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Texans Against High-Speed Rail

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Texans Against High-Speed Rail

Old 02-12-16, 08:32 PM
  #151  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Do you mean by putting the public right-of-way of all roads up for bid to corporate investors who would transform them into either toll roads, rail lines, or both?

If you did that, you'd have to regulate the sale to prevent automotive interests from pooling their money for the sake of creating roads with low enough tolls (or free of charge) that promote driving over trains, etc.

MV sales, service, and insurance makes a lot more money than train ticket sales so if you allow business competition to control road right-of-way, the car companies will use their market position to exclude rail and promote driving by lowering the tolls, as they have done with the interstate highway system.

They will even pay smart marketing minds to spin it as a benefit to consumers and commerce to have big business pay for the highways and allow private individuals to use them for free.
I don't know any quick way to implement a truer costing of transportation. There is such a massive web of cost perversities and network externalities and vested interests that you can probably only nudge things in the right direction very slowly with modest policy changes and infrastructure choices. Personally I think carbon taxing would go a long way. It will incentivise people and businesss to seek the most energy efficient ways of operating, and to lobby for the most energy efficient infrastructure. If a company (or a family) discovers it takes a lot more fuel and thus a lot more money, to send staff or goods to Houston by truck or air than by rail, then they will start to use rail if it is available and demand it if it isn't.
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Old 02-13-16, 02:08 AM
  #152  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post

I am not committed to believing HSR will not work only that from my experience in my state it is turning into a bit of an albatross.
I wasn't aware that HSRR was ever attempted in your state.
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Old 02-13-16, 02:10 AM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I don't know any quick way to implement a truer costing of transportation. There is such a massive web of cost perversities and network externalities and vested interests that you can probably only nudge things in the right direction very slowly with modest policy changes and infrastructure choices. Personally I think carbon taxing would go a long way. It will incentivise people and businesss to seek the most energy efficient ways of operating, and to lobby for the most energy efficient infrastructure. If a company (or a family) discovers it takes a lot more fuel and thus a lot more money, to send staff or goods to Houston by truck or air than by rail, then they will start to use rail if it is available and demand it if it isn't.
+1. If all forms of transportation were priced realistically, both the car and the plane would look a lot worse. For example, people on this forum have talked about airlines being "free enterprise." But in reality, they are heavily supported by government--especially since they don't even pay for the airports, runways, and air traffic control systems that they must use.

If you add in carbon priicing--which more and more countries are starting to do--the "real" costs of airplanes and cars would be through the roof.
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Old 02-13-16, 02:44 AM
  #154  
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Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
This is about Eminent Domain. As a north Texan I would love to see this high speed rail project happen, but I empathize with land owners who will be "obliged" to give up a chunk of their properties to support the new rail line.
So a 20 foot wide ribbon of land is going to cripple everyone, especially when there will be crossings and overpasses?

How in the world did the railroads ever get started in the first place?

EMINENT DOMAIN?

Is this Much Ado About AMTRAK?

How much longer will Oklahoma girls be lonely for lack of gas?
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Old 02-13-16, 02:38 PM
  #155  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I wasn't aware that HSRR was ever attempted in your state.
Been on the burner for years. But it is a prime example of NIMBY.
The court challenges are many and the route is not what the voters approved. It was supposed to get us from San Francisco to LA at 200 mph. However they can't get a direct ROW along the coast where the rich and powerful live. So they are trying to use the funds to start a Merced to Fresno to Bakersfield section. Not a piece of track has gone down and maybe only a shovel full of dirt has been moved. The cost over runs are building way past the origional estimates. But more than anything the route as it is started is going from nowhere to not much better when you look at Merced or Fresno.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hist...igh-Speed_Rail
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Old 02-14-16, 01:26 AM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Been on the burner for years. But it is a prime example of NIMBY.
The court challenges are many and the route is not what the voters approved. It was supposed to get us from San Francisco to LA at 200 mph. However they can't get a direct ROW along the coast where the rich and powerful live. So they are trying to use the funds to start a Merced to Fresno to Bakersfield section. Not a piece of track has gone down and maybe only a shovel full of dirt has been moved. The cost over runs are building way past the origional estimates. But more than anything the route as it is started is going from nowhere to not much better when you look at Merced or Fresno.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hist...igh-Speed_Rail
How did they persuade those rich people to allow the Interstates to come through coastal areas? Why would a HSRR be any different? Couldn't they even put the HSRR in the same ROW as those Interstates--in the median, for example?
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Old 02-14-16, 05:00 AM
  #157  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
How did they persuade those rich people to allow the Interstates to come through coastal areas? Why would a HSRR be any different? Couldn't they even put the HSRR in the same ROW as those Interstates--in the median, for example?
Most people drive cars and benefit by interstates. Those that see a benefit to giving up space for HSRR are a subset of the general population.
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Old 02-14-16, 11:54 PM
  #158  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Most people drive cars and benefit by interstates. Those that see a benefit to giving up space for HSRR are a subset of the general population.
There's a long history of huge opposition to highways. Mainly it's urban resistance but sometimes it's rural. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highwa..._United_States
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Old 02-15-16, 12:02 AM
  #159  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
How did they persuade those rich people to allow the Interstates to come through coastal areas? Why would a HSRR be any different? Couldn't they even put the HSRR in the same ROW as those Interstates--in the median, for example?
The interstates got a lot of impetus from World War II and the cold war as they were sold to the public as a National defence priority,
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Old 02-15-16, 12:50 AM
  #160  
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The Interstate Highway System, brought to you by the Military Industrial Complex.

