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(LA Times)   Damn, without a high speed train train how will subby ever get from BFN to BFE?   (latimes.com) divider line 99
    More: Fail, high-speed trains, Sacramento, Bill Lockyer, trains  
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1588 clicks; posted to Politics » on 27 Nov 2013 at 7:35 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-27 09:04:30 AM

jaytkay: way south: At 68 billion (probably more) I'd say corruption is a bigger problem than figuring out which fund to raid.
Even the hyperloop platinum plan came out cheaper than that.

Posting concepts on the Internet is free, so yeah, much cheaper.




Which is a steal compared to a plan that's about to cost you twenty additional bills and has laid just as much track.
 
2013-11-27 09:11:09 AM

pueblonative: SurfaceTension: Chummer45: Yeah - subsidizing cars and highways is a much better use of public funds...

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/streetcar-gif-toronto.gif

Good thing everyone in that streetcar is going to the exact same place, and not hauling kids or groceries or, like I do, bowling equipment. Oh, wait...

Because a streetcar can only go to one place at a time.


Considering it's on rails...um, yeah?  Plus they don't usually build streetcars in the suburbs.
 
2013-11-27 09:15:12 AM
The should get a monorail!
 
2013-11-27 09:21:32 AM
I've always thought that a rail link from LA to Vegas made more sense... it's a straight shot through mostly nothing, which I'd think would make the costs much lower, plus once you cross into NV you can open The Chicken Ranch car.
 
2013-11-27 09:23:45 AM

RussianPooper: Bloemfontein, South Africa to Bielefeld, Germany? Take a plane. That's a hell of a train ride.


Imagine all the cool stuff you could see traveling through the entire stretch of Africa and parts of Europe --assuming the train has a/c for the Sahara.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-11-27 09:24:50 AM
NickelP

To a first approximation, inter-city travel is self funded and local streets are paid for by traditional taxes. On paper there is a web of cross-subsidies.

A starting point for road funding discussion is table HF-10 in the federal DOT highway statistics report. Road-related spending is one half capital, one quarter maintenance, and one quarter non-road overhead. "Highway user revenue" pays 60% of those costs (varies a little year to year). So you have to ask how much gets spent anyway without heavy car traffic? Roads existed before motor vehicles. Roads are used by non-motorized traffic.  I match up property taxes and general fund revenue with local streets.
 
2013-11-27 09:28:17 AM

RussianPooper: Bloemfontein, South Africa to Bielefeld, Germany? Take a plane. That's a hell of a train ride.


Trust me. If you were in Bloemfontein you'd probably want to get out as fast as possible in which ever way. It's a weird place.
 
2013-11-27 09:31:26 AM

SurfaceTension: Trail of Dead: SurfaceTension: phlegmmo: Like we do now: by car.  Faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

But, but, but if everyone should want to live in high-rise filing cabinets with no  yard and 2 windows in the middle of a city, using buses and trains to get everywhere, and they should like it!

You sound fat.

You sound judgemental


Says the person that just judged everyone that likes living in a city.
 
2013-11-27 09:33:26 AM
If the project is so valuable, then private interests on either end of the connection should be willing to put up the cash to get this done. If they are not willing, one has to question how valuable this would be
 
2013-11-27 09:40:42 AM

jaytkay: way south: At 68 billion (probably more) I'd say corruption is a bigger problem than figuring out which fund to raid.
Even the hyperloop platinum plan came out cheaper than that.

Posting concepts on the Internet is free, so yeah, much cheaper.


We're actually making surprisingly good progress.
 
2013-11-27 09:44:41 AM

Car_Ramrod: SurfaceTension: Trail of Dead: SurfaceTension: phlegmmo: Like we do now: by car.  Faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

But, but, but if everyone should want to live in high-rise filing cabinets with no  yard and 2 windows in the middle of a city, using buses and trains to get everywhere, and they should like it!

You sound fat.

You sound judgemental

Says the person that just judged everyone that likes living in a city.


No, actually I just judged everyone who thinks everyone should live in the city and like it.
 
2013-11-27 09:54:47 AM

Lost Thought 00: If the project is so valuable, then private interests on either end of the connection should be willing to put up the cash to get this done. If they are not willing, one has to question how valuable this would be


Because the only things of value to our society are those that benefit commerce.
 
2013-11-27 10:00:32 AM

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Lost Thought 00: If the project is so valuable, then private interests on either end of the connection should be willing to put up the cash to get this done. If they are not willing, one has to question how valuable this would be

Because the only things of value to our society are those that benefit commerce.


