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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 May 13th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #2481
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I agree with you guys for the most part. He is saying quite a lot of crap indeed, i think.

But let's be honest here and take some of the more serious objections he has. For me particularly, that is, is the (partial) absence of mass transit in LA or SanFran really this glaring and could be the doom of CaliHSR? Or is he exaggerating?

just wondering about that..
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Old May 13th, 2011, 04:49 PM   #2482
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Mr. White should stick to studying history- he is not a railway analyst nor does he have experience in the high speed rail industry. Unfortunately, forces against HSR are adept at rounding up "experts" with respected credentials to attack HSR, even going as far as inducing nominally liberal academics and opinion makers to naysay, exploiting their weakness for urban development and transit to make it a urban rail vs. "hsr which only serves the rich" issue (which is a false dichotomy).

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is the (partial) absence of mass transit in LA or SanFran really this glaring and could be the doom of CaliHSR
Last time I checked, public transportation in SF was pretty good for a North American city, and Los Angeles is miles better than it was twenty years ago, and is still expanding its network. Granted it's not France (or Germany, which has even better rail links and urban transport), but public transport is not static, it will get better. Furthermore, the existence of an HSR system will spur more development of rail links- both in real terms and in the thinking of the general public, which outside of the Eastern Seaboard, tend to think of public transport as "just for the poor".

Last edited by k.k.jetcar; May 13th, 2011 at 05:00 PM.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 05:08 PM   #2483
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero Gravity View Post
I agree with you guys for the most part. He is saying quite a lot of crap indeed, i think.

But let's be honest here and take some of the more serious objections he has. For me particularly, that is, is the (partial) absence of mass transit in LA or SanFran really this glaring and could be the doom of CaliHSR? Or is he exaggerating?

just wondering about that..
When the Tokaido Shinkansen inaugurated in 1964 there were only the Yamanote, Chuo, Ginza, Marunouchi, and partially opened Hibiya line within the whole Tokyo Metropolitan area. I haven't checked but I believe it was even less in Osaka. That is less than what LA has today.
Mass transit should expand with more demand and demand is created with more fluidity within the mass which is generated when traveler visits the city. With expansion of the system convenience is enhanced drawing more people to utilize the system.
I really do not think you need to worry as long as there are plans to expand the present system.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:59 PM   #2484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Mr. White should stick to studying history- he is not a railway analyst nor does he have experience in the high speed rail industry. Unfortunately, forces against HSR are adept at rounding up "experts" with respected credentials to attack HSR, even going as far as inducing nominally liberal academics and opinion makers to naysay, exploiting their weakness for urban development and transit to make it a urban rail vs. "hsr which only serves the rich" issue (which is a false dichotomy).
Answer to that kind of critic is very simple:

1> There is a demand for moving people between LA and SF, including the corridor in between.
2> This demand is expected to grow a lot in the next decades.

Considering this scenario, there are only three actions which the government might take:

1> Do nothing and let the highway get congested, let the airports get congested, increasing fares and causing all kinds of problems. This solution is illogical: The world bank for example says that low infrastructure investment decreses economic growth.
2> Build more highways and airport lanes, the solution that ignores the existence of externalities
3> Build HSR

Saying that the money should go to urban transit is essentially opting for solution 1, which is the most illogical one. But one shouldn't be surprised that this kind of person suggested something illogical, because it is obvious from this argument (HSR is bad because it is for the rich) that the person that defends it is a brainwashed marxist ideologue.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 01:01 AM   #2485
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A solution to many infrastructure cost overruns would be a Constitutional Amendment to deal with NIMBY-ism, but I doubt it would garnish enough support. Most Americans probably agree NIMBYs overreact and unfairly extract advantages to themselves paid by everyone else, but the issue is too much of a hot potato that can backfire in the hands of whatever party proposes it.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 04:22 AM   #2486
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
Mass transit should expand with more demand and demand is created with more fluidity within the mass which is generated when traveler visits the city. With expansion of the system convenience is enhanced drawing more people to utilize the system.

I really do not think you need to worry as long as there are plans to expand the present system.
This post is essentially admitting that our cities have to upgrade their urban rail systems in order to make the system work. But that's the whole point. HSR is useless UNTIL you have this well-developed structure in place. HSR is the FINAL piece of the puzzle, not the first. And with LA so far behind right now, it won't be the "train to nowhere" that we're making fun of ten years from now, it will be the "train to somewhere, but when you get to that somewhere, you're stranded". LA's intracity rail "plans" right now are just that. Plans. Let's see some actual movement on that before we even think of cross-state high speed rail.

