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View Diary: Sunday Train: The Texas Wishbone Regional High Speed Rail (72 comments)

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  •  Southwest Airlines is no longer opposed ... (12+ / 0-)

    ... as the price of jet kerosene rises, they make more of their money on the more fuel efficient longer routes, and the gas hog short hoppers are more of a drag on the bottom line.

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    by BruceMcF on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:00:42 PM PDT

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    •  Good to hear. (6+ / 0-)
      as the price of jet kerosene rises, they make more of their money on the more fuel efficient longer routes, and the gas hog short hoppers are more of a drag on the bottom line.
      While the typical rail project doesn't make that big a difference on the price of gas (although some decades ago, I read that New York City's 63rd St. Tunnel was supposed to bring down the price of gas by 5 cents nationwide--there would be that many commuters giving up their cars if the LIRR had a terminal on the East Side of Manhattan), there would cumulatively be a slight but significant impact, so high speed rail would help them more than it hurts.

      Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

      by Judge Moonbox on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

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      •  Its more that they make more money ... (8+ / 0-)

        ... from flights connecting Houston, Dallas/FtWorth, and San Antonio to outside the Texas Triangle, and the local flights are more loss leaders to fill up those flights.

        So the very thing they were opposing in the 90's ~ the trains being used to connect to longer flights via the three main airports ~ has flipped to neutral to them, and for some airline with even worse gate/runway congestion, a net positive.

        Big Oil, of course, can see what happens when intercity trains are introduced to the support they develop in Republican parts of "blue states" like downstate Illinois and the Central Valley in California, and want to avoid that for the political economy ~ and in the Texas Republican Party, they swing a big stick, so the demographic change occuring in Texas over this coming decade and the challenge it poses for the hard right wing of the Texas state republican party is every bit as critical to the chances for getting an HSR department established as any other factor.

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        by BruceMcF on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:47:37 PM PDT

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        •  Big Oil Is Not The biggest Opposition... (0+ / 0-)

          Very few Texans actually support HSR.  You would find greater support from the citizens for privately funded HSR if American owned than you would for publicly funded HSR.

          I am not saying that there is no support.  The way most people look at their transportation needs doesn't fit with HSR.  

          I lived in Lufkin for 10 years and Huntsville for 25.  Obviously the only people in those areas that would support   Publicly funded HSR support for totally unselfish reasons.

          I now live in the DFW area and cannot imagine the circumstance where I would use HSR to travel to Houston, Austin, or San Antonio.  I only travel for pleasure/recreation and need a car when I get to my destination.  

          •  So, you're saying that the ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, BYw

            ... Interstates between Dallas and Austin, San Antonio, and Houston are uncrowded and an absolute pleasure to drive on?

            And that the people flying between the cities are packing their car with them in their checked luggage?

            There's lots of people on those roads by choice, and lots of people on those road because they do not have an alternative. Giving the people who'd rather not be there a superior alternative improves things for them, but it also improves things for people who drive, since the more attractive the alternative, the less congestion a road experiences before people switch to the alternative.

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            by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 02:33:26 PM PDT

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            •  I Don't Think That I Said... (0+ / 0-)

              "Interstates between ... Are uncrowded and a pleasure to drive on"

              I said for most people, including myself, HSR would be an option I would choose.  Obviously, you would choose it.

              If I were traveling overnight for business I would probably choose HSR.  For the same reason, I cannot envision that I would ever fly between Dallas and Houston, Austin, or San Antonio.

              I believe that if the airports only served short haul flights air travel would not have popular support either.  

              •  In your comment in coming up with ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BYw

                ... ways to convey the benefits of the system to people, I got the impression that you were arguing that the task is hopeless because a majority of people will not use the system.

                But of course, if the interstates are crowded, everyone who drives on the interstates will benefit from the fact that the minority who is on the system instead of driving on the interstate are, well, on the system instead of driving on the interstate.

                So the beneficiaries are only limited to those people actually on the system if the interstates are open and uncongested all the way from San Antonio to Dallas, Houston to Dallas, and San Antonio to Houston.

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                by BruceMcF on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 07:56:14 AM PDT

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    •  Yep. Good to hear. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, Odysseus

      Now, all we need is for a major shift in Texas Politics.

      Oh, well.

      Lovely idea, Bruce! Odds on this happening? Vanishingly small.

      ...though, I suppose I shouldn't necessarily say that. Despite the backward mentality of so much of Texas government, we've somehow managed to become the biggest wind power state.

      Is there any way for this to make money for the local landowners? If this can be wrapped into a landowner subsidy, they'll go for it.;)

      •  The change in Texas politics is coming ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Randtntx, neroden, BYw

        ... the demographic shift is inexorable. Old people don't get younger, but young people get older, and the Hispanic vote will increase as both share of eligible voters and participation rate.

        And oil price shocks have a tendency to unsettle people's settled views on these things ~ with more oil price shocks certain to hit in the decade ahead, combined with a likely upward trend on their severity.

        No sense waiting on the shift to start pushing.

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        by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:16:43 AM PDT

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        •  No sense in waiting... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          ...but I just have a hard time believing that this state will do anything but that.

          Despite the evidence of the giant wind farm ENE of Corpus Cristi.

          ...oh, you're suggesting that we start pushing.

          •  Ahyep. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, BYw

            Pushing for progress on HSR often starts out getting fobbed off with planning studies and environmental impact reports. But ... well, that increases the number of projects that are close to shovel ready.

            One thing that makes it good for pushing on is its an issue that crosses over into traditional Republican territory, being pro-business activity, and offering new transport alternatives to rural and outer suburban areas that are underserved by existing alternatives.

            So it doesn't have to wait for state politics to flip completely before it becomes possible to make headway.

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            by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 02:37:42 PM PDT

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