Thems the breaks when you decide to live in a capitalist society
 
2013-11-27 10:05:58 AM

Lost Thought 00: If the project is so valuable, then private interests on either end of the connection should be willing to put up the cash to get this done. If they are not willing, one has to question how valuable this would be


Somebody should have told that Commie Eisenhower the same thing when he started building interstate highways all over the country.
 
2013-11-27 10:06:43 AM

phlegmmo: Like we do now: by car.  Faster, cheaper, and more convenient.


Having lived in an area where trains actually worked (local El, regional Metra, and Amtrak), trains are faster, cheaper, and more convenient than owning a car. I actually ended up getting rid of my car after a couple of years because it was expensive and inconvenient. Plus, my commute time became my time to read, play games, listen to music, or just daydream. If there were situations where a car was the better choice (which might happen once or twice a year). I would rent one.

Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.
 
2013-11-27 10:13:00 AM

DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.


Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.
 
2013-11-27 10:16:19 AM

SurfaceTension: DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.

Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.


For some people. Why you think this is somehow a fair point AGAINST public transit in areas where it's more convenient is beyond me.

Let me simplify

YOU CAR OK
OTHERS MASS TRANSIT OK
 
2013-11-27 10:21:52 AM
You know what? Good! I voted for the bond measure that funded this boondoggle because they sold it to us with the promise of "Anaheim to San Fran in 2 hours"...and because I was a naive 20-something and thought they'd actually use the money for construction. It's never been about actually building anything, it was just a way for state politicians to give friends and family six figure jobs on various planning commissions and boards. Now they're behind schedule and under budget and they're new plan for the first leg goes between Bakersfield and Fresno!? What the fark? Who the fark wants to be in either of those places? So yeah, screw this project. You can call backsies on the will of this person.
 
2013-11-27 10:22:06 AM

SurfaceTension: DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.

Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.


Which is why, as a nation, we need to commit to better public transportation the same way we committed to the highway system.
 
2013-11-27 10:27:42 AM

LasersHurt: YOU CAR OK
OTHERS MASS TRANSIT OK


Then we're in total agreement.
 
2013-11-27 10:30:58 AM

xalres: You know what? Good! I voted for the bond measure that funded this boondoggle because they sold it to us with the promise of "Anaheim to San Fran in 2 hours"...and because I was a naive 20-something and thought they'd actually use the money for construction. It's never been about actually building anything, it was just a way for state politicians to give friends and family six figure jobs on various planning commissions and boards. Now they're behind schedule and under overbudget and they're new plan for the first leg goes between Bakersfield and Fresno!? What the fark? Who the fark wants to be in either of those places? So yeah, screw this project. You can call backsies on the will of this person.


ugh...need coffee
 
2013-11-27 10:32:35 AM

DeaH: SurfaceTension: DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.

Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.

Which is why, as a nation, we need to commit to better public transportation the same way we committed to the highway system.


Much like the idea of passing gun laws to take away everyone's handguns, while it's a terrific idea, implementing it is going to take a political and societal will that we just don't have to get it done. And there won't be until someone designs a public transport system that picks me up at my house when I want, takes me to where I want or need to go, hauling all the passengers and cargo that I need hauled, picks me up immediately when I'm done doing what I need to do and returns me home. Right now there's only one mass transit system that does that: a car on public roads.
 
2013-11-27 10:48:16 AM

SurfaceTension: DeaH: SurfaceTension: DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.

Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.

Which is why, as a nation, we need to commit to better public transportation the same way we committed to the highway system.

Much like the idea of passing gun laws to take away everyone's handguns, while it's a terrific idea, implementing it is going to take a political and societal will that we just don't have to get it done. And there won't be until someone designs a public transport system that picks me up at my house when I want, takes me to where I want or need to go, hauling all the passengers and cargo that I need hauled, picks me up immediately when I'm done doing what I need to do and returns me home. Right now there's only one mass transit system that does that: a car on public roads.


Was there a societal will to build highways that sometimes literally ripped right through communities? Of course not. Comparing this to handgun laws is silly. There is no  constitutional right to cars or drivable roads. And, again, I can tell you have never lived in an area with public transportation. During rush hour, the El trains run less than five minutes apart. The walk to an El stop is virtually identical to the walk to a very large parking area it a typical Midwestern business. If one lives in the suburbs, the Metra is a far better choice than getting on the highway. And for those situations where you want door-to-door, there are taxis, which are a lot cheaper than in places like the Midwest and the South. Plus, many car rental places have delivery and pickup services.

