• Not in Biden's plan but we will lead the world in High-Speed Rail . . . yeah right!

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by bostontrainguy
 
Just read this on Yahoo News:

Mike Bebernes·Senior Editor
Sat, April 10, 2021, 8:53 AM
Yahoo News

What’s happening

The elements of President Biden’s massive infrastructure plan are so broad, the proposal has sparked a debate over just how far the definition of the word "infrastructure" can stretch. One of the biggest surprises to infrastructure experts, however, was something that isn’t in the plan: High-speed rail.

Many transportation observers believed Biden might be the president to bring the super-fast trains, common in Europe and Asia, to the United States. Famous for commuting to Washington, D.C., on Amtrak during his days in the Senate, Biden has called for a “second great railroad revolution” and had championed high-speed rail projects while serving as vice president. Biden’s pick for transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has said he wants the U.S. to be “leading the world” in high-speed rail.


What is Buttigieg smoking? I'm sorry, but I'm tired of being lied to by these pompous politicians. Biden and I will probably be dead and gone before even the CAHSR is completed never mind "leading the world" in HSR. These guys really think we are stupid enough to believe them?

I always felt that Buttigieg was unqualified for the office but now he seems more like Alfred E Newman with a shiny new train set. It's not funny though, it's sad.
  by Frank
 
We cannot be always reliant on private sector alone for everything. Little investment in the past 40 to 50 years resulted in very little being done. Saying the private sector should be the only ones building HSR is the same nonsense politicians from a certain party has regurgitating for years.
  by electricron
 
Frank wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:05 am We cannot be always reliant on private sector alone for everything. Little investment in the past 40 to 50 years resulted in very little being done. Saying the private sector should be the only ones building HSR is the same nonsense politicians from a certain party has regurgitating for years.
And meanwhile not "one inch" of true high speed rail (over 125 mph) has been built and put into service by the government either not on the world famous for slow Northeast Corridor.
California and Texas might be soon, it will be interesting to see which builds, completes, and puts the HSR trains on their lines first.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Frank wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:05 am Saying the private sector should be the only ones building HSR is the same nonsense politicians from a certain party has regurgitating for years.
Well there apparently is real interest. Vegas and Texas projects are probably going to happen. Of course what Brightline is doing is super impressive. These could all be the start of some real privately run HSR lines.

So how about if the government just gets out of the way? If a private company wants to build something like this, it seems that various agencies just put up stop signs with excessive regulation and red tape. Just the fact that these rules slow the projects down to a crawl greatly increases construction costs. Prohibitive cost overruns can jeopardize the whole project and the opposition knows that.

What if these projects can earn special status that helps them with easier financing, lower environmental requirements, stronger eminent domain powers . . . whatever it takes to get it done? Controversial? Yeah maybe, but do you want HSR or not? Maybe they could actually be built if the powers that be just let them.
  by Frank
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:40 am
Frank wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:05 am Saying the private sector should be the only ones building HSR is the same nonsense politicians from a certain party has regurgitating for years.
Well there apparently is real interest. Vegas and Texas projects are probably going to happen. Of course what Brightline is doing is super impressive. These could all be the start of some real privately run HSR lines.

So how about if the government just gets out of the way? If a private company wants to build something like this, it seems that various agencies just put up stop signs with excessive regulation and red tape. Just the fact that these rules slow the projects down to a crawl greatly increases construction costs. Prohibitive cost overruns can jeopardize the whole project and the opposition knows that.

What if these projects can earn special status that helps them with easier financing, lower environmental requirements, stronger eminent domain powers . . . whatever it takes to get it done? Controversial? Yeah maybe, but do you want HSR or not? Maybe they could actually be built if the powers that be just let them.
I never said I didn't want HSR but where were the private companies decades ago? They didn't build a mile of HSR until now! It's ridiculous! Private sector maybe less effected by regulations and overruns but they are not immune to them.
  by kitchin
 
Frank wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:57 amI never said I didn't want HSR but where were the private companies decades ago? They didn't build a mile of HSR until now! It's ridiculous! Private sector maybe less effected by regulations and overruns but they are not immune to them.
Not agreeing or disagreeing, but I looked up these facts:
* Populations of Texas and Florida have doubled since 1980.
* Population of Nevada has almost quadrupled (+362%), Southern California has almost doubled (+166%).
* The U.S. has gone from 74% urban to 83% urban (as defined by UN Dept. Economic and Social Affairs).

And speculation:
* Private capital is finite.
* A narrative zeitgeist that smart young people want to work hard for the private sector, live in cities, ride scooters and bicycles, use uber/lyft and public transit, and take trains. Until they have children!
* Speaking of children, an influence on capital not often mentioned is their own teenager / young adult offspring. (This happens in politics too.) I'm not sure young people in 1980 were super excited by transit, defined broadly.
* Heck, the airlines had just been deregulated in 1980. That was exciting! I remember People Express, a deep discount airline, taking over a whole terminal at then-underused Newark airport. Today EWR is congested to the gills, on the tarmac and on the road.

