Author Topic: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.  (Read 21917 times)

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Offline rumborak

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #70 on: November 02, 2011, 09:10:05 PM »
The ones arguing that the population density isn't high enough to merit those HSRs, I think those low, sprawled-out populations are a thing of the past anyway and will have to change sooner or later. They were a function of super-cheap gas, and that super-cheap gas will never return again. The insanity of "commuting in car for 2 hours each way" was never really maintainable.

Europe is ahead 50 years in terms of gas prices to the US, and that's one of the big reasons trains work there. As part of a viable energy policy in this country, a HSR is essentially a no-brainer.

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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #71 on: November 02, 2011, 09:58:45 PM »
We have tolls, taxes, and fees to fund infrastructure. Where does the money go? As for OPEC... we get ~80% of our oil from Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela...

Who says those things don't go towards infrastructure? Just becuase we have those taxes, doesn't mean that those taxes are enough.

Isn't Venezuela part of OPEC?

Also, we can only get our oil from those places because of OPEC, without which there's be less available for us to buy, becuase those countries which do get a lot of their oil from the Middle East, would have to go to Mexico and Canada.

The ones arguing that the population density isn't high enough to merit those HSRs, I think those low, sprawled-out populations are a thing of the past anyway and will have to change sooner or later.

rumborak


Not only that, but the presence of HSR could allow for those needed changes to happen sooner.


Offline rumborak

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #72 on: November 03, 2011, 01:12:37 AM »
We have tolls, taxes, and fees to fund infrastructure. Where does the money go? As for OPEC... we get ~80% of our oil from Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela...

Isn't Venezuela part of OPEC?

It's totally meaningless whether it is or not, I used OPEC as convenient acronym instead of writing out "oil-producing countries". It still is an untenable situation to have your economy's infrastructure being modulated by second-world countries with questionable leaders. Anybody with half a brain has noticed that the oil market isn't a free market; those countries collude massively and there's jack shit one can do about it.

Quote
The ones arguing that the population density isn't high enough to merit those HSRs, I think those low, sprawled-out populations are a thing of the past anyway and will have to change sooner or later.

rumborak


Not only that, but the presence of HSR could allow for those needed changes to happen sooner.

That's sort of what I was driving at. Transportation infrastructure often drives change, and the US is in dire need of reshaping its infrastructure. Sticking to the same-ol' will just mean the US is doing another war in a few years in some oil-producing country for dubious reasons.

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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #73 on: November 03, 2011, 07:04:18 AM »
These projects never get a rate of return atrractive enough for a private investor. thats why some govt official forces money out of the public's  pocket for these things.  We basically have a relatively inexpensive car/plane situation here in the US.

Oh wait, that's right... Europe actually disproves everything you just said. Nothing like ignoring facts.

We're talking about the US genius
No shit, you obviously missed what he's saying, nice one being a sarcastic jerk without actually understanding what he was saying.

No... he said that Europe is showing they can do it.  I was saying that the economics are different in the US, and that you cant achieve a rate of return to justify the spending.

People who misunderstood what I was saying:
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #74 on: November 03, 2011, 07:09:13 AM »
Well, then the Acela proves you wrong.
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Offline AcidLameLTE

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #75 on: November 03, 2011, 07:34:10 AM »
Scotland is a REALLY sparsely populated country and we have small towns + villages every where (London by itself has 2.5 million more people than all of Scotland).

We have trains that take you to pretty much all of these places.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #76 on: November 03, 2011, 07:56:46 AM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

What you're failing to understand here is that if this does get built, it's pretty much guaranteed to drastically expand.     

No, it isn't guarantees to expand.  What makes you think it is?  How exactly would it expand, and where does this guarantee come from, other than your own "think so"?

Also, why is it okay to say my point isn't valid because I used a personal example, in which the biggest city of South Dakota.   

