October 29, 2010

"High-Speed Rail Goes Off the Tracks in Wisconsin."

We cheered out loud over that headline.
Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, has denounced the train as a Big Government boondoggle, and has vowed to send the money [$810 million] back to Washington if he's elected. He has even launched a website, www.notrain.com, attacking Obama and his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, for supporting the new line. Walker and Barrett don't agree on much, but they agree that high-speed rail is a defining issue in their campaign.

241 comments:

1 – 200 of 241   Newer›   Newest»
Henry said...

How does Rail go off the Tracks?

PatCA said...

If only our Repubs had similar courage.

Repub Head of Gravy Train Wants Another Term

1jpb said...

Couldn't the just build a tunnel?

1jpb said...

they or the

MadisonMan said...

Meanwhile, nary a peep about the ~$800M expansion of I90 south of Madison.

America's Politico said...

If Feingold has an opinion, then that is the right one. He will win on Tuesday. Take it to the bank.

Ditto for Reid, Boxer, Alexi, and Murray.

TRO said...

I like the old-timey slow fancy coal-burning trains with cabooses and such.

Maguro said...

Anyone who thinks Madison - Milwaukee is an economically viable route for passenger rail needs to step away from the crack pipe.

maninthemiddle said...

Yes... there are many that appreciate a nice caboose.

Others prefer the "and such"

HDHouse said...

horses will save gas so tear up the roads too.... never ever plan for the future when you can live in the past. yessir.

Jim B said...

If Feingold has an opinion, then that is the right one. He will win on Tuesday. Take it to the bank.

Obama and his people say YOU LIE and therefore won't waste his time by doing an appearance there.

Call home for new talking points. The ones you have are past their expiration date.

Robert Cook said...

Knee jerk political reactions aside, what is wrong with high speed rail development in Wisconsin, (or anywhere else)?

It seems to me we need to beef up rail transport in our nation and encourage a return to rail as a means of travel. (I enjoy rail travel for relatively short trips, e.g., NYC to Philadelphia or Baltimore or D.C.; if we had high speed rail transport, I might prefer it to flying, which is becoming steadily more expensive and unpleasant.)

What are the negatives of the proposal?

shoutingthomas said...

horses will save gas so tear up the roads too.... never ever plan for the future when you can live in the past. yessir.

So, HenHouse, does that mean that a debate about cost versus benefit should never take place?

garage mahal said...

I wish Walker would go even farther, and just rip up, and tear down anything a Democrat has ever built. That will show THEM! I just wish we could un-lauch Apollo 11, and un-build the Hoover Dam.

Jim B said...

horses will save gas so tear up the roads too....

And if they did, then you would support Obama's plan for government-raised horses, high taxes on horses raised on private farms and a ban on Clydesdales because their carbon footprint is too big.

You're so predictable that it's past boring at this point.

shoutingthomas said...

What are the negatives of the proposal?

It costs too fucking much money and there aren't enough potential passengers to make it pay, or even for it to break even.

But, Cookie, since you're a hardcore Stalinist, I guess you're right.

There are no negatives.

We could build it with slave labor, I guess. That would cut down the cost.

Big Mike said...

Length of time to fly from Chicago O'Hare to Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport: 1 hour and 33 minutes (e.g., United flight 109).

Add 60 minutes for TSA screening, and boarding.

Distance between downtown Chicago to downtown Minneapolis via Milwaukee and Madison (estimated using Google maps): 437 miles

Time to travel that route at 110 mph: 4 hours

Assuming 15 minute stops in Milwaukee and Madison and no TSA screening (is that a reasonable assumption?), total time to travel via high-speed rail is 4 hours and thirty minutes versus 2 hours and 33 minutes.

BTW, Google says you can drive from Chicago O'Hare to Minneapolis airport using interstates all the way in just over 7 hours.

So who would use high speed rail? Driving is 2 1/2 hours longer, but much cheaper unless the good folks in Wisconsin subsidize the hell out of the Milwaukee to Minneapolis leg of the trip. Flying takes only half the time.

Hagar said...

Bill Richardson took the money from a couple of dozen highway projects to build his "Roadrunner" train between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and they are already talking about needing additional subsidies to cover the operating deficits.

Jim B said...

That will show THEM! I just wish we could un-lauch Apollo 11, and un-build the Hoover Dam.

According to the Democratic Party which has been hijacked by 9/11 Truthers, we never landed on the moon and the Hoover Dam was built by aliens anyway.

So what's your problem with faked moon landings and UFOs anyway.

Dennis Kucinich would like to have a word with you.

Lincolntf said...

So we've got 810 million dollars of taxpayer money going to a project that if it was really viable would have long ago been built/financed by a private company. And since it's a Government project there is a 100% certainty of it being over budget and taking several years longer than advertised. Brilliant!
Reminds me of the Big Dig when it was just a baby.

Original Mike said...

Meanwhile, nary a peep about the ~$800M expansion of I90 south of Madison.

Anything that slows down the barbarian hordes invading from the south is OK with me. (It will take years of construction to do this project.)

Jim B said...

We could build it with slave labor, I guess. That would cut down the cost.

Not EXACTLY slave labor, but what exactly did you think Obama had in mind with his plan for MANDATORY public service for all high school graduates anyway?

Robert Cook has his position as a supervisor all lined up. He's just waiting for the government money to come through.

Coketown said...