Brightline is spending a lot of money in Florida. Does it get any other benefit from its land or easements? Future utility lines?

The private maglev proposal Baltimore-Washington, currently in an Environmental Impact public comment period, is to get half its funding from Central Japan Railway. Is the benefit to CJR full of intangibles, such as being a technology showcase, good relations, etc.?
  by Frank
 
kitchin wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:31 pm
Frank wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:57 amI never said I didn't want HSR but where were the private companies decades ago? They didn't build a mile of HSR until now! It's ridiculous! Private sector maybe less effected by regulations and overruns but they are not immune to them.
Not agreeing or disagreeing, but I looked up these facts:
* Populations of Texas and Florida have doubled since 1980.
* Population of Nevada has almost quadrupled (+362%), Southern California has almost doubled (+166%).
* The U.S. has gone from 74% urban to 83% urban (as defined by UN Dept. Economic and Social Affairs).

And speculation:
* Private capital is finite.
* A narrative zeitgeist that smart young people want to work hard for the private sector, live in cities, ride scooters and bicycles, use uber/lyft and public transit, and take trains. Until they have children!
* Speaking of children, an influence on capital not often mentioned is their own teenager / young adult offspring. (This happens in politics too.) I'm not sure young people in 1980 were super excited by transit, defined broadly.
* Heck, the airlines had just been deregulated in 1980. That was exciting! I remember People Express, a deep discount airline, taking over a whole terminal at then-underused Newark airport. Today EWR is congested to the gills, on the tarmac and on the road.

Brightline is spending a lot of money in Florida. Does it get any other benefit from its land or easements? Future utility lines?

The private maglev proposal Baltimore-Washington, currently in an Environmental Impact public comment period, is to get half its funding from Central Japan Railway. Is the benefit to CJR full of intangibles, such as being a technology showcase, good relations, etc.?
Thank you.
  by wigwagfan
 
Are the Democrats willing to:

1. Eliminate environmental laws, allowing the tracks to be laid, damned be a protected wetland or an endangered species in the way,
2. Eliminate private property laws, telling affected homeowners and businesses that they're on their own - damned be that pesky Constitutional amendment,
3. Eliminate minimum wage laws, and allow prisoners to be forced to work on the construction crews getting their 10 cents an hour?

We'll be lucky if the Texas and California projects even get to an operational stage in my lifetime.
  by Frank
 
wigwagfan wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:20 pm Are the Democrats willing to:

1. Eliminate environmental laws, allowing the tracks to be laid, damned be a protected wetland or an endangered species in the way,
2. Eliminate private property laws, telling affected homeowners and businesses that they're on their own - damned be that pesky Constitutional amendment,
3. Eliminate minimum wage laws, and allow prisoners to be forced to work on the construction crews getting their 10 cents an hour?

We'll be lucky if the Texas and California projects even get to an operational stage in my lifetime.
What does that have to do with what I'm talking about?
  by eolesen
 
Frank wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:26 pm What does that have to do with what I'm talking about?
Oh, just about everything... Everyone fawns over how there's high speed rail outside the US, but that was largely built by governments who didn't have to worry about following environmental laws, honoring private land ownership, paying taxes, or finding workers. In China specifically, there's no shortage of slave or conscripted labor to build rail.

Then again, we also have one of the most comprehensive highway networks of any developed country, and some of the best air service. We have land for interstates and airports. Europe doesn't.

And yet, a small number of people still pine away for HSR...

When you consider all the environmental laws passed largely in the second half of the 20th century, it's next to impossible to plan and propose a new pipeline, interstate or railroad. You have minimum wage laws, unionization laws, workplace safety laws, and yes, private property laws to follow. It takes 20+ years for an interstate to be planned, approved, funded and built, and interstates are a lot more multi-purpose than a HSR line will ever be.

All that blue tape adds up to why we don't have a HSR network, and probably won't in any of our lifetimes.
  by bostontrainguy
 
What you are saying is true and even makes it more amazing that Brightline has accomplished what they have done so far. It may not be super high-speed but that line from the airport to Cocoa could be and the rest of the massive upgrade is something we have never seen in our lifetime. And they are not done yet!
  by GeorgeR
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:02 pmOh, just about everything... Everyone fawns over how there's high speed rail outside the US, but that was largely built by governments who didn't have to worry about following environmental laws, honoring private land ownership, paying taxes, or finding workers. In China specifically, there's no shortage of slave or conscripted labor to build rail.
While this is a valid point regarding mainland China, other countries with big networks relative to the countries' size and population are France, Spain, Germany, Japan and South Korea.