My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could ...

My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could be a financial disaster

There are 87 comments on the Eureka Times Standard story from Dec 11, 2010, titled My Word: Rail sounds cool, but could be a financial disaster. In it, Eureka Times Standard reports that:

"California's High-Speed Rail System" sure sounds cool! But there is a question we should be asking.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Eureka Times Standard.

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Since: Aug 08

Fieldbrook

#1 Dec 11, 2010
It might be hard to quantify but the money that the taxpayers spend on public transportation just may offset taxpayer money not spent on the hidden costs of individual vehicular transportation. I'll leave it to others to specify but I'm talking about everything from road maintanence to cancer deaths from pollution.
Willie Green

Cypress, TX

#2 Dec 11, 2010
Actually, passenger rail systems DO pay for themselves.
Passenger rail only fell out of favor when Cheap Oil made airline and automotive travel more affordable.
Unfortuanately, "Cheap Oil" was sixty years ago. The traditional oil resourcew are rapidly depleting and production is shifting to more expensive "unconventional" oil resources. And not matter what technolody we develop, these "unconventional" resources will ALWAYS remain more difficult to extract and convert to usable fuel than the cheap oil that we currently enjoy.

That means that the era of Chap Oil is OVER.
That means automotive and airline travel is no longer as affordable as what we're accustomed to.
That means that we must begin reviving our passenger rail infrastructure to remain economically competitive in the 21st Century.
Passenger rail will become self sustaining becasue we can't afford the OIL.
Peoplespeak

United States

#3 Dec 11, 2010
Predictions of Economic behavior for transportation
systems are best left to history, something our politicians can't learn from. "High Speed" is a political misnomer that is fraudulently used to hide the Political Pork used to justify borrowing money from Ghina to pass out among the railroad businesses. Even the so-called High-speed trains we know about are severely limited in scope and performance. There is no form of public transportation in the US that can or will exist without mmassive subsidy. Get off our backs.
Derek

San Diego, CA

#4 Dec 11, 2010
EVERY high speed rail line around the world covers its operating costs and more. Even the northeast corridor's Acela Express: http://www.businessinsider.com/report-amtrak-...

“I don't know who I am”

Since: Dec 07

Fortuna

#5 Dec 11, 2010
I can't speak to the author's other claims. I can only add that highways and freeways also do not pay for themselves, but we seem to have no problem with justifying our building them.

Such projects have larger societal costs and benefits beyond their price tags.

And a question: Does the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system pay for itself out of the fare box or is it subsidized?

Since: Aug 08

Fieldbrook

#6 Dec 12, 2010
Peoplespeak wrote:
Predictions of Economic behavior for transportation
systems are best left to history, something our politicians can't learn from. "High Speed" is a political misnomer that is fraudulently used to hide the Political Pork used to justify borrowing money from Ghina to pass out among the railroad businesses. Even the so-called High-speed trains we know about are severely limited in scope and performance. There is no form of public transportation in the US that can or will exist without mmassive subsidy. Get off our backs.
The transportation system we have is already MASSIVELY subsidized.
If you would like to live someplace where there is no tax and no infrastucture, I respecfully suggest you try it sometime.
PISSYONE

United States

#7 Dec 12, 2010
Hmmm.... I checked the link provided by Dereck above, here is an excerpt;

"Let's not hold rail up and say it needs to make money when highways don't make money, transit doesn't make money and a lot of small airports don't make money and they all get subsidies," Van Beek said.

I find it quite telling, and it begs followup.

Either Derek did NOT read the ENTIRE article, or, He is a typical Libtard, like Mr. Van Beak.

Either way, Hi speed rail is just another boondoggle supported by Liberals who buy into global warming and labor unions who want the work so they can milk the taxpayers for another government blessed pork project.

Thanks for the link Derek.

note....Do not smoke dope before reading dereks link.
Wild Bill

Arcata, CA

#8 Dec 12, 2010
I don't know how other states work, but in our great state of California if the voters vote something in it becomes a mandate.

You should not point your finger at the government. It is the way our system is set up.

Dumboldts I salute you

Cerritos, CA

#9 Dec 12, 2010
Why would anyone in Humboldt care about what "real" California does. Humboldt gets way more revenue from the Government then is collected. Besides Humboldt already has High Speed Rail.Just take a drive anywhere, and e you will see plenty of people high on speed, and doing rails.
Two Shirts

United States

#10 Dec 12, 2010
Aside from the fact that something being self-supporting has nothing to do with its value to the State, why should it be? We have been heading down that vermillion path for a long time. Parks, Hospitals, Schools, Bridges, Highways, Health Departments, Food and Drug inspections all should be self supporting? Of course not. Every dollar pulled out of essential services doesn not result in saving to the tax payer. Just increases the pool of money that can be siphoned away by our elected employees and their cohorts.

Besides high-speed rail, we should bring back interurban trolley systems. Few people remember that the interurbans were thriving until Detroit decided to get rid of them to increase sales of motorcoachse, tires and petrol.

