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View Diary: WSJ Discovers Spanish High Speed Rail (179 comments)

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  •  My heart bleeds for the airline industry (18+ / 0-)

    One piece in diary really bothered me:

    Airlines have in the past lobbied hard against high-speed rail projects, seeing them as unfair, government-subsidized competition. Southwest Airlines was credited with helping to kill a project to build a Texan bullet train in the 1990s.

    The entire infrastructure of air travel was government subsidized.  

    Who built the airports?  Who runs the air traffic control system?  Who builds the road and rails to the airports?

    All of that was done while our passenger rail system went to shit through the late 1940's, 50's and finally all but died until Amtrak came along.  And G-d knows there isn't a fuckhead Republican around who wouldn't like to kill that too.

    The private rail companies were paying for everything- all the track maintenance, station construction, maintenance on top of real estate and corporate income taxes.  

    The airlines got a lot of that for virtually nothing.

    ======

    "Sick Around the World"

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

    Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:15:09 PM PDT

    •  that's an important point (6+ / 0-)

      The entire infrastructure of air travel was government subsidized.

      and one that should be quoted, firmly, to anyone who rails (pun intended) against putting government money into trains.

      We live in media world driven by cable idiots and Murdoch minions.--Eric Alterman, in The Nation

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 04:16:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My source.. (11+ / 0-)

        Just so people know, I didn't come up with that myself.

        In her book, "Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels", Jill Jonnes ends with the death of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and almost worse, New York's incredibly majestic Pennsylvania Station. (Oh, what I wouldn't give to have been able to see that in person-  I was not even two years old when demolition began.)

        She writes,

        By 1960, railroads carried only 29 percent of intercity passenger traffic.  The PRR saw its losses balloon to $70 million a year as they indignantly protested (to no avail) the double standard that had postwar rivals operating out bran-new government-built bus stations and airports, while the PRR struggled to pay New York City $1.3 million in taxes for Penn Station.  It was absurdly unfair.

        What we lost, the largest rail station in the world:

         title=

         title=

         title=

        Replaced by this...a basement.

         title=

        ======

        "Sick Around the World"

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

        Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

        by oxfdblue on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 06:03:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've read about this old station, and others in (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming, NoMoreLies, basquebob

          the U.S.  It's terribly sad, isn't it.  The photos are a testament, too, to how we used to build the most beautiful buildings. Now, not so much.  I like the architecture of the old buildings, art deco, etc.

          So, we lost the terminals that were grand, and the railroads.  :(

          •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, anyname

            After I posted that last comment, I stared at the photos, and tears came to my eyes.

            ======

            "Sick Around the World"

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

            Watch it, sent it along to all you know.

            by oxfdblue on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 07:23:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  we don't build those buildings anymore (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne

            in large part because we do not believe the common man to be deserving of such grandeur anymore.  it really is a startling shift, philosophically, in the 20th century, one which we are currently living out the consequences.

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 12:00:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  didn't doubt your ref, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, RosyFinch

          as I remember that huge space as a child (and, yes, I DO feel older than dirt this morning). You might want to find and read a copy of Ada Louise Huxtable's Will They Ever Finish Brucker Boulevard? A Primer on Urbicide. It's a collection of her architectural critque columns from the NYTimes, from back in the days when there was real reporting going on.

          Another excellent book on human scale and public spaces is A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander. He goes into some detail about why European cities work for human habitation and US ones don't.

          Note however, that the "basement" that replaced Penn Station is that of the "new" Madison Square Garden, which was built into the space where the RR station had been. As in politics, so in urban architecture: Follow the money.

          We live in media world driven by cable idiots and Murdoch minions.--Eric Alterman, in The Nation

          by Mnemosyne on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:47:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oopsie, that should have been (0+ / 0-)

            Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard . . .

            We live in media world driven by cable idiots and Murdoch minions.--Eric Alterman, in The Nation

            by Mnemosyne on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:30:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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