No, people are against this because they do not know what it's like to have effective public transportation. It's better, far better than your car.
 
2013-11-27 11:05:09 AM

SurfaceTension: Car_Ramrod: SurfaceTension: Trail of Dead: SurfaceTension: phlegmmo: Like we do now: by car.  Faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

But, but, but if everyone should want to live in high-rise filing cabinets with no  yard and 2 windows in the middle of a city, using buses and trains to get everywhere, and they should like it!

You sound fat.

You sound judgemental

Says the person that just judged everyone that likes living in a city.

No, actually I just judged everyone who thinks everyone should live in the city and like it.


Oh, a demographic you just made up. Cool.
 
2013-11-27 11:09:56 AM

DeaH: SurfaceTension: DeaH: SurfaceTension: DeaH: Whenever I hear someone tout the convenience of the required car society, I know they have never really lived anywhere with a functional public transportation system.

Which is most places that people live. Which is why cars are generally more convenient.

Which is why, as a nation, we need to commit to better public transportation the same way we committed to the highway system.

Much like the idea of passing gun laws to take away everyone's handguns, while it's a terrific idea, implementing it is going to take a political and societal will that we just don't have to get it done. And there won't be until someone designs a public transport system that picks me up at my house when I want, takes me to where I want or need to go, hauling all the passengers and cargo that I need hauled, picks me up immediately when I'm done doing what I need to do and returns me home. Right now there's only one mass transit system that does that: a car on public roads.

Was there a societal will to build highways that sometimes literally ripped right through communities? Of course not. Comparing this to handgun laws is silly. There is no  constitutional right to cars or drivable roads. And, again, I can tell you have never lived in an area with public transportation. During rush hour, the El trains run less than five minutes apart. The walk to an El stop is virtually identical to the walk to a very large parking area it a typical Midwestern business. If one lives in the suburbs, the Metra is a far better choice than getting on the highway. And for those situations where you want door-to-door, there are taxis, which are a lot cheaper than in places like the Midwest and the South. Plus, many car rental places have delivery and pickup services.

No, people are against this because they do not know what it's like to have effective public transportation. It's better, far better than your car.


I know. And if only everyone used Apple products we'd all be tossing our MicroSoft PCs in short order, too. Look, I get what you're saying. And in the abstract it sounds great. But in the real world where I live (Woodbridge, VA, in the southern part of the Washington DC metro area) having an automobile is the best alternative. I'm 43 now, and it'll be another 20 years, at least, before they extend the Metro system out this far. I do take the commuter bus and Metro to my office near DC (and I slug home), but even that's not convenient; it's actually faster to drive. But given the transportation subsidy, I'm happy to let other taxpayers pay for it. I'd love to see them put up a BRT type system with express lines from this area, but even that's a pipe dream at the moment.

Besides, I go out of town a LOT.  Three to seven day trips about every month to 6 weeks, and it's way, way better to have a car for those than Amtrak or air travel. Close in, I also have a vending side business in which I visit 40-50 locations every 2-3 months. And that's not to mention bowling 2-4 nights a week (hauling several balls with me) and visiting friends. I use my car a great deal, and it would be very inconvenient trying to rely on public transportation and go without a car. (And I don't even have a family!)

Now, extend my issues out to the public at large. There's 120,000,000 households in the US, and I'm sure that a significant majority of them have their own issues that are just as complex as mine. The car/road system we have now is by far the most efficient and convenient for the vast majority of people in the US.
 
2013-11-27 11:10:50 AM

Car_Ramrod: SurfaceTension: Car_Ramrod: SurfaceTension: Trail of Dead: SurfaceTension: phlegmmo: Like we do now: by car.  Faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

But, but, but if everyone should want to live in high-rise filing cabinets with no  yard and 2 windows in the middle of a city, using buses and trains to get everywhere, and they should like it!

You sound fat.

You sound judgemental

Says the person that just judged everyone that likes living in a city.

No, actually I just judged everyone who thinks everyone should live in the city and like it.

Oh, a demographic you just made up. Cool.


Everyone needs a hobby
 
2013-11-27 11:11:45 AM
I wonder if I can spend the whole thread talking about how we should not get rid of cars. That's constructive and helpful. I am a good person, and a good Farker.
 
