MoltenRock
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Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:07 am

In a tri-partisan cooperation between Republicans, Democrats and Independents the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Gov. of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell (D), and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) have come together to start a funding source and think tank to move America's infrastructure investment from the disgustingly paltry back up to its historical average so that America can start to compete in the 21st century.

They announced this cooperation a few weeks ago but have now gained momentum in their cause, and attention of America's beleaguered progressives and pragmatists who have been saying since 9/11 and before that America needs to rethink transportation, urban planning, and the infrastructure crumbling under every American taxpayer's feet.

Gov. Schwarzenegger said:

Quote:
America needs $1.6 trillion worth of infrastructure over the next five years yet federal investment has been cut in half as a percent of gross domestic product since 1987. This is disastrous because without adequate infrastructure to quickly and safely move goods and people our economy and our traffic will stop dead in its tracks.

Gov. Ed Rendell said:

Quote:
In the past 20 years, state and local governments have been forced to pay more and more of the cost for infrastructure repairs and expansion. Three-quarters of our nation’s infrastructure spending is by state and local governments. In the past five years Pennsylvania has increased state funding for bridge repairs by 300 percent, yet the number of structurally deficient bridges has increased. Our country can’t do it without federal leadership.

Mayor Bloomberg said:

Quote:
Sound infrastructure is critical to American competiveness, quality of life, environmental sustainability and public safety. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a “D” letter grade and estimates that over the next 5 years the U.S. will need $1.6 trillion of infrastructure just to raise it to a passing level. This is an issue that crosses party lines and we need significant federal investments now to ensure the safety of our citizens and economic prosperity of our nation.

This engineers report they are talking about can be found here: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/index

The $1.6 trillion over 5 years is just to get America's infrastructure to a C-. To get to a B- will take $2.2 trillion in 2009 dollars. America and her leaders have lived off the massive investments made to end the Great Depression, Interstate highway defense project building her freeways, and other large investments in the 1950s and 60s. Since then spending has been pathetic. In China they spend 9% to 11% of GDP on infrastructure. In Europe they spend 5%. Reagan was the first President ever to decimate the infrastructure spending to a paltry 8 year average of his term to 1.8%, of which it has never recovered and Republicans go apoplectic on the mere mention of reinvesting in America. Very unfortunate, but now the US is facing a future as a 2nd rate country trying to compete against world class cities and countries with modern, clean, efficient, reliable, infrastructure.

Finally we have politicians waking up to this fact to start to deal with these issues that have been ignored for a generation.

http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/8569/

http://www.usatoday.com/news/mapxmlfiles/trafficcongestion.htm

http://www.epa.gov/osw/rcc/resources...eetings/rcc-2009/esslinger-pl1.pdf

http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=1529

[Edited 2010-02-23 16:09:59]
 
Maverick623
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:35 am

$1.6 trillion would be slightly easier to come up with if we weren't involved in two wars.

This is not to say either way whether we should be in one or both, but just a statement of fact.
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DocLightning
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:00 am

The state of our infrastructure is truly disgusting. In the San Francisco Bay Area, rush hour is officially 6-10 and 3-7. 8 hours of the day. In Los Angeles, gridlock exists even in the wee hours of the morning. Commutes that should take 15-20 minutes can take in excess of 1.5 hours due to the chronic congestion that afflicts our cities. In addition, half of the bridges in our country are nearing or are at the end of their design lives and yet they are not being replaced. The Brooklyn Bridge has been deemed structurally obsolete. The San Francisco Bay Bridge is *FINALLY* being replaced after the mayor of Oakland held up the original replacement plans because the new bridge wasn't pretty enough. Rail (whether local commuter or intercity HSR), successful in every other country, is somehow avoided in the U.S., primarily for "religious" (i.e. not logical) reasons having to do with bogus straw-man arguments about how rail somehow magically won't help in this country. And if we can't have rail, then we should have an updated ATC system, but we aren't getting that any time soon, either.

Almost every time someone tries to build new infrastructure, special interests intervene. Endless environmental impact studies need to be filled out, even though the construction may well already be in an ecologically devastated area (like the middle of a city). By the time all the paperwork is done, the new projects are often obsolete. In addition, NIMBYs have too much say in this country. Everyone wants more trains and more freeways and more runways... just not if it's going to make them move. The government needs to be less fearless about exercising eminent domain.

But transport isn't the only place where our infrastructure is behind. Water in the West is a major problem and it can be solved with infrastructure. Power is another major problem. Almost every summer, New York City has brown-outs and often black-outs caused by inadequate power grid to the demand. The whole Katrina disaster was caused by inadequate infrastructure design and maintenance; it could have just been a hurricane. It's more of a problem in some places than others, but this country needs infrastructure. These projects will stimulate the economy by providing jobs and by assisting in the movement of goods and people.

What about private sector? If there's a market then THEY can build a runway or their high-speed rail or whatever, right? Not so fast. With rare exceptions, purely private ventures can't exercise eminent domain and so all it takes is one family refusing to move and the whole project is sunk. So without giving these private ventures power of eminent domain (which I would not be comfortable with), that's simply not practical.

Instead, the government has been involved in schemes like buying new hybrid vehicles for government agencies and cash for clunkers. These are short-term programs without long-term benefits. I was so hopeful that the stimulus bill would really crank up the infrastructure and I was very disappointed.
-Doc Lightning-

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BMI727
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:26 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Rail (whether local commuter or intercity HSR), successful in every other country, is somehow avoided in the U.S., primarily for "religious" (i.e. not logical) reasons having to do with bogus straw-man arguments about how rail somehow magically won't help in this country.

For the cost of building a HSR, how much improvement could be made to existing infrastructure?

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Endless environmental impact studies need to be filled out, even though the construction may well already be in an ecologically devastated area (like the middle of a city). By the time all the paperwork is done, the new projects are often obsolete

I expect that the ecotards will probably do their best to shoot down whatever improvements are proposed.
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DocLightning
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:42 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
For the cost of building a HSR, how much improvement could be made to existing infrastructure?

The question is moot. Both projects are necessary. Existing infrastructure cannot be made sufficient to the task that HSR can do in selected markets, like California, NEC, MWC, TX, and FL.