Restoring rail service of all types is in the best interest of the people who actually make this country work.
Ester H

San Francisco, CA

#11 Dec 12, 2010
While were at it, let's instead keep spending hundreds of billions in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting un-winable wars
CPetersen

Muskogee, OK

#12 Dec 12, 2010
Two Shirts, trollies are essentially entertainment for tourists. They disappeared in part because they are locked into a route and fare system, and people don't want to get on and off at a stop that isn't where they wanted to be at. People like the privacy and choices offered by having personal transportation, be it a car, a boat or a snowmobile. Or even a bicycle. Also, have you ever gone grocery shopping or appliance shopping on a bus? I have. It's a pain in the a$$. Mass transit is just fine for urban centers. It's a useless money pit for anything else.
cynic

Shingletown, CA

#13 Dec 13, 2010
Dumboldts I salute you wrote:
Why would anyone in Humboldt care about what "real" California does. Humboldt gets way more revenue from the Government then is collected. Besides Humboldt already has High Speed Rail.Just take a drive anywhere, and e you will see plenty of people high on speed, and doing rails.
I drive through Humboldt, Eureka and other towns and, it's amazing, but I never see people high on speed.
I sure see plenty of drunks, though.
cynic

Shingletown, CA

#14 Dec 13, 2010
OK, so therefore what is the role of government?
Dillinger

Eureka, CA

#15 Dec 13, 2010
Some miss an important point on the nations with viable rail service that supposedly pay for themselves.

1- They are mostly Electric 2- they are mostly government subsidized.

What I have said before is that a Lite-Rail system between Pats Pt and Fortuna/Ferndale incl stations at obvious stop pnts like CR, HSU, the mall, old town, etc. There could be shuttle bus service from some of them where the walk would be to far, especially in bad weather.

Set up commuter, shopper and tourist parking, preferably free. Add more tax to local gas, registration, whatever to "hopefully?" make people want to use it.

Obviously there is more to this then what little I have said but I think it is a more viable way to spend money than on a regular rail line.

Look how much has already been wasted over many yrs studying the problem and how much more it would cost to ever get it off the drawing board with inflation.

Just an idea and opinion of mine.
Craig

Edmond, OK

#16 Dec 13, 2010
Sure, what the hell, 77 billion and we can put it on the state credit card.
Two Shirts

United States

#17 Dec 13, 2010
CPetersen probably doesn't remember when trolleys were the common mode of affordable transportation. And the real reason they were shut down.

Every time somebody starts extolling the versatility of bicycle transportation, like in China, it reminds me of the "study" of bicycle commuters between Arcata and Eureka. The Planning Commission has been sold a bill of goods in/re the thousands of people who will commute on bikes. I was allowed to park at Redwood Lumber today, and counted the commuters using both sides of the highway. All four of them, one of whom appeared to actually have a job.
Dillinger

Eureka, CA

#18 Dec 13, 2010
Two Shirts wrote:
CPetersen probably doesn't remember when trolleys were the common mode of affordable transportation. And the real reason they were shut down.
Every time somebody starts extolling the versatility of bicycle transportation, like in China, it reminds me of the "study" of bicycle commuters between Arcata and Eureka. The Planning Commission has been sold a bill of goods in/re the thousands of people who will commute on bikes. I was allowed to park at Redwood Lumber today, and counted the commuters using both sides of the highway. All four of them, one of whom appeared to actually have a job.
I've been in and out of China the last two years. There are still millions of bikes but there are also millions of motor vehicles now and the number is growing by humongous numbers. As China's new
economy grows so do the sales of mostly new cars and trucks. Along with those are more scooters.

Riding bikes in the big cities is becoming more dangerous due to all the new vehicles on the streets.
They also have exceptionally cheap public transportation and for 2 or more average paid Chinese they can take cabs very cheaply. You can go approximately 8/10 miles in a cab for about $1.75/2.00.

This area will not support a train rail system. People try to claim it will bring more tourists and industry. More tourists might add up to a few thousand, even 20 or 30 K more would not pay for such a system. Industry is leaving California due to tax structure and extra cost safety requirements.

They can dream on but the cost to ever get it started would be enormous especially as inflation keeps growing.
ekarider

United States

#19 Dec 13, 2010
Two Shirts wrote:
CPetersen probably doesn't remember when trolleys were the common mode of affordable transportation. And the real reason they were shut down.
Every time somebody starts extolling the versatility of bicycle transportation, like in China, it reminds me of the "study" of bicycle commuters between Arcata and Eureka. The Planning Commission has been sold a bill of goods in/re the thousands of people who will commute on bikes. I was allowed to park at Redwood Lumber today, and counted the commuters using both sides of the highway. All four of them, one of whom appeared to actually have a job.
Bicycle commuting drops off considerably during the winter time, do another survey in July or August and report back.

Install an off freeway trail between Eureka and Arcata, and then the number of cyclists traveling between the two cities will skyrocket.
Joshua Woods

United States

#20 Dec 13, 2010
Wild Bill wrote:
I don't know how other states work, but in our great state of California if the voters vote something in it becomes a mandate.
You should not point your finger at the government. It is the way our system is set up.
Unless the minority complain and sue....

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