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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 December 30th, 2014, 06:12 AM   #5181
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UNITED STATES | High Speed Rail

Since when has development of High Speed Rail been an accurate measurement of a nations success? At the rate we're developing our HSR it'll be long out dated by the time we can have it fully operational. The United States does not need to look towards Europe for infrastructure examples. Our country has always found success in looking towards the future. We need to start funding research for new ideas like the hyper loop. That is our future. Not copying Europe or China.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 06:21 AM   #5182
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Uuummm or we could just invest in developing Maglev technology. We all know maglev is good for more than just high speed rail.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 10:40 AM   #5183
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The argument about too low population density gets thrown around again and again whenever discussing HSR in US. Too bad it's not true, population density is actually very high in most or all places it is proposed.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 10:48 AM   #5184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyarch21 View Post
Since when has development of High Speed Rail been an accurate measurement of a nations success? At the rate we're developing our HSR it'll be long out dated by the time we can have it fully operational. The United States does not need to look towards Europe for infrastructure examples. Our country has always found success in looking towards the future. We need to start funding research for new ideas like the hyper loop. That is our future. Not copying Europe or China.
I think this is a wrong way of thinking. It's about developing efficient transportation system for medium term future instead of national pride or any other such things. It's prudent to copy if someone else has developed something useful. It happens all the time in science and technology and no one feels ashamed why would that not extend to infrastructure as well?

It's difficult to predict a future, but my bet would be that rail based transport is still around and popular 50 years from now. Quite likely more popular than now despite all the self driving cars etc. simply because of capacity and speed.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 10:57 AM   #5185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayOOfoshO View Post
Have I done that?
You haven't, but a simple google search would reveal that it's quite common. I think much of it is because of particularly toxic environment in modern American politics. If something is proposed by Democrats and you are a Republican then it's definitely a bad idea and must be opposed at all costs and vice versa.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 11:25 AM   #5186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayOOfoshO View Post
You point to Italy as an example of why it could be done. I point to Italy as exactly why it shouldn't be done.

1) Look at their cost overruns. They started with x per mile, they ended up with x*2 per mile. And just because it happens in many other cases, it doesn't mean we should accept it here too.
I really don't understand your logic. There are cost overruns in all types of projects. For example, the Big Dig, a monument of cost overruns, was a motorway. So, should motorways stop being built too? Should all public projects stop being done because they often go overbudget? Or should we move towards making them more efficient and transparent?

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2) Italy actually had a previously developed rail network e.g. you get off in Milan, you jump on a different train and can go to virtually any minor city. California does not have that.
Part of California does. One can move in big parts of the Bay Area and LA pretty ok with public transport. Plus, the HSR to a significant degree will relieve congested air routes (which will only become worst in the future) that face exactly the same issues. With the added bonus that the HSR stations in the major cities will be close to businesses and houses, unlike airports.

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3) I understand the distance between LA-SF is similar as other European cases. But it is extremely difficult to build a track between the two cities in areas like the SF peninsula. The same goes for the LA-SD track which will later be developed. You have to literally go through cities, mountains, or in some cases around them, which is all extremely expensive.
And what is the difference from Italy and Spain, not to mention Japan? As you know, the space between Barcelona and Madrid is not a big flat valley either but there are many mountains that required numerous tunnels and bridges to be consructed for the line. Plus, further tunnels were needed to enter densely populated cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Despite all these, that line is actually bringing back its money, even its capital costs. California's line passes through around 100 miles of difficult terrain but the majority is flat land.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 11:57 AM   #5187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gippas View Post
And what is the difference from Italy and Spain, not to mention Japan? As you know, the space between Barcelona and Madrid is not a big flat valley either but there are many mountains that required numerous tunnels and bridges to be consructed for the line. Plus, further tunnels were needed to enter densely populated cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Despite all these, that line is actually bringing back its money, even its capital costs. California's line passes through around 100 miles of difficult terrain but the majority is flat land.
Indeed. I am not an expert, but the geography of the corridor doesn't look exceptionally challenging rather it looks like a regular case. There are numerous HSR corridors connecting smaller metropolitan areas with a much more challenging corridor. For example Spain is no less challenging. They've got tons of tunnels and bridges there as well.

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Originally Posted by jayOOfoshO View Post
Your sarcasm is unnecessary.
Sarcasm? Merely a reaction to your modesty.