The only reason you hate HSR and I maintain that it is the *ONLY* reason is that you view it as a "Liberal" idea. It's something those "Socialist" European and Asian countries do.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
I expect that the ecotards will probably do their best to shoot down whatever improvements are proposed.

Oh they will do a fantastic job, as well the farmers and the people who scream "Socialism!" at the slightest sign of any sort of government-sponsored project that doesn't directly benefit them at the expense of others.
-Doc Lightning-

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AirframeAS
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:26 am

We had the chance to fix up our roads long, long time ago. And now they waited until 2010 to do something about it? And with what money? Why didn't they do this when we needed it most.

Here in Colorado, it seems that the #1priority is fixing bridges. I am fine with that, but what about the roads as well? I-270 between the US36/I-76/I-25 interchange to the truck stop before the I-70 is nearly undriveable anymore, it is an embarrassment! The US36 between Westminster and Boulder is starting to get worn down now. Heck, anywhere in Denver is just.....I cannot begin to explain....

The best roads I've ever driven on was in Arizona for the most part of the state. Washington State has better roads than Colorado does.....
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
rwsea
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:18 pm

The current US infrastructure consists of a crumbling and obsolete highway system built in the 60s, overloaded and outdated air traffic control, and a token rail system. Public transit in major cities is also behind that of most other countries, especially in terms of maintenance and continuous expansion.

The problems are interconnected. People regularly fly short distances because the alternatives (congested freeways or slow and often unreliable trains) do not work. If we had true highspeed rail between major cities we could address highway congestion and air congestion at the same time. Massive public transport works would help too, in order to feed the high speed rail and to make it easier to get around major cities. Even cities with extensive rail systems, like New York and Washington, do not make the necessary ongoing improvements to keep the systems safely running and meeting demand.

Lots of Americans seem to have their heads in the sand regarding how we will move around in the next 50 years. One would have thought that the high gas prices a couple years ago would have pushed some into action. In 2030, will we still be relying on the same crumbling highways and antiquated air system as our only options?

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
For the cost of building a HSR, how much improvement could be made to existing infrastructure?

What do you define as an improvement? Consider the cost of HSR between Los Angeles and San Diego. Compare that with continuous upgrades to I-5 and I-405 (including buying land for new lanes every 10 years or so, continuously rebuilding interchanges and local roads to meet the increasing demand, and maintaining the heavily-trafficked roads on a regular basis), and the billions of dollars in future airport improvements at LAX and SAN to sustain increased traffic between the cities. I would bet rail is very competitive. This doesn't even consider the impact of future environmental regulations, or the intangible benefit of train travel vs. the stress of flying/driving.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 1):
$1.6 trillion would be slightly easier to come up with if we weren't involved in two wars.

This is not to say either way whether we should be in one or both, but just a statement of fact.

A very good point. Paying for things like trains, education, and health care is a lot easier when you're not paying for endless wars and throwing money down the drain for a large standing army that isn't necessary.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 5):
We had the chance to fix up our roads long, long time ago. And now they waited until 2010 to do something about it? And with what money? Why didn't they do this when we needed it most.

There's more to it than fixing roads. The current model of everyone driving everywhere is not sustainable in a growing country that is already dealing with a lot of congestion. We could never spend enough money to eliminate all congestion and guarantee reliable driving times.
 
MoltenRock
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:40 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 1):
$1.6 trillion would be slightly easier to come up with if we weren't involved in two wars.

This is not to say either way whether we should be in one or both, but just a statement of fact.

I certainly agree and understand that. However, no one bothered to discuss that when initiating the war, you know?

The USA is and has been facing an economic war and has been getting beat like broken-down rented mule. Reinvesting in your own company or country is mandatory. It's not "optional".

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 6):
Lots of Americans seem to have their heads in the sand regarding how we will move around in the next 50 years. One would have thought that the high gas prices a couple years ago would have pushed some into action. In 2030, will we still be relying on the same crumbling highways and antiquated air system as our only options?

Hence why the minute after 9/11 happened Bush (ha ha ha ha ha) should have raised gasoline retail prices by $ .50 a gallon with another $ .25 per year every year until it had reached $1.50 to $2.00 additional per gallon. The real tragedy is that Gore didn't realize he needed to be more aggressive in claiming the Presidency given the generational financial set back Bush & Republicans put America in .....but I digress. History no matter how tragic and avoidable, is still just that.

After gas prices soared prices for homes in most urban cores rose, and gentrification of many inner neighborhoods took off due to GenX preferring as a rule to live in city centers, and the formerly 2 hours per day or more commuting class decided maybe having a smaller footprint within the city where they could ditch a car, not heat a 3,500 sq. ft. mini-mansion in the far off 'burbs and gain 2 or more hours per day in productive time. It was also in these far flung hellhole 'burbs with no services that multi-billion dollar highways were built to, and whose prices collapsed after the housing bubble burst. It wasn't in the city cores by in large but in the 'burbs people were buying homes they couldn't afford.

[Edited 2010-02-24 04:43:50]
 
Pyrex
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:22 pm

Quoting MoltenRock (Thread starter):
Three-quarters of our nation’s infrastructure spending is by state and local governments.

And that is wrong exactly how? Isn't that, for the most part, their responsibility?

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 7):
given the generational financial set back Bush & Republicans put America in .....

Oh God, not this crap again... start talking about something bipartisan and suddenly move into ridiculous statements on how the Republicans destroyed the economy... Yes, it is was all Bush's fault, everybody knows the economy does not work in booms and busts, it should be a straight line going upwards except for those pesky Republicans, yada yada yada.
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MoltenRock
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:02 pm

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 8):
And that is wrong exactly how? Isn't that, for the most part, their responsibility?

......it should be a straight line going upwards except for those pesky Republicans, yada yada yada.

So you think America's infrastructure is just peachy then? If you read the article you would have seen this is a coordinated effort by the three tri-partisan leaders to get all three; federal, state, and private entities to reinvest more into America's infrastructure.

My point mentioning Reagan gutting federal spending on infrastructure, while at the same time gutting payments to states so they had less money to work with was a double whammy to infrastructure spending. Private investment in most all circumstances follows support and financial help from one or both government sections.

