High Speed Rail article in Alternet

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gargantua
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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby gargantua » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:13 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'll ask one more time:
How does giving people more choices limit their freedom?

Or are you gonna settle with "cost and efficiency" as the actual reasons you oppose rail and admit you were just being a hyperbolic blowhard earlier in this thread?


The nation is bankrupt. Get it?


Really? When did the U.S. declare bankruptcy?

rabble
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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby rabble » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:26 pm

On this one, I agree with Ned. We're bankrupt and just haven't filed yet.

And as everyone knows, when you're bankrupt you drive everywhere. Public transportation? Hah.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby MadMind75 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:36 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Ned, as usual, conveniently forgets basic facts like that not everyone owns a car. What kind of "freedom" to those people enjoy?

The right views anyone who doesn't own a car as either a crazy-lefty luddite, or simply too poor to afford one. Neither of which conservatives have any consideration for.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:31 am

Pushing freight rail makes much more sense than passenger rail.

This excellent study outlines a whole bunch of reasons to switch to rail that make everyone happy, including automobile drivers:
The savings from reduced highway maintenance and expansion due to fewer trucks can pay for much, or all, of the required rail investment. Trucks and weather are the two main causes of highway maintenance; damage to highways is proportional to the 4th power of the axle weight. One heavy truck does more damage than 5,000 compact cars, and pays far, far less in fuel taxes per mile than those 5,000 cars combined.
http://www.aspousa.org/index.php/2010/10/a-citizens-guide-to-an-oil-free-economy-chapt-1/

The author, Alan Drake, argues for electrification of rail as a huge plus for basically every reason - cost, energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and ease of integration with other energy infrastructures. Freight rail is stressed first, rather than passenger service. I've read other studies that also claim that passenger autos more than pay for the damage they do to highways in fuel taxes. Local roads? Nope - they are subsidized by local taxes.

Also on long-distance freight vs. passenger service from the study linked above:
The demand for express freight increases with distance while the demand for passenger rail service begins to drop off after 300 miles and is generally a small modal share for trips over 500 miles within the EU and Japan. The energy efficiency of passenger rail also drops significantly when trips are long enough to require rolling hotel beds and restaurants.

Regional passenger rail might make sense for dense populations as has been suggested, but as long as airplanes can be flown, it will be hard to get all those flyover cities connected.

Ned wins the cost efficiency argument. Since we have finite dollars to spend (even with whatever arbitrarily high tax rate), we must make infrastructure choices based on priorities. Instead of a crusade for passenger rail (which looks like an anti-car crusade to poorly-informed outsiders), we should focus efforts on a better rail freight system, since this is more politically palatable and is objectively a better investment on a per-dollar or per-BTU basis.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:29 am

Ned Flanders wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'll ask one more time:
How does giving people more choices limit their freedom?

Or are you gonna settle with "cost and efficiency" as the actual reasons you oppose rail and admit you were just being a hyperbolic blowhard earlier in this thread?

I answered your question... Trains duplicate existing services at much higher costs.

Gotcha. "Cost and efficiency" IS your final answer... so I guess you're going with hyperbolic blowhard. That's cool. And expected.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:01 am

Thanks for the link. It was a pretty good article and I agree with many points. One I agree with is one that you seemed to omit. From the same article:

Combining these two economic services - long distance express freight with medium distance passenger service - makes a much larger network of semi-High Speed Rail economically viable. On most segments freight can “pay the freight” with higher speed passenger service as a nice supplement. On other segments, passenger trains will dominate the demand for premium rail service and express freight will get a free ride. More detail in Appendix C.


You said:

ArturoBandini wrote:Pushing freight rail makes much more sense than passenger rail.


ArturoBandini wrote:Regional passenger rail might make sense for dense populations as has been suggested, but as long as airplanes can be flown, it will be hard to get all those flyover cities connected.


But, from what I read, the author was actually pushing the dual model. He stressed the need for higher speed freight service, but also advocated the need for both.

I feel like you cherry picked this one a bit.

Our populations are only growing. The overall proposed rail lines would link many densely populated cities. Even though flying to Chicago takes about 45 minutes in the air, the overall time with check-in, security and getting off the plane would take longer than a train.

I think this dual system could be a much stronger selling point for the anti-train folks. Mr. "open for business" could jiz in his pants because businesses could get their goods faster. This means more businesses would want to come here due to that efficiency. More business means the best fucking state ever. Period.

So what say you Ned and Arturo. Would you advocate for a dual system?

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby Madsci » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:51 pm

I see HSR as an alternative to flying as much as driving.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:22 pm

Madsci wrote:I see HSR as an alternative to flying as much as driving.


I would much rather take a train to Chicago on a Friday night and get there in the same amount of time as any other day, then drive and be stuck in that shit storm of a traffic jam that always occurs during Friday night rush hour. Plus, there's no wear and tear on my car and I can relax. I will say the same about driving to Milwaukee or Minneapolis as well.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:25 pm

HSR is an alternative to flying as well as driving, but it has only shown to keep a substantial market share for trips in the <300mi range. Even at 200mph, Chicago-to-Seattle or LA would take a long time, and most people would choose to fly instead.

Stebben, much of the hassle of flying could be alleviated by eliminating the ridiculous security theater operations (or better yet, the entire HSA) and letting airlines decide on what procedural rules they want to follow. And what makes you think that train stations won't be under the same type of authoritarian scrutiny following the first incidence of train-based violence, or perceived threat thereof?

And thanks for reading the article. To me, the author seems to indicate that the addition of passenger rail was just a marginal bonus to the real bread-and-butter savings available in rail infrastructure, which are in freight. I don't have any argument with sharing pre-existing freight tracks with passenger trains, but that's not really what the recent Midwest HSR public discourse was about. The primary motivation for rail infrastructure projects should be freight efficiency. In the study, Drake doesn't talk much about true high-speed service, but rather "semi-high speed" passenger rail that shares track with express freight. We're not talking mag-levs here, but rather 100-120mph steel choo-choos.

