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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 21st, 2012, 12:01 AM   #3281
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
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.
If you consider investment on transport and mobility excluding highways, the USA is not only behind China. It is way, way, way, behind all of Europe, even poor european countries like Ukraine. Behind many other countries too, behind Turkey for example.

I think it is only on par with latin american countries in terms of public investment in busways, light rail, intercity rail, sidewalks, bicicle ways, etc. And that's pretty terrible as those countries are many times poorer and governed by corrupt and incompetent leftists (I am brazilian, so I know well the region).

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The general trend is huge spending on infrastructure and over time, this shifts towards social development (investment in education, health care, etc).
You certainly haven't visited Central Europe lately. Europe has rather bad demographic perspectives and despite that the investment in light rail, intercity rail, busways, sidewalks and bike lanes is just *massive* in countries like Germany and Poland.

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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.
Well, the speed at which the USA is developing HSR (well, basically zero, since it is not building any) is not just inferior to China, it is also inferior to everyone that has HSR... Turkey for example.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 01:10 AM   #3282
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Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
If you consider investment on transport and mobility excluding highways, the USA is not only behind China. It is way, way, way, behind all of Europe, even poor european countries like Ukraine. Behind many other countries too, behind Turkey for example.

I think it is only on par with latin american countries in terms of public investment in busways, light rail, intercity rail, sidewalks, bicicle ways, etc. And that's pretty terrible as those countries are many times poorer and governed by corrupt and incompetent leftists (I am brazilian, so I know well the region).



You certainly haven't visited Central Europe lately. Europe has rather bad demographic perspectives and despite that the investment in light rail, intercity rail, busways, sidewalks and bike lanes is just *massive* in countries like Germany and Poland.



Well, the speed at which the USA is developing HSR (well, basically zero, since it is not building any) is not just inferior to China, it is also inferior to everyone that has HSR... Turkey for example.

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Old June 21st, 2012, 06:06 AM   #3283
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Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
If you consider investment on transport and mobility excluding highways, the USA is not only behind China. It is way, way, way, behind all of Europe, even poor european countries like Ukraine. Behind many other countries too, behind Turkey for example.

I think it is only on par with latin american countries in terms of public investment in busways, light rail, intercity rail, sidewalks, bicicle ways, etc. And that's pretty terrible as those countries are many times poorer and governed by corrupt and incompetent leftists (I am brazilian, so I know well the region).



You certainly haven't visited Central Europe lately. Europe has rather bad demographic perspectives and despite that the investment in light rail, intercity rail, busways, sidewalks and bike lanes is just *massive* in countries like Germany and Poland.



Well, the speed at which the USA is developing HSR (well, basically zero, since it is not building any) is not just inferior to China, it is also inferior to everyone that has HSR... Turkey for example.
Again, chicken and egg...if rail was used, it would have been invested in.
The automobile has shaped transport in this country, for better or worse. This is the hand we have now.

It's useless to draw these comparisons really...but if you'd like to continue, please do...
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Old June 21st, 2012, 10:09 AM   #3284
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Not really though is it? The automobile has shaped transport in nearly all countries - western Europe is no exception.

And no, chicken and the egg is not the case - it was the egg that came first (obvious as the egg becomes a chicken but a chicken does not become an egg), and in the case of railways, it was the railways that came first and then people used them.

Build it and they will come.

Have a bit of vision and build it.

And don't get sucked into poor reality-twisting narratives that are politically based rather than practically based.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 02:50 PM   #3285
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Well, there is a good story about reasons and consequences of automotive boom in USA in V. Vuchik's book "Transportation for Livable Cities". There is a great emphasis on differences between USA and Europe both objective and subjective. A great book for understanding "how it works".
http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~vuchic/
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Old June 21st, 2012, 02:53 PM   #3286
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Not really though is it? The automobile has shaped transport in nearly all countries - western Europe is no exception.

And no, chicken and the egg is not the case - it was the egg that came first (obvious as the egg becomes a chicken but a chicken does not become an egg), and in the case of railways, it was the railways that came first and then people used them.

Build it and they will come.

Have a bit of vision and build it.

And don't get sucked into poor reality-twisting narratives that are politically based rather than practically based.
The whole point of that argument is that it is irrelevant (the question that is). It doesn't matter whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, the ides is that one of them did. And that is my point: there was neither a chicken nor an egg. Rail transport was trumped by the convenience and practicality of the automobile and, juxtaposed against air travel, was increasingly viewed as old technology.

But then again, I get how hair-brained, ineffective politicians and a public that doesn't know what's good for them makes a more interesting discussion...

I'm not twisting anything, I'm just being realistic and evaluating it based upon the context at hand and not drawing straws at the surface. You can get pedantic all you want to, but that doesn't change the facts.

