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Old 12-26-2012, 02:29 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Why are we not investing in transportation infrastructure?

China continues its amazing investment in infrastructure, including this:



A high speed train system, producing trains that travel nearly 200 mph and can get you distances from New York to Key West in 8 hours.

Investments like this make a ton of sense for large countries like China (and us) because (a.) they hire a shit ton of workers (China has said it has hired up to 100k people for it), (b.) they allow for more economic integration and economic prosperity for the parts of the country connected to it, and (c.) in an era where job immobility is at its highest in modern history for Americans, this provides a feasible way to travel great distances for poorer Americans.

But not only do we refuse to invest in this shit, we can't even muster the finances needed to repair the infrastructure we do have, made decades ago, in considerably less-modern ways.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/bu...a.html?hp&_r=0

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens in China
By KEITH BRADSHER
Published: December 26, 2012

HONG KONG — China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line, covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Florida, or from London across Europe to Belgrade.

Bullet trains traveling 300 kilometers an hour, or 186 miles an hour, began regular service between Beijing and Guangzhou, the main metropolis in southeastern China. Older trains still in service on a parallel rail line take 21 hours; Amtrak trains from New York to Miami, a shorter distance, still take nearly 30 hours.

Completion of the Beijing-Guangzhou route is the latest sign that China has resumed rapid construction on one of the world’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects, a network of four north-south routes and four east-west routes that span the country.

Lavish spending on the project has helped jump-start the Chinese economy twice: in 2009, during the global financial crisis, and again this autumn, after a brief but sharp economic slowdown over the summer.

The hiring of as many as 100,000 workers per line has kept a lid on unemployment even as private-sector construction has slowed down because of limits on real estate speculation. And the national network has helped reduce toxic air pollution in Chinese cities and curb demand for imported diesel fuel, by freeing up a lot of capacity on older rail lines for goods to be carried by freight trains instead of heavily polluting, costlier trucks.

But the high-speed rail system has also been controversial in China. Debt to finance the construction has reached nearly 4 trillion renminbi, or $640 billion, making it one of the most visible reasons total debt has been surging as a share of economic output in China, and approaching levels in the West.

Each passenger car taken off the older, slower rail lines makes room for three freight cars, because passenger trains have to move so quickly that they force freight trains to stop frequently. But although the high-speed trains have played a big role in allowing sharp increases in freight shipments, the Ministry of Railways has not yet figured out a way to charge large freight shippers, many of them politically influential state-owned enterprises, for part of the cost of the high-speed lines, which haul only passengers.

The high-speed trains are also considerably more expensive than the heavily subsidized older passenger trains. A second-class seat on the new bullet trains from Beijing to Guangzhou costs 865 renminbi, compared with 426 renminbi for the cheapest bunk on one of the older trains, which also have narrow, uncomfortable seats for as little as 251 renminbi.

Worries about the high-speed network peaked in July 2011, when one high-speed train plowed into the back of another near Wenzhou in southeastern China, killing 40 people.

A subsequent investigation blamed flawed signaling equipment for the crash. China had been operating high-speed trains at 350 kilometers an hour, and it cut the top speed to the current rate in response to that crash.

The crash crystallized worries about the haste with which China has built its high-speed rail system. The first line, from Beijing to Tianjin, opened a week before the 2008 Olympics; a little more than four years later, the country now has 9,349 kilometers, or 5,809 miles, of high-speed lines.

China’s aviation system has a good international reputation for safety, and its occasional deadly crashes have not attracted nearly as much attention. Transportation safety experts attribute the public’s fascination with the Wenzhou crash partly to the novelty of the system and partly to a distrust among many Chinese of what is perceived as a homegrown technology, in contrast with the Boeing and Airbus jets flown by Chinese airlines.

Japanese rail executives have complained, however, that the Chinese technology is mostly copied from them, an accusation that Chinese rail executives have strenuously denied.

The main alternative to trains for most Chinese lies in the country’s roads, which have a grim reputation by international standards. Periodic crashes of intercity buses kill dozens of people at a time, while crashes of private cars are frequent in a country where four-fifths of new cars are sold to first-time buyers, often with scant driving experience.

Flights between Beijing and Guangzhou take about three hours and 15 minutes. But air travelers in China need to arrive at least an hour before a flight, compared with 20 minutes for high-speed trains, and the airports tend to be farther from the centers of cities than the high-speed train stations.

Land acquisition is the toughest part of building high-speed rail lines in the West, because the tracks need to be almost perfectly straight, and it has been an issue in China as well. Although local and provincial governments have forced owners to sell land for the tracks themselves, there have been disputes over suddenly valuable land near rail stations, with the result that surprisingly few stores and other commercial venues have sprung up around some high-speed stations through which tens of thousands of travelers move every day.

Zhao Xiangfeng, a farmer in Henan Province, said a plan to build a minimall on his and six other farmers’ land near a station had been shelved indefinitely after he and three of the other farmers refused to lease the land for anything close to what the village leadership offered. He said he worried that local leaders might try strong-arm tactics against the farmers to force them to lease the land and revive the project.

