High Speed Rail in the U.S


#1

Although I think $8 billion is not enough money (China is spending about $400 billion on their system), I’m very excited about the prospect of high-speed rail in the U.S., honestly. And it’s not the prospect of green jobs that particularly interests me, although breathing clean air does rule. Instead, it’s the improvements in infrastructure I am most excited about. In many countries there’s a so-called “core-periphery” model employed, where central city centers get too much attention and the periphery not enough. In the U.S., we have the exact opposite where we have bridges and roads extending into pretty much nowhere. This is a much needed step to improving intercity travel. This is, however, somewhat of a problem when you consider what local public transportation is like (i.e. getting to and from high-speed rail stations). Some cities have great local public transportation, others do not.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our road systems is one of America’s great strengths, but obviously we need something else. Transportation solutions don’t always lie in focusing on one mode. Good transportation should consider the right tools for the job, and for medium distance travel high speed trains could do it just as fast for a fraction of the fuel cost while relieving congested highways. In VA, it’s hard to get from where I live to VA or DC without experiencing some sort of awful traffic jam and gas is pretty expensive.

What do you guys think of the new plans for high-speed rail in the U.S.? Do you think $8 billion is enough money to develop a highly dedicated system or do you think it’s too little too late? What do you guys think of the prospect of getting people to work on these systems, is it a good investment of capital and resources? The manufacturing sector should get a boost, at least.

Here is a link to the blog of Ray Lahood, the U.S. secretary of transportation:
http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/01/president-obama-delivers-on-american-highspeed-rail.html


#2

I know that California’s proposed high speed rail is the most talked about.
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I think that’s the most important line that’s proposed right now. Seeing as how Southern California will have about 36 million people (that’s the population of the entire state of California right now), it would be the most needed. I would say that the east coast corridor (NY to DC) would be next.

Oh and FYI: The US does indeed already have high speed rail. The Acela. It’s a fast train but nowhere near as fast as European trains.

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#3

We need to get with it and connect some of our major cities. Just think of the things this could do for the fighing game scene…

I know that the Northwest is pretty much the lowest priority, but a Portland to Vancouver line would be so epic.


#4

I don’t think anyone cares about what HSR would do to the fighting game community. I think the more important thing is moving people around. HSR would literally transform cities. TOD’s (Transit Orientated Developments) would thrive all around stations creating urban neighborhoods all connected by transit.

For example: San Jose, California
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Sacramento
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Fresno
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Anaheim
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#5

It’s a topic those in the Bay Area aren’t too excited about. At least, in my hometown it isn’t wanted unless it’s underground for our area. The proposed California one linking the Bay to Socal would go through my hometown and the town my parents work in.


#6

I know about the Acela. Considering it’s about as fast or even slower than the slowest rail lines going up, it’s no wonder people seem to gloss over it when thinking about high-speed rail. 3 hours from our nations capital to the big apple? I think we can do much better. That being said, it’s not horrible, I just think that region ought to have better service. And not just in terms of speed, but also in price. Why would I pay 130 bucks seems like a steep trade-off for time vs. money.

As for California, I’m really excited about that actually happening. I know the state put up close to 10 billion for the rail line, but I didn’t know the general consensus among people in the region. Although with traffic being the way it is in the region, it’s no surprise that people are probably stoked.

Evelgest: So people wouldn’t want the train to go through their towns? Is it a noise or property issue?


#7

So Obama announced that California, Florida, and the Midwest will share the $8 billion in rail funding.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=akGmApx3GhMY

And the Acela is slow (average speed is like 85 mph) only because the rail infrastructure in the east is pretty old.

And this is pretty apt.

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/F/M/2/election-trains.jpg


#8

Portland and Vancouver have already been talking about that, so…


#9

#10

My friend works for a firm that’s doing the environmental impact analysis for the high speed rail in California. He helps decide which family of ground hogs will die or live.

I’m hoping it is as good as they say it is though. Knowing Cali though, I fear it’s not gonna be as nearly as efficient or fast as they say it is.


#11

Would you rather piddle along the Metrolink? It goes everywhere but it’s kind of slow and it’s known to kill people.


#12

Yeah, that’s problem. Without the proper funding it could be a gigantic waste of time/resources. $8 billion isn’t very much considering how much we spend on medicare/medicaid, social security, and defense. I guess the real question is, how much would CA to make this truly work?

People are likening Obama’s support of high-speed rail to Eisenhower’s work with the interstate highway system which would be more applicable if more money was there. I speculate that more money will pour into it over time. My only concern is public support though. Great public support would be more funding for high-speed rail projects but the average american may lose interest in about one hour (the time it takes for an episode of “Jersey Shore” to complete).

It’s funny, people will support a wars for close to a decade because they feel as though they’re safer every second of the day, but the benefits of high-speed rail may not be seen for years to come even though they will probably do a lot more for the country. Uhg, but let’s not get into that.


#13

Ah yes! I think the Japanese word “shinkansen,” which is what they call their bullet train, translates to English roughly as “ZOOM MOTHERFUCKERS ZOOM.” (Yes capitals)

I’m surprised that nobody else has mentioned this yet: having high-speed trains in your country automatically makes your player base better at fighting games. It just happens! You know, like the same way watering dirt makes grass appear?


#14

It would have to take a lot more than the 4 billion that Cali is getting. For example, to extend the subway to the sea in Los Angeles, it would cost a billion dollars a mile. And it’s about 10 miles from Wilshire Western to Santa Monica.


#15

So that whole portion of the rail system would be underground? Goddamn. Also, I thought CA was getting about 2.5 billion and they put up 4 billion of their own money as an initial investment. Also I’m interested in this quote:

Does that mean they’ll match every dollar invested by the fed or only those fed dollars invested in excess of the CA investment?


#16

I would like to know why the fuck anybody needs this shit? In Florida, they want to be able to go from Tampa to Orlando in blah blah minutes. WHY? there’s nothing there to attract people but Universal Studios, and right now, nobody has the fuckin’ money to be wasting on shit like that. High speed rail pushers are mentally stuck in a time when the economy was good. If they were actually tring to do some good, they would have a rail go from St Pete/Clearwater to the east, Brandon and Seffner. That’s where the commuters are coming from/going) This is just a blatant catering to the Tourist community, which is dying off. It will not help the people who have to get to their jobs, nor will it significantly ease highway traffic.


#17

Because with greater accessibility, you have the chance at people creating communities greater than mere tourist traps. With a country that has as much space as America, there’s a lot of value to be had even in timely interstate travel. Especially if it’s passive like rail.


#18

Washington state is getting some good cash for this, too bad that I will never use it.


#19

Feels like the 1800s all over again.

I can’t wait until the Midwest line is finished. One of my closet friends lives and works in Chicago now and this would be great for her. I actually got the new Wired magazine that talks about this and based on the facts the Midwest line would only go tops, 110 mph, which sucks. But, to be able to just hop and go from Detroit to Chicago like that (the hub naturally) is awesaome. The expansion ideas for it look great too.

(Also, Texas and Florida lines were mentioned. Florida only had like three cities mapped out. Orlando, Miami, and Tampa Baby. No Jacksonville!)

But it’s gonna take California to lead us. So get cracking you people!


#20

I’d love to ride a bullet train down to Miami to chill with my friends. I’ll be glad when the US moves into last century with a high speed rail.