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Old June 21st, 2012, 04:33 PM   #3287
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Sure rail transport was trumped by the convenience of the automobile, but who payed for both?

The rail systems that the automobile put out of business in a lot parts of the country were privately run businesses. It took a massive amount of taxpayer money to shift people out of trains into cars, and out of cities into suburbs. Sure you could probably argue that with the growth of the car that the shift would've happened eventually. But it would've been more gradual and wouldn't have left such a massive discrepancy in road v rail travel ridership as we do today, because private investors would've had to step in and pay for highways which would've taken far more time, and the corridors would've been only in areas with high populations. Plus if private developers were the ones who built these highways, they wouldn't have had the power of eminent domain, so you wouldn't see any cities in the US with god awful highways running right through their downtowns.

People moan about building HSR corridors in this country, but where do they think their beloved highways came from? Highways receive billions in direct subsidies from the Treasury, in 2010 it was bailed out to the tune of $19.5B. I think we agree that the gas tax needs to be raised. Highways should be self sustaining. If someone wants to live in the burbs and drive to work, fine, they've made a conscious decision to do so, so they should pay for that road with tolls and gas taxes.

But we need to look forward as well. The Interstate Highway System looked a decade into the future. With gas prices the way they are, fewer people driving, and younger generations having less and less interest in driving and more and more interest in living in cities, we have to look to alternative transportation. You can't just keep expanding highways. True HSR will ease congestion on highways and in airports, lowering maintenance costs, and improving efficiency.

We should not set up an Amtrak like system though. Linking every major city, right now, doesn't look like a good investment. However, the Northeast sure does, so does California, and honestly I'm not entirely familiar with transit among Texas' big cities or a Chicago based hub, but those might work as well. Then slowly expand from those in the future if the demand is there. But clearly, there are at least two corridors in this country that will work. You could probably make a pretty good case for the Northeastern US being the perfect corridor for HSR, anywhere in the world.

Last edited by yankeesfan1000; June 21st, 2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 04:39 PM   #3288
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Have you forgotten the history of land-grants given to railways in US?
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Old June 21st, 2012, 05:23 PM   #3289
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Originally Posted by yankeesfan1000 View Post
Sure rail transport was trumped by the convenience of the automobile, but who payed for both?

The rail systems that the automobile put out of business in a lot parts of the country were privately run businesses. It took a massive amount of taxpayer money to shift people out of trains into cars, and out of cities into suburbs. Sure you could probably argue that with the growth of the car that the shift would've happened eventually. But it would've been more gradual and wouldn't have left such a massive discrepancy in road v rail travel ridership as we do today, because private investors would've had to step in and pay for highways which would've taken far more time, and the corridors would've been only in areas with high populations. Plus if private developers were the ones who built these highways, they wouldn't have had the power of eminent domain, so you wouldn't see any cities in the US with god awful highways running right through their downtowns.

People moan about building HSR corridors in this country, but where do they think their beloved highways came from? Highways receive billions in direct subsidies from the Treasury, in 2010 it was bailed out to the tune of $19.5B. I think we agree that the gas tax needs to be raised. Highways should be self sustaining. If someone wants to live in the burbs and drive to work, fine, they've made a conscious decision to do so, so they should pay for that road with tolls and gas taxes.

But we need to look forward as well. The Interstate Highway System looked a decade into the future. With gas prices the way they are, fewer people driving, and younger generations having less and less interest in driving and more and more interest in living in cities, we have to look to alternative transportation. You can't just keep expanding highways. True HSR will ease congestion on highways and in airports, lowering maintenance costs, and improving efficiency.

We should not set up an Amtrak like system though. Linking every major city, right now, doesn't look like a good investment. However, the Northeast sure does, so does California, and honestly I'm not entirely familiar with transit among Texas' big cities or a Chicago based hub, but those might work as well. Then slowly expand from those in the future if the demand is there. But clearly, there are at least two corridors in this country that will work. You could probably make a pretty good case for the Northeastern US being the perfect corridor for HSR, anywhere in the world.
I'm not arguing with this reasoning. Really, I was just pointing out that there is a practical reason that we're in the state we're in. It's not politics or ineptitude, it's just the way the cookie crumbled. If there was huge pressure on rail services, it would be harder to justify not investing in it. But the fact remains: there just isn't [yet].

Sure, there's demand in certain areas that hasn't been fully realized but for the cast majority of the country, rail at this moment in time, is irrelevant.
If we're having a discussion about HSR, we HAVE to acknowledge that. This isn't to say we shouldn't invest, but that one of the major hurdles is changing the way people travel.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 05:28 PM   #3290
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Have you forgotten the history of land-grants given to railways in US?
Have you forgotten the Order 66-esque American Streetcar Scandal? GM and several other automobile-affiliated industries were convicted of attempting to monopolize the transportation system through "the systematic piecemeal destruction of America's electric railways."
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Old June 21st, 2012, 07:34 PM   #3291
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Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
Have you forgotten the Order 66-esque American Streetcar Scandal? GM and several other automobile-affiliated industries were convicted of attempting to monopolize the transportation system through "the systematic piecemeal destruction of America's electric railways."

