No. of Recommendations: 1
A $53 Billion Plan to Bring High-Speed Rail to the U.S.

"It's no secret that the U.S. lags behind countries throughout Europe and Asia in the high-speed rail department. In 2009, the Obama administration announced a plan to catch the country up with an $8 billion high-speed rail project. But apparently, that wasn't enough money. [shocking]

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a strategy to spend a whopping $53 billion on high-speed rail over the next six years. It's a plan that will, according to Biden, bring the U.S. closer to giving 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years--a goal highlighted in Obama's recent State of the Union address."

http://www.fastcompany.com/1725228/a-53-billion-plan-to-brin...

$53 billion to give us a never-ending stream of losses. Actually, I would be surprised if it only cost $53 billion.
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High speed rail just doesn't make sense here in the US. Yes, I can see lines that connect Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, and a few other large Northeast cities where the population density is high. But a national wide rail system?

They just aren't price competitive and esp time competitive with planes if you're going from NY to Florida, or from Chicago to LA, or Portland to Houston. As fast as these trains may be, they're still no match for a plane streaking across the sky at 580 mph.
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It would be cheaper to buy every American a eco-weenie-mobile every year for the next few decades... and it would work better too no doubt.

/My need for high speed rail: 0
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High speed rail just doesn't make sense here in the US. Yes, I can see lines that connect Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, and a few other large Northeast cities where the population density is high. But a national wide rail system?

They just aren't price competitive and esp time competitive with planes if you're going from NY to Florida, or from Chicago to LA, or Portland to Houston. As fast as these trains may be, they're still no match for a plane streaking across the sky at 580 mph.
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Maybe right now those things are true, but it will take quite a bit of time to make high speed rail viable in this country and by then, maybe the price of an airline ticket will be so high that train travel will be worth it. If you can't see that we need some way of reducing our dependence on foreign oil or even domestic, you must not be one of those people who believes in peak oil.

I just went by train last autumn from Wash DC to Gainesville, Ga and I won't do that again -- not unless they have better tracks devoted to passenger travel and hopefully when they can go faster. I look forward to traveling on a train when they improve the system.
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Maybe right now those things are true, but it will take quite a bit of time to make high speed rail viable in this country and by then, maybe the price of an airline ticket will be so high that train travel will be worth it. If you can't see that we need some way of reducing our dependence on foreign oil or even domestic, you must not be one of those people who believes in peak oil.

We don't need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil or even domestic. The market will take care of that.

There is no way in hell that such a rail system wouldn't run losses as far as the eye can see, which is why private companies won't touch it.
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There is no way in hell that such a rail system wouldn't run losses as far as the eye can see, which is why private companies won't touch it.
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Private enterprise is greedy, and they'd screw you over for a buck, but for some reason they won't touch this. Very odd.

Coyote on rail and mass transit, he is wise:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass...
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You would think Abraham Lincoln had enough to worry about with the Civil War, but apparently he knew that the Trancontinental railroad was America's future--
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from wikipedia: The construction and operation of the line was authorized by the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864 during the American Civil War.

from: http://www.shmoop.com/transcontinental-railroad/politics.htm...
Lincoln, of course, is remembered as the signer of the Emancipation Proclamation and the savior of the Union. He's less known as a great friend of the transcontinental railroad, but his role in the story is similarly important. Part of Lincoln's reputation as a lawyer rested on his early work promoting the growth of the railroads, and as chief executive, Lincoln proved to be a railroad man with a truly national vision. He supported Judah's land grant proposal (giving the railroads alternating parcels of land along the transcontinental route), and he established a universal rail size, known as standard gauge, that enabled the nation's many smaller rail networks to begin to forge a greater network that was truly national.

Lincoln's early support for the transcontinental lines was crucial, and it points to the importance politics and politicians held for the project as a whole. Just as slavery—a political issue—proved more than sufficient to hamstring the efforts of Pacific rail promoters for decades, once construction was underway, favorable legislation and support in Washington remained a decisive factor. Both the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific depended on government loans, guarantees, and funding to get underway, and they lobbied constantly to keep the good will flowing. The CP's Collis Huntington and the UP's "Doc" Durant became veritable fixtures in Washington, currying favor, greasing the wheels, and at least in Durant's case, directing large amounts of stock and money toward people with positions of influence. Whereas the dominant political wisdom of the early-nineteenth century had insisted on keeping the federal government at a distance from business and the creation of infrastructure, in the time of the transcontinental railroad, it became clear that the two spheres couldn't be completely divorced.

Much has been made of the role the transcontinental railroad played in tying the Union together by uniting the proverbial "house divided." Yet the relationship between politics and private investment on the railroads in the 1860s hints that another gap was bridged, as well: the separation of government and business that had been staunchly defended just a few decades earlier.
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You would think Abraham Lincoln had enough to worry about with the Civil War, but apparently he knew that the Trancontinental railroad was America's future...

Maybe he *thought* it was America's future, but that's an entirely different story. Besides, we already have well developed transportation systems. Don't you think that the situation is just a *little* bit different today? Or is it that you are willing to go to any length necessary to rationalize government intervention in what is certainly going to be a drain on taxpayers indefinitely?
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I just went by train last autumn from Wash DC to Gainesville, GA and I won't do that again -- not unless they have better tracks devoted to passenger travel and hopefully when they can go faster. I look forward to traveling on a train when they improve the system.

Lindytoes


The problem with railroads is passenger trains lose money while freight doesn’t. The whole railroad system covering Canada and the US is designed for freight and that’s why it’s cheaper to transport a pig from Texas to Toronto than a person.

Passenger trains need routing across track in continuity. To have specific passenger routes means all freight is diverted off the track so the passenger train can get to its destination. It’s either that or double up track – and that’s expensive.

Plus passenger trains can’t deadhead. They have to be effective from Toronto to Dallas as they are from Dallas to Toronto. CN can deadhead 200 empty cars at a minimal cost; can’t do this with an eight-car passenger train.

Then there’s the track itself. The track needed for freight and the track needed for high-speed passenger trains is vastly different – and the difference is costly. A 50-car freight using two tractors moving at 65 mph needs a track commensurate: same with an eight-car passenger going at 150 mph. And the maintenance on both differs significantly.

So here’s my choice: I have a 150-car freight going from Prince Rupert in BC to Dallas in Texas. I have two to four containers of goods on each car. Distance cost per container is, say, $400. My return on that train is about $250,000. Now say I have an eight-car passenger with 50 passengers per car for a total of 400 people. See how much I would have to charge them to equal my freight return: $625 per person. Now compare that to airfare at about $250. Or driving at less than $450 in gas.