Back home in Boise, there's a big push to get a light rail system installed. Mind you, downtown Boise takes eight minutes to walk across, and that's if you stop to tie your sneakers.

I'm perplexed at the adolescent fascination of the progressive movement has with light rail systems. It seems like such a silly outlier on their wishlist. Healthcare, wage control, free college education, I can at least see why those make weak hearts bleed. But light rail? WTF?

Big Mike said...

The only good thing about high speed rail is that it uses electicity instead of polluting jet engines or automobile engines or even freight train diesel engines.

Nice clean electricity.

Generated from coal-fired plants.

Jim B said...

Reminds me of the Big Dig when it was just a baby.

Or the NJ-NYC tunnel which already had $12 billion of projected overruns on a project which was only supposed to cost $8 billion to begin with.

Roger J. said...

Well Mr Cook--since you ask, there are some empirical data out there about light rail and heavy rail project (and not even counting the big dig in boston)--you might start with beautifully named article "A desire named streetcar." The author demonstrates quite conclusively that no rail project has: (1) come in on budget--most 3X projected budget; (2) never had the projected ridership proponents claimed to exist; and (3) never come in on estimated completion time; and in short--are a colossal waste of taxpayer money. Now if you have any studies that refute this particular study: that a project has come in on time, on budget and had projected ridership, by all means enlighten me.

Mostly liberals fall back on glowing ideas about mass transport, or bullshit snark as our friend Mr HD House. long on bullshit, short on facts.

Maguro said...

The only area of the country where there's enough population density for passenger rail to make sense is the northeast corridor. And they've already got it.

Not seeing the need to force trains on the rest of the country.

Original Mike said...

Anyone who thinks Madison - Milwaukee is an economically viable route for passenger rail needs to step away from the crack pipe.

Yep. Milwaukee and Madison are too close for the train to be a reasonable choice. If I go to Milwaukee, I'm taking my car so that when I get there, I. HAVE. MY. CAR.

Trains make sense and are even nice for mid distance trips, but they don't make sense for short hops.

Jim B said...

But light rail? WTF?

Because their cultural superiors in Europe use rail more than we do. So in a Leftists' mind, it must THEREFORE be better than whatever it is that Americans are doing.

Forget the vast differences in geography or that Europe has already realized that the vast amounts they've spent digging themselves into debt are unsustainable. Leftists aren't going to be happy until we've repeated every single mistake they've ever made.

Because THEY are always right. And WE are always wrong. Whenever you want to know a Leftist's position on ANYTHING, just ask yourself "Is someone, somehwere else doing something about this problem that involves higher taxes and greater government control?" That will be their preferred solution EVERY TIME.

Michael said...

Robert Cook: Here are a couple of things wrong with the high speed train in addition to the fact that it was not going to be high speed.

1. Assuming a cost of $800 million dollars the interest, using the 30 year bond rate, would be $31 Million dollars per year.
2. Assuming $100 per ticket the train would require 310,000 riders per year or 849 per day every day of the year. This would cover the cost of the interest without any provision for amortization.
3. Operating expenses are on top of the interest costs and include personnel both on the train and at each end. They are paid whether there are any riders or not.
4. Capital replacements generally run around 4% of gross revenues.
5. The train would cover less than 100 miles which could be covered in a car in two hours. The train will go 78 miles per hour maximum, but let's assume for argument's sake lit goes 100. It gets there in an hour.
6. You have to drive to the train station and park your car, buy the ticket and wait. On the other end you have to rent a car or wait for a cab.
7. Total time savings? Probably none.

I could go on but this should give you a few of the reasons that "high speed" trains between cities like Madison and Milwaukee or Orlando and Tampa are a huge waste of money.

MadisonMan said...

Flying takes only half the time.

Unless you were flying Tuesday this week :)

Jim_J said...

Road construction in Wisconsin is funded by the Transportation fund which is derived from gasoline taxes. Until Doyle started raiding the fund to finance his structural deficits, there was a surplus so that all construction was fully funded.

The Madison-Milwaukee train will saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with annual operating costs. Not to mention that there will almost certainly be cost overruns so the construction will cost much more than the floated $810 million number.

Talgo, a Spanish company, was awarded a no-bid contract to build trains by Doyle in exchange for campaign contributions.

Talgo is currently embroiled in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by its former HR manager at its Milwaukee facility. He alleges that Talgo required photos of ALL job applicants. These photos were used to screen out black applicants.

The Milwaukee media has been silent on this entire lawsuit and its allegations.

Lem said...

The truth is people prefer to fly and to drive.

Its unrealistic and delusional to pretend otherwise.

Roger J. said...

Rail projects are popular among polticos because they are infrastructure jobs projects--allows them to spread lots of money around, and if they ever get completed you have something to show for it at the end (although not necessarily from an economic bottom line standpoint.) Hand money out to unions and other constitutiencies--thats why they are popular. Among the political class. Otherwise you founder on the rock of "I dont have a car when I get to where I am going."

AlphaLiberal said...

Yes, we should continue to put all of our eggs into the OIL basket, because everybody knows that oil will never run short, will always be cheap and we can count on our friends in OPEC to take care of us.

God intended that we travel by car or big f-en truck every where we go. It's right there in the Book of Hysterical Right Wing Lunacy.

If we follow conservative policies we will found our economy on oil even more as it runs scarce.