Good point. You took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 08:21 PM   #3292
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Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
Have you forgotten the Order 66-esque American Streetcar Scandal? GM and several other automobile-affiliated industries were convicted of attempting to monopolize the transportation system through "the systematic piecemeal destruction of America's electric railways."
Not only that! In the 1800s what were the other options for inland transportation other than railroads i.e. Pony Express -- Too Slow and capacity was low, Inland waterways -- Again slower than railroads and inflexible. Also the west was largely wilderness, so obtaining land for construction and commercial exploitation was relatively easier. By the mid 20th century virgin land wasn't that freely available so that railroads could upgrade their networks and finance it by exploiting the available land.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 08:45 PM   #3293
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Have you forgotten the history of land-grants given to railways in US?
Yeah, but land only -vs- land+construction funds isn't that fair?
American passenger rail is too undeveloped for such powerful and rich country.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 09:01 PM   #3294
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Have you forgotten the history of land-grants given to railways in US?
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Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
Yeah, but land only -vs- land+construction funds isn't that fair?...
Exactly. That was the general point I was trying to make.

@phoenix, that makes sense. I misunderstood you then. Sorry about that.

I agree the country is far too big, and spread out for rail or even HSR to work in most places. It's just unfortunate that people can't seem to differentiate between investing and spending.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 09:27 PM   #3295
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Originally Posted by yankeesfan1000 View Post
Exactly. That was the general point I was trying to make.

@phoenix, that makes sense. I misunderstood you then. Sorry about that.

I agree the country is far too big, and spread out for rail or even HSR to work in most places. It's just unfortunate that people can't seem to differentiate between investing and spending.
Lucky most of the Population of this country is wedged into Mega regions which are perfect for HSR....in between those mega regions the car and airplane are better used.



--------------2000 - 2025 - 2050 Population

Greats Lakes : 54.1 - 64.7 - 71.6 Million
Northeastern Megapolis : 49.5 - 58.1 - 75.8 Million
Southern California : 24.9 - 34.8 - 39.3 Million
Texas Triangle : 16.5 - 26.8 - 38.1 Million
Florida : 14.7 - 21.4 - 31.5 Million
Piedmont Atlantic : 14.9 - 20.5 - 31.9 Million
Northern California : 12.7 - 17.3 - 21.1 Million
Gulf Coast : 11.7 - 15.8 - 23.6 Million
Cascadia : 10.2 - 12.5 - 24.6 Million
Arizona Sun Corridor : 5.7 - 7.4 - 12.3 Million
Front Range : 4.7 - 6.8 - 10.5 Million

United States Population in 2000 : 281.4 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population in 2000 : 219 Million
Public Transit Usage in 2000 : 15 Million


United States Population in 2010 : 308.7 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population in 2010 : 250 Million
Public Transit Usage in 2010 : 34 Million


United States Population by 2025 : 340 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population by 2025 : 286.5 Million
Public Transit Usage by 2025 : 70 Million


United States Population by 2050 : 440 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population by 2050 : 380 Million
Public Transit Usage by 2050 : 190 Million
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Old June 21st, 2012, 10:54 PM   #3296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
Lucky most of the Population of this country is wedged into Mega regions which are perfect for HSR....in between those mega regions the car and airplane are better used.


--------------2000 - 2025 - 2050 Population

Greats Lakes : 54.1 - 64.7 - 71.6 Million
Northeastern Megapolis : 49.5 - 58.1 - 75.8 Million
Southern California : 24.9 - 34.8 - 39.3 Million
Texas Triangle : 16.5 - 26.8 - 38.1 Million
Florida : 14.7 - 21.4 - 31.5 Million
Piedmont Atlantic : 14.9 - 20.5 - 31.9 Million
Northern California : 12.7 - 17.3 - 21.1 Million
Gulf Coast : 11.7 - 15.8 - 23.6 Million
Cascadia : 10.2 - 12.5 - 24.6 Million
Arizona Sun Corridor : 5.7 - 7.4 - 12.3 Million
Front Range : 4.7 - 6.8 - 10.5 Million

United States Population in 2000 : 281.4 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population in 2000 : 219 Million
Public Transit Usage in 2000 : 15 Million


United States Population in 2010 : 308.7 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population in 2010 : 250 Million
Public Transit Usage in 2010 : 34 Million


United States Population by 2025 : 340 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population by 2025 : 286.5 Million
Public Transit Usage by 2025 : 70 Million


United States Population by 2050 : 440 Million
Urbanized Suburban and Urban Population by 2050 : 380 Million
Public Transit Usage by 2050 : 190 Million
Thanks for that. Came across if a while back but it was too small to read the text. I'm fairly confident the California initiative will happen (because there's a lot at stake for them to finish it). Once it does, I can see a bigger push in the North East and MidWest.

