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Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:07 AM

How Two Billionaires Are Destroying High Speed Rail In America

Julie Doubleday

Eighteen years have passed since the establishment of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Authority. Over the course of those eighteen years, high speed rail in the state has been discussed and planned and delayed and delayed more. There have been proposals, referendums, debates, studies and budgets, but no tracks laid, no passengers queued, no trains roaring between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the promised three hour travel time at speeds exceeding 200 mph. I began looking into the state of American high speed rail in pursuit of a few simple answers. Why don’t we have the sort of rail infrastructure seen across Europe, in Japan and now in China? What do proponents and opponents say about the various projects underway today? Put simply, what are the pros and cons of funding and maintaining high speed rail lines in this country, and what do our legislators make of them?

As with every partisan issue (read: every issue), I expected to find two very different perspectives. One side of the aisle vehemently advocating for construction, their counterparts citing worrisome figures with equal fervor. I expected to find debate, analysis, anger, passion, probably a fair amount of name calling and a more than fair amount of bureaucracy. But, naively, I expected to find the story of an imperfect democracy, clattering along toward something resembling compromise at a leisurely sort of pace. Instead I found myself down a deep rabbit hole of lobbyists, think tanks, fossil fuel billionaires, propaganda, and dark money. On the downside, it was disappointing to discover that private entities with explicit financial interest in destroying public transit wield significant influence in the debate over public infrastructure. On the plus side, it was a lot more interesting than poring over budgets.


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Reply How Two Billionaires Are Destroying High Speed Rail In America (Original post)
liberal N proud Jan 2016 OP
Hortensis Jan 2016 #1
DetlefK Jan 2016 #2
tsites Jan 2016 #3
DetlefK Jan 2016 #4
liberal N proud Jan 2016 #6
Volaris Jan 2016 #7
marmar Jan 2016 #8
polynomial Jan 2016 #5

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:12 AM

1. Billionaires + 100M snowed conservatives.

Believe it or not, this is all wrapped up with moral issues, food stamps for all those millions who "refuse" to work, and so on for them. We really need to outlaw techniques of mass manipulation through use of lies and gross distortions. The Constitution is as close to a sacred document as I have, and I'm serious. It should be illegal to yell "fire" in a crowded nation for the purpose of defeating things like high-speed rail.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:48 AM

2. US-cities aren't built for an inter-city transit-system.

European cities are tight. The train brings you to the city-center and from there you can get anywhere by public transport within half an hour.
Five minutes outside the city-limit and you will pass by meadows and forests. Squirrels, rabbits, foxes... and if you are really, really, really lucky, you can see falcons and deer.

US-cities are far more spread-out. Even if you get somewhere by train, you still need a car to get around.

You cannot just replace the car for city-to-city travels. If you do that, you also have to make sure the traveller ends up right in the action and/or doesn't need a car upon arrival.
(For example: The Cologne railway-station is right in the city-center. You get there via one of those 200-kph-bullet-trains and once you arrive it's a 5-minute-walk to the tourist-district and a 20-minute-walk to the financial district.)

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 28, 2016, 12:39 AM

3. Sorry

If this were true, no one would fly and planes don't fly to city centers. Most of the population of US cities is concentrated along the major highways leading into and out of the cities. There is no reason trains could not make several stops as they approach a city through these corridors and even offer transfers at the city's center to outbound trains along different corridors.

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Response to tsites (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 28, 2016, 07:55 AM

4. The scenario you describe has a particular disadvantage:

In Europe, bullet-trains go from city-center to city-center, at top-speeds of 200kph. Stops inbetween only at major cities.

You are proposing a system where the train stops every 2 miles or so in the outskirts. That would drastically increase travel-time. (Europe has 3 kinds of trains: Bullet-trains for long-range travel between major cities. Regular trains for long-range travel between towns. Short-range trains (routes up to ~50 miles) that stop at every tiny village along the way.)

Example: Munich city-center to Berlin city-center, 585km (363 miles)
by car: 5-7 hours (Autobahn)
by train: 6-6.5 hours (ICE bullet-train)
You don't get those travel-times by stopping at every town inbetween. Slowing down negates the advantages of the high top-speed.