Control of the transportation system = control of the population. Half of the world population now lives in or near major urban centers. Another point to consider, the automotive industry has been a fairly effective at environmental degradation and population reduction.

HSR, could also be very effective eh?
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Old 02-15-16, 10:20 AM
  #161  
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Should this thread be re-titled LCF Ideologues against highways and roads? Or just against all the people that use or benefit from them?
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Old 02-15-16, 10:45 AM
  #162  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I don't know any quick way to implement a truer costing of transportation. There is such a massive web of cost perversities and network externalities and vested interests that you can probably only nudge things in the right direction very slowly with modest policy changes and infrastructure choices. Personally I think carbon taxing would go a long way. It will incentivise people and businesss to seek the most energy efficient ways of operating, and to lobby for the most energy efficient infrastructure. If a company (or a family) discovers it takes a lot more fuel and thus a lot more money, to send staff or goods to Houston by truck or air than by rail, then they will start to use rail if it is available and demand it if it isn't.
Carbon tax would raise the cost of fuel, but what would prevent the tax revenues from ultimately fiscally stimulating the sprawl economy? EVs may go a long way toward solving the CO2 emissions problem, but what about the problems of sprawl and deforestation?

Beyond carbon-taxation, there should also be heat-emissions taxation. A well-treed parcel absorbs sunlight and emits little heat whereas a parcel without tree cover absorbs more sunlight, which is re-emitted as heat. The sunlight absorption of each parcel and/or tract of land can simply be calculated and then taxed according to heat-emissions. This would include public roads, which absorb and convert huge amounts of sunlight into heat. If taxpayers want to mitigate their heat-emissions, they can do so by planting trees to shade sunlight-absorbing structures like pavement and buildings.

Once local governments realize they can lower their federal taxes by preventing and reversing sprawl and driving-dependency, their citizens will support anti-sprawl measures. Likewise, they will then favor tree-protection over tree-planting because newly-planted trees don't produce as much shade as mature trees.

CO2 only blankets atmospheric heat once it's there. Sunlight-absorption is what produces that heat in the first place.
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Old 02-15-16, 11:36 AM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Should this thread be re-titled LCF Ideologues against highways and roads? Or just against all the people that use or benefit from them?
If you live car free it makes sense to be interested in or even lobby for infrastructure that supports your lifestyle. No ideology required.
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Old 02-15-16, 11:40 AM
  #164  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Carbon tax would raise the cost of fuel, but what would prevent the tax revenues from ultimately fiscally stimulating the sprawl economy?
Simple consumer choice. People would gradually shift their practises to living, working and shopping close to home, and the demand for freeways, suburban malls and fringe development would gradually lessen. Both tax revenues and public infrastructure spending could go down.
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Old 02-15-16, 02:01 PM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Simple consumer choice. People would gradually shift their practises to living, working and shopping close to home, and the demand for freeways, suburban malls and fringe development would gradually lessen. Both tax revenues and public infrastructure spending could go down.
As I said, CO2 emissions are not the only problem. Currently, there is a belief that low-carbon forms of energy, such as nuclear and renewables, can replace current fossil-fuels and we can go on consuming as much energy as before, only now sustainably.