I never said it wasn't valid.  I'm just saying it doesn't reflect the voter mindset here in California. 
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #77 on: November 03, 2011, 08:11:27 AM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

HSR wouldn't be built if people weren't willing to use it.  Before these big infrastructure projects are made, they don't just make up numbers.  They do in-depth surveys of consumer preferences, use cameras to monitor highway traffic, tally the daily trips between cities, look at case studies, simulate future traffic conditions, etc.  There's a reason it's being made in California, and not in South Dakota.
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Offline AndyDT

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #78 on: November 03, 2011, 08:31:08 AM »
The ones arguing that the population density isn't high enough to merit those HSRs, I think those low, sprawled-out populations are a thing of the past anyway and will have to change sooner or later. They were a function of super-cheap gas, and that super-cheap gas will never return again. The insanity of "commuting in car for 2 hours each way" was never really maintainable.

Europe is ahead 50 years in terms of gas prices to the US, and that's one of the big reasons trains work there.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #79 on: November 03, 2011, 08:41:11 AM »
The vast majority of the electorate here is not in touch at all with the vast majority of ballot issues that come up in a given election.

I don't understand how you can possibly make such an assertion?  ???   I mean, you just basically cast practically every person in CA as an unthinking partisan automaton when it comes to voting.  Sure, there is some level of apathy with respect to ballot initiatives in every voting constituency, but do you really think everyone in CA is that unplugged from what's going on around them?  It sure didn't seem that way when I lived there.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #80 on: November 03, 2011, 08:47:49 AM »
The vast majority of the electorate here is not in touch at all with the vast majority of ballot issues that come up in a given election.

I don't understand how you can possibly make such an assertion?  ???   I mean, you just basically cast practically every person in CA as an unthinking partisan automaton when it comes to voting.  Sure, there is some level of apathy with respect to ballot initiatives in every voting constituency, but do you really think everyone in CA is that unplugged from what's going on around them?  It sure didn't seem that way when I lived there.

Yes, I think most people are unplugged from most of the issues.  Keep in mind that most of the issues that are put to the electorate show up on a ballot that, in addition to the candidates themselves, will have anywhere from a dozen or three dozen ballot measures, each on a separate issue.  Sure, there is a significant segment of the population that is into politics and follows a lot of the issues.  But in relative numbers, it is unfortunately a small portion of the overall population.  But again, that isn't necessarily to cast aspersion on the electorate as a whole either.  Part of it is simply the fact that so many issues in this state end up on the ballot in the first place.  There are too many issues to follow in any kind of depth.

EDIT:  And not sure when you lived here, but it seems to be a problem that has gotten worse in relatively recent years.  I dunno, maybe I just didn't pay attention to a lot of those issues when I was younger, but I don't remember there being nearly as many ballot measures before.  They seem to have increased dramatically in the past 10-15 years or so. 
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #81 on: November 03, 2011, 09:59:56 AM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

It too low cost to drive/fly places here in US... The trains cant compete.

Offline Dark Castle

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #82 on: November 03, 2011, 10:04:43 AM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

It too low cost to drive/fly places here in US... The trains cant compete.
Flight is ridiculously expensive!  And $130+ a month for my car that's supposed to be good on gas mileage isn't really what I'd call cheap either.  Do you even know what pricing is for trains in Europe, why don't we ask the members who actually know and don't just assume that it's going to be more expensive than Americans can handle..  I'll go research it right now matter of fact.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #83 on: November 03, 2011, 10:08:57 AM »
I just did a quick ticket check on ACELA for Boston to New York and that was around $70. On Delta, the same trip is $300.
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Offline Dark Castle

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #84 on: November 03, 2011, 10:14:28 AM »
I did some checking in Europe, for a 3 day 1 month pass in 1st class, $314.  Hm, 3 days anywhere in Germany, or probably more for a flight, one time.

Offline AcidLameLTE

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #85 on: November 03, 2011, 10:17:15 AM »

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #86 on: November 03, 2011, 10:18:38 AM »
Once high-speed rail is implemented, governments can stop subsidizing local air travel. 

Air travel doesn't make any money.  Governments are more than willing to pay out the nose for expensive terminals and runways.
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #87 on: November 03, 2011, 11:36:32 AM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

It too low cost to drive/fly places here in US... The trains cant compete.
Flight is ridiculously expensive!  And $130+ a month for my car that's supposed to be good on gas mileage isn't really what I'd call cheap either.  Do you even know what pricing is for trains in Europe, why don't we ask the members who actually know and don't just assume that it's going to be more expensive than Americans can handle..  I'll go research it right now matter of fact.

