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View Full Version : Would you travel by high speed train?


rockdawg21
02-12-2011, 09:09 PM
I think this is an awesome idea! It's almost always good to invest in infrastructure, especially transportation. It'd be so cool to hop on a high-speed train that links to any major city.

The only opposition to this progress, disappointingly IMO, are the Republicans. It's getting ridiculous to pay $300-$400 for a roundtrip ticket to replace a drive that costs $150 roundtrip. As gas prices near $4-$5 per gallon, the Republicans will wish they hadn't opposed this. Wait, no they won't because they're politicians and they don't really give a **** about the people they represent.

Any thoughts on this?

Obama's high-speed rail faces political challenge
by Paul Handley Sat Feb 12, 2:28 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) US President Barack Obama wants to build high-speed trains like France's famous TGV around the country to boost US competitiveness and create jobs.

But when his 2011-2012 budget plan comes out on Monday, Republicans are likely to hone in on $8 billion in proposed rail funds in their effort to slash spending.

An issue of national economic strategy for the White House, high-speed railways, which are under construction from Latin America to the Middle East and across Asia, are mired in political party rivalry over budgets in the United States.

Two newly elected Republican governors in the past three months denied crucial federal funds to rail projects, all but killing them, after their Democratic predecessors backed the projects.

And the powerful, allegedly pro-rail head of a key House of Representatives committee on transportation, Republican John Mica, condemned Obama's plan to use federal funds to speed up trains in the country's most heavily traveled rail stretch, the Boston-New York-Washington corridor run by the government-owned Amtrak.

"Amtrak's Soviet-style train system is not the way to provide modern and efficient passenger rail service," Mica said.

In January. Obama declared that building rapid railways is key to the US economy's recovery.

"To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet," he said in his January 25 State of the Union address.

"Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports."

Obama proposed to give 80 percent of Americans -- essentially all the largest urban areas -- access to rapid train transport in 25 years.

"This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying -- without the pat-down."

Two weeks later, Vice President Joe Biden -- the administration's biggest rail fan -- spelled out the details of a $53 billion, six-year plan to support a number of rail projects, with $8 billion the first year.

The plan's idea of "high-speed" rail is modest: the main proposals mean boosting existing lines to 200 kilometers per hour (125 mph).

But Biden also proposed ground-up projects for "very high speed" trains like those in Europe, Japan and now China: trains running 350 kph (220 mph) or more, that would require laying entirely new tracks.

Routes are already roughly laid out: improving Amtrak's northeast corridor; linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in California; creating a Chicago-centered system in the industrial upper midwest; and tying Florida's major cities Tampa, Orlando and Miami.

But partisan fights over whether the country should invest more in infrastructure has left all of those projects uncertain.

And, despite Mica's call for rail projects to be privately financed, investors and rail builders say they won't undertake such massive investments without government money or a clear commitment.

"Obviously it needs both funding and political will," said Stephen Robillard, vice president of Siemens' US high-speed rail division, which is working on the California project.

"What I don't know is to what extent it will happen," he said.

Projects in Ohio and Wisconsin were killed when new Republican governors said they would not accept federal funds for them.

In Wisconsin, the governor turned back $810 million meant for a link between Milwaukee and Madison.

That left Spanish train builder Talgo hanging: it had already plowed money into a production facility for four train sets for the route.

"We had a bad experience in Wisconsin where the governor rejected the funds," chief executive Antonio Perez told AFP. "That's why I'm skeptical" of the US program.

Andy Kurz, president of the US High Speed Rail Association, said the Obama government needs an agency dedicated to high-speed rail, like the one that built interstate highways decades ago, so that the onus is not on cash-strapped states.

But that thinking makes high-speed rail a key target for Republicans determined to cut federal government spending -- even if the Obama plan is a minute part of a budget that will top $3 trillion.

But, says Kurz, the Republican position will also block job creation efforts, boost air pollution, and leave more people stranded in airports.

"We spend hundreds of billions on other forms of transport," he said. "High-speed railways offer the most mobility for money spent."