And I did cherry pick the article, in that, I didn't quote every single point the author makes. Yes, I would advocate a dual system, but I would have some reservations on how to pay for such a system.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby fennel » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:12 pm

I think that, better than giving up on the idea of the TSA, would be to create a professional version of the TSA – an independent government organization charged with protecting the publc interest. That is, TSA done well – with professional staff who are well-paid and well-trained. Imagine an organzation on par with the FBI rather than with a shopping mall security subcontractor.

The airline companies are unequipped, and probably unwilling, to protect public interest, except in those particular few cases where it happens to intersect with their business interests, and that's just not good enough.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby rabble » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:18 am

fennel wrote:I think that, better than giving up on the idea of the TSA, would be to create a professional version of the TSA – an independent government organization charged with protecting the publc interest. That is, TSA done well – with professional staff who are well-paid and well-trained. Imagine an organzation on par with the FBI rather than with a shopping mall security subcontractor.

The problem with that is that any agency tasked with discovering suspicious persons and objects will base its success on how many suspicious things it finds.

No matter who's in charge, the employees who inconvenience the most passengers will be the ones who get promoted. Complaints are a measure of success and the attitude will always be us vs them, with the passengers being the enemy. No matter how educated and trained the staff, that mindset will prevail.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby fennel » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:23 pm

rabble wrote:
fennel wrote:I think that, better than giving up on the idea of the TSA, would be to create a professional version of the TSA – an independent government organization charged with protecting the publc interest. That is, TSA done well – with professional staff who are well-paid and well-trained. Imagine an organzation on par with the FBI rather than with a shopping mall security subcontractor.

The problem with that is that any agency tasked with discovering suspicious persons and objects will base its success on how many suspicious things it finds.

No matter who's in charge, the employees who inconvenience the most passengers will be the ones who get promoted. Complaints are a measure of success and the attitude will always be us vs them, with the passengers being the enemy. No matter how educated and trained the staff, that mindset will prevail.
I dunno. That may be a likely business model, but I'm talking (granted, ideally) about a professional model. How does it operate in Israel? Do the security staff squeeze your bits for show? If you are not obsequious, do they make a made-for-TV scene? If they are shown to be clueless stooges, will they still have a job afterward?

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby Lily » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:44 pm

Even though many people do have a car, it is technically a luxury item. In fact, many of the items people consider "normal must-have's" are technically luxury items but that's another topic. A car is EXPENSIVE. There is the initial cost of the vehicle of which the value immediately declines the second you pull it off the lot. There is the cost of insurance. Don't forget maintenance costs such as new tires, spare tires, new car battery, fan belts, radiator fluid, brake fluid, oil, antifreeze, new headlights, new wiper blades, and whatever. Then you want something to cover your steering wheel, seat protectors, floor mats, and the car freshener. In the winter you need to have an ice scraper and something to brush the snow off the car. Also, in case you get stuck somewhere a blanket, kitty litter and/or shovel (in case you get stuck), flashlight, flares, jumper cables. As your car ages or if you bought a used car there are replacement parts: muffler, transmission, brakes to name a few. What happens if you're in an accident? Insurance goes up and what your deductible doesn't pay for you do. Going somewhere? Chances are good you'll have to pay for parking. If you want to go anywhere you're at the whim of whatever the cost of gasoline is at the time.

I don't call that freedom.

Sure, as long as your car is in good shape and you have gas in the car you can go anywhere on a whim. Short commutes to and from work on a bus are fine, but unless you're on a package-tour bus, traveling long distance on a bus is overly-lengthy and not enjoyable. Hire a limo? Give me a break.

Being an advocate of high speed rail is not a "liberal" agenda and in fact our current Gov was in support of it just a few years ago until corporations backing his election campaign convinced him otherwise.

Incorporating the high-speed train would have:
*helped preserve roads by transporting freight to and from cities, at a much faster pace and at a cheaper rate for businesses
*provided an alternative travel mode that was fast to visit Chicago, Milwaukee, MN and points in-between
*expanded opportunities for profit for any business located at a train stop
*more environmentally friendly
*decreasing our reliance on oil

It was a mistake to kill high speed rail in Wisconsin.

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby fennel » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:36 pm

Lily wrote:Even though many people do have a car, it is technically a luxury item. ... A car is EXPENSIVE. There is the initial cost of the vehicle ... floor mats, and ...

I'm not sure Scooter would agree with you here. You can just write it off those costs, after all. Or have your employer pay them.

Lily wrote: the car freshener.

["Car freshener???" Is that some kind of hard-working genie from Sinaloa, or just a pendulous cellulose turd impregnated with volatile olfactory-inhibitors?] (I mean, WTF?)

...
Lily wrote:What happens if you're in an accident? ... If you want to go anywhere you're at the whim of whatever the cost of gasoline is at the time.

I don't call that freedom.

It's freedom if you're Scooter and you have a self-referential notion of what freedom is.

Lily wrote:Sure, as long as your car is in good shape and you have gas in the car, you can go anywhere on a whim. Short commutes to and from work on a bus are fine, but unless you're on a package-tour bus, traveling long distance on a bus is overly-lengthy and not enjoyable. Hire a limo? Give me a break.
Again, you run of of toilet paper – you buy a new roll. You need a new car – you go buy one. What is the problem here?

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Re: High Speed Rail article in Alternet

Postby ArturoBandini » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:15 am

Driving a car doesn't necessitate car ownership and the associated upkeep costs. Here's a business that should get some more attention:
http://www.communitycar.com/


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