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

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

    Quote Originally Posted by whysoserious View Post
    NYC's transit system is great. I use it everytime I go to the city and I used it to get into the city when I lived in New Jersey.
    It's ugly, it smells, and needs serious maintenance. The system has basically not expanded at all since the government took it over, in fact it has only shrunk. Only recently has the government decided to expand it, despite serious overcrowding on the entire system.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    New York transit is a bit different than national high speed rail.
    This has no bearing on the validity of the analogy.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    That's not true. Lots of things can be benefitial yet not turn a profit. Our military doesn't turn a profit, yet it is beneficial to have it. High speed rail doesn't need to be profitable to provide service and benefit to the People at large. It merely has to exist and be used.
    And the railroads that crisscrossed much of the country before the Civil War? Who financed that?

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    There is no way that the builder of a private road could reap the benefits, short of installing a toll booth at every intersection...which would be horrendously inefficient from a societal/economic perspective. Government provides the service because it is unprofitable, not the other way around.
    That argument is a red herring. There are electronic toll booths that do everything with you even having to slow down.

    They could, but the fact that they haven't should indicate that it isn't profitable for private enterprise to do so.

    Virtually nothing the government does is profitable, yet I'm sure that there are certain government functions you believe benefit society? To illustrate my point, some hypothetical numbers:

    COSTS:
    To the entity that builds it: $50 billion
    To the customers who use it: $10 billion (perhaps some modest user fees)

    BENEFITS:
    To the entity that builds it: $10 billion
    To the customers who use it: $200 billion

    These numbers are just an example so don't read anything into them, but my point is that the overall economic benefits of something can considerably outweigh the overall economic costs, without it being profitable for the entity who does it.
    That's why companies try to internalize the external benefits that they create, like the example I used of a parking lot surrounding a baseball stadium. The reason that private companies aren't building these things is because they have subsidized comeptition, and who can compete against that?

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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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. 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.
    No...the problem with Amtrak is that the rail system isn't in place. It's merely a token, pork-barrel rail system. Passenger trains must travel at slow speeds per FRA regulations, passenger trains are preempted by freight trains all the time so that on-time performance is abysmal, the destinations are not ideal (Emeryville instead of San Francisco, etc.), few trains/day (usually one in each direction), poor hours of operation (if you want to go from Cincinnati to DC, your only train leaves at 3:29 AM), poor route choice (North Dakota's rail line (and interstates) are pork), etc.

    As you can see, it really isn't a functioning system. HSR on the other hand runs on dedicated tracks so trains are never preempted, run many trains/day at regular intervals, ideally connect downtown to downtown (San Francisco Transbay Tower to LA Union Station via downtowns in San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield) and feed into airports (SFO, Ontario), and are only meant for high volume transport corridors. The comparison is like contrasting the QE2 with the raft from Castaway.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TitusAndronicus View Post
    No...the problem with Amtrak is that the rail system isn't in place. It's merely a token, pork-barrel rail system. Passenger trains must travel at slow speeds per FRA regulations, passenger trains are preempted by freight trains all the time so that on-time performance is abysmal, the destinations are not ideal (Emeryville instead of San Francisco, etc.), few trains/day (usually one in each direction), poor hours of operation (if you want to go from Cincinnati to DC, your only train leaves at 3:29 AM), poor route choice (North Dakota's rail line (and interstates) are pork), etc.
    But money is still being poured down the Amtrak drain even though it's an obvious loss to society. Any private comapny would have stopped trying decades ago as they should since it is a waste of resources.

    As you can see, it really isn't a functioning system. HSR on the other hand runs on dedicated tracks so trains are never preempted, run many trains/day at regular intervals, ideally connect downtown to downtown (San Francisco Transbay Tower to LA Union Station via downtowns in San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield) and feed into airports (SFO, Ontario), and are only meant for high volume transport corridors. The comparison is like contrasting the QE2 with the raft from Castaway.
    Potentially it is useful. I just don't believe that government has the ability to decide where it would be most useful and where it would not. They have no concept of profit and loss and needing to make a budget. Profit ensures that we do not waste valuable resources.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    See the Route 91 Express Lanes which were built even though there was heavy government competition from route 91. Private companies can and do take up huge projects all the time.

    91 Express Lanes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    After all, it was private companies that built the subway system in New York, not the government.
    That is a 10 mile road, and isn't it owned by the government? That linked said it was owned by Orange County Transportation Authority. Regardless, 10 miles is not a "huge project" on the scale of highway development and maintenance. There's 1000 miles of interstate between Colorado and Illinois, that's just I-80 and just in that section, it goes on further. That one section of that one interstate is already 100 times greater in scale than that of the Route 91 Express Lanes.

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    The bulk of actual scientific research is performed in government labs because government provides a ton of money such that the profit of private investment is severely compromised. Private companies tend to piggy-back off of the research done in government labs. However, it's interesting to note that most of the supplies used in those labs comes from private companies.
    It's preformed in government labs and academia because government is the only entity with the time scales and pocketbook necessary to perform the aggregated volume of scientific research necessary to maintain and proliferate the growing technical needs of our society. Private companies can and do invest, they're ability to do so is in no way, shape, or form compromised. If Agilent wanted to give me 500,000 bucks for research, they can. But they don't, because they have little interest in quantum computing. The government, on the other hand, has HUGE interest in it. Society cannot advance through stagnation, and technologically developed and advanced cultures like our own need continual input of new technologies to continue moving forward. The private sector does piggy back incredibly hard off of that research. And that's the point. The research is not necessarily profitable to government itself. But government is the only entity capable of supporting the entire aggregated system. Private sector then reaps huge benefits from it, even though the the government investment may not reap profit.

