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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%
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Old December 13th, 2009, 01:41 AM   #901
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Is it worth 200 billion of my Grandchildren's money (at 6% interest) to make that trip in half the time? Well, there's the question.
Is it worth that amount of money to shave a few minutes off the commute of someone that drives? The federal government has spent over a trillion dollars building freeways just so people can drive to a place more quickly.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 01:47 AM   #902
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Well, I still think we should promote HSR American-style, which means with thousands of parking spaces attached to each station, even if it means people living downtown have to take a light rail or cab to a suburban HSR station.
Why must transportation policy cater to the car? The car is only popular insofar as it is the only option many people have to get around.

BART was designed to cater to suburban commuters and it's ridership is half that of the D.C. metro which was designed to be a true urban style mass transit system.

If we want to maximize rail ridership, we must change land use policies and build around rail stations and provide suitable pedestrian and cyclist amenities.

The car is not king. It was selected by the government a long time ago to be the dominant mode of transportation in this country and has been subsidized long enough. It's time to put rail on an equal footing.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 03:27 AM   #903
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If we want to maximize rail ridership, we must change land use policies and build around rail stations
That's the problem: anti-car feeling to the point it amounts to and ideology. Build rail lines, let it build around them, but don't attack suburban lifestyle only to create "demand" to otherwise "oh-so-cool" European-like tranportation system that cannot attract sufficient costumers.

Let those who want to live near rail live, and those who want to live in suburubs live there. Free market, bro.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 03:29 AM   #904
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The anti-transit people act the same way too(not everybody of course). Besides, people can't use rail lines if the development only caters to those who can drive there, than use transit. May as well keep driving.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #905
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Let those who want to live near rail live, and those who want to live in suburubs live there. Free market, bro.
You really are ignorant of basic facts. There is no free market involved in the construction of large freeways to serve low scale suburban sprawl hellholes made possible by local government zoning laws.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 05:45 AM   #906
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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?
Prior to the 9-11 attacks the US spent 60 billion dollars a year on military expenses related to the Middle East, which is only of strategic importance due to the oil. That is 60 billion dollars per year that was financed out of general revenue, that should be allocated to the activity which benefits from our oil imports. Oil imports, we should place a tariff upon every barrel of oil imported into America, at a rate of 4 billion bbl per year the rate would need to be set at 15 dollars per barrel.

The money would then be available for energy independence infrastructure for America such as rail electrification and high speed rail.

As for where to cut military spending, we can begin to extricate ourselves from the many alliances that burden us down, such as NATO, Korea, and avoid being drawn into conflicts of no concern to us, such as the Arab-Israeli dispute. If Americans envy Europe's railways, then stop spending money to defend Europe and spend the money at home on America. return to the principle of "America First" that built our nation in the first place, "China First" is working out pretty good for China, lets us do the same here.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #907
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Totally off topic, but who was Moke?
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Old December 13th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #908
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Earmarking diverted funding (tax gas to pay for rail) is a receipt for disaster, financially and politically. It creates dependency on funding from a different, unrelated source (gas tax) to build infrastructure drivers will not use (rail). I'm totally against it. It would be feasible to increase gas tax, if only to expand and mantain the current network, nothing more, nothing less.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #909
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Originally Posted by andrelot View Post
Earmarking diverted funding (tax gas to pay for rail) is a receipt for disaster, financially and politically. It creates dependency on funding from a different, unrelated source (gas tax) to build infrastructure drivers will not use (rail). I'm totally against it. It would be feasible to increase gas tax, if only to expand and mantain the current network, nothing more, nothing less.


Earmarking diverted funding (tax gas to pay for highways) is a receipt for disaster, financially and politically. It creates dependency on funding from a different, unrelated source (gas tax) to build infrastructure drivers will not use (highways). I'm totally against it. It would be feasible to increase gas tax, if only to expand and mantain the current network, nothing more, nothing less.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #910
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Why gas tax for car use is unrelated to highways?
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Old December 13th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #911
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Earmarking diverted funding (tax gas to pay for rail) is a receipt for disaster, financially and politically. It creates dependency on funding from a different, unrelated source (gas tax) to build infrastructure drivers will not use (rail). I'm totally against it. It would be feasible to increase gas tax, if only to expand and mantain the current network, nothing more, nothing less.
My proposal was a tariff on imported oil, not a tax on gasoline. Oil is used for far more than gasoline, and two thirds of the oil we use is imported, which creates a military burden for the US. When the US needed no oil imports it did not concern itself with the Middle East. A simple tax on gasoline would not allocate the burden properly, since oil produced in South Dakota would pay the same tax as oil produced in Saudi Arabia, and others users such as plastics would be exempt from sharing the burden.

Anyone who uses very little oil is forced to share the military burden of those who consume it profligately via the income tax.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 02:11 AM   #912
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That is a very pessimistic approach, thinking of US military like an "oil international police". I'd say it is almost (almost, not yet) insulting to suppose the mission of US Military is to secure its oil supply.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #913
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That is a very pessimistic approach, thinking of US military like an "oil international police". I'd say it is almost (almost, not yet) insulting to suppose the mission of US Military is to secure its oil supply.
OMG!!! Perish the thought that America should actually use it's military to defend it's national interests. Prior to 1971 we had next to no military engagement in the region, it was only after Britain withdrew from "East of Suez" that we very reluctantly became engaged., and that only after the "Twin Pillars" strategy was proven to be like leaning upon a weak reed.