Passenger trains are, as far as the railroads are concerned, a losing proposition.

And even worse is adding in high-speed rail.

MichaelR
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Passenger trains are, as far as the railroads are concerned, a losing proposition.

And even worse is adding in high-speed rail.
_______________________________________________

Hi Michael,

You seem to have looked into the issue at least more than I have. Perhaps you have run across something which seems to bewitch these type of issues.

As a general proposition, is it actually less energy efficient to use rail for passengers than air travel? I would assume at the low capacity they would operate that the energy generation required to move these behemoths would be tremendous, combining that with the maintenance requirement that are massive (and will take fuel to reach) I expect there really will not be a significant saving over air travel.

I find this entire endeavor to be fairly interesting. Conservatives - the people supposedly looking to take us backwards find little use for the project in general, liberals society's proclaimed vanguard to progress use the railroads of the 1800's as their cause of the day to justify what? Interesting dynamic IMO

But just wondering if yo have run into any data on the Al Gore , errggggh I mean energy footprint of this issue.

I was trying to think of a business that would be interested in partnering - perhaps Fed Ex? They likely could make some use of this system. Just seems like an insanely bad idea to me, but like any issue I am sure there are more complexities involved.
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So here’s my choice: I have a 150-car freight going from Prince Rupert in BC to Dallas in Texas. I have two to four containers of goods on each car. Distance cost per container is, say, $400. My return on that train is about $250,000. Now say I have an eight-car passenger with 50 passengers per car for a total of 400 people. See how much I would have to charge them to equal my freight return: $625 per person. Now compare that to airfare at about $250. Or driving at less than $450 in gas.

Passenger trains are, as far as the railroads are concerned, a losing proposition.


Well, that's a good analysis except for one thing. You're comparing things "today" instead of "tomorrow."

What would an analysis of moving anything by truck vs. rail have looked like before the Interstate Highway System was constructed? Roads were two lane affairs, running through the center of towns, stop lights and pedestrians in the way, potholes and poor maintenance a regular thing. Trucks could average maybe 20 mph instead of 50; accidents were more common, transit took far longer.

What would the cost be of air travel if the government hadn't invested heavily in building airports across the land, mandating safety improvements, and running the radar towers which keep airliners safe and running efficiently with takeoffs every 90 seconds?

It's easy to say "high speed rail is inefficient" where there isn't any. It's like the people who said "truck transport is inefficient" when there weren't decent roads.

Build the infrastructure, and it will come. What was the cost of shipping grain from the Great Lakes region to the East Coast before the Erie Canal was built? Astronomical, which is why so little shipping happened. Build the infrastructure and the cost plummets. (Over 95% in the case of canals.)
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Build the infrastructure, and it will come.

Not necessarily. Two examples.

One, brother lives outside of Sacramento. Spent millions of dollars for a rail system running through town. He says the only ones riding it are bums and they get government assisted passes. Plus, its cheaper for his family of four to drive their car, pay for parking, pay for gas, to ride downtown for an event instead of riding the rail.

Two, MARTA in Atlanta. You figured this would have high volume just to avoid the traffic of Atlanta. Again, its risking your life to ride MARTA according to my cousins that live there. The only time MARTA was put to its full use was during the Atlanta Olympics and if you had an event ticket you got a free ride.

America, outside of the cramped Northeast, is to travel independent to trade cars for rails and too impatient to trade planes for high speed rail no matter how fast.

JLC
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So here’s my choice: I have a 150-car freight going from Prince Rupert in BC to Dallas in Texas. I have two to four containers of goods on each car. Distance cost per container is, say, $400. My return on that train is about $250,000. Now say I have an eight-car passenger with 50 passengers per car for a total of 400 people. See how much I would have to charge them to equal my freight return: $625 per person. Now compare that to airfare at about $250. Or driving at less than $450 in gas.

Passenger trains are, as far as the railroads are concerned, a losing proposition.


Well, that's a good analysis except for one thing. You're comparing things "today" instead of "tomorrow."


Before you pretend that this time it's different, please see:

Megaprojects and Risk
http://boards.fool.com/megaprojects-and-risk-29090835.aspx

What would the cost be of air travel if the government hadn't invested heavily in building airports across the land, mandating safety improvements, and running the radar towers which keep airliners safe and running efficiently with takeoffs every 90 seconds?

The cost would likely be much cheaper. We don't avoid costs by having the government pay for it or mandate it.
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You said it yourself...

"It's no secret that the U.S. lags behind countries throughout Europe and Asia in the high-speed rail department."

So obviously, other countries seem to believe high-speed passenger rail is a good thing. I think it is a good thing for the USA as well.

Regards, TTT.
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As a general proposition, is it actually less energy efficient to use rail for passengers than air travel? I would assume at the low capacity they would operate that the energy generation required to move these behemoths would be tremendous, combining that with the maintenance requirement that are massive (and will take fuel to reach) I expect there really will not be a significant saving over air travel.

Lowstudent


High-speed rail is all electric. An example of the one proposed for California is the Bombardier Zefiro 380 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zefiro_380#Zefiro_380 )

The power use is somewhat comparable to air but with higher speed the selling feature the load weight (tractor and cars) has to be less and that affects cost-per-ton moved. That weight factor also affects the number of people/car ratio. Rest assured, there will be a weight restriction on luggage.

I find this entire endeavor to be fairly interesting. Conservatives - the people supposedly looking to take us backwards find little use for the project in general, liberals society's proclaimed vanguard to progress use the railroads of the 1800's as their cause of the day to justify what? Interesting dynamic IMO

Cheapest way to move anything is by barge. That’s why so many canal systems were built in the late 1800s. Where there wasn’t water travel then railroads were the next cheapest choice. Where the railroads stopped then the horse-drawn dray was the choice. The thrust to expand the railroads was because of the cost of goods movement by horse. Politics played a huge part in that expansion. Still does.

I was trying to think of a business that would be interested in partnering - perhaps Fed Ex? They likely could make some use of this system. Just seems like an insanely bad idea to me, but like any issue I am sure there are more complexities involved.

Already does. It’s the freight load on a Boeing 747 that pays for the flight and passengers are gravy but that’s getting thin gruel: a pound of freight pays more to the airline than a pound of passenger. Plus freight doesn’t complain.

My concern with high-speed rail isn’t only the staggering cost of it but it’s usefulness in a world where technology has decreased distance/connection. The telegraph completely altered the efficiency of commerce. The Internet to an even greater extent.

The Chinese are investing in high-speed rail because it does, in their economy, overcome other inefficiencies. I doubt that exists in North America.

MichaelR
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First, you indicate, JLC, that the city of Sacramento "spent millions of dollars for a rail system". How much was spent (and is continued to be spent) on the roads and bridges around Sacramento?

