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

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

    Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project - Business First of Columbus:

    Four months after unveiling a high-speed rail plan for the United States, the federal government is now allocating money to get the ball rolling.

    The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday said it will invest $8 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and $1 billion a year for five years as a down payment to develop a passenger rail system and put the transportation policy on the right track.

    Overall, the program will have 10 high-speed rail corridors that would be potential recipients of federal funding. Those lines are: California, Pacific Northwest, Chicago Hub Network (which includes Columbus), Florida, Southeast, Keystone, Empire and Northern New England. Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston to compete for funds to improve the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service.
    Horrible, horrible, horrible idea.

    Before the government spends $13 billion on new railroads, how about they first demonstrate that they can run Amtrak efficiently?

    Amtrak commenced operations in 1971 with $40 million in direct Federal aid, $100 million in Federally insured loans, and a somewhat larger private contribution.[51] Officials expected that Amtrak would break even by 1974, but those expectations proved unrealistic and annual direct Federal aid reached a 17-year high in 1981 of $1.25 billion.[52] During the Reagan administration, appropriations were halved. By 1986, Federal support fell to a decade low of $601 million, almost none of which were capital appropriations.[53] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Congress continued the reductionist trend even while Amtrak expenses held steady or rose. Amtrak was forced to borrow to meet short-term operating needs, and by 1995 Amtrak was on the brink of a cash crisis and was unable to continue to service its debts.[54] In response, in 1997 Congress authorized $5.2 billion for Amtrak over the next five years—largely to complete the Acela capital project—on the condition that Amtrak submit to the ultimatum of self-sufficiency by 2003 or liquidation.[55] Amtrak made financial improvements during the period, but ultimately did not achieve self-sufficiency.
    Last edited by RightinNYC; 04-16-09 at 06:36 PM.
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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?
    More money down the toilet.

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

    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.

    But then again it depends on what is meant by "high-speed" in the US. Last I looked the US definition was not very fast heh.
    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.
    And if we could do that, it would be great and I doubt that anyone would oppose it.

    Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be very likely here, as the US is 15 times larger than France and has 1/3 the population density.
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Doing it cross country is stupid, however in the Northeast corridor it's a pretty good idea.
    And why does your tone suggest that you do not care about children?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by new coup for you View Post
    Doing it cross country is stupid, however in the Northeast corridor it's a pretty good idea.
    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.
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    13 billion is only a drop in the bucket compared to what the eventual costs would be for a nationwide high-speed rail project.

    I think the money would be far better invested as a federal grant program for light rail and commuter rail system in major metros. We have a lot of cities that lack commuter rail systems and that would be far more viable then putting in a high speed rail system from say LA to Chicago.
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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?
    I think the plan is for the operators to be privately owned and operated while building the overall system will be funded by grants. It's not actually too bad of an idea in theory. It's more in line with what the federal government should be doing (interstate transportation networks) as opposed to bailing out banks, corporate welfare, and that sort of thing. The only problem is if it ends up a publicly owned waste of money like Amtrak. I rode an Amtrak train once, what a disaster. MORE expensive than taking a plane, WAY longer trip punctuated with stops, and the food cost a bloody fortune ($10.00 for a microwavable hamburger). Never again...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    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.
    The Acella is a joke, it's not comparable.
    And why does your tone suggest that you do not care about children?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    And if we could do that, it would be great and I doubt that anyone would oppose it.

    Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be very likely here, as the US is 15 times larger than France and has 1/3 the population density.
    Lame excuse... REALLY lame excuse.

    First off, high-speed trains go from major population center to major population center. They do not stop at every small town along the route.. would kinda be against the "high speed" principle if they stop every 20 miles.

    Secondly, no one is saying that you should put a high speed train from New York to LA.. that would be insane. High speed rail networks are only logical within relative short distances (several 100 miles) or less.

    Lets put this into perspective. (Distances are in a straight line)

    New York to Washington. Distance is about 220 miles.

    Madrid to Malaga (near me). Distance is about 255 miles. Has high speed train.. takes 2:30 hours from city center to city center. Goes through mountains btw.. so that is not an excuse. And the reason it takes so long, is that it also stops at 2 other major cities along the line. If I go to Cordaba (the first stop on the line) which is 100 miles away, I can get there in 45 min and be right in the center of the city.

    Paris to Marsellie. Distance is about 420 miles and has had a high-speed train since 2001.

    LA to SF. Distance is 350 miles.

    As I said, distance and geography is a lame ass excuse. If the French can do Paris to Marsellie (in fact Brussels to Marsellie which is almost 530 miles in a straight line) over mountains, then I think the Americans can make a high speed train from New York to Washington or Boston to Washington.. I mean come on..

    Now mentality is a very valid excuse in the US, being a car nut nation. But there is no denying that high speed trains if done right are hugely successful.

    If we go back to where I live. The main city in the area Malaga got its high speed connection about 2 years ago. With in the first year of the operation, the connection had taken 80% of the traffic from the airlines flying from Malaga to Madrid. Why? Because it was faster. If you count in the time for getting to the airport, check in, flying, getting bags and driving from the airport to the city, the trip is freakishly long compared to a train. This goes for just about any major city in the world even in the US.

    So yes, high speed trains on medium distances is a sensible investment and profitable one at that. Btw the Euro/Japanese high speed requirements (to be called highspeed) is over 200 km/hour minimum on existing tracks or 250km/hour on new tracks. Most go 300km/hour or over.
    PeteEU

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