2013-11-27 11:15:58 AM

LasersHurt: I wonder if I can spend the whole thread talking about how we should not get rid of cars. That's constructive and helpful. I am a good person, and a good Farker.


Fact: Trains and cars cannot coexist in a healthy ecosystem. They are natural enemies. Thus we have to pick one or the other.
 
2013-11-27 11:29:44 AM
Widening the 5, the 405, the 10, 99 and 101, and the dozens of other regional freeways, and expanding LAX, SFO, OAK, SJO, BUR and VNY as well as creating a couple of new airports in the Central Valley are a much cheaper way to accomodate the expected 60% more people who are expected to live in California in 2050.

/SARCASM
 
2013-11-27 11:34:49 AM

SurfaceTension: And if only everyone used Apple products we'd all be tossing our MicroSoft PCs in short order, too. Look, I get what you're saying.


This is exactly where your analogy breaks down. As a consumer, I have a choice of Apple or PC.Either will work with my electrical outlets, Either will work on the internet. A train, however, will not run on a road. A car will not run on railroad tracks. Rail versus car is less a personal choice than something dictated by society at large through governmental expense.

SurfaceTension: Besides, I go out of town a LOT. Three to seven day trips about every month to 6 weeks, and it's way, way better to have a car for those than Amtrak or air travel. Close in, I also have a vending side business in which I visit 40-50 locations every 2-3 months. And that's not to mention bowling 2-4 nights a week (hauling several balls with me) and visiting friends. I use my car a great deal, and it would be very inconvenient trying to rely on public transportation and go without a car. (And I don't even have a family!)


Funny, I go out a lot less now that I live in a state without public transportation. Then again, when I had public transportation, Amtrak was just one element of the total public transportation package, which included the El (local subway and elevated trains); Metra, regional trains for the suburbs; taxis and buses for off line transport; and rental cars. Since I left, the city added bike share and zip car (a car share service). You do not really have effective public transportation if your only options are Amtrak (meant for longer commutes, not short distances) and roads.

Real public transportation is far more effective than a personal car for about every errand short of running a delivery business, which is what your vending business sounds like. I am assuming that most of your neighbors do not have such a business, so they would not need a car for that. Most people I know also do not own bowling balls, even if they bowl once a week. I don't have the figures, but I am guessing that the actual percentage of Americans who own bowling balls and transport them more than once a week is quite small, so it seems ineffective to plan public transportation (of which highways are certainly a part) based on the needs of very few citizens. It seems is waste to apportion the public transportation budget to accommodate just those few.

Effective public transportation would not outlaw cars, but it would relieve traffic on the roads. This would benefit everyone, including people like you. Not only would there be less congestion, there would be less wear and tear on the roads, resulting in the need for fewer repairs. And with fewer vehicles on the road, you would get to the places you need to visit a lot faster. And, with public transportation, people would get more steps in everyday. You'd be amazed what that could do for the public obesity problem.
 
2013-11-27 11:35:38 AM

StopLurkListen: Widening the 5, the 405, the 10, 99 and 101, and the dozens of other regional freeways, and expanding LAX, SFO, OAK, SJO, BUR and VNY as well as creating a couple of new airports in the Central Valley are a much cheaper way to accomodate the expected 60% more people who are expected to live in California in 2050.

/SARCASM


Instead of "green" alternatives, maybe we could use the "Soylent Green" alternative. :)
 
2013-11-27 11:48:35 AM

DeaH: Effective public transportation would not outlaw cars, but it would relieve traffic on the roads. This would benefit everyone, including people like you. Not only would there be less congestion, there would be less wear and tear on the roads, resulting in the need for fewer repairs. And with fewer vehicles on the road, you would get to the places you need to visit a lot faster. And, with public transportation, people would get more steps in everyday. You'd be amazed what that could do for the public obesity problem.


Look, I think we're in agreement that having multiple transportation options is a good thing. (You skipped over replying to the part of my post where I mentioned that I use buses, Metro and carpool(slugging) to commute, btw.) The point I'm trying to make is that one isn't better than the other, as you seem to be implying. They all have their uses, and we shouldn't be eschewing one mode for another.

Driving in this area is a total clusterfark, mostly because 15-20 years ago people were arguing exactly as you are now, and many roads (and Potomac river crossings) that should have been built back then were abandoned in favor of "smart growth." See, it was the fervent belief of smart growthers that if you didn't build or improve the roads, and focused only on public transport, that people wouldn't move to certain areas and sprawl wouldn't occur. Well, guess what? They were wrong. Entirely, totally, completely 100% wrong. People and their cars DID show up, and now you can't get around in this area with any ease at all.