If they hadn't built 8-lane highways around and through the city, do you think that people other than bums would ride the rail system?

Second, on a recent trip to Atlanta, I flew to the airport, and walked right from the plane to a MARTA train. Paid $1.50 for a one-way ticket, and took a train to a station near the meeting location, and a colleague picked me up at the station, a few block from the meeting location. Did the same thing in reverse to get back. Now, this was during daylight hours, on a weekday. I have no idea what it's like to take a MARTA train a 2 AM on Saturday morning. I know I'm not the target market for MARTA rail service, and that it needs to survive on its own. But there were a very diverse set of folks riding the train - lots of students with backpacks, commuters reading books and using laptops during the ride; not just "bums". It served me very well on this trip, much more so than renting a car or paying for a taxi would have.

Like you said, "outside of the cramped Northeast" or certain routes or cities elsewhere, it might be tougher to make a case for rail (high-speed or otherwise). But that's in part due to our existing non-rail transportation investments. It's harder to justify adding this when we already built 8-lane highways to cater to auto traffic, which helped create a culture that expects "independent" travel. But that was our choice. We as a society could choose to no longer build wider highways as population and traffic grows but to instead de-commission lanes of traffic and put a rail system on it instead. We could, if we wanted to. Taking 2 lanes of traffic away from the commute in to downtown would certainly get more folks interested in light rail, unless they like a 2 hour commute to work each day.

Don't you think it's a bit of a stretch to conclude that consumers are "too impatient to trade planes for high speed rail no matter how fast"? Plane travel isn't necessarily getting easier, or more convenient, or faster. How many days did it take to restore plane service after the big winter storms, and how many people and businesses were disrupted because of that? Seems to me that passenger rail can work and does work (already in some places in the US, and other areas around the world).

MotleyFooley
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Already does. It’s the freight load on a Boeing 747 that pays for the flight and passengers are gravy but that’s getting thin gruel: a pound of freight pays more to the airline than a pound of passenger. Plus freight doesn’t complain.
____________________________________

But trains would offer more potential utility, with custom UPS/Fedex cars allowing for additional automation. I was thinking of ones where rails could actually offer an advantage.

I agree there is no reason to expect added transportation capacity at a decreased speed from air and not really built for freight is ever going to be an actually 'good' idea in a time when the 'need' for travel is being curtailed both for data and people.

Being electric is largely immaterial. Since we are beyond capacity for non-oil generation anything brought on line is essentially using oil. If we use more electricity we use more oil so I do not know except for the purpose of deceit that it therefore makes any difference.

So basically, we as a society really want to do this, well ... BECAUSE
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You said it yourself...

"It's no secret that the U.S. lags behind countries throughout Europe and Asia in the high-speed rail department."

So obviously, other countries seem to believe high-speed passenger rail is a good thing. I think it is a good thing for the USA as well.

Regards, TTT.


*I* didn't say that, although it is obviously true. Other countries also seem to think that unsustainable welfare states are a good thing too. We are already copying Europe on *that* idiotic notion. Must we copy them on high speed rail too?
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Veep Joe Biden today told reporters that without Obama’s $53 billion high-speed rail boondoggle, “They’re going to own our kids.”
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Sex to save the friendship.

2828
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Veep Joe Biden today told reporters that without Obama’s $53 billion high-speed rail boondoggle, “They’re going to own our kids.”
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Sex to save the friendship.

2828


Yeah, just like the budget will be unsustainable unless the government spends -- oh, sorry, invests -- a lot more on health care. I mean really, how do we expect to balance the budget without dramatically increasing spending -- damn, I mean, investment?
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Veep Joe Biden today told reporters that without Obama’s $53 billion high-speed rail boondoggle, “They’re going to own our kids.”
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Sex to save the friendship.

2828

Yeah, just like the budget will be unsustainable unless the government spends -- oh, sorry, invests -- a lot more on health care. I mean really, how do we expect to balance the budget without dramatically increasing spending -- damn, I mean, investment?
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I guess our pea brains can't do nuance. Curses!
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I suspect Obama must be truly stupid or perhaps insane or maybe both.

Of all the frickin' things he could propose to waste our money on...

I have a better idea--

why not rejuvenate the NASA space shuttle program, spend a few billions or tens of billions on some new shuttles and launch facilities, and just commence on a round the clock, intensive series of launches to shoot bags of U.S. currency into orbit?

THAT would be a more efficient way of wasting our money than high speed rail.
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I suspect Obama must be truly stupid or perhaps insane or maybe both.

Of all the frickin' things he could propose to waste our money on...

I have a better idea--

why not rejuvenate the NASA space shuttle program, spend a few billions or tens of billions on some new shuttles and launch facilities, and just commence on a round the clock, intensive series of launches to shoot bags of U.S. currency into orbit?

THAT would be a more efficient way of wasting our money than high speed rail.
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I've got an even better idea which piggybacks off your idea. Why not just change the mission of NASA from that of space exploration to a mission of making muslims feel good about themselves by spending billions of dollars for no benefit whatsoever, that way we can put ourselves on a path to ruin and at the same time look like weak, pathetic, dhimmi, appeasing, surrender monkeys. It's a win-win.
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I've got an even better idea which piggybacks off your idea. Why not just change the mission of NASA from that of space exploration to a mission of making muslims feel good about themselves by spending billions of dollars for no benefit whatsoever, that way we can put ourselves on a path to ruin and at the same time look like weak, pathetic, dhimmi, appeasing, surrender monkeys. It's a win-win.
__________________________________

I got a win-win-win for ya.

How about we build the high speed rail over there

We get to become rich since like a bazillion dollars comes in for every dollar spent

then they can go broke trying to run it
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to MotleyFooley--

Great post! As a matter of fact, I live near Atlanta. There was talk of building ANOTHER perimeter around Atlanta, like they haven't already paved over 23 counties in the metro area. They want to over populate north of the city even more, moving their pollution and masses into the beautiful north Georgia mountains. I believe the idea was shot down, but without some alternatives in the future, who knows what will happen? Hopefully the price of gas will be so much in the next 10 years that we will be forced to make sensible choices for transportation in this country.
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Why not just change the mission of NASA from that of space exploration to a mission of making muslims feel good about themselves by spending billions of dollars for no benefit whatsoever, that way we can put ourselves on a path to ruin and at the same time look like weak, pathetic, dhimmi, appeasing, surrender monkeys. It's a win-win.

What's scary is how many liberals actually believe it is a win-win.

