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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 15th, 2012, 05:41 AM   #3261
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Quote:
Report cites benefits of bullet train
Published on 06/14/2012 - 10:45 am
Written by Ben Keller

A California nonprofit has released a report on the merits of high-speed rail along with recommendations on ways to move forward with the project.

The report, "Moving Ahead with High Speed Rail" was released by TransForm, an Oakland-based nonprofit dedicated to improving transportation in the Bay Area and statewide.

With the announcement in April of projected costs reduced to $68.4 million, TransForm stated that it now rescinded its previous criticism of the 520-mile bullet train system.

"The project is now designed to serve as the backbone of a statewide rail network, rather than an isolated system," the report stated. "It supports early upgrades to Caltrain and Metrolink as well as lines now used by Amtrak and ACE, allowing those systems to go faster and attract more riders. Millions of Californians will benefit from these first investments."

The organization also lauded reduced community impacts with the newly released business plan by narrowing the width of the corridor along with speed of travel, the creation of 100,000 new jobs during construction and economic development around rail stations.

Central Valley cities like Fresno, Bakersfield and Merced have tremendous opportunities to strengthen their downtowns if they plan wisely with transportation in mind, the report stated.

The report identifies costs and several funding sources to spur the project, including California's upcoming cap and trade rule on emissions that could potentially raise $43 billion by 2020 . . . .

The California High-Speed Rail Authority expects to complete the first 130-mile segment of the bullet train from Fresno to Bakersfield by the end of 2017 while service would commence the following year.

High-speed rail service stretching 300 miles from Merced to the San Fernando Valley is expected to begin by 2022 while the Bay Area would be reached by 2027 . . . .
http://thebusinessjournal.com/news/t...f-bullet-train
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Old June 15th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #3262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
Those are all excellent points, especially the ones about job creation and property values. Here in New Jersey when NJ Transit opened MidTown Direct service the property values along the line skyrocketed, and that wasn't even a high-speed line.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 07:05 AM   #3263
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If people could take a moment to stop criticizing Wikipedia as a legitimate source and actually look at the page, and then check the sources linked to the article, life would be a lot simpler.

A easy wiki search of "High Speed Rail in the USA" turns up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-sp..._United_States

After skimming the article, a quick check of the sources turns up this:
http://www.ushsr.com/ushsr.html

I'll admit that some of the info on this site is bias, but the general gist is there.
And this is one source linked on the wiki page among almost 80 others.
So to say wiki isn't a source in itself is not completely wrong, but to dismiss it as a useful starting point to start researching YOURSELF would be a waste of a decent site.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #3264
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Most of the Rail pages on wiki are edited and fed by Rail Fanners or People within the Rail community , theres some errors but overall its correct there also linked....to sources...
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Old June 15th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #3265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sopomon View Post
Like above, source please, a wiki isn't enough.

I prefer to consider myself a realist, and there is a strong tendency in the US in particular to massively talk up a project, only for it to come to life in a stunted, half-arsed form amid a mire of political infighting and lawsuits.

I mean, for god's sake, TWO HSR routes between Minneapolis and Tomah, of all places? I'm willing to bet that two out of all the planned HSR routes, and around 10 of the regional rail routes will eventually be built by 2050. Feel free to screencap this/call me out if I'm wrong.
The Main HSR line would have the following stops , the map shows it stopping at the regional stops which will replace Amtrak....that is not correct. The Rochester Spur would be a separate project mainly done by the state of MN , and still seems to be in the study phase... It could have speeds anywhere from 110-180mph...it would either be a HSL or a Electric Regional Rail line to soon to call that. If its HSL , then theres a good chance it will go into Wisconson and merge back onto the Main line. There will also be a north - south line next to it down into Iowa which for some reason isn't on the MN Map but on the Iowa map...then theres a slue of MN projects divided into 2 phases like ive said above you can read about all of this on the link below. 2050 is the goal of many plans around the US , the Midwest and Northeast plans are childs play compared to Texas or Cali...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commute...s_in_Minnesota

The Twin Cities route would be this...

Minneapolis - St Paul - Eau Caire - Madison - Milwaukee - O'Hare Airport - Chicago Union Station
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Old June 15th, 2012, 09:48 PM   #3266
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It's not that wikipedia is wrong (does happen occasionally), but that those plans are so disconnected from reality in the first place. It's all talk and no action... Once the first line is built, operational and popular I'll start to take some of those American HSR plans seriously.