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This analogy with the US highway system or other infrastructure projects doesn't hold. Just because some other project has been approved, it doesn't mean we should be in favor of this one. And by the way comparing this project with the US interstate highway system is like comparing oranges with apples. Costs are different, and don't forget you can get off the highway and "connect" to any road and go wherever you want. You can't do that with trains in California, unless you develop the network even more of course, but that doesn't make sense due to population density (except in a few cases of course).
Of course the differences are substantial but both, interstate network as well as HSR share in common that without a strong public plan behind it and the financial support to realize it, they would not have happened or are not going to happen.

You are not seriously claiming that with your cost and other criteria applied to all the interstate routes, based on the numbers before its realization, that the network, if it existed at all would not look substantially smaller, are you?


The argument that the single line on its own is not enough is a lame one. Of course there has to be a master plan for connecting the HSR to the local transit, and this would have to go hand in hand with solid investment in that local transit as well of course.

Of course densities are not as high as with many other non-US cities. But except for the east coast and the greater Chicago area, there is basically barely a spot in the US with a higher population density than LA. Central districts reach densities of above 40000 inh./sqm, not record high but that is a solid value and numerous central districts are at least above 20000. Most of them have a fairly good transit connection to Downtown already. Furthermore are there already today a number of regional lines connecting the larger metropolitan area with that hub. The city changes and is not stagnating, in fact many of the already denser areas are getting even denser.

If the greater LA area doesn't want to strangle itself with car infrastructure (it is not like there wouldn't be any already) and doesn't want its air hub to totally collapse due to overload, it needs to redistribute the modal split a bit again. This is mainly done with improved local transit but also car oriented intercity connections are heavily stressed and HSR is not only building some really strong alternative capacity there but also putting a strong incentive on using local transit as well. All of this goes hand in hand. If you ripped out one component while ignoring the rest it wouldn't make much sense of course.

You don't need to connect to "any highway", a solid local and regional transit network is enough to supply the line with sufficient numbers of potential riders. And for the rest, ever heard of cabs or car renting? A HSR line does not need to be embedded in an entire HSR network to function well. It is enough to connect a solid chunk of such big metropolitan areas like LA and the Bay Area at the given distance. Especially connecting to the business centers is of importance there, which is why stations should be downtown to downtown, with some more periphery connector stations.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 01:43 PM   #5188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayOOfoshO View Post
Oh ok that makes perfect sense! Others have done it, and since you believe they are "perfectly civil" then it makes sense to do it here too.



You used the term to address my comment. It is insulting to me to use that term in this context because you are using it to label me with something based on the fact that I disagree with your ideas.



Irrelevant



Great, but can we afford to address this "dilemma" with a $68 billion train?



Again, you are replying to things I didn't say. I didn't say you hate the US. I said you should be proud to live here and not be ashamed if someone opposes your ideas or HSR doesn't get built. You should accept that some people will disagree with you and that is also part of being in the US.

All those other countries are capable of building "high speed" trains with public money. But in none of those countries except the US a company like Uber, Lyft, etc. could have grown and disrupted the taxi business. Before you all accuse of me doing so, I am not saying Uber will substitute HSR. But I am saying the idea of progress for one country being represented by building HSR is bogus. A train running at 250 km/h is not progress.

I wouldn't have that big of a problem in HSR. I don't oppose the idea of a fast train in itself. I am not against it. What I am against is the massive amounts of public money that is needed for this project. I am convinced it is not worth it and I am scared by the amount of public debt this country has reached. I don't think it's sustainable at this pace. This is why I am against it.
well, if less public money would spent on weapons and world domination, orange revolutions, wars, military bases all over the world than you may have smaller debt, HSR network and even normal free medicine.

sure HSR is not a big progress, but free medicine like in UK is much highier progress than huge military ships.

i doubt spending billions on some NASA programs is also a good investment, maybe some more of civil engineering would work better.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 01:54 PM   #5189
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can't you do this via pm?
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Old December 30th, 2014, 05:43 PM   #5190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eiropro View Post
well, if less public money would spent on weapons and world domination, orange revolutions, wars, military bases all over the world than you may have smaller debt, HSR network and even normal free medicine.

sure HSR is not a big progress, but free medicine like in UK is much highier progress than huge military ships.

