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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 4th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #861
hans280
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Yeah, but Flyfish there are a couple of unresolved issues. The provision of basic infrastructure is surely the responsibility of the public authorities? Or, if you disagree (and I think this was the point grammercy tried to make in his ranty fashion...) then surely interstate highways, etc shouldn't be built with federal money either?

I'm absolutely in favour of private financing of railways - the more the better. But there are certain limitations. At one extreme, if you own a mine in, say, Broken Hill, Australia then it may make perfect business sense for you to build a railway like to the coast in order to be able to ship your produce out. However, if the issue is a new passenger line from, for example, Fresno to LA with the triple purpose of (1) providing transport service to individuals; (2) relieving congestion on CA's often very difficult roads; and (3) developing the Central Valley into an economic powerhouse to the benefit of millions of people who'd normally not take the train themselves.... THEN.... you'll agree with me that only (1) is something that one can realistically ask the users to pay for? The rest of this the State - if indeed the State wants these benefits - will have to find financing for.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 10:07 PM   #862
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
moron? That's the way you engage in debate with someone who disagrees with you?
Complain of underhand tactics and then indulge in a poisoning-the-well tactic of your own.....

Quote:
You have learned alot from the political left here in the US, lol.
Pot calling the kettle methinks.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #863
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Quote:
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...

in your first post you said constitution

name me the part of the constitution where it talks about highways

then proceed w/ your argument from there regarding the railways



i wonder if you know the only industry actually named in the constitution?
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:28 PM   #864
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And besides, the Chinese are running out of cash, how would we in America pay for it?
Raise taxes on the rich and cut the military budget.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #865
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Uh, this is America, the Government should NOT own the railroads. I don't think that is provided for in our constitution.
Are you really this stupid? Trains didn't exist when the Constitution was written in the late 1780s. Neither did railroads.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it dictate what type of economic system America should have. Hell, capitalism was a nascent ideology articulated by Adam Smith just a decade earlier. The industrial revolution had not yet occurred.

And the government owns the interstate highway system. Why then should it not own railroads?
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #866
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Just for fun let's pretend you made a valid point and continue this "debate" since I am bored at work this afternoon.
Quit being a drain on society and the private sector. Get productive. That's the capitalist way.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #867
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First, to build this line our Government would have to appropriate funding which will be tough because we are bankrupt at the present time. Under our current administration that would be the easiest part. Being bankrupt isn't stopping them with anything else so why not go to the Chinese and borrow some more.
Raise taxes and cut military spending. It isn't that hard. The U.S. has plenty of options available when it comes to financing HSR, it just chooses not to use any of them.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:37 PM   #868
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100% agreed!
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:52 PM   #869
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Second, there would be little political will to appropriate said funding because HSR is the want of a few and not a need of the many. I know the few is highly represented here but the truth is most of the population doesn't even know what high speed rail is, let alone have any need of it's existence or any desire to pay for its construction. There is no pressing need to have this system in the US. Yes, for some commuters in the Northeast and SoCal it would be nice and in places in the mid-west there would be some riders but it is not a need. Certainly not needed enough to try to convince the taxpayers that we need to shovel out however many hundreds of billions it would require to buy right of way and get it built.
Wrong again. First, over 60 million people live in and around SoCal and the NE United States. We are talking about 35 million people just in the LA and NYC metro areas alone, not to mention the nation's two largest cities and economic centers that generate a substantial amount of tax revenue.

Add in Chicago and the Bay Area and the percentage of the U.S. population that had familiarity with rail travel jumps even higher. Better to add in Dallas, Atlanta, Saint Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle as well since all of those cities have growing rail systems.

Now we are talking about half of the U.S. population that lives in in area with some form of rail transit.

The people of California approved the financing and construction of high speed rail in 2008. Did this simple fact just slip your mind? Clearly there is support for rail travel in this country.

Second, you can provide not one shred of evidence to support your claim that there is no "need" for expanded rail travel in the United States. There is no "need" to build new roads either. People can just live closer to work or sit in more traffic. Why should MY tax money go to improve the commutes of a "few" people?

Third, the interstate highway system would cost more than a TRILLION dollars to build today. If morons like you had any power, that system would never have been built.