Could public transport ease some of the congestion now? Yes, it could. But as I pointed out, Metro to my area is at least 20 years off (look up the Silver Line and see how long it took them to get that off the ground), and other ideas like a Bus Rapid Transit get thrown out almost as soon as they're proposed. So it's car time for me and my neighbors that don't want to live in a high-rise filing cabinet in the concrete jungle.
 
2013-11-27 11:52:46 AM

DeaH: This is exactly where your analogy breaks down. As a consumer, I have a choice of Apple or PC.Either will work with my electrical outlets, Either will work on the internet. A train, however, will not run on a road. A car will not run on railroad tracks. Rail versus car is less a personal choice than something dictated by society at large through governmental expense.


Yeah, but my analogy was less about the similarities or differences in the product and more along the lines that Apple (much like public transport proponents) has it's hard-core fanboys that insist if you only would use the computer you'd see how much better it is than MicroSoft, yet most folks who use MicroSoft don't care and just want something convenient and functional that they're familiar with.

Rational arguments are easy to make, until you realize that we humans are mostly irrational creatures.
 
2013-11-27 12:14:56 PM
This boondoggle is right up there with Oregon's Columbia River Crossing mess. They've burned almost $200 million in studies and re-designs. Washington (the state) refuses to fund any of it.
 
2013-11-27 12:22:55 PM
Poor turnout by the rabid train defenders in this thread.  Must be because they know the Ca high speed rail plan is a bad one.
 
2013-11-27 12:30:35 PM

SurfaceTension: DeaH: Effective public transportation would not outlaw cars, but it would relieve traffic on the roads. This would benefit everyone, including people like you. Not only would there be less congestion, there would be less wear and tear on the roads, resulting in the need for fewer repairs. And with fewer vehicles on the road, you would get to the places you need to visit a lot faster. And, with public transportation, people would get more steps in everyday. You'd be amazed what that could do for the public obesity problem.

Look, I think we're in agreement that having multiple transportation options is a good thing. (You skipped over replying to the part of my post where I mentioned that I use buses, Metro and carpool(slugging) to commute, btw.) The point I'm trying to make is that one isn't better than the other, as you seem to be implying. They all have their uses, and we shouldn't be eschewing one mode for another.

Driving in this area is a total clusterfark, mostly because 15-20 years ago people were arguing exactly as you are now, and many roads (and Potomac river crossings) that should have been built back then were abandoned in favor of "smart growth." See, it was the fervent belief of smart growthers that if you didn't build or improve the roads, and focused only on public transport, that people wouldn't move to certain areas and sprawl wouldn't occur. Well, guess what? They were wrong. Entirely, totally, completely 100% wrong. People and their cars DID show up, and now you can't get around in this area with any ease at all.

Could public transport ease some of the congestion now? Yes, it could. But as I pointed out, Metro to my area is at least 20 years off (look up the Silver Line and see how long it took them to get that off the ground), and other ideas like a Bus Rapid Transit get thrown out almost as soon as they're proposed. So it's car time for me and my neighbors that don't want to live in a high-rise filing cabinet in the concrete jungle.


You realize that expanding roads doesn't do much to fix the congestion problem. Sure, making a two lane road into a four lane road will help, but after that the returns diminish significantly. The reality of the situation is that bigger roads/more roads just means that more people will drive, meaning even more congestion.

It doesn't help that there are good business reasons for having densely packed business districts. It makes sense to have a "loop" or a "downtown" area. You can provide essential services to a lot of businesses and have better infrastructure. It is easier to have business meetings. It is just nice to be centrally located. The trade off is that you get millions of people fighting there way into this business district.

One way to control this is parking spaces, which can cost up to 30$-50$ a day in some cities. However, the best way to control it is to make sure the roads are maintained, but are not expanded just because they are "at-capacity." This forces people on to trains and buses, and gets them off the road, which costs society less money.

The problem with your area, as you describe it, is that the cost of commuting by car was being subsidized by artificially low fuel prices that did not account for the true cost of owning and driving car. If people had been forced to pay the actual cost of commuting by car, the sprawl would not have developed because it would simply be too expensive.

The problem we have now is that we have all this sprawl, all these cars, and all these bad habits, which are
unsustainable. There comes a point where society is just going to have to figure out a way to pull the plug on subsidizing unsustainable commuting lifestyles.
 
