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The "Green" New Deal solves HS Rail Travel

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Yup, yup, yup . . . easy peasy.   Just remember how well the NEC Futures Plan to build a high-speed bypass through Liberal Connecticut went.      

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1 hour ago, cocojacoby said:

Yup, yup, yup . . . easy peasy.   Just remember how well the NEC Futures Plan to build a high-speed bypass through Liberal Connecticut went.      

Even if Connecticut were mostly conservative, it still wouldn't have happened. The proposal was to bulldoze dozens of homes in high population areas. Not to mention the cost, especially considering the property values in Fairfield County.

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3 hours ago, daybeers said:

Even if Connecticut were mostly conservative, it still wouldn't have happened. The proposal was to bulldoze dozens of homes in high population areas. Not to mention the cost, especially considering the property values in Fairfield County.

Exactly.  And how else are you going to build these new rail routes?  It's probably easier to create a flying train . . . oh wait!

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I like the idea of high speed trains and a Green New Deal in general, but AOC is a gaff machine. A high speed train would take 16 hours to cross the country from Penn Station to the Transbay Terminal. 

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What does it matter how long that takes? People that need to get there in a reasonable time frame will still fly.

Edited by Ryan

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Not if we abolish airlines and cows ;) A cross country train taking that long would likely make it into a overnight train. And probably not carry a lot of people. 

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1 hour ago, sttom said:

I like the idea of high speed trains and a Green New Deal in general, but AOC is a gaff machine. A high speed train would take 16 hours to cross the country from Penn Station to the Transbay Terminal. 

As opposed to their current POTUS. Both have a very strong base of support, and I'd expect the GND to receive consideration 10 years down the road especially as her generation (which actually favors this stuff, because they actually care about the future they'll be living in) becomes a larger portion of the electorate. 

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59 minutes ago, sttom said:

Not if we abolish airlines and cows ;) A cross country train taking that long would likely make it into a overnight train. And probably not carry a lot of people. 

If we're abolishing airlines, there'd be a lot of people that would take a 16-hour cross-country train because it'd become the fastest option.

There's a lot of non-cross-country trips that could be very well served by high-speed rail. Measuring the success or failure of high-speed rail based on how long a cross-country trip takes is making it compete in a ballpark where it never should be competing in. High speed rail can do a lot to move the share of medium-distance trips from air to rail (and to move short-distance air traffic to rail as well.) Depending on how we account for the effect of air travel on our climate and environment, we could also make the train the more economical option to cross the country, when a passenger's priority is cost more than speed.

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2 hours ago, sttom said:

Not if we abolish airlines and cows ;) A cross country train taking that long would likely make it into a overnight train. And probably not carry a lot of people. 

Fortunately, nobody is proposing that. 

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Her initial post mentioned abolishing cow farts. I agree with the need for a Green New Deal and support one, but that doesn't mean AOC is going to get away not getting mocked for her gaffs. I am well aware of how feasible high speed trains are and want them, but they aren't putting the airlines under for 1500+ mile trips. To put it bluntly I agree with the policy, but am mocking the messenger. As much as I agree with her, that doesn't mean she shot the prospect in the foot. 

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I'm worried that AOC is going to "solve" this for us by making it politically radioactive.  Right now she's on my list of least favorite people in DC.

I'd also note that having this drop a few days before CAHSR got slashed back massively is just bad optics.

Swinging around to what HSR can do, let's presume a maximum speed of 220 MPH (yes, I know there's some faster stuff out there, but this feels like a safe place to start) and an average endpoint speed of 150-160 MPH (remember, inevitably there will be portions of the route that you can't keep the needle on 220 because geography is still a thing).  That gets NYC-Chicago down to about six hours, maybe a little bit less depending on the routing (via Albany/Buffalo sits at 960 miles; IIRC via Philly/Pittsburgh is a bit less...the Pennsy logged it as 907, but that also skipped Cleveland).  You can pick up some traffic at the endpoints (notably, even on a midnight-to-0500/0600 shutdown, you can leave NYC after work and get to Chicago before the line closes), but the real answer is in your major intermediate markets, most of which start falling into that up-to-four-hours range that tends to be viable in many parts of the world.

By the way, that doesn't get NYC-Chicago-Los Angeles to 16 hours, it gets it to 17.5-19 hours (maybe as much as 20 if you follow a slightly less direct routing to hit SLC/Las Vegas or Phoenix en route).  So the Japanese "no bullet trains at night" model isn't going to get you coast-to-coast without a forced overnight, which is a problem.  Arguably if the system was broad enough you could do some things with overnight trains that would allow some routes to be shut down (e.g. alternating which nights an overnight train from Chicago to LA runs via SLC vs Phoenix) or punching in 90-120 minutes of relative "slow orders" for overnight services to allow single-tracking for work (and passing the work zones at safe speeds), but that's going to require building a lot of expensive partial redundancy into the system or other management that isn't generally part of the model.

