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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:53 PM   #1921
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Originally Posted by Facial View Post
Why so? As in, discriminating ROW ownership apart from service ownership?
Because that would be a fair involvement of government in rail transport, in par with other modes of transportation, where the general rule is government-owned, or conceded, physical transport infrastructure with private-only (mostly) vehicle operation over them.

Fair and just to private enterprise, who then chooses which vehicles (airplanes, cars/trucks, vessels/cruise ships) to run over/on them.

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You should know that this was purely due to market forces, when the use of cars and airplanes started to take off in the late 1940s.
Part of the failure of railways can be explained by the fact they are essentially monopolistic in the ares they serve, having no incentive from competition with other railways on the same routes. You could argue that the WAYS (tracks or road lanes) are essentially natural monopolies due to their physical characteristics, but there is anything natural with having to tie an entity (public or private) who build and keep the tracks with ownership of rail cars, fares charged from the passengers/shippers etc.

So Amtrak could convert itself in a track-operation only entity. It could focus building more lanes and giving fair access over them to private operator, whomever they might be, that want to use such tracks to run passenger services. Then, according to public policy, Amtrak could either let trains run over tracks for free or charge a usage fee per axle/train/time slot, that would be the same for all private operators.

So it would be exactly like road transport: FHWA and state DOTs identify the need for a new interstate from region A to region B. They work together, come up with a plan (enlarge, build new alignments etc.) and build the interstate. Then, without the need of any government further messing up with it, private car drivers, truck companies and so find their way and start using the new highway. Railways should operate the same way: you identify where there is a need for tracks, government build it and let the operation for privates.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #1922
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Did you read the word before treason?

Basically what he is saying is that for a relatively small cost the state would be getting tons of money and permanent jobs so it is "economic treason".
This is a charged term to discuss the question of leverage of public funds - an interesting discussion btw.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #1923
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Because that would be a fair involvement of government in rail transport, in par with other modes of transportation, where the general rule is government-owned, or conceded, physical transport infrastructure with private-only (mostly) vehicle operation over them.

Fair and just to private enterprise, who then chooses which vehicles (airplanes, cars/trucks, vessels/cruise ships) to run over/on them.



Part of the failure of railways can be explained by the fact they are essentially monopolistic in the ares they serve, having no incentive from competition with other railways on the same routes. You could argue that the WAYS (tracks or road lanes) are essentially natural monopolies due to their physical characteristics, but there is anything natural with having to tie an entity (public or private) who build and keep the tracks with ownership of rail cars, fares charged from the passengers/shippers etc.

So Amtrak could convert itself in a track-operation only entity. It could focus building more lanes and giving fair access over them to private operator, whomever they might be, that want to use such tracks to run passenger services. Then, according to public policy, Amtrak could either let trains run over tracks for free or charge a usage fee per axle/train/time slot, that would be the same for all private operators.

So it would be exactly like road transport: FHWA and state DOTs identify the need for a new interstate from region A to region B. They work together, come up with a plan (enlarge, build new alignments etc.) and build the interstate. Then, without the need of any government further messing up with it, private car drivers, truck companies and so find their way and start using the new highway. Railways should operate the same way: you identify where there is a need for tracks, government build it and let the operation for privates.
I fully agree with your idea of operating North America's railroads in the same 'open access' manner as roads, civil aviation, ships, etc, but - how would we best get from where we are now with the railroad operating companies also owning, maintaining and dispatching their own track infrastructure - and still zealously guarding their facilities from rivals - to such a system?

I consider our railroad infrastructure to be of a level of critical economic importance to the continent that totally pales its importance to the individual companies that now own and operate it. I have also seen too many instances of 'Rail Baron' games where lines that are very important on local and regional bases being abandoned, not because they had lost their economic reasons to exist but rather for the short-term gains for their owners of keeping potential fierce rivals out. Re-establishing many of those abandoned routes will be prohibitively expensive in that those RsOW were sold off and developed.