2013-11-27 12:31:43 PM

wax_on: Must be because they know the Ca high speed rail plan is a bad one.


High speed rail (or something similar) is a great idea.  The implementation in CA has been very poor.
 
2013-11-27 12:59:36 PM
As an aside - looking at Amtrak's financial statements is interesting.

-Their Northeast Corridor trains they make somewhere around $400M in operational profit on $1.1B in revenue.

-Their short distance regional commuter trains are varying levels of slightly above to slightly below break even.  Losing operationally somewhere around $200M on $700M in revenue in total, but that loss is covered by the states involved which agreed to subsidize losses when they asked Amtrak to run those routes for them.

-Their long distance cross country routes lose around $450M$ on $2.4B in revenue.


Those numbers don't count depreciation, capital expenses, general administration, etc. , so Amtrak's actual loss that must be covered by the Federal Gov't is in the range of $1.2B/year currently.

But you're really looking at 3 entirely different types of trains.  The NEC makes plenty of money (which is why Amtrak is trying to use whatever money they can scrounge up that isn't earmarked for some other project to expand that - and also why you hear Republican's talking about spinning that section off to the private sector occasionally).

The regional commuter trains are a mix, but overall they're really not doing that well at all from a profit standpoint.  But they're like bus systems - the cities they're in find them valuable to run anyway because they save money on highway expansions and other services.

The long distance trains are not worth it, but we feel like maintaining them as a capability for our country is worth it.

So the question is really whether California's project will end up being more like the NEC or more like the various commuter rail lines.  Being an actual High Speed Rail system in a reasonably densely populated area, my guess would be the former.
 
2013-11-27 01:04:39 PM

Muta: FTA:  In a major legal blow to the California bullet train, a Sacramento judge ruled that state officials cannot pursue their plan to tap billions of dollars in voter-approved bond funding for construction, a decision that could cause indefinite delays in the massive $68-billion project.

Typical activist judge overriding the will of the people.


The bond measure came with requirements that haven't been met, in fact the are not even close to being met. The judge is enforcing those requirements. If he had allowed the rail authority to tap into the bond money then he would have been overriding the will of the people.
 
2013-11-27 01:25:56 PM

StopLurkListen: Widening the 5, the 405, the 10, 99 and 101, and the dozens of other regional freeways, and expanding LAX, SFO, OAK, SJO, BUR and VNY as well as creating a couple of new airports in the Central Valley are a much cheaper way to accomodate the expected 60% more people who are expected to live in California in 2050.

/SARCASM


Why on earth would we need to increase the size of airports? As passenger demand goes up they simply build airplanes that can carry more passengers at once, perhaps you haven't noticed the new Airbus A380's that land at SFO on a regular basis. As far as the central valley goes, nobody farking goes there. They go through there on their way to SF or LA so why would they need more airports?

As to the road issues, a lot of those roads aren't used to get from SF to LA by anyone who is sane. I5 (which is the main driving route from SF to LA) is not anywhere near capacity, I go down it fairly regularly and aside from the very end at the LA side of it it's 70+ all the way. 99 and 101 aren't used to get from LA to SF by anyone but people who either want to take the scenic route (101) or who are staying inside the central valley (99). Taking 99 from SF to LA adds about 80 miles to the trip and taking 101 adds at least a couple of hours.
 
2013-11-27 01:27:22 PM
I've voted for Jerry Brown on every ballot he's appeared on for nearly 30 years.

I'm also an unrepentant, dreamy-eyed futurist.  Windmills, tube technology, algae-powered automobiles, and space elevators?   I'm all over it.

But this particular Bullet Train deal?  It's DOA.  Jerry's gotta let this one go, man.
 
2013-11-27 02:18:55 PM
p1.img.cctvpic.com

Oh Herro!!!
In 2020 China will take over the world and m'ricans will still be beating that ole "USA #1" drum.
 
2013-11-27 02:23:53 PM

Radioactive Ass: I5 (which is the main driving route from SF to LA) is not anywhere near capacity


So I must say that it's closer than I'd like.

The way that it works is this:

The right lane is a more or less solid line of trucks going 55.
The left lane is a more or less solid line of cars going 85+.
Anyone who tries to go 70 (like me, the dipshiat who doesn't want yet another speeding ticket) is forced to weave like mad and get run off the road before they give up and either pretend to be a truck going 55 or get in the left lane and go 85+.

