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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 November 3rd, 2011, 12:46 PM   #2781
sweet-d
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All I can say about that is WTF!! That is insanely expensive.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 05:27 PM   #2782
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Considering the size of California's economy (nearly 2 trillion USD), and the fact that this project could serve the vast majority of the state's 37 million people, it's actually not that expensive. If California hadn't passed a stupid balanced budget amendment, it wouldn't have any problem attracting financing for this project, and I'd be willing to say that a lot of its other problems would go away, as well. California could, for all intents and purposes, be its own country; I wish it would act like it....
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 07:48 PM   #2783
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
I'm sad to say that what with all that flash (monorail, etc., etc.), I don't see this link being established There's nothing visionary about this production, it's merely postulating. It altogether looks so costly to begin with that it wouldn't be logical to have chug-chug commuters and HSTs sharing track. Curiously, how would encroachment by desert sands be mitigated along that absurdly circuitous route, never mind infiltration endured by the stock itself whipping on by?
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 08:22 PM   #2784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
Curiously, how would encroachment by desert sands be mitigated along that absurdly circuitous route, never mind infiltration endured by the stock itself whipping on by?
Part of the route is due to geography. You want to cross a major tectonic fault as perpendicular as possible with an HSR, instead of running over it (= more expensive construction).

The Mojave desert is not the Sahara or Gobi deserts with plenty of sand flowing around. It's really no bigger deal than HSR Sevilla-Madrid, operating since 1992?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:47 AM   #2785
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweet-d View Post
All I can say about that is WTF!! That is insanely expensive.
California's GDP is about 1/3 of China's, so it's not asking too much to spend $98B on such an important infrastructure project.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:25 AM   #2786
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California's GDP is about 1/3 of China's, so it's not asking too much to spend $98B on such an important infrastructure project.
The question is that California is in severe fiscal restraint, not because it is all that bad economy-wise, but because the population took an extreme anti-tax position on ballot initiatives and so.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #2787
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Yes, but the problem is that California, because it, like most states, has passed a balanced budget initiative, can't take on the sort of long-term debt that'd seriously aid the start of large infrastructure project like this one. Of course, you're right, though; Californians, like most Americans, want services without paying for them.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #2788
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Yes, but the problem is that California, because it, like most states, has passed a balanced budget initiative, can't take on the sort of long-term debt that'd seriously aid the start of large infrastructure project like this one. Of course, you're right, though; Californians, like most Americans, want services without paying for them.
The balanced-budget thing is for normal operating expenses, not infrastructure upgrades, right? The state is simply overspending its resources on a day-to-day basis, mainly on over-the-top state and local government employee salaries and benefits, especially retirement benefits. Increasing tax rates to try to cover those daily expenses has already been tried, but did not work and only served to chase taxable economic activity out of the state. It's a very similar situation to what we are now seeing in Greece.

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Old November 5th, 2011, 01:43 AM   #2789
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DallasObserver

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Read TxDOT's Rationale For Need For High Speed Rail Between Houston, DFW (Or ... Not?)
By Robert WilonskyFri., Nov. 4 2011



On Tuesday we noted that the Texas Department of Transportation is looking for a firm to ID would-be routes for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, using $15 million in Federal Railway Administration High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funds awarded over the summer. Shortly after that, this landed in the Unfair Park in-box courtesy an interested party out of Houston: TxDOT's summary of the project, which was sent to the feds earlier this year.

Full of maps and charts, it's the best sum-up I've seen yet about where TxDOT thinks the rail would run and why. And it even mentions Southwest Airlines, which, as many Friends of Unfair Park pointed out earlier this week, has long opposed high-speed rail.

Quote:
Although not mentioned in the TxDOT research project, even with over 100 flights daily, air travel between Dallas and Houston has experienced a decline in passengers of over 36% since 1990, according to a published report by the Dallas Morning News on January 9, 2011. The major contributing reasons for this decline were heightened security at the airports, rising cost in airfares, and a change in marketing geared toward an emphasis on longer flights, which may make core express service more appealing. Southwest Airlines, once an opponent of a HSR project, has seen a decline in annual passengers between Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby Airport from 1.5M passengers in 1990 to 1.0M in 2009.
But, says the sender of this doc, the most intriguing revelations made in the doc are the figures found on Page 24: the potential cost of the project (around $4 billion for close to 250 miles of track) and the time it's guesstimated it would take to travel from Dallas to Houston (between 190 and 200 minutes). Says the man who dispatched the doc: "This is 15 million dollars that will be absolutely wasted." Read the whole thing after the jump.

TXDOT Overview of HSR

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Old November 5th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #2790
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Northeast Megalopolis Maglev Train

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Old November 5th, 2011, 09:07 PM   #2791
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I believe this mode of HSR will be the type that America's more likely to see, I really do ... this media production's the (more) convincing one thus far on this here page, by the way.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 12:20 AM   #2792
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According to this, California's been giving money to less-heavily taxed states for two and a half decades via the federal government, to the tune of about 80 billion USD over that time period. I believe California is owed a HSR system.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:03 AM   #2793
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When I saw "Northeast Megalopolis Maglev Train" I thought I was looking at the China CRH page. Anyway, a maglev between Beijing and Harbin is way more likely than anything of such sort in the US. That's the sad truth.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 06:43 AM   #2794
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Transport Politic

Quote:
High Costs Threaten California’s High-Speed Rail Project, But the Wider Context Must be Understood
November 3rd, 2011


Over the long run, California’s fast train project remains within an acceptable range of costs, despite recent increases.

The release of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s revised business plan on Tuesday underlined concerns about the future viability of the nation’s biggest proposed transportation project: Not only would its completion have to be delayed significantly — to 2033 or later — but projected costs have risen dramatically, to $98 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars. In a political environment where making a large long-term commitment to anything other than the military is almost impossible, the increasing costs required to pay for the program put in doubt its future. This fast train project designed to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2h40 is not dead, but its completion is less likely now than it was last week.

