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  #201  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Japan high-speed rail 1980s = 200 billion dollar bailout. Do your homework before thinking you know everything, China's system is way beyond any country's capacity. China is not even the largest economy in the world.
1) China's population is way beyond any other country, bar India, which is only getting started with its high speed railway plans. The enormous population which is emerging from poverty surely won't be moving around by air or road, that's for sure.

2) China is even further ahead in an expressway plan which dwarfs the Interstate Highways of the United States. Funny, since no one is complaining about them requiring bailouts.

3) It doesn't really matter in itself if the high speed railways lose money. The main purpose of China's high speed railways is to free up space on the regular system for more freight trains, which are profitable. The increase in profit should pay for the loss in passenger trains.

4) There were plenty of naysayers when France, Germany, Spain, and Britain opened their high speed railway systems. Where are they now?

It's also interesting to note that China's creation myth also involved a great flood. But unlike the Bible, where humans are helpless in the face of God's wrath, China's flood involved a wise engineer commanding an army of workers to build innovative drainage systems to defeat the flood. So the obsession with massive projects is as central to Chinese culture as Noah's Ark is to the Abrahamic religions. Some were white elephants, while others were crowning achievements in history. But I don't think high speed rail is the former.
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  #202  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 12:53 AM
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I think that article misses the point, I'd argue today's California doesn't need 220 mph rail between SF-LA, but 2040's California sure will. The question is how much money will 40 billion in 2010 dollars save in 2040 dollars. For example, when oil price peaked in '08, airlines increased the cost of their flights by 30%. As 2 billion Chinese and Indians buy their first car, the demand for oil is going to skyrocket, and those 30% surcharges on flights are going to become the norm. A high speed rail line won't be effected directly by those energy cost and can function to as a cost-competitive mechanism to 1) get people from place to place relatively cheaply 2) compete directly with the airlines to reduce costs. I don't have the numbers to tell you what the cost-benefit but whenever somebody throws the term "boondoggle" around, chances are they haven't worked that out either.
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  #203  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 1:06 AM
Onn Onn is offline
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So no, I don't see how it will be sucessful in China or that there's much hope for California.

Last edited by Onn; Nov 9, 2010 at 1:19 AM.
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  #204  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 1:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Onn View Post
You can't run high-speed on freight train lines.
No, but you can take passenger trains OFF the old conventional lines thanks to the new capacity from HSR and replace those passenger trains on the conventional lines with freight.

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It's a massive white elephant, almost every picture I've seen from billion dollar high-speed rail stations have been completely empty. How on earth is that justified?
Most of those photos you've seen come from during the construction phase (many of these new stations have yet to open) so of course they have no people in them. Trust me, once the stations open, the people will come. Not only that, but if you look at the case of Shanghai's new Hongqiao station, for example, a lot of the lines it was built to serve are still under construction, and the same is true for many other large Chinese hub stations. Once the HSR network is complete in 4-5 years, the size of these stations will make sense.

Further, Chinese stations have to be designed with excess capacity given the demands of the Spring Festival travel peak (the largest yearly movement of people in the world).
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  #205  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 1:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Japan high-speed rail 1980s = 200 billion dollar bailout.
Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.
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  #206  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 1:45 AM
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Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.
Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.
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  #207  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 1:49 AM
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Most of those photos you've seen come from during the construction phase (many of these new stations have yet to open) so of course they have no people in them. Trust me, once the stations open, the people will come. Not only that, but if you look at the case of Shanghai's new Hongqiao station, for example, a lot of the lines it was built to serve are still under construction, and the same is true for many other large Chinese hub stations. Once the HSR network is complete in 4-5 years, the size of these stations will make sense.
Ahh I don't think so, nice try getting around that one. Almost all the pics I've seen the stations and trains have been fully operational.

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Further, Chinese stations have to be designed with excess capacity given the demands of the Spring Festival travel peak (the largest yearly movement of people in the world).
Wow, nothing like wasting money just for a few weeks. Now THAT is a waste of money, it's not at all in line with the free market which means it’s a money pit. You’re bending the laws of economics in building extra capacity knowing fully well it will only be filled to capacity for a certain time of year. What happens the rest of the year? Well...ya gotta pay for that.
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  #208  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 2:12 AM
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Rail never makes money. That's a fact for every system in the world. Even ones with 12 million plus daily ridership, it's still losing money.

