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Texans Against High-Speed Rail

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Texans Against High-Speed Rail

Old 02-05-16, 11:06 PM
  #26  
Dave Cutter
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Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
.. As a north Texan I would love to see this high speed rail project happen, .
Why? How and to what extent would you, your family, and fellow taxpaying neighbors directly benefit?
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Old 02-06-16, 01:10 AM
  #27  
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My point was that Europe and its rail system is still a smaller undertaking than the US even if it would take a bit more space than east of the Mississippi. Maybe it would fit east of the continental devide? Not that passenger rail stirs the heart or the average American.


Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Read "Railroaded" by Richard White. I see nothing that would prevent this from happening again. Everyone points to Europe and their railway system. Well, all of Europe would fit east of the Mississippi.
The issue for US citizens is property rights and compensation for that property. Once that hurdle is jumped over there is the issue of is it something the voters want. We used to have passenger rail in the US and I found it charming. But it couldn't compete and I am not convinced it can now.
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Old 02-06-16, 01:15 AM
  #28  
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No boys and girls, it's about Southwest Airlines and their lobbying power. They have been fighting HSR on their legacy route for a long, long time. SAT-HOU-LUV and AUS.
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Old 02-06-16, 01:24 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
My point was that Europe and its rail system is still a smaller undertaking than the US even if it would take a bit more space than east of the Mississippi. Maybe it would fit east of the continental devide? Not that passenger rail stirs the heart or the average American.




The issue for US citizens is property rights and compensation for that property. Once that hurdle is jumped over there is the issue of is it something the voters want. We used to have passenger rail in the US and I found it charming. But it couldn't compete and I am not convinced it can now.
I don't know either if good rail could compete here. But competition isn't really something that can be known, since highways were given every advantage by government while railways were being starved out of existence. There has never been free competition in the transportation sector--nor should there be. Transportation is part of the "common good" that can most efficiently be provided by government, not by the private sector. So it's kind of foolish to talk about competition between highways and railways. This form of competition doesn't even exist now, never has, and never will. Nor should it.

As for property rights, the Roberts Court has pretty much written those off with it's eminent domain rulings. Even private developers can now confiscate private homes to build shopping malls or apartment complexes, so it shouldn't be too hard to take over the land for public projects like a railway or highway.
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Old 02-06-16, 01:27 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Mr Grinch View Post
No boys and girls, it's about Southwest Airlines and their lobbying power. They have been fighting HSR on their legacy route for a long, long time. SAT-HOU-LUV and AUS.
Bingo.
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Old 02-06-16, 01:58 AM
  #31  
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I'd rather invest in a HSR with links to outlying smaller cities as such than our space program. Imagine all of the dui's and auto accidentseaths that could be avoided during travel..
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Old 02-06-16, 02:06 AM
  #32  
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While I like the idea of high-speed rail, I wonder how the economics for it will look if/when autonomous cars become common. Sure the train would still be much faster, but personally I wouldn't be that concerned about having a 3-hour travel time vs. 1.5 hours by train if I could relax in the car while watching a movie/reading a book/surfing the web/catching up on email/etc. And if you include the total end-end time it probably wouldn't be much different when including the time to get to the station, wait for the train, get a rental car at the other end, and drive to the destination.

Wouldn't even need fully autonomous cars to seriously dent the demand for long distance trains since only limited-access highway travel would have to be autonomous and that's an easier technological problem to solve.
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Old 02-06-16, 03:07 AM
  #33  
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A train is much smoother riding than any automobile as long as you don't ride in the last car. And full meals are served on trains - at least in Europe. And it's nice to be able to walk around in the passenger car of the train to stretch one's legs. And you get to meet new people. Amerikans live in such an encapsulated lifestyle.

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Old 02-06-16, 06:25 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by tjkoko View Post
Full meals are served on trains - at least in Europe.
Such service is an endangered species in Spain. Is it still available in other European countries?

  • Food & drink: On most long-distance trains there's a cafe-bar serving tea, coffee, drinks and snacks. Preferente fares used to include an at-seat meal with wine on all AVE, Altaria, EuroMed and most Alvia trains, but this was almost completely discontinued in December 2013. A meal with wine remains included in Preferente class only on AVE & EuroMed trains on Mondays-Fridays, but not at weekends. Of course, you're also free to take your own food and even wine or beer onto the train.