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20 hours ago, cpotisch said:

Sure, but that still doesn't mean we should be basing our own opinions on this from extremely right wing sources. Conclude yourself what its merits are and are not from what is actually being proposed. Can you give me any reason why we should be basing our opinions on this deal off of someone else's obviously biased opinion?

Well, the opinions are based not on the resolution itself, but rather on FAQs generated by the exact same representative who wrote the resolution.

To be fair (and balanced), AOC's office claims the FAQ was a draft and should not have been released. It's in these FAQs that the reference to being unable eliminate farting cows and airplanes in 10 years is mentioned.

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12 hours ago, Ryan said:

What does it matter how long that takes? People that need to get there in a reasonable time frame will still fly.

The question though is, what percentage of all overall air trips are from Philadelphia to San Francisco, versus journeys that could reasonably be made by HSR.

I'm not claiming to know the statistic, but picking the most unreasonable example and somehow using that to project onto everything else is not really helpful.

I can only speak from my own experience, but I would guesstimate that well over 90% of air trips (mostly for work actually) I made over the last 5 years were 2 hours or less.

Could a train be competitive in such scenarios?

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5 hours ago, VentureForth said:

Well, the opinions are based not on the resolution itself, but rather on FAQs generated by the exact same representative who wrote the resolution.

To be fair (and balanced), AOC's office claims the FAQ was a draft and should not have been released. It's in these FAQs that the reference to being unable eliminate farting cows and airplanes in 10 years is mentioned.

Point still stands that the page Rover posted was a column on the website of a very conservative advocacy group, and the page GBN linked to was an op-ed by a very right wing author and journalist. Those are not reliable sources and therefore are not a good place for us to build our opinions off of.

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He's not wrong, though some of that can be overcome. I do think HSR will eventually come, most likely in the slightly flawed Texas Central project. But TC has also run across a lot of roadblocks (lobbies and legal action), so I could also see them giving up on it too.

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15 hours ago, bretton88 said:
16 hours ago, jis said:

He's not wrong, though some of that can be overcome. I do think HSR will eventually come, most likely in the slightly flawed Texas Central project. But TC has also run across a lot of roadblocks (lobbies and legal action), so I could also see them giving up on it too.

I haven't read Jis's article because of a paywall, but I don't believe Texas Central is necessarily scalable. there may be a handful of other corridors where that model might just about work.  But t is an illusion to believe a contguous national network will ever come to be without government money (*). So the question is, when, and under what set of circumstances will that happen? 

 

(*) or even a non contiguous network, as I don't believe a transcontinental line will ever make sense, except maybe as a 1,000 mph maglev or something like that in the far distant future.But I mean contiguous in the sense that there will be locally contiguous networks around the areas that have the potential to support them. So say, East Coast, West Coast, Chicago area, Texas, and that airline bridges exist between these networks, but that means high speed lines serving airports directly ...

Edited by cirdan

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17 hours ago, cpotisch said:

Point still stands that the page Rover posted was a column on the website of a very conservative advocacy group, and the page GBN linked to was an op-ed by a very right wing author and journalist. Those are not reliable sources and therefore are not a good place for us to build our opinions off of.

Nor are documents other than the resolution that have been withdrawn and publicly Disavowed by the author. Doubly so when there a bunch of copies of it that have been altered floating around. 

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23 hours ago, VentureForth said:

California Governor abandons HSR:

https://mol.im/a/6694231

That's a gross mischaracterization of his remarks.  He literally said the opposite:  "For those who want to walk away from this whole endeavor, I offer you this:  Abandoning high speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it."

Here's the full text of his remarks on HSR, excerpted from his speech.  It sounds like a very reasonable focusing of efforts on an initial section to ensure trains actually start running, while completing environmental reviews for the entire project.

Quote

 

Next, let’s level about high speed rail.  I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown’s and Governor Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. And there’s no doubt that our state’s economy and quality of life depend on improving transportation.

But let’s be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. 

Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.

However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.

I know that some critics will say this is a “train to nowhere.”  But that’s wrong and offensive. The people of the Central Valley endure the worst air pollution in America as well as some of the longest commutes. And they have suffered too many years of neglect from policymakers here in Sacramento. They deserve better.

High Speed Rail is much more than a train project.  It’s about economic transformation and unlocking the enormous potential of the Valley.