If you want to do high speed rail right in California, you should start by trashing the ridiculous "first phase" from Fresno to godknowswhere. Linking large urban centers by rail at this point is completely useless. High speed rail should first be flowing from the suburbs to the city. Link Alameda and Santa Clara counties to SF. Link Riverside and San Bernardino counties to LA. That's where it's needed, and that's where it could work.


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Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
Answer to that kind of critic is very simple:

1> There is a demand for moving people between LA and SF, including the corridor in between.
Of course there is demand, and that demand is being met comfortably by airlines. If interstate 5 was completely clogged and LA-SF flights were operating way over capacity, then maybe HSR proponents would have an argument. But that's hardly the case right now.

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2> This demand is expected to grow a lot in the next decades.
Says who? Demand between SF and LA? Companies and jobs are moving out of California at a greater rate than ever before in the state's history. I see no evidence at this point that indicates that there is some widespread demand to pay a higher fare to get to your destination in double the time.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 04:42 AM   #2487
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
If you want to do high speed rail right in California, you should start by trashing the ridiculous "first phase" from Fresno to godknowswhere. Linking large urban centers by rail at this point is completely useless. High speed rail should first be flowing from the suburbs to the city. Link Alameda and Santa Clara counties to SF. Link Riverside and San Bernardino counties to LA. That's where it's needed, and that's where it could work.
The question is: those are among the most expensive sectors of the whole project, because they traverse urban areas and, in case of SF, a tectonic fault also. Extreme high speeds are not very useful on such services, and you could easily start reading people asking for a "more reasonable" 100-120mph (instead of up to 200mph) train line to be built.

Then, suppose those terminus are built: you will then see people arguing that spending yet another $ 10 bln. to upgrade the termini is not worth, that both termini can be left as they are with slower speeds.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 04:49 AM   #2488
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The question is: those are among the most expensive sectors of the whole project, because they traverse urban areas and, in case of SF, a tectonic fault also.
Most expensive, but also most useful. And if those lines are too expensive to build right now, then just don't do it all. How hard is that? This throwing good money after bad that we see over and over again in California isn't just a silly joke anymore, it's become quite frightening and is spelling disaster for this state.

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Extreme high speeds are not very useful on such services, and you could easily start reading people asking for a "more reasonable" 100-120mph (instead of up to 200mph) train line to be built.
That would make perfect sense. There is no need to be hauling into downtown from the suburbs at 175-200 mph.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #2489
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In that case, the rest of the money could be used in widening of I-5 and US-101, which would be more sensible and way cheaper investments - but that is another story.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 10:44 AM   #2490
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any construction photos papis?
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Old May 14th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #2491
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any construction photos papis?
We haven't even broke ground except on the Transbay Terminal because of the stinking delays and NIMBYs yet to come. I'd personally love to railraod the NIMBYs and force them into binding arbitration and settlement to get this project going sooner. If you could do what they do in France and offer a bit more to avoid litigation, then eminent domain wouldn't be too bad. To me, if you do not like where you live, consider it a free ticket out.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #2492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
Linking large urban centers by rail at this point is completely useless. High speed rail should first be flowing from the suburbs to the city. Link Alameda and Santa Clara counties to SF. Link Riverside and San Bernardino counties to LA. That's where it's needed, and that's where it could work.
There seems to be a definiton problem here. Internationally, high speed rail is indeed understood to mean lines linking large urban centres at speeds much higher than would be necessary on suburban lines. Wikpedia says:
Quote:
There are a number of different definitions for high-speed rail in use worldwide and there is no single standard; however, there are certain parameters that are unique to high-speed rail. UIC (International Union of Railways) and EC Directive 96/58 define high-speed rail as systems of rolling stock and infrastructure which regularly operate at or above 250 km/h (155 mph) on new tracks, or 200 km/h (124 mph) on existing tracks...