Michael said...

European city centers are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old and are denser than U.S. cities. Trains were a natural for Europeans. Building trains between non-dense cities in the U.S. will not make us into Europe. The planners, however, would very much like for us to abandon our "sprawl" and our ghastly suburbs and move to densely packed urban areas where we can then appear to be more like the Europeans they love to visit and mimic. The train deal on the left is nothing more than that.

Jim_J said...

Former employee accuses Talgo of discrimination in Milwaukee


A former human resources manager for Talgo Inc., the Madrid, Spain-based company that received a no-bid contract from the state of Wisconsin to manufacture high-speed train sets, says the firm engaged in racial and age discrimination in its hiring process for its Milwaukee manufacturing operations.
The former Talgo employee, Edgar Enciso, is being represented by attorney James Walcheske of Heins Law Office LLC in Mequon.
According to Walcheske, Enciso was hired by Talgo in March. Walcheske said the company “demanded that Enciso discriminate against applicants based on their age and ethnicity/national origin” during its hiring process in Milwaukee. Enciso said he was fired by Talgo in June for “opposing and refusing to violate U.S. anti-discrimination laws.”
Enciso has filed an employment discrimination complaint against Talgo with the state Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division.
Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend denied the allegations by Enciso.

maninthemiddle said...

Come now Roger J... Lefties are for feeding starving puppies and saving the endangered Skittles farting Unicorn.

And thus being so much more sensitive to our needs than the great unaware and unwashed masses, they shall tell us exactly what those needs might be, mandate that their definition of "need" shall be the only one that is not (pick those that apply) 1. racist 2. xenophobic 3. Islamaphobic 4. insensitive 5. Fascist

And, they will only spend the government's money, not yours.

Geez - transportation for the masses hater.

Sofa King said...

Knee jerk political reactions aside, what is wrong with high speed rail development in Wisconsin, (or anywhere else)

1. For a distance of around 90 miles, this route is projected to cost north of 800,000,000 dollars. That's more than the Hoover Dam cost, adjusted for inflation. More than the transcontinental railroad. For 90. Miles. So, the bottom line it is just absurdly expensive for the benefits that accrue, which are tiny, because

2. There is already a perfectly serviceable interstate between Milwaukee and Madison which takes about 90 minutes or fewer to drive, which means

3. Hardly anybody is going to ride this train, because the only conceivable reason to prefer the train to driving is because you can't or won't drive, except that

4. There is already a commercial bus route between the two cities which will provide the same (actually superior, because it goes downtown and to the campus) service as the train, more often, in nearly the same amount of time, for far less money. Which means that

5. This train project is really nothing more then welfare for wealthy liberals who don't want to drive but feel far too superior to the hoi polloi to consider riding with them on a *bus.* If they want a train so they can ride a form of mass transit that the lower classes are conveniently priced out of, they should feel free to spend their own money on it, because it will be of virtually no benefit to anybody else.

Michael said...

Alpha: Yeah, dude, great point. We can build trains all over the place and then we will all ride in them and drink espressos and not be dependent on oil just like in Europe. You are a fool on a pogo stick.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Yes, we should continue to put all of our eggs into the OIL basket.

Yes we should Alpha, because unit for unit oil and coal are the most EFFICIENT energy sources available. Sorry to “pop” your bubble, there. The ONLY way ethanol, electricity, or any other alternative can compete is by taxing petrol or coal and using that “surplus” to subsidize their operations. Every time you use ethanol you make yourself and the nation a little poorer. Now if you want to reduce YOUR standard of living to make some kind of ecologic ‘point” feel free, don’t rope me into your boondoggle(s) though. And about 100% of alternative energy and light rail/high speed rail ARE boondoggles.

Roger J. said...

Alpha--the analyses that have been posited do not depend on oil--propulsion could be by any energy source.

shoutingthomas said...

Yes, we should continue to put all of our eggs into the OIL basket, because everybody knows that oil will never run short, will always be cheap and we can count on our friends in OPEC to take care of us.

So, I gather that you believe in "drill baby drill!"

Sofa King said...

Also, for the record, the train between Milwaukee and Madison will run on diesel fuel.

Roger J. said...

Alpha--you are aware that canada is the single biggest exporter of oil to the US? I think the Mexicans are next--only about 19 percent of our oil comes from the mid east.

Lem said...

Liberals used to be about choice.. giving people choice..

what happened?

People have overwhelmingly chosen the car and the plane as their preferred mode of transportation.

Its choice.. in the true liberal tradition.

D.D. Driver said...

Who is actually going to ride this train when the proposed fair is $60 a RT? Analogies to the Hiawatha Line (or East Coast travel) miss a big point: people ride the Hiawatha to Chicago because traffic in Chicago is a nightmare and parking is scarce/expensive. This isn't true in Milwaukee or Madison.

The Hiawatha Line has a daily ridership of 2,145 per day, and its the busiest train in the Midwest. Even if we assume that the daily ridership from Milwaukee to Madison will be equal to the ridership from Milwaukee/Chicago (seems like a stretch) that means we will pay $372,960 per daily rider to build the new line. And that assumes that project comes in on budget (which is also a stretch).

And those riders have to pay another $60 per round trip!

That is absolutely nuts. I can't even believe this is an actual conversation much less an actual plan.

I know everyone's inner-two-year-old love a choo choo but give me a break.