Also, I see too many instances of local companies that may want to use rail service, but that the railroad companies are uninterested, leaving those potential customers with no choice but to use trucks. An example, during the 1980s and 1990s, Wisconsin Central ran a VERY POPULAR daily trailer and container intermodal train between Chicago and Green Bay, WI. Those trains were looooooooong, to the point where they were often split into two sections. That's several hundred trucks being removed from US 41 and I-43 every day. In late 2001, Canadian National took over the WC and within a couple of weeks, CN dropped that service because even though it was operating at a profit, it was not profitable enough for CN's beancounters.

Under an 'open access' system, for example, one of the major local trucking companies that made extensive use of those trains could, if they wanted to, buy or lease some locomotives and cars, hire some qualified crews and run those trains by themselves - again taking oodles of trucks off of the highways.

CN also has a very poor reputation here in NE Wisconsin among all but the most major rail customers and has little interest in serving those who handle less than several cars per day, whereas predecessor Wisconsin Central actively went out and got whatever traffic they could find - 'You want to ship a carload every two weeks? We'll be right over!" and many of those one-load every two weeks customers quickly grew into much busier customers. Allowing other operators in to provide local carload service (as would happen under 'open access') would be an economic Godsend for us.

Entry for new passenger operators would also be far easier - see how things are in the various 'open access' countries in Europe for examples of how this is all working out.

Mike
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:42 AM   #1924
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
I fully agree with your idea of operating North America's railroads in the same 'open access' manner as roads, civil aviation, ships, etc, but - how would we best get from where we are now with the railroad operating companies also owning, maintaining and dispatching their own track infrastructure - and still zealously guarding their facilities from rivals - to such a system?
I agree that there is not a good answer to how the government would gain control of the tracks.

As for dispatching, I think the existing railroads would eventually split themselves into operations units, that would be the new private railroad operators providing service, and into dispatching units. Then the government would basically bid out dispatching services and the new dispatching units would compete to provide the dispatching services. That way we would have private dispatching costs but government control to ensure fairness.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 02:12 AM   #1925
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Technically speaking, wouldn't certain railroads have "monopolies" over certain areas such as cable and phone providers? Using that argument could bring about a breakup of these and perhaps incorporate them into the public domain.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 05:33 AM   #1926
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There has been growing speculation here in the NE Transit community of the Amtrak being privatized in the Northeast. Since all there profitable lines are in the Northeast that would be so hard. The only problem is they in turn fund other Amtrak lines. Alot of smaller Freight companies in the NE want to get back in the Passenger as there lines dry up, so with a little push that would be so hard. Those companies serve the areas outside the Bos-Wash Corridor. I wouldn't mind a full privatization of all NE railways it would speed up the planned 2040 Restoration Railway plan. But ikno it won't happen on that level , just Amtrak and HSR. There weren't any Monopolies , alot of Railways shared tracks with each other. My town was serviced by at least 3 Railways on 2 lines.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 11:22 PM   #1927
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They're just shooting themselves in the foot with campaign promises like that.

Besides, for every state with leaders like those in NJ and WI, there are ones in other states more than willing to use that money they refuse.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:14 AM   #1928
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It's good that LaHood said no to those goons who want to channel HSR funds to highways, and CA is already eyeballing the potential unwanted funds from those states.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #1929
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Lots of states are looking at the refunds as, well they do not want it, so we want more.

We need a few things
1) Subsidize rail construction to the tune of 90%
2) Set aside 50% of our transportation budget toward rail
3) Set aside some of that for urban transportation upgrades for regional rail networks

We need to get caught up and if the Feds are willing to fund roadways to the tune of 90%, they should equal the same for rail. Make it fair, at least true high-speed systems pay for their operations unlike the Interstates, Rural Highways, etc. This is an investment for the future, we need infrastructure jobs now and these will create a return on investment, get the economy primed to regenerate faster, and provide economic growth. We shouldn't wait, we should start NOW
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Old November 18th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #1930
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We need a few things
The first thing you need is a sensible set of regulations about safety and working rules. One of the obstacles towards good commuter rail in the US for example is that labor and capital costs are a lot higher than for similar services in Europe. I also get the impression that a lot more could be done with existing infrastructure.
For example: Are the run through tracks at LA Union station really needed? Could capacity not be increased with better rules. procedures and timetabling?
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #1931
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We need a few things
1) Subsidize rail construction to the tune of 90%
Where will you find money for that?