    We buy all our stuff from private industry. There's no government company for laser frequency doublers or acusto-optical modulators. I buy those from private companies. But guess where they got that technology from? That's right, it's all formed from base scientific research. Some poor grad student spends his career and post-doc messing with something, say ring lasers or dye lasers or doublers, whatever. After he/she is done, they can (and many do) go off and start a start-up to start making commercially available products for academia. But their input to research is perfecting the already established technology and engineering a practical, commercial use. It's not the broad band experimentation necessary to find and understand this phenomenon in the first place. And it's expensive. I just bought 4 lenses, 1" by 1", little cylindrical lenses for UV (221 nm) lasers. Each lens was over 500 bucks a piece. I should be in the AR coating business for sure!

    But this is part of the point. People say that government should run like a business, but it's not true. Government should run like a government. There are things that government can do well and things that it can't. The same with private enterprise. Those things are different. So government can provide something, it doesn't even need to be profitable because government can survive long time periods without being profitable (unlike business). But because it can do this, it can invest in things business cannot. Business can then pick it up on the other end and find ways to make, in this case, commercial products for sale. The two entities then feed off of each other. If you set the fail conditions of government to be the same as the fail conditions of business, then you will find yourself in a situation when government itself fails from not being profitable. Then we're really up ****'s creek without a paddle. Government needs to operate like government, business needs to operate like business. And the synergy between the two creates a wealth of benefits for us on whole.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    And the railroads that crisscrossed much of the country before the Civil War? Who financed that?
    Robber barrens. Which no longer exist. Which is why it cannot be done anymore. There used to be Bell Labs too, it was a base scientific, private research facility. It was funded through the phone monopoly held by Bell. But once that monopoly was broken up, they couldn't support the lab anymore. The lab went bye bye.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    This has no bearing on the validity of the analogy.
    If you're considering apples to oranges "valid", then no it doesn't.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    That is a 10 mile road, and isn't it owned by the government? That linked said it was owned by Orange County Transportation Authority. Regardless, 10 miles is not a "huge project" on the scale of highway development and maintenance. There's 1000 miles of interstate between Colorado and Illinois, that's just I-80 and just in that section, it goes on further. That one section of that one interstate is already 100 times greater in scale than that of the Route 91 Express Lanes.
    It's owned now by the OCTA, but was originally built and run by a private company. Larger projects are harder to come by (though there are decent-lengthed tunnels in Australia and France that I'm aware of) because government pretty much has a monopoly on interstates because they have so little demand compared to intra-city roads and they are subsidized so much.

    It's preformed in government labs and academia because government is the only entity with the time scales and pocketbook necessary to perform the aggregated volume of scientific research necessary to maintain and proliferate the growing technical needs of our society. Private companies can and do invest, they're ability to do so is in no way, shape, or form compromised. If Agilent wanted to give me 500,000 bucks for research, they can. But they don't, because they have little interest in quantum computing. The government, on the other hand, has HUGE interest in it. Society cannot advance through stagnation, and technologically developed and advanced cultures like our own need continual input of new technologies to continue moving forward. The private sector does piggy back incredibly hard off of that research. And that's the point. The research is not necessarily profitable to government itself. But government is the only entity capable of supporting the entire aggregated system. Private sector then reaps huge benefits from it, even though the the government investment may not reap profit.
    Celera Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - This is the non-government entity that also sequenced the human genome, but at a tremendous fraction of the cost and much faster.

    We buy all our stuff from private industry. There's no government company for laser frequency doublers or acusto-optical modulators. I buy those from private companies. But guess where they got that technology from? That's right, it's all formed from base scientific research. Some poor grad student spends his career and post-doc messing with something, say ring lasers or dye lasers or doublers, whatever. After he/she is done, they can (and many do) go off and start a start-up to start making commercially available products for academia. But their input to research is perfecting the already established technology and engineering a practical, commercial use. It's not the broad band experimentation necessary to find and understand this phenomenon in the first place. And it's expensive. I just bought 4 lenses, 1" by 1", little cylindrical lenses for UV (221 nm) lasers. Each lens was over 500 bucks a piece. I should be in the AR coating business for sure!
    Great, but so what? Your'e not proving that private companies cannot do this.

    But this is part of the point. People say that government should run like a business, but it's not true. Government should run like a government. There are things that government can do well and things that it can't. The same with private enterprise. Those things are different. So government can provide something, it doesn't even need to be profitable because government can survive long time periods without being profitable (unlike business). But because it can do this, it can invest in things business cannot. Business can then pick it up on the other end and find ways to make, in this case, commercial products for sale. The two entities then feed off of each other. If you set the fail conditions of government to be the same as the fail conditions of business, then you will find yourself in a situation when government itself fails from not being profitable. Then we're really up ****'s creek without a paddle. Government needs to operate like government, business needs to operate like business. And the synergy between the two creates a wealth of benefits for us on whole.
    But government cannot decide what is profitable and what is not. Government, on the whole, is a tremendous waste of resources because of this.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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