--fleg
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Are you suggesting we launch muslims into orbit?
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"Hopefully the price of gas will be so much in the next 10 years that we will be forced to make sensible choices for transportation in this country." - lindytoes


LOL! And that would be the starvation and death of half the human population. That is the only thing that will "save us."

It all boils down to too many humans consuming too few resources, or like mom used to say.....

"When it's gone, it's gone!"

<grin!>

Artie
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Are you suggesting we launch muslims into orbit?

We have to prioritize. Liberals first.
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Hopefully the price of gas will be so much in the next 10 years that we will be forced to make sensible choices for transportation in this country.

So would you go against the Democratic platform and support a large increase in the tax on gasoline?
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I guess our pea brains can't do nuance. Curses!

I hadn't previously encountered "ance" as a synonym for "obvious lies", but there is nothing nu about them.
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He's not trying to spend us out of the recession/depression. That's not his plan.


Q: Who do you think will build this?
A: Union labor

Q: Where will the 53 Billion $ spent on this (or more) go?
A: Union labor

Q: Where will money ("donations") for Obama's re-election bid come from?
A: Union labor.

His plan is not to get us out of a bad economic situation. His plan is to try and get re-elected, and he's going to try to use our money to do so.
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...and what is this 53 billion figure? If the stuff going on in California is any indication it's not even 1/1000th of the cost:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass...

In the face of the state’s perpetual budget crisis, some Californians are beginning to regret their votes in favor of the $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond last year. Even though proponents of the train have now admitted the bond was only a down payment on the actual cost to build the system, the numbers that were projected are changing and all in the wrong direction.

The business plan released by the train’s advocates last month show the dramatic differences in what the voters were told and what reality is. For example, the price of a ticket from San Francisco to Los Angeles is now projected at $105, up from the previous $55 estimate. That new number changed the ridership predictions: now 41 million annual riders by 2035, down from last year’s prediction of 55 million passengers by 2030. The cost for building the train system has also grown. The proponents had been thinking $33.6 billion (2008 dollars) but have revised upward to $42.6 billion. Recently, the Obama administration announced $2.25 billion in funding for the project. Proponents said federal money would be used to close the gap between the voter-approved bond and the ultimate cost, but this is a drop in the bucket and still will not work.

Do not expect a true LA to SF high speed rail line for less than $75 billion and the ridership numbers are still absurd, as discussed here. By the way, Southwest’s advanced fair from LAX to SFO is $114 right now. If you are willing to go Burbank to Oakland, the fair is $90.
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It's obvious it's a union payoff, it's almost laughable until you realize it's possible they get away with it.
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And there might be 8 people in a month who need to go from Prince Rupert to Dallas. -FC
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Art -- you will notice I said this country.

Yes, I believe the world is wildly over populated and its going to get worse. BUT the US is not that overpopulated. Our problem is just like other countries, we are concentrated in big cities and on the coasts for the most part. But we are not growing tremendously in population like other countries; now immigration, that is another story. As Hispanics continue to immigrate that demographic grows exponentially since they do believe in having more children.

But I mentioned 10 years and I don't think there will be death and starvation in the US in that time frame -- certainly not 1/2 the US population.

You know I'm not rich. I retired with a fair annuity and great health insurance but there's not much for extravagance. So lower gas prices are helpful to me so that I can continue to help my daughters and maybe some day take a decent vacation.

But in my heart I know the best this for this country, for this world, is to wean ourselves off oil. I would take more public transportation if it was available. In fact, when I move I am going to move closer to where I would drive the most (but walk instead) to do my part for the environment. It isn't much, but if everyone believes they can do a little more then collectively we will make a difference.

You, Art, have often stated that you have done your part by not having children, and now you drive very little. Actually, your whole life has been frugal and not that extravagant, so you have done your part. You help recycle and you reuse so much, you could be a study in frugality. So when I am talking about people doing more, I am not aiming my talk at you -- that is for sure.
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"Q: Where will the 53 Billion $ spent on this (or more) go?
A: Union labor"

--------------------------------------------

The whole reason that the above happened and was posted on this board was so Art would see the nummber #53 and experience another synchronicity.

Same thing with this Shakira video. Notice how many Shakira videos there are?:

Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (The Official 2010 FIFA ... shakiraVEVO 53 videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRpeEdMmmQ0

Is it a sign from the Universe that all of my theories are true? I don't know.

Artie
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"and what is this 53 billion figure?" - 2828


Yes, why 53? Is it a sign for me from the Universe?

Artie
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"You, Art, have often stated that you have done your part by not having children, and now you drive very little. Actually, your whole life has been frugal and not that extravagant, so you have done your part. You help recycle and you reuse so much, you could be a study in frugality. So when I am talking about people doing more, I am not aiming my talk at you -- that is for sure." - lindytoes


Thanks. Yeah, and right now i'm living on squirrel and deer meat. Not even corn fed beef or pork. I had vension chili for lunch today. I abhor waste.

Well there isn't much we can do to stretch out the oil. We can do our part and drive little miserly mini cars and cut way back on our driving but we can't force the rest of the world to do the same. That is out of our hands.

When it's gone it's gone.

Artie
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The Chinese are investing in high-speed rail because it does, in their economy, overcome other inefficiencies.

On my trips to China, we always drove past the busiest train station in the world on the way to my final destination. IIRC, it was near Guangdong (Canton) and at peak times would move over 1 million people a day. Amtrak serves about 25 million a year.

In comparison, China's road system is pathetic, trust me. Especially once you get outside ANY major city. We often drove on the wrong side of the road to avoid pot holes that could swallow a bus. So rail is the way to go. China doesn't depend on rail to transport materials like the USA. All their factories are already on the coast near shipyards. USA, total opposite.

JLC
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I flew to the airport, and walked right from the plane to a MARTA train.

Then that has changed. After 9/11 for awhile the airport stop was eliminated.

...and a colleague picked me up at the station.

So you still needed a car. Another point. Americans want convenience. My stops, my schedule. Don't want to waste time walking or waiting for a late running train/bus.

It was like a few years ago the local paper did a think on bus transportation. Trying to get support for a tax to increase buses, routes, weekend hours, etc., etc., etc. I writer used the bus for a week instead of his personal car. Was a total disaster. Things took 2-3 times as long. Arrived at meeting soaked in sweat by waiting at a stop in a suit in August in Louisiana. Hard to do any significant grocery shopping, can't handle more than two bags.

But there were a very diverse set of folks riding the train - lots of students with backpacks, commuters reading books and using laptops during the ride; not just "bums".

Then things are changing. But there must be demographic shifts according to time of day. I'll take my cousin's word since he lives there.

JLC
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I have a better idea--

why not rejuvenate the NASA space shuttle program, spend a few billions or tens of billions on some new shuttles and launch facilities, and just commence on a round the clock, intensive series of launches to shoot bags of U.S. currency into orbit?