    A beginner's guide to train travel in Spain | How to use www.renfe.com


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Old 02-06-16, 07:08 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Mr Grinch View Post
No boys and girls, it's about Southwest Airlines and their lobbying power. They have been fighting HSR on their legacy route for a long, long time. SAT-HOU-LUV and AUS.
Yes, this is part of it. High speed rail isn't competing just with cars but also air transportation. So HSR costs sometimes offset a bunch of other things like airport expansion, and carbon emissions from airplanes which are less efficient, especially when they climb, then immediately descend as is common on short routes. This was a big part of the California HSR scenario. Some very high number of flights within the state are between the Bay Area and LA.
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Old 02-06-16, 07:10 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I don't know either if good rail could compete here. But competition isn't really something that can be known, since highways were given every advantage by government while railways were being starved out of existence. There has never been free competition in the transportation sector--nor should there be. Transportation is part of the "common good" that can most efficiently be provided by government, not by the private sector. So it's kind of foolish to talk about competition between highways and railways. This form of competition doesn't even exist now, never has, and never will. Nor should it.

As for property rights, the Roberts Court has pretty much written those off with it's eminent domain rulings. Even private developers can now confiscate private homes to build shopping malls or apartment complexes, so it shouldn't be too hard to take over the land for public projects like a railway or highway.
Excellent points.
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Old 02-06-16, 08:43 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Read "Railroaded" by Richard White. I see nothing that would prevent this from happening again. Everyone points to Europe and their railway system. Well, all of Europe would fit east of the Mississippi.
Area of Europe: 10180000 km sq
Area of USA: 9639048 km sq
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Old 02-06-16, 09:17 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by mtnroads View Post
Of course Texans don't want to give up their "way of life", which last I observed included very large air-conditioned homes and use of an F350 to go everywhere. They will cling to their "way of life" as will many Americans, until it turns into a living hell of climate change - from mosquito born disease, floods, drought, super tornadoes, etc. Then they will of course expect disaster relief from the government. Nothing new here.. just don't challenge their right to "live free or die", lol.
As an ex-Texan I can say that there is a grain of truth in this. However, I suspect that a major problem with a Houston to Dallas high speed rail is the same that they faced in California: the numbers just won't add up to any benefit financially, economically or even external environmental costs. The number of daily riders for the break-even point (a complex calculation including economic stimulus and costs) was unrealistically high. I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was going on in Texas.

In a way, my intuition is that the calculations are short sighted. When people do these kinds of projections it's dead certain that they've missed something, and furthermore cascading effects are unpredictable. I'd love to see the rail implemented, win or lose, so that we'd have some real information on the economic impact under modern conditions.
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Old 02-06-16, 09:24 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Why? How and to what extent would you, your family, and fellow taxpaying neighbors directly benefit?
I live in DFW and grew up in Houston. It's a service I would use, can't speak for my neighbors. I don't completely understand how the project would be funded, but I do know that Texas spends about five billion dollars a year on roads. As a taxpayer I would rather some of that money be spent on anything other than another massive freeway system. The bullet train technology is clean and safe, no deaths or even injuries in five decades of use in Japan. Compare that to the 3000 Texans who die on the road every year.
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Old 02-06-16, 09:36 AM
  #40  
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Part of the problem is that you need a comprehensive Metro system to feed and disseminate the riders on the HSR line. Otherwise, by the time you rent a car, you'd be better off driving. The city transit systems in the cities being talked about for HSR systems generally suck.