If we add sunlight-to-heat conversion to CO2 emissions for reduction targets, the relationship between sprawl and atmospheric heating can be addressed as well as the CO2 blanketing effect that traps the heat. Private MVs, whether combustion-powered or electric, may have a place in a sustainable future, but not in the volumes that they currently operate. The ratio of MVs to human population has to decrease, along with the ratio of paved/built/untreed land to tree-shaded land. Climate sustainability involves having populated areas mostly covered by living shade and human mobility mostly accomplished without non-human energy sources.
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Old 02-15-16, 02:04 PM
  #166  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
If you live car free it makes sense to be interested in or even lobby for infrastructure that supports your lifestyle. No ideology required.
No ideology may be required but I suggest you read the imaginative responses here and elsewhere on this list and repeat the no ideology here routine.
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Old 02-15-16, 02:27 PM
  #167  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
There's a long history of huge opposition to highways. Mainly it's urban resistance but sometimes it's rural. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highwa..._United_States
Agree. The fact remains that interstates have improved the economies in most of rural America.
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Old 02-15-16, 03:21 PM
  #168  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Agree. The fact remains that interstates have improved the economies in most of rural America.
I don't know if that is true. There was broad economic growth through the second half of the 20th Century. How do we know how much to attribute to the highways, especially after factoring in the cost?
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Old 02-15-16, 04:16 PM
  #169  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I don't know if that is true. There was broad economic growth through the second half of the 20th Century. How do we know how much to attribute to the highways, especially after factoring in the cost?
You might be right. It's not as clear as I thought. The effect varies a lot. One study I find...

http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/913429/bla133_002.pdf
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Old 02-15-16, 06:11 PM
  #170  
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I don't see how a carbon tax would effect the support today of a proposed HSR. I don't see planting trees or building tree encrusted pyrimids will effect the support of a HSR between Houston and Dallas. 9 out of 10 households in the US has a car and so uses the highways. That makes 9 out of 10 voters voting to raise or reject taxes car owners or at least the ones that would be affected by such a tax. But that is secondary to who would be interested in the HSR. They will have a market made up of people that have both less expensive options and faster options.

What at people could do is dependant on what is best for their self interest and their wallet. My skepticism comes from how passenger fell apart in the US. I remember as a kid passenger rail was a big deal. By the time I got out of college it was more or less dead. HSR sounds good but can it deliver?

Trees, dense cities, melting ice caps or how many of us drive are side issues in this case. If anyone is waiting on the goodness of man to win out and save the day for a subset of a minority of voters and interested parties in HSR they need to keep checking on the core temperature of the earth because that will change faster. History hasn't been kind to those that wish to go back to the old ways or the good old days. As it has been said you can never go home again, look up Thomas Wolfe.
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Old 02-15-16, 09:33 PM
  #171  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post

What at people could do is dependant on what is best for their self interest and their wallet.
Which leads us to the tragedy of the commons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

Edit:

This is why I am seldom concerned about the immediate cost of these types of projects. As I pointed out earlier in the thread, we seem to find money for totally frivolous projects like stadiums.

The benefits to a rail project are not a simple cost comparison between what rail will cost and what a highway with similar carry capacity would cost. It is more important in my estimation to look FAR into the future, to try and estimate the cost / benefits. In others words, behavior OPPOSITE of that which leads to the tragedy of the commons.

Much of the NYC subway system relies on tunnels that were built a century ago. I don't think anyone seriously thinks we should shut down the NYC rail system in favor of auto transit. But imagine if there were no subway system in NYC right now. The cost to install one from scratch, in today's dollars, would be astronomical. And yet, in my estimation, it would be worth it. It would be an investment in our future, paying dividends long after many of us are dead.

Last edited by loky1179; 02-15-16 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 02-15-16, 10:12 PM
  #172  
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
Which leads us to the tragedy of the commons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

Edit:

This is why I am seldom concerned about the immediate cost of these types of projects. As I pointed out earlier in the thread, we seem to find money for totally frivolous projects like stadiums.

The benefits to a rail project are not a simple cost comparison between what rail will cost and what a highway with similar carry capacity would cost. It is more important in my estimation to look FAR into the future, to try and estimate the cost / benefits. In others words, behavior OPPOSITE of that which leads to the tragedy of the commons.

