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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 June 8th, 2012, 06:54 AM   #3221
goten2255
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i have to back nexis up with the ARC tunnel project too.

while the ARC tunnel was being built i too find it to be hard to believe that they will end it under Penn Station and into a caveran, why into a caveran what happened to the go thru train service so the trains can go to the yards and beyond.

Also the fact that would be is that the tunnel would only be NJ Transit, not Amtrak or Long Island Railroad, or the future Metro north thus no capactiy to grow and darn too expensive too you know.

i support the Gateway project it makes much more sense and it won't need a caveren why that if Penn Station could expand without it being a caveran it won't be cheap but its much more possible, also it will have trains go thru so they can access yards and beyond, so its a good thing Amtrak announced this and its ready to be built.

the thing is i still find it werid that two of the United States largest Cities, NYC and Chicago are still not connected by high speed rail i hope it will soon because it seems possible once HSR starts getting accepted here in the States.
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Old June 8th, 2012, 05:12 PM   #3222
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Originally Posted by goten2255 View Post
thats why we need other nations to help the United States to build the high speed rail network. We have to build this network it makes sense and also there are areas with lots of potential.

i am not understanding why is rail so god darn hated here in the states i find it really odd, isn't rail what people invested on back then, isn't Caltrain being electrifed for the stepping stone of High Speed Rail in California i mean it seems odd that the project could not happen for no reason??????

anyways i hope things will be allright and that it will be build one way or another i really don't want it to be gone, the United States is one of the superpowers of the world and its infrustructe needs to be upgraded, fixed and state of the art to maintain business, schools, homes, hospitals, transportation, police stations, fire stations, etc.
Because it's "big government spending" :/ people don't understand what investment means...
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Old June 8th, 2012, 06:09 PM   #3223
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Because it's "big government spending" :/ people don't understand what investment means...
I think the problem lies in increased external political efficacy and reduced internal efficacy. People are generally more engaged into politics nowadays than they were in the 60s and 70s, when America heavily invested in infrastructure (Interstate Freeway, anyone?). However, even though Americans are much more vocal about their views, their understanding of large political forces seems to remain abstract to say the least. The result is you have a population that is quite uninformed about issues that they profess to be passionate about.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 08:40 AM   #3224
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Old June 11th, 2012, 04:13 PM   #3225
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Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
I think the problem lies in increased external political efficacy and reduced internal efficacy. People are generally more engaged into politics nowadays than they were in the 60s and 70s, when America heavily invested in infrastructure (Interstate Freeway, anyone?). However, even though Americans are much more vocal about their views, their understanding of large political forces seems to remain abstract to say the least. The result is you have a population that is quite uninformed about issues that they profess to be passionate about.
Part of the gut negative reaction is the pricetag when measured against the number of people that would actually use the service. People clamour for infrastructure spending to improve roads, which, if you eat, you "use". They hold thier noses for improvements to airports, which again, if you eat, or get mail, you "use". Rail has always been mostly private in this country. Everyone "uses" rail too but those of you outside the US have to understand that non-mass transit rail has always been private here. It's a big jump for many of us to be OK with spending hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars that the Government does not have on something that so few people would use.

As I've said before, in the US, Government involvement is rail at this time is needed far more to get more people from the suburbs to the City centers than it is to get them from city to city. Some, but truthfully not very many, folks WANT this high speed rail, and that's fine, but no one actually NEEDS it or has come up with a compelling arguement as to how we NEED it. To me, if there were 300 billion dollars laying around for rail it would be much better spent on effecient mass transit systems in metro areas. That actually would get cars off the road and produce all the side benefits that go along.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 06:34 PM   #3226
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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
Part of the gut negative reaction is the pricetag when measured against the number of people that would actually use the service. People clamour for infrastructure spending to improve roads, which, if you eat, you "use". They hold thier noses for improvements to airports, which again, if you eat, or get mail, you "use". Rail has always been mostly private in this country. Everyone "uses" rail too but those of you outside the US have to understand that non-mass transit rail has always been private here. It's a big jump for many of us to be OK with spending hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars that the Government does not have on something that so few people would use.
Not true. Amtrak is government owned and operated and has been its entire history, since 1971. The problem with Amtrak is that you have the North East Corridor which is actually the only line within Amtrak that makes a substantial profit, and because of that it has cover the losses for other corridors throughout the country. So instead of Amtrak being able to reinvest money into the NEC, again where people actually use it and it's by many measures at capacity, that money has to be redirected to other parts of the country to cover losses on those lines because not enough people ride it.