Original Mike said...

Also, for the record, the train between Milwaukee and Madison will run on diesel fuel.

Yeah, what's up with that? Diesel, with a top speed of 79 mph. How is that "high-speed"?

Jim B said...

Alpha--you are aware that canada is the single biggest exporter of oil to the US? I think the Mexicans are next--only about 19 percent of our oil comes from the mid east.

And let's not forget our own VAST oil reserves both in and around Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, around North Dakota, and the shale oil out west.

But let's all follow Alpha's lead. Remember when scaring people about brown people was called racist and xenophobic? I do.

Besides all Muslims are moderates and have only our best interests at heart. I wonder why Alpha is trying to scare people about Muslims. Do you think he's an anti-religious bigot too? I'm leaning towards "That's the only possible reason to object."

Isn't that what our Leftist superiors have told us for years? Except when it's politically convenient to say otherwise, of course.

Jim B said...

I know everyone's inner-two-year-old love a choo choo but give me a break.

Thomas the Train would like to have a word with you.

Big Mike said...

Ultimately, the Milwaukee-Madison rail is not really about stimulus — the trains won't start rolling for several years. And it's not just about Milwaukee or Madison; it's a step toward connecting Chicago to the Twin Cities at reasonably high speeds, which is part of a larger plan to connect all the major cities of the Midwest into a regional network ...

the above quote from the Time article is why I focused on Chicago to Minneapolis instead of Milwaukee to Madison (which will never be economically viable). Interestingly enough there once were no fewer than three high speed, non-government subsidized, trains connecting Chicago to the Twin Cities: The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (a.k.a. the Burlington) Twin Cities Zephyr, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul (The Milwaukee Road) Hiawatha, and the Chicago & North Western Twin Cities 400. Even though they variously started operation in the late 1920's through early 1930's, each train had stretches of track where they routinely exceeded 100 mph (though overall average speeds were roughly 70 mph).

They all went broke.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Yeah, what's up with that? Diesel, with a top speed of 79 mph. How is that "high-speed"?

To be fair, it’s not billed as a “Bullet Train” or the “TGV”, according to those familiar with the project. IIRC, the project involves straightening and improving the road bed to allow for HIGHER speeds, than currently allowable, not High Speeds like the TGV, which uses a special set of rails, rolling stock, and road bed. This is “tweaking” the existing rail line, not replacing it with a new one.

On another thread at this blog, it was pointed out that the rail bed will remain in use by the existing freight liners, but the upkeep will fall on the state. So here we have a classic Big Business-Big Government-Ruling Class boondoggle taking money from the “little people” for their own benefit(s). The freight users like the idea because they keep use of the line, but drop the maintenance costs…Big Government likes it…and the Ruling Class likes it because it feeds their “social concern” conceit and provides a subsidized benefit for them, as most users will be higher income, professionals.

D.D. Driver said...

"Assuming 15 minute stops in Milwaukee and Madison and no TSA screening (is that a reasonable assumption?), total time to travel via high-speed rail is 4 hours and thirty minutes versus 2 hours and 33 minutes."

No. There will be far more stops than that. At peak hours it takes almost 2 full hours to go from Milwaukee to Chicago. And there are something like 3 stops in between. Those stops are typically shorter than 15 minutes, though. But in order to make those stops the train has to speed up and slow down (obviously) so it is not going full speed for very long stretches.

I think the existing proposal is that it will take 1 hour and 15 minutes to get from Milwaukee to Madison (once you factor in all of the stops). So you are looking at at least 3 hours just to get from Chicago to Madison. And I would estimate at least another 3 hours on top of that to get from Madison to Minneapolis.

k*thy said...

Yes, by all means, vote for Walker to shoot this down. And with an added bonus, we'll throw in Rebecca Kleefisch. Good times.

Original Mike said...

@Joe: Sounds like they tacked on the phrase "high-speed" to make it sound more enticing.

Robert Cook said...

Somebody said:

"It costs too fucking much money and there aren't enough potential passengers to make it pay, or even for it to break even."

Has it been determined for certain that there is no way, no matter what, that there won't be enough passengers to make rail transit pay? As air travel becomes more expensive and unpleasant and intrusive, people might well be tempted to find alternative means of travel...if the alternative is cost effective and reasonably speedy and comfortable.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook has his position as a supervisor all lined up. He's just waiting for the government money to come through."

Given that I think Obama is a war criminal and mass murderer and betrayer of his oath of office, I would not work for him, and he certainly wouldn't offer me a job, so...no.

TosaGuy said...

AMTRAK = Broke

Freight rail companies = great stocks to buy

The market has spoken

former law student said...

High speed rail makes sense as an alternative to airline travel. Are there any people flying between Milwaukee and Madison? No. Are there people flying between LA and SF? Yes. Are there reasons to drive between LA and SF? Only if you enjoy the reek of manure from the Harris ranch feedlot. Or, if you're in no hurry you can drive along the coast.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

@Joe: Sounds like they tacked on the phrase "high-speed" to make it sound more enticing.

It's HIGHER speed rail...it will be faster than current rail, I believe.

Cookie, there IS an alternative to air travel...it's called the AUTOMOBILE. It's the vehicle of choice for most, in this country. So if air travel is inconvenient there's that as an alternative, not necessarily rail.