Fourth, your argument that a lack of public experience with rail travel (something I showed was untrue earlier) is not a reason to not invest in rail transit. There was a time when people were not familiar with air or automobile travel either. Should we not have built roads or airports?

Don't bring these weak-ass arguments in here.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #870
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Rail was the dominant form of travel in the U.S. for over a century. It still is in New York City. Dozens of large cities across the country have built and are expanding rail transit. The US DOT received more than $100 BILLION worth of bids for the $8 billion in stimulus HSR funds from all across the country.

There is clear support and pent up demand for rail travel in this country.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 09:52 PM   #871
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Question is: who is going to fund it? I guess that, if asked state DOTs could submit US$ 2 trillion highway and freeway projects within a month, there is just so much need for expanded and new freeways in almost every state.

When it comes to funding, it is easy to say "raise taxes" or "cut military". But tax money is not, and should not, be earmarked unless it had closed relation with the financed system. For instance, it makes totally sense to have a highway trust fund which collect money from gas tax. That is fair.

But what would pay for a, say, railway trust fund?

At most, I think US government should focus on building the tracks and stations, nothing else. Let private operators buy trainsets and operate them, in the same fashion as private airlines buy airplanes and operate them in a competitive framewok using public comercial airports. It would be poor political decision to have the government run the tracks AND the trains, as it gives clout to, say, a community that wants an unprofitable service to have it running at expense of extended service on profitable routes.

As a first stetp, Amtrak should be shut down or revamped to deal only with infrastructure, not with train operations. In Europe, by 2012 there will be open competition in high-speed rail lines (>200 kph) and national companies will have to set up subsidiaries to operate high-speed services AND will have give private competitors same access to their high-speed networks. It's the end of this era when high-valued services from/to major centers subsidize regional, slow and crappy regional services.

Last edited by andrelot; December 6th, 2009 at 03:03 PM. Reason: correcting typo
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:07 PM   #872
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In Europe, by 2012 there will be open competition in high-speed rail lines (>200 kph) and national companies will have to set up subsidiaries to operate high-speed services AND will have give private competitors same access to their high-speed networks. It's the end of this era when high-valued services from/to major centers subsidize regional, slow and crappy regional services.
The EU's rail liberalization policy is problematic. The fundamental problem with privatization of services is that when times are good, the private operators keep all of the profits, but when traffic slows down they demand (and often receive) public subsidies to keep the services running.

Deregulated rail operations means only profitable routes would have service. This is the case with deregulated air service in the U.S. Many airlines quit servicing certain cities because they were unprofitable. How is that in the public interest for many mid-sized cities to be denied air travel?
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #873
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Question is: who is going to fund it? I guess that, if asked state DOTs could submit US$ 2 trillion highway and freeway projects within a month, there is just so much need for expanded and new freeways in almost every state.
There is a huge backlog to improve and fix existing highways. Most state DOTs are completely road centric because the federal government spends far more money on roads than rail. If the federal policy was more balanced you can bet your ass that state DOTs would spend more time and energy on rail.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #874
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France, Spain, and Germany have good state owned rail providers. The UK had to unprivatize ownership of track because the private sector skimped on maintenance when it was in charge.

Amtrak does a great job considering it has hardly any money.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #875
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We should differentiate state-owned from state operated.

Property of tracks is a typical function where government agencies can do a better job than private sector.

Operating trains, in the other side, is better done by private sector once a public agency established a clear framework for competition.

In the case of SNCF (France), Renfe (Spain), Deustcheban (Germany) and Trenitalia (Italy), those companies are spinning-off their train operations from track property. No other government apart form UK had or is planning to privatize track ownership, but independent companies were set up. They will charge the same for acess either from state-owned train operator or private competition. If a government want to subsidize a high-speed operation, it will have to be done through a competitive tender process, in which private, national and international companies would apply (pretty much like some governments do now in regard of "strategic" domestic air-routes). It would not be admissible for a government to "cash cow" high speed routes to cross-subsidize local routes, as it has been done in France, for instance.

Advantage: public will now the exactly costs of inneficient rail systems, and there will be pressure to improve or close them, while long-distance rail will be less expensive.

