A Modest Proposal

Discussion in 'Amtrak’s Future: Member Ideas and Discussion' started by Tokkyu40, Nov 7, 2014.

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  1. Nov 10, 2014 #51

    Notelvis

    Notelvis

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    My definition of a modest proposal would be something along the lines of -

    1) Extend one Missouri River Runner from Kansas City up to Omaha so that passengers in St. Louis can connect to/from Denver and the Bay Area without going through Chicago.
     
  2. Nov 11, 2014 #52

    Tokkyu40

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    Oddly, when I slipped into Dreamworld, I was thinking of bringing back the Wabash Cannonball by running Omaha to KC, then St Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus and Detroit. With appropriated intermediate stations along the way.
     
  3. Nov 11, 2014 #53

    neroden

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    ... politically, look to November 2016, 2018, and most importantly 2020. Nothing is going to happen at the federal level for the next two years. I expect politics in this country to be blown wide open in the next 15 years, though. There are a bunch of trends going on which are very similar to the ones which, in the past, have led to massive party realignments and the collapse of old political parties.
     
  4. Nov 11, 2014 #54

    neroden

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    Out of curiosity, I spent a while researching Rauner. He appears to be a classic borrow-and-spend Republican. We have had many such politicians in the Republican Party since Reagan (who epitomized the type), though they are becoming rarer. He'll probably spend lots of money on big infrastructure projects -- and he has advocated doing so -- while simultaneously cutting taxes. This will probably include funding for more passenger trains (which he explicitly said were important), but almost entirely from bonds. The only question is how long he can keep issuing bonds, since Illinois can't print money the way the Feds do.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2014
  5. Nov 11, 2014 #55

    Ryan

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    I think you're spot on. The post-2010 redistricting was done by state governments done in a non-Presidential election year, when apparently Democrats don't think that it's worthwhile to go out and vote, leading to some truly screwed up district drawing that artificially inflates the number of Republicans in the House.

    Come 2020, it'll be a Presidential election year, so the redistricting that follows will hopefully be far less biased.
     
  6. Nov 11, 2014 #56

    MikefromCrete

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    Wow, you know a lot more about Rauner's plans, than I do, and I've had to suffer through a year of his political ads. He's very slippery on what he exactly wants to do. Of course, the Democrats remain firmly in control of the Illinois House and Senate, so he'll have to do a lot of negotiating with the leadership, including House Speaker Mike Madigan, who's been the real political leader of Illinois for longer than I can remember. I do think the Amtrak Illinois trains are safe and the expansion to Rockford and the Quad Cities will continue on schedule. These trains are more important to the downstate Republican communities than they are to the Chicago area, so I expect the bipartisan support for these trains will continue.
     
  7. Nov 11, 2014 #57

    jis

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    Or at least biased somewhat in a way that we like more. Frankly just getting the districts back to something rational will take a lot of doing in a very biased way towards rationality. It will take quite a bit of doing to untangle the mess that was created by the 2010 and follow on redistricting in many places.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2014 #58

    Tokkyu40

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    Ha ha! You have a good sense of humor. Both sets of crooks will do everything to make sure the opposition gets no more than a few token seats. I'm just hoping for districts that don't look like tapeworms squirming over the map.

    Which Republicans look good on rail? The mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearengin, is working to get the California train built and Newt Gingrich wanted High Speed Maglev across the country (a little too much right now?) but who else is a Paul Weyrich Republican right now.

    I hope Governor Rauner works out.
     
  9. Nov 11, 2014 #59

    Bob Dylan

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    What's the over and under on the new Illinois Gov ( as well as tbe outgoing one) joining the previous ones in prison??
     
  10. Nov 12, 2014 #60

    WoodyinNYC

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    Don't feel bad. The Draft Environmental Impact study was only

    recently released. So now it's getting closer to being a thing. LOL.

    They got it down to four alternative routes. Next select the preferred

    alternative, which will firm up the estimated cost. Break down the

    mega-project into "incremental" bite-sized projects. Then start trying

    to line up the needed funds.

    I should have provided a link:

    http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/index.php/site/public-hearings

    Recommend the Self Guided Presentation on the left side of the page.
     
  11. Nov 12, 2014 #61

    neroden

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    California's independent redistricting commission looks like it's actually going to work. For the state legislature (though not the US House), Iowa has a fairly successful independent redistricting commission too.