Actually never mind built, once the first new line works on the ground I'm willing to reconsider my stance...
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Old June 15th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #3267
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I think we're straying a little off-topic. We wouldn't want to incur the wrath of the moderators.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 07:40 AM   #3268
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I do not think the Americans will follow through on HSR plans.

These ambitious projects have, for 40 years or so, failed to stir action as similar ones did pre-1970 or so.

Proposals are made, talk is bandied about, perhaps some studies and surveys are performed and then nothing happens because the money is not there, the public does not want it, the politicians do not support it and it dies on the vine.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #3269
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Future Keystone mini High Speed line being upgraded to support 125mph

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Old June 17th, 2012, 11:29 PM   #3270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
I do not think the Americans will follow through on HSR plans.

These ambitious projects have, for 40 years or so, failed to stir action as similar ones did pre-1970 or so.

Proposals are made, talk is bandied about, perhaps some studies and surveys are performed and then nothing happens because the money is not there, the public does not want it, the politicians do not support it and it dies on the vine.
I think that is far too simplistic...it has nothing to do with politicians and public opinion per say. What IS the issue is that there's no rush to invest in rail by private investors and the perception that public investors, i.e. the government, would be wasting money if they did.

Like it or not, modal share for passenger rail in this country is miserably low. That trend has been, on the whole, negative for the past several decades.
With that said, any discussion about HSR needs to be separated from passenger rail in general. In the same sense as discussing the chicken and the egg.

It is not a matter of people "wanting" or "needing" HSR, but rather that passenger rail takes a very small proportion of the total transport used by people in the US. Obviously, certain areas of the country (California and the North East) have much higher modal shares in rail but overall, before we can move forward, there has to be a huge surge in demand.

Unfortunately, gas subsidies make it very convenient to continue driving (though, let's not forget that the automobile HAS been a positive factor in today's economy) and for investors to put money elsewhere - hence, preference for putting hefty public and private funds in highway networks/roads/bridges/etc.

The issue here isn't an un[mis]informed public or partisan jockeying, but a simple lack of interest from investors.
Put simply, if enough people thought they could turn a profit from it, it would have happened by now...

*I believe the best thing to have done would have been to focus on areas with already moderate to high rail usage, provide funding to those areas to promote more use, and upgrade networks serving those markets (in this case, California, the Mid-West, and North East).

Last edited by phoenixboi08; June 17th, 2012 at 11:39 PM.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 04:41 AM   #3271
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I disagree, and my disagreement tends to lead me to think China Hand is right in this post. I would say that the public is misinformed in many cases because politicians have no interest in HSR. I do agree that, with the modal ratio for trains being so low, there's little awareness or interest, but that's exacerbated by the political depiction of trains as a waste of resources.

That having been said, privatization of passenger rail lines only seems to work where trains are already heavily used, and it seems better, or at least more plausible, to have the gov't start the process of shifting people to rail.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #3272
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I think it has everything to do with politicians. If there were rail lobbyists throwing around millions of dollars a year on capital hill like the MIC does, or oil companies, I think there'd be a lot more interest in investing in rail. But that's a different discussion.

Also, I just don't think that rail has been truly given a chance to succeed in the US. Taxpayers subsidize highways through direct investment so the suburbs can even exist in the first place, then the Feds subsidize those suburban developments through mortgage guarantees and keeping the gas tax artificially low. So much so that the Treasury has to bail out the Highway Trust Fund every single year, so people like me who go out of their way to avoid driving are paying for it.

It would be like if, the Feds built commuter rails between all the cities in the country, say it is HSR. Then, the Feds guarantee mortgages on apartments or condos in those city centers, then they come in and use general tax revenue to keep the cost of tickets artificially low.

Your point about private investment in rail is fair, in that if it were profitable, private money would be lining up to build this stuff. But then why should that not be applied to highways? The fact that more people use highways should make it easier to make money, because you can spread the burden of paying for it among a larger number of users. If HSR shouldn't be built without private money, highways shouldn't either.

Generally I think the private sector is hesitant about something like this, even in a region like the NE where all indications are that HSR would be successful, because of the immense amounts of capital required. You're talking easily $100B, 10 years of construction, and then probably a decade or two to start to see some ROI. Plus, it's something that's going to need constant maintenance, upgrades, etc. There just aren't a whole lot of institutions who can afford all of that outside of the Feds.