The difference of 1% of GDP in spending on infrastructure over the past 30 years as it should have been is $4.35 TRILLION. Quite a sizeable sum.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:26 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
Existing infrastructure cannot be made sufficient to the task that HSR can do in selected markets, like California, NEC, MWC, TX, and FL.

Well let's not get ahead of ourselves.

High speed passenger rail makes zero sense in Texas. The population centers are too spread-out and there is ample land to continue building roads.

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 7):

Hence why the minute after 9/11 happened Bush (ha ha ha ha ha) should have raised gasoline retail prices by $ .50 a gallon with another $ .25 per year every year until it had reached $1.50 to $2.00 additional per gallon.

Are you suicidal? The U.S. economy was already in a recession on September 11th. But what the hell; raise energy prices by 25% when consumer confidence is non-existent. That's brilliant economic policy.

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 9):
My point mentioning Reagan gutting federal spending on infrastructure, while at the same time gutting payments to states so they had less money to work with was a double whammy to infrastructure spending. Private investment in most all circumstances follows support and financial help from one or both government sections.

Texas is a net exporter of federal income. We pay more in taxes than we get back in federal funding. So why is our infrastructure outstanding in comparison to so many blue states? Heck, I can often get in my car near the peak of rush-hour and cross a city like Dallas in 45 minutes. Houston may take a bit longer, but it has improved.

Since the 90s, Texas has greatly expanded the number of toll highways in the state, many of which are brand-new and silky-smooth. Controlled access highways should be toll roads, IMO. It makes no sense to pay a gas tax that gets sent to Washington for federal bureaucrats to decide how it should be dolled out back to the states. Pay a user fee for the specific road you are driving on and cut the politics and the middle-men out of it.
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:46 pm

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 7):
Hence why the minute after 9/11 happened Bush (ha ha ha ha ha) should have raised gasoline retail prices by $ .50 a gallon with another $ .25 per year every year until it had reached $1.50 to $2.00 additional per gallon.

  

Thats one of the biggest jokes I have read on Airliners.net in the 10 years I have been on this site.

[Edited 2010-02-24 07:46:49]
 
BMI727
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:05 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):

The only reason you hate HSR and I maintain that it is the *ONLY* reason is that you view it as a "Liberal" idea. It's something those "Socialist" European and Asian countries do.

1. Who is going to run it? Amtrak?
2. I think that it is bound to run into all sorts of political considerations. Every state representative will want a stop in his neck of the woods and before you know it the high speed rail isn't really high speed anymore.
3. Some of these high speed railways aren't really high speed to start with. A Chicago to St. Louis plan I saw would upgrade tracks so trains could go about 100 mph versus the 70-80 they do now. That doesn't seem like nearly enough improvement for the money.
4. Quite frankly, what we already have is rather poorly maintained that we should get that up to standard before moving forward with a new rail system. It would really bug me to be bouncing through potholes while the government tosses billions towards high speed rail.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:23 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
It's something those "Socialist" European and Asian countries do.

Right, tell that to Hong Kong and Singapore. Even highway and replication of American lifestyle-happy China is now building over 125,000 km of new HSR and commuter rail.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):
High speed passenger rail makes zero sense in Texas. The population centers are too spread-out and there is ample land to continue building roads.

Nonsense - Texas is a perfect candidate due to wasteful airline service (much as I hate to say it) and easy straight-line distances between cities with little interference from terrain. If anything HSR would be a boon for the trucking industry.
There will never be enough population in Texas to use all that land - however the city centers are becoming more and more crowded with time. Given the efficiencies inherent to HSR, it makes sense in the long-term.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):

Since the 90s, Texas has greatly expanded the number of toll highways in the state, many of which are brand-new and silky-smooth. Controlled access highways should be toll roads, IMO. It makes no sense to pay a gas tax that gets sent to Washington for federal bureaucrats to decide how it should be dolled out back to the states. Pay a user fee for the specific road you are driving on and cut the politics and the middle-men out of it.

This should absolutely be the norm rather than an exception in this day and age. Still not sure if its viable or fair to give breaks to trucking though.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
2. I think that it is bound to run into all sorts of political considerations. Every state representative will want a stop in his neck of the woods and before you know it the high speed rail isn't really high speed anymore.

The solution for that in other countries is defining station need by net users, area traffic flows, or population density. Fortunately those numbers can't be fudged by even the slimiest politician. Alternatively, you have different express lines running on the same right of way so that within the schedule more local stations can be served.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
3. Some of these high speed railways aren't really high speed to start with. A Chicago to St. Louis plan I saw would upgrade tracks so trains could go about 100 mph versus the 70-80 they do now. That doesn't seem like nearly enough improvement for the money.

100 mph is not HSR no matter what anyone says - don't believe it for a second. The Japanese are working on a new generation MAGLEV shinkansen that has already gone over 300 mph in testing and could link Osaka and Tokyo in as little as 1 hour 10 min.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
4. Quite frankly, what we already have is rather poorly maintained that we should get that up to standard before moving forward with a new rail system. It would really bug me to be bouncing through potholes while the government tosses billions towards high speed rail.

User fees have the potential to take care of that issue. The less used a road is, the less maintenance it should need and vice versa.
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BMI727
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:26 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):
User fees have the potential to take care of that issue. The less used a road is, the less maintenance it should need and vice versa.

That is already done in the form of a gasoline tax. We don't need more toll roads anyway.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):
100 mph is not HSR no matter what anyone says - don't believe it for a second.

Well, that is what I saw proposed.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:59 pm

Quoting MoltenRock (Thread starter):
In a tri-partisan cooperation between Republicans, Democrats and Independents the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Gov. of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell (D), and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) have come together to start a funding source and think tank

Some how I have a problem seeing "political leaders" as a "think tank".

Quoting MoltenRock (Thread starter):
Finally we have politicians waking up to this fact to start to deal with these issues that have been ignored for a generation.
Quoting MoltenRock (Thread starter):
Reagan was the first President ever to decimate the infrastructure spending to a paltry 8 year average of his term to 1.8%, of which it has never recovered

We do not have anyone waking up to anything. Remember the I-35W bridge collapse in MSP a few years ago? There have been several other bridge collapses before that one, yet the politicians will only fund pet projects and do nothing until people are killed. This is not something you can just blame on President Reagan. What did Carter, Ford, Nixon, and Johnson do before him, or Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama after him do? NOTHING. It is the Congress that holds the Government checkbook, and they are the ones not writing the checks for new or maintaning current infastructure.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Rail (whether local commuter or intercity HSR), successful in every other country, is somehow avoided in the U.S., primarily for "religious" (i.e. not logical)

That "religion" is called the automobile, and the gas taxes it generates is suppose to go into the highway fund, but it is not going there.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
The whole Katrina disaster was caused by inadequate infrastructure design and maintenance; it could have just been a hurricane.

