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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 12-30-2012, 06:40 PM   #151
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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.
I meant Disney world.

I am a moderate. And I am a proponent of states rights and fiscally smart public investment based on ROI, not profit loss. And for enabling businesses and attracting businesses to invest in a market. But also in encouraging innovative ideas rather than rubber stamping every idea that gets put on the table. And yes, I find rubber stamping ridiculous and its exactly for this ridiculous premise that projects should be evaluated purely on whether it makes direct profit vs also considering all financial benefits, direct and indirect.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #152
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
I meant Disney world.

I am a moderate.
A moderate statist. That's still pretty much for big govt these days. Plus, when we're broke it is ridiculous. You want to keep spending taxpayer money when it's needed by people to survive in this current depression. Just because you're not as left as our resident progressives doesn't make you a moderate.

Quote:
And I am a proponent of states rights and fiscally smart public investment based on ROI, not profit loss. And for enabling businesses and attracting businesses to invest in a market. But also in encouraging innovative ideas rather than rubber stamping every idea that gets put on the table. And yes, I find rubber stamping ridiculous and its exactly for this ridiculous premise that projects should be evaluated purely on whether it makes direct profit vs also considering all financial benefits, direct and indirect.
It's not rubber stamping it's a correct description of what type of economics it is, especially when you insist on it at the national level for local areas.
You just don't like it's proper name.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:48 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
A moderate statist. That's still pretty much for big govt these days. Plus, when we're broke it is ridiculous. You want to keep spending taxpayer money when it's needed by people to survive in this current depression. Just because you're not as left as our resident progressives doesn't make you a moderate.



It's not rubber stamping it's a correct description of what type of economics it is, especially when you insist on it at the national level for local areas.
You just don't like it's proper name.
In your world of ridiculous absolutes where you are completely against government or else... Yes. But that is a stupid standard. I hate a lot of public projects, hate the inefficiency government, and believe in the private sector. I am also not clueless that government can enable me to do some things that I couldn't previously do. I expect potholes to be fixed and roads to be plowed, and I know that point to point travel is light years behind what you can do in other countries.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:11 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
In your world of ridiculous absolutes where you are completely against government or else... Yes. But that is a stupid standard. I hate a lot of public projects, hate the inefficiency government, and believe in the private sector. I am also not clueless that government can enable me to do some things that I couldn't previously do. I expect potholes to be fixed and roads to be plowed, and I know that point to point travel is light years behind what you can do in other countries.
So what you are saying is cut costs as long as it is not my stuff. Ok got it~
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:04 PM   #155
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So what you are saying is cut costs as long as it is not my stuff. Ok got it~
What the hell are you talking about? How in the world did you get that?
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:05 AM   #156
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Again, please justify what "break even" means. Because by that measure no stadium project would ever be approved.
Even if you reject a break even point for profit you have to admit that there's a break even point of ridership to make it worthwhile. It's not like you could say, "Well, even if 5 people a day ride it, it would be cool." I don't even think you'd get enough people riding most of the routes to make it worthwhile using your intangible ROI measurement. I think most trains, outside of maybe the ones closest to Chicago for the midwest, would be largely empty. Empty trains don't justify a huge expense just because it would be cool to have a train.

As far as stadiums go, municipalities normally vote in favor of tax money to be used for them because they think the benefit outweighs the cost. Go ahead and put a multi-billion dollar train tax to a vote and see how many people think travel from St. Louis to Des Moines, or KC to OKC on a bullet train would be a big enough benefit to outweigh the cost.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:29 AM   #157
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Oh give me a break.

ROI isn't a fascist model. It's common sense.
BTW, I wasn't addressing ROI with the fascist/mercantilist statement. I was addressing the govt/corporate mix. Just fyi, so you don't use it again as a strawman argument.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:26 AM   #158
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BTW, I wasn't addressing ROI with the fascist/mercantilist statement. I was addressing the govt/corporate mix. Just fyi, so you don't use it again as a strawman argument.
Sorry. Misread that. Thought that seemed strange.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:00 AM   #159
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It's not just about money. If the trains operate at a low capacity, they will be far less green than current modes of transportation. You'd have to incentivize people to use it by raising tolls and taxing cars, gas, flight and buses more than they are now. Not happening.

That's why many metro buses are far more inefficient and pollute more than cars. They simply don't carry enough people to justify their huge amount of pollution. Now imagine the heavy equipment and coal burning used to build and run the rail, and combine it with limited use. Other modes of travel quickly eclipse it on the green scale.

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Old 12-31-2012, 10:08 AM   #160
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It's not just about money. If the trains operate at a low capacity, they will be far less green than current modes of transportation. You'd have to incentivize people to use it by raising tools and taxing cars, gas, flight and buses more than they are now. Not happening.

That's why many metro buses are far more inefficient and pollute more than cars. They simply don't carry enough people to justify their huge amount of pollution. Now imagine the heavy equipment and coal burning used to build and run the rail, and combine it with limited use. Other modes of travel quickly eclipse it on the green scale.
Ive heard both sides. But again, if we are talking ROI, this absolutely should be factored into the costs. Again why it's stupid for people to talk profit and loss. It works both ways. Costs are not just dollars spent. It's also stuff like if it creates more pollution than current alternatives.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:18 AM   #161
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Since, we were being compared to China, then let's face it, they're bigger polluters than we are.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:21 AM   #162
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In the mind of the leftwinger, every govt expenditure is an "investment"
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:25 AM   #163
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In the mind of the leftwinger, every govt expenditure is an "investment"
Yup!
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #164
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And in their minds, every dollar "allowed" to be spent by the free market system is simply called "looting" of the treasury. We're dealing with sick, sick people.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:30 AM   #165
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In the mind of the leftwinger, every govt expenditure is an "investment"
In the mind of the new right winger, every govt expenditure is a "cost."

I don't agree with most public sector projects. Roads, bridges, etc... To me much of these projects are designed to keep workers working with little realized benefit. I believe in ROI neutral or positive projects.
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