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Thread: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Brilliant idea. High speed trains are great. In Europe and Japan we have had high speed trains for decades and they are very very profitable, safe and faster than planes in most cases. The French high-speed train system had a profit of over 1 billion euros last year if I am not mistaken.
    Although there are many claims about "profitability" with high speed trains in Europe and perhaps Japan, I am very skeptical about the claims and Government accounting of these "profits."

    If they are so profitable, why are there no private capital consortiums vying to create said "profitable" high speed train networks?

    It appears to be Government Accounting handiwork to express to the public who funded these capital investments that their money was well spent and they are turning a profit; yet these Governments continue to struggle with their budgets and tax their constituents at ever greater rates; why is that?

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Obama and his administration aren't idiots - they just have a difference of opinion. I truly believe that they wholeheartedly think that this plan will be good for the nation in the long term. I'm just inclined to disagree.
    I truly believe that Obama and the moronic Democrats infesting our Congress wholeheartedly think that ALL their plans will be good for the nation in the long term. I just happen to disagree with them based on the historic facts and record.

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletWounD View Post
    Again, this is a local issue. If it's worth it then the cities should be willing to bear the tax burden themselves instead of sucking the rest of the country dry.
    Perhaps from that perspective, but if the goal is to stimulate the economy, increasing transportation options which reduce lost productivity hours does make sense. And many cities don't have the money or the political will to fund it completely by themselves.
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    The problem isn't the train system but the cost of tickets. Canada doesn't really have an extensive railway system, but what we do have costs passengers a fortune. You might as well fly instead of taking the bloody rail.

    In China, the railway system is extensive and affordable even to some of the poorest people. It connects regional municipalities but branches out to the entire country. It's extremely reliable. Railway projects need to be ongoing with large infrastructure budgets (spread out over many, many years) in order to be sustainable. There's no point in infusing a bunch of money so that railways can be built over 5 years or so, and then never looking at the railroads again.

    Amtrak is a failure due to this very problem. And also, it's prices are not competitive with flying or even fueling one's car.

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    The problem isn't the train system but the cost of tickets. Canada doesn't really have an extensive railway system, but what we do have costs passengers a fortune. You might as well fly instead of taking the bloody rail.

    In China, the railway system is extensive and affordable even to some of the poorest people. It connects regional municipalities but branches out to the entire country. It's extremely reliable. Railway projects need to be ongoing with large infrastructure budgets (spread out over many, many years) in order to be sustainable. There's no point in infusing a bunch of money so that railways can be built over 5 years or so, and then never looking at the railroads again.

    Amtrak is a failure due to this very problem. And also, it's prices are not competitive with flying or even fueling one's car.
    True story: When I used to go home from school, I had two options.

    My first option was to ride the subway 20 minutes to Penn Station and then sit on Amtrak for 4.5 hours, followed by driving 10 min home. It took 5 hours and cost $79. A soda and cookie would cost $6

    My other option was to ride the subway for an hour to JFK, spend an hour going through security, fly 45 minutes to syracuse, and then drive 45 minutes home. It took 3.5 hours and cost $44. Soda and cookies were free.
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    Although there are many claims about "profitability" with high speed trains in Europe and perhaps Japan, I am very skeptical about the claims and Government accounting of these "profits."

    If they are so profitable, why are there no private capital consortiums vying to create said "profitable" high speed train networks?

    It appears to be Government Accounting handiwork to express to the public who funded these capital investments that their money was well spent and they are turning a profit; yet these Governments continue to struggle with their budgets and tax their constituents at ever greater rates; why is that?
    Gezz talk about being paranoid. These excuse from the anti whatever crowd are getting more and more lame.

    Now you are saying that the government is fiddling with public viewable books? Give me a break. Considering that the private companies in the US have been fiddling with their books for decades and still do, then you got some balls to accuse another country with public viewable accounts of doing the same. Enron, Maddof, and so on.

    And what on earth does a high speed rail network run and owned by a partly government funded and partly owned company have to do with the overall government budget and tax rate? That is like saying that the US tax payer today got shafted when the US government built the high way system 50 years ago and as a result the tax rate today is x% higher than it should be.

    The investment in a true high speed rail system is not "a few billion", but several tens of billions of dollars at least, and even in normal economic times getting such a project up and running with only private sector cash is frankly very hard, especially in a world where the private sector only invests in projects that have short term benefits at best. There would not be profit from running this network from day 1, especially in the US, since it takes time to convince people that it is a good fast and cheap transport form. I also can not remember the last time I heard a private sector company or companies investing 10 to 20+ billion dollars in a single project without some sort of government help or funding.

    But saying that, the private sector is never left totally out.. quite the opposite. It has to be private sector companies that make the trains and even design new trains if the US does not use already designed ones. It is the private sector that will be doing most of the track building I bet. It will be the private sector too that probably will get the contracts for running the whole thing when it is finished.

    Like it or not, government has to be used to drag people forward because the private sector and free markets do not like big massive changes, especially when it can impact on their bottom line. Believe me, if the air line industry has any brains, they will be fighting tooth and nail to derail these projects as they risk loosing lots of passengers. And like it or not, you need government involvement to make the whole process much easier, when it comes to permits and regulation of the system.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Brilliant idea. High speed trains are great. In Europe and Japan we have had high speed trains for decades and they are very very profitable, safe and faster than planes in most cases. The French high-speed train system had a profit of over 1 billion euros last year if I am not mistaken.
    Agreed.
    I'm always surprised when i hear some states don't have alot of trains etc.

    I don't even have a driving license and don't want one. If i walk within minutes in either direction, i will run across either a tram stop, bus stop or train station that can connect me to the main stations [king's cross, Victoria etc.] which can take me pretty much to any major city in UK. I do wish it was nationalised tho - PS screwed it up [as they do with anything they touch]
    And eurostar from London to Paris - Great weekend trips
    Last edited by Laila; 04-18-09 at 08:17 AM.


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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC
    If they could even show that the Acela NY-DC was profitable, I'd fully support an expansion of it to all other viable areas.
    Quote Originally Posted by new coup for you
    The Acella is a joke, it's not comparable.
    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC
    What in particular?
    Average speed of 86 miles per hour

    The highest speed attained by Acela Express is 150 miles per hour on two sections of track in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which total 18 miles

    The overhead catenary support system which was constructed during the Great Depression

    Tracks that are shared with freight and slower passenger trains



    I don't know about the Acela, but Amtrak sometimes have to pull over to a side rail and stop and wait to give priority passage to freight trains. If it's not managed properly it's no wonder it's a joke of a system.
    “We just simply don’t know how to govern” - Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) a member of the House Budget Committee

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project - Business First of Columbus:



    Horrible, horrible, horrible idea.

    Before the government spends $13 billion on new railroads, how about they first demonstrate that they can run Amtrak efficiently?
    Am I the only one hearing echos of the Simpson episode about the monorail?
    I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.

    Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by BWG View Post
    Average speed of 86 miles per hour

    The highest speed attained by Acela Express is 150 miles per hour on two sections of track in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which total 18 miles

    The overhead catenary support system which was constructed during the Great Depression

    Tracks that are shared with freight and slower passenger trains

    I don't know about the Acela, but Amtrak sometimes have to pull over to a side rail and stop and wait to give priority passage to freight trains. If it's not managed properly it's no wonder it's a joke of a system.
    According to what PeteEU said, a 225 mile trip on French high speed rail only takes about 20 minutes longer than a 225 mile trip on Acela. If there were an hour difference, I might believe that the reason it's not working here is just because of speed, but when the difference is that small, there's something else behind the fact that it's not profitable.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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