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Old 12-26-2012, 01:29 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Why are we not investing in transportation infrastructure?

China continues its amazing investment in infrastructure, including this:



A high speed train system, producing trains that travel nearly 200 mph and can get you distances from New York to Key West in 8 hours.

Investments like this make a ton of sense for large countries like China (and us) because (a.) they hire a shit ton of workers (China has said it has hired up to 100k people for it), (b.) they allow for more economic integration and economic prosperity for the parts of the country connected to it, and (c.) in an era where job immobility is at its highest in modern history for Americans, this provides a feasible way to travel great distances for poorer Americans.

But not only do we refuse to invest in this shit, we can't even muster the finances needed to repair the infrastructure we do have, made decades ago, in considerably less-modern ways.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/bu...a.html?hp&_r=0

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens in China
By KEITH BRADSHER
Published: December 26, 2012

HONG KONG — China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line, covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Florida, or from London across Europe to Belgrade.

Bullet trains traveling 300 kilometers an hour, or 186 miles an hour, began regular service between Beijing and Guangzhou, the main metropolis in southeastern China. Older trains still in service on a parallel rail line take 21 hours; Amtrak trains from New York to Miami, a shorter distance, still take nearly 30 hours.

Completion of the Beijing-Guangzhou route is the latest sign that China has resumed rapid construction on one of the world’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects, a network of four north-south routes and four east-west routes that span the country.

Lavish spending on the project has helped jump-start the Chinese economy twice: in 2009, during the global financial crisis, and again this autumn, after a brief but sharp economic slowdown over the summer.

The hiring of as many as 100,000 workers per line has kept a lid on unemployment even as private-sector construction has slowed down because of limits on real estate speculation. And the national network has helped reduce toxic air pollution in Chinese cities and curb demand for imported diesel fuel, by freeing up a lot of capacity on older rail lines for goods to be carried by freight trains instead of heavily polluting, costlier trucks.

But the high-speed rail system has also been controversial in China. Debt to finance the construction has reached nearly 4 trillion renminbi, or $640 billion, making it one of the most visible reasons total debt has been surging as a share of economic output in China, and approaching levels in the West.

Each passenger car taken off the older, slower rail lines makes room for three freight cars, because passenger trains have to move so quickly that they force freight trains to stop frequently. But although the high-speed trains have played a big role in allowing sharp increases in freight shipments, the Ministry of Railways has not yet figured out a way to charge large freight shippers, many of them politically influential state-owned enterprises, for part of the cost of the high-speed lines, which haul only passengers.

The high-speed trains are also considerably more expensive than the heavily subsidized older passenger trains. A second-class seat on the new bullet trains from Beijing to Guangzhou costs 865 renminbi, compared with 426 renminbi for the cheapest bunk on one of the older trains, which also have narrow, uncomfortable seats for as little as 251 renminbi.

Worries about the high-speed network peaked in July 2011, when one high-speed train plowed into the back of another near Wenzhou in southeastern China, killing 40 people.

A subsequent investigation blamed flawed signaling equipment for the crash. China had been operating high-speed trains at 350 kilometers an hour, and it cut the top speed to the current rate in response to that crash.

The crash crystallized worries about the haste with which China has built its high-speed rail system. The first line, from Beijing to Tianjin, opened a week before the 2008 Olympics; a little more than four years later, the country now has 9,349 kilometers, or 5,809 miles, of high-speed lines.

China’s aviation system has a good international reputation for safety, and its occasional deadly crashes have not attracted nearly as much attention. Transportation safety experts attribute the public’s fascination with the Wenzhou crash partly to the novelty of the system and partly to a distrust among many Chinese of what is perceived as a homegrown technology, in contrast with the Boeing and Airbus jets flown by Chinese airlines.

Japanese rail executives have complained, however, that the Chinese technology is mostly copied from them, an accusation that Chinese rail executives have strenuously denied.

The main alternative to trains for most Chinese lies in the country’s roads, which have a grim reputation by international standards. Periodic crashes of intercity buses kill dozens of people at a time, while crashes of private cars are frequent in a country where four-fifths of new cars are sold to first-time buyers, often with scant driving experience.