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2) Set aside 50% of our transportation budget toward rail
Economic suicide. Even with rail investments were multiplied by then, they would still cater only for a tiny proportion of passenger-km traffic. Moreover, most - though not all - road investment projects come from highway trust funds which collect money from gas taxes. In many jurisdictions, such funds cannot be spent anywhere else but in road projects, from interchanges to interstates to repaving local residential roads.

Moreover, most of "transportation budget" is catered towards maintaining, repairing and just keeping the already existing infrastructure up-to-date. So unless you suggest to let potholes spread around interstates, you don't have that much money to shift. In many states, gas taxes need to be raised to make up for increased maintenance costs alone, though that is political non-sense nowadays. There is no big frenzy of new highway construction projects whose money could be diverted. At most, you have plenty of widening or redesigning projects that are badly needed.

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We need to get caught up and if the Feds are willing to fund roadways to the tune of 90%, they should equal the same for rail. Make it fair, at least true high-speed systems pay for their operations unlike the Interstates, Rural Highways, etc.
You are comparing apple to oranges. Maintenance of roads and interstates can be easily paid off by appropriate gas taxes, federal and state ones. It's just another form of "tolling" users (car/truck drivers) of an infrastructure (roadways) for doing so. ALL vehicle costs (leases, maintenance, fueling, insurance, title) are a burden to their owners.

To make a proper comparison, you should (like they are now doing in most recent projects in Europe) segregate, completely, vehicle operation from track and station construction and maintenance. Then, you could evaluate if tracks and stations are recouping their costs by transit and usage feed collected from trains running there.

In any case, I still think governments around the developed world should build both highways and railways with public funds as a matter of providing public infrastructure, as long as they stay away, completely, for messing with vehicle operation (buses or trains), something to be left for private business.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 12:58 AM   #1932
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Where will you find money for that?



Economic suicide. Even with rail investments were multiplied by then, they would still cater only for a tiny proportion of passenger-km traffic. Moreover, most - though not all - road investment projects come from highway trust funds which collect money from gas taxes. In many jurisdictions, such funds cannot be spent anywhere else but in road projects, from interchanges to interstates to repaving local residential roads.

Moreover, most of "transportation budget" is catered towards maintaining, repairing and just keeping the already existing infrastructure up-to-date. So unless you suggest to let potholes spread around interstates, you don't have that much money to shift. In many states, gas taxes need to be raised to make up for increased maintenance costs alone, though that is political non-sense nowadays. There is no big frenzy of new highway construction projects whose money could be diverted. At most, you have plenty of widening or redesigning projects that are badly needed.



You are comparing apple to oranges. Maintenance of roads and interstates can be easily paid off by appropriate gas taxes, federal and state ones. It's just another form of "tolling" users (car/truck drivers) of an infrastructure (roadways) for doing so. ALL vehicle costs (leases, maintenance, fueling, insurance, title) are a burden to their owners.

To make a proper comparison, you should (like they are now doing in most recent projects in Europe) segregate, completely, vehicle operation from track and station construction and maintenance. Then, you could evaluate if tracks and stations are recouping their costs by transit and usage feed collected from trains running there.

