Posting in Cities
Two separate studies draw two different conclusions about the viability of high-speed rail in the Golden State.
California is a state slated for extremely ambitious high-speed rail development. However, the state is also a raucous one, with many different and vocal interest groups. So it's no surprise that the debate on the viability of bullet trains within the Golden State has begun to heat up in a big way.
But then, at almost the same time, the University of California Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies released a report suggesting that high-speed rail may not be such a good thing. (Thanks to Robert Cruikshank at the California High-Speed Rail Blog for the pointers to these two reports.)
For its part, CALPIRG points out that "high-speed rail systems in other nations have dramatically reduced air travel and significantly reduced intercity car travel." According to the report, California could likewise see a reduction in congestion on the roads and at airports.
Transit projects create jobs, and there are also benefits in terms of reduced reliance on gas consumption and reduced dependence on oil.
The Berkeley report calls into question a prior, optimistic consultant's report that projects demand for high-speed rail in the Bay Area.
In the wake of this report, a group of municipalities -- the Peninsula Cities Consortium, which consists of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Burlingame and Belmont -- is calling for a re-evaluation of high-speed rail plans in their area.
"High speed rail should be built right or not at all," PCC said in a statement. "By 'right,' we mean that the rail line should integrate into our communities without harming their current livability. The best design and community values, rather than finances, should determine the alignment."
Jul 7, 2010
"We agree wholeheartedly with the concept. We just think this isn't the way to do it" ... the standard attack of the dark side ... the first salvo of a war against a very good idea. Want to know who is behind opposition to mass transit in general and high speed trains in particular? Follow the money. Here's a hint: they won't have their names on opposition groups, just on the checks to other organizations who fund them.
Phoenix was looking at an interesting overhead light rail system for local commuter and cargo use that was close to what you mention. Overhead rails would connect major business centers and residential areas using small 2 and 4 person cars that looked like glider cabins suspended from the rails. People would enter a car at a station and select their destination from a touch screen map in the cabin. The car would then automatically merge them onto the rail system and take them to their destinations. IP routing logic would manage traffic flow so you may take one of several different ways to get to a place based on local network traffic. Built in collision avoidance radar would be a fail safe built into each car along with airbags. The seats and airbags would have protected the occupants even if the car fell off the rails from a height of 30 feet. Automated cargo versions would have run out of Post Offices, UPS, FedEx or similar companies with destinations at the major companies. The goal was to simplify traffic, both people and cargo, to the larger business regions around the city. I do not know if you have ever seen Phoenix, but it is a sprawling city spread out over many square miles. Much of it is comprised of isolated developments, be they residential or commercial with much of the traffic being point to point. Think of it as a giant commuter WAN. NIMBY shot it down.
Its not if we have the money or not! We have the money because it was a proposition last time we voted and our taxes were increased in order to have this rail. so where is it?
Here is ways to pay for some of it - High speed computer controlled automated cargo/freight - think standardized containers, loaded like a red box machine. Second, setup smoking sections, so you could smoke, smokers big business can't do that on a plane. Third, gambling cars, finally entertainment - for adults. Sleeping cars with bunks like a submarine, We could call it SEX - The San Fernando EXpress. Bet this generates some discussion.
High speed rail would not have done anything to get your from Novato to SF, or from North Springs to Atlanta. It's about creating an alternative to air travel. California is looking at half-a-trillion dollars in unfunded pensions. They don't hardly have the money play at competing with the airlines.
I also want to state, that the budget available for energy efficiency from the government will pay for the train, with money left over. Clean energy, low gas consumption, less pollution, less congestion on governmental highways....it would be dumb for the Government not to support and pay for this idea. The U.S. is pushing for it citizens to become more green and energy conscious, well....this train is the lead towards that goal.
I used to live in Marin County, but now a resident of North Springs, Georgia. When I was commuting from Novato, CA to S.F., Kaiser, the commute time was 2.5 hours on Friday's going home, and 1.5 - 2.0 hours going to work daily. I would have to be on the road no later than 6:30, to get to work by 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Marin is always stating "not in my backyard", or what you call a NIMBY, however, do they really want to sit on the road for 3.5 - 4.0 hours going to work? That is stupid thinking. This rail will help all who are involved, who are commuters in this technological working world and era. Times are moving forward. Technology is being invented to help all. Cars will soon be obsolete on the highway during the hours of 5:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. I see the map is not showing the train traveling through Marin, or Sonoma, but the congestion from those two counties, like San Jose and Redwood City is horrible. There should be an express train from Sacramento to the Airport, and from S.F., to the Airport, but for those that are commuters, or those who want to save energy and not want to drive, there a commuter train should be added. This train will not harm surrounding areas or businesses, nor will it lower property value. Keep it looking beautiful and looking sleek and quiet. Give Marin, Sonoma, etc the pro's and con's. They will see the pro's in this travel. Only as time passes, will congestion on 101 North become worse. While the train is speeding by, the one that is stuck in their car, in the summer heat of 100 degrees will not like the position that they are in. You can NOT use your air conditioner in your car, when you are stuck in traffic, unless you no longer want to use your car. I had lived in Novato, before Golden Gate Transit and when Novato only had 15,000 residents (1967), so you know, I have seen the worst of the congestion. I left Novato, when the census numbers were at 50,000 residents(2005)!. What is it now? Is it bigger than San Rafael yet, like it was for one year before I moved at 51,000 residents? Think about it...why fight freedom of traffic and congestion....or do the residents of Marin want to stay in Bondage to it?! I did not leave my heart in California, but I still support it at times, which are during the times that I feel that they need it, like now. The high-speed rail is a good idea. I would not have been a NIMBY on this one, if I was still in Marin. I now live in a city near Atlanta, Georgia, and MARTA is excellent (in my perspective). I travel by train, even to the next exit whenever possible. It is the best way to travel!
There are three problems with the "economic" debate going on here: 1) Daryl is simply right about the race to the bottom approach to taxes, wages and economic regulation. Ironically, the "global government" that most of conservatives claim to dislike is the only possible outcome of the global collapse that their "destroy all workers" approaches foster, in letting employers play off countries and states against each other. 2) Daryl is wrong in his utopian idea about the Venus Project. That's just another attempt at central government. 3) The entire discussion of taxes is not pointless -- an effort by "me me me" types to have their cake and eat it too. Taxes should pay for what society wants done. If there is a lot to be done (e.g., win WWII), then taxes should be high. If things are working, they should be low. As to the idea that taxes are too high if people work to get around them, people look at unit prices on soap, so tax rates would need to be invisible to avoid any effort to get around them.