I just heard that the cost of the war in Afghanistan is $2 Billion a week and is projected to go until at least 2018. Talk about shooting bags of U.S. currency into orbit!
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As JLC points out, a lot of countries use their trains mostly for people. Europe and Britain are like that. Trains are for people; "stuff" is moved by trucks (or even lorries <g>). Actually, as the former Soviet east Europe countries catch up, more people appear to have cars. I was surprised to find the huge grocery stores in Budapest actually fairly far outside the city. They probably had buses, but the only efficient way to get there was by car. Especially true if you were buying a lot of stuff. And the stores were packed.

My brother is a train nut. I have spent large amounts of time waiting for his train to come in. They are always late and meeting him at Union Station in DC at 2 am was no fun. And this is with massive taxpayer funding. He also thought my daughter should use public transport to get to work. She tried it a couple of times when she couldn't drive - took her 2 hours instead of 30 minutes each way. That pretty much blows your day.

Time is money <g>

arrete
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But there were a very diverse set of folks riding the train

If they can't force us out of our cars over the carbon dioxide hoax, they'll do it to make us experience diversity.

--fleg
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*I* didn't say that, although it is obviously true. Other countries also seem to think that unsustainable welfare states are a good thing too. We are already copying Europe on *that* idiotic notion. Must we copy them on high speed rail too?

Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous, even allowing for the recession, I'd say yes.

Regards, TTT.
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I suspect Obama must be truly stupid or perhaps insane or maybe both.


Oh, golly gee. If only he could see that, how badly he would feel.

I think I know where the stupid/insane is, though.

Regards, TTT.
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JLC: "Americans want convenience. My stops, my schedule. Don't want to waste time walking or waiting for a late running train/bus."

I live in the suburbs of a sprawling Midwest city (with no natural impediments, they can keep building out as far as they want). But I don't wait in traffic a lot because we've built tons of roads, and expanded them, and re-built major highway interchanges to facilitate automobile traffic. That's made it pretty convenient, sure.

And of course I pay for the roads through my taxes. But I bet (can't be sure, but just a guess that) I don't pay for my share of the roads. I imagine that other folks through their taxes help subsidize my road usage.

In other words, if they put toll roads everywhere so that everyone pays their fair share of road design, build, maintenance, expansion, etc., I imagine that (a) it would be much less convenient having to stop all the time, and (b) folks would balk at paying so much for those roads (and stopping all the time) and want alternatives. Then you'd be in a much better position to judge the costs/benefits of "convenience" and "waiting" and the chance to check your e-mail on your commute instead of just stare an the vanity plate of the car stuck in front of you in traffic.

MotleyFooley
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In other words, if they put toll roads everywhere so that everyone pays their fair share of road design, build, maintenance, expansion, etc., I imagine that (a) it would be much less convenient having to stop all the time, and (b) folks would balk at paying so much for those roads (and stopping all the time) and want alternatives. Then you'd be in a much better position to judge the costs/benefits of "convenience" and "waiting" and the chance to check your e-mail on your commute instead of just stare an the vanity plate of the car stuck in front of you in traffic.

MotleyFooley


Things like E-ZPASS would become far more widespread if tolls became more widespread. You could also charge congestion pricing to help manage traffic.

Check out:

John Stossel - The Case for Private Roads
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a2EhgADVFY
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In other words, if they put toll roads everywhere so that everyone pays their fair share of road design, build, maintenance, expansion, etc., I imagine that (a) it would be much less convenient having to stop all the time, and (b) folks would balk at paying so much for those roads (and stopping all the time) and want alternatives. Then you'd be in a much better position to judge the costs/benefits of "convenience" and "waiting" and the chance to check your e-mail on your commute instead of just stare an the vanity plate of the car stuck in front of you in traffic.

MotleyFooley

Things like E-ZPASS would become far more widespread if tolls became more widespread. You could also charge congestion pricing to help manage traffic.



Here in Dallas and Texas overall actually, they've recently done away with toll booths altogether. No more stopping at all. You get these RF passes that you stick on your windshield. I don't have one, so I would always get charges by mail.
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... and Texas overall actually, they've recently done away with toll booths altogether...

Unless they've gone on a massive demolition campaign since I was up in Houston in November, that's not quite true.

In Houston there are one or two toll roads that are EZPass only. But the big Sam Houston Tollway around town still has toll booths available for people who don't have EZPass.

G.F.
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Unless they've gone on a massive demolition campaign since I was up in Houston in November, that's not quite true.

In Houston there are one or two toll roads that are EZPass only. But the big Sam Houston Tollway around town still has toll booths available for people who don't have EZPass.

G.F.




I know here in Dallas (NTTA), they've done away with booths. I thought I had read or saw on TV that the rest of Texas was going that way too.
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I've got an even better idea which piggybacks off your idea. Why not just change the mission of NASA from that of space exploration to a mission of making muslims feel good about themselves by spending billions of dollars for no benefit whatsoever that way we can put ourselves on a path to ruin and at the same time look like weak, pathetic, dhimmi, appeasing, surrender monkeys. It's a win-win.

Is this the Unintended Irony board? Um, we've needlessly poured approximately $775 billion into the sand in Iraq and "put ourselves well on the path to ruin" already. bin Laden sends his thanks.

It's obvious it's a union payoff, it's almost laughable until you realize it's possible they get away with it.

Yeah, the Haliburton payoff provided such a better ROI.
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JLC: "Americans want convenience. My stops, my schedule. Don't want to waste time walking or waiting for a late running train/bus."

I live in the suburbs of a sprawling Midwest city (with no natural impediments, they can keep building out as far as they want). But I don't wait in traffic a lot because we've built tons of roads, and expanded them, and re-built major highway interchanges to facilitate automobile traffic. That's made it pretty convenient, sure.

And of course I pay for the roads through my taxes. But I bet (can't be sure, but just a guess that) I don't pay for my share of the roads. I imagine that other folks through their taxes help subsidize my road usage.

In other words, if they put toll roads everywhere so that everyone pays their fair share of road design, build, maintenance, expansion, etc., I imagine that (a) it would be much less convenient having to stop all the time, and (b) folks would balk at paying so much for those roads (and stopping all the time) and want alternatives. Then you'd be in a much better position to judge the costs/benefits of "convenience" and "waiting" and the chance to check your e-mail on your commute instead of just stare an the vanity plate of the car stuck in front of you in traffic.

