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CATO goes after HSR proposal

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CATO goes after HSR proposal
Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, March 20, 2021 3:50 PM

CATO is going avter HSR again. Here is a link to their latest attempt to derail HSR before it gets started. As usual it ignores the billions that have come from general funds and not the gasoline taxes.

A Global Leader in Obsolete Technology | Cato Institute

NARP replies to CATO blog

Rail Passengers Association | Washington, DC - A 10-Point Reality Check for the Cato Institute

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 20, 2021 7:19 PM

Always fun to watch the spinmeisters pontificate, and then the lobbyists pontificate with their own spin, without ever approaching objectivity.

Who was the organization that reported that most if not all high-speed rail projects weren't coming remotely close to paying for themselves?  That discussion applies in prospect here, too -- perhaps much more so if coherent service further than corridor-to-corridor jumping is the future of "high-speed" long-distance service.  

I particularly chuckled at the rejoinder that high-speed service into the hearts of cities was preferable to airports or circumferential freeways.  It reminded me starkly of a cruel billboard that was well-lighted over some benighted industrial Philadelphia suburb, high above a canyon of twisting tracks, pointing out to Metroliner passengers that "you'd be there already on the Air Shuttle".   Now admittedly this is arguably not quite fair, since it's difficult to get from Dulles to someplace you actually want to go, but the same could be said for many Washington destinations from Union Station... the money might be better put, as well as easier raised and allocated, into faster regional and transit connectivity to higher-speed modes, whether rail or air.  Just as food service boils down to 'it's just a sandwich', commodity transportation (as opposed to a travel experience) comes down to ease of use, least end-to-end time, hassle, and cost, and a savings for any mode with inconveniences.  And any HSR or HrSR that actually pays for itself (rather than for the extended real-estate plays that HSR will supposedly invigorate) will have to accommodate this full cost.

Something else that was highlighted in the late Fifties: commuter service was never going to pay for itself if taken outside the context of overall railroad passenger service.  It is of course utterly necessary ... but at the same time, inherently needs to be supported by public money, which by definition comes from a large number of taxpayers who don't use it.  The 'excuse' that road congestion would be worse without it doesn't change the economics -- and indeed might lead to the argument that a taxpayer-provided service ought to be free to taxpayers, or at least provided at marginal operation cost.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, March 20, 2021 9:25 PM

Overmod
Always fun to watch the spinmeisters pontificate, and then the lobbyists pontificate with their own spin, without ever approaching objectivity.

Who was the organization that reported that most if not all high-speed rail projects weren't coming remotely close to paying for themselves?  That discussion applies in prospect here, too -- perhaps much more so if coherent service further than corridor-to-corridor jumping is the future of "high-speed" long-distance service.  

I particularly chuckled at the rejoinder that high-speed service into the hearts of cities was preferable to airports or circumferential freeways.  It reminded me starkly of a cruel billboard that was well-lighted over some benighted industrial Philadelphia suburb, high above a canyon of twisting tracks, pointing out to Metroliner passengers that "you'd be there already on the Air Shuttle".   Now admittedly this is arguably not quite fair, since it's difficult to get from Dulles to someplace you actually want to go, but the same could be said for many Washington destinations from Union Station... the money might be better put, as well as easier raised and allocated, into faster regional and transit connectivity to higher-speed modes, whether rail or air.  Just as food service boils down to 'it's just a sandwich', commodity transportation (as opposed to a travel experience) comes down to ease of use, least end-to-end time, hassle, and cost, and a savings for any mode with inconveniences.  And any HSR or HrSR that actually pays for itself (rather than for the extended real-estate plays that HSR will supposedly invigorate) will have to accommodate this full cost.

Something else that was highlighted in the late Fifties: commuter service was never going to pay for itself if taken outside the context of overall railroad passenger service.  It is of course utterly necessary ... but at the same time, inherently needs to be supported by public money, which by definition comes from a large number of taxpayers who don't use it.  The 'excuse' that road congestion would be worse without it doesn't change the economics -- and indeed might lead to the argument that a taxpayer-provided service ought to be free to taxpayers, or at least provided at marginal operation cost.

The only way you are 'there' upon arrival is if the station or airport was in fact your ultimate destination.  Those points are rarely 'there'.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 22, 2021 8:45 AM

Overmod:  At least one UK city and one Swiss Canton have made local transportation free.  And the entire small European country whose name seems to have a mind-block (age 89), borders with Holland and Belgium, at the moment. They count benefits to the economy in general and reduction of highway congestion worth the subsidy to transit, and rail is important in all cases.

