Originally Posted by mhays
It does need it. But, even more than California, it would take an astonishing amount of money to make it comprehensive, and other regions deserve funding too.
I say we should put tens of billions per year into developing rail. Say, 4-5% the amount the military and wars are getting right now. Along with some local participation, in a couple decades we'd have a good system in each of the regions being discussed.
At least California, not the US government or Amtrak, performed all the required studies to qualify for Federal funding, from economic impacts to environmental impacts, which included selecting the local preferred route. California has performed or is in the process to perform all the prerequisites, so has Florida, but the Northeast Corridor hasn't.
What the States in the Northeast have done are studies for piecemeal improvements to the existing corridor. For example, the Hudson River tunnel recently abandoned by New Jersey. It might have survived if it were apart of a brand new HSR corridor. But its cost was too high, for some, as just an improvement for the existing corridor.
I ask is it fair to ask California and Florida to perform these studies, determine if it's worth government funds from all levels, then ask the Feds for their share, but not ask the States in the Northeast to do the same?
Political think tanks reports, like this recent Rail 2050 report, would never qualify as an official study for the FRA; all it has accomplished is identify what they want, with little to no data.
Read this critique of that report, especially the last two paragraphs.
"The fundamental problem with the report is that it has no context: The study lays down a number of parameters for comparison, such as regional population, transit connectivity, and the like, but it does not have any empirical data to show the relatively importance of these criteria in real-world high-speed rail networks. In other words, the authors have set about comparing corridors in a manner that may — or, just as likely, may not — have anything to do with actual ridership.
In the future, such a study should be backed by evidence about the importance of each of these criteria based on ridership on other countries’ systems. It would also be beneficial to include cost evaluations — for instance, if a New York-Boston line would attract twice as many riders per mile as one between Tampa and Orlando, the America 2050 report implies that the former is a better deal than the latter. But what if the Florida line cost less than half as much per mile as the Northeastern one?"