MotleyFooley
----------------
And what MFs discussion didn't cover, is that what we pay for roads and sprawl cannot be completely calculated until we see what permanent damage to an ecosystem means. If we completely ruined our environment, it has consequences financially. If Republicans and conservatives knew what the real cost of industry and expansion without control, they would be all for controlling sprawl and thoughtless, pointless commercial expansion. Is food important as energy for you? Do you like to fish, hunt, boat, camp & hike? Would you like your air to NOT cause asthma and chronic illness, or to not rain acid on forests and destroy them? Would you like drinkable water? Well, if you answer yes to any of those things then you want to know what the value of the ecosystem in your neighborhood is and how it can be protected.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem_services
<snip>
Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services and include products like clean drinking water and processes such as the decomposition of wastes. While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ecosystem services for decades, these services were popularized and their definitions formalized by the United Nations 2004 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), a four-year study involving more than 1,300 scientists worldwide. This grouped ecosystem services into four broad categories: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

As human populations grow, so do the resource demands imposed on ecosystems and the impacts of our global footprint. Natural resources are not invulnerable and infinitely available. The environmental impacts of anthropogenic actions, which are processes or materials derived from human activities, are becoming more apparent – air and water quality are increasingly compromised, oceans are being overfished, pests and diseases are extending beyond their historical boundaries, and deforestation is exacerbating flooding downstream. It has been reported that approximately 40-50% of Earth’s ice-free land surface has been heavily transformed or degraded by anthropogenic activities, 66% of marine fisheries are either overexploited or at their limit, atmospheric CO2 has increased more than 30% since the advent of industrialization, and nearly 25% of Earth’s bird species have gone extinct in the last two thousand years. Society is increasingly becoming aware that ecosystem services are not only limited, but also that they are threatened by human activities. The need to better consider long-term ecosystem health and its role in enabling human habitation and economic activity is urgent. To help inform decision-makers, many ecosystem services are being assigned economic values, often based on the cost of replacement with anthropogenic alternatives. The ongoing challenge of prescribing economic value to nature, for example through biodiversity banking, is prompting transdisciplinary shifts in how we recognize and manage the environment, social responsibility, business opportunities, and our future as a species.
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*I* didn't say that, although it is obviously true. Other countries also seem to think that unsustainable welfare states are a good thing too. We are already copying Europe on *that* idiotic notion. Must we copy them on high speed rail too?

Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous, even allowing for the recession, I'd say yes.

Regards, TTT.


Quite prosperous? The United States is more prosperous than just about every country in Europe. Why do you insist on dragging us down to their level?
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Quite prosperous? The United States is more prosperous than just about every country in Europe.

I haven't seen figures. Got any?

Why do you insist on dragging us down to their level?

They seen to be doing all right at their level, whatever it is.

Regards, TTT.
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Quite prosperous? The United States is more prosperous than just about every country in Europe.

I haven't seen figures. Got any?


Of course I've seen figures. Unlike you, I observe reality and then use reasoning to gain knowledge of the world around me.

GDP per capita:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_...

Unfortunately, GDP per capita overstates the prosperity of countries with high levels of government spending, because it treats every dollar as if they are equivalent. So a dollar spent by a government bureaucrat is treated as equivalent to a dollar spent voluntarily on our own behalf. Still, GDP is better than nothing.
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*I* didn't say that, although it is obviously true. Other countries also seem to think that unsustainable welfare states are a good thing too. We are already copying Europe on *that* idiotic notion. Must we copy them on high speed rail too?

Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous, even allowing for the recession, I'd say yes.

Regards, TTT.

____________________________________

Herein lies the problem.....

When someone starts from this position:

"Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous...."

There's really no point in continuing. Geezzz!!
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"*I* didn't say that, although it is obviously true. Other countries also seem to think that unsustainable welfare states are a good thing too. We are already copying Europe on *that* idiotic notion. Must we copy them on high speed rail too?"

Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous, even allowing for the recession, I'd say yes.

Regards, TTT.

____________________________________

Herein lies the problem.....

When someone starts from this position:

"Since Europe appears to be quite prosperous...."

There's really no point in continuing. Geezzz!!


I know what you mean. This is old, but it's interesting nonetheless:

"THIS REPORT IS ABOUT THE FACT that per capita GDP is lower in most of the countries of Europe than in most of the states of the USA. That France, Italy and Germany have less per capita GDP than all but five of the states of the USA is probably something that messrs Chirac, Schröder and Berlusconi don't wish to know. Or that Göran Persson is prime minister of a country which, if it were a part of the USA, would rank as one of the very poorest states in that Union? Can this be true? Is it plausible? It is both true and plausible. America's GDP is far higher than Europe's and has been so for a long time now, and the American economy has been growing faster than the economies of many European countries in recent decades, not least those of countries like France, Germany and Sweden."

"Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding section, for example, 40 per cent of all Swedish households would rank among low-income households in the USA, and an even greater number in the poorer European countries would be classed as low income earnings by the American definition. In an affluent economy, in other words, it is not unlikely that those perceived as poor in an international perspective are relatively well off."


http://boards.fool.com/eu-economy-vs-usa-economy-20912507.as...
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Unfortunately, GDP per capita overstates the prosperity of countries with high levels of government spending, because it treats every dollar as if they are equivalent.

So generally speaking, government spending is a good thing then.

Looking forward to seeing that rail line built.

Regards, TTT.
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It would be cheaper to buy every American a eco-weenie-mobile every year for the next few decades... and it would work better too no doubt.

/My need for high speed rail: 0



The problem with that is that not "every American" can drive. Some have medical conditions that preclude doing so.
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And just why does this person need high speed rail vs. a taxi or a bus? Another liberal/demo way to spend money we do not have!
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He also thought my daughter should use public transport to get to work. She tried it a couple of times when she couldn't drive - took her 2 hours instead of 30 minutes each way. That pretty much blows your day. -arrete


Of course, there are times and places when the opposite is true. Anyone who lives in Chicago, for instance, knows the experience of being stuck in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, bumper to bumper, creeping along at 5 mph, then watching the el train on its track in the center of the road whiz by at 55 mph. Sometimes public transportation is quicker.
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There's really no point in continuing. Geezzz!!

I'll try to control my disappointment. Doesn't matter anyway. High-speed rail is a good thing to do.

Regards, TTT.
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And just why does this person need high speed rail vs. a taxi or a bus? Another liberal/demo way to spend money we do not have!


Are you talking to me? Because if you are, I didn't say that.

It just seems to me sometimes that some people forget that not "every" human being can drive. The comment I was addressing was that, rather than spending billions on high-speed rail, it would be more cost-effective to provide "every" American with a mini-car instead.

I'm not saying we should spend taxpayer money on high-speed rail. But on a personal level, I'll admit sometimes I find myself a bit envious of the beautiful, modern, high-speed trains of Europe and Asia when all we have here in the US is clunky old Amtrak.

