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Surely California High Speed Rail Is A Great Idea?  
User currently offlineicanfly From Australia, joined Aug 2011, 86 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5461 times:

Today Governor Brown signed into the law the bill authorizing construction of the first segment of California's proposed high-speed rail network, scheduled to commence in early 2013:

http://www.dailynews.com/ci_21106775...high-speed-rail?source=most_viewed

To me, this has always seemed like a great infrastructure project, alongside the likes of Hoover Dam and the Interstate Highway Network of the 1950s and 60s. Imagine whizzing between downtown San Francisco and downtown LA in 2 hours 40 minutes!

Yes, at $68 billion, the price tag is steep, but surely the economic case is strong if HSR asborbs a substantial portion of traffic that would otherwise have used road or air travel, thereby reducing the need to build more freeways and airport runways and expansions in the future.

So I'm trying to understand where the opposition to the project is coming from?

PS - I'm aware HSR has been discussed on this forum before, but as far as I can tell the last thread was in 2010 and anyway I'd like to keep this discussion focused on California.


United: please start SYD-IAH!
124 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16866 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5442 times:

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
So I'm trying to understand where the opposition to the project is coming from?



Like everything else, short sighted mentality. There are major projects all over the Country that were built during times of economic duress that we couldn't even begin to imagine living without today.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineQFA380 From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 2071 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 5437 times:

And in other news another Californian city is about to file for bankruptcy...

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/18/us...ifornia-city-bankruptcy/index.html


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5399 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
So I'm trying to understand where the opposition to the project is coming from?

Like everything else, short sighted mentality. There are major projects all over the Country that were built during times of economic duress that we couldn't even begin to imagine living without today.

I think most case studies of HSR (or LRT for that matter) show that on a cash basis they're losers. However I think there is also an argument to be made for foregone costs, i.e., more freeways etc., that don't need to be built. The whole process of getting people to move from private transportation to a more public transportation is itself a big issue.

In Winnipeg, a mid-sized city (about 750k), there is a spirited debate about whether or not to go LRT. Current plans show Phase 1 as BRT (bus...) but beyond is not clear. All the BRT rights of way I believe are amenable to LRT if that is the decision. I think LRT is more saleable to the public than BRT, as the bus is seen, rightly or wrongly, as the refuge of the poor, students, and immigrants. The LRT, while much more expensive, is sexier and hipper, by comparison. Since I'm in the process of moving back to Winnipeg, this is an interesting civic debate.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinewingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2262 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5338 times:

I live in California and I love trains, but Americans only know how to do freight trains. HSR is not for us. It's too expensive and competing against cars and planes will be a losing battle. Between SF and LA there must be some eight airports catering to travelers from all areas of each city and I would guess some 60-70 flights per day round trip. These typically run from $200-$300 each with a bit of notice.

Paris and Tokyo are clearly very different outcomes, trains make more sense in these places and there's a national commitment to HSR. Unfortunately, I'm wagering all my chips that HSR in California is going to be the greatest fiscal calamity in our state's history. But when your numb and cold all over from the explosive idiocy in Sacramento it just doesn't seem to matter anymore.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8541 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5312 times:

In politics, a "great idea" is a way to make great money for yourself and your cronies. Political capital (which HSR has) is something for shady characters to exploit and convert into real cash. California HSR would never be inexpensive, because there are so many powerful families to enrich by making it more expensive. As long as it gets funded (as an attractive concept, it will get funded), these powerful people are rewarded, and they will steal more in the future.

[Edited 2012-07-19 07:34:29]

User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5288 times:

Should HSR be built in the Californian corridor: Absolutely.

Are public finances and governance in California beyond therapy: Absolutely.

Is '2' a reason to not do '1'. Absolutely not. Fix both.

Business Case? Why do you aske for a 'Business' case? This is public infrasturcture not a business venture. Ask for an INFRASTRUCTURE Case: net effect, indirect and direct, to the economy of doing or not doing the project. This is the way to measure value for public infrastructure. Then decide what should be 'sunk' as public cost (eg. HSLs) and what should be privatized and when (e.g rolling stock, passenger services), what should be regulated and government operated and what should be de-regulated and open to competiion and when. In Europe, Paris - Brussels; Paris - Frankfurt; Paris-London are deregulated and open to directly competing rail services on multi-100 billion Euro HSL's built by public investment. The payback to the countries participating is undisputed. e.g The new Dijon - Mulhouse LGV which opened last Dec is 100% in France, but was funded 50% by France, 25% by Germany and 25% by Switzerland in the clear recognition that each one's economies will indirectly benefits from the infrastructure and the stimulus permanantly so created.

