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Old 12-26-2012, 01:29 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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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 12-30-2012, 03:58 PM   #136
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Unless the thing can run at a profit your ROI is shit. Bad. So bad no private entities will invest.

If this made sense we'd already be doing it.
This is a complete joke. Disney isn't investing in a rail because they expect the rail to make more money. They are investing in it to attract more tourists to use their park and stay in their hotels. This is why the profit model is a complete joke. And it's why I continue to bring up stadiums. Stadiums themselves take a long time to pay off, but they create intangible benefits that indirectly make money for the market they're located in.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
This is a complete joke. Disney isn't investing in a rail because they expect the rail to make more money. They are investing in it to attract more tourists to use their park and stay in their hotels. This is why the profit model is a complete joke. And it's why I continue to bring up stadiums. Stadiums themselves take a long time to pay off, but they create intangible benefits that indirectly make money for the market they're located in.
Where would you suggest we put the first one?
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #138
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Where would you suggest we put the first one?
I don't know the numbers.
Lots of places where it would thrive. Getting lines from dc to Philly or new York. In the Midwest, Chicago is a great hub because you have lots of young people, college students, and folks who don't own cars. In the upper Midwest, you have an area concentrated with several metros within a few hours reach (Indy, cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, louisville, pittsburgh) and those markets are major sports and convention markets and have a lot of businesses that would love to have a rail option, like P&g.

Again... Maybe there isn't ROI. But you can't look at it from a pure profit standpoint. You have to consider if it encourages outside tourist dollars particularly conventions events and sports, enables businesses to save dollars and allow workers more convenient travel options, makes the market more attractive for employees and schools to recruit talent, and encourages small business starts... Those all have to factor into the calculation.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:21 PM   #139
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I don't know the numbers.
Lots of places where it would thrive. Getting lines from dc to Philly or new York. In the Midwest, Chicago is a great hub because you have lots of young people, college students, and folks who don't own cars. In the upper Midwest, you have an area concentrated with several metros within a few hours reach (Indy, cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, louisville, pittsburgh) and those markets are major sports and convention markets and have a lot of businesses that would love to have a rail option, like P&g.

Again... Maybe there isn't ROI. But you can't look at it from a pure profit standpoint. You have to consider if it encourages outside tourist dollars particularly conventions events and sports, enables businesses to save dollars and allow workers more convenient travel options, makes the market more attractive for employees and schools to recruit talent, and encourages small business starts... Those all have to factor into the calculation.
Oh and bigredchief shared a no brainer. Rails with Orlando as a destination. How much additional tourist revenue do you think you could pull in if it became easier to go to Disneyland?
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:21 PM   #140
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I don't know the numbers.
Lots of places where it would thrive. Getting lines from dc to Philly or new York. In the Midwest, Chicago is a great hub because you have lots of young people, college students, and folks who don't own cars. In the upper Midwest, you have an area concentrated with several metros within a few hours reach (Indy, cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, louisville, pittsburgh) and those markets are major sports and convention markets and have a lot of businesses that would love to have a rail option, like P&g.

Again... Maybe there isn't ROI. But you can't look at it from a pure profit standpoint. You have to consider if it encourages outside tourist dollars particularly conventions events and sports, enables businesses to save dollars and allow workers more convenient travel options, makes the market more attractive for employees and schools to recruit talent, and encourages small business starts... Those all have to factor into the calculation.
The best I can say is have at it. If it made sense we'd already be doing it. Any elected official of mine that votes for it, I'll be voting him out.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:28 PM   #141
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The best I can say is have at it. If it made sense we'd already be doing it.
We are too busy building roads and bridges just so we can keep union workers working. Among lots of other government waste.

Like I said... This is the same argument to me between whether a corporation decides to invest in a new store or plant, or increase commissions for the sales force. I've said it before. It's one of the big reasons are corporations are slumping. We are more worried about turning a profit that we have stopped investing in things where we take a financial hit today but will create long term benefit.