I'm pretty tired of it to be honest. Amtrak wants to build true High Speed Rail in the NEC because they see it as a good investment, but it's hard when you have to subsidize train ridership in a lot of other parts of the country. Then when you ask the Feds for money for HSR, people who live in the states where their Amtrak corridors are subsidized by us in the North East, they complain about not wanting to pay for something they'll never use!

There's a double standard in this country where people expect public transit and rail corridors to be self sustaining, but when the Highway Trust Fund is bailed out year after year by the Treasury because toll revenues and gas tax revenues are far less than expenditures, it's somehow okay when my federal taxes go to an interstate highway system I very rarely use.


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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
As I've said before, in the US, Government involvement is rail at this time is needed far more to get more people from the suburbs to the City centers than it is to get them from city to city. Some, but truthfully not very many, folks WANT this high speed rail, and that's fine, but no one actually NEEDS it or has come up with a compelling arguement as to how we NEED it. To me, if there were 300 billion dollars laying around for rail it would be much better spent on effecient mass transit systems in metro areas. That actually would get cars off the road and produce all the side benefits that go along.
The North East wants it and needs it. This is a PDF done by Amtrak on the need for it in NE, it's on the right under the picture of the train. The NE has one of the most congested highway corridors, the most congested airports, and the most congested existing rail corridors. If you read that PDF, there is just no possible way you could argue that the NE doesn't need HSR. Plus, you're linking 4 cities that account for about 18% of the entire countries GDP, and account for about 11.5% of the countries population. This part of the country is hugely important, economically, and politically.

HSR would alleviate stress on existing highways and airports. I'd have to dig to find the statistics, but there a huge number of ridiculously short flights between Phily-NY-Washington-Boston that completely unnecessarily congest what are already some of the most congested airports in the country. Build HSR and the number of those flights drops dramatically, because again people in the NE actually ride the train, alleviating congestion in the air. Build HSR and fewer people would drive between those cities on I-95, alleviating congestion.

As to the cost, yes it's expensive, all infrastructure is. But with the cost of raw materials still pretty deflated, interest rates on T-Bills where they are, and tens of thousands of construction workers out of work, you couldn't ask for a better time to build something like this.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 06:53 PM   #3227
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Originally Posted by yankeesfan1000 View Post
Not true. Amtrak is government owned and operated and has been its entire history, since 1971. The problem with Amtrak is that you have the North East Corridor which is actually the only line within Amtrak that makes a substantial profit, and because of that it has cover the losses for other corridors throughout the country. So instead of Amtrak being able to reinvest money into the NEC, again where people actually use it and it's by many measures at capacity, that money has to be redirected to other parts of the country to cover losses on those lines because not enough people ride it.

I'm pretty tired of it to be honest. Amtrak wants to build true High Speed Rail in the NEC because they see it as a good investment, but it's hard when you have to subsidize train ridership in a lot of other parts of the country. Then when you ask the Feds for money for HSR, people who live in the states where their Amtrak corridors are subsidized by us in the North East, they complain about not wanting to pay for something they'll never use!

There's a double standard in this country where people expect public transit and rail corridors to be self sustaining, but when the Highway Trust Fund is bailed out year after year by the Treasury because toll revenues and gas tax revenues are far less than expenditures, it's somehow okay when my federal taxes go to an interstate highway system I very rarely use.




The North East wants it and needs it. This is a PDF done by Amtrak on the need for it in NE, it's on the right under the picture of the train. The NE has one of the most congested highway corridors, the most congested airports, and the most congested existing rail corridors. If you read that PDF, there is just no possible way you could argue that the NE doesn't need HSR. Plus, you're linking 4 cities that account for about 18% of the entire countries GDP, and account for about 11.5% of the countries population. This part of the country is hugely important, economically, and politically.