[Edited 2012-07-23 10:54:00 by SA7700]


When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25381 posts, RR: 49
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5277 times:

        

Big boondogle if there was ever one.

Here are some reasons;

1) Its questionable how "high speed" this really will be. Now to reduce cost they are actually talking about using regular regional rail lines in both SoCal and Bay Area
2) Selected route is not a direct one between San Diego and SF basin, but more a zig-zag to add in as many communities as possible such as the Central Valley and garner their political support.
3) Due to the lower speed and extended routing, its not a time savings door to door over a plane.
4) What was sold as under a $30Bil project all said and done to voters, is now a $98Bil project. By the time its built imagine how much more it will be?
5) One expert after another (including ones in Japan and France as have been in the paper recently) have questioned the project
6) Unlike original intentions, it will not even now break even operationally. They are talking about $200 fares rivaling air fares, while ridership projections were found to be inflated.
7) Even the state oversight authority has serious questions as to how both the project was sold to voters, and how its been managed to date.
8) If they could do it over again, the voters of the state now oppose the project.
9) Lots of litigation awaits from communities, environmental groups etc...


Personally I hope its never completed, the plug is pulled, and the tax payer is taken off the hook for this terrible project.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinelewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3636 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
So I'm trying to understand where the opposition to the project is coming from?
Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
Imagine whizzing between downtown San Francisco and downtown LA in 2 hours 40 minutes!

That will be awesome. I would love to have more train service between the cities as well as within LA. Having said that, I just don't see it as a good investment. Talking about the one end of the line (LA), you have a city with not very good infrastructure as far as train services go. A high-speed rail link assumes that someone arriving in LA by train would then be able to go around the city by jumping on another train or high-speed public transportation option. There is no such thing around here, best case scenario they can go upto Hollywood and then back to Union St. Take any similar project in the world and you will see that the cities connected by HSR then have a good network within the city limits to feed the travelers around.

This is why people either drive to LA and then have their car to move around or they fly here and pick up a rental at the airport. Unless more commuter train lines are built in LA and actually get used, the HSR has little to offer.


User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5202 times:

Quoting wingman (Reply 4):
but Americans only know how to do freight trains. HSR is not for us. It's too expensive and competing against cars and planes will be a losing battle.

I agree. Sure, trains are cool, but spending $68 Billion on high-speed rail in the US does not make sense to me. Like you mention, there is no real way to compete with driving or flying.

It's a cool idea, but it's just not practical.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
Big boondogle if there was ever one.

Here are some reasons;

I think you hit them all, LAXintl.


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8964 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5192 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 6):

It absolutely - beyond ANY doubt - has to have a business case.

You admitted yourself in your post that this is an economic asset. Therefore, it must be run like a business. It must be self-supporting. Else, it is nothing but a fancy trophy politicians can selfishly add to their resumes. And there are a lot of gullible voters out there to keep voting them back into office.

And BTW, I don't think you have a good understanding of sunk costs - they are not something a rational person chooses to incur!

[Edited 2012-07-19 11:03:41]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3764 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5150 times:

The only way it would be able to compete with cars and airplanes is with a proper HST line: dedicated to high speed train, allowing for consistent high speed, with few stops, like San Diego - LA - SF - Sacramento.

If they start doing it on the cheap side, by mixing HS and non HS lines, adding stops at every little town on the way and adding to trip times, it will be a failure.

ACELA, on a similarly sized network, was very close to being a failure for these reasons, even though it serves a much denser market.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5144 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
Like everything else, short sighted mentality. There are major projects all over the Country that were built during times of economic duress that we couldn't even begin to imagine living without today.

Even the project's admittedly inflated numbers expect annual revenue of only somewhere around $2.3 billion per year in 2028. Let's assume the are correct (hah!) - that's still something like a 40 year payback on investment, NOT counting interest. Financially it is without question a boondoggle.

People like to compare it to the Golden Gate Bridge. But the bridge was funded locally, with a $35 million bond measure. The last of the bonds were finally paid off in 1971, 40 years after the project started, paying out in total $35 million in principle and $39 million in interest. The bridge paid off. I don't see the HSR project ever doing so.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
9) Lots of litigation awaits from communities, environmental groups etc...