Taxes are so high in Greece, that it's estimated that between 1/3rd and 1/2 of it's economy has gone underground. The perfect tax rate is one which is low enough that people do not pay any attention to it, and so there is little incentive to try to work around it. Today, American's spend $350-billion in tax compliance, so we're clearly down the back side of the Laffer curve. But Greece's failure has to do with more than just taxes. It's socialist government has for decades practiced "stimulus" and has continually given themselves greater and greater benefits, with the expectation that someone else will be paying for them. (For the moment, it looks like it will be German taxpayers, thanks to their mistake of letting them into the Euro) Of course, comparing our economic performance to the European socialists is always a mistake. They're usually thrilled to see a 1.5% annual growth with only 10% unemployment. Americans typically fire Presidents when US economic growth is less than 3.5% Robert Bryd, mostly famous for being in the Senate since reconstruction is secondly famous for transferring tens-of-billions of dollars to his home state of West Virginia. (Half the highways and buildings in the state are named after him) Call it a labratory in "stimulus". And yet, after decades if this, West Virginia is actually 48th in per-capita income. It was 42 when Bryd took office in 1959. 50 years of your agenda has actually sent them backwards! By all means, let's expand this failure to the entire country. After all, it's the honest opinion of Krugman and the neo-Keynesians that the problem is that it hasn't work, but that we haven't done it big enough long enough. (As if 50 years isn't long enough) You fantasize that only "the rich" will be paying for your spending. And yet, that rarely happens. Notice that LeBron James chose Miami over New York. By playing in Miami, he'll be saving between $6 and $8 million in taxes from living in high-tax Ohio. Moving to New York would have cost him over $12 million. How many middle-class Ohioans will have to be paying more to make up for that loss? Tax revenues do not go up proportionately when rates do. But they do go up when rates drop, as they did after the Kennedy cuts in the '60s, the Reagan cuts in the '80s, and the Bush cuts 10 years ago. That's historical fact. Ironically enough, just a few hours after my last post, during lunch I saw the Wall Street Journal put the current situation the same way I did when they said "U.S. companies have an estimated $2 trillion in cash that they could deploy to create new jobs or buy equipment, but they aren't about to do so until they know what their costs will be. We warned the White House about this early on when we wrote about the dangers of a "capital strike." In other words, nobody with money feels safe with an out-of-control Congress and Administration. Clearly, the Administration must be listening. Just this morning, they've sent our tax-cheating Treasury Secretary Geithner out to convince people that as tax rates may be going up, they don't want them to go all the way back up to "pre Bush" levels. Gee Daryl? What's wrong? I thought you said higher taxes was to be our solution? Even our neo-Keynesians are having their doubts.
@hates idoits well if you think thats ture good luck proving me wrong... i'll give you a tip, you wont be able to, unlike john mcgrew i have actually studied this for a decade and have spent most of that time fact checking and correcting people my mcgrew. why not say what you really mean... you disagree with me so of course from your POINT OF VIEW, i'm wrong... but good luck proving me wrong in reality; based thats where i live and thats the only place i care about being wrong... not in your head; that irrelevant to me. @john mcgrew again your wrong. greece never could have failled the way it did had it been a balanced budget as higher taxes would have allowed, or had they had harsh tariffs on cheap goods to keep the local economy strong if not to directly close growth via economic veasibility and had their banking system been more like canada's and less like the US (despite then even canada's is too similar to the US, but we have alot of rules [regulations] that have kept our banking system stable. infact had greece been the system i adviocate you could be able to calll it a capitalist (albeit socialized, but like US, canada, germany, china ect) country. if you want to know what my ideal economy looks like research the venus project (and jacque fresco); greece is NOTHING like the venus project.... infact, i'll save you some trouble the introduction movie is called "future by design" and the lecture and Q&A session is called "venus project" and its from oct. 2009,, they will also be comming out with a feature movie also called venus project, or future by design, or a combination of both explicitly aimed at allowing the average person to visualize such a society (because most people simply can't)... infact, had greece had the system of the venus project ANY talk about monetary value or monetary based economics (including gold as a currency, though not as a material; as again materials have value in an of themself ireegardless of the state of national currencies) would be completely irrelevent, when/if you watch those, or otherwise research the venus project you'll see why monetary systems aren't part of the venus project which is essentially a completely recontruction of society and ultimately as a result, the way most people think and live will be changed, as in the venus project, society itself is designed for the benifit of everyone, not just the rich or well off which is based on the philosophy all roads (economically speaking) lead to rome (or in this case the rich and politically powerful), which like the US was one of the primary reason for the collapse of the roman empire. so in a matter of speaking one could say, when all roads lead to roman nothing leads back to the people, and since the tax rate drop the theory of "all road lead to rome" (in this case through china, india and many other country that were very poor when outsourcing really started up; also in the early to mid 80's, despite severely slashed tax rates, which under reagonics should have brought jobs back or atleast kep them here and it would triclkle down, which it didn't, infact again the trickle down to the working class and poor only occured via higher taxes, like under clinton) got kicked into high gear (via outsourcing, because it was more "economical") hence the wealth gap in the US has quadrupled from the mid 80's to now.
...that had perfectly implemented your view of economics? Greece. And how's that working out for them? Take a good look, because that's reality and it's coming here sooner than you think.
As well as the usual assortment of politicized tangents, previous posts seem to confuse high speed rail with commuter rail. Oh well, whaddaya gonna do? 3 thoughts: 1) State funding is less than hypothetical. State budget problems predate the recession. No solution is in sight no matter what Whitman or Brown might say in their campaigns to be governor. 2) 1 of the supposed advantages of high speed rail over flying is that passengers will not have to undergo lengthy security procedures. Will that be true after the 1st bomb goes off on a high speed train? Is there any doubts that terrorists will try? 3) There's a certain irony in that while Governor Schwarzenegger is pushing high speed rail, a few blocks away the County of Sacramento is investing heavily in a new airport terminal. Half the flights at Sacramento International are to & from Southern Cal - the very flights that high speed rail would supposedly eventually replace.
I would like to see: Four high - speed rails: One down each coastline, one running from the northeast to the southwest and one running from the northwest to the southeast. I would double the width of the rails and run both cargo and commuters on it. I want to be able to (for a reasonable price say $500-$600) drive my van and camper (loaded with all my gear) into a box car and travel from Maine to California or Washington. I would have one additional depot in the middle of each run where you could unload vehicles and people and then others as needed for just people.
Raise car taxes to pay for it...it is all the cars and related mentality that started this mess. Too many roads. You should shut down your high traffic areas to cars and make people take public transit. Only problem to too many CA fruitcakes "would never be seen dead in public transit" they are just too good for that. Heck, round up the illegals and make them work off all their back taxes and medical expenses they have screwed you and me for, then send them back! Or maybe we should let CA fall into the ocean and start over...the sane people in the rest of the country would not miss it...
You are factually wrong very often. Your perspective on history is best described as viewed through a broken telescope. And your understanding of even basic economics is as bad as your understanding of history. I am with gkp00co on this one. Bravo John.
