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Thread: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

  1. #181
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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    Why would they? Their freeways are subsidized by a gas tax as are all of the other costs associated with driving that drivers do not have to realize.
    meh...so are the mass transit systems. I think its more because we like to drive and dont like to walk once we get to the other end.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by whysoserious View Post
    Again, because the infrastruture is terrible. As Obama said in his recent SOTUA, our infrastructure was graded as D-. You can see what happens when public transportation is well-maintained and far reaching. Look at NYC's train system or D.C.'s metro. It is convenient, safe, and affordable so people use it.

    AMTRAK is slow and expensive. Why would I pay $100 for a ticket to DC when I can drive there in less time? A high speed rail, however, is extremely fast, less expensive than flying, more comfortable, and better for the environment. Why wouldn't I use it?

    You're right. Underfunded, poorly-constructed transit systems don't get used. That's why we can either do it right or don't do it at all.
    You might. If you needed to go from point A to point B (as an example stated earlier from Denver to Chicago) for...say...a vacation or a business trip. I dont envision bullet trains connecting anything more than several major cities. And if it costs 3 billion to connect Orlando to Tampa...how expensive do you imagine a nationwide network would be? And again...at what cost to maintain?

    And the bottom line folks is we simply dont have the money. This is a concept you engage in when you are flush with surplus cash, not when the existing tax burden is crippling or impeding the nations economic growth.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMack View Post
    meh...so are the mass transit systems. I think its more because we like to drive and dont like to walk once we get to the other end.
    They are too. I want a level playing field, which would be privately owned major roadways (though I think an entire privately owned roat network is feasible as well) and privately owned transit companies.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Generally speaking, yes. I don't know the details about the specific routes and I don't really have a big problem if states want to delay it by a couple years to fill their budget gaps...but in the long term we absolutely need a nationwide high-speed rail system.
    If it's such a good idea then why aren't private companies jumping to build it?

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    They are too. I want a level playing field, which would be privately owned major roadways (though I think an entire privately owned roat network is feasible as well) and privately owned transit companies.
    I agree...the problem with that is that no private enterprise would ever undertake it without a guaranteed government contract because they are proven to lose money annualy.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMack View Post
    I agree...the problem with that is that no private enterprise would ever undertake it without a guaranteed government contract because they are proven to lose money annualy.
    I don't think that's the case. The Dulles Greenway probably would have been a success had the company been allowed to set its own tolls without government regulations. Seriously, look at its Wikipedia page. What happened to the project is a striking example of government making a good project go bad. Besides, the road also had to deal with nearby free roads, not exactly fair competition since tollway users still have to pay the gas tax even though they're not on a government road.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    If it's such a good idea then why aren't private companies jumping to build it?
    As I explained earlier in this thread, it's because the benefits of a high-speed rail system accrue to society as a whole, whereas the costs are born by whoever builds it. Therefore it isn't profitable for private companies to build high-speed railways, for the same reason it isn't generally profitable for private companies to build interstate highways or water pipelines.

    That doesn't mean the overall societal benefits don't outweigh the overall societal costs.
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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    As I explained earlier in this thread, it's because the benefits of a high-speed rail system accrue to society as a whole, whereas the costs are born by whoever builds it. Therefore it isn't profitable for private companies to build high-speed railways, for the same reason it isn't generally profitable for private companies to build interstate highways or water pipelines.

    That doesn't mean the overall societal benefits don't outweigh the overall societal costs.
    Your logic would have AMTRAK being well used and profitable. Not picking an argument...just sayin. From what I have read there is like 1 line in the whole country that manages to pay for itself and its a connecting train from NYC to Connecticut. Its not that the rail system isnt in place...no one uses it. Building a dramatically more expensive (albeit faster) version is no guarantee it is going to be any less of an albatross.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    As I explained earlier in this thread, it's because the benefits of a high-speed rail system accrue to society as a whole, whereas the costs are born by whoever builds it. Therefore it isn't profitable for private companies to build high-speed railways, for the same reason it isn't generally profitable for private companies to build interstate highways or water pipelines.

    That doesn't mean the overall societal benefits don't outweigh the overall societal costs.
    I'm going to have to claim an invalid conclusion. Private companies generally don't build these things because government usually provides these services and then subsidizes them. People who drive on roads subsidize those who drive on highways because they pay the same price via the gas tax. That would not happen in a market. Water delivery is also subsidized as people pay below market rates. Private companies could build these and reap all of the positive externalities they create by buying land near stations, much like how sports team owners own parking lots near their stadiums.

    The problem is that competition is stifled by subsidies.

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    Re: Florida scraps high-speed rail plan pushed by Obama

    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMack View Post
    Your logic would have AMTRAK being well used and profitable. Not picking an argument...just sayin. From what I have read there is like 1 line in the whole country that manages to pay for itself and its a connecting train from NYC to Connecticut.
    But the notion of "paying for itself" or "being profitable" is a red herring, because that's not the point of government services. The point of government services is to provide a benefit to society. I do not know if other AMTRAK routes provide enough of an economic benefit to society to justify their costs...but I do know that you can't measure that strictly by looking at the government's balance sheets.

    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMack
    Its not that the rail system isnt in place...no one uses it. Building a dramatically more expensive (albeit faster) version is no guarantee it is going to be any less of an albatross.
    A faster train would have more demand, because highway travel would no longer be viewed as a cheaper substitute.
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