If there were high-speed trains traveling between cities here, I'd certainly use them.

BTW, MotleyFooley made a good point in his earlier post on this thread. Public transportation is statist and collectivist, yes, but it's not like the interstate highway system is some sort of free-market alternative. It isn't.

Perhaps MadCap's rebuttal that roads should be privatized is a good one, but I think pigs will fly before that happens. As Art's mom might've said, "You've got to live in the real world, kiddo."
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BTW, MotleyFooley made a good point in his earlier post on this thread. Public transportation is statist and collectivist, yes, but it's not like the interstate highway system is some sort of free-market alternative. It isn't.

The highway system was partly justified on cold war troop movement requirements. There are even sections that are designed to be closed off and used for runways. Defense is a legitimate function of the federal government. For the same reason, we have a network of federally funded airports where space and usage is leased to privately held common carriers. But a common carrier that isn't private is a whole 'nother matter, especially when the power of government is being used to promote ridership to the exclusion of private common carriers.

1HF
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took her 2 hours instead of 30 minutes each way.

Mmm. Good blocks of reading time.

I'm a public transportation fan as long as there are plenty of bus and streetcar lines, they run frequently and keep late and early morning hours. Enjoyed and appreciated San Francisco public transportation for more than 3 decades. It is well supported by the city, most lines are safe at any time of day or night and many people do not bother owning an automobile at all. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has been a great addition to Bay Area commuting as well. You zip right along, often underground, and frequently reach your destination much quicker than any overland vehicle could get you there. Not rapid transit like BART, the peninsula commuter train from the South Bay is still dependable and comfortable as well although they were making noises about closing it as I was leaving San Francisco in 2001. People were having a fit. Some had ridden it for years and were insulted that it was even under consideration. I knew there would be a long fight ahead.

My favorite public transportation was the ferry from the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street in San Francisco over to Sausalito or Larkspur in Marin County. Usually just took that on weekends for relaxing outings. If I had lived in Sausalito or Mill Valley I would have wanted to take the ferry every day back and forth to work. Lovely way to make the transition from workplace to home.

Just looked up the South Bay peninsula trains and see they are still going strong:

http://www.vta.org/services/caltrain_overview.html

Denver, not so good. Denver is definitely a you better own an automobile town if you want to make sure you get where you're going and on time.
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"As Art's mom might've said, "You've got to live in the real world, kiddo." - Andrew


Life is strange isn't it? Every one of us is making it through life the best we can. Trying to figure it out, dealing with it as best we can.

Another one of my mom's sayings was "Life ain't a bowl of cherries you know!" Meaning that life was hard and so you have to be pragmatic and deal all the crap that life throws at you.

Artie
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"I'm a public transportation fan as long as there are plenty of bus and streetcar lines, they run frequently and keep late and early morning hours. Enjoyed and appreciated San Francisco public transportation for more than 3 decades." - catmeyoo


The times I've visited Washington, D.C. I've enjoyed riding that subway thing that goes all over the place. It was cheap and fun. I've been to D.C. a couple of times with Bonnie when she had meetings there and while she was busy at her meetings I galavanted by myself all over the city seeing the sites and eating downtown.

Never thought about who pays for it. For me "it was what it was." I used it because it was easier than driving and parking my car. Also I didn't know my way around and lacked the confidence to find the places where I wanted to go. I figured it would be quicker just to hop on the Subway.

Artie
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Mmm. Good blocks of reading time.
-----------------

As Art says, riding the Metro in DC can be fun. But it's not fun during rush hour when you are jammed in like sardines and have to stand the whole time. A little hard to read. It you have transportation that goes directly from A to B, it's fine. If, as in my daughter's case, you have to take a bus to the Metro, then change trains, get to your stop and get on another bus (maybe 2 - can't remember), it's not so much fun. Besides, she's pretty good at reading at home, and it's a lot quieter.

But what others are talking about is the cost. The Metro and buses are heavily subsidized and cost an incredible amount to build and maintain. It may make sense in big cities, or compact cities, but in parts of a country as large as the US where there is lots of sparsely settled land, it doesn't make as much sense.

I rode Metro for years because for me it was convenient - pretty much door to door, so I know Metro. But it doesn't work for everyone.

arrete - did I ever tell you all about the woman on Metro who announced in a loud voice that there were aliens on the train and they were only 6 inches high? That's a good way to get some space.
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But what others are talking about is the cost. The Metro and buses are heavily subsidized and cost an incredible amount to build and maintain. It may make sense in big cities, or compact cities, but in parts of a country as large as the US where there is lots of sparsely settled land, it doesn't make as much sense.
------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass...

As predicted by skeptics of light rail, like myself, the Phoenix light rail system is starting to kill bus service. This is a familiar pattern — in most cities that have added rail, from LA to Portland, total transit ridership has fallen as light rail systems have been built. That is because rail is so expensive, and its costs are mostly fixed (ie bond payments for construction costs) and absolutely inflexible (ie you can’t shift routes). Since rail costs far more, even orders of magnitude more, per rider than buses, this means that even with modest increases in total transit budgets, total ridership falls when capacity is being shifted to much higher cost rail. Bus service is inevitably cut, because even if you close rail lines, the costs remain.
-------------------------------------------------------
Yepper. No one is even mentioning the cost. Personally i like trains, but, butt, is it worth it. From what i've read it usually isn't, it's very expensive to build and they usually underestimate the costs and over estimate the ridership, and then they don't take into account the unintended consequences like i listed above. In conclusion, everyone wants a pony, but is having a pony a wise move. Exactly.
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"In conclusion, everyone wants a pony, but is having a pony a wise move. Exactly." - 2828


I've had a pony and I'm just here to tell you, ponies ain't cheap. Actually I had a large horse, 17 hands, and she ate like a horse, and needed to be boarded, hay, feed, and vet care (she kicked a barb wire fence and tore the skin on her shank).

It's sort of like owning a hot tub. I've had one of those too. The initial purchase price isn't all that bad, but then you have to add in the electricity to run the thing, pump and hot water heater, filter maintenance, + chemicals, and they break down a lot so the repair guy has to come out a couple of times a year, and it all adds up very quickly. Keeping and maintaining a hot tub can be very expensive.

But they are nice to own if you can afford it!

Artie
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Another one of my mom's sayings was "Life ain't a bowl of cherries you know!" Meaning that life was hard and so you have to be pragmatic and deal all the crap that life throws at you.

Artie



And now, for a different take on things, here's Dean Martin and Gisele MacKenzie singing that "Life is just a bowl of cherries."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiyC074-VJk&feature=relat...

