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California's got it going on- in a high speed rail kinda way. Albeit costly-perhaps painful- to a state that's got a broken budget to spend billions on transforming its transit infrastructure- it's a clear-smart investment in a high speed rail future- an economically stimulating move that will hopefully produce thousands of construction jobs. More important- perhaps too it will lead the way for the rest of a nation that shouldn't have to rely on planes to make trips less than 400 miles.

Imagine a day, when the nation's most densely populated cities, even on the east coast, are connected by high speed rail such as trains in Europe or Japan.  That, instead of the rusty old-often unreliable infrastructure that the antiquated Amtrak system operates with today.   Add to that-the money and sanity saved by not having to drive to a crowded airport-deal with the nightmare of air travel today-but instead-leave and arrive in a city core-downtown.  

Sure-it's an expensive investment- but its probably just the sort of self improvement- stimulus-this nation could probably use right about now.
Cody Lyon

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Comment Preferences

  •  ordinary people in Japan ride buses, not trains (0+ / 0-)

    Japan has beautiful bullet trains, and the Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka link makes great economic sense.  But the other bullet train links make no economic sense, and just about bankrupted the Japanese rail system.

    The result is sky-high ticket prices, including on Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka line, and lower and middle income Japanese riding the bus, not the train, to get affordable rates.

    Since people will end up on the bus anyway, why not just build a dedicated bus lane down interstate 5 from the San Jose area to Los Angeles for $1 billion or so, rather than the $60 billion this rail line will cost?  You could supply free wifi and free coffee on the bus and have a Mercedes bus or its American-made equivalent.  It could be a nice experience to ride the bus.  That is how I got around big parts of Europe, even though I did also take the train.

    If people are ever to take the train to LA, they will have to be able to get around without a car once they get there.  If there is going to be a big infrastructure spend, it should be building a local mass transit system with real density in LA, so there is somewhere for a train to feed to.  It could be subway lines, light rail, and dedicated bus lanes.  That would also create jobs in the part of the state with the biggest absolute number of unemployed.

    In Europe and Japan, they have great local mass transit systems to which the long-distance trains connect.  The Tokyo subway system is so deep and complex no single map drawing can show it all.  That is what you need to feed a long-distance train into.  It just does not exist now, and the diversion of money to a long-distance train project ensures it won't exist for decades, either.

    •  clearly you have never been to japan n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched
      •  "bill" makes good points about integrated transit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched

        ...whether s/he's been to Japan or not.

        California's first high-speed train will draw passengers away from air travel rather than the highways. Unlike airports, the train terminals can be placed close to downtowns, but they still need local connections to complete the system.

        I suppose that "ordinary people" are those who don't own a car and can't afford to fly. We still need low-cost transportation for them. Intercity buses and long distance "limousines" will still be part of an integrated system.

        Rail is simply more fuel efficient that flying. A jet liner averages 48 passenger-miles per gallon. Current passenger rail averages 468 passenger-miles per gallon. Increasing the number of passengers and the speed of the trains only improves it.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 01:08:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my point being (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BusyinCA

          that anyone claiming that regular japanese people used buses and not trains was clearly just making shit up. i've never seen trains so packed with people to the breaking point as in japan, not even in china. shinkansen are just one part of a vast rail network that covers nearly every part of urban japan. buses exist, but they are nowhere near the dominant mode of transportation, not by a mile.

          HSR will draw from both planes and highways in CA, bet on it.

      •  japan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        clarification: of course the japanese ride local trains.  and the upper middle class and the well-to-do do indeed ride the train.

        but poorer japanese heavily ride the bus to save money.  i rode the bus to a hot-spring town, and the bus ride was nice.

    •  Concern troll? (0+ / 0-)

      "billmebane124" appears to be one of those trolls with numbers after their name that DKos always wonders and warns about. Look at his comments: they very rarely are recommended. He is out of touch with the tenor of this progressive site.

      Does he really think a bus would substitute for a high speed rail system? How much are the Koch brothers paying him?

      The diarist too is rather tenuous in his support for HSR. The approval of this project is a major turning point in reforming the nation's transportation system and bringing it in line with so many other nations and helping the war on climate change.
      .
      .
      .


      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 Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 01:16:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  buses and high-speed rail (0+ / 0-)

        a bus cannot fully substitute for a high-speed rail line like tokyo to osaka, where the distance is substantial but not enormous,and at each end there is a dense local metro system integrated with it, and where that high-efficiency route is not made to pay for train lines to nowhere (like japan's bullet trains to less logical destinations -- most people in Japan live near Tokyo or Osaka).

        Once Los Angeles gets a dense local metro system, either rail or buses on dedicated lanes, then a high-speed rail link between LA and san jose could make sense.  But not until then.  And the local Los Angeles metro has value in and of itself.  So why not build it first?  First build the thing that will have value in and of itself.  Lots of people want to travel around LA just about every day.  It is so much more useful.

        I am not against mass transit.  I rode mass transit every day for my entire working life, in the New York metro area.  It is a big productivity saver; you can do work on the train, or read the paper.  But that system worked because it had high-density rail lines in a high-density developed area.

        The best use of mass transit dollars nationally will be the 2nd avenue subway line in NYC.  It will cost easily $10 billion, and won't be very long or look very impressive on a map.  But it will be massively heavily used, every day, by a large fraction of the people there, and reduce congestion in a hypercongested area.  

        You get the biggest returns on mass transit by adding on to where you are already strong.

  •  Jobs (8+ / 0-)

    When people go to work, they pay taxes, deficits fall.

    Simple math, ya know?

    500,000 permanent jobs as a result of this when it happens. Less congestion. New communities.

    The state is never going to cut its way out of its economic hole, therefore, dropping unemployment is the issue.

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