The levies around NO were identified years before Katrina as a weakness for a big storm. But curroption took most of the money. It is not just a New Orleans problem, look at your own state capital, Sacramento. It too (along with Stockton, CA) is surrounded by levies, many more than 150 years old, yet the only work done is to patch the current leaks. Sacramento is a ticking time bomb if the rivers ever experience major flooding from melting snow in the mountains.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
The only reason you hate HSR and I maintain that it is the *ONLY* reason is that you view it as a "Liberal" idea. It's something those "Socialist" European and Asian countries do.

No, there is less of a reason in the US for HSR as the distances are much, much greater in the US than the EU or Japan that need to be traveled. What many US cities have for traffic conjestion is subways and/or light rail or bus systems that are much more efficent for the US. You have BART near you, do you use it, or drive your car? Dallas/Fort Worth has DART, the "T" and the Trinity Railway express, and ridership is very high. Boston has the MBTA subway, light rail, and bus service, and New York City has the MTA bus and subway along with the LIRR.

HSR will not work in the US, and is a liberal 'pie in the sky' idea that will get very little users. Look at the one example of HSR in the US, the AmTrac HSR between Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Washington. It is failing because it cannot compete with the speed or costs of the DL and US shuttle aircraft flying between DCA, LGA, and BOS.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:49 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):
High speed passenger rail makes zero sense in Texas.

Or anywhere in the Western U.S.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:02 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
It is failing because it cannot compete with the speed or costs of the DL and US shuttle aircraft flying between DCA, LGA, and BOS.

You might want to check your facts on that. Since launching Acela, ridership on the DL/US Shuttles has plunged. You'll notice that DL used to fly 738's on DCA-LGA and now they fly E175's....a huge downgrade.

Acela's biggest problem is that they can't add enough trains to service all the demand. And in all likelihood, Acela would steal even more riders if it was faster....right now Acela rarely exceeds 90mph.
 
PHLBOS
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:07 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 17):
And in all likelihood, Acela would steal even more riders if it was faster....right now Acela rarely exceeds 90mph.

That's due to that fact that it rides on the same right-of-way alignment (sharper curves) that's existed long before the Acela was on the drawing board. Any attempts to either flatten or straighten out the curves (so that the Acela could reach its true high speed potential) would be met with the same amount of fierce NIMBY opposition that a highway or airport expansion would encounter.
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texan
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:18 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 17):
Acela's biggest problem is that they can't add enough trains to service all the demand.

While that is certainly one of their big problems, I think its biggest problem is that it has to rely on existing gauge track, slowing its speed considerably. Make the infrastructure improvement to the track gauge, the trains can run faster.

We actually entered into an agreement with TGV back in 1991 to build HSR in Texas (TGV Texas). The plans were shot down after lobbying efforts by many groups, including the airlines. Now AA and CO at least are supporting the HSR effort. I can't remember if WN is or not.

What I do not like, what is ridiculous, is the "Texas T-Bone" plan. When the government designated high-speed rail areas in the U.S., they put Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio in one plan and Houston in a separate plan. So instead of having a direct link between Dallas and Houston, or Austin and Houston, or San Antonio and Houston, to get to Houston you will need to connect in Temple or Belton on the Gulf Coast Corridor instead of the South Central Corridor.

Texan
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rwsea
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:24 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
No, there is less of a reason in the US for HSR as the distances are much, much greater in the US than the EU or Japan that need to be traveled. What many US cities have for traffic conjestion is subways and/or light rail or bus systems that are much more efficent for the US.

No one is proposing a nationwide HSR line. What is proposed is HSR in specific corridors where it makes sense. Of course it won't work for Los Angeles - New York traffic, but in corridors of 300-400 miles and with high density, it will work great.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
Look at the one example of HSR in the US, the AmTrac HSR between Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Washington. It is failing because it cannot compete with the speed or costs of the DL and US shuttle aircraft flying between DCA, LGA, and BOS.

First it is not failing because it has taken a lot of market share from the airlines.

Second, it's not true HSR. True HSR is built on its own dedicated tracks which are built specifically for HSR (no grade-crossings, more gradual curves, etc.). Acela is an attempt to shoehorn HSR into an existing corridor that is congested and antiquated. If an investment was made in the corridor for true HSR, Acela would be even more successful than it is today.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 16):

Or anywhere in the Western U.S.

Nonsense. Would work extremely well on San Diego - Los Angeles - Bay Area, Los Angeles-Las Vegas, and Los Angeles - Sacramento. Also Vancouver-Seattle-Eugene. Would also reduce the need for the literally hundreds of flights a day on these routes.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:27 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):
Nonsense - Texas is a perfect candidate due to wasteful airline service (much as I hate to say it) and easy straight-line distances between cities with little interference from terrain.

There is nothing wasteful about the airline service in Texas. Our airports are under capacity and the airlines operate without public subsidy. Southwest, American, and Continental carry a respectable 10-15,000 people per day. Not nearly enough to sustain a high-speed rail network.

Texas has looked at the idea every few years since the 80s. The realistic answer is that high-speed rail might be an attractive option by the 2040s-2050s. There will not be a business case for at least another generation. The Trans-Texas Corridor project would have aquired a tract of land for HSR, but still not developed the tracks until the late 2030s.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):

This should absolutely be the norm rather than an exception in this day and age. Still not sure if its viable or fair to give breaks to trucking though.

Many turnpikes charge multi-axle vehicles a higher fee, which seems fair if they occupy a bigger stretch of road and wear the pavement faster.
 
MoltenRock
Topic Author
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:01 pm

First off let me say that infrastructure is just not about high speed rail. Or just about highways. It's about all of her infrastructure.