The steadily rising nature of the public expenditures that would be required to build the project as now designed have been roundly criticized in some quarters, and it is true that the project’s increasing reliance on very heavy and expensive infrastructures like viaducts and tunnels may be unnecessary by international standards. But the project’s per-mile costs — even with the cost increase — are not hugely different from those in other developed countries for rail systems offering speeds of up to 220 mph.

Yet the broader issue is how the project’s price compares to that of existing public sector transportation investments and the economy as a whole, and as the chart above demonstrates, its ostensibly enormous price is, well, relatively small.

Between now and 2033, the rail project would cost between $65 and $75 billion (in 2010 dollars). Over the same period, Caltrans, California’s Department of Transportation, can be expected to spend at least $286 billion (also in 2010 dollars), mostly on roads projects, assuming that its current annual budget of about $13 billion (including federal and state outlays) stays intact. In truth, considering that there is considerable support for increasing infrastructure spending in general, that figure is likely to go up considerably.

Compare those figures to the state’s GDP, which is estimated at about $1.9 trillion a year. Over the course of twenty-two years, the state will produce $42 trillion in output (again, in 2010 dollars) — assuming no growth in the economy, despite the fact that California’s population is expected to grow by seven to seventeen million people by 2040.

This very conservative* estimate, then, suggests that a high-cost rail project would not only represent only 0.18% of a heavily depressed state economy over 22 years, but also that it would only account for 21% of the broader state transportation budget, which would remain mostly focused on highway construction and maintenance, as in the status quo. On average, the U.S. invested between 2.5 and 3% of its GDP on publicly sponsored infrastructure between the 1950s and 1990s. The full cost of the California project thus comes to appear far less dramatic.

The project becomes even less problematic considering it is, like almost every high-speed rail project, expected to be operationally profitable, and that its benefits to the society will be larger than its costs. The analysis done by the authority, based on decreased travel times, lower use of fuel, reduction in pollution, increases in productivity and reliability, and a decline in traffic accidents, suggests a decent benefits-cost ratio of 1.5 to 1.8. This does not include other benefits, such as the ability to avoid building hundreds of lane-miles of new highways and expanded airports to accommodate the mobility needs of millions of new California residents.

Nor is such a significant investment in one project out of the international norm. The Grand Paris Express, designed to connect the suburbs of the French capital with a circumferential rail network, will cost about $40 billion to build (including ancillary improvements in the existing system). This alone will represent about 0.4% of the Paris region’s GDP between now and 2025. Both the Paris and California projects will contribute massively to the economic growth of the regions in which they are being built.

The question, then, is two-fold: First, what level of investment should the country make in its transportation system? Second, are other transportation projects more valuable than the California rail project?

[...]

Read more: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...be-understood/
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Old November 6th, 2011, 05:25 PM   #2795
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
it wouldn't be logical to have chug-chug commuters and HSTs sharing track
Where does the video show HSR and local trains sharing track? It shows them sharing a station, which is not the same thing.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 09:25 PM   #2796
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0'4", otherwise, you must be seeing the production promoting demoted single-tracking services ... and yes, it is the same thing
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Old November 7th, 2011, 02:46 AM   #2797
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
According to this, California's been giving money to less-heavily taxed states for two and a half decades via the federal government, to the tune of about 80 billion USD over that time period. I believe California is owed a HSR system.
This is the same reason of, for instance, people from Manhattan arguing they are "giving out money" to the outer boroughs since 1892 and claiming they are owed 5 new subways, 2 new highways and a new elongated Central Park in some are reclaimed in the East River.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 04:31 AM   #2798
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But here we're not talking about a small area. Manhattan residents, whether they know it or not, benefit from outer borough activity. Not to say, similarly, that California doesn't benefit from its interaction with other states, but lets be honest, 80 billion dollars is a lot of money, and its economy far outstrips those of the surrounding states, individually or combined. And much though it'd be a small dent in California's budget issues (and really, if it magically got the money from the fed, it should probably go places other than HSR), it might help to ease some of the worries about fiscal stability and strength...hence, making the whole HSR project seem more plausible.

I suppose my real frustration with California is that it could very well be its own country, in terms of economy, population, "national" branding, and culture, is a major destination for FDI, and has the sort of demographics that could easily justify a HSR system of the scale it wants. Yet local opposition, either to construction (local-level) or the raising of necessary funding (state-level), is holding it back. Basically, the problems are political, not economic; I think that's a shame.

Anywho, to prevent this from becoming a 'California | High Speed Rail' thread, here's this. I haven't seen it anywhere on here, but it doesn't seem to be much, it's about a month old, and it's from the FRA, so there's not exactly a lot of analysis going on. The Chicago hub does seem to be moving the most aggressively out of the three areas that maintain any prospect of actually occuring (I'm thinking the NEC, CAHSR, and the Midwest).

Last edited by aquaticko; November 7th, 2011 at 04:47 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #2799
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Do you think CAlifornia has zero benefit from the costumer markets is other US states, from the 50 years during which college graduates from other states have flocked there to work on high-tech stuff, all the services provided by the feds etc?
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Old November 7th, 2011, 05:05 AM   #2800
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post

Anywho, to prevent this from becoming a 'California | High Speed Rail' thread, here's this. I haven't seen it anywhere on here, but it doesn't seem to be much, it's about a month old, and it's from the FRA, so there's not exactly a lot of analysis going on. The Chicago hub does seem to be moving the most aggressively out of the three areas that maintain any prospect of actually occuring (I'm thinking the NEC, CAHSR, and the Midwest).
Check this: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=107

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