Whenever a car wants to pass (depressingly often, because the Central Valley is long and boring as fark), the car gets into the right lane in a gap between trucks and proceeds to run up the ass of the truck in front of it  (at 85 +) before ducking into the left lane again right before it rams the truck that it's catching up to.

Whenever a truck wants to pass, it merges left into the left lane, and hilarity ensues as every car for MILES slams on their brakes and the entire freeway accordions as the 2 trucks pass each other with a speed differential of .1 MPH for the next 10 minutes.

Seriously, it's probably the most dangerous rural freeway I've ever been on.
 
2013-11-27 02:26:38 PM

wotthefark: [p1.img.cctvpic.com image 850x566]

Oh Herro!!!
In 2020 China will take over the world and m'ricans will still be beating that ole "USA #1" drum.


Population Density is a biatch isn't it.
www.washingtonpost.com

/High Speed Rail makes ZERO sense nationally.
//It makes some sense regionally, depending on the region.
///We do need more mass transit hookups to airports though.
 
2013-11-27 02:51:18 PM

meyerkev: /High Speed Rail makes ZERO sense nationally.
//It makes some sense regionally, depending on the region.
///We do need more mass transit hookups to airports though.


Horse shiat.  High speed rail needs point sources of high density.  We actually do quite well in that regard.

Would you say that, say, Chicago doesn't have enough people packed together to fill up a train?  Just because China has endless square miles full of a high density of peasants who never ride the train doesn't mean that they have some kind of magic that makes it work out better.  Their trains run between big cities.  It might shock you, but the United States also has lots of big cities.

No, the real reason that they were able to build a high speed rail network is because they thought it was a good idea.
 
2013-11-27 03:05:26 PM

seanpg71: As an aside - looking at Amtrak's financial statements is interesting.

-Their Northeast Corridor trains they make somewhere around $400M in operational profit on $1.1B in revenue.

-Their short distance regional commuter trains are varying levels of slightly above to slightly below break even.  Losing operationally somewhere around $200M on $700M in revenue in total, but that loss is covered by the states involved which agreed to subsidize losses when they asked Amtrak to run those routes for them.

-Their long distance cross country routes lose around $450M$ on $2.4B in revenue.


Those numbers don't count depreciation, capital expenses, general administration, etc. , so Amtrak's actual loss that must be covered by the Federal Gov't is in the range of $1.2B/year currently.

But you're really looking at 3 entirely different types of trains.  The NEC makes plenty of money (which is why Amtrak is trying to use whatever money they can scrounge up that isn't earmarked for some other project to expand that - and also why you hear Republican's talking about spinning that section off to the private sector occasionally).

The regional commuter trains are a mix, but overall they're really not doing that well at all from a profit standpoint.  But they're like bus systems - the cities they're in find them valuable to run anyway because they save money on highway expansions and other services.

The long distance trains are not worth it, but we feel like maintaining them as a capability for our country is worth it.

So the question is really whether California's project will end up being more like the NEC or more like the various commuter rail lines.  Being an actual High Speed Rail system in a reasonably densely populated area, my guess would be the former.


Except that if you have ever driven up I-5 you'll notice nothing...  miles and miles of farking nothing.   It's a hugely important agricultural area, but crops don't need a bullet train.  In the end, what you really have is a straight shot between two reasonably large densely populated areas separated by about three hundred miles.  Metro LA to the south, and the Bay Area to the north.   So what we have here is something more akin to the Acela going from Boston to DC, but without any of the intermediate stops like New Haven, NYC, or Philly.

This whole project is and always has been a political pipe dream of epic proportions.  If you look at it simply, it's designed to fail.

First, there are engineering issues.  You can't use existing rail lines, they aren't built for speed and the dispatching issues involved in dodging slower traffic are a nightmare.  If you've ever ridden the Acela, you know how much faster and smoother it gets once it gets off the old New Haven tracks it shares with Metro North and closer to Boston.  So we have to build a whole new railroad.  That's what most other a nations serious about high speed rail have done.  The engineering task in doing that however, is daunting.  Not impossible, but difficult as fark because the southern end of the line has to pass through some reasonably steep mountains, and you have to keep grades and curves minimal to keep speeds up.  Oh, and you have to account for the earthquakes too.  Then of course, there is the political issue of building a rail line right through a couple major cities.  Eminent Domain, endless public hearings as neighborhoods get bulldozed, EPA lawsuits...  more money to buy off local communities.