Much of the NYC subway system relies on tunnels that were built a century ago. I don't think anyone seriously thinks we should shut down the NYC rail system in favor of auto transit. But imagine if there were no subway system in NYC right now. The cost to install one from scratch, in today's dollars, would be astronomical. And yet, in my estimation, it would be worth it. It would be an investment in our future, paying dividends long after many of us are dead.
I understand your point. However if they never built a subway and had gone in another direction would they even try to build a subway today? What if they had gone to a monorail? The point about the HSR is passenger rail seems to have a very narrow margin of appeal. Too short and it cost less to drive and you can leave or return based on your own personal needs. If the distance is too far it is easier to fly. It has to be remembered we had a fully functioning passenger rail system and it simply wasn't profitable. Could we build one on a whim like a stadium? Sure but once the shine wore off would we tear it down and replace it like we do with stadiums?

I like trains but more as a romantic adventure like a cruise ship. If I want to get somewhere I look elsewhere for transportation. I have flown from LA to San Francisco once a week for months because it was faster and relatively inexpensive during the week. Yes the plain just pops up and then starts down but for me at the time it was a matter of business and what my time was worth.

I suspect the HSR will cater to business class as much as anything and I still contend the only thing that will matter in the end is profit. Not being green, not philosophy, not even being cool. If they can come in and provide a service that isn't met by cars or air they have a point but if they fail after taking land from property owners things could get ugly. So it still comes down to business and has little to do with what LCF people think.
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Old 02-15-16, 10:19 PM
  #173  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
I don't see how a carbon tax would effect the support today of a proposed HSR. I don't see planting trees or building tree encrusted pyrimids will effect the support of a HSR between Houston and Dallas. 9 out of 10 households in the US has a car and so uses the highways. That makes 9 out of 10 voters voting to raise or reject taxes car owners or at least the ones that would be affected by such a tax. But that is secondary to who would be interested in the HSR. They will have a market made up of people that have both less expensive options and faster options.

What at people could do is dependant on what is best for their self interest and their wallet. My skepticism comes from how passenger fell apart in the US. I remember as a kid passenger rail was a big deal. By the time I got out of college it was more or less dead. HSR sounds good but can it deliver?

Trees, dense cities, melting ice caps or how many of us drive are side issues in this case. If anyone is waiting on the goodness of man to win out and save the day for a subset of a minority of voters and interested parties in HSR they need to keep checking on the core temperature of the earth because that will change faster. History hasn't been kind to those that wish to go back to the old ways or the good old days. As it has been said you can never go home again, look up Thomas Wolfe.
High speed rail is not a step backwards, it's a technology that didn't exist when passenger rail was on the decline.
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Old 02-15-16, 10:34 PM
  #174  
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
Which leads us to the tragedy of the commons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

Edit:

This is why I am seldom concerned about the immediate cost of these types of projects. As I pointed out earlier in the thread, we seem to find money for totally frivolous projects like stadiums.

The benefits to a rail project are not a simple cost comparison between what rail will cost and what a highway with similar carry capacity would cost. It is more important in my estimation to look FAR into the future, to try and estimate the cost / benefits. In others words, behavior OPPOSITE of that which leads to the tragedy of the commons.

Much of the NYC subway system relies on tunnels that were built a century ago. I don't think anyone seriously thinks we should shut down the NYC rail system in favor of auto transit. But imagine if there were no subway system in NYC right now. The cost to install one from scratch, in today's dollars, would be astronomical. And yet, in my estimation, it would be worth it. It would be an investment in our future, paying dividends long after many of us are dead.
+1

Quarterly earnings reports don't favor long term investments.
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Old 02-15-16, 10:53 PM
  #175  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
High speed rail is not a step backwards, it's a technology that didn't exist when passenger rail was on the decline.
Piffel, it is simply a faster passenger train that will need a road bed and track. It will still be slower than air and will still have to make a profit by getting people from point A to point B. Putting in a Texas Autobohn and allowing cars to travel at 150 mph would not be new technology.

They will still need to get a ROW, they will have to provide a service to the customer that they cannot get anywhere else faster or less expensive. In other words they will still have to fit in a business model. They will not be transportation chicken soup for the planet. If it is funded privately and if the public is recompensed completely for their property maybe they should be allowed to build it. But if it doesn't work it should also be allowed to go bankrupt and be discontinued. The very last thing we need is another Amtrak if the government steps in to try and save it. So as I have indicated it has to cost less than air.

The only ground I would be willing to give in on is Job creation. That would just maybe get my vote if it became a viable employer.

at least this is my opinion.

Last edited by Mobile 155; 02-15-16 at 10:57 PM.
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