High Speed Rail Talk


#1

NPR had a report on the progress of high speed rail this morning. California is the best prepared to take up Obama’s vision and will be starting its first section soon. When it’s all done, a trip from San Francisco to San Diego will only take four hours by train.



What a great thing for this country if we can get this going all around the US. Less deaths and maimings in car accidents, cleaner air so less car-based disease, less greenhouse emissions, less road rage. It would also be great if Car Talk could give alternate transport its due.



NPR report

http://www…l-projects



More info here http://www…ision.aspx




#2

You again?

I support high speed rail only of it can be self-supporting, just like any other business. Here in NH we have an obsolete and dangerous interstate highway, I-93, that desperately needs another lane or two from Salem to Manchester. A self-serving advocacy group from Boston called the Conservation Law Foundation has held the I-93 expansion project up for 10 years and added many millions of dollars to the cost by filing nusience lawsuits to force a rail system to be put in, despite the fact that rail systems existed in the past and closed due to lack of ridership. People are dying while these clowns play their legal games to force us to do what they think we should. And now we’ll end up bankrupt trying to support a useless rail system that nobody wants.

You want to save the world? YOU pay for it!


#3

Is there any transportation system that is not highly subsidized? Our local airport has fewer than 1 flight per day yet it is federally subsidized in its daily costs and even qualifies for a $7 Million runway extension to handle planes that will never arrive here. This country would be better served to spend those million$ toward high speed rail in the north east corridors.


#4

You don’t have to go to airports alone. The interstate highway system itself is a huge subsidy to transportation. So, in a sense mb - you’re not saying “don’t subsidize” - you’re saying you want something subsidized that is different from the CLF.


#5

If you want a rail system in your state, then go for it. But don’t force us to spend our money on one here in NH that nobody will ride. Wasting countless millions and billions on porkbarrel projects involving other transportation systems in other parts of the country does not justify spending millions a year on a useless rail system. Especially if the money is needed to upgrade a highway that’s become dangerous.

I don’t support spending tax omney on ANY transportation project that won’t carry enough passengers to justify its existance. These kind of porkbarrel projects are one of the major reasons our federal budget is such a mess.


#6

I’m saying we should not subsidize transportation projects that won’t be used. Or federal buildings that we don’t need, like the $72M federal building that was built in W. Va. some years back while the feds had millions of square feet of vacant office space in their inventory. We need to stop spending tax money on useless projects.

I’m also saying that where we in NH spend our tax dollars should be our choice, not the choice of a special-interest advocacy group of lawyers from some other state.

And I’m saying that when the money is needed to upgrade an existing highway, it should not be spend on a rail system that won’t get used.


#7

7 million dollars would probably buy about a mile of railroad tracks and the right of way needed to build it on.


#8

Nobody pays any attention to the psychology of public transportation…People LIKE driving their personal car…As a matter of fact they LOVE it and will fight to the death to maintain that pastime…They don’t want to ride on trains and buses with “those” people. They don’t want to look out at slums and wrecking yards when they can look out across the top of an airplane wing, go from Denver to Boston in 4 hours for $150…I’m afraid we are too deeply committed to the car / airplane culture to embrace rail transportation except in places where car / airplane transport has become a complete nightmare…Boston to D.C. comes to mind…

The irony is, we will have to borrow the money to build this stuff from the Chinese…Who, by the way, now have over 4000 miles of high-speed rail in place, designed to run at 300 mph…


#9

I agree that we in this country love our automobiles except in those areas where it’s impractical, like Boston. And I guess that’s an important point; for most of this country, spread out and dispersed as it is, mass tansportation is simply impractical for the average person. It has nothing to do with whoever else might be riding the train, or even the scenery. Most of the country has beautiful scenery, and most peoepl living in urban areas prefer public transportation. I remember taking the train from Chanute to Chicago and it was great. I even remember a very long time ago a train that ran from Manchester, NH to Boston, and have taken the train from Boston’s suburb communities, like Winchester, into the city. It’s easy and more convenient than driving.

All of these projects will require us to sell bonds to China. So lets build ones that will be used, ones that make sense, and not spend the money on ones that won’t be used and don’t make sense. Many of the projects that our tax dollars currently get spent on are porkbarrel projects, spent for bills that get passed in order to bring money into a particular district, and voted yea to get money into some other distrct for some other useless project. You vote for my useless project and I’ll return the favor by voting for your useless project. The only ones that benefit are the politicians.