Again, I go back to stadiums. Even in this bad economy, I would be ecstatic if I lived in a market like Oklahoma city and learned they were bringing an nba team like the thunder in. Even if getting that team will be expensive for the government to fund.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:40 PM   #142
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Oh give me a break.

ROI isn't a fascist model. It's common sense.
Govt-corporate partnerships, particularly when not necessary is the fascist/corporatist model. What's troubling is that you think it's common sense as if ROI can be sensibly calculated by govt.

ROI investment is another concept—that should be reserved for private enterprise mainly.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:51 PM   #143
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So let's look at ROI


Investopedia explains 'Return On Investment - ROI'

"The definition of the term in the broadest sense just attempts to measure the profitability of an investment and, as such, there is no one "right" calculation."
Of course there is no "right" calculation because each individual does their own valuing. This is overidden by vested interests * when govts get involved and do the calculating or lobbyists for corporations.

*govt connected corps that stand to benefit and political interests such as those who want us in collectivist transportation because they hate the freedom of the automobile. It's a polluter and makes us dependent on fossil fuels more.


More from Investopedia:

"This flexibility has a downside, as ROI calculations can be easily manipulated to suit the user's purposes, and the result can be expressed in many different ways. When using this metric, make sure you understand what inputs are being used."
And there you have it. My point still stands. Statists love such set-ups!

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/...#ixzz2GaAOZhro
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:58 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post

Investopedia explains 'Return On Investment - ROI'

"The definition of the term in the broadest sense just attempts to measure the profitability of an investment and, as such, there is no one "right" calculation."
Of course there is no "right" calculation because each individual does their own valuing. This is overidden by vested interests * when govts get involved and do the calculating or lobbyists for corporations.

*govt connected corps that stand to benefit and political interests such as those who want us in collectivist transportation because they hate the freedom of the automobile. It's a polluter and makes us dependent on fossil fuels more.

More from Investopedia:

"This flexibility has a downside, as ROI calculations can be easily manipulated to suit the user's purposes, and the result can be expressed in many different ways. When using this metric, make sure you understand what inputs are being used."
And there you have it. My point still stands.

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/...#ixzz2GaAOZhro
Your point is ridiculous. Statistics are much more manipulative. Would you rather we just not use them?

Of course you have to create your own inputs. But the point is that there are benefits that have financial impact beyond pure profit. Calculating the benefit of a stadium deal by how long the investment will pay out and not at all factoring increases in business starts and tourist revenue as a result of it is a perfect example.

Yeah, i get that the government will manipulate the ROI calculation. I am arguing with people here who believe that any project is a bust if it isn't profitable. Thats a terrible standard to use and it would kill a ton of vital projects in the private and public sector.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:07 PM   #145
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Govt-corporate partnerships, particularly when not necessary is the fascist/corporatist model. What's troubling is that you think it's common sense as if ROI can be sensibly calculated by govt.

ROI investment is another concept—that should be reserved for private enterprise mainly.
Why wouldn't it be necessary? Are you suggesting that more tourists coming to Disneyland is bad for the US? Are you saying that Cincinnati isn't motivated to keep P&g happy because of how critical that company is to the city's livelihood?

Are you saying every stadium deal should be killed because profit is so far in the distant future?

Should we shut down public transportation in Philly and new York and Chicago because they arent printing money? Or can we admit that making profit isn't the objective of every public project? Just because we distrust government doesn't mean we should not invest in things that can help.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:21 PM   #146
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Why wouldn't it be necessary? Are you suggesting that more tourists coming to Disneyland is bad for the US?


Are you saying that Cincinnati isn't motivated to keep P&g happy because of how critical that company is to the city's livelihood?

Are you saying every stadium deal should be killed because profit is so far in the distant future?

