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View Diary: Myth of the High Speed Rail "Boondoggle" (302 comments)

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  •  Debating and looking at usage is.. (1+ / 0-)
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    RainyDay

    ...not trolling.  If one is going to spend a great deal of money there has to be an understanding that a given project makes sense.

    $70 billion in additional debt is a lot for California to handle now.  One still has to provide all sorts of other services such as infrastructure (roads, sewage, water), education, police/fire, etc.

    I would start by electrifying Gilroy to SF and see how this goes.  

    BTW - great quote - Kaku is a great thinker.

    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

    by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:37:06 AM PDT

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    •  I didn't say you were a troll, (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, eru, NoMoreLies, elfling, Woody, BYw

      but you seem to have self-identified. You saw the shoe fit you and you are wearing it.

      A concern troll is not a regular troll. A CT is more subtle. Look for the "but" that comes usually early on in the comment. $76 billion may be additional debt in your way of thinking, but it is an investment to others.

      Yes, there are always a number of services that must be provided, and states, like cities, counties, businesses and households, are on carefully-watched budgets because they are users of currency, while the federal government is the creator of currency. The federal government will certainly contribute a lot to the HSR project, as it can through "revenue sharing" on the other needs including those you have identified. And federal money does not really come from the taxpayer--we only pretend it does. This is not the place to get further into this matter, but follow the Daily Kos group Money and Public Purpose to read about the newest and most accurate and realistic orientation in economics.

      To the people here extolling buses, remember that National City Lines back in 1946 (IIRC), a consortium (aka conspiracy) of General Motors and the oil industry, "invested" much money to buy up rail transit systems across the nation and install buses.

      The problem for the user is that people don't like buses. Buses certainly have their place, but when given a choice of light rail or bus, light rail wins out every time. The actions of NCL drove people into cars, helping create the traffic jams of today. Transportation experts then had to fight the problems created by destroyed rail transit systems by mandating smog devices, improving buses to make them feel more like rail vehicles, and rebuilding rail systems one at a time. And the gradual comeback of electric cars is a favorable development.
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      .


      For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

      by psyched on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 10:45:00 AM PDT

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      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

        Not self identifying as a "CT" rather I am analytical.

        California is in a lot of trouble economically with tax revenues way down and unemployment still quite high.

        So even if CA only has to issue $30 billion in bonds and the Feds pick up the rest one still has a lot of additional bond principal and interest to service.

        So what does this mean for other crucial services like education?  Are we going to have to cut education spending as a result?

        As per investment and revenue sharing I think the HSR will operate at a loss like Amtrak so I don't think it will be a revenue generator at all rather a big cost to the state.

        As for light rail - I think it's great technology, quiet and fast.

        But the light rail in San Jose is hardly used at all.  The reason being it doesn't take people where they need to go.

        And this is why it is better to have developed urban areas where most work rather than offices scattered about everywhere.

        This is where long term planning comes into play as per future development.  Unclear how you deal with how San Jose or LA are currently laid out though.

        Urban planning must easily look 50 years into the future - not easy with our "got have it now" twitter mentality.

        As for Federal money not coming from the tax payer I assume you're talking about the Fed's printing, which is a tax on the lower and middle classes and something left unchecked can lead to Weimar style inflation.

        I'm all for better transport that doesn't pollute, but it has to make financial sense in terms of not bankrupting California.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:00:50 AM PDT

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        •  SJ Light Rail (2+ / 0-)
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          paradox, bcdelta

          .....also cannot be categorized as fast. Quiet, maybe.

          No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

          by Doug in SF on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:28:30 AM PDT

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          •  Seems fast enough (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RainyDay

            for the distances and it's damn quite.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:49:11 AM PDT

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        •  the cost of not building (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, psyched, BYw, rosarugosa, halef

          rail will hurt California's bottom line more than building it.

          As for the centralization argument, what better way to encourage that centralization than downtown to downtown high speed rail?

          The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"
          "America is a free speech zone."

          by Love and Death on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 12:12:00 PM PDT

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        •  You repeat this (0+ / 0-)

          You again claim that HSR will operate at a loss "like Amtrak".

          But only part of Amtrak can remotely be compared to HSR. Only the NorthEast Corridor route is even remotely close to "high speed". And there the Acela clearly makes an operating surplus. The slower Regional trains on the same NEC route come close to breaking even. With the recent addition of free wifi to these trains, the move to paperless ticketing, and other improvements, Amtrak's NEC trains are generating a growing surplus.

          Amtrak's losses come overwhelmingly from the long distance trains. Considering trains averaging 55 miles per hour on routes of thousands miles long tells us nothing about HSR. Indeed, while almost every country loses money on its conventional trains, HSR makes a surplus in almost every developed country that has them (meaning who knows what is happening in China.

          •  Woody (0+ / 0-)

            Fair enough, but Acela is not running on ultra high speed lines and the tracks were already there even though they had to be upgraded.

            HSR is much more expensive to build, which is fine.

            But I think when it is built it will have to cost a lot more than $80 to $120 one way SF-LA or it will lose money.

            Next if it's $400 round trip SF-LA it's cheaper to drive or fly so you lose a lot of ridership or you have to subsidize it.

            The project will be way north of the advertised $68 billion.

            It would certainly provide stimulus, but better to repave or widen 5 as it will be used.

            As for HSR - would rather see this done on CalTrain and a commuter line into LA before the central valley and the passes (which are going to be very expensive.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:11:20 AM PDT

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