Flights between Beijing and Guangzhou take about three hours and 15 minutes. But air travelers in China need to arrive at least an hour before a flight, compared with 20 minutes for high-speed trains, and the airports tend to be farther from the centers of cities than the high-speed train stations.

Land acquisition is the toughest part of building high-speed rail lines in the West, because the tracks need to be almost perfectly straight, and it has been an issue in China as well. Although local and provincial governments have forced owners to sell land for the tracks themselves, there have been disputes over suddenly valuable land near rail stations, with the result that surprisingly few stores and other commercial venues have sprung up around some high-speed stations through which tens of thousands of travelers move every day.

Zhao Xiangfeng, a farmer in Henan Province, said a plan to build a minimall on his and six other farmers’ land near a station had been shelved indefinitely after he and three of the other farmers refused to lease the land for anything close to what the village leadership offered. He said he worried that local leaders might try strong-arm tactics against the farmers to force them to lease the land and revive the project.

The southern segment of the new high-speed rail line, from Guangzhou as far as Wuhan, has been open for nearly three years and already suffers from heavy congestion, which could limit the number of seats available for travel all the way to Beijing during peak hours. Regular travelers on the route said in interviews that the 800-seat trains are often sold out as many as 10 trains in advance on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, even though the trains travel as often as every four minutes, and even lunchtime trains at midweek are often full as well.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #91
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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Once again, we are 15.8 Trillion dollars in debt. This is a feel good item that would be nice if we had some extra money, we don't. Building something like this right now would be like the guy on welfare running out with his $350 monthly check and buying lobster tails and fine champagne for one meal to last him the month, rather than a cart of groceries to sustain him until the next check. Crap like this isn't in the cards right now and never will be if these clowns can't get their shit together on the hill.
Yes and no.

If I'm a corporation losing profits, I would still invest in new plants if it meant future ROI. We can't just stop spending on things if they have potential for future benefits. I agree that if we are on a cliff, this shouldn't be on the table. I also hate a lot of what government spends on and would rather see this as a substitute for that spending. But let's face it... Most of The people here are using the bad economy as an excuse to justify not investing in this. If the economy recovers, people here would still reject it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Yes and no.

I agree that if we are on a cliff, this shouldn't be on the table.
The bottom line.......
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:44 PM   #93
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The midwest does not want mass transit. Never has, never will.

I would rather fund NASA and keep the space shuttle program alive, but that is just me.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:25 PM   #94
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The midwest does not want mass transit. Never has, never will.

I would rather fund NASA and keep the space shuttle program alive, but that is just me.
They don't want it because they don't understand why they'd want it. The Midwest has a bunch of cities close to each other. They have a bunch of business hubs. They have a bunch of sports markets. They have a ton of college students and young professionals. Those are the big ones, because they often don't have cars.

You're not seeing the big picture. If you live in new York, you can probably get to Cleveland on a quick rail ride to watch an Indians game. If you're a north easterner looking to move to Indianapolis, you're more likely to do it if you know you can quickly hop on a rail back home. If you live in Cleveland and want to catch a live bengals game, you can take a round trip rail and not have to worry about soberly driving home. If the northeast moves to high speed while the Midwest stays in the 20th century and doesn't have a good low speed rail, that is bad for business, bad for tourism, and bad for recruiting good employee talent that makes it an attractive place for businesses to incorporate.

I have lived in the northeast and the Midwest. The northeast hates adjusting to midwest markets with lousy public transportation. Midwesterners who don't want it are usually the same people who've never tried it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:44 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
They don't want it because they don't understand why they'd want it. The Midwest has a bunch of cities close to each other. They have a bunch of business hubs. They have a bunch of sports markets. They have a ton of college students and young professionals. Those are the big ones, because they often don't have cars.

You're not seeing the big picture. If you live in new York, you can probably get to Cleveland on a quick rail ride to watch an Indians game. If you're a north easterner looking to move to Indianapolis, you're more likely to do it if you know you can quickly hop on a rail back home. If you live in Cleveland and want to catch a live bengals game, you can take a round trip rail and not have to worry about soberly driving home. If the northeast moves to high speed while the Midwest stays in the 20th century and doesn't have a good low speed rail, that is bad for business, bad for tourism, and bad for recruiting good employee talent that makes it an attractive place for businesses to incorporate.