Interestingly enough, as most of you know so-called conservatives love to complain about subsidizing other people's "bad behavior" or bad choices. They don't feel it's their duty nor responsibility, to pay a dime towards this since they never use it. However, they refuse to pay for their own subsidies they receive and get angry at a notion they should have to when one of the largest subsidies goes to them.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):
That is already done in the form of a gasoline tax. We don't need more toll roads anyway.

The gasoline tax comes nowhere near the actual cost of subsidizing and transferring wealth to suburbanites. The real cost of gasoline is closer to $7.00 to $12.00 a gallon for all of the subsidies required to bring it to the pump. The federal gasoline tax is a pittance at $ .184 cents per gallon. All in for fuel taxes in the average US state is $ .46 cents per gallon. The last federal tax increase was almost 20 years ago and was a whopping $ .043 cents, of which Al Gore as VP had to cast the tie breaking vote. Clinton - Gore had wanted a $ .50 a gallon tax phased in at about $ .125 cents per year until the $ .50 was met. Republicans were apoplectic over it as you can imagine and still whine about the $ .043 cents per gallon to this day.

Here was a 1998 report back when gas was cheap showing the subsidies alone at an absolute minimum needs to have a $ 5.50 or higher per gallon tax plus the price of the gasoline. If you start including other things you quickly exceed that number. Providing protection for America's oil supply alone and nothing else is about $1.00 per gallon at the federal level.

Additionally, the system of highways, bridges, and other projects needs an immediate rise of $ .92 a gallon rising to $1.05 per gallon by 2018 just to pay for the system in place now to maintain it and rebuild it up to snuff. Now add in the corporate welfare oil and auto companies receive that need to be accounted for, plus the environmental damage that smog, pollution, and oil spills cause and you begin to see the real picture.

An immediate $ .50 per gallon raise with another $ .25 or more per year raise until the additional $ 1.50 or $ 2.00 per gallon is reached.

http://www.icta.org/doc/RPG%20security%20update.pdf

http://www.ethanol.org/pdf/contentmgmt/The_Real_Price_of_Gas.pdf

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=oil_home

http://www.gasda.org/Lists/Consumers%20Info/DispForm.aspx?ID=26

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):
Well, that is what I saw proposed.

Yes and no actually. All of the midwest HSR initiatives are a phased approach that continue to build on the existing infrastructure which is quite rickety as is everything else in America's infrastructure but continue to increase speeds up to 150 MPH

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 17):
Acela's biggest problem is that they can't add enough trains to service all the demand. And in all likelihood, Acela would steal even more riders if it was faster....right now Acela rarely exceeds 90mph.

Acela is hamstrung by a many things which should be addressed. Obama is addressing a few of these to help them out. I take the train from Boston to NY and NY to Philly quite often when I'm back in the states so find the experience much more pleasant than the ridiculous charade which are TSA "secured" airports.

[Edited 2010-02-24 13:03:33]
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:35 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
o, there is less of a reason in the US for HSR as the distances are much, much greater in the US than the EU

The statement is incorrect. The distance between SF and LA is comparable to the distance between Madrid and Barcelona. The distances between DC, NYC and Boston are far less. What we need is TRUE high-speed rail (not this joke of an "Acela" that has an average line speed of 86mph) to take the load off the freeways and the air transport system in these high-volume, mid-distance markets.

Nobody, I repeat NOBODY is suggesting that it is a good solution for longer journeys. Maglev, which is still prohibitively expensive, is the solution for those journeys and nobody is seriously proposing that at this time.
-Doc Lightning-

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Pyrex
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:35 am

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 9):

Nice hatchet job in editing out my statement. I did not say that infrastructure spending should not grow. I merely criticized how a topic started on a legitimate topic (infrastructure spending) suddenly turned out into a totally unrelated "let´s blame Bush on the economic crisis" train of thought.
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AirframeAS
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:03 am

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 20):
Would work extremely well on San Diego - Los Angeles - Bay Area, Los Angeles-Las Vegas, and Los Angeles - Sacramento. Also Vancouver-Seattle-Eugene. Would also reduce the need for the literally hundreds of flights a day on these routes.

I think you are really, really purposely exaggerating that. I, for one, 1,000,000% disagree with you. It won't work. The land mass in square miles is way to large for that kind of stuff.

Plus, who is going to pay for it? Nobody. That's the bottom line.

BTW, didn't a CA congressman get laughed at for proposing a HSR line from Disneyland to Las Vegas last year??
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
MoltenRock
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:09 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 24):
suddenly turned out into a totally unrelated "let´s blame Bush on the economic crisis" train of thought.

My point was post 9/11 the President had once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally change the way America does business and travels. The American people were desperate for a leader after those dark days. 9/11 only showed the nation so clearly how foolish it is to rely on the most dangerous, unstable, part of the world for the lifeblood of American transportation and therefore every person, every family, and every business. And the Bush twat said "go shopping" to show support for America. That's the tragedy Bush will be lampooned for as history judges him less than a patriot.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:15 pm

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 22):
Here was a 1998 report back when gas was cheap showing the subsidies alone at an absolute minimum needs to have a $ 5.50 or higher per gallon tax plus the price of the gasoline. If you start including other things you quickly exceed that number. Providing protection for America's oil supply alone and nothing else is about $1.00 per gallon at the federal level.

The flaw of such studies is that they often include external factors to exaggerate a point. Namely, the U.S. would not field any smaller of a military if we had energy independence or not. Yet I'm sure there are those who would claim that all $660 billion dollars we spend on defense is to supply us with oil imports.

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 26):
My point was post 9/11 the President had once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally change the way America does business and travels.

In case you haven't learned anything in the past 365 days, it's that Americans fundamentally do not want to change the way we live, much to the chagrin of Democrats. They sure as hell didn't want to in the immediate aftermath of 9/11! And nor should we. We have the highest and most respected standard of living anywhere. We should be trying to preserve our lifestyle in the face of challenges like energy abundance instead of devolving into thinly guised collectivism.

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 26):
And the Bush twat said "go shopping" to show support for America. That's the tragedy Bush will be lampooned for as history judges him less than a patriot.

Again, were you alive in 2001?! Bush had widespread, domestic and international support for his immediate handling of 9/11. When someone drags Bush and 9/11 into a thread on infrastructure, I have to think they have an axe they are looking to grind at any opportunity.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:40 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 27):
We should be trying to preserve our lifestyle in the face of challenges like energy abundance instead of devolving into thinly guised collectivism.

