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View Diary: All aboard with hi-speed rail in America! (314 comments)

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  •  I'm an Acela fan myself (13+ / 0-)

    But even that isn't high-speed enough.  And I'm talking the Acela between NYC and DC not the laughably low-speed version between Boston and NYC.

    It's amazing to me that there hasn't been some group of entrepreneurs who haven't offered to partner with government to get this to happen.  They, would, of course have to be very high-profile and charismatic to cut through the corruption of DC and keep the project in the news so that it comes to fruition over the long-term.

    Bottom line: To make this work an expensive PR effort is necessary.

    "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

    by Glinda on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 07:25:44 AM PST

    •  Too much of the benefit ... (8+ / 0-)

      is actually 'socialized' (reduced road congestion, reduced requirement for highway maintenance/construction, reduced pollution, reduced road fatalities, etc ...) ... it is hard to make the investment stream work in 'private business terms' for a good-enough ROI to have private funding of rail construction for passenger movement with the exception of relatively rare situations.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 07:28:14 AM PST

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      •  Rail construction should definitely be done (5+ / 0-)

        by the government.

        The private sector comes in with the actual train service.  I want some alternatives to Amtrak.

        "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

        by Glinda on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 07:52:00 AM PST

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        •  Before Amtrak existed (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle, kyril, sjterrid

          the private sector failed pretty badly at providing train service (which was why Amtrak was created in the first place), although this was the time when car became king and they just couldn't compete with that and air traffic.

          perhaps now they can do it, but most of the major companies that do rail service are simply not interested. Amtrak has to get on its knees and grovel just to use the trackage outside of the Northeast a lot of the time, and the freight rail takes priority (as it is their property, not the public's.)

          It's like we're all part of some avant-garde role playing story called "The Election" by Franz Kafka.

          by terrypinder on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 08:12:26 AM PST

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          •  This is an interesting read FYI (5+ / 0-)

            http://www.trainweb.org/...

            From what the above link posits, no segment in the transportation industry is profitable without government subsidy propping it up.

            "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

            by Glinda on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:12:30 AM PST

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          •  Plus the government (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder

            played favorites by subsidizing air travel and road travel by using taxes to build and maintain the infrastructure, while the private sector railroads were hobbled by having to PAY property taxes on the rails, stations and rights of way that they owned, making it even less advantageous for the railroad companies.

            Therefore, when a rail line fell into disuse, railroads had a powerful incentive in reducing their tax liability to abandon or downsize the rail line.

            A far sighted government would have bought out the right of way and assumed its maintenance, but that did not happen until very recently and only in a few cases where the total loss of rail service would have been catastrophic.

            "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

            by NoMoreLies on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:25:22 AM PST

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        •  Passenger train service is usually unprofitable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          so private sector is unlikely to do a better job providing it. More expensive express lines could be an exception as they are likely to be profitable.

    •  Acela (0+ / 0-)

      I remember when they unveiled the name - Acela - with great fanfare, and almost immediately it turned out that acella is Italian for 'armpit.'

      Heh.

      •  No "ascella" is armpit (0+ / 0-)

        And it's pronunciation is quite different.  Nice try though.

        "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

        by Glinda on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:55:19 AM PST

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        •  uh... thanks (0+ / 0-)

          Not sure what you mean by 'nice try.' It was written up in the Washington Post at the time.

          I'm pro-rail. Just thought the name incident was amusing.

          •  Then is was a nice try on the WaPo's part (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sjterrid

            The "villagers" aren't comfortable with foreign languages. The comparison of Acella and ascella makes about as much sense as comparing Acela with cedilla: they have about the same number of letters in common but cedilla sounds closer to Acela than ascella's pronunciation does.

            "Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."

            by Glinda on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 10:17:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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