Again, if HSR shouldn't be built with private funds, then highways shouldn't either. With that line of thinking the interstate highway system would've never been built in the first place.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 06:20 AM   #3273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
I think that is far too simplistic...it has nothing to do with politicians and public opinion per say. What IS the issue is that there's no rush to invest in rail by private investors and the perception that public investors, i.e. the government, would be wasting money if they did.
I disagree. The fact is that since 1973 or so the USA has lacked vision when it comes to large projects. They just shut down their Shuttle Program, they have not built any HSR, they *did* finish a few Metros (DC), light rail, and the Interstate Highway system, but on the whole the nation is not of the same character and caliber as it was then.

I am heartened by the current surge in Manhattan building, but like Dubai, China and elsewhere, NYC is a place where huge inflows of cash and capital make pursuing such projects feasible. It is now one of many cities, not the only as it was just a few years ago.

Certainly no other USA city is building anything even on the scale of the US Bank or John Hancock Tower, let alone Shanghai Tower, etc. The current proposals for Miami and other cities are modest compared to past decades, and many are being canceled. Yet in the 60's, 70's and 80's it was common for cities like Seattle or Houston to plan and execute projects with vision, size and scale.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #3274
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Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
I disagree. The fact is that since 1973 or so the USA has lacked vision when it comes to large projects. They just shut down their Shuttle Program, they have not built any HSR, they *did* finish a few Metros (DC), light rail, and the Interstate Highway system, but on the whole the nation is not of the same character and caliber as it was then.

I am heartened by the current surge in Manhattan building, but like Dubai, China and elsewhere, NYC is a place where huge inflows of cash and capital make pursuing such projects feasible. It is now one of many cities, not the only as it was just a few years ago.

Certainly no other USA city is building anything even on the scale of the US Bank or John Hancock Tower, let alone Shanghai Tower, etc. The current proposals for Miami and other cities are modest compared to past decades, and many are being canceled. Yet in the 60's, 70's and 80's it was common for cities like Seattle or Houston to plan and execute projects with vision, size and scale.
1. Lacked vision , not really...its just that we've been to lazy. There have been alot of great proposals during the 70s and 80s but Politicians lacked will to fund them till now. We call them 2040 or 2050 Plans....Interstate Highway system was mostly finished except it got halfed in the Northeast due to NIMBYS which had legit concerns. After what they did to the Bronx , Philly and Boston , NIMBYS killed off just about every proposal after that. There currently plans to remove some interstates in favor of increased Rail service.

2. In alot of cities we overbuilt our Office and residential markets , so you probably won't see anything to huge like Dubai or Shanghai intill later this decade. But theres nothing wrong with smaller buildings ,they tend to add more character then the larger monsters and they don't create dead zones on the street level. But still overbuilding in Chicago or LA , Seattle , Philly , NY and Boston are booming alot of high rises and skyscrapers are rising up and filling up fast... I think the buildings being proposed today are even better then what was proposed in the past.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3275
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I think we're leaving out a critical factor in why America's slow in embracing HSR: Amtrak's reputation. When federally-run trains average 30 mph during normal operations and run hours late (and not to mention prohibitively expensive tickets), it's no wonder why Americans balk at throwing billions of taxpayer money at what they have always saw as a joke. To be honest, I don't blame the majority of Americans (who have never visited another country and observed first-hand how truly efficient high speed rail can be) for viewing rail as an obsolete form of transport. It's the same as asking someone to bet their entire fortune at a horse race on a contestant that has continually gotten last place... while it may seem obvious that the team in question didn't get enough funding to train /feed the horse well enough, chances are people are still going to support what has proved to them to be a winning ticket; in short: people still won't bet on the losing team. From this perspective, both Washington DC and the average American are equally at fault here: the federal government doing a crap job at running passenger rail services and the American for not being able to see the new Seabiscuit. As a result, the only places where HSR has a good chance of getting off the ground are the areas where Amtrak has proved itself to be an efficient form of transport (California and the Northeast Corridor)
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Old June 18th, 2012, 11:53 AM   #3276
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2012 and by 2030 Ridership , Rail system size , and Bus Rapid Transit and Rail stations.... Most of the 2030 stations are due to Metro , LRT and BRT building spree that seems to be happening in NY/NJ , DC.... Regional rail does make up most of the stations in the Boston and of course Amtrak. Philly pretty mixed between the different types....you can all look this up via wiki which is where i got the list. All Projects seem waking up lately...like the Lackawanna Regional Rail line , or a few extensions the T in Massachusetts...or a few extensions in PA. Alot of the growing ridership is due to TOD around stations or Infill development...within the towns where the stations are. Some Regional Rail lines by 2030 will carry over 150,000 a day...mainly due to TOD... General bus ridership is also factored into the growth....which accounts for most of the ridership on certain systems.