" It happened because through mandates and regulation we started making having employees more of a liability than an asset." obviously you don't care about worker safety and product safety which AGAIN private companies have prove time and time again that they cannot regulate themselves, hence THE NEED for regulation by a RESPONSIBLE society... the choices are either to allow companies to operate without regard to their workers, costumers and enviropnment, to regulat or to national them... and ignorance isn't an option so which of the later two would you prefer regulatuion or nationalization as they are the ONLY responsible options... though i doubt you care about responsibility given your arguements. sure it is,, the profit margin might have to go from 30% to 25% but it will still be perfectly viable... this is why i said save those arguements for someone who IS ignorant. B) gain i never said readical tax increase i said TAXES INCREAS AND THEY DID... ITS A FACT... deal with it... the economy did and was better off for it... and thats also a fact you can ignore fact all you want but they don't seize to be fact because you don't like them or even ignore them altogether. C) "If gold is always worth the same (at least in relation to inflation) then the price of it would be stable, which it is not. The price of gold has historically been all over the chart." no again gold is the same value its always been... the dollar which is the currency gold is bought is near constantly goes down, ahence the DOLLAR value of gold flucuates... if you can't understand this than its no wonder you can't grasp the economy, you can even grasp the economy of thousands of wears when gold was the primar currency, again for the reason i mentioned which you believe to be wrong. "Cavemen: None of the caveman drawings in existence show gold or other things we today consider valuable" again the concepty of hyperbole is completely lost on you,,, that or you only read a small part of what i wrote and responded (again indicative of ignorance) "Raising taxes is a fact of life. Unfortunately, it's not going to work. (See Laffer Curve http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve) If your taxes go up, is your employer going to give you more money to pay them? Mine won't be. What will happen is that I will stop spending money elsewhere in the economy and other people will lose their jobs and stop paying taxes. " again proof youer nor comprehending what being said... TAXES ON THE RICH would go up and not nearly to what they used to be (again a fact you ignore because then you'd have to admit the economy was better under higher taxes and that jobs actually left the country faster when taxes were going down which prove your arguement wrong, not surprising since reagonomics clearly never worked andthat is what you support, infact you seem to support a most extreme version of reaganomics that reagan did as even he had to raise taxes (once or twice (and lower them to get re-elected) to keep the economy from crumbling completely since much like the current leadership and all leadership since and even prior to reagan have refused to cut the military budget again NECESSITATING higher taxes, unless of course you plan to borrow money until the end of time (which is the legacy of reaganomics as they couldn't afford taxes as low as they were hence the national debt has skyrocketed since.. i'm sure you'll deny this but its the sad reality. ". At some point, I'm going to realize that it's not worth it for me to work so hard if the bulk of that work goes to taxes, and the government will collect even less. " aagain save that arguement for someone whom IS ignorant... or atleast not workering their ass off for minimum wage just so his fat cat employers can maximize their profit so they can sit a a fortune of wealth while the people actually doing work can barely afford to live... so save that for the ignorant... because again i was talking (and EXPLICITLY outlined) it was needed to have higher tax rate on the rich via higher tax brackets.. if your goign to reply atleast know what and the context of what you're replying to, as every response if only making you look more ignorant esspecially as increasing its appearing that your flat out not comprehending what is being said. "Raising taxes does not equate with more revenue. That's been proven time and time again." actually that's EXACTLY what it does it increase PUBLIC (tax) revenue thats where the revenue comes from th the first place... do you have any idea how dumb that comment was? i agree spending is the problem, namely military spending (as i've mention atleast twice before already, infact i even cited it as a way to pay for this) hence why taxes have to go up, because spennding ISN'T going down, at at the moment the stimulas is propping up the economy above what it actually would be because at the moment public (governemnt) spending is what keeping the economy on the tracks and even those wheels are goign to be grinding to a halt, esspecially with the unemployment benifit extension program being shot down by republicans. and your right about ione thing you'll never be able to catch up in the current paradiam, however again you refuse to admit that its because taxes are simply too low for the spending... instead you think taxes are already too high which once you learn the historical context (which again i provided) is completely laughable and it only used by people that frankly don't know what their talking about, as again taxes up the wealtheist corporation USED TO BE 92% they are only 35% now... so anyone that thinks current taxes are the problem simply doesn't understand economics and are unable to think of the simple solution to outsourcing (harsh tariffs). "I think there should be no taxes on income. Only consumption. This is for several reasons: To encourage productivity. To discourage consumption." well thats nice, you live in your dream world, i on the other hand have to live and deal with reality... taxes are a reality required to run a country much less each district of each state, many of whom currently already don't have enough tax revenue for current spending. yet most people are complaining about harsh taxation (which might i add is non-exist in the US since the 50's and 60's and even then (again )the economy was thriving nothing experience death throes. BTW, i used to share the same opionion in this respect but then i realized societies cannot operate on consumption tax alone unless that tax was so crippling that the poor couldn't afford to eat,which is already increasing becomming a reality as outsourcing is allowed to continue unabated. "But the biggest reason is because we are now state where less than half of the country pays income taxes at all." because most workers are getting less (after inflation) then they were when the tax rates were 70-90%, hence they make so little that they fall below the tax bracket... if they have a job at all (as a result of unpunished outsourcing).... and of course (again as already been mentioned) the rich often get out of paying taxes (sometime completely) via exploiting tax loopholes which often requiring retaining a tax lawyer to find and exploit.... oddly enough all are arguement for a higher tax rate, not a lower tax rate, and certianly not the elimination of income tax. "You're clearly occupy the "envy" part of the argument. I'm not surprised. Sad, on multiple levels." no i don't envy the rich,,, i simply think they should be forced to pay their fair share back to the system, which frankly when spending is as high as it is is MUCH more the 35% esspecially after all the tax breaks and loopholes... i'm clearly not a greedy a person as you, i'd be happing just being comfortable in life for a change rather thasn always skidding by no matter how hard or how many hours i work, sometimes i wonder why i should even bother when i'm not ever being paid a fair wage, just so rich people can continually get rich at the expense of people like myself. "You solution to the "strike" problem is laughable." you think so eh? but if they go on strike that is IMMEDIATE, UNREFUTABLE grounds from their dismal, personally i just fire them all and fire back new ones, and they would be retainign their extortionary wage increases either, their wage would instead be directly link to minimum wage hence their wage can only go up when minimum wage goes up which should be a given on all level of public jobs and public office, instead they get an exhorbant wage paid for by cheating their workers by paying them the lowest amount that is legal to be paid. and FYI, that was also my solution to the NHL strike... i'm all for collective bargining, but mor often than not they are intrestined in collective bargin but rather extortion through the ignorant belief that they can't be replaced, which they can, often in less than 24 hours time, esspecially in the current economy. "Americans owe a debt of gratitude to Reagan for firing the illegally striking air traffic controllers in '81" well score one for reagan... its still about 