I have lived in the northeast and the Midwest. The northeast hates adjusting to midwest markets with lousy public transportation. Midwesterners who don't want it are usually the same people who've never tried it.

Sorry, but Midwesterners are not stupid, they just like having automobiles and the independence they provide.

The Twin Cities put in light rail, and it has been nothing but a fiscal nightmare. In order to merely break even, they would have to charge riders between 6-8 dollars...for a local ride. Of course, no one would ride the light rail at that price...so the state subsidies the light rail to keep the ticket prices low. So hard earning tax payers who do not use the light rail pay to keep it cheap, because it was a foolish investment, and is nothing but a drain on the state budget.

And who gives a rat's ass if the northeast hates adjusting to the midwest...they can go back to NY and ride their subways. We will keep our guns and cars here, thank you very much.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #96
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Sorry, but Midwesterners are not stupid, they just like having automobiles and the independence they provide.

The Twin Cities put in light rail, and it has been nothing but a fiscal nightmare. In order to merely break even, they would have to charge riders between 6-8 dollars...for a local ride. Of course, no one would ride the light rail at that price...so the state subsidies the light rail to keep the ticket prices low. So hard earning tax payers who do not use the light rail pay to keep it cheap, because it was a foolish investment, and is nothing but a drain on the state budget.

And who gives a rat's ass if the northeast hates adjusting to the midwest...they can go back to NY and ride their subways. We will keep our guns and cars here, thank you very much.
Inner city transit is a tougher sell, only because you have to fight the stigma that it's travel for poor people. A lot of people are scared of public transit in the Midwest because of shady characters that ride it. Plus the market size is often not big enough -- not enough people using it to justify the cost of building it. When I ride the subway or bus in the east or Chicago, it's normal people travel. In the midwest, it's a little scarier, and typically cabs are an acceptable form of travel.

Market to market travel is different. Because a train is a better alternative in many cases to planes or cars. It enables businesses. It is convenient for the hundreds of thousands of college students and young professionals. And it's a much more relaxing form of transit than driving in a car for five hours instead of curling up to a good book.

You should care about how Minneapolis is perceived to outside markets. Because companies like target and 3m and any other company wants to attract good talent and doesn't want to lose somebody just because it's an inconvenient place to live. And when businesses choose to locate there, it's a consideration. Because you lose tourism dollars when it's difficult to get people from other markets to conveniently get to your city, which limits amount of business your businesses can do. The Midwest is a terrific market for high speed rails. Take st. Louis to Kansas city. Planes aren't attractive. And a car ride is an 8 hour commitment to drive. Or you could hop on a train and get there in an hour or two. No brainer.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:16 PM   #97
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Sorry, but Midwesterners are not stupid, they just like having automobiles and the independence they provide.

The Twin Cities put in light rail, and it has been nothing but a fiscal nightmare. In order to merely break even, they would have to charge riders between 6-8 dollars...for a local ride. Of course, no one would ride the light rail at that price...so the state subsidies the light rail to keep the ticket prices low. So hard earning tax payers who do not use the light rail pay to keep it cheap, because it was a foolish investment, and is nothing but a drain on the state budget.

And who gives a rat's ass if the northeast hates adjusting to the midwest...they can go back to NY and ride their subways. We will keep our guns and cars here, thank you very much.
Oh, and I live in the Midwest. Midwesterners aren't stupid, but they are also conservative and resistant to change. I saw massive resistance to public investment in stadiums and entertainment districts and casinos. And then have seen how much those markets flourished because of them. Just because Midwesterners claim they don't want it doesn't mean they won't come around to it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:16 PM   #98
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:54 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Inner city transit is a tougher sell, only because you have to fight the stigma that it's travel for poor people. A lot of people are scared of public transit in the Midwest because of shady characters that ride it. Plus the market size is often not big enough -- not enough people using it to justify the cost of building it. When I ride the subway or bus in the east or Chicago, it's normal people travel. In the midwest, it's a little scarier, and typically cabs are an acceptable form of travel.

Market to market travel is different. Because a train is a better alternative in many cases to planes or cars. It enables businesses. It is convenient for the hundreds of thousands of college students and young professionals. And it's a much more relaxing form of transit than driving in a car for five hours instead of curling up to a good book.