Rail, is limiting, too. Unless my station is convenient to me, I ahve to take some other form of conveyance, and if I want to pick up dry cleaning, dinner, or shop before I go home, I have to lg all that stuff onto the train...which only comes at certain times, limiting when I can do these extra-curricular things...unlike the automobile.

I think many Progressives dislike the automobile, for the "little people" because it empowers these people too much...for them it's Ok, but for the hoi-polloi it's problematic. (Editor's Note: Certainly not my original thoughts, merely echoing a number of Conservative/Libertarian thinkers)

shoutingthomas said...

Given that I think Obama is a war criminal and mass murderer and betrayer of his oath of office, I would not work for him, and he certainly wouldn't offer me a job, so...no.

Shew! What a stinker.

Why do you do this shit, Cookie?

Do you have any sense at all?

I think you've answered that question.

D.D. Driver said...

"Has it been determined for certain that there is no way, no matter what, that there won't be enough passengers to make rail transit pay?"

I don't know. Has anyone PROVEN that passengers won't pay $60 for round trip to Madison that takes about the same time as driving a car?

Nope. It hasn't been proven.

Has anyone PROVEN that my business idea of selling $20 grilled cheese sandwiches will not be successful?

I haven't seen any PROOF.

Original Mike said...

@FLS:

Distance from LA to SF: 382 miles
Distance from Madison to Milwaukee: 92 miles.

Other than that, your argument makes perfect sense.

Michael said...

Robert Cook: "Has it been determined for certain that there is no way, no matter what, that there won't be enough passengers to make rail transit pay? As air travel becomes more expensive and unpleasant and intrusive, people might well be tempted to find alternative means of travel...if the alternative is cost effective and reasonably speedy and comfortable."

I assume here that you are not talking about the Milwaukee/Madison route as I would doubt air service between the two is cheap or frequent. On the national scale rail travel has low ridership, poor to horrible service and high costs. I ride occasionally in the sleeper cars but when walking the rest of the train I gather the bulk of people are afraid of air travel and want something more than bus. I ride it strictly for nostalgia since it is more expensive than air, slower, dirtier and frankly less comfortable. So, I would guess trains are not going to happen in the U.S.

Lem said...

I just checked - it would take me 18 hours via Amtrak to get to Atlanta from Penn Station and then I still need to go back north for about an where my sister lives.. she doesnt live in Atlanta.

Looked up cheaptickets.com and there is a flight non stop for $292.00 wtax (round trip) that can put in Atlanta in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

the train is $312.00 (round trip) over 17 hours.

give me a brake.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Has anyone PROVEN that my business idea of selling $20 grilled cheese sandwiches will not be successful?

Dood/doodette, with the right marketing and upscale clientele and location you can easily sell your $20 grilled cheeses. Trust me on this….

former law student said...

European city centers are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old and are denser than U.S. cities. Trains were a natural for Europeans.

Actually dense old city centers argue against trains, because train stations require large amounts of real estate for yards and platforms, necessitating ripping up huge swaths of one's old dense city center. What dense old city centers do support is subway networks, however, as a speedy way to move large numbers of people around the city.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, rail travel ain't cheap.

Michael said...

FLS: A high speed train between SF and LA would be built some time in the 31st century if you were to start the planning process today. On top of the improbability of cutting through bureaucratic red tape in dozens of counties filled with bureaucrats ready to do battle there would be the actual cost to build to be considered. Have a look the number of daily flights between the two cities, look at the seats available per the type of aircraft. Take all of the seats, every one of them, and consider them full. Then take that number and multiply it by 365 and then by 100 (the estimated cost of a one way ticket). Take the result of that equation and divide it into your estimate of the cost to build the rail. That result will be the number of years to pay for the cost of the train without regard to operating costs, interest, capital improvements, station upkeep and so on. If that is a satisfactory number then remember that you are relying on every single person who might have flown to elect to ride the train.

Michael said...

fls: Well the Europeans do not have subways in each of their large cities so they had best get on it.

Big Mike said...

Has anyone PROVEN that my business idea of selling $20 grilled cheese sandwiches will not be successful?

I could have sworn that's what I paid last time I stayed in a hotel in San Francisco.

D.D. Driver said...

"Dood/doodette, with the right marketing and upscale clientele and location you can easily sell your $20 grilled cheeses. Trust me on this…."

My two locations are in Madison and Milwaukee.

Lincolntf said...

I would love to see them build a huge honking train track right through California. As long as they pay for it by themselves. Let the enviro-psychos who've imposed all this Green stupidity onto the rest of us get a taste of their own medicine.

Michael said...

Lem: It is worse than you think. Because when you emerge Brookwood Station in Atlanta you will find...no rental cars. You will have to catch a cab to the nearest rental (hopefully this will be during the week as many of the convenient car rental outlets are closed on the weekends.) Assume a $20 cab ride to the rental car. Cars rent for about a hundred bucks a day but you would have to have one to visit your sister anyway so the only difference between air and train is that it will take four or five times longer on the train and cost more and be more inconvenient, but at least you would be doing your part to free us from foreign oil (if the train weren't diesel).

former law student said...

Cars rent for about a hundred bucks a day but you would have to have one to visit your sister anyway

If his sister loved Lem, why wouldn't she pick him up at the train station? And why would Lem not be riding around in his sister's car?

Unless Lem's sis was carless or a non-driver.

Gabriel Hanna said...

