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Vegas High Speed Rail?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Cholly, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    At a time when the demand for high speed rail service on both coasts and across the country is being stifled by lack of available funding, along comes a plan to build a high speed rail line between the Barstow/Victoryville area of California to Las Vegas. It's touted by influential Republicans and Democrats alike. To me, it's just plain stupid, since it would depend on people driving from LA to the western terminal. This, at a time when you can get round trip airfare from LA to Vegas for $100 or less! :rolleyes:
    Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/ap-enterprise-vegas-rail-gamble-good-thing-164704788.html
     
  2. B Newt

    B Newt Icon

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    This is harry reids pet project right now. A high speed train to no ware.
     
  3. fluffybear

    fluffybear Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I remember this idea being floated back in the 90's. I thought then it was a silly idea back then and stick with that opinion today.
     
  4. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    The key paragraph is:
    It isn't being planned as a "drive to" location but is tied to a much more controversial boondoggle, the California High Speed Rail proposal:

    [​IMG]

    If the key politicians get their way, my grandchildren will be able to travel from San Francisco or San Jose or Sacramento to San Diego in less than five hours and save tons of carbon emissions! :sure:

    If they build the California High Speed project, then the Victorville to Las Vegas train would be interconnected either at Palmdale or at Riverside or both.

    Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown tried to get we Californians out of our cars in his first go around as Governor. He literally stopped building freeways for several years as part of his idea. That killed a lot of people as we've never caught up to replacing dangerous stretches of roadway.

    At the same time, planners were advocating "infill" in the Bay Area, visualizing thousands and thousands of high rise apartments. Of course, the people they were planning this for were moving ever further away and commuting.

    There is little relationship between the thinking of the Moonbeams out here and the people that repeatedly elect them. I don't get it and rant about it on my blog that practically nobody reads.

    But if they can find a way, they'll build these trains and some people will come. Not many, but some....:rolleyes:
     
  5. Draconis

    Draconis New Member

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    :lol: Reminds me of how badly the Las Vegas Monorail flopped.
     
  6. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    There seems to be a little gap (50 miles?) between the systems ... so until someone spends millions/billions to close the gap this will be a train to "nowhere" (with apologies to residents of Victorville ... and Vegas).

    If it were a good idea the government wouldn't have to fund it. :)
     
  7. dettxw

    dettxw MRVing

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    Now if I get as far as Victorville I've still got a haul to any other place in LA, say 1.5 to 2 hours to Long Beach.

    Maybe a better solution - build that relief airport up there in Palmdale at the plant 42 location and provide high speed rail over the San Gabriels to LA. Then you could tie your Las Vegas high speed rail traffic into that.
     
  8. machavez00

    machavez00 Hall Of Fame

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    There has been talk of a Phoenix/Los Angeles/Las Vegas high speed loop for years.
     
  9. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    As James' notes, the 40-50 mile gaps would also have to be filled with rail ...OR... they could swing a little further east with the north-south route.
    I tend to share your lack of enthusiasm for government funding but mostly because we can't even afford to educate our kids here in California and they want to spend money on these trains.

    Nonetheless, I do recognize that the government subsidized the initial railroad system to the West which facilitated economic development in the West, and particularly California, from 1870 through 1945. Then the government built the Interstate Highway System.

    It's just that we still have the Interstate Highway System which permits individual Americans to freely travel without preplanning a schedule or being patted down by federal agents before getting into our cars.

    For that "group" kind of travel we have the government-built airports.

    I guess I'm just too old to see the long term economic benefits of this system. And I'm too reactionary to see any benefit in creating more government controlled group travel systems. If we're going to spend the money let's improve I-5.
     
  10. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    If you've ever ridden the rails in Europe, you understand why there are advocates of modern rail travel here.
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    On the East Coast, we could really use better and faster trains, but the cost of redoing the rails is really expensive. NY to Boston is terrible on a train.

    Rich
     
  12. fluffybear

    fluffybear Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Having traveled around Eastern Europe by train, I will say it is a very interesting experience to say the least. .
     
