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  #2541  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 2:23 PM
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Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.
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  #2542  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 2:49 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.
Where the comparison breaks down is the same place every infrastructure comparison between the US and the rest of the world breaks down (cost). I can't find totally accurate numbers, but it's looking like Spain spent roughly 40 Billion Euros for 3,000km of rail whereas California was looking at 100 Billion USD for 840 km.
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  #2543  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 3:23 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.
Great. Now could someone explain why Spain can build rail for almost half the costs of the United States? If we could figure *that* out maybe we wouldn't have the cancel/hold off our projects.

EDIT: I see that someone already brought up this glaringly obvious comparison and the issues with it.
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  #2544  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 4:09 PM
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I don't understand the "we have cheap gas" argument. If/when US petroleum starts being carbon-taxed effectively, or outright banned for certain uses, electric trains powered with renewable energy could easily become required for certain routes currently served primarily by rail.

We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic. It's not that crazy - the Republicans are burning through a trillion a year in deficits, which is about $500 billion per year more deficit spending than was being spent under Obama. $500 billion could just about fund every HSR project in the country. And that amount each year for four years could build every HSR project and every transit project - even "dream" projects.

Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.

It's not about money, it's about political will and political priorities.
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  #2545  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 4:30 PM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
I don't understand the "we have cheap gas" argument. If/when US petroleum starts being carbon-taxed effectively, or outright banned for certain uses, electric trains powered with renewable energy could easily become required for certain routes currently served primarily by rail.

We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic. It's not that crazy - the Republicans are burning through a trillion a year in deficits, which is about $500 billion per year more deficit spending than was being spent under Obama. $500 billion could just about fund every HSR project in the country. And that amount each year for four years could build every HSR project and every transit project - even "dream" projects.

Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.

It's not about money, it's about political will and political priorities.
Well, no one said politicians give a damn about spending money wisely.

However, I don't see the need. Transit in cities? Absolutely. HSR, why? There are only so many destinations that make sense time wise and then you add in the lack urbanity and competition from airlines and it just doesn't work.
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  #2546  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic.
The whole point about stimulus is speed. It doesn't stimulate the economy if you dole out the money and it has to sit in escrow for six years while planning, environmental studies and engineering are done.

Road projects work better under the "shovel-ready" rubric because most states have an ongoing funding stream for planning, environmental, and engineering work that is premised on the reliable funding streams from state and Federal gas tax. Give states a larger than normal check for road projects, and they will have ways to spend it.

If you want to create a big long-term funding program for intercity and urban rail projects, that's something entirely different than stimulus.

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Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.
Attach zoning requirements to a rail project and watch any local support evaporate. It's a valid planning goal but there's no way it works politically with the homeowner class. Transit agencies are doing what they can to increase density on a case-by-case basis around stations, but each station ends up being an independent process and a negotiation with each community where added density is no guarantee.
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  #2547  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 5:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
I've been to California before, but have you been to Japan? There's not even a comparison to be had. I have no doubt parts of California are dense but that doesn't warrant a 70 billion dollar HSR system.

*Oh been to L.A and SF.
How many hundreds of billions do freeways cost? And they are a 100% loss leader. At least HSR would make up some of the cost in ticket sales. The next Dem president should declare a national emergency on climate change and build it.
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  #2548  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 6:08 PM
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How many hundreds of billions do freeways cost? And they are a 100% loss leader. At least HSR would make up some of the cost in ticket sales. The next Dem president should declare a national emergency on climate change and build it.
But HSR is competing with the airlines. Driving from LA to SF is *much* cheaper driving than flying. It will also be much cheaper than HSR.

When will urbanist realize drivers represent the vast majority of Americans. Most people on here that use public transport also have a car. The majority wins.
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  #2549  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 6:34 PM
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Driving is cheaper than flying when carpooling (again, you're not from California so you don't know about airline commuter sales and prices where you can fly from Norcal to Socal for $100 or so). But when you factor in the actual costs of driving: maintenance on your car and the tax dollars, bonds, and compounded interests and costs paid to build and maintain said freeways- is it really cheaper?

And airports are very expensive to maintain but people use airplanes all the time. Amtrak is also popular (and doesn't turn a profit). HSR would be another form of transportation alongside all of these highly subsidized and expensive modes of transportation- with freeways being the most expensive, hands down.

And hopefully hyperloop as well
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  #2550  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 6:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
But HSR is competing with the airlines. Driving from LA to SF is *much* cheaper driving than flying. It will also be much cheaper than HSR.

When will urbanist realize drivers represent the vast majority of Americans. Most people on here that use public transport also have a car. The majority wins.
And when will the O'toole's and Kotkin's of the world realize that many of those things are only true becuase the federal government made a conserted decision to subsidize automobile mode choice, automobile land use and automobile infrastructure above all others, all the while failing to set automotive fuel taxes high enough to sufficiently maintain said infrastructure, let alone all the other social ills unleashed and perpetuated by such an absurd and imbalanced arrangement.
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  #2551  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 7:00 PM
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But HSR is competing with the airlines. Driving from LA to SF is *much* cheaper driving than flying. It will also be much cheaper than HSR. ...
at any published or estimated rate for the cost of car ownership, it's actually not cheaper to drive. those estimates range from 50 to 70 cents per mile. or 400-500 dollars round trip. only cheaper with three people in the car.

if you assume you already own the car, and only factor depreciation, wear and tear, and gas, it still requires two people in the car to make it cheaper.