High speed rail works in China. Rail systems work in Boston and surrounding, and in NYC and its surrounds, and in Chicago. My daughter is planning to take the train from Portland OR to LA on Christmas to see my son. That’s all great. They’ve proven not to work in NH. So lets not have some out of state special interest group tell us we need to spend millions supporting a useless project. Let’s stop this nonsense.


#10

And the cycle continues right back around.

Remember, there used to be trains every where.
They canceled those runs.
They’ve torn up the tracks.
They mothballed the locomotives.
been there, done that.


#11

Yes, but who were “they” ?

http://www.newday.com/films/Taken_for_a_Ride.html


#12

Yes, mountainbike, the useless politically motivated projects appear to be monuments to the egos of our legislators. I watched the Tenn-Tom Waterway being built and wondered if it would ever be worthwhile and so far it has been a waste. I have personally enjoyed summers at the Bay Springs lake but the barge traffic is minimal to non-existent. A small tie hauling wood chips and crushed gravel across 2 counties is about all. And just a few miles to the east there are mile long trains hauling coal parallel to the waterway from Kentucky to Mobile on a daily basis.


#13

MB, although I am a big proponent of mass transit, I am finding it hard to argue against such a well-crafted argument. I solute you!

Mass transit, especially high speed rail, should respond to existing demand. This shouldn’t be a “if we build it, they will come” type of project. I would hate to see billions of dollars wasted on unused systems.

Start with express buses in express lanes. Then, if enough people use them, convert the express lanes into rail lines. Be smart about how you spend my tax dollars!


#14

You ride mass transit in some form all of the time, do you?


#15

A truely excellent suggestion. And busses can be added or taken offline as demand fluctuates. And buss schedules are easier to modify. And routes can be easily extended or shortened.

We actually have buss lines running along the North/South route in question, and the system works well. Mass transit for those desiring it without spending gazillions of dollars and without financially burdening those of us who don’t.

You, my friend, are a brilliant man.


#16

I would take a train and have done so but it mostly does not go to where I want to be.

Keep in mind that in Europe, trains go to almost any place of major consequence and yet the streets are full of cars.

We will seriously use trains for long trips and buses and taxis for local travel when we are out of gas and not before.

CCC, did you post here to tweak the noses of car people? You could find a train forum and preach to the choir!


#17

My point exactly. I hope everyone can check out that film and learn some truth about the car-based culture of the USA


#18

Without trains and other forms of public transit, life would come to a standstill in Europe. Those forms of public transit make the continent at least livable.

Europe was a great place to live until the mid seventies; by then everyone could afford a car and the place started choking up. I toured Eurpe in 1960, visiting 13 countries and had a wonderful time drivng a VW Beetle since there were no real traffic jams and public transport had been fully restored after the war.

Recent visits to the UK and Holland would confirm anyone’s belief that in densely populated areas public transit is a MUST HAVE. And who pays for it is secondary, but the user plus the government seems to be the most sensible. Hoever, I’m against building public transit where it is not really needed; express buses do a great job in certain areas.

The Japanese Bullit trains lose $1 bilion per year on paper. No one has sat down and calculated the cost in money and human lives lost if every Japanese worker drove (or tried) to work. The $1Billion loss would be instantly absorbed by the additional highway costs, police and rescue work, loss of work time, and suffocating air pollution. The total productivity loss would be staggering!

Just look at China and India today. They are rapidly adding cars without adding enough roads, and extra rapid transit to curb those traffic jams.

As for the original post, “Cars cause cancer”. Many things and activities cause cancer. The coal fired power plants to power the electric trains cause cancer, burnign wood causes cancer, in fact as we get richer, we are increasingly exposing ourselves to all sources of cancer caused by the manufacturing proceses that produce all that wealth and allow OP enough time and money for equipment to scaremonger.

I have had 3 relatives die of cancer; two self-inflicted because they smoked and one due to unknown causes. It is also becoming known that exess stress and worrying can cause cancer and affect the immune system.


#19

It’s really impossible to make any comparison, since most people don’t have a choice so they can’t know which they prefer, driving or good train service. Having spent time in countries with good mass transit, I can tell you that in those places many people prefer train, light rail, subways etc. The French bullet trains are usually full.

One could just as easily make the argument that people don’t like driving. Look at how everyone complains of traffic jams and how rush hour now goes from 3pm to 7pm in many cities. Do road ragers like driving? Do the victims and victims’ families of the hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed like driving?


#20

“Do road ragers like driving?”

Yes. They just don’t like the way others drive.

“Do the victims and victims’ families of the hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed like driving?”

Once again, yes. Please explain how long term driving pleasure is related to a single traffic incident.