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Old 02-09-2013, 08:06 PM  
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The new high speed rail map that's been floating around recently



High speed rail is moving forward in California, but progress is pretty stagnant around the rest of the country. Still, there are a lot of proposals out there, and when placed on one map, they form an impressive rail network. This map was put together by California Rail Map, led by Alfred Twu, which combined existing proposals from high speed rail advocacy groups around the US. Twu described his process for the Guardian:

Instead of detailing construction phases and service speeds, I took a little artistic license and chose colors and linked lines to celebrate America's many distinct but interwoven regional cultures.

The US High Speed Rail Association, a nonprofit trade association, predicts a network similar to this one could be in place by 2030.

Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood has called for a large HSR network, saying it could link 80 percent of Americans within 25 years, for $500 billion.
Based on this map, starting in Los Angeles, a high speed train could get to New York, with stops in Denver and Chicago, in well under 18 hours.

Considering the significant funding and political will any large rail project needs, it's hard to imagine all this will be built. But Robert Cruickshank at the California High Speed Rail Blog argues just visualizing the network is a good thing:

But before the Interstate Highway System was authorized, it had to first be conceptualized on a map. This map gets us closer to the goal of an interstate high speed rail system by showing us what it looks like. And envisioning such a system is the first step toward building it.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/map-o...#ixzz2KSS4Sw1Q
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:40 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by mnchiefsguy View Post
I agree about the Northeast/East Coast being the best area for a light rail to be successful. I think the notion that just because the densly populated areas like NY/NJ/BOS/PHilly/Balt/DC would benefit from it, and the project would be successful there, means that we have to have it between KC/STL/CHI/Des Moines. The midwest is more spread out, less populated, and we like our cars.

I also agree about our reps not caring about fixing and maintaining roads. They are not sexy projects for our tax dollars, although they should be, since they play a major roles in how we travel.
I don't disagree with any of that.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:40 PM   #77
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At first, though, it won't be the people who decide; it will be some investors, whether that be the federal government or private ownership. Even assuming that this high-speed rail network will be 100% free-markety (and not a flat-out infrastructure investment like the Interstate highway system), I think Chiefzilla is just telling us what he thinks the project pitchmen will be telling their investors.

In other words, he's discussing it, here on a discussion board.
Yes, absolutely. I believe that this should be funded as much we can from the free market, then use public money to fund the rest. And I believe that this should be a replacement for highway construction dollars.

And from a central planning standpoint, only reason I believe this needs to be handled federally is that this is one of those rare projects where one state by itself does not benefit from rail. Only works if you have multiple states involved, and it becomes an absolute mess if any states along the way outright refuse. This is interstate and absolutely needs to be handled beyond the state level.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Delays are not exaggerated. Regardless of transfer/non-transfer, there is always much more opportunity for delay in airports than rail. It becomes a nightmare when your delay occurs during a transfer. And yes, there are plenty of spots on rail for KC that do not have a direct flight, in which case travel can take 4-6 hours from beginning gate to end gate and will cost you well over $300 to travel. So if you wanted to go to OKC or Cincinnati, rail is a hell of a lot more convenient. In fact, I'm surprised you're so opposed to this. Do you realize that from Minneapolis, by plane, you can't go to Detroit, Louisville, Indianapolis... lots of other places nearby... without shelling out $400 and getting a transfer that will make the trip 4-5 hours gate-to-gate?

As for your other point about cars vs. rails. If I remember, you are stuck on the idea because Minneapolis didn't accept it as inner-city train. The midwest is NOT a good market for that. But in terms of interstate travel... you can't say people don't want it just because they say they don't want it. That's the whole point of market disruption and innovation -- there are LOTS of products and innovations that weren't widely acceptable until they were introduced and socialized.
There is no way in hell you could build a rail system that could go to all mid-sized cities without breaking the bank.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
There is no way in hell you could build a rail system that could go to all mid-sized cities without breaking the bank.
I think the map does a nice job of it. The problem is that KC and Des Moines are on the fringe. Those are the two cities I hear the most in this thread. Once you go south of KC and west of Des Moines, there's a lot of crap routes, which seem to only be there so we can create connections north-south / east-west. That's where I can understand that there probably isn't market, and it will be insanely expensive.

It's wrong to say that only the major northeast hubs would benefit. This system built here is tremendous for the southeast, for california/west, and for the upper midwest.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:00 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by AustinChief View Post
I don;t think this is supposed to be one giant federal project but a map showing various projects and how they may someday connect.