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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, March 22, 2021 9:47 AM

daveklepper
......And the entire small European country whose name seems to have a mind-block (age 89), borders with Holland and Belgium, at the moment. 

You probably are thinking of Luxembourg, which is surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany.  It has a population of approximately 614,000.  It implemented free transit on all trains, trams, and buses effective March 1, 2020.
 
Austin, TX experimented with free public transit.  I don’t recall the dates. The experiment did not turn out well.  A small army of street people crowded onto the buses and camped out.  Many middle-class riders turned to other options. 
 
The McKinney Avenue Trolly in Dallas is free.  It too has had a problem with street people camping out on the cars, especially during the hot summer months.   
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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Monday, March 22, 2021 9:17 PM

JPS1
treet people

Cut the eupanisms - "street people" my fanny - call a spade a GD shovel. The proper term is "bums"

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Posted by rixflix on Monday, March 22, 2021 9:43 PM

Dave!!! How could you possibly forget the mnemonic device BENELUX from geography class? Hope you're still good with HOMES. My problem is remembering if I locked a door ten seconds after I actually did. And I'm 74.

Rick

rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

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Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 9:58 AM

BEAUSABRE
 Cut the eupanisms - "street people" my fanny - call a spade a GD shovel. The proper term is "bums" 

My wife and I worked for a year or more with homeless people at a shelter in Dallas.  Approximately 35% of the shelter’s residents we came in contact with had serious mental health issues.  Not exactly the type of people I would classify as bums.

One evening I noticed a middle-aged man sitting on a mat reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyIt is a great read but not one I would have expected to see being read by the temporary residents of the shelter. As I chatted with him, his story revealed a painful experience that anyone of us would have difficulty coping with.

He was a graduate of Harvard.  He had a small picture of his diploma to prove it.  He had been a middle level manager in a large corporation.  His wife and two children had been killed when their car was slammed into by a drunk driver.  He had given up.  He was trying to get it together.  Ultimately, he did.  I would not classify him as a bum.  He was a person in need of mental health services, which this country does a very poor job of providing.  What happened to him could happen to any of us.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:44 PM

JPS1

 

BEAUSABRE
 Cut the eupanisms - "street people" my fanny - call a spade a GD shovel. The proper term is "bums" 

 

My wife and I worked for a year or more with homeless people at a shelter in Dallas.  Approximately 35% of the shelter’s residents we came in contact with had serious mental health issues.  Not exactly the type of people I would classify as bums.

One evening I noticed a middle-aged man sitting on a mat reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyIt is a great read but not one I would have expected to see being read by the temporary residents of the shelter. As I chatted with him, his story revealed a painful experience that anyone of us would have difficulty coping with.

He was a graduate of Harvard.  He had a small picture of his diploma to prove it.  He had been a middle level manager in a large corporation.  His wife and two children had been killed when their car was slammed into by a drunk driver.  He had given up.  He was trying to get it together.  Ultimately, he did.  I would not classify him as a bum.  He was a person in need of mental health services, which this country does a very poor job of providing.  What happened to him could happen to any of us.

 

Thank you!!

Given the invitation to "cut the euphemisms" perhaps Beausabre should hope he is treated with more understanding and compassion than he has shown for other fellow inhabitants of our world down on their luck.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 4:22 PM

charlie hebdo
 
JPS1
BEAUSABRE
 Cut the eupanisms - "street people" my fanny - call a spade a GD shovel. The proper term is "bums"  

My wife and I worked for a year or more with homeless people at a shelter in Dallas.  Approximately 35% of the shelter’s residents we came in contact with had serious mental health issues.  Not exactly the type of people I would classify as bums.

One evening I noticed a middle-aged man sitting on a mat reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyIt is a great read but not one I would have expected to see being read by the temporary residents of the shelter. As I chatted with him, his story revealed a painful experience that anyone of us would have difficulty coping with.

He was a graduate of Harvard.  He had a small picture of his diploma to prove it.  He had been a middle level manager in a large corporation.  His wife and two children had been killed when their car was slammed into by a drunk driver.  He had given up.  He was trying to get it together.  Ultimately, he did.  I would not classify him as a bum.  He was a person in need of mental health services, which this country does a very poor job of providing.  What happened to him could happen to any of us. 

Thank you!!

Given the invitation to "cut the euphemisms" perhaps Beausabre should hope he is treated with more understanding and compassion than he has shown for other fellow inhabitants of our world down on their luck.

It is easier for those that don't give a s..t about their fellow beings to classify them as bums and keep them out of their minds.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 2:27 AM

Luxembujrg is correct.

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