1000:1, but atleast he's got one good point...lol... i didn't know about that one (was before my time), but i damn sure support it in retrospect. "It would be wonderful if the bulk of our taxes paid for the things you seem to think they do." oh i know alot of it is waste... like military spending (that culd be cut down by 2/3's and still be higher than any other nation and that doesn't even cover "discretionary spending", currently military spending is the biggest source of spending at 23% of the federal budget.) socialized medicine eats up a fair bit (19%) but does cover nearly 100 million people even before the latest healthcare bill (and in fairness the US is spending up to 100% for for healthcare per person than other countries, and most of that wasted money if from doctor running as many tests as possible rather than only as many as needed in order to drive up their profit and hence drive up the cost of socialized healthcare in the US (which most other countries don't have a problem with), like TARRP (which would have been better spent just giving all that money directly to the people with the debt with the stipulation that their portion MUST be used solely again their debt, becasue with the way TARRP worked, now they still have the debt (and have probably since lost their house and possibly their vehicle to) and bank still aren't lending which would spur the economy, 2009's TARRP portion was 4%. 5% of the federal spending goes to intrest (thank the unconstitutional federal reserve act for that; and canada has the same problem with respect to intrest payments), whereas if they used the framework for national borrowing outlined by the constitution which explicitly given the right to printing and control of the money supply to the federal governemnt not a private bank (the federal reserve; as federally associated as Fedex) no intrest would EVER be paid hence saving the US $187 billion (a figure which increase virtually every years (aside from the last 3 years of clinton, at which it slightly went down from where it was the years before)... so right there the US could EASILY cut 20% from its spending, but of course even then taxes would probably still have to go up just to be stable... much less to pay back the national debt which will NEVER happen unless spending drops atleast 50% for a few decade at the current GDP and tax rate or unless taxes go up significantly on the rich, or moderately on everyone (keep in mind that under obama 95% of people are paying less tax than they were before, yet the 5% want it to seems as if everyone's taxes have gone up and its just crippling them). "No, I'd be much better off paying for my own health care and retirement. And in fact, I am." well than obviously your well off... most people aren't, and this is increasing becomming true... and btw, paying for your own rather into a large pool is ALWAYS the lesast efficent way to do anything, that why socialized healthcare is much cheaper than private healthcare, and while national retirement fund and more stable than personal retiremewnt fund, even social security in the US.. its always good to have a backup plan for healthcare and retirement, and frankly i would want to rely on a least economical, least stable method possibly... and frankly people like me who make minimum wage (probably, not definately as i don't know what you do for work) will never be able to afford private healthcare or a retirement plan that can replace that national (or provincial in the case of healthcare for me) plan.. and i'd rather have the public plan than nothing even IF the private plan was superior to the public plan dollar for dollar, which it never is.... infact, i wish they go the one step further can nationalize healthcare outright not just "basic care" and only on the provincial level (when is more expensive than it would be on the federal level). and no your not better off paying for your own... you just fell better off... its call the illusion of security...ithat how private insurance companies get rich, by selling the illusion of security. and just remeber than unless that healthcare bill has already went into effect your insurance company can cancel you possible at any time just for you getting sick or injured... they probably wont... but it has already happened to tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people... again its only an illusion.... feel free to pay more for less and feel better about it, but at the end of the day your still paying more for less dollar for dollar, so in reality you really aren't any better off... you just feel better, and maybe that feeling is worth the extra money, to me i'm too poor feel better about being screwed at much more, just so someone that barely works and contributes nothing to the betterment or the production of society can stay high on the hog.
A) It happened because through mandates and regulation we started making having employees more of a liability than an asset. Nobody is hiring now because they know that starting January 1 and for the foreseeable future that their capital, labor and tax costs will be totally unpredictable. It's impossible to form or execute a rational business plan without that knowledge... B) ...which is what made the Clinton years so successful after '94. With Congress in gridlock, business knew that there would be no radical tax increases or other interference in their cost structures. They were free to operate relatively unencumbered. C) If gold is always worth the same (at least in relation to inflation) then the price of it would be stable, which it is not. The price of gold has historically been all over the chart. Cavemen: None of the caveman drawings in existence show gold or other things we today consider valuable. They show things that were of use and value to cavemen, like animals, spears, etc. If we were to be sent in a time machine back 30,000 years and were allowed to take only a sack of things to trade with, you'd be screwed with a bag of gold. I'd be sitting pretty with my bag of pointy sticks. Value is only what people assign. In 2006, you could build a house that cost $600,000 that today a bank can't get rid of for $400,000. Why is that? Because in 2006, people valued houses differently than in 2010. The house didn't change, nor did the cost of building it. What people felt that house was worth did. You seem to understand the concept as it applied to art. If you could only expand that to other things you might get it. You place value on an item or commodity based upon what you believe others will place upon it. Thus is the same for gold or houses. Raising taxes is a fact of life. Unfortunately, it's not going to work. (See Laffer Curve http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve) If your taxes go up, is your employer going to give you more money to pay them? Mine won't be. What will happen is that I will stop spending money elsewhere in the economy and other people will lose their jobs and stop paying taxes. At some point, I'm going to realize that it's not worth it for me to work so hard if the bulk of that work goes to taxes, and the government will collect even less. Raising taxes does not equate with more revenue. That's been proven time and time again. And that is a FACT OF LIFE. The problem is (and always has been) spending. It was economic growth exceeding spending that made for the unexpected surpluses of the late '90s. Unfortunately under the current paradigm, we'll never be able to catch up with spending. I think there should be no taxes on income. Only consumption. This is for several reasons: To encourage productivity. To discourage consumption. But the biggest reason is because we are now state where less than half of the country pays income taxes at all. And when people do not feel as though they are paying taxes, they really don't care about how much the government spends to buy their votes, since they're convinced that someone else is paying for it. Not only is that quite unfair, it's also unsustainable. You're clearly occupy the "envy" part of the argument. I'm not surprised. Sad, on multiple levels. You solution to the "strike" problem is laughable. It's already law in most placed for "essential" workers not to strike, but they do anyway because they know the public is dependent upon them and the states have no teeth since their all government workers as well. Americans owe a debt of gratitude to Reagan for firing the illegally striking air traffic controllers in '81. Had he not done that, we'd be just as screwed as Europe is today with public workers striking every week somewhere, demanding even higher wages and benefits. It would be wonderful if the bulk of our taxes paid for the things you seem to think they do. But they do not. The vast majority of our taxes go to "transfer payments", not public utilities, infrastructure, or even wars. And even when they go to these "good" things, 70% or so is wasted through "heat loss"; inefficiency or just plain graft. No, I'd be much better off paying for my own health care and retirement. And in fact, I am.