Outside of oil the Middle East is of no strategic consequence to the United States whatsoever, it would be as irrelevant as the Arab-Israeli blood feud to which only one American in fifty has stake in. If this is merely a delusion on my part, I can note that the Soviet Union seemed to share the delusion in that they devoted a great deal of effort to the ability to interdict the flow of oil from the region. The nations who joined with us in 1991 to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait seem to "suppose" the same thing.

The funds flushed down the toilet since 2003 to ensure that Iraqis could dip their fingers in purple ink and elect the Dawa Party (responsible for bombing our Kuwait embassy in 1983) could have funded the construction of a synthetic oil industry in the US that would produce more oil than the combined exports of Iran and Iraq. We need to have an "America First" energy policy, and ditch all the Sally Struthers crap.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 05:58 AM   #914
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From what I read, people in Florida did want a HSR but the conservative politicians canceled it. Personally, I see HSR happening in the Northeast,(upgraded Acela), Midwest, and West Coast in 20 or so years.
What happened is that the state voted to fund a HSR in 2000. Jeb Bush, who was 50/50 on the system first off, raised up the issue that all this money would be spent on the system, but cities like mine(Tampa) and Orlando would be connected but wouldn't have any transportation options besides a few bus routes to transport them from the HSR to anywhere. So we got it back on the ballot again and voted to not fund it. But now that Orlando and Tampa are getting closer to funding for a Light Rail System, it's coming back in to the picture.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #915
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank J. Sprague View Post
Prior to the 9-11 attacks the US spent 60 billion dollars a year on military expenses related to the Middle East, which is only of strategic importance due to the oil. That is 60 billion dollars per year that was financed out of general revenue, that should be allocated to the activity which benefits from our oil imports. Oil imports, we should place a tariff upon every barrel of oil imported into America, at a rate of 4 billion bbl per year the rate would need to be set at 15 dollars per barrel.

The money would then be available for energy independence infrastructure for America such as rail electrification and high speed rail.

As for where to cut military spending, we can begin to extricate ourselves from the many alliances that burden us down, such as NATO, Korea, and avoid being drawn into conflicts of no concern to us, such as the Arab-Israeli dispute. If Americans envy Europe's railways, then stop spending money to defend Europe and spend the money at home on America. return to the principle of "America First" that built our nation in the first place, "China First" is working out pretty good for China, lets us do the same here.
Where do you get the 60 billion figure from? I agree with the general premise. If Japan and NATO want to continue to have mutual defense pacts then they should increase spending and carry more of the burden.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 03:11 AM   #916
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Secondly I have a more fundamental question: are you (and other Americans) not afraid of missing the train (!) of modernity?
I'll be honest, while I admire HSR and think it would be great for the US to have it though if it doesn't I don't think it will "left behind". I frankly think it is much more important for the US to be leaders in next generation passenger aircraft and next generation autos. Both will still be a much more fundamental part of our transit infrastructure just like both still are in Japan and Europe despite the ubiquity of HSR.

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Well, I still think we should promote HSR American-style, which means with thousands of parking spaces attached to each station, even if it means people living downtown have to take a light rail or cab to a suburban HSR station.

Anyhow, China is not building "10000 km" HSR, truly HSR is only 3.400. Then, they have a population that is 5 times the American. Then, there's no such things like eminent domain, due process of law, fair compensation etc. They just seize your home/farm, period. Landlords there have less rights than American ones had in the 1800's. Also, there is no NIMBYism out there.

.
Your right on the second aspect of China's reality versus the United Staets which the screaming mob of "look at the Chinese, they are so much more progressive with their HSR!!" crowd loves to ape.

Your first point is flawed though. Even though our cities are much more decentralized then other nations it is still a fact that almost universally our downtown's are the most dense part of our metros and they have the most interconnectivity in our metros. It would be horribly misguided not to include a primary stop in each one HSR runs through.

However we have to acknowledge the reality of our already built environments and in order to maximize rider ship would likely need one or two suburban stops on a given route outside major cities. To chose not to serve major suburban areas where much of the population also lives and that have a major catchments area is also regressive planning. Given the auto centricity of our cities and suburbs having a parking garage that includes rental car agencies will also have to be part of the reality in most cases even in transit friendly downtown terminals.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #917
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I'll be honest, while I admire HSR and think it would be great for the US to have it though if it doesn't I don't think it will "left behind". I frankly think it is much more important for the US to be leaders in next generation passenger aircraft and next generation autos. Both will still be a much more fundamental part of our transit infrastructure just like both still are in Japan and Europe despite the ubiquity of HSR.
The United States is a big country. When it comes to long-distance travel, the aircrafts will reign. When it comes to commuting and short-distance travel, the cars will reign. On this I agree. But the congested airspace and ditto roads in areas such as the Boston-NY-DC corridor, southern and western California and parts of the mid-west virtually cry out for a third solution.