Even The NYC airports are just now being funded for rail link to the city, where there is subway access to go everywhere you need to go. You just can't get there right now quickly and cheaply. Finally, the taxi cab lobby has been vanquished.
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Old 02-06-16, 10:14 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Mr Grinch View Post
Part of the problem is that you need a comprehensive Metro system to feed and disseminate the riders on the HSR line. Otherwise, by the time you rent a car, you'd be better off driving. The city transit systems in the cities being talked about for HSR systems generally suck.
Couldn't the same argument be made against flying? No point in flying to either of those cities because you might have to hire a car once you get there?
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Old 02-06-16, 11:04 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Couldn't the same argument be made against flying? No point in flying to either of those cities because you might have to hire a car once you get there?
Question is replacing frequent trips between the two cities. I've driven a number of times Dallas to Houston, but never flown. It seems to me that a hassle getting in and out of the terminal would be a big factor in whether to drive or take the rail.
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Old 02-06-16, 11:10 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by denis123 View Post
Area of Europe: 10180000 km sq
Area of USA: 9639048 km sq
You'll have to forgive me, my vision of Europe is a bit dated. It [my vision] does not include Scandinavia, England and no Russia. Guess I need to update my view.
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Old 02-06-16, 11:30 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Question is replacing frequent trips between the two cities. I've driven a number of times Dallas to Houston, but never flown. It seems to me that a hassle getting in and out of the terminal would be a big factor in whether to drive or take the rail.
Getting in and out of a railway station tends to be much faster and hassle-free than going through an airport; plus, the train leaves you right in the city center, not at an airport out in the sticks. I suppose the biggest disadvantage to both rail and plane travel between these two cities, given the lack of good mass transit, is the fact that once you get there you're going to need a car to get around.
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Old 02-06-16, 11:41 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Getting in and out of a railway station tends to be much faster and hassle-free than going through an airport; plus, the train leaves you right in the city center, not at an airport out in the sticks. I suppose the biggest disadvantage to both rail and plane travel between these two cities, given the lack of good mass transit, is the fact that once you get there you're going to need a car to get around.
Bike sharing or even bike rentals of nicer bikes, right there at the train station, would be perfect for people like us. Probably not a solution for the general public though. Shuttles or cabs always seemed adequate to me at airports, but I'm always going to a hotel or office from an airport, a train maybe it would be as likely some other destination. Just musing here.
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Old 02-06-16, 11:48 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Bike sharing or even bike rentals of nicer bikes, right there at the train station, would be perfect for people like us. Probably not a solution for the general public though.
That's the way I travel between Seville and Madrid. My trusty Brompton goes with with me on the high-speed AVE. Bike sharing is available in both cities for those who are so inclined.
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Old 02-06-16, 12:30 PM
  #47  
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If the plan doesn't include a big revamp of mass transit and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure then you have to wonder more about the economic case for doing it. People avoid flying such short distances, and will avoid the rail too unless they can quickly and cheaply connect to their final destination. If that challenge is not met then the riders will be occasional tourists and carless people (a small minority source of revenue).
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Old 02-06-16, 12:49 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I don't know either if good rail could compete here. But competition isn't really something that can be known, since highways were given every advantage by government while railways were being starved out of existence. There has never been free competition in the transportation sector--nor should there be. Transportation is part of the "common good" that can most efficiently be provided by government, not by the private sector. So it's kind of foolish to talk about competition between highways and railways. This form of competition doesn't even exist now, never has, and never will. Nor should it.

As for property rights, the Roberts Court has pretty much written those off with it's eminent domain rulings. Even private developers can now confiscate private homes to build shopping malls or apartment complexes, so it shouldn't be too hard to take over the land for public projects like a railway or highway.
I agree the struggle to keep what one has worked for is getting harder every year. Still may of the local communities in our area have fought the plans for a HSR to a standstill in our area and I am not convinced that in Texas that might not work as well if indeed that is what the people want. There is always a strong movement towards NIMBY for projects like this and court challenges can slow the projects to a near stop.

If if the people along the way can be convinced that there is something in it for them personally it would go a long way in opening ROW for a HSR. That being said it seems as if those ROWs come mostly at the expense of those communities and property owners that have the least power to fight it so the ROWs get moved to those areas. The origional HSR in my state was supposed to run straight down the coast from SF to LA and San Diego. The wealthier communities along the way have more or less stopped that plan and moved the planned route inland to sparsely populated communities. And it has been years since the origional plan was approved and yet little or no real progress is being made. The following may be one reason:
Bullet train runs into rising opposition over Southern California routes - LA Times
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Old 02-06-16, 12:52 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
If the plan doesn't include a big revamp of mass transit and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure then you have to wonder more about the economic case for doing it. People avoid flying such short distances, and will avoid the rail too unless they can quickly and cheaply connect to their final destination. If that challenge is not met then the riders will be occasional tourists and carless people (a small minority source of revenue).
Isn't the Dallas-Houston air corridor one of the most popular in the state of Texas?
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Old 02-06-16, 06:09 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Couldn't the same argument be made against flying? No point in flying to either of those cities because you might have to hire a car once you get there?
Oh yes, the post 9/11 security hassles supposedly reduced short haul passenger traffic, although it really isn't much of a time factor anymore if you are willing to do pre-check and so forth.
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