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Obama wants to build a nationwide light rail system

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posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:01 PM

Originally posted by justsomeboreddude
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

"...if it is viable capitalists will have already built it."

Seems like this is a popular thought process.
Is our current brand of capitalism really the best benchmark for viability?
Is this concept of "viability" beneficial to us in the bigger picture?
It seems like the meaning of viability in this context is to suck the maximum profits out of a venture with no regard for the sustainability of the system itself.

Many of our models of success are short-sighted and disproportionately benefit the affluent minority.

At some point we will need to make decisions based on the greater ecological, economical & social sustainability notwithstanding it's potential to clash with current models, the flaws of which are being laid bare before our eyes at this point in history.

Does our idea of success have to be tied to financial gains to the detriment of the greater population?

Changing our habits may be the biggest hurdle, I enjoy the autonomy of my personal vehicle as much as anyone else, but gas prices will go up again, and when gas climbs past $5 a gal to $10 or something closer to what they're paying in Europe, public transportation will be the only affordable option for many people.
Then what? Start a process that will take years to realize only when it's crunch time?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:11 PM

Originally posted by justsomeboreddude

Originally posted by cautiouslypessimistic

You do know what a mix of coporate and political control is right?

I am not one who EVER thinks putting money and power in the hands of the corporations is a good thing. Trickle down DOESNT WORK. The only way an economy grows is by the people, not by the government, not by the corporations.

I agree you can shrink gov't, but I dont see what that has to do with this topic. I mean, I am "technically" a government employee, because I work in a school with special ed kids. Should spending on me be CUT?

A mix of political control, corporate control, and personal responsibility is necessary.

Its not putting money in the hands of corporations, its just not taking their hard earned money away from them. You know that money that they risked capital to make. That money that they reinvest in equipment or pay their shareholders or create more jobs with.

I dont mean any insult but we need to look at all government jobs and make the hard decisions on what needs to be cut in order for us to balance the budget and begin to pay off our national debt. Some people are going to loose out but its for the long term good of the country and ALL of its citizens.

So how exactly is building a HSR system taking anything away from anyone?

BTW, I have to say, Ive enjoyed debating with you on this so far...not many people can be civil in a convo anymore, and I just wanted to say I appreciate it.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:21 PM
Edited .. never mind. Sorry

[edit on 4/16/2009 by FlyersFan]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:27 PM
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

It is going to put us further in debt and raise our taxes. So it is taking away even more of our money. I enjoy debating with you too. I try not to ever get upset on here. I like people who think differently than me, because then I learn something.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:35 PM

Originally posted by justsomeboreddude
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

It is going to put us further in debt and raise our taxes. So it is taking away even more of our money. I enjoy debating with you too. I try not to ever get upset on here. I like people who think differently than me, because then I learn something.

I agree, short term it will cost, but it is long term viability that this country needs.

I look at our school system(weird comparison, but stick with me) the same way. We spend BILLIONS every year to update books, supply paper for tests, notes, assignments, etc.

And still we fall behind, because information advances faster than we can print it.

The logical solution: Spend a few BILLION (yes, billion), right now, to fit a hard drive and screen to every desk in every school in the nation, and tie those computers into a central network.

Boom. Constantly updating material. Not another penny spend on books that are outdated before they get there. No wasting money for kids have "scratch paper".

So why isnt this happening? It costs too much in the short term. Nevermind that we save TRILLIONS over the long term, nevermind that we create a better educated, more adept next generation. Its too spendy.

An economy is about much more than money in your pocket right now. If only people would see that.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 02:52 PM
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

I think your book idea is a good one. I could see the definite financial benefit of that. It would be a good thing to test in some school districts and then build a case for doing it everywhere.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 03:22 PM

Originally posted by justsomeboreddude
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

I think your book idea is a good one. I could see the definite financial benefit of that. It would be a good thing to test in some school districts and then build a case for doing it everywhere.

Honestly, I look at the financial side of it as the beneifical side affect. Think about the higher level of education our children would be coming out of school with if they had access to an ever-updating data base, instead of outdated books...

but i digress. Sorry for jumping off topic, but I was trying to draw a paralell to spending know to build infrastructure in the future. Not sure if I did a good job of it though....

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 03:36 PM
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

I think there are good investments to be made. I would think your book database idea is pretty easy to quantify and could start saving money pretty quick.

Something like light rail is different. It is a huge investment (100's of billions) when we dont have money to blow. Its risky because nobody can really tell how much it is going to be used. It has the potential to negatively affect private businesses such as airlines. It is just way riskier and the benefits are subjective speculation at this point.