HSR would alleviate stress on existing highways and airports. I'd have to dig to find the statistics, but there a huge number of ridiculously short flights between Phily-NY-Washington-Boston that completely unnecessarily congest what are already some of the most congested airports in the country. Build HSR and the number of those flights drops dramatically, because again people in the NE actually ride the train, alleviating congestion in the air. Build HSR and fewer people would drive between those cities on I-95, alleviating congestion.

As to the cost, yes it's expensive, all infrastructure is. But with the cost of raw materials still pretty deflated, interest rates on T-Bills where they are, and tens of thousands of construction workers out of work, you couldn't ask for a better time to build something like this.
You make an interesting argument, and I agree with your points. However, I think the bigger picture is that passenger rail is overwhelmingly positive for the entire transport network...as a whole.

For instance, you bring up what is a vital point: need vs. want. That is the question we need to answer first, and employ as we methodically go about implementing a HSR network. Though, I think you will find what you describe in the rest of the country as well (Mid-West, Pacific and South West, and South East)...

This is definitely a discussion worth having: do we see airlines working to develop a "codeshare" system with rail? I know they're experimenting with this in China, and I think it could be a very good thing in the future.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 07:33 PM   #3228
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I should have qualified my statement. Northeast does indeed NEED this.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 08:09 PM   #3229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
You make an interesting argument, and I agree with your points. However, I think the bigger picture is that passenger rail is overwhelmingly positive for the entire transport network...as a whole.

For instance, you bring up what is a vital point: need vs. want. That is the question we need to answer first, and employ as we methodically go about implementing a HSR network. Though, I think you will find what you describe in the rest of the country as well (Mid-West, Pacific and South West, and South East)...

This is definitely a discussion worth having: do we see airlines working to develop a "codeshare" system with rail? I know they're experimenting with this in China, and I think it could be a very good thing in the future.
I do agree, that alternative transportation options benefit the system as a whole.

The broader point that I was trying to make is that transit systems never break even, so it's unfair for HSR's detractors to hold it to a benchmark or standard that no other transit system in the country has to meet or has ever met.

And maybe I'm not reading your post, but you think I will find what in the rest of the country?


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I should have qualified my statement. Northeast does indeed NEED this.
Ah, okay. Didn't mean to single you out at all. There are other areas where I'm sure HSR could work, but the Northeast is arguably the best place in the world for HSR.

I do remain pretty skeptical about how it would work outside the NE, and California though. I'm sure there are areas where it would work, but it gets to be more conjectural, as HSR seems to work best if it connects cities with extensive mass transit where people are already independent of the car. So you don't have to drive to the train station, then rent a car when you get to your destination.

It's sort of a chicken and the egg. I suppose a HSR station in a downtown could help it centralize, but it might not.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #3230
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There's a double standard in this country where people expect public transit and rail corridors to be self sustaining, but when the Highway Trust Fund is bailed out year after year by the Treasury because toll revenues and gas tax revenues are far less than expenditures, it's somehow okay when my federal taxes go to an interstate highway system I very rarely use.
Excellent point. The highways in this country are heavily subsidized, lots of times beyond what the Highway Trust Fund pays for. Think of what the country's rail system would look like if it got the subsiies highways get.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #3231
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Excellent point. The highways in this country are heavily subsidized, lots of times beyond what the Highway Trust Fund pays for. Think of what the country's rail system would look like if it got the subsiies highways get.
"Lots of times" is a gross exaggeration.

Unless you are one of those who thinks the costs of wars in the Middle East or Asia must be put on the books as "cost of roads and cars".

THis being said, they needed to raise the fuel tax a bit to allow more investments. OR at least keep it up with inflation.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #3232
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Also, someone made the excellent point about the strain a HSR network would place on the power grid...

Realistically, wouldn't we need a major upgrade (complete overhaul)? I don't know much about this...I'm really just raising questions because i can't answer them myself.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 11:36 PM   #3233
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"Lots of times" is a gross exaggeration.

THis being said, they needed to raise the fuel tax a bit to allow more investments. OR at least keep it up with inflation.
Gross exaggeration? Not really. Not when you consider that here in NJ $800 in bonds were used to prop up the fund, not to mention $1.6 billion in federal funds earmarked for transportation projects.