People talk about 2.5 hours between downtown SF and LA - that will never happen. In built-up areas, trains will not be allowed to run flat out due to noise restrictions, for one thing. I'd say 4 hours of travel time would be more likely, maybe more.

One question I have. On European trains, there basically is no security. Will the TSA insist on airport-style check in and security, so that you have to get to the station at least an hour ahead of departure?



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5136 times:

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
Surely California High Speed Rail Is A Great Idea?  

Only if it isn't built with my money.

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
Yes, at $68 billion, the price tag is steep,

How many miles of freeway could be built for that? How many airport security lanes?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 5):
In politics, a "great idea" is a way to make great money for yourself and your cronies.

  

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 6):
Business Case? Why do you aske for a 'Business' case?

Because if it doesn't have one, it's a bad idea. Do you know what you call a project with no business case? It's a money pit, and California has enough of those as it is.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
Big boondogle if there was ever one.

  

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
3) Due to the lower speed and extended routing, its not a time savings door to door over a plane.

Not to mention that I don't think it's likely that Southern California and the Bay Area will be dotted with train stations the way they are with airports. Do that and high speed isn't so high speed anymore. Rail might work decent from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco, but what if you're going to Ontario, Orange County, or Oakland?

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
They are talking about $200 fares rivaling air fares, while ridership projections were found to be inflated.

So now you're paying the same amount to not really save any time. Nice.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5111 times:

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 10):
Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 6):

It absolutely - beyond ANY doubt - has to have a business case.

You admitted yourself in your post that this is an economic asset. Therefore, it must be run like a business. It must be self-supporting. Else, it is nothing but a fancy trophy politicians can selfishly add to their resumes. And there are a lot of gullible voters out there to keep voting them back into office.

And BTW, I don't think you have a good understanding of sunk costs - they are not something a rational person chooses to incur!

I don't think you understand my post. If this were a business initiative, a Business Case would be appropriate and necessary. It is not. It is a public infrastructure initiative. It needs an Infrastructure Case. Do you understand the difference?

Then you move to a hybrid public / private model for the underlying lines and the services respectively. Works elsewhere and would work in the US.

By 'sunk' costs was simply a way of saying, from the perspective of the Services running on top of the public infrastructure, the line costs are already 'sunk'. They may pay a service fee to the line carrier, but this is not designed to pay back the lines by itself.

Some people just don't like the idea of HSR. That's ok. Just say it.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8541 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5095 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 13):
So now you're paying the same amount to not really save any time. Nice.

Correct, minus the $100 billion and borrowing costs, and minus the annual operating subsidy it will need.

The free market has been able to create rail for over 150 years. Now, a new invention -- the aero-plane -- has replaced intercity passenger rail. This is because airplanes are utterly cheaper and faster. Also more environmentally friendly, in a low pax volume American context.

Beijing-Shanghai HSR probably is more environmentally friendly than A320s, but that is a catchment area of... half a billion people? So you can load up trains with >1,000 people.

[Edited 2012-07-19 12:45:43]

User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5096 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 14):
Some people just don't like the idea of HSR. That's ok. Just say it.

I lived in Europe for over 20 years. I love the TGV service, and for about a year I took the TGV twice a week from GVA to Paris. But the TGV works in France where gasoline costs $7-8 per gallon, and you pay an additional $100 in highway tolls for that same GVA-Paris trip if you took it by car.

Here we have free interstates, cheap gasoline. That makes it much harder for trains to compete. You also do not have centrally-located train stations, fully tied in to a city public transport system (except a a handful of east coast cities).

Sorry, I just don't see it working. A HSR line, with dedicated tracks, could work wonderfully between Boston, NYC and DC, but not in Cali, IMHO.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineaa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3350 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5086 times:

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
So I'm trying to understand where the opposition to the project is coming from?

The criticism is only growing, from what I see. The HSR project was jump started by Proposition 1A. As a proposition, it was enacted by California voters without any input from the legislature. Unfortunately, many ideas of the ideas that are enacted through the proposition process are because they're bad laws -- legislators know not to vote for them, but they appeal to voters. Clearly, California lawmakers realized the state faced enough challenges without building a $100 billion project.

Now the project is far more expensive than originally planned, which isn't too much of a surprise. The route is turning out to be highly controversial. Wealthy towns on the peninsula (SF's southern suburbs) don't want the noise and the traffic running through. Environmentalists have complained that one of the routes potentially endangers some kind of animal. There's a school in Bakersfield that's angry because the route would include bulldozing their facility.