Metropolitan Transportation Authority & CT Transit - New York & Connecticut
System Size in 2012 : 2,282 miles
System size by 2030 : 3,580 miles
Stations in 2012 : 751
Stations in 2030 : 879
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 12.6 Million
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 17.2 Million


New Jersey Transit / PATH / PATCO / Private Bus operators
System Size in 2012 : 1,390 Miles
System Size by 2030 : 1,720 miles
Stations in 2012 : 690
Stations by 2030 : 883
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 1.8 Million
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 4.7 Million


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
System size in 2012 : 567 miles
System size by 2030 : 720 Miles
Stations in 2012 : 280
Stations by 2030 : 370
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 1.5 Million
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 3.6 Million


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority & Northern Virginia Transit
System Size in 2012 : 195 Miles
System Size by 2030 : 428 Miles
Stations in 2012 : 108
Stations by 2030 : 297
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 1.3 Million
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 4.4 Million


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
System Size in 2012 : 1,193 miles
System Size in 2030 : 1,660 miles
Stations in 2012 : 270
Stations in 2030 : 349
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 1.3 Million
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 3.7 Million


Maryland Transit Administration
System Size in 2012 : 232 Miles
System size by 2030 : 664 Miles
Stations in 2012 : 90
Stations by 2030 : 216
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 370,000
Projected Daily Ridership by 2030 : 1.5 Million


Amtrak Northeastern Division
System Size in 2012 : 2970 miles
System Size by 2030 : 3650 miles
Stations in 2012 : 109
Stations by 2030 : 141
Daily Ridership in 2012 : 17,800
Projected Ridership by 2030 : 120,000
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Old June 18th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #3277
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i know its a tall order, but are there any maps to illustrate that?

btw. if all that comes true it seems quite good, although i dont know if it will keep up with the population change
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Old June 18th, 2012, 12:58 PM   #3278
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i know its a tall order, but are there any maps to illustrate that?

btw. if all that comes true it seems quite good, although i dont know if it will keep up with the population change

All projects together no , individual projects yes...but theres too many to post in this thread...
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Old June 18th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #3279
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It's actually kinda sad that this thread is over 3/4 of the Chinese HSR thread, while we only have a token HSR line in operation.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #3280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
I disagree. The fact is that since 1973 or so the USA has lacked vision when it comes to large projects. They just shut down their Shuttle Program, they have not built any HSR, they *did* finish a few Metros (DC), light rail, and the Interstate Highway system, but on the whole the nation is not of the same character and caliber as it was then.

I am heartened by the current surge in Manhattan building, but like Dubai, China and elsewhere, NYC is a place where huge inflows of cash and capital make pursuing such projects feasible. It is now one of many cities, not the only as it was just a few years ago.

Certainly no other USA city is building anything even on the scale of the US Bank or John Hancock Tower, let alone Shanghai Tower, etc. The current proposals for Miami and other cities are modest compared to past decades, and many are being canceled. Yet in the 60's, 70's and 80's it was common for cities like Seattle or Houston to plan and execute projects with vision, size and scale.
You missed my point...As some others did. What I was trying to get across is that this is a Catch 22: not enough people use rail because we haven't invested in it; there is too little investment because demand is too low.

I didn't mean that it HAS to be privatized, I just meant to make the point that there is hesitation on both sides (public and private). Sure, investment in HSR SOUNDS good in theory, but ultimately no one wants to take a loss.

It doesn't make sense to make that kind of comparison between China and US. What you have to keep in mind, is that China is a huge economy (demographic dividend - 1.2bn people). When you look at everything that's being built in China, it's not investment for the present, but for the future. The general trend is huge spending on infrastructure and over time, this shifts towards social development (investment in education, health care, etc).

That is why, typically, huge projects like that are constructed early during development rather than later.

What I mean to say is that you can't expect a HSR network to emerge at the same pace as it has in China. They are in vastly difference phases of development. It would be like drawing the same comparison between Tokyo and NYC in the 70s and 80s. This trend, historically, has proven to be a leap-frog effect. If you look at data from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc, you'll see that each successive emergence happened more quickly than that of the ones previous.
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