I actually do know what trains cost in Europe.  I have taken then a whole mess of times.   Often times its the best option, sometimes there's a cheap flight which is better, but thats the economics.  But the point is, if there was a demand, they would get the rate of return necissary to build it. There's really no need for the govt to debate whether it would be useful or not, let the market decide.  So people have voted with the pocketbooks "no" to a high speed rail.

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #88 on: November 03, 2011, 11:41:58 AM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 11:47:50 AM by GuineaPig »
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2011, 11:42:58 AM »
Because socialism.
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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2011, 11:54:22 AM »
 :lol   Super Dude

Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #91 on: November 03, 2011, 11:57:48 AM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Offline Dark Castle

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #92 on: November 03, 2011, 12:04:42 PM »
So you're saying "Just because the Government put the roads we drive on out, they have no right to further improve transportation and fight pollution with rails."  You make no sense.

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #93 on: November 03, 2011, 12:09:04 PM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Air travel would implode is governments stopped subsidizing it.  Ticket prices would quadruple or quintuple if they needed to fund their own infrastructure and attempt to *gasp* make a profit.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #94 on: November 03, 2011, 12:16:18 PM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Air travel would implode is governments stopped subsidizing it.  Ticket prices would quadruple or quintuple if they needed to fund their own infrastructure and attempt to *gasp* make a profit.

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Offline El Barto

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #95 on: November 03, 2011, 12:35:18 PM »
But, you need to be mindful of:
...
 - Are people going to want to use it as oppose to their car? (this to me is an issue which is glossed over quite often)

Exactly.  And that's what GP fails to realize.  The population density numbers mean nothing at all if people aren't willing to use the thing in the first place.  I don't care if the population is ten times what it is in any of those European cities.  If nobody actually would use the train, it doesn't matter how many people actually live there. 

It too low cost to drive/fly places here in US... The trains cant compete.
Flight is ridiculously expensive!  And $130+ a month for my car that's supposed to be good on gas mileage isn't really what I'd call cheap either.  Do you even know what pricing is for trains in Europe, why don't we ask the members who actually know and don't just assume that it's going to be more expensive than Americans can handle..  I'll go research it right now matter of fact.
To be fair,  flying the distances we're talking about is quite a bit cheaper than the train.  Fifteen flights a day from LA to SF,  and that's just the major airports and SWA.  Those run $59 if you buy a week in advance (which I suspect most business commuters could).  In this one instance,  Livehard is correct.  Trains can't compete financially because of the enormous infrastructure cost.  They can compete in other areas,  comfort is certainly a huge area,  but not necessarily enough to make a huge impact.

Again,  Acela is using existing rails,  so they don't have the enormous start up costs to recoup.  They do well,  but there are also a ton of flights between those cities (quite a bit cheaper, BTW),  so we can infer that plenty of people prefer that option.  Probably a function of how close to the airport or train station you are. 
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #96 on: November 03, 2011, 12:48:28 PM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Air travel would implode is governments stopped subsidizing it.  Ticket prices would quadruple or quintuple if they needed to fund their own infrastructure and attempt to *gasp* make a profit.

I dont think that you have any basis for making such a quantitiative assumption of what would happen if govt got out of air travel

Offline Dark Castle

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #97 on: November 03, 2011, 12:51:41 PM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Air travel would implode is governments stopped subsidizing it.  Ticket prices would quadruple or quintuple if they needed to fund their own infrastructure and attempt to *gasp* make a profit.

I dont think that you have any basis for making such a quantitiative assumption of what would happen if govt got out of air travel
It's likewise you have no basis for saying the government has no right implementing rails.

Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #98 on: November 03, 2011, 12:59:40 PM »
There's no "free market" in transportation.  Air travel is subsidized, using government-built infrastructure.  Roads are built by the government, and many forms of the transportation using them are subsidized.  Subways, light-rail, bus transit, commuter rail, all run by government companies.  High-speed rail, unlike air travel or roads, is profitable.  Why shouldn't it get government-backing to builds its required infrastructure?
Well two wrongs dont make a right.  Just because roads were subsadized isnt reasonable excuse to subsidize rail.  Moreover, Airline industry is pretty heavily plagued by costs of regulation... I dont know the economics (which method would be most heavily invested) of it if govt stayed out of it.  None of us do.  But as of now, I dont see investors jumping into the business, so, I dont see a reason to do it.