And now estimates suggest that the train will be pretty slow (SF to LA in over two hours, compared to an air by air) and expensive (around $200, which is about what an air ticket costs).

The fact of the matter is that the US is not Europe. We're just far too spread out for this to be viable. The Bay's three airports and LA's five are enough to serve the intrastate market. To be honest, I'd much rather have Megabus come back than high speed rail introduced.


User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2525 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5085 times:

Quoting icanfly (Thread starter):
Imagine whizzing between downtown San Francisco and downtown LA in 2 hours 40 minutes!

I can imagine it but this line won't make it reality. This looks to be more of a "milk run" with too many stops en-route as LAXINTL points out in his post. He also makes many other valid points. I'd LOVE to see HSR in the US - I would definitely use it for trips of less than 1000 miles but it's fiscally impractical due to the up-front costs. Even if its expenditure is amortized over 50 - 75 years, people are not going to buy off on it because they see the big price tag at the beginning.


User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5071 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 15):
The free market has been able to create rail for over 150 years. Now, a new invention -- the aero-plane -- has replaced intercity passenger rail. This is because airplanes are utterly cheaper and faster.

Do you not realize (or not care) that in the proposed HSR corridors all of these statements are clearly false? That is the reason they are proposed HSR corridors.

It's fine that you don't like HSR. Just say it. But with statements like those above, you convince noone.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5065 times:

Quoting aa757first (Reply 17):
And now estimates suggest that the train will be pretty slow (SF to LA in over two hours, compared to an air by air) and expensive (around $200, which is about what an air ticket costs).

You do realize that city centre to city centre, a 2 hour train ride is much faster than a 1 hour flight, don't you?

HSR is walk on walk off, in Europe you only need about 10mns at the station before departure. By air you have:

- 45-75mns commute to a major airport
- 1 hr wait (plus delays) at the airport
- 1 hr flight
- 30mn to land and exit airport
- 45-75 mn commute to city centre

Total by air: 4hrs

Total by HSR: 2hrs City centre to City centre.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8541 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5059 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 19):
But with statements like those above, you convince noone.

Which amount of money is more expensive: (a) zero dollars. (b) $100 billion.

Air travel is here today. SFO-LAX is not that difficult to fly.


User currently offlinelewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3636 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5054 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 20):
You do realize that city centre to city centre, a 2 hour train ride is much faster than a 1 hour flight, don't you?

There isn't even a point of mentioning the "city centre to city centre" concept. There is not much going on in Downtown LA or its immediate surrounding areas. The places that most visitors would want to see or where most users of the HSR train would reside in are miles away from the city center (if you can call it that). Commuting from/to Union station, whether one chooses to drive or take the bus (no other real alternatives) is not very convenient.


User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7908 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5039 times:

I think if the project wasn't horribly mismanaged it would have more support. Also, CA really shouldn't be spending more money, I mean come on. If they deem HSR important enough then they should cut some other projects from their budget and then build this HSR. But that's probably asking a lot of the CA government...


Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5004 times:

Quoting lewis (Reply 22):
There isn't even a point of mentioning the "city centre to city centre" concept. There is not much going on in Downtown LA or its immediate surrounding areas.

