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View Diary: Sunday Train: HSR Plan A and Plan B Thinking (15 comments)

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  •  Another reason the money would have been (0+ / 0-)

    better spent in one shot on subway and surface rail upgrades in major cities, where it would have actually been useful.

    •  Where do you get that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      The money we are talking about would not have existed for "subway and surface rail upgrades in major cities". How do you add up 50 votes in the US Senate for $8b additional for "subway and surface rail upgrades in major cities" as part of the ARRA?

      Indeed, if Ohio loses it, some other HSR project gets it, and  a similar demonstration effect will occur somewhere else ... so sooner or later Ohio will come around. Not pursuing the opportunity when it presented itself because of an abstract preference for some other outcome would have been a massive mistake.

      This divide and conquer argument has been promoted by the oil lobby for years ~ they only, of course, support local rail when fighting HSR, then when local rail is proposed, they support Bus Rapid Transit, then when Bus Rapid Transit is proposed they finance objections to "losing lanes" to dedicated busways, and by that time they've killed investment in greater independence from oil.

      End 2010 with Lesbian Creative Works from ALC Publishing on your Holiday list.

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 07:10:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  HSR is a godsend to the oil companies (0+ / 0-)

        Since it generally discredits rail when it never gets built or comes in far over budget and isn't that compelling.  Rail that replaces cars has a good track record all over the place.  Rail that replaces planes not so much (Boston--NY excepted).

        •  You are caught in the either/or trap. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk

          If someone is caught in the either/or trap, and believes strongly in one side of the false choice, it is understandable that they would choose to make unsupportable attacks against what they see as a rival.

          However, intercity transport is not a rival with intra-city transport. The rival for spending on local rail transport is the massive subsidies for the use of cars for local transport. The rival for spending on HSR for intercity transport is spending a larger amount on expanding our outmoded interstate highway system.

          We can and do set up funding systems to turn them into artificial rivals for funds, but in this case, we did not do that. There was a substantial amount of money available to be spent on local subways and trains ... indeed, more total money was available to be spent on local rail transport than on HSR in the ARRA, when the freedom to spend the formula allocation funds are taken into account ... and most state departments of transport elected to spend them primarily on roadworks.

          End 2010 with Lesbian Creative Works from ALC Publishing on your Holiday list.

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 07:57:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  All forms of transportation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BruceMcF

          are subsidized.....all. Yes, even walking, if you ever use a sidewalk.

          Roads are subsidized: building, re-building, pothole patching, bridges, snow-plowing, patrolling, enforcement, emergency medical care, these are ALL paid for communally/ by government, who uses TAXES to do it.
          NO individual pays for all this. Not even the Lexi owners could afford it; or shall we NOT plow your cul-de-sac that leads to your McMansion in Pretentious Acres, so you can hire someone to do it for you, or do it yourself.

          Airlines are subsidized: runway construction, vacuuming the concourses, traffic control ("I'm sorry. I'm the air traffic controller for United here in Chicago. If you are a Delta flight with two minutes of fuel left, you'll have to call the Delta traffic controller. No, I don't have the frequency. Thank you for radioing United Air Control."), patching and plowing the runways, and all the roads that lead to and from the airport, parking.

          Ports are subsidized: channel markers, navigation aids, the Coast Guard, dredging operations to name a few.

          So also with rail....it needs to be subsidized just like every other form of transportation.

          (The only thing I can figure out to explain the root-and-branch hatred certain politicians have for rail other than legalized bribery from JB Hunt, BP Oil, Aspludh Asphalt, and US Air is there is a legacy from the RR monopolies of the 19th century. Pullman, Hill and the rest REALLY were robber-barons; they were oligopolists, bordering on monopolists, controlling the price of freight and passengers with an iron hand and with no little arrogance. Shippers and passengers had to pay because they really had no other choice.
              In the 1920s a new choice developed: automotive roads that could carry trucks and buses. In the 1940's came the mushrooming of airlines and air cargo. The newer industries both avoided most of the tactics of the robber barons and also ripped away much of their power and money, often with the gleeful help of many who had been smarting for years to strike back at the rail companies.)

          FWIW

          Shalom.

          "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

          by WineRev on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 09:00:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the politicians who today ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... attack rail are the same ones who would have been on the payroll of the rail robber barons of the 19th century. Its just that passenger rail no longer makes someone a robber baron, so they have a different set of robber barons writing their "Pledges" and writing the laws that they introduce under their own name.

            The thing about rail is that under the massive subsidies given to the car transport system, on a growing scale since the 1930's, the places where passenger rail survived tended to be those places where population density was so high that a car-only system is or is close to unworkable.

            That means that "rail funding" has been an urban/rural divide issue.

            Unlike local rail, however, HSR offers benefits that cut across the stereotypical divide. So if its going to be stopped, it has to be stopped now, before there are sufficient examples to experience within the United States and people understand that the naysayers are blowing smoke.

            However, its not going to work. Despite the best efforts of the bought and paid for propaganda mills and astro-turf groups, we are going to see several 110mph corridors finished in the next few years, and likely one Express HSR finished before 2016. And once the benefits to suburban and rural residents become clear, the "red team vs blue team" habits of thought that the opponents have been exploiting will lose their grip.

            End 2010 with Lesbian Creative Works from ALC Publishing on your Holiday list.

            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 10:23:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree wholeheartedly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BruceMcF

              Unlike local rail, however, HSR offers benefits that cut across the stereotypical divide. So if its going to be stopped, it has to be stopped now, before there are sufficient examples to experience within the United States and people understand that the naysayers are blowing smoke.

              I'm with you. Get some of these corridors up and running with clean, fast, reliable, comfortable connections and the change in outlook multiplies. We have a living example of this on a local rail level.

              Here in the Twin Cities (home a fabulous, 1000 mile light rail system in 1950; destroyed by 1955 by GM) we finally got a light rail line (about 8 miles) connecting downtown Minneapolis south/southeast to the airport and Mall of America. The Republican/Taxpayer's League/Troglodytes fought it every step: " a waste/ subsidized nonsense/ job killer/ lower property values along the line/ never come close to 8000 rides/day/ boondoggle".....the usual shrieking crapola. Opened in 2002, offering free rides the first couple days just to introduce themselves. Adults with children waited 30 minutes in crowds to try it out.

              Of course, the line is popular. I think the avg. ridership is 19000/day. Real estate agents are marketing condos as "right on the light rail line!" and selling properties so located AT A PREMIUM compared to those another 2 blocks away.

              So now we have added commuter rail coming in from the northern & northwestern suburbs and ex-urbs from Big Lake to downtown Mpls. (It was supposed to begin in St. Cloud but the wackos, led by state representative Michele Bachmann, cut it short and so won that round.) Work has started on a "Central Corridor" to connect downtown Mpls and St. Paul. A Southwest line is slated to open in 2015.

              All this because the first line finally ('ahem") got rolling. You are right. The same effect will take hold I think with HSR in various corridors. It can't come too soon.

              Shalom.

              "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

              by WineRev on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 03:52:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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