Should we shut down public transportation in Philly and new York and Chicago because they arent printing money? Or can we admit that making profit isn't the objective of every public project? Just because we distrust government doesn't mean we should not invest in things that can help.

Those are all the wrong question, especially when some of them use the word "we" as if we're one big collectivist mind that decides for Philly, New York or Chicago. Also, Disneyland is in Cali. California state govt should decide that. ( 'cept they're broke) Better yet, the owners of Disneyland should decide that.

My entire point has been completely over your head. You have been unable to process anything outside a statist model. You're a Progressive and I find people of that persuasion are unable to think outside a statist model for a pro-free market one. You should join the Democratic party, as I suggested earlier.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #147
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Your point is ridiculous. Statistics are much more manipulative. Would you rather we just not use them?
Whoosh! My point went over your head—again.

Quote:
Of course you have to create your own inputs. But the point is that there are benefits that have financial impact beyond pure profit. Calculating the benefit of a stadium deal by how long the investment will pay out and not at all factoring increases in business starts and tourist revenue as a result of it is a perfect example.

Yeah, i get that the government will manipulate the ROI calculation. I am arguing with people here who believe that any project is a bust if it isn't profitable. Thats a terrible standard to use and it would kill a ton of vital projects in the private and public sector.
I didn't say that. (bolded part) My post is about each of us doing our own valuing — not a collectivism aka govt doing it for all. This is why this doesn't work. You can't please everyone and govt is far less efficient at calculating such things than the private sector. This is the reason why those pushing govt to do these things are—because so far the private sector is unwilling to risk its own funds for it. Just look at not just the Big Dig but other earlier public works projects such as canals and trains. Losers mostly.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #148
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Whoosh! My point went over your head—again.



I didn't say that. (bolded part) My post is about each of us doing our own valuing — not a collectivism aka govt doing it for all. This is why this doesn't work. You can't please everyone and govt is far less efficient at calculating such things than the private sector. This is the reason why those pushing govt to do these things are—because so far the private sector is unwilling to risk its own funds for it. Just look at not just the Big Dig but other earlier public works projects such as canals and trains. Losers mostly.
No, it didn't go over my head. You are assessing cost benefits by profit loss. And that is a ridiculous standard that would kill plenty of good projects. And it's exactly this ridiculous standard that has corporations investing in short term sales boosters versus long term revenue.

I am not in favor of a lot of public projects especially if there is a strong substitute. And again, if it is a joint project between public and private, then the private sector is investing in it. They just aren't footing the full bill, which is reasonable, because publicly funded entities benefit too. Convention centers, arenas, public universities... All benefit From rails. Why should the private sector have to pay in full for that?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Oh and bigredchief shared a no brainer. Rails with Orlando as a destination. How much additional tourist revenue do you think you could pull in if it became easier to go to Disneyland?
You realize that Disneyland is in California, right? Disney World is in Orlando...and it has no trouble attracting tourist revenue fyi. It's so crowded at times, it's not worth it. Better they build another one in another state to accomodate all the traffic for a more statisfying consumer experience if ya' ask me. But it's not hurting and the added traffic may not be workable with all the other parks and conventions that are held there.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:40 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
No, it didn't go over my head. You are assessing cost benefits by profit loss. And that is a ridiculous standard that would kill plenty of good projects. And it's exactly this ridiculous standard that has corporations investing in short term sales boosters versus long term revenue.
This here, shows it still did. You insist on govt aka public can make a more profitable or efficient decision. It can't.

My point—govt is a ham-fisted way of doing things.

Quote:
I am not in favor of a lot of public projects especially if there is a strong substitute. And again, if it is a joint project between public and private, then the private sector is investing in it. They just aren't footing the full bill, which is reasonable, because publicly funded entities benefit too. Convention centers, arenas, public universities... All benefit From rails. Why should the private sector have to pay in full for that?
I already know this but it's still the corporatist/fascist/crony capitalist model.

Private interests can "[pay] their own way!" Sing to Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way"
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