$53 Billion high speed rail investment.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mcrain, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #1
    It would be nice to have a reasonably priced high speed rail alternative to air travel. Train ride to California was 36 hours, and the additional costs of a sleeping car made the trip much, much more expensive (not to mention the time factor).
     
  2. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #2
    At least you did not get strip-searched.
     
  3. mcrain thread starter macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #3
    At least my mother in law did not get strip searched... and *shudder* :eek:
     
  4. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #4
    Being fiscally conservative, you would think I am against it.

    But then, well, umm, think of all the people who would save big bucks not taking their car. And think about how much less maintenance the roads would take (which seem to cost 1000000 times more than the Iraq war in California alone). I am all for rail since it will both save us money in the long run and help the economy right away.

    I do like my car, and I tend to get train sick, but I will take the train to save both money and the environment and stop all the ballot measures over and over asking for more tax monies to fix the failing California roads.

    As for the expense and problems about California Transportation/Cal Trans (guys in orange trucks and orange vests and orange helmets who may or may not be SF Giants fans), here's a local joke:

    "What is big and orange and sleeps six?"

    "A Cal Trans truck!"

    :)
     
  5. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #5
    What does high speed in this context mean? Over 200mph?
     
  6. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #6
    OT, how was that trip? Always sort of wanted to take a more leisurely trip with a cabin on the Zephyr, but I don't know if it's worth it.
     
  7. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #7
    My mother and three of her friends took a train trip from Portland to LA to see a museum (spent a day in LA and went home — nothing else to see there). She said they were able to share a pair of sleepers, which brings the cost down quite a lot. She was saying something like that the cost of eating in the dining car is lower when you have a sleeper.

    The biggest downside to rail travel is that other forms of travel have been so heavily subsidized that rail is on the verge of extinction, a potentially serious concern. The second biggest downside, especially to high-speed rail, is the rights-of-way. Airplanes require very little interstitial infrastructure, whereas trains require stable land for their rails, and very regular maintenance, especially for the really fast trains. On the other hand, the efficiency of trains is quite a bit higher than most other forms of transportation.
     
  8. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #8
    This is great news. Train travel is so much better than plane or car. This is way overdue.
     
  9. mcrain thread starter macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #9
    Is this the evil spending the right wants us to be so afraid of, or is this an investment in the US that will pay off in the future?

    $53 Billion dollars of infrastructure investment that will result in actual jobs building the tracks and trains, and then running them. All of these jobs will result in far reaching economic benefits. Furthermore, high speed rail has the potential to increase tourism, travel and commerce, not to mention taking some of the burden off of the air travel industry (which is actually profitable now).
     
  10. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #10
    The US is too dependent on highways. Rail transportation is more fuel efficient and less onerous than driving or flying, especially for medium-distance travel.

    My (Ohio) governer John Kasich is refusing to take any high-speed rail money, calling it "wasteful". He will please the Tea Partiers with this statement, but it will come back to haunt him politically. He's the same schmuck who is doing all he can to place Ohio industry and infrastructure in the hands of foreign investors who may eventually take it overseas.
     
  11. guzhogi macrumors 68030

    guzhogi

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    #11
    My question (totally serious & innocent): how long will it take to pay the money back? $53 billion is a lot of money.
     
  12. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #12
    The right is not convinced that there is sufficient demand for high speed rail otherwise private companies would have built the system already. This question is always asked: where in the world do high speed rail systems survive on their own? That is, with zero government subsidies and help. The second question is, would Americans take to the trains like they have with their cars?
     
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #13
    How ready are these rail projects? How much of the $53 billion will get eaten up in lawsuits from NIMBYs, the environmental folks and anyone else who will crawl out of a hole and sue for whatever reason?

    If I can get to Boston or Washington DC from NY in 90 minutes, I'm all for it.
     
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    Only time will tell. There are plenty of groups and individuals who would like to see this project fail for political reasons. Some of them will undoubteldy take direct action to achieve that end.
     
  15. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #15
    This is what needs to stop in this country. People have to start learning that we need to work together to do what's best for the country and stop making every little thing political. High speed rail will be a very good thing for the US- there can be no doubt about that.
     
  16. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Parts of the US perhaps. Especially on the coasts where there is a much higher population density.

    But for much of the midwest it is likely never going to be economically feasible.
     
  17. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #17
    Also arguable. It would be great for connecting Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. That could be incredible beneficial.
     
  18. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #18
    The cool thing about high speed rail is it can basically open up the middle of the country for travel for vaction, or perhaps even allow for some more growth there seeing as travel times will be cut (drastically in some cases). High speed rail essentially makes the country a smaller place.
     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #19
    If its economically feasible for the Chinese to build a high-speed railway across their country, then its economically feasible for the US to do the same over their smaller and richer country, as while few people live in the middle, lots of people live on either coast in the US, whereas the West of China is entirely very sparsely populated.
     
  20. Btrthnezr3 macrumors 6502a

    Btrthnezr3

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    #20
    I am all for high speed rail--if it were available and economical, I would take the rail VERY often!
     
  21. 63dot, Feb 8, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #21
    I don't think it's evil spending even though the Democrats and Republicans spend too much on pet projects. Dems could, at least in California, make their colleges far more efficient. I will vote for extra spending on the important community college system if the Democratic legislature makes the colleges get rid of hideous spending. Our county seat has a junior college where the president makes nearly $500,000 dollars base pay and assistant part time professors make close to $120,000 dollars. That's not good spending, imho.
    GOP should have thought twice before doing an all out occupation of Iraq where the cost of each bullet exceeds $1,000 dollars when you consider medical care, rebuilding, invasion, occupation, and myriads of civil servants/contractors both there and here.

    However, an investment in a train offers more people affordable options to get to work which help the employee, or to go somewhere to buy goods and services which help business.

    I think of a train investment as I would paying for my tax lawyer/accountant. I may pay her $120 for what amounts to ten minutes of work, but with her knowledge I save thousands on taxes each year as opposed to if I tried to do a tax for my own business. There are just too many factors that I could never know about and it changes all the time. It's well worth it for me to pay that $120.

    I don't mind, and she doesn't either, that she went to college for four years and law school for three to get the creds to do high end tax work which all in town trust with their assets. She could complain about $20 grand in education (back in the '70s) but she has made 100 times that back in compensation for herself and saved her clients many tens of millions.

    So her initial expense for college and grad school has a whole small town thanking her for keeping our butts off of the IRS hit list for many years. I see an investment in a train as valuable as her services to the few hundred of us in town.
     
  22. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #22
    The US is actually slightly larger in area than China. Of course, you could exclude Alaska from the calculation, but then it would only be fair to lop off Tibet as well. As far as "richer", it would seem the Chinese already have all of America's money.

    But no one knows quite as well how to build a railroad, Chinese people built most of the ones that cross the US.
     
  23. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #23
    The US is basically the same size its true, but I was excluding Alaska as it isn't part of the contiguous whole, whereas Tibet is part of the contiguous whole.
     
  24. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    #24
    Just took the Southwest Chief from LA to Chicago (and then on to Boston) and loved it. Brought a few books and and an ipod but spent most of the time gazing out the window in the observation car and talking to people on the train. I think long distance train travel really can be an amazing experience and a bit of a roller coaster of emotions and experiences but I'd go again in a heartbeat.
     
  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #25
    I've done that route before too. It's so pretty. And yes, you hit the nail on the head- it's so much fun meeting people on the train.
     

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