Saturday, January 30, 2010

High Speed Rail Ready to Take Off



Personally, I can't wait to take this trip!

($2.25 billion awarded to California for high speed rail)

(Check out California High Speed Rail Blog)

9 comments:

  1. It won't end up costing $2.55 billion probably $6 billion. Look at the cost overages on the SF Bay Bridge for example.

    If you ever watch Top Gear on the BBC you'll see it's almost always faster, door-to-door, to drive.

    I hope this high speed rail never comes to Kalifornia or, if it does, that it's privately funded.

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  2. I guess your idea is that the American economy will survive off of the tourism from Europeans and Chinese and other visitors from advanced nations who will want to visit the US to see the quaint and outmoded forms of transportation we still use here.

    As for me, I just want to take a ride on a 200 MPH train, and I don't care how much it costs!

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  3. I lived in France for 2 years and took the TGV several times to London. Yes, it was convenient, quick, and safe. But someone else paid for it.

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  4. The projected cost is more like 40 billion and the price tag (surprise, surprise) has jumped up another 10-12 billion, and they haven't even completed the planning stage. For a state that has a $21 billion shortfall over the next 18 months and no way of resolving more shortfalls in the future, you would think that such expensive monuments would fail to be funded.

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  5. If China can afford high speed rail, so can we. 50 billion dollars is only $166 per American. That is incredibly cheap. Do you know how much it costs to maintain the interstate highway system and the air transportation system?

    By the way, a $21 billion shortfall for California is only $600 per Californian. I don't understand how people think we have no way of resolving a problem of the magnitude of only $600 per person. That doesn't sound like such a big problem to me.

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  6. “If China can afford high speed rail, so can we. 50 billion dollars is only $166 per American. That is incredibly cheap.”

    We will never be able to curb pork projects as long as we have the mentality that some taxpayer far away in another state should fund our state pet projects. Remember that when a rarely used bridge is built in the middle of nowhere in some other state with your tax dollars while some social program is being cut; resources are scarce, they should be used wisely. Additionally, like most projects of this size, it’s a sure bet that it will cost a lot more than it is being projected for now. It’s already gone up $10 billion dollars without one rail being laid down.

    “Do you know how much it costs to maintain the interstate highway system and the air transportation system?”

    The last time I looked, both Air and Auto transportation cost far less than Rail since they receive far less in subsidies. Amtrak is a money pit.

    ”By the way, a $21 billion shortfall for California is only $600 per Californian. I don't understand how people think we have no way of resolving a problem of the magnitude of only $600 per person. That doesn't sound like such a big problem to me.”

    With one of the most progressive tax systems in the country, do you really believe that the $21 billion burden, $600 per Californian as you claim, is going to be shared evenly among the population? No, it won’t. One group will bear the burden, and it’s usually the most productive sector. Why do we want to increase burdens in a weak economy? Secondly, there is no guarantee that California will avoid deficits far into the future.

    This high speed rail is a boondoggle.

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  7. I love the logic! Firstly, everyone in California won't be paying only $600.00 some will pay more, some will pay less (or nothing). Secondly, plenty of people who will never take such a train will be paying so a few can take it. Thirdly, roads carry more traffic, take people to more locations, and allow for businesses to grow (when was the last time a train pulled into a shopping mall then to a hotel, then to a golf course). Fourthly, building high speed rail is the second most expensive method of moving people on the ground (besides a subway) on a per passenger basis. Fifthly (and lastly) the price of such a system will probably be double or triple what is quoted. Again, please refer to the SF Bay Bridge cost overruns.

    And as to China... they are a Communist government with central economic planning. They should be spending their money on their people instead of trains that 99% of their population can't afford to take (but then they wouldn't impress Westerners like yourself).

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  8. You are right that the budget shortfall in California will not be spread evenly. The people who are bearing the brunt of it right now are students who are paying much more than $600 per year in fee increases; as well as teachers who are being laid off; court employees who are taking pay cuts; and everyone who uses any kind of government service who is suffering the costs of delays and closures. Basically, the middle class and the poor are paying the most, because we surely would not want to increase taxes on the poor rich people.

    Regarding trains, everyone benefits if I take the train. Drivers will face less crowded roads, everyone who breathes air will have cleaner air to breathe, and all of us will gain a lot of land that would otherwise be used up to build more highways. The subsidies that we all provide to the highway system in health costs (increased asthma and emphysema from air pollution), as well as in the loss of land for productive development, not to mention the enormous military expenditures we have to incur to protect our oil supplies, are usually not figured into the cost of driving, but they should be. You also have to remember that the cost of railway infrastructure should really be amortized over time (and probably will be if the project if funded by bonds), because the railroad right of ways could be in use for the next hundred years or more. You are right that trains do not pull into hotels and shopping malls (unless we were to encourage more centralized development, which we should), but neither do airplanes pull into shopping malls or hotels (unless you count the shopping malls and hotels at the airport). The truth is that we need air travel AND highways AND trains. All require public subsidies; all have public benefits; and all have their costs.

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  9. Joe, blame that on your Democratic Party who has run California into the ground.

    Bus, air, passenger car are all cheaper than trains per occupant. I don't mind trains, just don't ask me to pay for them.

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