We can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by High Speed Rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy.

Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and communities in between are more dynamic than many realize.

The Valley may be known around the world for agriculture, but there is another story ready to be told. A story of a region hungry for investment, a workforce eager for more training and good jobs, Californians who deserve a fair share of our state’s prosperity.

Look, we will continue our regional projects north and south. We’ll finish Phase 1 environmental work. We’ll connect the revitalized Central Valley to other parts of the state, and continue to push for more federal funding and private dollars. But let’s just get something done.

For those who want to walk away from this whole endeavor, I offer you this:

Abandoning high speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it.

And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.

Nor am I interested in repeating the same old mistakes.

Today I am ordering new transparency measures. 

We’re going to hold contractors and consultants accountable to explain how taxpayer dollars are spent – including change orders, cost overruns, even travel expenses. It’s going online, for everybody to see.

You’re also going to see some governance changes, starting with my pick for the next chair of the High Speed Rail Authority, Lenny Mendonca, my Economic Development Director. Because, at the end of the day, transportation and economic development must go hand in hand.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ryan said:

That's a gross mischaracterization of his remarks.  He literally said the opposite:  "For those who want to walk away from this whole endeavor, I offer you this:  Abandoning high speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it."

 

 

Well, basically he's saying, let's finish the bit that's already under construction and that we can't meaningfully pull out of, giving us some sort of accelerated San Joaquin service, and postpone the other bits to some undefined point in the far distant future with no commitment.

That sounds very much like abandoning to me.

Edited by cirdan

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The Journal has editorialized in a predictable manner regarding the scaling back of CAHSR to the Fresno-Bakersfield segment under construction:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-of-a-california-dream-11550101090?shareToken=st4d57d54e4aa44345a9e39afc3a255f1c&ref=article_email_share

Fair Use:

Quote

...The new Governor is thus proposing to finish the initial planned route from Merced to Bakersfield, now with the stated goal of revitalizing rural areas that have been parched due to water rationing. Lo, high-speed rail is “about economic transformation and unlocking the enormous potential of the Valley,” which is “hungry for investment” and “good jobs.” Mr. Newsom in his speech also pared back a project championed by Mr. Brown to deliver more water to farmers.

Edited by GBNorman
Perfect URL link; Add Fair Use quotation

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6 hours ago, cirdan said:

Well, basically he's saying, let's finish the bit that's already under construction and that we can't meaningfully pull out of, giving us some sort of accelerated San Joaquin service, and postpone the other bits to some undefined point in the far distant future with no commitment.

That sounds very much like abandoning to me.

Since I had not seen any specific completion date for anything beyond the first phase in the Valley, I think people may be over-reading and over-analyzing this one. This is similar to the amount of commitment that even the French had for the Tours - Bordeaux segment of LGV when the LGV Atlantique was built. There was a high level vision plan and nothing beyond that. People who wish to think that is abandoning, have a case, as do people who think it is merely stating the obvious reality of staging construction. So one of those case where both could potentially be right or wrong. :unsure:

Anyway, bringing this back to the original subject .... here is CNN's take on what it is all about:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/politics/green-new-deal-proposal-breakdown/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=fbCNNp&utm_content=2019-02-14T14%3A04%3A56&utm_term=link

It still bugs me that there is no specific mention of railway electrification, though it is generically covered under efficient non-polluting transport. But I don;t think HSR will succeed in general in areas where the last mile or the last 50 mile problem does not have an efficient and convenient  solution. Almost at every place where HSR has succeeded there is a relatively robust local public transport system. OTOH, when stations have been built in boondocks with parking lots, they have not really done that well.

Edited by jis

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I'll just say that the legal problems (especially with intrastate projects, such as...er...the cores of all three of the major projects that have been in the mix in the last decade) are probably the biggest problem here.  You can make a case that once federal benefits get entangled (tax free bond status, etc.) there's a "federal interest", but "federal interest(s)" have crept to the point that I cannot help but remember a candidate for Governor in Virginia noting the EPA's tendency to refer to cows as "point sources for water pollution" or somesuch.

If you want to see someone twitch, ask AOC if she'd be willing to punch a hole in NEPA and the Clean Water Act (it might be safe from the Clean Air Act) for HSR.

Edit: @cirdan I think you can make a case for integrating the East Coast, Midwest, and Chicago areas with one another.  The net benefit of plugging the hole between Pittsburgh/Buffalo and Cleveland is probably substantial.  The West Coast is probably always going to be isolated, however...you have too many miles with too few people.  Even Denver-Omaha is a stretch at HSR speeds.

Edited by Anderson

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