In the United States, high-speed rail is defined as having a speed above 110 mph (177 km/h) by the United States Federal Railroad dministration
The improved suburban networks that you're talking about would meet the US definition of high speed rail if they ran at at least 110 mph, but they would be too slow and too short to count as high speed rail as it's understood internationally.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 08:51 PM   #2493
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Originally Posted by Gag Halfrunt View Post
There seems to be a definiton problem here. Internationally, high speed rail is indeed understood to mean lines linking large urban centres at speeds much higher than would be necessary on suburban lines. Wikpedia says:

The improved suburban networks that you're talking about would meet the US definition of high speed rail if they ran at at least 110 mph, but they would be too slow and too short to count as high speed rail as it's understood internationally.
Thanks for the info, didn't know there was a difference between international/US. What we're talking about here is a "high speed" rail line that makes minimal stops from the suburbs to the inner city at about 110-125.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #2494
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Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
Most expensive, but also most useful. And if those lines are too expensive to build right now, then just don't do it all. How hard is that? This throwing good money after bad that we see over and over again in California isn't just a silly joke anymore, it's become quite frightening and is spelling disaster for this state.



That would make perfect sense. There is no need to be hauling into downtown from the suburbs at 175-200 mph.
Once again you show your ignorance. The Central Valley segment is the portion that will yield the biggest time savings and will be linked in the interim to existing intercity rail service. It is also located in area desperate for investment and jobs.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #2495
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In that case, the rest of the money could be used in widening of I-5 and US-101, which would be more sensible and way cheaper investments - but that is another story.
No it wouldn't. California tried the highway building orgy approach and it didn't work. Sprawl, pollution, and terrible congestion were all that resulted, which is why Los Angeles and the Bay Area are investing in mass transit above all else.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #2496
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No it wouldn't. California tried the highway building orgy approach and it didn't work. Sprawl, pollution, and terrible congestion were all that resulted, which is why Los Angeles and the Bay Area are investing in mass transit above all else.
Agreed. I grew up in southern California. Many people I knew in southern California used to think that widening freeways and roads are better solution to handle population growth and reduce congestion in long term. It didn't work at all but it made it worse. Glad State of California realized that and investing in mass transit.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #2497
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Once again you show your ignorance. The Central Valley segment is the portion that will yield the biggest time savings and will be linked in the interim to existing intercity rail service. It is also located in area desperate for investment and jobs.
I simply disagree with you. Having lived in this state virtually my entire life, there is absolutely no need for rail in that corridor. I assume you're just a naturally angry person, but there is no need for insulting other posters. You should work on making your contributions more pleasant. It's a message board, after all.

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No it wouldn't. California tried the highway building orgy approach and it didn't work. Sprawl, pollution, and terrible congestion were all that resulted, which is why Los Angeles and the Bay Area are investing in mass transit above all else.
This is just wrong. High speed rail won't solve any of those problems. Intra-city urban transit will.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:43 AM   #2498
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I simply disagree with you. Having lived in this state virtually my entire life, there is absolutely no need for rail in that corridor. I assume you're just a naturally angry person,
The Central Valley corridor is supposed to connect the Bay Area with LA, and I would say it is needed since there is no land at SFO and LAX for expansion. High Speed Rail is supposed to take the strain off of the airports as well.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 06:20 AM   #2499
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The Central Valley corridor is supposed to connect the Bay Area with LA, and I would say it is needed since there is no land at SFO and LAX for expansion. High Speed Rail is supposed to take the strain off of the airports as well.
I agree with your conclusion, but not your premise. If airports and flights were operating way over-capacity at LAX and SFO, HSR would be a welcome alternative. But demand is being met comfortably right now, hence why airfares have been so low for so long now. But by starting with first building the Central Valley segment, you're spending billions to build something that A) you don't need right now (or presumably the near future), and B) don't even have the funds to build the most vital segments, White's concerns are completely valid.

There is no single all-encompassing "truth" on this debate. It's simply a matter of opinion, and also understanding the culture and mindset of an area. Do you believe the "projections", or are you skeptical? Will people ride, or won't they? Is it really needed, or could we be better served using those funds elsewhere? These are simply different viewpoints, and with regards to high speed rail in California, I tend to come down on the side of the latter of those questions.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #2500
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We cannot depend on cheap oil any longer. We know $4.00 per gallon is the threshold before people start looking for alternatives. Sure airfare is cheap now, but it becomes extremely cost prohibitive to run flights for short-hauls when oil creeps back up. This is a step towards independence from oil and airlines want to get rid of their short hauls to take more profitable routes in transcontinental flights.
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