation Foundation, as well as the East Kern Economic Alliance and Edwards Community Alliance. He was a political appointee in the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Federal Railroad Administration, OSHA, and the Treasury Department during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

Source: http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/c...-jobs-business
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Old March 11th, 2011, 06:34 PM   #2336
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Are all the projects still proposals or are some of them allready in the next phase? As a dutchman, i dont follow this project daily.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:16 AM   #2337
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Cali & the NE is where true HSR can happen. YEAH BABY!
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Old March 12th, 2011, 07:41 AM   #2338
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Florida loses $2.4 billion for high-speed trains
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/...9yaWRhbG9zZXM-

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By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press – Fri Mar 11, 7:03 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has taken back the $2.4 billion allocated to Florida for high-speed trains and is inviting other states to apply for the money, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday.

The project, which would have connected Tampa and Orlando with high-speed trains, was rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. He said he didn't want to obligate the state to pay for what could be expensive operating costs for the line.

However, the Florida Department of Transportation on Wednesday released a study showing the line connecting Tampa to Orlando would have had an operating surplus in 2015, its first year of operation.

It's still possible for Florida supporters of the project to reapply for the funds without state help if they create a regional transit authority working in conjunction with Amtrak or another established transportation authority. However, they would have to work swiftly to meet the Transportation Department's April 4 deadline for applications, a very tight window for such a complex undertaking.

"Hope is alive for thousands of good-paying jobs and a modernized transportation system," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a supporter of the project, said in a statement.

Several states, including New York, Virginia, Vermont, Delaware and Rhode Island, have asked LaHood for Florida's rail funds. But the only project that would achieve the high speeds associated with bullet trains in Asia and Europe would be California's plan for trains traveling up to 220 mph between San Francisco and Los Angeles and between Sacramento and San Francisco.

"States across the country have been banging down our door for the opportunity to receive additional high-speed rail dollars and to deliver all of its economic benefits to their citizens," LaHood said in a statement.
Scott's decision was challenged by supporters of the project, but last week the state Supreme Court upheld his right to reject the money.

Scott is the third Republican governor elected in November to kill rail projects approved by his predecessor. Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio also turned down funds previously agreed to by their Democratic predecessors. In Florida, the money had been accepted by Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist, who lost a Senate race last year.

President Barack Obama has sought to make a national network of high-speed trains a signature project of his administration. In his state of the union speech in January, Obama said he wants to provide 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed trains within 25 years.

However, the rejections by three governors and opposition to high-speed rail by House Republicans has left the program's future in doubt.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #2339
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Cali & the NE is where true HSR can happen. YEAH BABY!
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Old March 12th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #2340
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Are all the projects still proposals or are some of them allready in the next phase? As a dutchman, i dont follow this project daily.
In 2008, California voters approve $10 billion in bonds to partially fund the HSR project connecting the northern (Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose) and southern (Los Angeles, San Diego) parts of the state. In total, this project is expected to cost something like $60 billion and it cannot happen without substantial federal assistance. California did get a couple of billion $ of the 2009 "stimulus" funds for this project but if it is to happen, that can be only a start.

Anyway, the available $12 billion or so is being spent on planning, design work and some right of way acquisition (although it is hoped most right of way can be on existing railroad and/or highway rights of way).

In addition (from an anti-HSR blog),

Quote:
The California High Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) announced on December 20, 2010 that with $616 million in newly acquired federal stimulus funds and associated state matching funds they now had $5.5 billion in available construction funds. The “train to nowhere” announced a few weeks earlier could now go somewhere…..from south of Madera to somewhere near Bakersfield. It might stretch, depending on final design, 120 miles in length.
Source: http://againstcaliforniahsr.com/burn...ed-rail-bonds/

In other words, construction may soon begin on the easiest to construct 120 miles of the 800 mile system (see post #2081 above). It is easiest to construct because it goes down the flat, sparsely populated Central Valley where there is little controversy about the route and land is available. Unfortunately, because this area is sparsely populated, there's not much need for HSR in this segment by itself (ignoring that it's just the beginning of the larger system) and that allows critics to do things like calling it the "train to nowhere".

If this is built, most likely there won't even be any attempt to use it for HSR until more of the system is built, however the tracks could be used for the existing train service between Oakland (and San Francisco) and Bakersfield (with a bus connection over the mountains to Los Angeles) and that would improve that service by eliminating the need to use tracks shared with freight trains.
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