But what if our lifestyle isn't economically sustainable. Is it really sustainable to have a population that has a savings rate of near zero (as it was up until recently)? Is it really sustainable to have 3,000 sq ft homes as energy prices rise? Is it really sustainable to build miles upon miles of road networks so that people can live as far apart as possible?

Sure, we can pull it off for a while, but eventually reality comes and it isn't pretty.
 
BMI727
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:44 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Is it really sustainable to have a population that has a savings rate of near zero (as it was up until recently)?

Your finances are your business. People should save, but if the people across the street don't, it isn't my problem.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Is it really sustainable to have 3,000 sq ft homes as energy prices rise?

Yes, if you can pay them. If you can't, find a new house.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Is it really sustainable to build miles upon miles of road networks so that people can live as far apart as possible?

Yes, if you can cover those miles. If you can't, live somewhere else.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:02 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
But what if our lifestyle isn't economically sustainable. Is it really sustainable to have 3,000 sq ft homes as energy prices rise? Is it really sustainable to build miles upon miles of road networks so that people can live as far apart as possible?

People will gradually transfer from one lifestyle to another as necessary to maximize the satisfaction they can obtain from their resources. There is no need for a distant bureaucrat to play The Sims with your life and choose the size of your house, the horsepower of your car, or your red meat consumption. But make no mistake, there are people who would do exactly that if given the power.

Sustainable is a meaningless word anyway. It is used by those who want to give the impression of an impending shortage, but these are largely fictional. There is no shortage of land or energy in this country. Large suburban developments are not feasible on Manhattan Island, but that doesn't mean the same model of development couldn't continue for another century in Texas.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Is it really sustainable to have a population that has a savings rate of near zero (as it was up until recently)?

Of course not, but that isn't a matter of infrastructure or development. The U.S. entered a negative savings rate because the Federal Reserve inflated our currency which slashed the buying power of the U.S. Dollar. The public wasn't consuming any more, but their dollars didn't go as far and they had nothing left to save.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 28):
Sure, we can pull it off for a while, but eventually reality comes and it isn't pretty.

You are assuming that one day our entire society and its development model will run into a brick wall. That is an unrealistic generalization. It's more like we are water flowing down hill and we will follow the path of least resistance. Right now that tends to be suburban development, but plenty of urban development is taking place, too.

[Edited 2010-02-25 14:07:19]
 
N1120A
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:05 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
The San Francisco Bay Bridge is *FINALLY* being replaced after the mayor of Oakland held up the original replacement plans because the new bridge wasn't pretty enough.

There is something to be said for aesthetics as a part of engineering. The original proposal was terrible.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):

For the cost of building a HSR, how much improvement could be made to existing infrastructure?

Existing infrastructure is already flawed. It needs supplemental mass transit infrastructure. Adding more lanes to freeways has proven completely futile.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 5):

The best roads I've ever driven on was in Arizona for the most part of the state.

Arizona roads are smooth because they are asphalt, but they also require more frequent rehabilitation and cost more. I'd take the noise of concrete if it lasts longer.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):

High speed passenger rail makes zero sense in Texas. The population centers are too spread-out and there is ample land to continue building roads.

Actually, you just made the case for why HSR is perfect for Texas. Very little need for intermediate stops means you are cruising at 200 mph almost the whole time. Roads, even at the West Texas speed limit of 80 mph and assuming a 9-10 mph allowance by the Fuzz, mean more than double the travel time and at a far less efficient rate.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 10):

Since the 90s, Texas has greatly expanded the number of toll highways in the state, many of which are brand-new and silky-smooth. Controlled access highways should be toll roads, IMO.

IMO, no road should have tolls. We already pay taxes, those should be used to pay for roads.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):

1. Who is going to run it? Amtrak?

Actually, you could easily have it run by the States internally (as California HSR will be) and have an agency (Amtrak is the best candidate) run interstate travel. Its not that hard to do.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):

100 mph is not HSR no matter what anyone says - don't believe it for a second.

The general definition of the bare minimum for HSR is 125 mph. The good thing about that standard is that it can use already existing trackside signaling systems until the infrastructure is upgraded for in-cab.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):

Well, that is what I saw proposed.

That is a very small area. Most HSR proposals in the US, including the under construction California HSR, are for full TGV systems. What you saw is a proposal for using existing infrastructure.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):

The levies around NO were identified years before Katrina as a weakness for a big storm. But curroption took most of the money.

Corruption? More like the fact that the COE cheaped out on them in the first place and didn't keep them up to a modern standard. If they had built proper gates out at the Rigolets in the first place, they could have shut the storm surge out. Indeed, we can trace these problems all the way back to Shreve for building the New River.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
Look at the one example of HSR in the US, the AmTrac HSR between Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Washington. It is failing because it cannot compete with the speed or costs of the DL and US shuttle aircraft flying between DCA, LGA, and BOS.

Amtrak, and you are completely wrong. Even with all the disadvantages the Acela has faced (limited 150 mph running, no tilting in some states, etc.) it absolutely dominates NEC intercity travel. The only shuttle that really has held market share is BOS-WAS. The shuttle gets destroyed on cost by the regionals and the Chinatown buses, while it gets destroyed on speed and convenience by Acela.

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 18):
That's due to that fact that it rides on the same right-of-way alignment (sharper curves) that's existed long before the Acela was on the drawing board.

If the idiots at Metro-North or CTDOT would allow tilting on their property, it would substantially increase speeds. Remember that the Acela has a very good tilting mechanism.

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 20):

No one is proposing a nationwide HSR line. What is proposed is HSR in specific corridors where it makes sense. Of course it won't work for Los Angeles - New York traffic, but in corridors of 300-400 miles and with high density, it will work great.

And, interestingly enough, you could connect basically the whole country in those 300-500 mile increments.

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 20):

Nonsense. Would work extremely well on San Diego - Los Angeles - Bay Area, Los Angeles-Las Vegas, and Los Angeles - Sacramento. Also Vancouver-Seattle-Eugene. Would also reduce the need for the literally hundreds of flights a day on these routes.

Yep. That is why CAHSR is being built on the Sacramento-Bay-Los Angeles-Anaheim-San Diego alignment.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 21):
Our airports are under capacity and the airlines operate without public subsidy.