I dont have a problem with individual communities building them, and maybe even the feds setting standards for rails etc so they can one day be connected. Its just that we cannot afford to do everything that people want. We need to start pushing our politicians to be accountable for the finances of this country. Encouraging them to spend more on anything right now is just shooting ourselves in the foot. It is not necessary. What is necessary is to get our selves straightened out finanacially. I just dont see the cost to benefit being there and I dont see it being something that saves us money as a country for the next 20 years or so. That is my only point.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 03:45 PM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

Yeah I really like taking the train but it's just not practical. It's pretty much a novelty, that's what makes it fun and worth it on occasion. It's such a pain when you have to be somewhere and 7 times out of 10 the damn thing is late to late as hell (which is why i only used it for non-time essential trips). I'd have to say amtrak is the worst company on earth.

But with rising energy costs, if someone got serious about investing and fixing it, it could work. Europe's rail system is fast, on time, goes everywhere, and is relatively affordable.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 04:09 PM
The thing nobody seems to be talking about is where are they going to get the power to run this whole system? Don't tell me wind farms and solar panels. Unless we go completely nuclear there is no viable way to power the thing.

It sounds like a hair brained idea honestly. This is the way things usually go with the government, oh it's only going to cost "x" amount just this one time and then it will be profitable. Yep, hows that working out for the banks, Amtrack, GM and Chrysler, also we are talking about a government that couldn't make money running a whore house and selling whiskey.

The thing is all of this sounds good on paper, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, it is really ridiculous. As far as where we are going to get the money from and everybody saying war, yea that is a complete misnomer too.

If you look at history when ever the war was over we were back in the same position, we immediately went into a recession. That is another topic for another time though.

It all comes down to this. If a high speed rail had a chance to be profitable then it would already be in the process of being built by private industry. Seeing how private industry is motivated by profits and they do look long term if they could make more money with a light rail system then they would have already built it.

The other major concern is power. They now want a light rail system that is green, which means it will probably be run off of electric power. They want the entire country running off of wind and solar farms, and they want us all to be driving electric cars.

Meanwhile, 50% or more of the countries power comes from coal, and they want cap and trade on that. They don't want nuclear power. I hate to break it to you, but its a pipe dream. It isn't going to happen. What will happen is all this stuff will get built only to find out that it doesn't work. Then its wasted money and are kids or in debt up to their eyeballs with no way to pay it back.

Sorry, but we need to be looking for real solutions, not some idea backed by the excuse that those people over there are doing it so we should too.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 04:35 PM
My personal thoughts on this are somewhat contrary to Obama's plan.

First, we've had incredible advances in the internet. I just saw a demo of new teleconferencing equipment that pretty much blew me away. It looks like people in remote locations are just at the far end of the table.

Most long distance travel is for business purposes. If you have good teleconferencing equipment, I think that the need for business travel will decrease significantly.

Also, if this technology becomes available so that you could use it from home, the home office will further reduce the need to travel to work.

I would still travel to visit friends and relatives as well as for vacation purposes but personally, I think that the advances in network speed and bandwidth will kill the airlines as we know them today. I also don't see a need for high speed rail network for the same reason.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 04:59 PM
reply to post by cautiouslypessimistic

It's been failing for years, because we don't produce as much as we used to in this country, and fuel prices have been rising too. Whatcha going to replace it with? Electricity? Oh yeah that comes from coal which is a fossil fuel too...
Name another country that is the size of the united states that has such an expansive and interconnected rail system. Plus the upkeep of such an advanced system like magnetic railways would be extremely expensive, especially out here.

Speed is still a concern, transporting tons of goods going into the hundreds of miles an hour is still a very bad idea. Don't they go fast enough? I mean they do 90 out here in Wyoming I believe, thats faster than the interstate max. Could we do better? Yeah, but its not bad. Would you prefer steam engines?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 05:54 PM
So the question I keep asking myself about this is:
Why do our politicians think we have an unlimited amount of money to spend? Why do they think they can do whatever they want without there eventually being consequences?

[edit on 16-4-2009 by justsomeboreddude]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:54 PM
I don't think this idea of a new rail system goes nearly far enough. I think we should build a national light rail system that allows people to operate their personally owned rail cars on the system. It can be done, it would be more efficient, and create a whole new industry, and vast amounts of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

This is a thread I started earlier on the subject.