G.F.
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If life was a bowl of cherries i'd probably get gout less often, cherries are supposedly good for preventing gout, not in my experience though. Weird, last winter i had bouts of gout (bouts of gout, can i trademark that?) all the time, this winter nothing, and as far as i can tell nothing has changed. I dunno.
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The times I've visited Washington, D.C. I've enjoyed riding that subway thing that goes all over the place. It was cheap and fun.... Never thought about who pays for it. For me "it was what it was." I used it because it was easier than driving and parking my car.
Art



Subways are great. The two that I'm most familiar with are the ones in New York City and Mexico City. Both those cities would absolutely choke without the subways taking traffic off the streets.

The Mexico City subway (Metro) is fairly modern. I think they opened the first line in 1969 and are now working on the new Line 12. It's heavily subsidized by the government. But, as I said, the city couldn't function without it. It moves around 4 million riders a day. When we're in Mexico City we probably do 80% of our traveling around in the Metro.

G.F.
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Weird, last winter i had bouts of gout (bouts of gout, can i trademark that?) all the time, this winter nothing, and as far as i can tell nothing has changed. I dunno.
---------------------------

>> Gout may run in families. It is more common in males, postmenopausal women, and people who drink alcohol and eat Pringles. <<
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001459

Mosby
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Speaking of horses, how is it possible they died by electrocution but they don't know the source? I don't get it.
----------------------------
http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/41547467/ns/sports-horse_racin...
Electrocution Suspected as Horses Die Before Race
<not a snip>
NEWBURY, England (AP) -Two horses have collapsed and died in the parade ring at Newbury Racecourse amid fears they were electrocuted.

The reasons for the deaths of Fenix Two and Marching Song before Saturday's first race were not immediately announced by officials at the southern England course.

But Andy Turnell, trainer of Marching Song, says "it looks like they've been electrocuted."

Marching Song's part owner Graham Thorner added that "three people said they were getting a shock off the horse. My fellow (Marching Song) seemed perfectly all right and I was about to leg him up but he just went straight down."

Racing was abandoned at the course as the investigations continued.

Newbury chairman Christopher Spence says "we can't be certain what it is, we all think it's electric, but we don't know."
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Look what I found! A virtual tour of a micro car museum! How fun! It shows all these real little cars that people have made and owned over the years. Wish some of them were still available.

Micro car museum tour

http://www.microcarmuseum.com/virtualtour.html

Artie
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Look what I found! A virtual tour of a micro car museum! How fun! It shows all these real little cars that people have made and owned over the years. Wish some of them were still available. --Artie

Oh cute. I don't think I want one of those little cars but I always thought I would like to have a jeep. I like looking at them--neighbors across the street have one and it is great looking. I almost bought one once but was talked out of it and have always sort of regretted that. I should have had a jeep. Never listen to anybody's advice about anything is my advice <g>.

It's too late now. I'm spoiled by an automatic transmission and Camry comfort.
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"Never listen to anybody's advice about anything is my advice <g>." - catmeyoo


How many movies have been made where some guy takes his friends advice about women and everything totally goes wrong? Or the other way around? Some girl takes her friends advice about boys and everything happens exactly the opposite of what she expects?

When it comes to matters of the heart never take your friend's advice. It never works.

and perhaps that applies to cars too? Sometimes it's difficult for us to remember that "you can't take it with you."

Artie
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arrete - did I ever tell you all about the woman on Metro who announced in a loud voice that there were aliens on the train and they were only 6 inches high? That's a good way to get some space.


Heh. The best way to get people to leave you alone is to give the impression that you're just a little crazy.

I'm thinking about the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is riding the subway and the fat man across from him took all his clothes off and is sitting there naked. Jerry's still sitting there, carrying on a conversation with him, but all the other passengers are standing huddled at the other end of the car.
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Dean Martin and Gisele MacKenzie

I remember when Gisele had her own variety show for a short time. With a name like that she has to be Canadian, don't you think?

--fleg
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(bouts of gout, can i trademark that?)

I certainly hope so. Let's have a shout out for bouts of gout!

--fleg
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Without a doubt, only a lout would have a shout out for bouts of gout!

1HF -- who just had to use it before it got copyrighted
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With a name like that she has to be Canadian, don't you think?

--fleg



Spot on. Born in Winnipeg.

Her father was a doctor in Winnipeg, where MacKenzie was born in 1927. Her real name was Gisele Marie Louise Marguerite LaFleche, but in 1951 she took her father's middle name of MacKenzie, declaring, "Gisele LaFleche sounds like a striptease artist."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/gisele-mackenzi...
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Her real name was Gisele Marie Louise Marguerite LaFleche, but in 1951 she took her father's middle name of MacKenzie, declaring, "Gisele LaFleche sounds like a striptease artist."

I wonder if "fleche" means arrow in French ("flecha" in Spanish). I'm too lazy to look it up so maybe one of our francophiles can answer.

--fleg
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I wonder if "fleche" means arrow in French ("flecha" in Spanish).
--------------------

You are right, according to Cassel's - THE French dictionary.

arrete
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I'm late to the party. In fact it looks like the party is over. But I couldn't resist posting Bobby Samuelson's take on this plan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02...

It's a triumph of fancy over fact. Even if ridership increased fifteenfold over Amtrak levels, the effects on congestion, national fuel consumption and emissions would still be trivial. Land-use patterns would change modestly, if at all; cutting 20 minutes off travel times between New York and Philadelphia wouldn't much alter real estate development in either. Nor is high-speed rail a technology where the United States would likely lead; European and Asian firms already dominate the market.

Governing ought to be about making wise choices. What's disheartening about the Obama administration's embrace of high-speed rail is that it ignores history, evidence and logic.
The case against it is overwhelming. The case in favor rests on fashionable platitudes. High-speed rail is not an "investment in the future"; it's mostly a waste of money. Good government can't solve all our problems, but it can at least not make them worse.
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I couldn't resist posting Bobby Samuelson's take on this plan.

My favorite part:

The administration would pay states $53 billion to build rail networks that would then lose money - lots - thereby aggravating the budget squeezes of the states or federal government, depending on which covered the deficits.

There's something wildly irresponsible about the national government undermining states' already poor long-term budget prospects by plying them with grants that provide short-term jobs.
______________________

I hope that the more than half of the states that are suing to stop ObamaCare also have the good sense to refuse money for this nonsense. But I bet they are threatened by loss of other funding if they don't.

--fleg
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Gov Kasich wanted to use the rail money for road building & maintenance. Sensible. So LaHood said no way & kept the money.

Kasich been a republican since college days. That weren't popular in the early seventies.
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