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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2011, 7:44 PM
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High Speed Rail in Sacramento?

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"The high-speed train's economic development and environmental benefits are significant and we want to bring it to Sacramento as soon as possible," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "I am strongly supportive of the High-Speed Rail Authority's current effort to secure additional federal funding that will help us move the project forward more quickly."
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...-94277504.html

Moving the HSR derail from the Airport thread to its own thread.

People seem very divided about the potential of high-speed rail. Some Midwestern and Southern states are giving up their HSR money, which frees it up for use in states where it is wanted, like California. This will leverage the bonds we have already approved for construction. Why I think it's a good idea:

* The San Francisco Peninsula seems very resistant to HSR in their backyard. If they don't want it, rather than see it not built, why not offer Sacramento as a northern terminal? Build it where there is a market, and let the route to San Francisco be built in the second phase.

* The alternative to not building HSR is not saving money--the alternative is spending the same or larger amounts of money trying to prop up our current transit modes--highways and airports. These modes are already heavily subsidized and straining at the limits of their capacity. HSR would not entirely replace those modes--they have their uses--but they would fill a much-needed niche in the transportation market.

* Spending on infrastructure development promotes investment and development, and the form of that development is very much based on the transit mode. Highways and airports promote horizontal, suburban development. Rail transit promotes vertical, urban development. There is a lot of room for just that sort of development in the great central valley, and promoting dense development means we can retain that land area for agriculture (a $36 billion industry in this state!) instead of turning it into more suburbs.

* I don't agree with calls for austerity. It didn't work during the last Great Depression (Hoover's budget-balancing 1929-1932 and the rollback of New Deal projects in 1937 both worsened the economy) and it doesn't work now. Yes, these are debts we'll have to repay--but we won't repay those debts if we don't rebuild our nation.

* I also don't agree with the idea that Americans in general (and Californians in particular) are somehow constitutionally incapable of creating the same kind of transportation infrastructure that is already common in Europe, Japan and China. It speaks of a lack of faith in American worker and American companies. If we are worried that the Chinese are taking over, the answer is simple: just as we did with the first transcontinental railroad, we require that the work be done by American companies and American banks, using American suppliers. If the worry is that American companies aren't capable of doing this sort of work, well, that's part of the problem--and infrastructure projects like this are part of the solution. (Incidentally, that transcontinental railroad was built primarily by immigrant workers--but part of how you turn an immigrant into an American is to give them a job to do.)

* A major part of what has led us into the current financial crisis was American companies' willingness to stop actually building things, and instead turning imaginary piles of paper into larger imaginary piles of paper (characterized by companies like General Electric, which is mostly a financial services company rather than a company that makes electric things.) The answer is for Americans to START BUILDING STUFF. Which probably means that part of the solution is fewer regulations regarding building stuff, and more regulations that limit making imaginary piles of paper into bigger imaginary piles of paper--including the imaginary piles of paper produced by government.

* This all means lots and lots of jobs--exactly where they are needed (the central valley, where unemployment is highest) and exactly in the segments where they are needed (construction.) That means fewer folks unemployed, fewer people dependent on government with no opportunity to give back, and the money they earn will be spent to feed and house and clothe their families--all in California. That money doesn't vanish, it benefits the communities where HSR is built even before the line is completed.

* So does HSR specifically have to come to Sacramento to benefit? No. It would be nice, I suppose--but as Sacramento's administrative capital, what's good for California is also good for Sacramento. If we end up not being on the initial right-of-way, we can work with Caltrans to enhance existing rail service to the points where it does go--either by enhancing the Capitol Corridor to the Bay Area or the San Joaquin to the transfer point to the Peninsula. Because the Valley spot is more likely to see greater total growth as a result of HSR investment, the San Joaquin (or setting up a "regular-speed" rail alignment) might be the better long-term choice.
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2011, 4:06 AM
CAGeoNerd CAGeoNerd is offline
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wburg, Sacramento is already planned as a northern terminal.

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nx8rNysZSI
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2011, 8:02 AM
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CAGeoNerd: Yes, but in the second wave of construction--the idea was to build the route up the Peninsula to San Francisco first, then to Sacramento second. I'd suggest making Sacramento the first northern terminal to open if the Peninsula can't get its act together.
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 4:58 AM
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Bring it up to sac first leg, along with Fresno-Gilroy-San Jose. Then upgrade the hell out of the capitol corridor if not full hsr. Let the Penninsula cities fight over details.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 5:01 AM
CAGeoNerd CAGeoNerd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
CAGeoNerd: Yes, but in the second wave of construction--the idea was to build the route up the Peninsula to San Francisco first, then to Sacramento second. I'd suggest making Sacramento the first northern terminal to open if the Peninsula can't get its act together.
Well I'm certainly with you there. I really don't understand, because the train would go pretty much the same route as the current Caltrain/BART routes, would it not? Are they just not being realistic with how much "more noise" or "visual pollution" it will cause? It's not like it will be blasting at 100+ mph through metropolitan areas.