First of all we could largely eliminate the human factor from the equation. Acceleration, braking, navigation, and steering would all be controlled by computers. Sure, give individuals the ability to react when things go wrong, but with redundant systems, this should be a far more reliable system than we currently have. This would eliminate the need for traffic tickets and traffic police, which give the police any excuse in the world to pull you over. POV insurance would also be vastly eliminated.

Commuter time would no longer be a huge waste. Instead of concentrating on the road, and trying to minimize your road rage, you could do pretty much whatever you want in your own vehicle. In addition, vehicles could be connected and controlled as a large single train eliminating the massive amount of freeway space taking up by the need for reaction time, and people who want more room in front of them in traffic. Multiple rails would be needed where those who are exiting can be reasonably converted to the outer slower lanes onto exit rails, while those traveling further distances can be in the inner rails moving at higher speeds. A safe system of managing this should not be that hard to develop.

Inner city travel could possibly be at speed up to two hundred MPH. You could cross the country in your POV in 12 hours.

People pay into the system by power usage. Shipping should probably be done on separate rail systems.

The U.S. government went into debt double that of the current GDP in 1945 to pay for WW II, and that ended the last depression. Government borrowing to build such a transportation system would be a better way of getting out of this depression. Wouldn't it be far better to go into debt rebuilding out country rather than starting a new world war?

The system could be built on an elevated platform above existing streets, allowing people to continue to use their cars until the system was available.

Mom and Dad can have their own vehicles to get around, and then when the family decides to go on vacation, they could connect the two vehicles together so they have twice the space, and a third car to pack their suitcases and other gear inside.

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 02:01 AM
this is a stupid idea 99% of the country wouldnt be even effected.

first off where are they gonna get the land? screw people out of it? is that the imment domain i hear so much about???

railways are relegated to cargo and yes its taken up some congestion off the interstates, but transit systems dont keep pace with economic and population growth.

for those who dont live near train the are noisy as hell and as dangerous as hell.
you people never seen a train smashing into a semi truck or passenger car?
id hate to see what a train traveling at 350 mph would do.

not to mention the train that passes me by runs approximately twice a month and is an eyesore.

where are all the treehuggers and sand huggers?? how much land you think will be destroyed on something we dont need.

ideas cost money and the up keep of those ideas made fruition cost money.

you think you property taxes wont go up or any tax wont go up to pay for building and upkeep?

true enough any government run business is almost bankrupt- amtrack and postal service need i say more?

we cannont continue to spend money on projects cause its money we dont have.

even if it is built why take a train when you can drive and if you cant drive most people fly. the trains idea has come and gone.

[edit on 17-4-2009 by neo67]

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 02:21 AM
reply to post by justsomeboreddude

Amtrak was a failure, I guess now it will be completely different.

I think we will see this work about as well as our banking system.

A lot of ppl do not realize that it is totally regulated and controlled
by the government and they still screwed it up massively.

This is likely just another pork project being setup to pay back some
campaign contributions.

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 08:56 AM
OK, this was done in Charlotte, NC where I live. We have a beltway, 50 years in planning, that still isn't complete and is wayyyyyy over budget. Then we had our light-rail that runs from the town of Pinevill on the southern outskirts of Charlotte, to downtown. That was many years in planning and wayyyyyyyy over budget once again. If we can't build a light-rail that goes maybe 10 miles tops(9.6 to be exact), on a budget of about $450 million dollars. I'm not kidding, and that was only 10 miles. Think of the cost for a nationwide light rail. And that ain't counting the fact that it will certainly be overbudget and the bill that allows for it will be stuffed with pork.

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 09:21 AM
reply to post by ludaChris

Thanks to everyone for replying.

That is crazy. That is 45 million dollars per mile, and I thought it was a ridiculous amount per mile to build a highway.

[edit on 17-4-2009 by justsomeboreddude]

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 09:36 AM
High tech rail is far more efficient, more environmentally sound, then planes.

If you put high speed rail from New York to LA, it can make the trek in 10 hours.

Including driving times and waitinga the airport, you would be hard put to do that on a plane.

They can put in cafes, people can move around more, and there are internet cars, so business men can have meetings and sit down and work. You can have a group of business men conduct a meeting while on tehir way to another location.

Infrastructure of any kind is expensive to put in. But it is one of those things that would last forever and save money in fuel, environment, and productivity, in the long run.

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 09:52 AM
reply to post by Hastobemoretolife

This is a very good point to consider. Though, if I remember right they only power the part of the track the train is actually on.

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