Air travel would implode is governments stopped subsidizing it.  Ticket prices would quadruple or quintuple if they needed to fund their own infrastructure and attempt to *gasp* make a profit.

I dont think that you have any basis for making such a quantitiative assumption of what would happen if govt got out of air travel
It's likewise you have no basis for saying the government has no right implementing rails.

Non sequitor.  My basis is my libertarian belifs, which I have knowledge of.  I dont think you (or anyone here) has the knowledge to give a definitive answer as to the price of tickets if government were to get out of the industry.  I believe that one could argue costs would go down.  They are regulated to the bone.

Offline zxlkho

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2011, 01:17:31 PM »
Where is LeTrains when you need him...
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2011, 01:17:52 PM »
Banned, I think.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2011, 01:32:15 PM »
These projects never get a rate of return atrractive enough for a private investor. thats why some govt official forces money out of the public's  pocket for these things.  We basically have a relatively inexpensive car/plane situation here in the US.

Oh wait, that's right... Europe actually disproves everything you just said. Nothing like ignoring facts.

We're talking about the US genius
No shit, you obviously missed what he's saying, nice one being a sarcastic jerk without actually understanding what he was saying.

No... he said that Europe is showing they can do it.  I was saying that the economics are different in the US, and that you cant achieve a rate of return to justify the spending.

People who misunderstood what I was saying:
Scheavo
DarkKnight

The efficiency and economics of HSR wouldn't change just because we're in America.

You admit later that you aren't aware of what it costs in Europe, so as far as I can tell, you just disqualified your statement. You're just assuming something is true because it hasn't happened yet, or something.

Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2011, 01:42:12 PM »
These projects never get a rate of return atrractive enough for a private investor. thats why some govt official forces money out of the public's  pocket for these things.  We basically have a relatively inexpensive car/plane situation here in the US.

Oh wait, that's right... Europe actually disproves everything you just said. Nothing like ignoring facts.

We're talking about the US genius
No shit, you obviously missed what he's saying, nice one being a sarcastic jerk without actually understanding what he was saying.

No... he said that Europe is showing they can do it.  I was saying that the economics are different in the US, and that you cant achieve a rate of return to justify the spending.

People who misunderstood what I was saying:
Scheavo
DarkKnight

The efficiency and economics of HSR wouldn't change just because we're in America.

You admit later that you aren't aware of what it costs in Europe, so as far as I can tell, you just disqualified your statement. You're just assuming something is true because it hasn't happened yet, or something.

No you misunderstood.  I do know the costs (sort of). Ive taken the Eurorail a lot.

 Say factoring all costs (time, convinience, dollars spent), it costs $10 to go from Paris to Madrid either in car or plane. But to do go from NYC to DC costs only $5.

Lets say the rail to either costs $7.  Where you are effects whether or not its viable.

Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2011, 02:09:04 PM »
I'm not an engineer, but I'm sure something like this could be done and it would have mass appeal across the board.

As a country, we could use a way to get from point A to point B faster.  HSR is a maturing field, so lets implement it, but at a more personal level.  Basically, have stations where you could have your car attached to a HS rail car and you and your car are whisked away to your destination.  You could travel from NYC to Chicago in a reasonable amount of time, be able to take your car and pack it, etc.  Use RFID tags or something to designate origin and destination.  Charge a toll for it, even a hefty one to justify the cost of building and maintaining it.  In addition, design it for a mass transportation HSR use as well.

I don't like driving long distances, so if I could drive to Roanoke, put my car on a HSR system, and end up in Pittsburgh in 2 hours (I don't know how fast HSR is, so I made up a reasonable time for 160 mph), saving me 3 hours of driving and the stress of driving, I'd gladly pay good money for the service.  Have stops outside of mid-sized cities and larger and run it nearly parallel to the current interstate system, which would still see heavy use.

I know its a pie-in-the-sky idea that would never see the light of day, but if we are going to upgrade infrastructure, might as well do it accomidating American's love affairs with their cars and giving them choices.  I'm sure there are some issues with my idea, but I doubt it would be anything from an engineering stand point.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 12:13:44 PM by DTVT »
     

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2011, 02:12:32 PM »
That would actually be pretty awesome.
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