Without public subsidy, eh? I suppose all those airports just magically appeared. How about the roads leading to them?
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:30 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 31):
Actually, you just made the case for why HSR is perfect for Texas. Very little need for intermediate stops means you are cruising at 200 mph almost the whole time. Roads, even at the West Texas speed limit of 80 mph and assuming a 9-10 mph allowance by the Fuzz, mean more than double the travel time and at a far less efficient rate.

Every single point you make is wrong.

1. Many interstate trips are local in nature. High-speed rail would do nothing to alleviate this traffic.

2. HSR travel time is not door-to-door. The advantage would be marginal over than the airline shuttles. There is no justification for running 350-seat passenger trains at the frequency Southwest flies 137-seat 737s, so I would probably be forced into less flexible departure times.

3. You fail to define efficiency. It could mean many things. An HSR train will have wonderful per mile, per passenger energy efficiency going from station to station when all seats are full. But is it cost efficient if it can't cover its operational cost? Does it provide the best return on the taxpayer's investment? The answer is no.

And the grand-daddy of them all:

4. There are simply not enough people making intercity trips to make HSR worthwhile in Texas. This has been studied endlessly by people with far more civil engineering credentials than you are I. But as an engineer myself, I think I have the credentials to determine if their work passes a stink test, and IMO it generally does.

It's not as if the State is ideologically opposed to HSR. We recognize the need for HSR one day, in the distant future. The day will come 40-50 years from now when it will be a viable and worthwhile transportation option here.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 31):
Without public subsidy, eh? I suppose all those airports just magically appeared.

The airports generally run revenue neutral. It was a big deal several years ago when Love Field posted a loss of a few tens of thousands of dollars. Airport construction and improvements are typically financed with public bonds. Why don't you do some research and tell me how much you think the airports and airlines are subsidized.

Compare that to publicly operated trains in the United States which operate with millions in losses. Independent analysis has suggested that California's high-speed trains couldn't break-even with 100% load factors.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 31):
IMO, no road should have tolls. We already pay taxes, those should be used to pay for roads.

Taxes should only be levied to finance public programs where we can't exclude the benefactors from those who are paying for the benefit. A great example would be a levy. If everyone in the community except you wants to build a levy, you would enjoy the benefit even if you didn't help pay for it. So I believe the community is within their right to compel you to help pay for the levy.

But we can easily control the access to a highway. If you don't want to pay for it, you should be excluded from using it. If you want to use it, you should pay your fair share and no more. Financing roads with taxes is an antiquated model that contributes to corruption and the lack of infrastructure maintenance.

A reasonable solution would be to eliminate the federal and state gasoline taxes used to finance roads. Existing roads should be tolled at the rate needed to provide upkeep since the public has already paid for their construction. Future roads should be financed entirely by tolls.

[Edited 2010-02-25 15:48:58]
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:33 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
Compare that to publicly operated trains in the United States which operate with millions in losses. Independent analysis has suggested that California's high-speed trains couldn't break-even with 100% load factors.

California's a different animal. The approvals process to pass environmental muster through CEQA alone costs hundreds of millions of dollars in legal and other fees.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:54 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
Compare that to publicly operated trains in the United States which operate with millions in losses. Independent analysis has suggested that California's high-speed trains couldn't break-even with 100% load factors.

Well, duh. How can Amtrak possibly turn a profit when they have no way to compete effectively with other forms of transit? They need an adequate network, first.

In Europe, trains can actually operate profitably because there is adequate rail network. That is why TGV, AVE, Thalys, and ICE all make money.

Your complaint is similar to a situation in which there are five airports in the whole country and complaining that the airlines can't make a profit.

California's high-speed trains can break even if regulations are altered, especially environmental regulations, to allow for less bureaucracy. That is a problem that has nothing to do with rail and everything to do with government.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
4. There are simply not enough people making intercity trips to make HSR worthwhile in Texas.

Well, gee... I wonder why? Maybe because intercity trips either require a very long drive or a flight. Making the trip easier encourages the trip. In other words, "if you build it, they will come."
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:17 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
Well, duh. How can Amtrak possibly turn a profit when they have no way to compete effectively with other forms of transit? They need an adequate network, first.

Your complaint is similar to a situation in which there are five airports in the whole country and complaining that the airlines can't make a profit.

Amtrak is so uncompetitive, they carry 28 million people per year!   

Obviously they can obtain riders in significant quantity. They have demonstrated an abject failure in managing revenue and expenses, which doesn't endear me to throwing billions to give them more expensive trains to operate.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
In Europe, trains can actually operate profitably because there is adequate rail network. That is why TGV, AVE, Thalys, and ICE all make money.

And perhaps enough people to ride them? France has 2.5x as many people as Texas, Germany 3.25x as many, Spain 2.0x as many...

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
Well, gee... I wonder why? Maybe because intercity trips either require a very long drive or a flight. Making the trip easier encourages the trip. In other words, "if you build it, they will come."

Hmm... toss out the professional opinions of civil engineers and take a $100 billion dollar gamble? I think not!   
 
MoltenRock
Topic Author
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:09 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 27):
$660 billion dollars we spend on defense is to supply us with oil imports.

Try $800 billion or more by the time you pull in all the disparate parts of the budget directly tied to defense, like nuclear arms being paid for under the energy department, and disability payments to maimed and dead soldiers, etc.


Anyone saying Amtrak is a sick child, is plain clueless. These same people will shout that airlines are businesses and need to fly where it's profitable for them, but Amtrak has never been allowed to own it's infrastructure, has only been kept barely alive on life support year in, year out, yet required to serve multiple cities and routes that lose tons of cash.

Amtrack much like the USPS are quasi-run private - government "businesses" that have to deal with the downside of each system, but get none of the upsides of either.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:43 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 29):
People should save, but if the people across the street don't, it isn't my problem.

But it will be your problem because if those people have no money when they age, they will rely on social security, medicare and other government services. Guess whose taxes will pay for them? Yours.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 30):
You are assuming that one day our entire society and its development model will run into a brick wall.