   If you're trying to get to Monterey, Silicon Valley, Orange County, or Ontario for example, then the high speed rail is utterly useless.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
25 Post contains links srbmod : One of the projects tied into this endeavor is XpressWest (formerly known as DesertXpress), which is a privately funded venture (although they will ha
26 lewis : I would go as far as to say that the value added is not even good enough for areas in closer proximity to DTLA, like the Valleys, the west side and t
27 DocLightning : With a lot of inconvenience involved. Furthermore, walk-up fares are exorbitant and SFO in particular has a gigantic delay rate due to the fact that
28 mham001 : You missed San Jose. Why? It runs right up the center of Silicon Valley with a stop in San Jose. Monterey is closer from the train station than it is
29 DocLightning : The whole point is that it will be able to do exactly that. It's being designed with below-grade rights-of-ways in built-up areas. Your TGV has a lot
30 BMI727 : A stop that makes it take that much longer to get to San Franciso. Of course Monterey also has its own airport with no less than eight flights from L
31 lewis : Surely though, such an expensive infrastructure is mainly targeting the two biggest urban centers it is connecting no? I doubt the smaller communitie
32 DocLightning : I didn't say they could. I said they would greatly benefit from it. It is unfortunately true, but there is a very large LA public transit system call
33 Post contains images LAXintl : Here is a screen shot of the prelim route between LA and SF. Its almost 100-miles longer than straight line as it zig-zags around a bit. Note the down
34 stasisLAX : It's a misuse of funding. This sexy, high-tech, high speed train will cater to wealthier business travelers and tourists - not to the average Califor
35 Post contains images lewis : I agree, I would rather see a fraction of that money go to maintaining, improving and expanding existing networks first, before taking up such a gran
36 aa757first : As another poster pointed out, Americans don't travel city center to city center. We travel from Irvine to Walnut Creek and Los Altos to Long Beach.
37 Post contains images AlnessW : The fares for Acela also happen to be through-the-roof. A similar thing happened for the new commuter rail line here in Portland. People were whining
38 wingman : Two other points to consider in being against the plan...first, neither SF nor LA have anything resembling decent public transportation. That's anothe
39 LAXintl : By the way -- does anyone think the airlines will allow a train to chip away at their service? Southwest will surely and handily undercut the projecte
40 Post contains images LAXintl : Another big point. LA County alone is over 4,000 sq miles. The notion that people will drive hours to reach a train station is nuts itself.
41 DocLightning : It is. Have you taken a flight lately? It's a stressful and unpleasant experience. It's no harder than dragging it to the check-in counter and retrie
42 DeltaMD90 : As others have said, I think LA and SF need a better local transit first. The convenience of HSR is reduced if they just plop you in the middle of the
43 Post contains images AlnessW : Yes. No, it's not. Well, perhaps it's stressful and unpleasant if you get to the airport an hour before your flight leaves, run to security, then bol
44 GEEZER : Sorry I haven't had time to read the previous replies, but I can answer your question easily, without reading anything; It's not that there's anythin
45 mham001 : You do understand that San Jose is the larger city right? And that San Francisco's economy is piggybacked on Silicon Valley's? Why would the third la
46 Post contains links and images Aaron747 : It is irrelevant to talk about city centers with built environments such as those in California, with the exception of a few densely-populated upscal
47 DocLightning : There are Express trains and trains with stops. That's how HSR works. Not every train needs to stop at every town every time. There would be multiple
48 LAXintl : Well I do. Actually its one of the things I love most about America. Its the freedom to hop in your car and come and go as you wish. Plenty of roads,
49 Aaron747 : The best thing about living on this side of the pond is the freedom to do both. If I don't feel like sitting in traffic, I can take a train just abou
50 Post contains images AlnessW : I don't think DocLightning understands the conveniences of air travel. Speaking of which, I'm still waiting for your response:
51 GEEZER : While everyone is busy arguing about whether riding on trains is a more pleasant (or less pleasant) experience than taking a plane, you're still ignor
52 OzGlobal : What are you talking about? How is it more free to have FEWER options? Believe it or not, countries with high speed rail also have fine highway netwo
53 Dreadnought : Not even close. On regular tracks, I doubt the train can average much more than 60 mph. I think you are missing the point. The issue is not whether w
54 DeltaMD90 : Can anyone who is for HSR in CA answer how they are gonna fund this? I'd say go for it, CA, after you balance your budget and are able to fit this pro
55 LAXintl : I'm answering the below comment. And yes, driving and its freedoms has been one the greatest pleasures I've had since immigrating to America over 2-d
56 OzGlobal : That's a very bizarre statement. Your fellow Europeans are 'sheep' because they use public transport, but as stats show, mostly also own cars and use