The leftists are beyond parody today:

Alpha Liberal thinks trains don't run on oil. Trains run on diesel, not hope-and-change. Just like jets run on kerosene. But jets are EVIL and increase our dependence on OIL.

Robert Cook says, if high speed rail works in the NY-Boston-Washington DC corridor, which is heavily urbanized, why won't it work in the Midwest which isn't?

I don't know, maybe because there's not much in between Madison and Minneapolis and most people who want to go from one to the other will fly or drive, and a train is the worst of both worlds when it comes to price vs time?

I like trains. But what works in heavily urbanized sections of the country becomes uneconomical and stupid when applied elsewhere.

former law student said...

I note they're building high speed rail between LA and Vegas to facilitate the redistribution of wealth from CA to NV. That's an extremely high volume route, so it probably makes sense. And there's nothing to drive to except another casino, once you've seen the dam.

Michael said...

She might not want to pick him up at Brookwood since there is no parking there. The train has an abysmal on-time record so she would have no earthly idea of when to arrive. If she waited for him to arrive she would find herself in rush hour traffic since the train arrives Atl around 8 or so in the morning. That would mean about a two hour round trip for her if she lived in the northern suburbs.

Paddy O said...

"you can easily sell your $20 grilled cheeses."

The Grilled Cheese Truck

Very popular in the greater Los Angeles area.

Not quite $20, but still... shows there's a market for a premium grilled cheese out there in discerning neighborhoods.

Robert Cook said...

But light rail? WTF?

"Because their cultural superiors in Europe use rail more than we do. So in a Leftists' mind, it must THEREFORE be better than whatever it is that Americans are doing.

Forget the vast differences in geography or that Europe has already realized that the vast amounts they've spent digging themselves into debt are unsustainable. Leftists aren't going to be happy until we've repeated every single mistake they've ever made.

Because THEY are always right. And WE are always wrong. Whenever you want to know a Leftist's position on ANYTHING, just ask yourself "Is someone, somehwere else doing something about this problem that involves higher taxes and greater government control?" That will be their preferred solution EVERY TIME."


Sounds to me like Jim B. has some issues.

shoutingthomas said...

Sounds to me like Jim B. has some issues.

Cookie, you can't have written that.

After that last, godawful, raving post?

Do you have any self-awareness?

Michael said...

fls: the LA/Vegas train will be a great one to observe. The cost, ridership, travel times will be available to ponder. It may be "high volume" in your world, but in the transportation world the LA/Vegas route is unlikely to prove profitable.

By the way, there is no need to tear up central cities in Europe to build train stations. They are already there and have been for over a hundred years.

D.D. Driver said...

My point was NOT to besmirch the humble grilled cheese sandwich. There actually was a grilled cheese sandwich restaurant over by Miller Park for about a year and a half and it was awesome (but it went out of business).

I like grilled cheese sandwiches, but I don't know too many people that will pay $20 for one.

Rail is an okay idea until you put a price tag on it.

shoutingthomas said...

Cookie,

Are you even vaguely aware that your are stark raving mad?

The fact that you write with a calm, reasoned tone... I think that this is distracting you from the reality of your utter lunacy.

Evidently, you are functional in some way. Surprises me, but... hell, I've seen others like you who are somehow able to pay the rent and feed themselves. So, it's not impossible.

Lincolntf said...

That's another reason the European model is irrelevant. The German trains on which I spent countless hours actually did arrive on time, the stations were spotless and the employees were few, far between and perfectly polite.
In the U.S., the trains would constantly be late, there would be employees like the ones who have made Boston's "T" into a patronage swamp and the train stations would look and smell like overflowing toilets. That's the sad truth.

garage mahal said...

On the national scale rail travel has low ridership, poor to horrible service and high costs.

Ridership on the the Amtrak Hiawatha line from Milwaukee to Chicago line nearly doubled from 397,518 passengers in 2002 to 766,167 in 2008. That's per year.

Go on Amtrak, and try to book a ride, and let us know what you find for openings. I tried booking a train out to Montana, and found one open room, 3 months in advance, from an available 3 lines. But when a one lane widening, 45 mile stretch of highway is proposed costing a minimum of 1 billion dollars, nobody blinks an eye.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Think about something else. People who like mass transit complain that roads and therefore cars are also subsidized: true.

However, roads, unlike mass transit, are not restricted to passenger travel. They also carry freight. Light rail doesn't.

The same truck that carries freight from Madison to Minneapolis can also pick up the freight and drop it off. A train can't do that.

Roads operate on your schedule. Mass transit operates on the governments.

Roads don't pay people to drive around on them all day even if they have no riders, unlike mass transit. Roads just sit there when not being used. A city bus uses the equivalent of three barrels of oil every day even if no one rides it, and you have to pay that guy to drive it, and they get paid a lot.

There's lots of reasons why roads should be the first choice. Not saying mass transit should be got rid of.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Go on Amtrak, and try to book a ride, and let us know what you find for openings.

If I get an opening, it doesn;t take me where want to go, costs more than the plane, and takes much longer.

Amtrak for everyone! Oh, no, just for states with powerful Senators who can keep unprofitable lines open. But we can all pay for it!

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook says, if high speed rail works in the NY-Boston-Washington DC corridor, which is heavily urbanized, why won't it work in the Midwest which isn't?"

I said no such thing. Have you completed your remedial reading courses yet?