@JohnMcGrew A) and ask them if they know why outsourcing started in the early 80's, or why its been unpunished since its basically a still legal form of tax evasion, not to mention it get them around regulations that keeps products and workers safe. B) "There was no "stimulus" that worked during Clinton. Ironically enough, it was "Reaganomics" in practice" reaganomics is the theory of tax breaks trickling down to create jobs... which might i add never happened, instead outsourcing continued at an ever continuing pace. C) actually no, gold is worth the samer today as it was in the roman empire... gold hasn't significantly gained value since we discovered that its rarity makes it a hard (stable) currency.. the dollar has dollar has fallen so much that gold cost a fortune IN DOLLARS. "Again, the caveman would not have cared, even if he did know how rare it was." yes actually they probably would because its would be highly irregular to them, much like if a person found a precious gem... and you of course missed the point that it RARITY ALONE gives gold value not just want you or i would pay for it... you don't seem to understand the concept of rarity (or hyperbole for that matter). basically its had value ever since it was discovered to be rare and hence an ideal currency or barter item, because it can't be duplicated (which in modern nuclear science actually is possible, though more costly than the gold itself, not to mention than more gold would slightly devalue current gold, as it would cause inflation much like in fiat currency. art has not actual value irregardless of cost or whom made it, its a wimpsical visual appeasement, i would pay $20 for a picaso either unless i knew i could DEFINATELY get atleast $20 for it, art haslitterally no use and thusly its value its strictly regulated buy what people will pay for it, but it has a completely different value to every person, and hence has no material worth only sentimental worth... raising taxes is a FACT OF LIFE when your spending exceeds your revenue, irregardless of how anyone FEELS about taxes no-one with even a moderate understanding of economics would deny thing... and actually the tabacco tax was explicity designed to discourage use to making them too expensive for poor people (whom are generally perceived as too ignorant for their own good; and often time are) to smoke, and it actually worked, and in most countries helps pay for universal healthcare. consumption SHOULD be taxed higher i agree, i i also think that higher tax brackets are require to reflect the wealth gap, like a tax bracket of 500,000 to 999,000 at 40% and anout from 1 million to 2.5 million at 45% and 5 million and more at 50%... reinstate luxury taxes, bring back the "death/estate tax". about chinese healthcare you said they don't have SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, when infact they do and moreover if you had read the link even in 1949 25% of chinese people had public healthcare and for a country thats so poor per capita its not a bad system, one should expect their system to be on par with the european system of even the canadian system which is a no-where near as good as european universal healthcare. as for striking train workers... theres actually a simple solution for that you classify it as an essential service so they can't strike, if they don't like their job they can alwaysquite... from my experiance most public transit workers make for too much and should actually be taking a pay cut, not raises, these extortionary practices by public sector unions are why unions have gotten a bad name. i wish they do the same for the public transit system, because these people are basically holding people hostage, often by financial liablity (making people late for work/ meetings, planes or whatever else). its amazing how deathly afraid people are of taxes considering how pitifully dismal their life would be if without them, no-one like taxes but unfortunately unless you want to live ins an ignorant craphole of a country taxes are necessary and typically the countries that are batter to live in have higher taxes rates, they have higher education standards, much better healthcare coverage, constantly improving infrastructure rather than constantly decaying infrastructure... but this is what society has bred for us, a bunch of people that are incapable of seeing the big picture and only care about their own well being with no concern of the other many milions of people in their country much less of the 6.5 billion people globally... if this is our future, the next generation is screwed.
@JohnMcGrew Bravo. Furthermore, if it ever comes to pass, the train we get is unlikely to be the train we're contemplating. I live in the S.F. Bay Area, and we have a nice transit system called BART. I was sold to the taxpayers as a modern, high-speed system. It was supposed to have trains traveling at speeds exceeding 100MPH less than a minute apart. We got a system with trains that today barely get up to 60MPH and waits at stations often exceed 10~15 minutes. Mind you, these stations were designed for very short wait times between trains, so they do not have adequate seating.... It was also supposed to pay for itself. We're still paying higher taxes (and artificially higher bus fares) to support it. If the idea was really sound, someone would work out the financing and build it himself. I've never asked anyone else to pay for my train set. Other children should learn that it's not polite to ask strangers to pay for their toys.
...before you Californians give up your cars for trains: What is currently happening in Greece is your not-to-distant future. Like California, most of their economy (not government budget, but entire economy) is spent on government workers and retirement benefits. And when they get cranky like they are now because their benefits are about to get cut, they go on strike. Just try spending more than a week in continental Europe without being inconvenienced at least once by some kind of transit strike. Once you become dependent upon a monopolistic "public" transit system, they'll have you where they want you.
A) Ask the 15% who are unemployed what they think about the current "reality". B) There was no "stimulus" that worked during Clinton. Ironically enough, it was "Reaganomics" in practice; government growth was limited while the private economy grew. The government was not a competitor for resources like it is today. All "stimulus" does is rob the private economy of resources to be spent by the government instead. Again, ask the 15% who are unemployed what they think about the current "reality". C) Wrong. Gold was only $1099 today because people were willing to bid that much for it. Tomorrow it might be more, or it might be less. The reasons for that value are based upon the demand for gold and the current perception of the dollar, and varies depending upon the individual. Either way, there is no universal value for gold. It is only valuable because it's relatively rare, and people place an emotion-based value upon it, or bid based upon what they expect other people's emotion-based value to be. Beyond that, there's little special about it. Again, the caveman would not have cared, even if he did know how rare it was. It would have been of absolutely no use to him, or other cavemen. There is absolutely nothing he could have used it for. Since 100% of a caveman's life was about subsistence, he was not capable of surplus. There was no way for a caveman to produce more than what it took for he himself to survive. Since no caveman was capable of producing surplus, there would have been absolutely nothing for the caveman to buy with his gold, again, rendering it useless no matter how rare it was. To a caveman, a good pointy stick would have been worth much more than a ton of gold. Rarity itself does not mean value. I'm looking at a piece of art on my wall. My wife bought it for a few dollars. It's the only one in the world; far more rare than an ounce of gold. And yet, I doubt you'd give me what my wife originally paid for it. And yes, I think taxing productivity is dumb. Even progressives understand that raising taxes discourages behavior. (Hence the rationalization for tobacco taxes, for example) And yet, they continue to favor taxing income over consumption, when consumption is the real problem. China: Did you not even read what you linked? China's health system can hardly be considered "universal" or comprehensive, especially when compared to what exists in socialist Europe. Don't feel too bad. Your understanding of economics is hardly any more dismal than those in the Sacramento or Washington.