For example, in Texas an entirely private company using private funds (with some Federal grants) is hoping to have an HSR between Dallas and Houston finished by 2020. I'd say it's 50/50 right now that they'll get it done. They're doing the environmental impact studies now.
The problem I can't get over is, what the hell are you going to do when you show up in the middle of Houston or San Antonio and you don't have a car.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:02 PM   #81
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The problem I can't get over is, what the hell are you going to do when you show up in the middle of Houston or San Antonio and you don't have a car.
The same thing you would do at an airport. Take a cab.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:06 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Delays are not exaggerated. Regardless of transfer/non-transfer, there is always much more opportunity for delay in airports than rail. It becomes a nightmare when your delay occurs during a transfer. And yes, there are plenty of spots on rail for KC that do not have a direct flight, in which case travel can take 4-6 hours from beginning gate to end gate and will cost you well over $300 to travel. So if you wanted to go to OKC or Cincinnati, rail is a hell of a lot more convenient. In fact, I'm surprised you're so opposed to this. Do you realize that from Minneapolis, by plane, you can't go to Detroit, Louisville, Indianapolis... lots of other places nearby... without shelling out $400 and getting a transfer that will make the trip 4-5 hours gate-to-gate?

As for your other point about cars vs. rails. If I remember, you are stuck on the idea because Minneapolis didn't accept it as inner-city train. The midwest is NOT a good market for that. But in terms of interstate travel... you can't say people don't want it just because they say they don't want it. That's the whole point of market disruption and innovation -- there are LOTS of products and innovations that weren't widely acceptable until they were introduced and socialized.
I just checked on Delta, and programming random dates I found several non-stop flights from Mpls to Detroit. Expedia had several from MPLS to Louisville, and from Mpls to Cincy as well, so I do not get where you get this idea that you cannot get a direct flight to those places.

Rather than have the government light money on fire to introduce and socialize us on the benefits of a shiny new train, I would rather they spent said tax dollars on roads and bridges, which get a lot more use.

Do you really see a family of four shelling out $150 bucks a piece to ride the rail from KC to OKC, etc., when they can drive for a couple of extra hours to get there, plus have the use of their car while there, for less than $150 total. It makes no sense. Flying provides significant improvement in travel time, and, if one plans ahead and shops around, can be done cheaply.

My mother-in-law planned ahead and flew into KC from Mpls two weeks before Christmas for less than $90. I fail to see anyway that a light rail system can offer that kind of price point on tickets and stay in business. The airlines have a tough enough time being competitive at that price, and they do not have track to maintain.

Look, I get it that you love the light rail because you can do a little extra work on your smartphone or laptop. Frankly, that is not enough of an excuse to waste tax dollars by creating a revenue black hole for the federal and state governments.

Also, if that much money were to be invested in a national rail system, I would expect the TSA to implement the same security measures that airports have, which would create the same inconveniences that air travel has, which would wipe out most of the benefit from riding the rail in the first place. To think otherwise would be naive.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:09 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
I think the map does a nice job of it. The problem is that KC and Des Moines are on the fringe. Those are the two cities I hear the most in this thread. Once you go south of KC and west of Des Moines, there's a lot of crap routes, which seem to only be there so we can create connections north-south / east-west. That's where I can understand that there probably isn't market, and it will be insanely expensive.

It's wrong to say that only the major northeast hubs would benefit. This system built here is tremendous for the southeast, for california/west, and for the upper midwest.
I guess I should have looked more closely at the map I didn't see OKC on the route stop. Of course you are going to have the same amount of transfers on rail as you would flying in alot of these instances. Like your example of Minneapolis to OKC or Detroit.

I don't disagree that other areas wouldn't benefit.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:28 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by mnchiefsguy View Post
I just checked on Delta, and programming random dates I found several non-stop flights from Mpls to Detroit. Expedia had several from MPLS to Louisville, and from Mpls to Cincy as well, so I do not get where you get this idea that you cannot get a direct flight to those places.

Rather than have the government light money on fire to introduce and socialize us on the benefits of a shiny new train, I would rather they spent said tax dollars on roads and bridges, which get a lot more use.

Do you really see a family of four shelling out $150 bucks a piece to ride the rail from KC to OKC, etc., when they can drive for a couple of extra hours to get there, plus have the use of their car while there, for less than $150 total. It makes no sense. Flying provides significant improvement in travel time, and, if one plans ahead and shops around, can be done cheaply.

My mother-in-law planned ahead and flew into KC from Mpls two weeks before Christmas for less than $90. I fail to see anyway that a light rail system can offer that kind of price point on tickets and stay in business. The airlines have a tough enough time being competitive at that price, and they do not have track to maintain.

Look, I get it that you love the light rail because you can do a little extra work on your smartphone or laptop. Frankly, that is not enough of an excuse to waste tax dollars by creating a revenue black hole for the federal and state governments.