So this is going to be a massively expensive project to what benefit?  Thing is, there isn't really a whole lot of passenger traffic between NorCal and SoCal.  It will never make money on ticket recipes for the same reason it can't really get a lot of public support, not that many people are interested in the service it offers, you don't hear people screaming for a better way to get up and down the state.  Especially not at the cost.  Asking a state that is tapped out and rocketing towards insolvency to spend piles of cash on something that would be 'nice to have' is a bit much for people to stomach right now.

Now, Los Angeles - Las Vegas...  ever see that road on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon?  There is a market.
 
2013-11-27 04:04:29 PM
Hollie Maea:
Would you say that, say, Chicago doesn't have enough people packed together to fill up a train? Just because China has endless square miles full of a high density of peasants who never ride the train doesn't mean that they have some kind of magic that makes it work out better. Their trains run between big cities. It might shock you, but the United States also has lots of big cities.

The US has lots of big cities, but most of the big ones are too far apart for reasonable rail travel. China has a bunch of big cities that are pretty much stacked on top of each other. Ditto for Japan. And the same goes for much of Europe. They all have high-speed lines that connect big cities with other big cities - at about half the distance or less of the SF-LA boondoggle.

The people who put together the California high speed rail plan? They lied. A lot. One of the earliest things they pulled was to estimate a completely insane ridership level between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They pretended that, with fares similar to current air fare prices, ten times as many people would travel between the cities. Now, if they could come up with a cost savings, they might get some increase in travel, but ten times? Not going to happen.

Even with crazy-cheap ticket prices (say, $50 round trip), not that many people are going to run off to the other end of the state for no particular reason. Trip costs aren't the whole issue, either. San Francisco doesn't have enough hotel rooms to handle that imagined traffic surge, and neither does Los Angeles.
 
2013-11-27 05:53:55 PM

meyerkev: Radioactive Ass: I5 (which is the main driving route from SF to LA) is not anywhere near capacity

So I must say that it's closer than I'd like.

The way that it works is this:

The right lane is a more or less solid line of trucks going 55.
The left lane is a more or less solid line of cars going 85+.
Anyone who tries to go 70 (like me, the dipshiat who doesn't want yet another speeding ticket) is forced to weave like mad and get run off the road before they give up and either pretend to be a truck going 55 or get in the left lane and go 85+.

Whenever a car wants to pass (depressingly often, because the Central Valley is long and boring as fark), the car gets into the right lane in a gap between trucks and proceeds to run up the ass of the truck in front of it  (at 85 +) before ducking into the left lane again right before it rams the truck that it's catching up to.

Whenever a truck wants to pass, it merges left into the left lane, and hilarity ensues as every car for MILES slams on their brakes and the entire freeway accordions as the 2 trucks pass each other with a speed differential of .1 MPH for the next 10 minutes.

Seriously, it's probably the most dangerous rural freeway I've ever been on.


this is funny cause i used to drive a truck and had to sometimes give up passing the truck in front of me if a hill came up.  luckily the i5 is flat, so things arent worse, but your right about the line of trucks.  p.s. california is like the only state that has a speed limit of 55.   most states are 65 (and have less traffic)
 
2013-11-28 02:54:22 AM

cirby: Hollie Maea:
Would you say that, say, Chicago doesn't have enough people packed together to fill up a train? Just because China has endless square miles full of a high density of peasants who never ride the train doesn't mean that they have some kind of magic that makes it work out better. Their trains run between big cities. It might shock you, but the United States also has lots of big cities.

The US has lots of big cities, but most of the big ones are too far apart for reasonable rail travel. China has a bunch of big cities that are pretty much stacked on top of each other. Ditto for Japan. And the same goes for much of Europe. They all have high-speed lines that connect big cities with other big cities - at about half the distance or less of the SF-LA boondoggle.

The people who put together the California high speed rail plan? They lied. A lot. One of the earliest things they pulled was to estimate a completely insane ridership level between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They pretended that, with fares similar to current air fare prices, ten times as many people would travel between the cities. Now, if they could come up with a cost savings, they might get some increase in travel, but ten times? Not going to happen.

Even with crazy-cheap ticket prices (say, $50 round trip), not that many people are going to run off to the other end of the state for no particular reason. Trip costs aren't the whole issue, either. San Francisco doesn't have enough hotel rooms to handle that imagined traffic surge, and neither does Los Angeles.


I once calculated that in order to make revenue targets at the price quoted there would have to be trains loaded with 500 poee leaving both LA and SF every 5 minutes 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
 
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