Build it up here first, connect us to SoCal. We'll see a boom in our economy for doing so! Imagine all of those elementary school kids coming from down there to tour the Capital? or tourists coming here or going to Napa or Tahoe from here?

I think I've found KJ's next "push"....
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 5:03 AM
CAGeoNerd CAGeoNerd is offline
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Originally Posted by Korey View Post
Bring it up to sac first leg, along with Fresno-Gilroy-San Jose. Then upgrade the hell out of the capitol corridor if not full hsr. Let the Penninsula cities fight over details.
Excellent comment too! Only thing is there are no current plans for a HST along the capital corridor.. might very well happen if the peninsula folks don't budge on it, in which case, again, Sacramento would benefit.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 5:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CAGeoNerd View Post

Build it up here first, connect us to SoCal. We'll see a boom in our economy for doing so! Imagine all of those elementary school kids coming from down there to tour the Capital? or tourists coming here or going to Napa or Tahoe from here?
Or people riding from Sacramento down to Anaheim to see Kings games...
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 5:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Or people riding from Sacramento down to Anaheim to see Kings games...
Too soon, WBurg... too soon.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2011, 8:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Or people riding from Sacramento down to Anaheim to see Kings games...
One of the funniest (yet sad) things ive heard you say
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2011, 12:37 PM
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High speed rails are better source of transportation and very environment friendly too. I think the people of the city will also welcome it as their travelling expenses would be decreased and the time would also be saved.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2011, 10:00 PM
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High speed rails just mean more taxes, which is the last thing we need right now. The more sensible option would be to wait till the economy gets better, then start it. I agree that the city needs high speed rail, but we don't need it right now
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2011, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by KingsFan#1 View Post
High speed rails just mean more taxes, which is the last thing we need right now. The more sensible option would be to wait till the economy gets better, then start it. I agree that the city needs high speed rail, but we don't need it right now
But we know we'll need it before long, and it takes a long time to build, so why not get started on it now? The planning phases are already underway and there are billions in already-allocated funds from the feds that we can use if we get started now--who knows if they will be available in a few years?

The alternative to building HSR is not doing nothing--the alternative is building more freeways, which also cost a lot of money, which also comes from taxes.

This rather interesting viral video got made recently:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/7e1...ins?rel=player

It's a couple of stars of the "Mad Men" TV series, talking about high-speed rail. Now, at first it may seem anachronistic for characters in a 1960s TV series to talk about high-speed rail--like seeing Don Draper unveil an ad campaign for Microsoft...until you realize JAPAN'S FIRST HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENED IN 1964! What are we waiting for?
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2011, 10:48 PM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Obama's High-Speed Rail Plan is a Fiscal Pipe Dream

Published February 14, 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

We suppose every President is entitled to a pipe dream, but President Obama's vow in his State of the Union address that 80% of Americans should have access to high-speed rail in 25 years is a doozy. Vice President Joe Biden has followed up by proposing $53 billion in high-speed rail funding over the next six years. Seriously?

On recent evidence, this train is running in reverse. Though the Obama administration has allocated more than $10 billion for high-speed rail projects the past two years, the new Republican governors of Wisconsin and Ohio, Scott Walker and John Kasich, have rejected the federal money. They don't want to put their taxpayers on the hook for projects destined for Insolvency Junction. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is also reconsidering his state's proposed Orlando-Tampa line.

Even California, that famous incubator of pipedreams, is having second thoughts. The state has proposed an 800-mile high-speed rail plan from San Diego to San Francisco. Bay area residents are now protesting that the line will damage property values, while Central Valley farmers complain the line will ruin their land. The greater wonder is how the state will pay for a $43 billion train even as it's facing a $28 billion budget gap over the next 18 months and $20 billion annual deficits four years after that.

Two years ago California taxpayers approved a $9.95 billion bond initiative to fund the train, buying the pitch that it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and attract 94 million riders. The state's high-speed rail authority told voters a one-way ticket from San Francisco to Los Angeles would cost $55 -- about the price of a Southwest flight. They said private equity firms were dying to invest, and that the train would operate without a public subsidy.

Read more of this editorial at The Wall Street Journal.



The Washington Post
High-speed rail is a fast track to government waste

By Robert J. Samuelson
Monday, February 14, 2011;


Vice President Biden, an avowed friend of good government, is giving it a bad name. With great fanfare, he went to Philadelphia last week to announce that the Obama administration proposes spending $53 billion over six years to construct a "national high-speed rail system." Translation: 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. Worse, the rail proposal casts doubt on the administration's commitment to reducing huge budget deficits. The president's 2012 budget is due Monday. How can it subdue deficits if it keeps proposing big spending programs?

High-speed rail would definitely be big. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has estimated the administration's ultimate goal - bringing high-speed rail to 80 percent of the population - could cost $500 billion over 25 years. For this stupendous sum, there would be scant public benefits. Precisely the opposite. Rail subsidies would threaten funding for more pressing public needs: schools, police, defense.

How can we know this? History, for starters.