Also, if that much money were to be invested in a national rail system, I would expect the TSA to implement the same security measures that airports have, which would create the same inconveniences that air travel has, which would wipe out most of the benefit from riding the rail in the first place. To think otherwise would be naive.
I don't think a family would pay that to fly or take a train. You can just drive it. Business people though would jump all over it though.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:45 PM   #85
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The same thing you would do at an airport. Take a cab.
Fine for a trip, but not for daily commuting.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by mnchiefsguy View Post
I just checked on Delta, and programming random dates I found several non-stop flights from Mpls to Detroit. Expedia had several from MPLS to Louisville, and from Mpls to Cincy as well, so I do not get where you get this idea that you cannot get a direct flight to those places.

Rather than have the government light money on fire to introduce and socialize us on the benefits of a shiny new train, I would rather they spent said tax dollars on roads and bridges, which get a lot more use.

Do you really see a family of four shelling out $150 bucks a piece to ride the rail from KC to OKC, etc., when they can drive for a couple of extra hours to get there, plus have the use of their car while there, for less than $150 total. It makes no sense. Flying provides significant improvement in travel time, and, if one plans ahead and shops around, can be done cheaply.

My mother-in-law planned ahead and flew into KC from Mpls two weeks before Christmas for less than $90. I fail to see anyway that a light rail system can offer that kind of price point on tickets and stay in business. The airlines have a tough enough time being competitive at that price, and they do not have track to maintain.

Look, I get it that you love the light rail because you can do a little extra work on your smartphone or laptop. Frankly, that is not enough of an excuse to waste tax dollars by creating a revenue black hole for the federal and state governments.

Also, if that much money were to be invested in a national rail system, I would expect the TSA to implement the same security measures that airports have, which would create the same inconveniences that air travel has, which would wipe out most of the benefit from riding the rail in the first place. To think otherwise would be naive.
1) The market isn't built for families, though there is certainly a market for it with wealthy families. The market is built for businesspeople and young professionals. Students often don't have cars. Would they commute to catch a weekend game or to visit friends? You bet they would and for them, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than flying. Young professionals in metros like Chicago often don't have cars because it's so damn expensive. Further, I know people that live in Chicago and commute to Milwaukee or live in Cincinnati and commute to Columbus. Every day. They waste 2-3 hours of every single day in a car. I know people who accepted a job in Detroit while their wife was in Indianapolis, and they commuted every other weekend. And there is nothing worse than draining 7-8 hours as a busy professional.

2) Business professionals travel every day. In the midwest, you are often a branch or a hub and have to travel frequently. I travel once or twice a month and many of my colleagues even more frequently. Think about the benefit. If a company had hundreds of travelers saving hundreds of dollars per flight. Plus, if you're talking about ROI... you look over time savings as if it's no big deal. Guess what? Time equals money. If each of those travellers averaged about $15 an hour in salary... you're talking about let's say $115 in cost savings per traveler per day. One company alone per day can save thousands of dollars PER DAY. Like I said, even if there was a good leisure market, I really don't care. I am okay with government investment that enables business. That's the point of infrastructure, isn't it?

3) People need to stop using the argument that rails will ever come even remotely close to the inconvenience in check-in procedures as flights. TSA may heighten standards, but you will never have the long check-in wait time, the long security line, or the lengthy terminal size as a flight. And the opportunity for delay is significantly lower and less extreme as rails are less susceptible to weather and, unlike airports, it's not like you're trying to turnaround a bajillion flights at every gate.

4) Fourth and finally... especially in the midwest, it expands opportunity. Businesses pay a lot of money to recruit top talent, and it's often a hard selling point when you're isolated. Again, I pointed to a person who lives in Chicago and commutes from Milwaukee because his wife refused to live in Milwaukee. The midwest is thriving with business opportunity. Having access like this really expands the attractiveness of this rail, especially if you're talking about an upper midwest or southeast market.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:19 PM   #87
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I think everyone has forgotten how we can pay for this.

Obamacare is going to trim tens of billions of dollars off the deficit every year. This will make rail travel practically free.

And sure, trains are much easier targets to attack than airplanes for terrorists, but at least all the victims who live will get free medical care.

You just can't beat gubment programs.

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Old 02-10-2013, 05:31 PM   #88
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Well, I hope the MDC stop releasing elk in Missouri then. A herd of elk at 220 MPH won't be pretty.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:51 PM   #89
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Midwesterners like their cars. They like driving. They would rather spend their tax dollars on keeping the highways in good shape than to build a shiny fancy train that they will ride one, if that.
There you go.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:23 PM   #90
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This is all true except that in the end, it better make SOME profit(or at least come close to break even) or it isn't sustainable.
This is the key point. It doesn't necessarily have to be about profit immediately (or near-term), but it had better be all about sustainability or it's a giant waste of time and money. Otherwise over time the private sector will back out, and the public funding will dry up as political will drifts in the breeze.
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