Secondly, you seem to confuse the development and the usage of new technologies? Developing your "transit infrastructure" can be done with domestically produced or foreign fronteer technologies. I grant you the US (and Europe) is likely to remain a world leader in aircraft technology for at least one more generation, but I think both the US and European car drivers will soon be driving vehicles produced in east and south Asia. - And whyever not? When a high-margins industry is reduced to low-margins it normally migrates to low cost production locations.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #918
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Flyfish, I have a problem with arguments that shift over time while the cause they promote remains the same. In your case, this applies to the reason not to invest in high-speed rail. Back in the days of the dot-com boom the tentative steps toward a HS connection in central Florida (I understand that plan's back on the agenda?) was roundly ridiculed by conservative commentators. The US was flush with money, it is true, but "bullet trains just don't offer the freedom of choice that this great country is all about...." (Or some such tripe.) Now, ten years later, HS trains are still a bad idea, but now the reason is that the country has no money! OK, then please tell me this: if the US of A find itself rolling in 5-10 years' time, will you then come out as a strong supporter of a modern railway system?

Flyfish, are you not afraid of becoming - as the Europeans have been on countless occasions - stuck in the mud?
Well, both arguements are still valid. There is still the issue of how to get to SeaWorld after the train dumps you off at Disney or how you get to Clearwater Beach after the train dumps you in Downtown Tampa but now the overwhelming arguement is the financial one. The first arguement hasn't gone away, it's just not as important a critisism as the financial one.

Would I be for it if the money was there? Sure, I guess so if it was built in places that make some sense. NEC, SoCal first and the mid-west with Chicago as a hub after that. Those routes make some sense. The trouble with us is that the routes that make sense will not be what gets built. You see, when our wonderfully bloated Federal Government gets involved, what make sense tends to be thrown right out the window in favor of what garners the most votes. You are just as liable to see a route between Salt Lake City and Reno to keep two Congressional seats from going over to the opposition party. We have two corrupt parties that control the Congress. Whichever one is in power has as it's sole goal to remain in power. That often clouds what you and I would consider common sense.

As far as being stuck in the mud, why does what works in Europe have to be seen as what would be better for the US or vice versa? We are auto centric, that's how it is. The Euro's are more rail friendly, that's how it is. One way works here, one way works there, why would the US doing what it does be considered being stuck in the mud. I'm sure some over there would love to have our highway system.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #919
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You are just as liable to see a route between Salt Lake City and Reno to keep two Congressional seats from going over to the opposition party. We have two corrupt parties that control the Congress. Whichever one is in power has as it's sole goal to remain in power.
Sure. Things have evolved since the well-known joke about President Cleveland and his young wife. (I don't know if you know it.) She is said to have woken her husband in the middle of the night with an elbow to his side: "Grover, wake up!! I think there are thieves in the house!" The president is supposed to have responded sleepily: "My dear, you are mistaken. The thieves are not in the House, they're in the Senate."

However, these days - even from my remote part of the world - the politics of the House look more murky than those on the Senat floor.

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As far as being stuck in the mud, why does what works in Europe have to be seen as what would be better for the US or vice versa? We are auto centric, that's how it is. The Euro's are more rail friendly, that's how it is. One way works here, one way works there, why would the US doing what it does be considered being stuck in the mud. I'm sure some over there would love to have our highway system.
Of course in principle there's no reason why country A should do something just because country B does it. However, this has been the argument on countless occasions here in Europe when "progressive" people pointed to recent innovation in the United States and "conservative" mainstream types scoffed at the notion that we should imitate US inventions. But... in the end we usually ended up doing just that.

As for the US being auto-centric this is no doubt true, and it's IMO also the main reason why HSR will work only in some corners of the country where there's enough of an urban transport architecture in the main cities to persuade people to venture out without their car. On this point, at least, I think we agree?

However, you're mistaken if you try to portray it as a choice of one versus the other, and you compound your mistake by saying that the Europeans would "love to have your highway system". Many of us do. The French highway system, for example, is IMO better than the one in the United States. Around the major cities there's not much difference - I might even give the edge to the Americans there - but out in more empty parts of the country there's no dilapidated "interstates" like the ones you see in rural and southern US states. It's all kept fresh like paint. The French don't want modern highways OR highspeed rail - they want both. (And, I must confess, they're disturbingly generous with taxpayers' money to get both.)
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Old December 15th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #920
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First step: stop thinking or yelling that US citizens should drop their expectations of big houses, PRIVATE (not a public park!) gardens and lawns, SINGLE houses etc.

Sometimes it is almost ofensive (let alone boring) to hear Americans who have minority housing preferences (dense, multi-storied, "can walk everywhere") trying to push down the throat of their fellow citizens a transatlantic European-idealized housing pattern.

If you are so angry about US not having HSR, being car-centric, having too many suburban delvelopments, not enough "vibrancy" and the streets to the point that you start bashing your fellow countrymen for not agreeing with your urbanistic options and insisting in driving cars everywhere... move out to New York, or stamp your passport, get a visa and move to Europe.
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