    ...unfortunately those appear to be the only non-gerrymanderable states. The state legislatures of Vermont and New Hampshire could theoretically be gerrymandered, but in practice it appears that they aren't (perhaps having a huge number of extremely small districts makes it a lot harder to gerrymander).

    The super-corrupt NY legislature, worried that the Republicans would be thrown out of the state senate again, just created an incumbent-controlled redistricting commission (a fake reform) for the purpose of gerrymandering the state senate in favor of Republicans even *after* they lose control of the chamber. Yeech. However, at the US House level, NY is no longer gerrymandered, because the corrupt Republicans and Democrats can no longer agree on how to gerrymander it!

    Washington state has a complete incumbent-protection gerrymander.

    Arizona passed a referendum to take Congressional redistricting completely out of the hands of the state legislature... the antidemocratic Republican leadership of the state legislature is now trying to get the referendum declared unconstitutional.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-court-redistricting-20141003-story.html
     
  12. Nov 12, 2014 #62

    neroden

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    "Emperor" Rick Snyder of Michigan really seems to be a very strong passenger rail supporter. He's certainly not a supporter of local democracy -- he's most famous for removing power from local elected governments and centralizing it into the hands of his personal appointees. But frankly, that centralization probably helps with getting rail lines improved!

    Me too. I did find a statement indicating he supports passenger rail improvements.
    From http://altondailynews.com/news/details.cfm?id=111148#.VGPR8N2Vtpg :

    This means bonds and a heavy degree of private corporation "skimming" of money -- but it also means actually building the passenger rail improvements. To me, this seems very typical for Illinois.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2014
  13. Nov 13, 2014 #63

    Tokkyu40

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    Public-private partnerships have the advantage that one party wants to make money, so the private partner wants the rails to run where they'll have the greatest return.

    The politicians wants to run the rails where they get the most favorable political patronage.
     
  14. Nov 13, 2014 #64

    MikefromCrete

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    Gov. Pat Quinn is probably the most honest person to ever hold the job. He is long-time populist who sort of fell in the job, after Blago was removed from office. Unfortunately he's probably too nice a guy to be an effective governor.

    Rauner is so rich it's doubtful that he would be interested in any funny business. And, one of his many TV ads boasts that "he can't be bought."
     
  15. Nov 13, 2014 #65

    Bob Dylan

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    Good to know that Illinois finally had a couple of honest politicians! Its been awhile since " Honest Abe" for sure!
     
  16. Jul 20, 2019 #66

    toddinde

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    This is a great idea. Don’t listen to the naysayers. They must not fly or drive. I fly a lot! Half the time I’m delayed. I drove to Phoenix yesterday and spent an hour of hell in stop and go traffic. If these guys love gridlock so much, great. Improved rail gets you where you need to go efficiently and with a minimal carbon footprint. Yes folks, climate change is real and needs to be addressed. Yes, reliable, 110 in places, would be fine. And yes, there is a huge market for the DFW - El Paso - Tucson - Phoenix - LA market.
     
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  17. Jul 21, 2019 #67

    Larry H.

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    While this is a good idea I would suggest you run the same equipment east to Carbondale which gives the a much faster link to the City of New Orleans than going though Chicago. When I first moved to Centralia they ran one coach between here and ST. Louis, but connecting Omaha and Kansas City, St.Louis to a shorter route seems like it would be a natural again. It could also carry one sleeper for those who are traveling overnight in either direction. Those cars used to be transferred in Carbondale.
     
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  18. Jul 22, 2019 #68

    TWA904

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    My modest proposals would to extend the Crescent from New Orleans to Houston. Second proposal is to add a train from New Orleans to Dallas and then on to Denver.
     
  19. Jul 22, 2019 #69

    jis

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    It would be more interesting at least to an operations geek like me if the modest proposals included at least some analysis of what equipment will be needed, and an estimate of how many sets of crew will be needed. That will give at least some basis to discuss viability or lack thereof, specially if someone can come up with some credible expected ridership estimates, even if it is by merely multiplying the population of the population points passed by some small factor.

    Without that these proposals are merely connecting the dots on a map. Of course it would be cool to connect my Podunk 1 to your Podunk 2 somehow. :) Not that I am suggesting anyone would consciously want to do that.
     