@JohnMcGrew A) future expectation driving reality is also why the stock market crashed... i perfer reality driving reality... not someone's wet dream, or conversely someone's nightmare; when that happens you have some economies (and hence their dollar) under-valued (like china) and some that were vastly over valued (like the US) B) actually the tax increase under clinton was 4% on the top tax bracket, 35% under bush sr 39% under clinton, i never said a huge tax increase i just said a taxes were higher under clinton and they were. and yes i agree clinton was a fiscal conservative (as far as american politicans go), and again after the first for year which was propped up by stimulas the country started generating surpluses. C) "Things are only "worth something" if people place value on them."... no, ALL the things i mention a vakluable because of their unique properties, it has nothing to do which how much worth you or i say they have, and above all they are rare and that alone give them value. and no gold would ONLY be worthless if A) it was abundant and B) it had little use. "A cavemen would have had absolutely no use for gold, had he known what it was." actually it would because its rare, rarity IS value.... that why diamonds are released in a finite amount each year and stockpiles in vaults, it artifically makes diamonds rare... however even if every diamond in the world were discovered and everyone had them they would still have value because of its unique properties... even if the concept of currency had never been thought of all those things i mention would still have value... entrepenuership (your example) only has the value people agree it has. as for california... yes, i'm sure taxes are the reason, and not say outsourcing (cause by "the race to zero"; look it up, it the philosophy that nations should compete for business by having has close a tax rate to zero as possible, which is what most conservatives, and yourself are indirecting and in come cases directly supporting, and its killing most national economy and benifiting countries like china and india which also have less regulation, safety standards, worker rights, lower wages ect, ect.), or emerging markets or an already failing economy generating less revenue NECESSITATING a higher tax rate, or possibly a population boom that wasn't accompanies by aa jobs boom (possibly because of outsourcing)... yes, i'm sure none of these things had anything to do with it california raising tax rate... again your not able to see the forest from the trees, step back and look at the bigger picture in a broader view, i think you'll realize taxes were never the problem, as i also given historical example to prove this. "Your comments about China are even more ignorant. We have more socialized medicine in America than Communist China does, which it does not. funny because they actually do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_health-care_in_China "So please be careful about who you call "ignorant"." if you had read carefully, i didn't call you ignorant, i told you to save those arguements (anti tax and regulation) for someone who is ignorant... but after that reply, i think you did read it correctly, dispite that not being how i wrote it, as you were clearly ignorant of tax and regulation aren't punishment and moreover that taxes aren't high at all compared to prosperous times, as well as stimulas not working (it just wasn't well designed but it has worked, but not nearly as well as it was told it would) you though american entruepership was a vast untapped, unknown MATERIAL of value despite example of the contrary prior to your first reply AND their inhereint value, you weren't correct about taxes under clinton and your wrong when you say raising taxes caused the problems that a SYMPTOM a a failing economy, rarely ever the cause, and you couldn't have been more wrong about chinese healthcare. sorry to say but that is ignorance... luckily ignorance can be cured with a dose of knowledge.
A) Taxes will not be lower as of Jan 1, 11. And when it comes to private investment, future expectation drive reality. And that is one reason why even the administration-friendly pundits now dare to say the words "double-dip recession". As I predicted 2 years ago, it's going to be a "jobless recovery" at best. B) LMAO! You must have been on a different planet during the Clinton years. Clinton was effectively a fiscal conservative, especially after the Democrats lost Congress in 94 after a 40-year monopoly and government growth was effectively gridlocked for 8 years. After Gore's failed attempt at a "BTU Tax", there were no great tax increases during the Clinton years. C) Things are only "worth something" if people place value on them. Wealth is not created out of simple "beingness". Gold would be worthless if there were no people creating value elsewhere in the economy to be able to buy it. If I were to discover a billion dollars in gold in my back yard, the only reason that I'd be able to trade it for other goods and services would be because there were other people able and willing to create and trade goods and services for it. Just the existence of the gold would not create those other goods and services. A cavemen would have had absolutely no use for gold, had he known what it was. Part of the reason California is in the state that it is in is because they have been raising taxes. And people and industry continue to leave. Raising taxes does not work. They can't spend money they don't have. And I don't think the rest of us should reward their fiscal irresponsibility. Your comments about China are even more ignorant. We have more socialized medicine in America than Communist China does, which it does not. So please be careful about who you call "ignorant".
@JohnMcGrew A) remember taxes USED to be MUCH higher (as stated in tmy first comment), and industry growth was extremely high, and service jobs can`t go offshore meaning that the majority of jobs left in american CANNOT be outsourced to avoid taxation which should be seen as tax evasion and punished by tariff... and regulation only exist because business have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted to regulate themselves. B) LMAO, stimulas (and higher taxes) worked during the clinton era and lead to highly prosperous growth... not to mention that stimulas has worked for several countries one being china... though china did ther stimulas intelligent and put most of it into infrastructure (much like the high speed rail debate were having now, which alos was part of their stimulas plan coincidently), though in fairness china paid for their stimulas using part of their US trade surplus... which the US doesn`t have the benifit of due to allowing outsourcing to continue without tariffs. C) again... LMAO, ``unknown, untapped sources of valuable material`` i actually meant rare materials and things actually worth something regardless of how useless or trivial the product or service its used in might be. you obviously had no idea what i was taking about despite being given example of rare or valuable materials and not ideas (entrepenuership) the fact isn`t that california can`t afford it, the fact is they can`t afford to keep doing nothing... how about this they cut all their miltary spending and contribution to the federal government and finance it that way... or raise taxes and finance it that way. and FYI china is pretty much only communist in that they provide social services (many of which are private in the US, though are becomming socialized in most of the west) for the poor and have far reaching power into industry, aside from that they are far more purely capitalist then the US... and the part you must love if the lack of regulation (and the corporate abuse of such; largely social and evironmental), whereas if they were truely communist (like venezuela; great emerging country btw, once people learn its history) they;d be so heavily regulated that the government would be running the companies which they clearly dont given the near complete lack of regulation... save the anti-taxation and anti-regulation arguements for someone whom isn;t ignorant. but your right about one thing the chinese dont want to keep paying for US debt, hence why its in their intrest that america takes step to start bring their infrastructure out of the 19th century in this case and bring the whole country into the 21st century, which even the "communist chinese " had the foresight to do (and the japanese, the germany; basically all the countries that are still successful). yet the US (and canada; my country) continue dragging our feet and say "we cant afford it ", we cant afford war, but we do it, we cant afford low tax for the rich but we had them, we cant afford energy companies being allowed to charge whatever they think we;ll pay (and in many cases being subsidized while doing this, and in some cases not paying any taxes at all), we can;t afford tax loopholes that allow the rich pay far less in in some cases nothing but they remain open, we cant a occupying other countries (even aside from the one were at war with; especially true for the US), we cant afford not to have tariffs on imported goods yet we dont have them and esspecially in the US;s case the can;t afford their absurd military budget... are you starting to get the picture. there;s all kinds of ways to do this... you just cant see the forest from the trees... and remember i clearly said (and outlined a plan for) this should be a national plan, something this grand and revolutionary should be an endevour of the federal goverment... and i also said if possible build them completely domestically to loss as all those news jobs provide tax revenue which immediaelty helps pay for the effort from beginning to assembly of basic components to operation, after a decade it would probably pay for itself atleast once over... esspecially as i cited that this also saves time which save japan over 5 billion annually and reduces energy costs of operation (maglev anyways, maybe not all high speed rail).