I asked why a high speed rail proposal would be a bad idea.

Moreover, we already have national rail transit, for both shipping and passenger travel, so why wouldn't high speed rail be an improvement on what already exists?

By the way, for those who say people will always prefer cars to rail travel, you assume things won't change and that personal automobile ownership or use will remain as available and affordable in 5 or 10 or 20 years as it is today. Perhaps it won't be, perhaps mass transit will become a necessity.

shoutingthomas said...

garage has really hit upon the one consistent use for Amtrak.

On the long haul western routes, the trains are a great tourist attraction.

I've taken them. Up and down the California coast and into Oregon. Great rides.

Whether the service is really self-supporting... I don't know.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal

I can't believe you are arguing that Amtrak is awesome because you can't get a seat on it.

The whole point of travel is to be able to go from where you are to where you want to be. If there's no availability, then it sucks.

And it can still (and does) lose money even if every seat is full (which in general it is not).

former law student said...

Lem -- I notice the Crescent stops in Gainesville. Would that be closer to your sister's house?

I haven't ridden an intercity train since I got a cell phone, but I presume there is service near towns, and that Lem could let his sister know if they're running late. Planes get delayed, too, and even cancelled.

Lincolntf said...

"I can't believe you are arguing that Amtrak is awesome because you can't get a seat on it."


Gotta love the Lib logic.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Ridership on the the Amtrak Hiawatha line from Milwaukee to Chicago line nearly doubled from 397,518 passengers in 2002 to 766,167 in 2008. That's per year.

So you’re saying that it only lost HALF as much money as it used to, then?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:

I asked why a high speed rail proposal would be a bad idea.

Cost vs benefit. As pointed out repeatedly, high speed rail costs a lot more than an interstate, costs a lot more to use than driving, and takes a lot more time than a plane.

In my podunk cow town I can fly to Seattle, from there to any hub, to any other podunk town. Work out how much high speed rail you need to do that.

By the way, for those who say people will always prefer cars to rail travel, you assume things won't change and that personal automobile ownership or use will remain as available and affordable in 5 or 10 or 20 years as it is today. Perhaps it won't be, perhaps mass transit will become a necessity.

When you and your comrades have shot all the kulaks and wreckers I'm sure it will be. In the meantime, free people will travel how they want by spending their money how they choose.

garage mahal said...

The whole point of travel is to be able to go from where you are to where you want to be. If there's no availability, then it sucks.

All people are not like you. Why has ridership almost doubled on the Hiawatha Line?

garage mahal said...

Cost vs benefit. As pointed out repeatedly, high speed rail costs a lot more than an interstate, costs a lot more to use than driving, and takes a lot more time than a plane.

It's pointed out, but never backed by facts. You got them?

roesch-voltaire said...

I am not sure how these items are connected but they stick in my mind: We visited Chicago last weekend and it took us 100 mins to drive six miles from O'Hare to Loop; last week China announced that they had developed a train capable of traveling almost 260 mph between Shanghai and Hangzhou- a distance of 125 miles. One country moves towards the future, the other wants to stand still. Guess which one will emerge as the future power.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


The cruel truth is, IF an article I read is accurate, that NO Mass Transit System, in the United States, pays its own way. Mass Transit does NOT work. The only ways it works or will work are if:
1) Its subsidized by non-users via their petrol or general revenue taxes; or
2) Its proponents can find ways to, artificially, drive up the cost or inconvenience of using automobiles, a la Ray LaHood.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie, there IS an alternative to air travel...it's called the AUTOMOBILE. It's the vehicle of choice for most, in this country. So if air travel is inconvenient there's that as an alternative, not necessarily rail."

See my previous comment. How do you know the automobile will remain a viable means of transport for most or many Americans as we move forward into the future?

As fuel becomes more dear, fewer people may wish or be able to pay to fill up their cars. As incomes drop or disappear due to America's ongoing collapse, cars may become unaffordable for many or most.

One shouldn't plan ahead based on current conditions; one should plan ahead based on projections of future possible conditions.

Lincolntf said...

Roesch- there's still time for you to spend some of your life in that society you are so very fond of. Not sure about Chinese immigration policies, but you should certainly look into it.

Michael said...

Garage: If trains are full all the carrier has to do is add another or several other cars. If it is constantly full the operator is an idiot for not adding more cars. Your argument for more trains everywhere based on limited observation is the not a good analysis.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
One country moves towards the future, the other wants to stand still. Guess which one will emerge as the future power.

Chalmers Johnson is that you? You’ve decided that the PRC, not JAPAN, will be the future power, now? One nation tries to do what is economically efficient, the other wastes its resources on boondoggles…get back to me in 10-20 years, would you R-V/Chalmers/Tom Friedman?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

It's pointed out, but never backed by facts. You got them?

I thought you were looking at Amtrak schedules. Do I have to do your homework?

Please name the train that goes from New York to Los Angeles in five hours. You can't? Okay, so my "trains are slower than planes" assertion is backed up.

Okay, so I want to go from Pullman WA to New York City. Step 1: get on the plane in Pullman, there two flights to Seattle daily. Step two: Fly to New York. Depending on stops and layovers, total time is anywhere from five hours to ten hours and pricce is between $300 and $700, depending on how I book. I can go today if I want, no problem with availability, but I'll have to pay more.