My biggest question, is whether they're primarily shooting for new dedicated lines or upgrading existing lines. I know the latter is cheaper (and more practical) but don't passenger services share with freight in a lot of these (i.e. AmTrack operated) corridors? Just wondering...I haven't gotten much about the specifics on that.

Last edited by phoenixboi08; June 22nd, 2012 at 12:03 AM.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 11:19 PM   #3297
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Thanks for that. Came across if a while back but it was too small to read the text. I'm fairly confident the California initiative will happen (because there's a lot at stake for them to finish it). Once it does, I can see a bigger push in the North East and MidWest.

My biggest question, is whether they're primarily shooting for new dedicated lines or upgrading existing lines. I know the latter is cheaper (and more practical) but don't passenger services share with freight in a lot of these (i.e. AmTrack operated) corridors? Just wondering...I haven't gotten much about the specifics on that.
Well the Midwest plan calls for lines to operate next to existing Commuter or Heavy Rail or Freight lines usually with a buffer but never shared even in Chicago. The Tracks would be separate , the New Union Station will be various levels for HSR , Subways , Busway , and Taxis all underground. The lines that are being upgraded now are considered the feeder network for the trunk lines. I'm not sure if these feeder corridors will all be Amtrak operated , some will , but some will be state operated.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 10:34 AM   #3298
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The whole point of that argument is that it is irrelevant (the question that is). It doesn't matter whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, the ides is that one of them did. And that is my point: there was neither a chicken nor an egg. Rail transport was trumped by the convenience and practicality of the automobile and, juxtaposed against air travel, was increasingly viewed as old technology.

But then again, I get how hair-brained, ineffective politicians and a public that doesn't know what's good for them makes a more interesting discussion...

I'm not twisting anything, I'm just being realistic and evaluating it based upon the context at hand and not drawing straws at the surface. You can get pedantic all you want to, but that doesn't change the facts.
BTW I didn't say you were twisting anything.

I was referring to your response to a post Sekelsenmat made pointing out that regardless of anything most of the rest of the world is an example of doing public transport despite everything.

I struggle to see where you've gone with S's points, hence my pendantic-ess (which btw is almost synonymous with sticking to the facts). I mean, rail came before car and air, and if what you say regarding the way rail is/was viewed in the US, then that just means transport policy was decided on the basis of lables such as 'old' that tagged themselves to rail, and not on the basis of the practicalities. In fairness, basing decisions on the superfluous meaning of slogans and buzzwords appears to be how much of the US operates, from government decisions right down to an individual's self-esteem.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 01:23 PM   #3299
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BTW I didn't say you were twisting anything.

I was referring to your response to a post Sekelsenmat made pointing out that regardless of anything most of the rest of the world is an example of doing public transport despite everything.

I struggle to see where you've gone with S's points, hence my pendantic-ess (which btw is almost synonymous with sticking to the facts). I mean, rail came before car and air, and if what you say regarding the way rail is/was viewed in the US, then that just means transport policy was decided on the basis of lables such as 'old' that tagged themselves to rail, and not on the basis of the practicalities. In fairness, basing decisions on the superfluous meaning of slogans and buzzwords appears to be how much of the US operates, from government decisions right down to an individual's self-esteem.
My point was/is solely: there was no [increasing] interest in rail = no investment in rail. Rail is more attractive now (over the last 15-20 years) = more investment and interest going forward.

If China had industrialized 200+ years ago, they would not have been investing heavily in rail, it would have been highways and other projects. That was the only point I ever tried to make: the comparison is a little non-nonsensical; it's not so much a difference in priorities as it is a difference of contexts.

And the data I've seen always shows a sharp decline in investment in infrastructure over time, as saturation occurs (you can only build so many highways, bridges, dams, power grids, etc). That trends can be reversed - i.e. you can increase spending - but eventually will peak again as you complete goals/initiatives/upgrades/etc. You don't just spend infinitely on this stuff...

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Old June 22nd, 2012, 03:04 PM   #3300
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post

My biggest question, is whether they're primarily shooting for new dedicated lines or upgrading existing lines. I know the latter is cheaper (and more practical) but don't passenger services share with freight in a lot of these (i.e. AmTrack operated) corridors? Just wondering...I haven't gotten much about the specifics on that.
It seems that the both ways will be used... For example Cal. HSR plans to use dedicated ROW from LA to San Jose and than to switch on upgraded Caltrain track reast way to SF.
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