it's a tragedy the way HSR has gone down here; two regions with 26 million people total and another couple million between them in one of the richest places in the world ought to be able to build a 400 mile rail line.
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  #2552  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 8:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
And when will the O'toole's and Kotkin's of the world realize that many of those things are only true becuase the federal government made a conserted decision to subsidize automobile mode choice, automobile land use and automobile infrastructure above all others, all the while failing to set automotive fuel taxes high enough to sufficiently maintain said infrastructure, let alone all the other social ills unleashed and perpetuated by such an absurd and imbalanced arrangement.
I am not here to say things are right or wrong, but they are what they are. Most people have cars. It gets you anywhere in the country.
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  #2553  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 8:25 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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at any published or estimated rate for the cost of car ownership, it's actually not cheaper to drive. those estimates range from 50 to 70 cents per mile. or 400-500 dollars round trip. only cheaper with three people in the car.

if you assume you already own the car, and only factor depreciation, wear and tear, and gas, it still requires two people in the car to make it cheaper.

it's a tragedy the way HSR has gone down here; two regions with 26 million people total and another couple million between them in one of the richest places in the world ought to be able to build a 400 mile rail line.
Yeah but poor people don't care about depreciation and long-term cost. They can't afford to worry about those things.

And yes, most people travel with more than themselves. In the real world many people have families.

If I fly from Norfolk to Memphis, it will cost me between 300-500 for a RT ticket. If I drive it will cost me about 120 in gas. Even if you add in an oil change(60 bucks) I am up to 180 dollars. Most people will take this if the timing makes sense.
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  #2554  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 8:26 PM
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  #2555  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 8:43 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
It's not about money, it's about political will and political priorities.
Except there WAS a political will to build HSR in California and that will was broken because of money. If CAHSR has done what it said it was going to do the IOS would already be complete and support for the project would be sky high. Indeed delegations from other states would probably be touring California to see it and to try and set up HSR in their own states. Only the most tight-pursed fiscal conservatives would still be opposed. But instead of that possible future we got a decade of delays and cost overruns and so it's no wonder this is the eventual outcome. CAHSR shot itself in the foot, you can't blame the federal government or the opposing political party for this one.
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  #2556  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 9:12 PM
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Good. Now I am hoping that the money from this project can go to something more useful, like better transit within each metropolitan area or, idk, electric self-driving aircraft high speed rail in 10 years when I can afford to move to the PNW / Midwest / Texas.

Last edited by SFBruin; Feb 17, 2019 at 10:48 PM.
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  #2557  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2019, 9:27 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Good. Now I am hoping that the money from this project can go to something more useful, like better transit within each metropolitan area or, idk, electric self-driving aircraft.
Except there is no money for this project. The funding is already all used up (or being used currently in the Central Valley). That was the most fundamental issue with this whole project; they started building without enough money to complete it and no plans on where to get it.
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  #2558  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2019, 12:24 AM
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Except there is no money for this project. The funding is already all used up (or being used currently in the Central Valley). That was the most fundamental issue with this whole project; they started building without enough money to complete it and no plans on where to get it.
25% of the cap-and-trade auction proceeds (each quarter there is $800 to $1 billion in revenue), which means about $800 million per year, had been dedicated to CAHSR. The issue wasn’t that the money was used up. It was that it was not enough even if financing against future cap-and-trade revenue to raise the full $77 billion.



Most recent auction:
https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local...222204730.html
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  #2559  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2019, 3:23 AM
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Originally Posted by mt_climber13 View Post
Driving is cheaper than flying when carpooling (again, you're not from California so you don't know about airline commuter sales and prices where you can fly from Norcal to Socal for $100 or so). But when you factor in the actual costs of driving: maintenance on your car and the tax dollars, bonds, and compounded interests and costs paid to build and maintain said freeways- is it really cheaper?

And airports are very expensive to maintain but people use airplanes all the time. Amtrak is also popular (and doesn't turn a profit). HSR would be another form of transportation alongside all of these highly subsidized and expensive modes of transportation- with freeways being the most expensive, hands down.

And hopefully hyperloop as well
Not only are airports are expensive to maintain, but even in an era when major infrastructure projects are a tough sell in the US (blame it partly on lack of political will), airport expansion/construction is especially problematic. Case in point: DIA, the last major airport to be constructed in this country, is almost 25 miles from downtown Denver. Another case in point: One proposal for a brand-new San Diego airport would put it about 50 miles from SD.

Owing to both increasingly constricted airport facilities and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions, I could see HSR (if implemented correctly) taking over many short/medium-haul trips while airlines focus more on longer-haul and transcontinental trips.
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  #2560  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2019, 7:34 AM
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And when will the O'toole's and Kotkin's of the world realize that many of those things are only true becuase the federal government made a conserted decision to subsidize automobile mode choice, automobile land use and automobile infrastructure above all others,
And yet Europe when they do all the things you want the US Federal Government to, cars still dominate modal share. The car did not win because of Government Intervention, it won because it's the best form of ground transportation. It brought fast transport over wide areas to the masses.

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all the while failing to set automotive fuel taxes high enough to sufficiently maintain said infrastructure
Even in the US, government revenue from the use of cars come far closer to paying for the operating and capital cost of infrastracture (especially if you stop the funds from being used for other purposes) than mass transit, which struggles to pay for a fraction of just the operating costs. It doesn't take much higher gas taxes to pay for all roads, but there's absolutely no fare that will have transit users pay for the full costs of their system.

To say nothing of Europe where fuel taxes account for upwards of 60% of the total cost of gas and registration and use fees approach the value of the car.
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