57 LAXintl : Unfortunately imo, Europe after WW2 did not go down the road of literally building more roads, but instead opted to create a system where you are esse
58 mham001 : That is a misperception. The average US commute is somewhere ~12 miles. It's possible that high speed rail could lead to more sprawl.
59 DeltaMD90 : Holy crap, I don't even know anyone with more than a 40 minute commute!! That's greatly exaggerated... I think a lot of it has to do with sprawl... E
60 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : Huh? We're all here because we love aviation. Acknowledging its shortcomings doesn't make beliefs on travel "ill-intentioned." Are you saying you act
61 vinniewinnie : Not being funny but many cities in the US are just like that: Washington, New-York, Chicago, San Francisco... If you think car is the solution, good
62 OzGlobal : I know multiple colleges working in Jersey City and others in the NYC area who have 75-90 minute commutes (each way). x2 = 2,5-3hrs by my reckoning.
63 DeltaMD90 : Except for... forever... air fares have never been so low. Flying is not for the rich anymore. I do expect biofuels to start becoming more viable, al
64 OzGlobal : I don't know where your getting your information or what European countries you have in mind. Europeans enjoy their cars too, and make very good ones
65 Post contains images DeltaMD90 : Ah, I was talking about normal US cities
66 cmf : If you're trying to make the numbers "realistic", why do you model it on an extreme case? Why should balancing the budget be a condition? Should it b
67 DeltaMD90 : Well it should be both. You shouldn't spend money on stupid projects just because you have money. At the same time, assuming this HSR idea for CA was
68 vinniewinnie : It's a pretty smart project, not excellent but very good! Problem is you judge and probably haven't read any reports... So you don't know what it ent
69 Post contains images AlnessW : I think he's talking about driving, not travel in general. In the Pacific Northwest we have an Amtrak line that uses cars manufactured by Talgo Tech.
70 cmf : You should never spend money on stupid projects. That much is clear. I don't think that goes without saying. If it is a good project, then it will re
71 Dreadnought : In that case it is pretty damned clear that that this project needs to either be completely redone or abandoned. It is far too expensive for the pote
72 flipdewaf : Very interesting debate. I like HSR and believe that it is a much better way to travel than an aircraft (more relaxing allows me to do my work, i get
73 Post contains images ozglobal :
74 ozglobal : Over what distances? in Europe, HSR usually passes over existing tracks in Metropolitan areas, unless specific underground sections can be justified:
75 Post contains links and images Aaron747 : The curse of Nagoya strikes again! Love living in the city of 3 million where the shinkansen has stopped since the line opened but nobody outside Jap
76 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : I'm well aware of Nagoya, and it does, of course, stop there! But Kyoto seemed like a better option to prove my point, for the very reason you descri
77 AlnessW : I know many who agree with you. Does HSR in Europe have WiFi? Well you're certainly entitled to your own opinion, but I for one do still enjoy gettin
78 ozglobal : Thalys: Paris-Brussels / Koln / Amsterdam - Yes, broadband on all services, for some years now TGV: Some services Eurostar: planned Others: not sure
79 DeltaMD90 : Well CA is in really bad shape, even with long term payoffs, I'm not sure if they can afford it in the short term. Plus, the payoff of this particula
80 cmf : I think those are valid concerns and I think they need to be answered satisfactory, I objected to your statement because you did not look at return.
81 kngkyle : I think it's worth mentioning just how backwards our priorities in this country have become. We willingly spend over $1 trillion on a war in Iraq with
82 vinniewinnie : Lol as if that mattered.... I mean it's probably more important in Europe because Roaming charges bite but seriously travel time, price, frequency an
83 DeltaMD90 : Yeah I generalized a bit, deficits aren't always bad as long as they are out of control (which I believe it is now.) It may be trivial but stacking m
84 Post contains images AlnessW : Not my point. I was simply wondering if they had it at all. Really? Not in my experience. What corridors have you used it on?
85 ozglobal : It does matter to the thousands of business travelers and it yet another advantage of HSR over the air option: being seated comfortably, in total qui
86 aa757first : I took HSR in China. I thought it was a good idea for traveling relatively short distances in a country with high population densities. Many? I don't
87 Post contains links JJJ : http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf According to this, over 34% have a one-way commute 30 minutes and over. About 8% have a one-way commute
88 ozglobal : Maybe, but try to understand the point. On a 3-4 hr city to city hop: by air you at best will bet 90mns to work connected, on the train you can have
89 Post contains links ozglobal : This just in, AF will from Dec axe its CDG - Strasbourg route (500km)due to impact of the TGV which opened in Dec 2007, reducing the rail journey from
90 Flighty : This is an argument to approve any program that people dream up, because government cronies want vast wealth for their families - vast, dynastic weal