It already has. Relative to the population of our metropolitan areas, most areas require way too much infrastructure. As the infrastructure ages, it becomes too costly too maintain requiring more and more taxes that no one wants to pay.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
A reasonable solution would be to eliminate the federal and state gasoline taxes used to finance roads. Existing roads should be tolled at the rate needed to provide upkeep since the public has already paid for their construction. Future roads should be financed entirely by tolls.

Except that this business model is a guaranteed failure. It's already been tried and it doesn't work. I live in the DC area where we have a toll road called the Dulles Greenway. It was financed and built with private money and is run by a private corporation. Since it was first built, it has perpetually lost money...in fact the first company to run it went bankrupt. Even worse, you pay tolls as high as $4-5 to go only 5-10 miles each way. For those that use it everyday, it costs them thousands of dollars annually....and that's just a single road. Imagine if every road was operated that way.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 30):
Of course not, but that isn't a matter of infrastructure or development.

Actually, it is. The cost of long commutes, grinding traffic and huge homes has undermined many people's ability to save.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
It's not as if the State is ideologically opposed to HSR. We recognize the need for HSR one day, in the distant future. The day will come 40-50 years from now when it will be a viable and worthwhile transportation option here.

I agree that I wouldn't waste my time with Texas right now. I would say the Northeast corridor, Midwest corridor and California should all come first.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:00 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 37):
It already has. Relative to the population of our metropolitan areas, most areas require way too much infrastructure. As the infrastructure ages, it becomes too costly too maintain requiring more and more taxes that no one wants to pay.

What constitutes "too much" infrastructure? Sounds arbitrary and subjective to me. Do you have some quantifiable figure that is meaningful?

The cost to maintain infrastructure depends on the frequency of maintenance intervals. If I don't tune my car for 3 years, the cost to restore it will be far higher than if I had performed maintenance at regular intervals. Texas has 2.0x as many miles of highway roads per person than California (3.0x per capita), yet we have a higher infrastructure rating and a more balanced budget. Both states have a mild climate, which makes the comparison fairer than say Texas:NY where the infrastructure is worn faster by the cold.

How can that be? It's all a matter of priorities.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 37):
xcept that this business model is a guaranteed failure. It's already been tried and it doesn't work. I live in the DC area where we have a toll road called the Dulles Greenway.

Anecdotal evidence. I can easily cite examples where turnpikes have been financially successful. Interstate 30 connecting downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth was originally a turnpike. After the bonds were paid off, it was converted into a freeway.

The Dallas North Tollroad is another example. It paid down its own debt and its revenue is now used to help pay for its extension. This I actually disagree with. The old segment with no debt should be tolled only to pay for its upkeep while the new stretch should be tolled at a higher rate until its debt is paid down.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 37):
Actually, it is. The cost of long commutes, grinding traffic and huge homes has undermined many people's ability to save.

I guess you just don't understand the concept of inflation? Americans were living within their means until the value of the U.S. Dollar sank. Who is to say how far under their means people should live in order to weather short-term economic downturns?

Yikes, didn't spell check. That was a brutal one! Big grin

[Edited 2010-02-26 10:02:58]
 
MoltenRock
Topic Author
Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:35 pm

RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:14 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 38):
The cost to maintain infrastructure depends on the frequency of maintenance intervals. If I don't tune my car for 3 years, the cost to restore it will be far higher than if I had performed maintenance at regular intervals. Texas has 2.0x as many miles of highway roads per person than California (3.0x per capita), yet we have a higher infrastructure rating and a more balanced budget. Both states have a mild climate, which makes the comparison fairer than say Texas:NY where the infrastructure is worn faster by the cold.

You think Texas roads are "similar" to California's? Have you forgotten earthquakes? Any road or bridge that gets an overhaul in California then has to be retrofit with the most recent earthquake proofing into it. Additionally, comparing road mile to road mile is another huge fallacy as the land in California is two, three, and four times more expensive than it is in Texas, easily. Additionally, what is the average age of any road in California vs. Texas? Bad comparison.
 
DfwRevolution
Posts: 8652
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:31 pm

RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:06 am

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 39):
You think Texas roads are "similar" to California's? Have you forgotten earthquakes? Any road or bridge that gets an overhaul in California then has to be retrofit with the most recent earthquake proofing into it.

Completely valid point

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 39):
Additionally, comparing road mile to road mile is another huge fallacy as the land in California is two, three, and four times more expensive than it is in Texas, easily. Additionally, what is the average age of any road in California vs. Texas? Bad comparison.

It is not a bad comparison. It illustrates the broader point that California invests less in infrastructure as a portion of its budget than Texas. In California, they spend about 10% of their budget for what encompasses "Business and Economic Development." Texas spends 12% in the same category. That is a reflection of priorities.

The fact that California does have more challenging infrastructure realities (like earthquakes, landslides, etc) and spends less than Texas shows how skewed their priorities must be.
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4650
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:01 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 35):
Amtrak is so uncompetitive, they carry 28 million people per year!

Obviously they can obtain riders in significant quantity.

76000 people per day is hardly a relatively significant quantity, especially compared to how many people airlines and our own interstate highways carry.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 34):
In Europe, trains can actually operate profitably because there is adequate rail network. That is why TGV, AVE, Thalys, and ICE all make money.

Which was mostly built over the course of about 50 years. The US would have to almost start from scratch.

I'm all for the development of HSR, but people need to realize our system right now is about where Europe was in the 1950s, and it's going to take a lot of money and time to get up to par.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
tz757300
Posts: 2726
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 6:21 am

RE: Tri-Partisan Cooperation On Infrastructure USA

Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:21 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 41):

76000 people per day is hardly a relatively significant quantity, especially compared to how many people airlines and our own interstate highways carry.

I don't think you realize that rail isn't going to replace anything fully, it will be supplemental and have its own market-share. I know many people in the Northeast would rather take the train because there is no traffic and doesn't take an additional hour to 3 hours for security and getting bags.

Plus, 76,000 per day really only applies to certain areas of the country, mainly the Northeast and CA. Airlines cover a vast majority of more places than Amtrak or rail will ever serve, and roads even more.

I view this relationship on the pure basis of efficiency. Roads will always bee good for 0-150mi, Rail is good 50-500mi and airlines anything above 500mi. I don't think anyone in their right mind would really want to travel from say Washington, DC to Chicago by car or rail, it just takes too long and limited comfort to be viable options.
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