However...........................rail provides for significantly higher property tax revenues for counties and states as there is higher density allowed to be created due to the fixed transit guideway put in place. Cities with large rail systems have some of the highest tax revenue collections in order to subsidize the system. Highways need the gas tax for subsidies (and even that is running low on cash due to more fuel efficient cars hitting the market). Rail takes a portion of existing county sales tax in order to keep running.
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  #209  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 2:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Wow, nothing like wasting money just for a few weeks. Now THAT is a waste of money, it's not at all in line with the free market which means it’s a money pit. You’re bending the laws of economics in building extra capacity knowing fully well it will only be filled to capacity for a certain time of year. What happens the rest of the year? Well...ya gotta pay for that.
you can't really argue with conjecture.
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  #210  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 2:30 AM
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China's construction of large railway stations is no different than the global phenomenon of cities building larger airports than they need at the present time - it's called future-proofing, and it often saves money in the long run.

I will again point out that many of these stations are not fully operational considering many of the lines they have been designed to serve are still under construction and will not be operational for anywhere between 1 and 5 years. Just as an example, the Hongqiao Integrated Traffic Hub here in Shanghai is designed to serve several HSR lines (including the major Shanghai-Beijing and Shanghai-Hong Kong lines) that will not be operational until 2011 at the absolute earliest. As a result, the passenger numbers at Hongqiao are not as high as they will be when all lines are open, so the station AT PRESENT seems like it's bigger than it needs to be - but when all the lines are open and operational, people will be very glad it was built to the size it its now.
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  #211  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 5:07 AM
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This isn't a thread about China, folks. Try to stick to the subject.
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  #212  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 5:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.
Seems like a personal problem.

Seriously though, you know nothing about continuing and pervasive subsidizing of our highway system, Onn? Are you insane? Do you really, REALLY think the pittance of a gas tax (federal and state) we have in this country is enough to provide for maintenance and expansion of our roads and highways? Come on now, this is just a ridiculous notion!

We spend hundreds of billions every year on our roads and highways, yet other types of transit get perhaps a few percent of that figure in total. What's wrong with this picture?

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  #213  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 5:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfastx View Post
Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.
wow. that says it all. do you really think roads get built by themselves and take care of themselves without any government subsidization?

talk about ignorance!
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  #214  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 6:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
I don't know, but this is the sense I've had all along about this...



http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/29/w...ake-sense.html

"How can the government afford $200 million?" - it's spending $6 billion a month in Afghanistan, funding rail might not be as important but it's worth atleast 1/30 as much.
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  #215  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 8:05 AM
jamesinclair jamesinclair is offline
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You bolded this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
In a report on high-speed rail, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service examined the 12 corridors of 500 miles or less with the most daily air traffic in 2007. Los Angeles to San Francisco led the list with 13,838 passengers; altogether, daily air passengers in these 12 corridors totaled 52,934. If all of them switched to trains, the number of airline passengers, about 2 million a day, would drop only 2.5 percent. Any fuel savings would be less than that; even trains need fuel.
Do I really have to explain why this is a huge failure in logic?

Here's a hint: Planes travel point to point. Trains don't.

You dont just add LA-SF.

You add:

LA-SF
LA-San Jose
LA-Gilroy
LA-Modesto
LA-Fresno
LA-Bakersfield
LA-Palmdale
LA-Anaheim
LA-San Diego
LA-Sacremnto

etc

And then you add

San Jose-SF
San Jose -LA
San Jose-Gilroy
San Jose-Modesto
San Jose-Fresno
San Jose-Bakersfield
San Jose-Palmdale
San Jose-Anaheim
San Jose-San Diego
San Jose-Sacramento


And then you do this for every station paring, for flights, existing trains and cars.

AND THEN you add in population growth, and on top of that, demand created by making cities "closer".


Now how much fuel are you saving? Now whats your ridership?