  13. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I am aware of the Western European system and the Japanese system. The problem with the proposed California system is lack of a "system."

    Let's say you want to go from Escondido to Bakersfield. Right now the urban area transit systems, including cabs, are inadequate. So you drive to the Escondido station. You get off in Bakersfield to the hundreds of cabs, buses, and car services to get you around the city....:sure:

    Building the tracks and stations and buying a train to run on it is only half the job. You have to turn California urban areas completely designed around the automobile into communities oriented to transit systems that don't exist yet.

    It's not inherently good or bad. It's just not the kind of thing you plan without thinking about serving the 80% of the population you need to use and support it. I know that 10% of the population would enthusiastically support it.

    And I suppose if you are Jerry Brown you just quit building and maintaining the highways, streets and roads until the rest of the [strike]fools[/strike] citizens living in their widely dispersed subdivisions had no choice but to begrudgingly use it. In fact, in California we're pretty much failing to adequately maintain local streets and roads right now.
     
  14. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    I have no trouble with reasoned discussion concerning the pros and cons of various systems.

    It's just that I get tired of the same old canards that get trotted out to oppose rail projects - when the person fails to see that his 'anti-rail' argument also applies to roads and airports in most cases.

    If I could have one wish in this area, I would like those kinds of people to realize that the gas tax does NOT cover all the costs of the roads. It hasn't for a LONG time. it's not enough to MAINTAIN what we have, never mind new construction. So when the "it requires a subsidy" argument comes up, I say *so do roads and air travel*!
     
  15. steve053

    steve053 Godfather

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    But the per mile per passenger subsidy required for the vast majority of pasenger rail is magnitudes higher than for bus or highway.

    From the 2009 National Transit databasefor all US light rail systems:

    User fares paid per passenger-mile: $0.18
    Total cost per passenger-mile: $2.22
    Taxpayer subsidy per passenger-mile: $2.04

    America already has the greatest rail system in the world. It's just that it happens to be freight not people centric.
     
  16. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Too expensive to fix the tracks so that high speed trains can use them.

    Rich
     
  17. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    I don't know which of those tables you used on the website youpointed me to - there's a blizzard of them there.

    I *can* tell you that the numbers you quoted don't work for Boston. if I took the entire subsidy the MBTA gets from taxes ($917M in 2011) versus their number of passenger-miles (just a hair under 1.9 BILLION) and you come up with around 50 cents - a quarter the size of your number - and the MBTA is one of the more inefficient, patronage-laden, union-controlled systems in the country.

    Besides, light-rail has *nothing* to do with high-speed rail. You're really comparing apples and oranges.
     
  18. steve053

    steve053 Godfather

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    Does the $917M in taxes include federal subsidies, or 'only' local/state taxes? Are you including the initial build-out costs of bonds and interest that are being paid in the annual cost? What about the pension and other related operating costs that are many times allocated to other departments in order to artifically deflate the true costs?

    While I don't agree with everything Randal O'Toole writes, I did find this article from 2009that doesn't agree with your MTBA numbers:

    Boston Transit System Near Collapse

     
  19. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

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    Having high speed rail to Las Vegas is one thing..... If it is connected to Orange County, San Diego, etc, I believe it could work. But having it stop at Victorville? I mean COME ON! The worst part of the trip getting to Vegas by car is over by then, you made it through the mountains, the busiest parts of Los Angeles and the I-15, and from there it is straight to Las Vegas at 80 mph. Why would you want to stop, pull your luggage out, wait for a train, etc.... you are going to be just as fast as the train.
     
  20. djlong

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    Steve, I can guarantee you that the figure includes the bond and buildout costs. That's part of what the MBTA is complaining about in their budget battles locally right now.

    I'll have to double-check that the $917M included federal subsidies. I got it from one of their pie charts and added up several of the slices to come up with that number. I don't have time to do it right now but, with a little luck, I'll be able to research it tonight.
     

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