I totally agree with you about the need to raise the gas tax. NJ's is the lowest in the nation and hasn't been raised in years.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 12:55 AM   #3234
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High Speed Regional Rail 125-220mph
Inner state / Regional Rail 90-125mph
Commuter Rail 50-90mph









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Old June 12th, 2012, 03:57 AM   #3235
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http://desertxpress.com/
They have updated their name to XpressWest now, and have outlined ambitious plans to link major southwest cities with HSR. It is worth checking out.

On a side note, the proprietors of this company are obsessed with the Bombardier Zefiro. It should be interesting to see if that is the stock they end up purchasing to run on their lines.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #3236
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"Lots of times" is a gross exaggeration.

Unless you are one of those who thinks the costs of wars in the Middle East or Asia must be put on the books as "cost of roads and cars".

THis being said, they needed to raise the fuel tax a bit to allow more investments. OR at least keep it up with inflation.
In 2009 the Highway Trust Fund was bailed out to the tune of $9B, and in 2010 to the tune of $19.5B by the Treasury. To put that in perspective, Amtrak has received a total of $30B since its creation in 1971, that number isn't adjusted for inflation I don't believe, but still, in two years the Treasury, that doesn't include revenues from tolls and gas taxes, paid out almost what Amtrak has received in its entire 40 year history from the Feds. That should make it pretty clear where the Feds priorities lie in terms of transit.

I do agree with you on the gas tax though. It hasn't been raised since the early 90's, and people are driving less today, and cars are more fuel efficient, it needs to at least be tied to inflation.

The wars and military spending would likely derail the thread, no pun intended, so I'll just say when one country accounts for over 50% of the worlds military spending, people shouldn't be surprised that our infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

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Excellent point. The highways in this country are heavily subsidized, lots of times beyond what the Highway Trust Fund pays for. Think of what the country's rail system would look like if it got the subsiies highways get.
Yeah it's especially sad when you consider highways are the most heavily subsidized transit system in the country, and even they are in disrepair by a lot of measures.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #3237
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On a side note, the proprietors of this company are obsessed with the Bombardier Zefiro. It should be interesting to see if that is the stock they end up purchasing to run on their lines.
Well, that makes sense now we have seen how the Chinese (Zefiro) CRH 380D turned out. It's a really good looking train.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 04:48 PM   #3238
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I do agree with you on the gas tax though. It hasn't been raised since the early 90's, and people are driving less today, and cars are more fuel efficient, it needs to at least be tied to inflation.


Yeah it's especially sad when you consider highways are the most heavily subsidized transit system in the country, and even they are in disrepair by a lot of measures.

The gas tax issue is crazy. Here in NJ our 14.5 cent gas tax is the 4th lowest in the county. A small six-cent increase in the gas tax would raise an additional $300 million, and by borrowing against that money the state could raise enough money to fund transportation projects for the next several years. The problem is our tax-adverse lawmakers, who are so afraid of staying in office.

And yes, I agree about highways. If transit received the same subsidies we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #3239
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HSR in the USA:

Yes they should, but they won't.

1) Political will is not there, for this and many other things
2) The country is broke and massively in debt
3) The country lacks vision and a sense of optimism and hope about the future that building HSR would require
4) Projects of this scope, in the USA, spiral out of fiscal control to unheard of costs

Lastly the nation is continent-sized. To build out HSR to service the 100's of billions spent on the Interstate Highway System, would be the equivalent of building one unified and common HSR network from Moscow to Lisbon. Copenhagen to Athens.

Even the Chinese are building most of their HSR in the eastern 25% of their nation.

The States are simply too big.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:44 PM   #3240
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HSR in the USA:

Yes they should, but they won't.

1) Political will is not there, for this and many other things
2) The country is broke and massively in debt
3) The country lacks vision and a sense of optimism and hope about the future that building HSR would require
4) Projects of this scope, in the USA, spiral out of fiscal control to unheard of costs

Lastly the nation is continent-sized. To build out HSR to service the 100's of billions spent on the Interstate Highway System, would be the equivalent of building one unified and common HSR network from Moscow to Lisbon. Copenhagen to Athens.

Even the Chinese are building most of their HSR in the eastern 25% of their nation.

The States are simply too big.
Agreed, 100%. I'm not so sure about being too big though. I don't think anyone is calling for a comprehensive nationwide system, but one in segments; LA to San Francisco for instance; or Miami to Orlando, etc.....
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