  20. Jul 23, 2019 #70

    dogbert617

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    If you didn't know, there is some sort of bus connection(not sure who operates it) listed on the IL/MO services timetable and also for the Texas Eagle, between Saint Louis and Carbondale. I like your idea of extending the MO River Runner to Omaha, since as of now the only way one could connect to Denver for those riding the SW Chief train without going all the way to Chicago would be to get off at say Raton, NM or Trinidad, CO, then catch a bus north to Denver. Not sure at the moment(would have to look up bus schedules, later) how long the layover in say Trinidad or Raton, would be. Am sure it'd suck, if say the place Greyhound(or another bus company) picked up wasn't near the train station and was by the expressway, as too often is the case in a lot of towns. I.e. in Osceola, IA one time when I looked up Jefferson Lines' bus service for I-35 towns and cities, that the bus serving there picks up at some place west of Osceola's downtown, requiring one to either do a taxi/Uber/Lyft or a long walk to get over to that place(gas station?), to catch a Jefferson Lines bus. I finally did just now look up the bus stop location in both Raton and Trinidad, and while it's nice Greyhound picks up at Raton's Amtrak station, one would have to either walk the few miles south in Trinidad to the gas station where Greyhound stops at, or find a local taxi/Uber/Lyft that'd take them there. Will have to look up the bus schedules, later.

    This has been suggested by others on this board, and honestly myself I'd like to see the delays between Tuscaloosa and Meridian on Crescent reduced, before this is considered. I worry if this is done, you'd start to see much bigger delays for Louisiana passengers riding the Sunset, at stations west of New Orleans. And moreso than anything else, make Sunset Limited a DAILY train! Also as a side note for Crescent, the overcrowding situation with Atlanta's existing Amtrak station should be dealt with, so that it has a bigger station to handle passengers.

    Honestly I'd like to see Amtrak consider new 'Crescent Star' service on a railroad route paralleling I-20 between Meridian, MS and Dallas, as was once proposed by some local passenger railroad advocacy group. IIRC, Crescent Star was what this train proposal was called, and it'd be a nice idea for places like Jackson to have extra train service, and for places like Monroe and Shreveport to have train service for the first time. Plus as long as there was a daily Fort Worth-San Antonio train, I wouldn't mind the Texas Eagle going west through places like say Abilene, Odessa, Pecos, etc. before it hit El Paso. Maybe to me it'd be better to keep TX Eagle on its existing route towards San Antonio, and for the Crescent Star idea to be further extended west to El Paso? Sigh, I have this weird feeling it won't occur anytime soon, but who knows. Also would be nice if Laredo could once again have Amtrak service, since it's train going north to San Antonio(Inter-American? correct me if I'm wrong on the name) was eliminated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  21. Jul 23, 2019 #71

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Passengers connecting between the SWC and CZ do not currently have to go all the way to Chicago; there is a same-day connection available at Galesburg.
     
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  22. Jul 23, 2019 #72

    Qapla

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    There are 4 major colleges in Florida, three state owned and one private. Miami is a terminus for the trains from NY. That takes both the SS and the SM through Orlando where UCF is. However, the other two schools, UF and FSU, both "big name schools", have NO train service!

    There has been efforts to restore service to Tallahassee but, even though the tracks from Jacksonville to New Orleans have been fully restored, those efforts have gotten nowhere. The tracks and the depot that were once in Gainesville no longer exist.
     
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  23. Jul 23, 2019 #73

    pennyk

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    In 1970, before I started college, I lived in Miami and traveled to college (for the first time) in Gainesville (Waldo) by train (pre Amtrak). I have relatives in Tallahassee and am so disappointed that I am unable to visit them by train. I am fortunate that I live in Orlando and have my choice of 2 trains where the station could be walking distance from home. It is easier for me to go to NYC than to the State Capital of Florida.
     
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  24. Jul 24, 2019 #74

    Qapla

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    @pennyk If you live within walking distance of the Depot in Orlando - maybe you would like to ride to Kissimmee on SunRail when I head down there to have pizza (well, actually, it is to ride the train - I drive to DeBary and catch SunRail to Kissimmee)
     
  25. Jul 24, 2019 #75

    jis

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    And I usually catch SunRail at Kissimmee, a straight shot on US192 from Melbourne.
     

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