For comparison (route-finding by Google Maps)
SF to LA 383 Miles
by car: 5 hours
by train: 8 hours

Also, are you suggesting railways parallel to highways?

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 28, 2016, 11:33 AM

6. That is ultimately why we will never get High Speed rail in the US

Because everyone wants it to stop in their town.

High Speed quickly becomes low speed because of all the stops it has to make. The answer to that is to build a hub scenario much as major airports have become. The high speed train would run from city center to city center or a terminal on the edge of the city and there would then be feeder trains that bring people to and from the hub terminals. Europe has the high speed because they also have an extensive slow rail system as well.

You take the High Speed from major city to major city and then transfer to a slower train to get to your ultimate destination. But politicians who are paid for by the 1% who have interest in fossil fuels keep that from happening.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 29, 2016, 07:21 AM

7. or a kind of national-level car service rental...

where if you have a valid DL and a CCard, I can just get of the train and go pick up a car that I rent from the DoT, for say, 100$/month. Short-term, long-term, doesnt matter...the Feds buy a fleet of a few million of them at a cut rate (cause its a government contract like GM or Ford has never seen) and does all the maintence (because JOBS)...every 10-20 years, replace the fleet with a new model and sell off the old ones. If they were electrics the maintence would far less than with an ICE.

I think there should be a federal standard for electric vehicles anyway, so that if I need a new battery, I just go to a flipping station, wait 15 minutes while some kid pulls the old one out and shoves a new one in, and puts the old one on a solar-powered recharging rack. Standard Battery, fits any model car. It shouldnt be this hard to make this a national-level project, we just need some engineers with a year's worth of saturdays to work on the problem for the fed. If were planning to send them all to college for free anyway (which I support) it would be a good idea to have something for them do to when theyre finished, dont you think?

This country needs a Peace Corps for domestic infrastructure projects.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 29, 2016, 09:39 AM

8. Yes, but in corridors it makes great sense.....

Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington

St. Louis-Chicago-Detroit-Toronto

Los Angeles-Las Vegas

Dallas-Houston-Austin-San Antonio

All natural HS rail corridors.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Jan 28, 2016, 11:01 AM

5. The fossil fuel billionaire influence

The everyday American citizen is under a very stressful working schedule. More often, from my view parochially designed to occupy full attention to the job rather than understand the politics of the country. Most important is that transportation need.

High speed or low speed America needs to convert to electric.

Many of us know how the Mainstream Media coalesce into a course of action in gossip and confusion rather than true honest reporting. At this time in my life finding out how corruption is so entrenched in the News.

Moreover, politically well-connected are the fossil fuel, business, banking, and technology billionaires that pattern or engineer the philosophy in the highest essence quintessence after the four elements earth, air, fire and water to keep power. They, the one percent denied climate change while adjusting their portfolio, Bloomberg knows this.

A quandary of mental emotions or perplexity can rage into the average citizen upon examining the Federal Code of Regulations are arranged into laws by tax exempt “Think Tanks” funded by grant money or billionaire barons, or popular long time embedded Congress Men or Senators.

Written to pail, and bail in only one side of the dynamic range yet our political front runners stump in political rhetoric to say America is resilient using these laws to extend the one percent power, and skimp the average guy like me. No child left behind, that includes the young call girls and call boys to serve our leadership. Then ask for three bucks in my tax return.

Yes, my emotions are acrimonious at this time, why not we are flying through space on this planet earth an “Enterprise” within a tax system accommodating the rich few at the expense of existence now, not just the poor.

The Jekyll Island Group are the economic raptors, Gauzing out in mental metafile ungodliness the new embedded electronic swastika with the alpha predator praying on the flesh all the way to your sole.

Now near the end of life, in retirement in my years to turn seventy there is an important tool as the Internet to examine the legal Latin convolution that would spiral in the breath astounding even Gauss, Newton or Leibnitz.

Keep exposing them, they are an evil bunch especially those embedded in the GOP.

In reading about bobthedrummer Chapter 21 Omaha the unauthorized Biography of George Bush inspires me to write my own book experienced in my adventures with the Union Pacific "Road" and how historically it connected to the Nazi. It can be argued the Congressional Road to Fascism.

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