i doubt spending billions on some NASA programs is also a good investment, maybe some more of civil engineering would work better.
Have you actually seen the United States Federal Budget? Most of the money that we spend is on entitlements and if you're going to slash defense, you'd have to slash that as well to make things all fair and well in Never-Neverland. "Free" medicine? Who's going to pay for that? I'm not paying more in taxes just so we can have an ineffective bureaucracy mismanage health care because a few of us want to emulate the Europeans and while I'm still talking, you should be aware that NASA only makes up 1% of Federal spending. It's far cheaper to construct the James Web Space Telescope than it is to fund SCHIP for 1 calendar year. You claim no benefit comes from NASA, but that's so asinine, I don't know how to respond to that. All I will tell you is that NASA has been responsible for many technological breakthroughs and we could probably see more if we invested in our space program. However, this is merely semantics and I'm starting to get off topic.

I have always said that one of the few things government should be involved in is infrastructure spending and that the government should take on this role along with private investment in order to cut costs as I too am concerned about the high level of debt and out of control spending. The difference is that I think HSR can be done on-time, within budget and without further saddling us with unnecessary debt. But we as a country need to realize that if mass transit and commercial rail were meant to be profitable, we'd have subway lines in every major city (excluding NOLA and Miami) and a vast commuter rail network outside of the Northeast and a few other cities. The fact of the matter is, these transportation options provide a service to get passengers from point A to Point B in the quickest time possible; they aren't meant to generate millions year in and year out.

The US should invest in HSR and use the private sector to help see that vision come true because it benefits us all and could potentially allow us to move goods long distances via HSR in the future. Freight rail is a very profitable business and they're always looking to move goods to their destinations faster and cheaper. It's better you develop the technology now so it can be perfected and costs reduced over time. We did it with the automobile, we did it with the airplane and now we must do it with our rail infrastructure.

We shouldn't try to be Europe; that's a continent full of citizens that have a mindset that is radically different from us when it comes to mass transit, cars and HSR. We should incorporate our own attitudes when constructing HSR lines (if that makes any sense). While NIMBYs are a pain in the butt, some have valid concerns and maybe we should take them into consideration, instead of writing them off. Maybe it's cheaper to upgrade lines along existing routes than build a new route all together; on the flip side, maybe it's better to start from scratch. What we need is competent leadership (don't laugh...) that takes everything into consideration and is willing to be pragmatic and logical. Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect HSR to be built in a day either. I will say that $68 billion is far cheaper than what some out there have speculated it would cost to build a line, but you know what, we have our own self to blame for that figure. We waited and waited, made fun of the Europeans and called them "socialists" for their love of HSR and now we're looking stupid because we want one and have come to the realization that both ROW and construction costs have quadrupled since the 1960s.

I'll close by saying this, no sane person is saying we should build lines that cross the country, but we need to do it by corridors where we KNOW it will make the most money: NEC, Texas, California and maybe the Gulf Coast and the Midwest.

Just my 2 cents on the matter.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 09:44 PM   #5191
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I don't know if this principal debate is still welcome in this thread. I hope we are not upsetting guys for repeating stuff over and over again.

The argument with "but Europe is different" is a bit outdated. It doesn't take into account that not Europe is the exception, the US is. Almost all developed countries of a certain size have HSR nowadays. We are currently at a stage where developing countries are starting to build such systems as well. And I am not even talking about China here, which is a really impressive case but certainly quite special as well.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 10:38 PM   #5192
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Off-Topic, but I don't see how reforming a dysfunctional health care system is "European".
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Old December 30th, 2014, 11:08 PM   #5193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
The argument about too low population density gets thrown around again and again whenever discussing HSR in US. Too bad it's not true, population density is actually very high in most or all places it is proposed.
For comparison:

The line is approximately comparitive to Japan's Sanyo/Kyushu corridor.

Osaka - Fukuoka : 622 km ( by train )
Sacramento/SF - LA : ~620km ( by car )

Populations:
Sanyo Corridor TOTAL: 28,070,066
Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto: 18,768,395
Okayama: 1,646,757
Hiroshima: 2,064,536
Fukuoka: 5,590,378

CAHSR Corridor TOTAL: 29,021,758
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA CSA: 18,081,569
Bakersfield, CA CSA: 851,710
Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Yuba, CA CSA: 2,425,019
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA: 7,663,460


Both are secondary corridors.
In Japan, the main corridor is the Tokaido between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
IN USA, it's obviously the NEC between Boston & NYC & DC.