Air travel in this country is a misery post 9/11. For Europen-sized distances, train travel is much more reliable and practical and can be more energy efficient. However, multi modal transport must exist at both ends, including buses, light rail, and car rental places so that people can easily get to their final destinations. Build it now. Don't make the mistake NYC city did with stranded neighborhoods that would now cost trillions of dollars to connect with the subway system.
In case you haven't noticed, Neo-Keynesianism is so dead, that even the Europeans just two weeks ago told the President to forget about it. A) Private companies aren't going to do anything in the current environment because the current administration and congress have made it clear that they will be punished for doing so. (through taxes and regulation) B) Outside of Washington and Paul Krugman's social circle, more "stimulus" is a dead issue. We've been stimulating for 6 years now to little effect. "Stimulus" is like drugs; over time it takes more and more to get a less and less high, and a bigger and bigger hangover. C) The "unknown, untapped sources of valuable material" is American entrepenuership, which the statists have no desire for since it cannot be easily or centrally controlled. Instead, it sleeps, or finds friendlier shores elsewhere. The fact of the matter is that California does not have the money for a boondoggle of this kind. And the Chinese communists (who have been funding most of our "stimulus" to date, have made it clear that they aren't interested in paying for it either.
also about subsidies everyone needs to remeber that currently trains, buses and airlines are ALL subsidized, hence the arguemenet about high speed rail requiring subsidies to run is non-issue.. and as for people liking their cars... a big reason is because cars are much faster than buses for point to point travel while being more conviently routed than trains (or any other modes of travel aside from flying cars), but high speed rail especcially maglev rivals commercial airlines in speed, without most of the hassle involved with flying, and will usually be less expensive than fueling a car (much less maintence and e-testing) and will enable many of the MILLIONS and MILLIONS of people without a vehicle to travel long distance quickly and cheaply (yet no-one seems concerned about them). if people had this little motivation, imagination and concern about economics rather than improving the country and people lives you'd all still be traveling by horse and buggy or bicycle, because the road system, bus routes, the commerical arilines and train systems ALL took DECADES to envision, plan and establish and ALL required "comprehensive plans" and all required what today would probably cost a trillion each (aside from buses which would be a small fraction thereof) to establish from scratch as has to be done with high speed rail. @wizoddg they can be built below grounds, under water, or above ground in tunnels that basically act like a vacuum tube, dampening sound and completely or near completely removing air resistance, and can travel in theory safely at several thousand miles per hour (up to 20,000km/h was cited) over extremely long distances (coast to coast or incontinential type distances)... they cover this ever so breifly in jacque frescio's "Future By Design" in which he discusses idea for a high technologically advanced global society which is connected primarily by ultra-high speed, its covered only breifly because he's outlining everything from change how homes, cities, and societies are built, refining an ultr-social socio-economic theory and how it would change society their views, motives and actions... which is a big topic for a 90-120 futurist-documentary.
@KuhnKat with people thinking like yourself the US will NEVER get out of recession or dre i say the depression they've found themselves in (a recession can only last so long before even the most optimistic economist will have to admit its really just the early stages of depression; longer and deeper than the great depression)... the only way ANY country will ever get out of recession is if: A) private companies start creating a massive amount of work, which they wont, they want everything done as cheaply as possible which usually means outsourcing. B) public (government) spurs economy growth via stimulas (much of the US's last stillumas was a waste because it neither improved the lives of the average person, nor improved the country for the average person. C) somehow the country finds an unknown, untapped sources of valuable material (gold, oil, silver, platinum, titanium, helium-3 ect), which is growing increasing unliking as our detection method had become so good that anything that easy (financially benificial) to get has already been found and tapped, and in some cases tapped-out. A, is obviously preferable, since the later is almost impossible, however A implies that business sudden value the strength of the economy and not how many zeros are on their paycheck and coporate wealth.. B is the most likely, but everyone complains that they can't afford it (which is purely BS when your currently engaging in 2 wars, constantly undermining dozens of countries like iran and venezuela (which costs a few hundred million is not billions), currently occupying more than 40 countries and deployed in more than 150 (out of 195) .. if thats true than the only choice is raising taxes, which almost everyone except the overwhelming majority of economists are against. contrary to your opinion this would be a great way for california to start securing their prosperity, esspeccially if everything can be made domestically, in which case california might easily be out of recession long before the US with progressive plans such as this. however the bottomline is this NEEDS to be done nation wide... or even internationally (such as the planned superhighway connecting canada to mexico through a high-speed, mostly straight line through the core of the US, which will cut several hourse of going from canada to the southern US or mexico and thusly huge amounts of CO2 and other emissions would be reduced. for starters, in the US connect San Fransisco, California to: Los Angeles, California San Diego, California Las Vegas, Nevada Austin, Texas Dallas, Texas San Antonio, Texas New York, New York Chicago, Illinois (i'm sure the current peresident would get behind this, both for being green and in his homtown) Phenoix, Arizona Philedelphia, Pennsylvania Detroit, Michigan Washington DC (the country's capitol) San Antonio, Texas Jacksonville, Florida ...and basically any other city that has more than half a million people would be a good start on the national level (and other states are also considering their own high speed rail such as colarado)... and this really ought to be a national project. and FYI, cost isn't the only thing that needs to be considered, the infrastrusture being overrun and crumbling SHOULD be a major concern, safety should be a primary concern (safety is much better on high speed rail, esspecialy maglev rails) not to mention the environment; which ranks dead last among americans in important issues... despite the fact that in a inhostitible environment there wont be much of the tradtional economy left, instead it will be centred around ways to deliver clean air and water, without which you can write-off any hope of producing food that lives up to current safety standards (which are already sub par for what we allow to go into our food)... another concern is time if you can get from point A to point to point B up to 5 or even 10 times faster than old trains or the current road system, and about on par with air travel at a fraction of the cost then again it would seem like a no brainer esspecially for businessmen and women for whom time is money, and if they don't have a private plane this will most likely be a fastest, least expensive mode of high speed travel (at the most expensive rates for high speed rail, and the cheapest rates for airliners; an unrealistically ideal scenerio) it would still be 30% cheaper, up to about 90% cheaper... the maglev system in japan has actually boosted their economy directly by saving time to the tune of a half trillion yen (5.678 billion USD) annually, with the geographic size and population of the US this, would be significantly more than this and after, and costs less per mile to build than conventional trains, and are more energy efficent to run, esspecially as more powerful superconductors are used. and on a national level would be a good source of long term job growth as those trains will need operators, ticket sellers, mainteneince crews, advertising. the problem is when we start talking about big ideas, most people can't see the forest from the trees and hence say things like "we can't afford it", no, what you can't afford is further stagnation and recession, its time to start clawing your way to the progressively industrial country that the US used to be back in the 50's to 70's, which was kick started by the war and esspecially the manhattan project, which lead