Edit: Apparently the article uses SFO-LAX numbers ONLY. He "forgot" to include Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Burbank and all the other airports and flights between the two cities.
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  #216  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 8:08 AM
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Also, if the writer of the article had done just two minutes of reaserch, he wouldnt have made idiotic statements like this:

Quote:
No one knows the cost. In 2009, the California High-Speed Rail Authority estimated $42.6 billion, up from $33.6 billion in 2008—a huge one-year increase
You know why there was a "huge" one year increase?

Because the accounting changed, from 2010 dollars to 2020 dollars.

That's it. It's the exact same amount of money.

It's like the way the lottery advertises $120million prize money.....but if you take cash it's $60 million. Why? Because the higher amount is 26 years away.
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  #217  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 3:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinclair View Post
You bolded this:


Do I really have to explain why this is a huge failure in logic?

Here's a hint: Planes travel point to point. Trains don't.

You dont just add LA-SF.

You add:

LA-SF
LA-San Jose
LA-Gilroy
LA-Modesto
LA-Fresno
LA-Bakersfield
LA-Palmdale
LA-Anaheim
LA-San Diego
LA-Sacremnto

etc

And then you add

San Jose-SF
San Jose -LA
San Jose-Gilroy
San Jose-Modesto
San Jose-Fresno
San Jose-Bakersfield
San Jose-Palmdale
San Jose-Anaheim
San Jose-San Diego
San Jose-Sacramento


And then you do this for every station paring, for flights, existing trains and cars.

AND THEN you add in population growth, and on top of that, demand created by making cities "closer".


Now how much fuel are you saving? Now whats your ridership?



Edit: Apparently the article uses SFO-LAX numbers ONLY. He "forgot" to include Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Burbank and all the other airports and flights between the two cities.
Thank you! That's exactly what I was going to say but I was way too sleepy last night to articulate it that well so I didn't comment. This was stated very well. This IS the biggest difference between comparing point-to-point flights and effective HSR.
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  #218  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 9:31 PM
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Is there a math wiz among us that can figure out the total cost of the Interstate system when adjusted for inflation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Yet.......................
Something tells me it's gonna happen sooner than we think.........
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  #219  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2010, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Sodha View Post
Rail never makes money. That's a fact for every system in the world. Even ones with 12 million plus daily ridership, it's still losing money.
Really, when it comes down to it, does ANY infrastructure "MAKE" money? I doubt The New York Subway "Makes" money. "Airports" don't MAKE money (when you account for the cost of the land and money used to build them).

What infrastructure allows is for movement of people, goods and other things... all which makes money. They fall into the support role.
Quote:
However...........................rail provides for significantly higher property tax revenues for counties and states as there is higher density allowed to be created due to the fixed transit guideway put in place. Cities with large rail systems have some of the highest tax revenue collections in order to subsidize the system. Highways need the gas tax for subsidies (and even that is running low on cash due to more fuel efficient cars hitting the market). Rail takes a portion of existing county sales tax in order to keep running.
You're right, you know. The problem is getting people to THINK that way. People have this conscious idea that their gas taxes pay for the interstate system. Whether it's true or not is beside the point. The interstate system allows for a level of prosperity on the national level. To boil it down to a "simple user pay system" is both erroneous and infantile. The interstate system, when you think about it, also provides jobs (American jobs) to maintain it and rebuild it. These people also pay taxes which goes, among other things, to maintaining the interstate system.

We try to put the same logic toward a different model and you obviously have to change the parameters. Trains (many of which use diesel fuel, and therefore should receive some of this gas tax... but anyway...). As you mentioned, however, trains foster denser tax-rich communities which should, in turn be able to support the cost of the infrastructure.

You can't think of infrastructure in the same vein as a company that creates profit. It's different.
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  #220  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2010, 12:36 AM
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The interstate system, when you think about it, also provides jobs (American jobs) to maintain it and rebuild it.
So true. And as a bonus, the IHS is built to a 'standard' that ensures at most a 40 year life cycle and near constant surface maintenance - especially in cold climates. This sounds like one fabulous American jobs program!
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