NateR
02-12-2011, 09:24 PM
It's a nice idea, but this is not the time. Besides don't we already have Amtrak? Does anybody even use that for transportation?

rockdawg21
02-12-2011, 09:29 PM
It's a nice idea, but this is not the time. Besides don't we already have Amtrak? Does anybody even use that for transportation?
Point being is that it will take years to develop and history has already taught us that gas prices will continue to rise. At what point is too much, too much? Something that doesn't get talked about regarding the recession is the same time that people begun not being able to afford their houses is the same time that gas prices spiked a dollar (at least in TX) in a matter of (if I remember correctly), less than 2 months. It was just a few years ago that I remember the best prices in TX being around $3.59/gallon and we're slowly returning to that.

Can't say I know much about Amtrak, but if I had a decent option to travel by train when going home (north of Kansas City, MO - I just have family pick me up in KC) for the holidays or any other time, I'd take it for sure. I guess I could be in the minority for that, but making that 14 hour drive (1-way) sucks!

flo
02-12-2011, 10:16 PM
HotAir has a nice (ie short) article on this topic. Here's a taste:

Here’s Reason TV from last March with a quick-and-painless guide to America’s latest boondoggle in the name of Progress. Note well the bit about Amtrak subsidies for a sneak preview of the sinkhole that high-speed rail will become. Serious question: Is there any federal spending initiative that Democrats won’t defend on grounds that it’ll either create jobs or (giggle) end up turning a profit “eventually”? Theoretically, there has to come a point where the budget grows so bloated that even leftists agree that pursuing risky new projects is imprudent for the time being, until we retrench fiscally and reprioritize. And yet, evidently, we haven’t yet reached that point. Where is that point, exactly?

I agree with them. Link here. (http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/08/biden-hey-lets-spend-53-billion-on-high-speed-rail/)

Good point, Nate; not to mention Amtrak is heavily subsidized.

adamt
02-12-2011, 11:33 PM
they're blowing a million or two at a pop on exploratory committees, they throw money around like i throw cow chips

first off, i have to think barack is greasing somebody's pocket here

when cars first came out henry ford envisioned them running on alcohol and ethanol with every farm, the main staple at the time, having their own ethanol factory--- more or less a still, then refining their own crop-corn mainly- into alcohol and running it in their own trucks and tractors, guess what happened? government and petroleum lobbyinsts put a stop to it


could you imagine where we would be if we started out with alcohol engines?????





and another thing, passenger rail is not worth it, but freight rail is very well worth it, now why aren't freight trains utilized more..... get the semis off our roads, save fuel, more efficient, yet they are overlooked


something is fishy

Tyburn
02-13-2011, 09:48 PM
He's absolutely Right.

I think America should invest...if it must on big land based projects...in two areas...the most important is building your south land boarder...you quite honnestly dont have one...you need a fortifed structure the length of the country Begining just south of San Diego in California, through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas ending just east of Brownsville. Then you need one begining just north of bellingham in Washington State and running through Idaho, Montana, North dakota, and ending where the coast of Minnesota hits the inland ocean. Then a Third fortification from Buffalo in New York State all the way northwards through New England ending where the coast of Maine hits the Atlantic Ocean.

After that, then yes, you need a proper rail system. Your Transportation system is third world. Its riddiculous for a Country your size, shape, and power, not to have a good public transport service. You dont...you bearly have any public transportation at all...you dont have proper buses outside of your main cities, you have States that have no rail connections at all...its very, very poor shape indeed.

In this country...the size of California alone...we have thousands and thousands of miles of rail...you can go to almost every town on the rail system, and the bus systems are regular and work like city and town hoppers.

In America they rely completely on Motorcars...almost exclusively.

Its an absolute nightmare planning any journey round America if you cant drive. Its appauling for a Super Power...I suspect even Russia probably has a better public transport system!

But the costs of these two projects alone, and their timespan...your looking at maybe ten years at an absolute minimum...and whose gonna pay for them? State Governments will not think it fair if they pay heaps for this boarder fortification, when the vast majority of the Unions States benefit from the protection it would bring, without paying because it doesnt cut through their State Soverignty geographically speaking. The proper network rail system would take even longer...at least a twentyfive year project minimum because the United States is so vast.

For those of you that dont like his ideas...fear not...He wont be around to carry his plans out...not even if he had a second term...these plans would take the best part of half a century to come to fruitition, and America doesnt have the wealth to spend on such projects.

Spiritwalker
02-13-2011, 09:58 PM
people will not use this because.. how often do people have to travel more than an hour to get to work... and such

people love their cars.. it's the same reason HOV just doesn't work.

rockdawg21
02-14-2011, 01:09 AM
people will not use this because.. how often do people have to travel more than an hour to get to work... and such

people love their cars.. it's the same reason HOV just doesn't work.
Far less than 1%. The longest commute on average in the U.S. is New York City at 43.1 minutes.