Passenger rail service inspires wishful thinking. In 1970, when Congress created Amtrak to preserve intercity passenger trains, the idea was that the system would become profitable and self-sustaining after an initial infusion of federal money. This never happened. Amtrak has swallowed $35 billion in subsidies, and they're increasing by more than $1 billion annually.

Despite the subsidies, Amtrak does not provide low-cost transportation. Longtime critic Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute recently planned a trip from Washington to New York. Noting that fares on Amtrak's high-speed Acela start at $139 one-way, he decided to take a private bus service. The roundtrip fare: $21.50. Nor does Amtrak do much to relieve congestion, cut oil use, reduce pollution or eliminate greenhouse gases. Its traffic volumes are simply too small to matter.

In 2010, Amtrak carried 29.1 million passengers for the entire year. That's about about 4 percent of annual air travel (2010 estimate: 725 million passengers). It's also roughly a quarter of daily automobile commuters (124 million in 2008). Measured by passenger-miles traveled, Amtrak represents one-tenth of 1 percent of the national total.

Rail buffs argue that subsidies for passenger service simply offset the huge government support of highways and airways. The subsidies "level the playing field." Wrong. In 2004, the Transportation Department evaluated federal transportation subsidies from 1990 to 2002. It found passenger rail service had the highest subsidy ($186.35 per thousand passenger-miles) followed by mass transit ($118.26 per thousand miles). By contrast, drivers received no net subsidy; their fuel taxes more than covered federal spending. Subsidies for airline passengers were about $5 per thousand miles traveled. (All figures are in inflation-adjusted year 2000 dollars.)


High-speed rail would transform Amtrak's small drain into a much larger drain. Once built, high-speed-rail systems would face a dilemma. To recoup initial capital costs - construction and train purchases - ticket prices would have to be set so high that few people would choose rail. But lower prices, even with favorable passenger loads, might not cover costs. Government would be stuck with huge subsidies. Even without recovering capital costs, high-speed-rail systems would probably run in the red. Most mass-transit systems, despite high ridership, routinely have deficits.

The reasons passenger rail service doesn't work in America are well-known: Interstate highways shorten many trip times; suburbanization has fragmented destination points; air travel is quicker and more flexible for long distances (if fewer people fly from Denver to Los Angeles and more go to Houston, flight schedules simply adjust). Against history and logic is the imagery of high-speed rail as "green" and a cutting-edge technology.

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.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...021302203.html



Good Luck on convincing that we all "Need" HSR eventually. We do not...

Oh and I lived in Tokyo, and it has the best Public Trans in the world. IT STILL SUCKS! Go there for a year, and you will be running back here to your car, your SUV and finally be proud of cars (the best invention of modern man). You do not know freedom, until you have lived in these other countries...

Last edited by Ghost of Econgrad; Mar 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 1:59 AM
CAGeoNerd CAGeoNerd is offline
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/sigh.... I wish we had mass transit like in Japan or places in Europe. Not for exclusive use, but the option is nice and something I would definitely use frequently. You can choose your car or truck Ghost, but you can't choose if some idiot gets in an accident or if everyone else wants to use their car at the same time you do, and you also can't choose to go 100+ mph. Who honestly chooses their car to travel from SF to LA? Who would choose that over flying? And who would choose flying over a faster(taking the security/delays into account), cheaper HST?

I like how everyone likes to say HSR is a money pit - like highways aren't?
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 3:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CAGeoNerd View Post
/sigh.... I wish we had mass transit like in Japan or places in Europe. Not for exclusive use, but the option is nice and something I would definitely use frequently. You can choose your car or truck Ghost, but you can't choose if some idiot gets in an accident or if everyone else wants to use their car at the same time you do, and you also can't choose to go 100+ mph. Who honestly chooses their car to travel from SF to LA? Who would choose that over flying? And who would choose flying over a faster(taking the security/delays into account), cheaper HST?

I like how everyone likes to say HSR is a money pit - like highways aren't?
Having driven, flown, and taken the train to LA, I'd rather take the train, even if it does stop in Bakersfield and you take a bus to LA Union Station. It's by far the most comfortable option. Right now it takes the longest--with HSR it would beat air travel time including check-in etcetera.
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Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 9:31 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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You guys do not think the security for HSR will be just as bad and as much as a hassle as flying?
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  #17  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 4:53 PM
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You guys do not think the security for HSR will be just as bad and as much as a hassle as flying?
Well, you have been on HSR trains in Japan--how is the security?
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  #18  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 8:15 PM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Well, you have been on HSR trains in Japan--how is the security?
It almost seemed as if there was no security in Japan (I mean that as a good thing). It will be different in USA, especially since the Unions are involved (sadly for HSR fans that is what is going to kill HSR).
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  #19  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2011, 8:17 PM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Here is a youtube clip for fun if you have not seen it..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R57Zw...embedded#at=74
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  #20  
Old Posted Mar 14, 2011, 1:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghost of Econgrad View Post
Here is a youtube clip for fun if you have not seen it..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R57Zw...embedded#at=74
It's the same clip I linked in my post above. I liked it.

Why would the security situation be different in the United States because of unions? Japanese railway workers are unionized, and the railroads government-owned.
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