You should care about how Minneapolis is perceived to outside markets. Because companies like target and 3m and any other company wants to attract good talent and doesn't want to lose somebody just because it's an inconvenient place to live. And when businesses choose to locate there, it's a consideration. Because you lose tourism dollars when it's difficult to get people from other markets to conveniently get to your city, which limits amount of business your businesses can do. The Midwest is a terrific market for high speed rails. Take st. Louis to Kansas city. Planes aren't attractive. And a car ride is an 8 hour commitment to drive. Or you could hop on a train and get there in an hour or two. No brainer.
None of what you're saying convinces me the trains would operate at enough capacity to break even. Or even come close to it. Maybe on a Saturday or Sunday, but I don't see it Mon-Thursday.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:11 AM   #100
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None of what you're saying convinces me the trains would operate at enough capacity to break even. Or even come close to it. Maybe on a Saturday or Sunday, but I don't see it Mon-Thursday.
Again, please justify what "break even" means. Because by that measure no stadium project would ever be approved.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #101
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Again, please justify what "break even" means. Because by that measure no stadium project would ever be approved.
Break even means no tax dollars from a government that is already writing hot checks~
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #102
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Break even means no tax dollars from a government that is already writing hot checks~
Let's be real here. That is being used as a convenient excuse to never put this on the table. Even when the economy recovers, the same critics will still be against this. And it will be because they care about profit instead of ROI.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:10 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
They don't want it because they don't understand why they'd want it. The Midwest has a bunch of cities close to each other. They have a bunch of business hubs. They have a bunch of sports markets. They have a ton of college students and young professionals. Those are the big ones, because they often don't have cars.

You're not seeing the big picture. If you live in new York, you can probably get to Cleveland on a quick rail ride to watch an Indians game. If you're a north easterner looking to move to Indianapolis, you're more likely to do it if you know you can quickly hop on a rail back home. If you live in Cleveland and want to catch a live bengals game, you can take a round trip rail and not have to worry about soberly driving home. If the northeast moves to high speed while the Midwest stays in the 20th century and doesn't have a good low speed rail, that is bad for business, bad for tourism, and bad for recruiting good employee talent that makes it an attractive place for businesses to incorporate.

I have lived in the northeast and the Midwest. The northeast hates adjusting to midwest markets with lousy public transportation. Midwesterners who don't want it are usually the same people who've never tried it.
I wanna know why you are you even a Republican and not a Democrat? We don't need more central planning by the Federal govt. This is the preferred transportation of the collectivist mind-set. Let private enterprise "invest" ( LOL at this term for govt.) in such if it has any value. There's no market for this, which is why collectivists seek govt confiscation and central planning for it. No wonder, the first post compares us to China.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #104
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I wanna know why you are you even a Republican and not a Democrat? We don't need more central planning by the Federal govt. This is the preferred transportation of the collectivist mind-set. Let private enterprise "invest" ( LOL at this term for govt.) in such if it has any value. There's no market for this, which is why collectivists seek govt confiscation and central planning for it. No wonder, the first post compares us to China.
I'm not a republican. I'm not a democrat. I hate wasteful government spending, but it disgusts me that we use profitability as the only measure of creating or killing projects. It's a stupid litmus test in the private sector. Why do we use it in the public sector?

I've yet to hear anyone address why public sector money should be used on stadiums when they don't turn a profit.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:42 AM   #105
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I'm not a republican. I'm not a democrat. I hate wasteful government spending, but it disgusts me that we use profitability as the only measure of creating or killing projects. It's a stupid litmus test in the private sector. Why do we use it in the public sector?
Whoosh, most of my points went over your head: For one, if such projects have any merit or value private enterprise would have already done it. The original RR projects were heavily govt subsidized and many of them were built with shoddy workmanship, waste and with routes that were not efficient to satisfy political constituencies who subsidized them or had a vested interest. On the other hand there was a private RR line soley done by a private businessman which was higher quality, and more efficient.

This is mercantilist economics in play here. The very corporatist set-up that the left cries about, but who enables them.

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I've yet to hear anyone address why public sector money should be used on stadiums when they don't turn a profit.
Well, you're wrong because I covered this one when I was first here. There are non-statist Republicans that don't support these, that agreed. However, these are also not Federal govt projects either. They're locally funded.

Oh, and most of your positions are big govt left-leaning. You're a Democrat.
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