Both connect a huge metro area to smaller areas.
Both have difficult terrain but no massive mountain ranges to traverse.

The Sanyo Shinkansen was constructed between 1964 (completion of Tokaido line) and 1975 (completion to Fukuoka). Even back then, when the nation was in massive building mode, it took 11 years.

68 billion sounds expensive, but when you think about it like 4 separate infrastructure projects over 4 or 5 CMAs, it's manageable.

Look at the costs of highway Improvements.

The I-5 North will cost $1.3B over 5 years.
The I-5 South will cost $1.6B over 5 years.
The I-405 10mi Improvements are $1B.
The I-710 corridor project (Long Beach) is estimated to cost between $3.1 B and $6.37 B.

These end up being from $7 to $11 B dollars and they're all essentially improvement projects on existing infrastructure (MOSTLY LA). I haven't looked up major infrastructure project costs in other areas.

Remember, all this money doesn't have to come at the same time and it's coming from 5 major areas of California.

Am I preaching to the choir? Beating a dead horse? Probably.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 05:18 AM   #5194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
I think this is a wrong way of thinking. It's about developing efficient transportation system for medium term future instead of national pride or any other such things. It's prudent to copy if someone else has developed something useful. It happens all the time in science and technology and no one feels ashamed why would that not extend to infrastructure as well?

It's difficult to predict a future, but my bet would be that rail based transport is still around and popular 50 years from now. Quite likely more popular than now despite all the self driving cars etc. simply because of capacity and speed.
Since I was the one whom this was originally addressed to, I will admit that "national pride" is by far in away, not the main reason, but rather, I was mentioning that as a personal desire. While I know that it's not "original" to build HSR (after all, since when did anything new in America have to always be 100% original), but rather, I see it as a "catch up" kind of situation, when other nations are miles ahead, and America hasn't even left the station.

Also, on a different note to everyone here, I appreciate your help in debunking virtually all of the anti transit arguments from those hiding under some imaginary cloak of all that "reason" represents; as well as acknowledging the fact that more than just the money should be taken into account when dealing with these projects.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 05:23 AM   #5195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyarch21 View Post
Since when has development of High Speed Rail been an accurate measurement of a nations success? At the rate we're developing our HSR it'll be long out dated by the time we can have it fully operational. The United States does not need to look towards Europe for infrastructure examples. Our country has always found success in looking towards the future. We need to start funding research for new ideas like the hyper loop. That is our future. Not copying Europe or China.
I'm going to be blunt here and state that I wish the U.S. was more like Europe, and not just in term of HSR.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 08:51 AM   #5196
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California's line passes through around 100 miles of difficult terrain but the majority is flat land.
The argument about the difficulty of terrain being a huge roadblock for the line is invalid. Sure maybe its not convenient, but was it convenient for the Transcontinental Railroad to find a route through the Sierras? Now I'm impartial here, because I don't know all the facts and figures, but what I do know is trains can go above ground, under ground, over mountains, around mountains, through mountains, under water, and can be elevated in the air. So just about any roadblock can be dealt with. Now I still don't claim to be an expert, but if a 1,900 mile railroad can be built across the United States 150 years ago, we sure as hell can build a high speed rail through a small portion of California in the 21st century.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 12:16 PM   #5197
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Of course, it is no technical problem at all to build that track. It is not even close to the most challenging HSR corridors built on earth. Connecting London to the European HSR grid was much more of a challenge for example.

In the end it is merely a matter of price and while I am not an expert either I doubt the price tag for the Californian HSR corridor is out of the norm.
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Old January 5th, 2015, 11:33 PM   #5198
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They're breaking ground tomorrow in Fresno. What a boondoggle. CA HSR will be the GOP's most successful recruitment drive in state history. Yikes.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 12:15 AM   #5199
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They're breaking ground tomorrow in Fresno. What a boondoggle. CA HSR will be the GOP's most successful recruitment drive in state history. Yikes.
In the long term, the benefits in jobs, the environment, urban planning, the economy as a whole, let alone the very fact that the U.S. will have high speed rail exponentially outweigh the cost. yeah, there's been some reaction to the project, but I personally think it's from either NIMBY farmers in the valley, people who are too short sighted to see any long term benefits and only care about the upfront costs.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 06:28 AM   #5200
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GET READY, TOMORROWS THE GROUND BREAKING DATE!!!!

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