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/People_in_USA_Major_MetroAreas/Commute_Time

When gas gets to $5 a gallon and the railways are available when this comes to fruition, people will use it. Instead of being progressive prior to the inevitable disaster of $5 gas, Americans will wind up complaining about gas prices. :rolleyes:

KENTUCKYREDBONE
02-14-2011, 02:48 AM
It would just end up being another drain of tax money! As for moving goods by rial I sometimes see cars being moved that way. I'm guessing that the rails are used when most practical. Most Folk's I know could pretty much care less about public transportation. We like to get in our cars,Trucks ans SUV's and go anywhere we want. As for gas prices if the politicians wernt so deep in the enviro Nazi's pocket we could have cheap gas. I remember when Diesel was cheaper than gas but now thanks to new regulations its out of sight. If some company wants to fork up their own money and build it fine. But we don't need to build something else that will be subsidised!

Spiritwalker
02-14-2011, 10:45 AM
Instead of being progressive prior to the inevitable disaster of $5 gas, Americans will wind up complaining about gas prices. :rolleyes:


[Metallica quote time] Sad But True!!


My drive time to work is right at an hour on a bad traffice day.. just at 45 min, on a good day.. I would be willing to leave for work a bit earlier to catch a train or light rail (we have that in Charlotte.. seems to be doing good.. but very limited on where your going).. if it could get me there quicker.. and not leave me walking.

TexasRN
02-14-2011, 10:58 AM
I wouldn't use it. I like my car and if gas gets too high then I will either fly where I have to go, save up to buy the gas, or not go.


~Amy

adamt
02-14-2011, 11:51 AM
Far less than 1%. The longest commute on average in the U.S. is New York City at 43.1 minutes.

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/People_in_USA_Major_MetroAreas/Commute_Time

When gas gets to $5 a gallon and the railways are available when this comes to fruition, people will use it. Instead of being progressive prior to the inevitable disaster of $5 gas, Americans will wind up complaining about gas prices. :rolleyes:


yeak kinda like everybody used the busses when gas hit 3-4 dollars, do people expect a rail station to their work place door? or will they walk to work from the depot..... isn't that the subway or bus system, why don't people take the bus

maybe we could just mandate people live close to their workplace.....instead of welfare transportation

people stopped buying suvs after gas hit high didn't they, surely they'd ride welfare rail

County Mike
02-14-2011, 01:27 PM
That's the main reason it won't be popular. It's too inconvenient to drive to the train station, take the train, then walk or get a taxi to your job and do it all again in reverse at the end of the day. People would rather spend the extra money on gas than the extra time on the train.

rearnakedchoke
02-14-2011, 02:18 PM
i have a better idea

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZjzsnPhnw

County Mike
02-14-2011, 02:59 PM
I would consider it for vacation travel though. Especially if I could put my vehicle on the train as well. Amtrack has one route for their "auto train". It goes between Virginia and Florida. I like the idea of taking my truck with me and not being restricted as much on my luggage. They just need more routes and faster trains to make it really sweet.


Of course, if this was really a good idea, a private company would spend their own money to build the tracks and run the service.

rockdawg21
02-14-2011, 03:47 PM
yeak kinda like everybody used the busses when gas hit 3-4 dollars, do people expect a rail station to their work place door? or will they walk to work from the depot..... isn't that the subway or bus system, why don't people take the bus

maybe we could just mandate people live close to their workplace.....instead of welfare transportation

people stopped buying suvs after gas hit high didn't they, surely they'd ride welfare rail
Yeah, I always disagreed with the 3-4 gas being the push because Americans had plenty of money at that time. In the case now, where people are thinking of ways to save money, SUV sales have dropped as small car sales have increased. Times are starting to change.

That's just because Americans have been too spoiled for so many years. If you go to virtually any other country, people use mass transit. As you said, people are trying to save time, which makes sense - a high-speed rail is a dedicated line that wouldn't be interrupted by other traffic as is the case with the bus system.

However, if they economy comes back strong as it always has in the past, the $5 gas thing will probably go over fine. If it doesn't and we do reach $5 gas, people will be singing a different tune.

CAVEMAN
02-14-2011, 06:24 PM
I wouldn't use it simply because of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO4juz_joxY