In any case, I still think governments around the developed world should build both highways and railways with public funds as a matter of providing public infrastructure, as long as they stay away, completely, for messing with vehicle operation (buses or trains), something to be left for private business.
First off, your trust fund claim is false as it was bailed out with $70 billion dollars over the last 3 years. Secondly, we already got potholes on the Interstates because some Congressional goons aren't willing to make us pay for the true cost of gasoline. Redesigns of roadways sure, but widening will just keep us stuck on 20th century oil addiction. Comparing travel with per passenger km stats basically creates a biased towards urban transportation solutions when there are those who utilize the urban roadways in order to go to destinations further away. Therefore, you will be utilizing two urban roadway networks.

Operation like a private business I would certainly agree with. However, not in all cases I would place stuff in the hands of the private sector such as regional rail. UC Davis recently released a study that we have a 90 year gap between filling in our oil addicition with alternative resources. We are still vulnerable to an economic recession with a restriction of oil supplies and/ or price shocks.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #1933
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Wonder how well would the Highway system run in the USA, if it was all run as a private buisness without a cent of government aid.

Say hello to 10$ toll's every mile!!!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #1934
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Wonder how well would the Highway system run in the USA, if it was all run as a private buisness without a cent of government aid.

Say hello to 10$ toll's every mile!!!
Interstates could be properly maintained if all the current budget from trust funds were not used for petty projects like "enhanced sidewalks" and so.

In any case, there is nothing wrong with the gov't maintaining and building highways and railways and runways/airports and waterways. The problem is government mingling with vehicle operation (be them boats, trucks/buses, trains or airplanes).
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #1935
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Interstates could be properly maintained if all the current budget from trust funds were not used for petty projects like "enhanced sidewalks" and so.

In any case, there is nothing wrong with the gov't maintaining and building highways and railways and runways/airports and waterways. The problem is government mingling with vehicle operation (be them boats, trucks/buses, trains or airplanes).
The Road budget , includes Sidewalk , Bike lane and Road Bridge care or expansions , i don't see an issue with that. The Northeast has slowly moved form Auto-Development to Ped / Bike / Transit development. I don't understand your point you keep changing your views on what the US govt should be doing.....maybe its best you stay out of it.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 03:04 AM   #1936
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I'm just making a point. And I honestly, without any intention of being too rude, wish you get over this bubble you constructed in which a strip of land from Maine to Maryland is completely detached from US, political-, urban- and cultural-wise.

Like it or not, it is your country and Newark is as American as Albuquerque, New Mexico or Mobile, Alabama.

Going back to your question, the Federal Highway Trust Fund was once supposed to finance only Interstates and associated structures, like spurs. Then, in the late 60's, under pressure from mayors from cities being "bypassed" by the Interstates, part of that money could be used to side-projects not directly related to the Interstate system. The trend continued an reached a peak under Clinton, when almost 1/3 of its resources were being spend in non-Interstate projects.

The individual states have their own highway trust funds and those, of course, could be used to local mobility projects.

Some states protect their funds quite aggressively. In Oregon, for instance, it is forbidden by Oregon constitution to use gas taxes in any project nor related to roads, with very few exceptions. Other states, like New York, are more lax about that.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #1937
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eg these trains:
How old is the design to this fleet of double-deckers, coz it(s latest version) has been gradually replacing our old stock as of this Fall?
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #1938
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How old is the design to this fleet of double-deckers, coz it(s latest version) has been gradually replacing our old stock as of this Fall?
2004 , we have 308 units , with another 100 on the way.....
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Old November 21st, 2010, 09:05 PM   #1939
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Hmm, I wonder just how much older the root design is, coz I saw a such a train (a trans-island service) at Jamaica Center Easter 2002, with a differnent loco, mind you.
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Old November 25th, 2010, 05:57 PM   #1940
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In any case, there is nothing wrong with the gov't maintaining and building highways and railways and runways/airports and waterways. The problem is government mingling with vehicle operation (be them boats, trucks/buses, trains or airplanes).
non-sense. If you leave rail service only to private operators then it won't be reliable enough to be used as ones main transportation method, like it can be done in Europe. This basically equates to saying that having a car is completely mandatory and that trains are relegated to only a couple of routes used sporadically.
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