International travel is quite well liberalized, already: Trenitalia scaled back its international trains by more than 80%, DB gained a good market share etc.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #876
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I agree: the actual infrastructure should remain in the hands of the government, like highways, while the train operators should provide the service and compete.

A high speed network can help our economy a great deal.

Any news though?
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Old December 6th, 2009, 01:04 AM   #877
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Any news though?
The $8 billion won't be awarded by the FRA until next year. Florida's legislature is holding a special session to fund the SunRail commuter rail project in Orlando so that it can get some of the federal HSR money to build a line between Orlando and Tampa, among other things.

But there won't be any sizable funds for HSR available until Congress passes a new transportation bill, instead of extending the existing one by six months at a time, which is what it is doing.

The Obama administration is wrong to hold up passage of a new transportation bill. They want to keep kicking the can down the road because they are a bunch of spineless pussies when it comes to addressing crucial issues that might generate criticism.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #878
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This is a waste of time and money..., if americans were really interested in passenger rail travel, amtrak wouldn't exist and the private companies would still be running passenger service. And if there was any hint of new american interest, i'm sure norfolk southern or some other rail line would be testing the waters.


Why build something the people don't want?
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Old December 6th, 2009, 02:17 AM   #879
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The $8 billion won't be awarded by the FRA until next year. Florida's legislature is holding a special session to fund the SunRail commuter rail project in Orlando so that it can get some of the federal HSR money to build a line between Orlando and Tampa, among other things.

But there won't be any sizable funds for HSR available until Congress passes a new transportation bill, instead of extending the existing one by six months at a time, which is what it is doing.

The Obama administration is wrong to hold up passage of a new transportation bill. They want to keep kicking the can down the road because they are a bunch of spineless pussies when it comes to addressing crucial issues that might generate criticism.
I totally agree on the last paragraph. You nailed it.

I remember California voted yes on the proposition for the HSR last elections, does that also depend on congress to make the funds available or is there any chance that something will be done before that? The state of California is on the edge of bankruptcy, so I guess the answer is no... but maybe something will be done?

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This is a waste of time and money..., if americans were really interested in passenger rail travel, amtrak wouldn't exist and the private companies would still be running passenger service. And if there was any hint of new american interest, i'm sure norfolk southern or some other rail line would be testing the waters.


Why build something the people don't want?
It's not a waste of money and who told you that Americans are against HSR? Have you done any research? Have you done any statistical analysis of what the population wants? Or are you just basing your ideas on an assumption caused by the stereotype of Americans living in their cars?

California voted yes on the HSR proposition, that should tell you maybe Americans do want this project.

The reason (I believe) why there hasn't been any private investment in the industry is because we lack the appropriate infrastructure to make railroad travel efficient and convenient, but this is because the government hasn't built the infrastructure.
I mean, in Asia and Europe the industry wouldn't be any more succesful than what it is here if the respective governments hadn't made the investments in the HSR networks that have been made.

PS I am 100% sure if California had a HSR network it would be super succesful, especially here in Soucal. You have any idea of how many times I could have gone to LA and Santa Barbara but haven;t because discouraged by traffic? We're talking 4.30 hours to get to Ventura County from San Diego on most days if respecting the limit.
And the same goes for driving to the Bay Area: the main highway (the 5) is a two lane road and it's always packed with trucks, so basically it is a one lane road from north LA to South of the Bay! It's ridiculous!
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Old December 6th, 2009, 04:03 AM   #880
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Quote:
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This is a waste of time and money..., if americans were really interested in passenger rail travel, amtrak wouldn't exist and the private companies would still be running passenger service. And if there was any hint of new american interest, i'm sure norfolk southern or some other rail line would be testing the waters.


Why build something the people don't want?
Bingo!


For all the ranting and gnashing of teeth above the simple fact is this. The highways exist, that is the system we have. It is a system the we armerican like better than rail travel. How do I know this? Well, morons like me drive instead of taking a train. If there is money to spend it makes much more sense to repair what you have than to start something else. If there was a sufficient market and any hope of a profitable operation someone out there would build it. This country is bankrupt, now is just not the time.

"tax the rich", the answer to everything.
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