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U.S. plans to inject $53 billion into passenger rail: Biden

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posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:33 PM

U.S. plans to inject $53 billion into passenger rail: Biden

PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced an ambitious $53 billion program to build new high-speed rail networks and make existing ones faster over the next six years.

"This is about seizing the future," he said.

Japan and China are already building high-speed rail, and "there's no reason, none," that the United States cannot do the same, Biden said.

"If we do not, you tell me how America is going to be able to lead the world in the 21st century."

(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:33 PM
These folks have to be out of their minds. Trains?

Lets set aside that Amtrak, with the fine stewardship provided by the government has lost over $1bn/year for the past 11 years.

There is not a single "high speed rail" initiative that has been successful in this country. Every one of them is way over budget and behind schedule. The one they have been building in Seattle, for example is massively over budget, no where near completion and it does not look as if it ever will be.

Lets think about the logic, which is essentially that by building these rail systems, the US will be able to compete with the Chinese and Japanese. Really? How do trains enable you to compete? By getting from NYC to Boston quicker? OK, so you save a bit of time getting from NYC to Boston. Whats the big deal?

The Chinese are building rail systems for a few reasons. To essentially bus their slave labor around the country for what ever public works efforts they intend to build, like these new mega cities where they are going to force some 45 million people to move to.

Building trains does nothing for competetiveness

Lets take the NYC to Boston example with a gent who lives in North Jersey.

1. He has to drive to the train station and park. Depending on where he lives and what station he parks at, he will either have to take a train or subway to Penn or Grand Central to get the high speed line.

2. He gets on the high speed train and gets into Boston. He then has to take a cab to where ever he is going.

3. While it is going to save him time, it is not going to make this a turn around trip in most cases unless he's planning on putting in a 16 hour day

Far better for being competetiveness would be investing in infrastructure that makes the trip unnecessary in the first place. Technology can make video conferences just as effective as a face to face (assuming that you've done the face to face/hand shake already and have a relationship). Cheap, easy, significantly more productive than any method of actually travelling from NYC to Boston.

What possible relationship do trains have with becoming more competetive? None.

An interesting parallel would be with the telecom infrastructure in China. When China wanted to dramatically enhance the connectedness of their population did they go on out and put millions of land lines throughout the country? No. They built cell towers because they realized that mobile communication was the wave of the future.

High speed rail is a waste of money and targeting money in yesterday's technology.

Why does this topic continue to get so much air play?

Because there is a serious green movement that wants you out of your car. Thats a fools errand because it will never happen.

Because these high speed rail projects are hugh union boondoggles. Be interesting to see that should this $10bn/year project get funded (which it won't) if they put the projects out to competetive bid, non-union shops included.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:40 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:42 PM
Well I am not sure about the validity of the source but just a quick comment. If you believe in the FEMA CAMP conspiracy this may create a more effective setup. Creating an efficient government owned rail system that could possibly run across the nation would match well with the FEMA CAMP conspiracy. Although completion in 6 years seems off course to the conspiracy at least to me I would expect the fema death camps to be enacted a lil less time than 6 years, but if that is their timeline, you never know

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:48 PM
They are building one from Chicago to Iowa City or preparing to start anyway. Funny thing is when completed in 2015, if the funding continues, top speed of the train is 79mph. Now of course they're not gonna run top speed all the time plus a stop in the quad cities hell it will be faster to just drive for Christ's sake. Pure insanity. More money we have thrown away. Payoff to unions like the OP stated. And who the hell from Chicago wants to go to Iowa City unless Illinois is in town for a football game??

The line is scheduled for completion in 2015, assuming a steady continuation of funding, officials said. Two daily roundtrips are planned for the Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City route. Initial top speeds will be 79 mph, which is Amtrak's current limit. Longer-term plans call for additional daily roundtrips and increasing speeds to 90 mph and perhaps to 110 mph, officials said. The so-called "green line'' to Iowa will be used to test biofuels and other environmentally friendly ideas. The two states had sought $248 million for the estimated $310 million project. State money will be needed to bridge the funding gap.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:52 PM
While I personally hate the fact that I HAVE to have a car to do anything here in DFW, I tend to agree with the OP that high speed rail connections between cities is a bit wasteful to some degree. Within DFW, DART is finally doing a decent job building out the rail system, but we are years away from having a good grid.

In the mean time, I spend 60-90% of my time working remotely from my home office. It works out well for both me and my company.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:19 PM
reply to post by HoldTheBeans

What the government won't tell you going in is the level of subsidy that will be required to create a ridership on these trains. Every mass transit system is subsidized by the general population, essentially becoming a wealth transfer from those who don't use the system, either because they don't want to, don't need to or don't live near a hub.

A fine example is the Washington State ferry system. The system is publically run and currently has a taxpayer funded subsidy of 35%. The state is open to competetion by private sector firms, but guess what, they won't transfer the subsidy, making it impossible for a private firm to make money running the route.

Even with the subsidy, the ferry system loses money on an annual basis and they have failed to meet audit criteria for years.

One of the most heavily used routes is Bainbridge Island to Seattle. Bainbridge Island is a very beautiful place. It is also a very expensive place to live. The average home price in today's market is $472K. Clearly these are folks who could pay 30-35% more for their ferry ride, yet they don't. Who pays the subsidy? Folks in the interior communities of Western Washington who could never dream of affording a house on Bainbridge Island.

Thats the way high speed rail works. They typically connect high wage communities and are subsidized off the backs of the people who live in lower wage communities. All of these mass transit systems are a take from the poor and give to the rich scheme

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:51 PM
Our country is simply too big to be "hooked up" like EU or Japan. If a couple states want to get together like KC/St. Louis or whatever fine let em pay for it. Same with Iowa and Illinois. Fed needs to pay back the debt and stop spending more and more on sheet like this we don't need. Would it be nice? I guess so would cars that fly but we as a country can't afford it.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:17 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

You forgot a part of the story :

The part where the U.S. stole the $53 billion from the world's richest man in return for not handing him over to the Egyptians.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

I agree, spend the $53 billion on our revamping our roads, freeways, and bridges so we can drive faster and safer. Or, better our airplane fleets. If they are so deadset on building a high speed railroad they should just focus on making a heavy duty cargo transports, so we can ship goods all over the U.S. quicker, cheaper, and move efficient than 18 wheelers.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:48 PM

Originally posted by dolphinfan
"If we do not (build trains), you tell me how America is going to be able to lead the world in the 21st century."

Through AIR POWER (remember that?)

This is like FDR saying "We are building a new sailing ship fleet..."


edit on 8-2-2011 by Chakotay because: CLASSIFIED

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:15 PM
This country really does need to be connected via hi-speed rail. Fewer domestic flights would be great and the airlines need a little competition too, Our roads are too clogged and too dirty. It's long past time. However, this plan raises a few red flags right off the bat.

Is $53B really enough to make any kind of difference if it's going to cost $13.5B just to hook up New York City and New Jersey? Particularly dolled out in chunks over 6 years?

How many jobs is this going to create?

Which private companies? How will it be bid and by whom?

Why isn't the schedule more aggressive?

Are they going to just dump the money into areas that already have train service or expand into new areas and into the future for real? They say new corridors, but....

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:23 PM
Great idea! I can't wait to be fondled by the TSA while trying to get on a train from Chicago to Iowa City!

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