way (through unspeakable horror) to huge industies the nuclear industry and the "defense" industry (in quotes for the obvious reason if it not being used for defense)... and the US has been slowly (much quicker since the chain reaction stemming from 9/11) going down the toilet bowl ever since, and its no coincidence that it coincidence exactly with when the US's tax rates started falling dramatically; the top tax rate in the US is 35%, it us to be about 250-275% higher at 92%, and between 1950-1963 was NEVER below 90% and in the 70's was NEVER below 70%... yet everyone always complains how taxes kill jobs (which is completel BS in a country that is most composed of servuice industries and a financially crippling (which is BS in a era or prepetually record breaking profits (aside from the last 2-3 years for many businesses), yet these were the most benificial years to be an american... it wasbn't until the reagan and bush sr years when the US went to crap, and in that time the tax rate fell from 69% to 31%, and wen to t a recent high for 39.6% under clinton (the most perperous time in most american's lives) and under bush jr, fell to 35% with massive spending increases (none of which help the economy by any direct means; aside fro mthe TARRP bailout which as been questionable at best, and still hasn't accomplished what it was suppposed to; to increase lending). i think thats enough points for now, i could probably go on ad nasseum about this as it relates to A) progressive domestic nation building, B) taxes, C) the economy, and D) the reduction of pollution and thusly slowing down global warming (even if this only accomplishes a reduction of half a percent nationally, ever little bit helps, thats the theory behind using CFL's and LED's for lighting, and those can reduce energy usage by much more than half a percent, the same will certianly be true for high speed rail). and if you going to go with high speed rail, don't slouch... shoot for these... or better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen
As noted above, you need a number of local trains feeding into hubs to really take advantage of high speed rail. I don't really see it as an economically sensible plan. I mean the only train that I know for certain would be packed would be if we were stupid enough to go all the way down into Mexico. I imagine the stream of illegals flooding in would keep the trains packed for some time. How many people would travel between Northern and Southern CA if the train existed? I imagine air fares would drop to adjust to the competition. A train needs a certain amount of money to run. There are people to pay, tracks to maintain, fuel to buy, etc. You need to run a number of routes a day, consistently, for people to use it. Too many and the trains will not pay for themselves. Too few and people will not use because they are inconvenient. Tickets will need to be high enough to cover the costs and low enough to encourage the use. Ideally you would have routes that remove people from the road. For that to work you need to have public transportation options available to take the commuters from the trains to their final destinations.
Hi speed trains are best used for long distance point-to-point transport. Using the California example, you want to compete against the regional airlines that fly between LA and San Diego or LA and Sacramento or LA and Vegas. Some of the California high-speed rail proposals I have seen place stations as close at 50 miles apart and use a commuter rail approach to the design. How fast do they expect a train to go when stations are that close? It takes time and distance to get a train up to 150 plus miles an hour and then to slow it down. 50 miles it not enough distance to make it worth the effort to build track and buy trains. And just whom are they competing with at that distance? Buses? High-speed rail stations need at least 100 miles between stops to make it worth it. The longer the distance the better. Short distance high speed rails are unprofitable and require huge subsidies just operate. Like starman said, you need a comprehensive plan.
Heard and read about speed train in CA. many years ago, and nothing happened. Now, in this difficult financial climate, it does not look like something feasible.
High-Speed rail cannot exist without low-speed commuter rail. HS rail needs special track & cannot run on track that has slow trains. For an example, Madrid - Sevilla. Starting in Madrid, took subway to Atocha station, got on the fast train to Sevilla there, train started, 2.5 hrs later, we stopped in Sevilla. No stops on the way. To get to intermediate places, you took the slow train. In Ca, you'd need non-stop lines between SF & LA, maybe Oakland - LA, and Sacramento - LA. For all other places, use slower trains. All this will cost trainloads of $$, & everybody is broke. Therefore, I think this is a pipe dream at best.
We need to get a clue, we need more freeways, people like their individual cars. In California, we like the time we have on our commute to be to ourselves, we want it shorter, but we want our privacy, something that mass transit is not able to provide. Let's face it all mass transportation is underutilized, especially in So. California, so why do we continue to insist on building it?
While a high speed rail system might be valuable, the vast majority of transit problems in California are within urban areas rather than between them. "rail line should integrate into our communities without harming their current livability." This assumes that the communities (is a suburban bedroom a "community?" have some degree of livability already. The best thing that CA could do would be to require higher density housing buildings with larger green space--and dump the whole concept of commuting by car. CA covered millions of acres of highly productive farmland in roadways and unproductive yard space--all of which eats billions in maintenance in order to "live the American Dream," of home ownership. Over the past several decades homes have gone from places you live and raise a family to places you invest more than you can afford in the hope of selling at a profit later. In order to afford to do this both parents MUST work and as a result the home itself stays vacant most of the time--or has only sleeping people in it. It's not a sustainable situation. Add to that the high probability of rising seas, and the very low altitude of much of the land in the state--much of whichis only 2-3 meters above sea level, and you are looking at potential disaster(s) of historic proportions. And the sea level rise is a LOT faster than it appears, since most of the ice melted to date is sea ice and has no effect upon sea level, but the sea ice is going fast, and the Greenland ice is melting at an accelerating rate--which will happen very shortly in the Western Antarctic as the sea ice vanishes and the glaciers accelerate to the sea. If they do build high-speed rail, lets hope that they build it 30 or more meters above sea level, and plan for large earthquakes.... "high speed trains whipping through their downtowns." So, why, exactly, do the high speed trains have to run through the towns if they already have commuter rail? And if they do need to, why cannot the trains be moved underground?
...would be prime for high speed rail. There is just 1 big problem: Economics. California is de-facto bankrupt. They don't have the money, or the ability to borrow the half-trillion it would take to ultimately build and operate it. The only way it can happen is if they can get Washington to play Santa and print more money for it, and given the national mood at the moment, that's not likely. People in Kansas are not keen on paying for yuppies from LA to commute to fisherman's wharf for a nice seafood dinner. Then there's the economics. In order to justify the kind of capital investment this will require, a LA to SF fare would have to be many time what a first-class air ticket would be. Not viable. So fares would end up being subsidized by taxpayers, all in the name of more union jobs. Sound familiar? It's pretty much how California got in the mess that it's in already. As someone who no longer lives in California, I am not interested in paying for more of the insanity that encouraged me to leave.
The population density is beginning to make this more viable. Ironically, the strongest opposition seems to be coming from peninsula towns that are big users of commuter rail, who are reluctant to have high speed trains whipping through their downtowns.
The latest issue of TRAINs magazine has a super feature on what the TGV has done for France. It absolutely dominates air travel...and you are looking at distances in Calif. that are similar to those in France. And the TGV has long since paid for itself....but there's no way to do it without deep govt. backing.
We are BROKE!!! High speed rail is og questionable value and should be allowed to sit until the economic environment has improved!!! Any value from employing people to build this project will be lost in the huge costs of financing it with our current lowered credit levels!!