91 Dreadnought : Tell that to a bankruptcy court judge, tell him that there is no need for you to stop going out to nightclubs every night, and that the car payments
92 Post contains links kngkyle : Year after year Amtrak ridership is setting new records, with double digit growth on most corridors, and that is without any proper high speed servic
93 mham001 : This is the choice they made. Why would we dictate public policy for poor decisions of the very few. The average US commute is 12 miles. Not only tha
94 lewis : Which is nothing compared to what is actually needed before the network coverage can even be considered as adequate. It just shows that the HSR optio
95 AirframeAS : The only question I have is... with $68 Billion, with what money?! The State is broke. Where are they gonna get this money from? Bad idea on all point
96 JJJ : It's on the same link. Ten Longest Commutes New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA . . . 34 .6 0 .1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-V
97 DeltaMD90 : I guess we'll have to disagree... our deficit is completely and utterly out of control
98 AirframeAS : This is a joke. The commute between Bremerton-Silverdale is not even bad at all. The commute between Bremerton-Port Orchard is worse than that! The c
99 cmf : Fiscal discipline is important. It includes spending wisely. Don't spend and see things fall apart quickly. Talk about not understanding basics. Run
100 Dreadnought : For Ch...'s sake stop with the Koolaid. Building a $98 billion utility only used by a handful of people is excessive. To use your analogy of a small
101 cmf : Stop the stupid soundbites. We can't stop spending. Stop insisting on it. Learn to spend wisely.
102 Dreadnought : And wasting $98 billion is wise? Let's put it this way. Nuclear aircraft carriers are ridiculously expensive. Liberals love to complain about all the
103 cmf : You need to keep an open mind when you evaluate costs. How much will the alternatives cost? Unlike 20 carriers HSR actually have value. Your suggesti
104 Dreadnought : Please, please, drop the crack-pipe. The London-Paris Eurostar train, connecting two of the world's greatest metropolises, both with populations much
105 Post contains links and images cmf : First it was 1-2k. Now it is 5k. What made you increase the number 2.5 to 5 times in just 9 hours? As I said, 60k isn't my number. It is from the cri
106 Dreadnought : The 1-2K was a POMA number. The 5K is one arrived at using a reasonable amount of logic, based on results from a well established HSR connection betw
107 cmf : 5k per day is 1.85 M per year. Looks like another POMA number. Investing in large infrastructure projects is micro economy? So back to the question y
108 Dreadnought : 25K per day is the record for London-Paris, two larger cities with far more attractive public transport, and where travelling between the two by car
109 ozglobal : Governments and voters in most countries, including the US to my knowledge, did not apply this direct break even economic model to the main infrastur
110 flipdewaf : Hows the US military doing at making monetary profits on investments? I'm not saying that the HSR will turn a profit in the long term or it is defina
111 LAXintl : The revised April 2012 state budget analyst office ridership estimate are as follows: Low – 5.8mil annually Medium – 8.1mil annually High – 10.5
112 cmf : Finally we have some good reasons why we may be better off not doing it using straight forward number crunching and no ideology. However, we still ne
113 Dreadnought : LOL, OK, smart guys, you tell me. Why should we build this boondoggle. Give me the Infrastructure case. How does it benefit society to invest a huge
114 Post contains links ozglobal : Here is a commentary of the infrastruture case for a real, similar (in fact 100km longer (780kms)) length HSR line (Paris - Marsailles): massively di
115 Post contains links LAXintl : Yes sadly its ballooned in price before a single shovel of dirt has been moved. Bullet train's $98-billion cost could be its biggest obstacle http://
116 cmf : I think the likelihood of perpetually underutilized is very small. Making transportation available tend to generate traffic. As road and airports bec
117 Dreadnought : Because they are completely separate items. Gross benefit (via cost savings) will be $98 billion. Net savings, TBD. If that comes from the same peopl
118 MD11Engineer : I think you should separate two problems: a) is the new line a good idea and will it bring something to the state of CA in the long run? I think that
119 kngkyle : The 60K riders/day does seem extremely out of the realm of possibilities considering Acela has about 8,000 riders/day. However, Acela is operationally
120 LAXintl : Its not just construction of a line, stations, and rail equipment, its also the very expensive (and cotencious) purchase of private land. For example
121 MD11Engineer : Then how do other countries do it? I know that when there was first talk abot a Berlin-Brandenburg airport the landowners around SXF started to deman
122 LAXintl : Well here in the US there is a pretty well established process. Either the government and owners can voluntarily enter into an agreement for the land
123 ikramerica : Making 6 connections is not high speed. Let's assume you don't have a car at either end. Bus to Metro stop in LA (unless you happen to live close to o
124 cmf : Why don't you turn it around? Use public transportation to and from the airports and use car and rental car with the train. Also adjust the Palmdale
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