The southern segment of the new high-speed rail line, from Guangzhou as far as Wuhan, has been open for nearly three years and already suffers from heavy congestion, which could limit the number of seats available for travel all the way to Beijing during peak hours. Regular travelers on the route said in interviews that the 800-seat trains are often sold out as many as 10 trains in advance on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, even though the trains travel as often as every four minutes, and even lunchtime trains at midweek are often full as well.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:59 AM   #76
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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Train station security will likely be beefed up, but it will never compare to the logjam especially at major airports where check in of bags and security screenings can overall take over a half hour.
If they can self sustain fine, I am not interested in another mouth at the government tit~
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #77
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If they can self sustain fine, I am not interested in another mouth at the government tit~
But we have to stop using profit loss as "self sustaining." Same problem private sector is making. Any ROI calculation factors in intangible benefits. And there is a lot of them. It enables businesses, improves tourism, and reduces pollution and traffic. You have to find a way two assign that dollar amount into any ROI calculation.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #78
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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But we have to stop using profit loss as "self sustaining." Same problem private sector is making. Any ROI calculation factors in intangible benefits. And there is a lot of them. It enables businesses, improves tourism, and reduces pollution and traffic. You have to find a way two assign that dollar amount into any ROI calculation.
As long as not one penny comes from my taxes. If it is so beneficial than they need to figure out some way to pay for it. Screw the better good argument. Our government is beyond broke plain and simple~
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:58 AM   #79
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we can just print more money and issue more bonds.

problem solved.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:59 AM   #80
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Anyone else sick of Liberals now using the word "investment" to refer to government waste? In the past, it was tax-&-spend. And the voters hated them for it. So they just call it "investment" now.



Hell, ANYTHING is an "investment". Honey I just made an "investment" in my golf game. $700 irons. Sure, it was once called waste. But today? An "investment"!!!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #81
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I couldn't understand the justification of train security being as heavy as airplane security. Is somebody going to hijack the train and run it into a building?
Spanish train bombing says hi.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:04 PM   #82
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:11 PM   #83
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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we can just print more money and issue more bonds.

problem solved.
There is the problem, nobody wants "their" stuff cut. They want the government to solve all our problems. Lets just keep giving this corrupt and incompetent monster more and more power. It needs to tell us how to live, what to eat and protect us. We need to accept being subjects to the royalty that rules us~
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:13 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Train station security will likely be beefed up, but it will never compare to the logjam especially at major airports where check in of bags and security screenings can overall take over a half hour.
I once thought as you do. The government would totally **** this up. My evidence to support this theory is EVERYTHING THE GOVERNMENT CURRENTLY TOUCHES.

And personally, I have no problem with the idea of high speed trains. I ride a train to work five days a week, and enjoy it because it enables me to live 35 miles from Chicago instead of in Chicago. But considering the mess we're in right now, this is all sky pie.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:53 PM   #85
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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Anyone else sick of Liberals now using the word "investment" to refer to government waste? In the past, it was tax-&-spend. And the voters hated them for it. So they just call it "investment" now.



Hell, ANYTHING is an "investment". Honey I just made an "investment" in my golf game. $700 irons. Sure, it was once called waste. But today? An "investment"!!!!
The better good is one of their favorite sales pitches also. We need to surrender more rights for the better good. The government always knows best~
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:18 PM   #86
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I once thought as you do. The government would totally **** this up. My evidence to support this theory is EVERYTHING THE GOVERNMENT CURRENTLY TOUCHES.

And personally, I have no problem with the idea of high speed trains. I ride a train to work five days a week, and enjoy it because it enables me to live 35 miles from Chicago instead of in Chicago. But considering the mess we're in right now, this is all sky pie.
Yeah, I agree on all points. I don't trust the government to do this right. But the benefit of it can't be denied and it has to be on the table once the fiscal mess is at least cooled down. Anyone who doesn't understand the benefit probably never used public transportation. It bothers the shit out of me that the Midwest public transportation system is so bad, and it really limits opportunities for business and tourism in spots that don't have it. Public transportation isn't meant to make money. It is meant to enable people to travel instead of staying at home.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:36 PM   #87
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Spanish train bombing says hi.
Yeah, but an explosion on a rail way doesn't seem as scary as using a ****ing airplane as a weapon.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #88
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Once again, we are 15.8 Trillion dollars in debt. This is a feel good item that would be nice if we had some extra money, we don't. Building something like this right now would be like the guy on welfare running out with his $350 monthly check and buying lobster tails and fine champagne for one meal to last him the month, rather than a cart of groceries to sustain him until the next check. Crap like this isn't in the cards right now and never will be if these clowns can't get their shit together on the hill.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:09 PM   #89
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Yeah, but an explosion on a rail way doesn't seem as scary as using a ****ing airplane as a weapon.
Of course not, unless it happens to you.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:31 PM   #90
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Of course not, unless it happens to you.
Because planes are basically missiles that can kill full flights full of people and destroy property. Trains are not nearly as packed with people and far less opportunity to hit any major property target, not to mention you can still have survivors. The opportunity is there for attack but the potential for catastrophe is far less significant.

There's a reason why there isn't much antivirus protection for macs. It's not because macs are a lot more virus proof, but because the opportunity for damage isn't there like it is it's pcs.
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