Let's do Amtrak. in Pullman I have to catch a bus to spokane, because Amtrak doesn't come to pullman, even though Amtrak claims to have a station there. That station is really a bus stop. So I have to ride the Greyhound for 75 minutes.

Since you are the Amktak expert, why don't you tell me time, price, and availability for Spokane to NYC?

I'll do it if you won't.

Then we'll talk about facts, hm?

Lincolntf said...

Obama is on the tube talking about the terror attack/attempt/dry-run. Apparently explosives WERE found on one of the planes. I did not know that.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
As fuel becomes more dear, fewer people may wish or be able to pay to fill up their cars.

True, as fuel becomes dear…but right now it’s not “dear” or dear enough to justify rail or many other alternative fuels or transport modes. For a Prius or other Hybrid to make sense petrol has to be north of $5 a gallon on a sustained basis. So too trains.

Michael said...

RV: You should have parked at O'Hare and taken the train. It works great, is not expensive, and drops you right in the loop. There is an actual choo choo there in Chicago that works great. it is a communter train and is not high speed. You should have taken it. You would have had to park at the airport, etc.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@roesch-voltaire:

We visited Chicago last weekend and it took us 100 mins to drive six miles from O'Hare to Loop; last week China announced that they had developed a train capable of traveling almost 260 mph between Shanghai and Hangzhou- a distance of 125 miles.

Wow, you compared apples and oranges there!

Does China build high-speed rail for every possible six mile trip you might care to make? Chinese people will be surprised to hear that they have no traffic jams, in a country where people habitually make u-turns on the FREEWAY when they miss an exit.

MadisonMan said...

NO Mass Transit System, in the United States, pays its own way. Mass Transit does NOT work. The only ways it works or will work are if:
1) Its subsidized by non-users via their petrol or general revenue taxes; or
2) Its proponents can find ways to, artificially, drive up the cost or inconvenience of using automobiles, a la Ray LaHood.

Why limit the statement to Mass Transit? The only transit system period that does not require regular Government handouts is your own two feet, or maybe a horse, 'though you're still going to have to buy oats every now and then.

At some point in the past, the Government decided (probably after having several hundred palms greased) that subsidizing highways and airports was the way to go. I have no problem with that. If the Govt wants to build more railroads, I see it as an economic opportunity. Railroads will spur growth and economic opportunity as they have in the past, and as highways have done and do.

D.D. Driver said...

"All people are not like you. Why has ridership almost doubled on the Hiawatha Line?"

Hold on there, Sparky.

There are almost 5 Million people in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas.

You really think it is impressive than an extra THOUSAND per day ride the train?

garage mahal said...

Your argument for more trains everywhere based on limited observation is the not a good analysis.

No I'm rebutting your comment that national ridership is low. People ride trains. Here is the projected ridership, by station, of the proposed line. It's really annoying seeing people talk out of their ass [not you], on things they know nothing about.

former law student said...

Last time I took American they required three days to get me across the country, including a night spent on a cot in DFW. This was in midsummer, not winter. They could not explain why rain in Texas forced them to cancel flights through Chicago. High load factors meant there were not enough seats to fly standby, and, having once delayed me, the airline felt freer to abuse me further than to disrupt subsequent passengers.

I have seen the future of air travel and it does not work.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak

If I leave tomorrow, it will only take 37 hours to get to Chicago from Spokane! And then only 17 from there to Washington DC! And then only 3 to NYC!

Yay Amtrak! Total price is about $250 for a coach seat. That's no better than Greyhound, which is slightly cheaper but takes the same time.

roesch-voltaire said...

Lin, actually our COE runs a summer program in Hangzhou, nice place to visit, but I would not want to live there. Like Thomas Friedman, I want to see our country prosper, but realize that much of what we do in the areas of education and science inhibits that effort.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Here is the projected ridership, by station, of the proposed line.

Compared to WHAT? Without a comparison numbers don't mean anything.

And they're losing money on every seat, but perhaps they can make it up in volume?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Robert Cook said...

Has it been determined for certain that there is no way, no matter what, that there won't be enough passengers to make rail transit pay?

Of course that hasn't been determined. Not to be rude, but if you throw enough "ifs" and "no matter whats" in, you can make an economic case for almost any decision.

As air travel becomes more expensive and unpleasant and intrusive, people might well be tempted to find alternative means of travel...if the alternative is cost effective and reasonably speedy and comfortable.

Sure! It happens in the densely packed northeast: I'd rather ride a train there than fight the traffic (at least for some trips). But here in the wide open Midwest, the conditions aren't there.

I've tried several times to justify taking the train over the plane for long trips. I'd like a choice where I can move around a little more easily. I can work on my computer on a plane, but it's cramped.

Why haven't I chosen the train instead? Because every time I try, I find the train is the worst of all possible worlds. The cost isn't significantly cheaper than the plane (sometimes even in the same range), but a lot more expensive than driving. The travel time is a lot longer, even factoring in TSA. When I reach my destination, I have to rent a car, pay for taxis, or figure out mass transit in a strange city.

If someone offered an express train that was also a car ferry, I would take the train a lot. If someone offered train service for maybe 30% of the cost of a plane ride, I would choose it sometimes to save money. Heck, if someone offered a minimum-stops Chicago to LA train that would cost about the same as a plane and get me there in under a day, I would take it for some trips, just for the novelty.

There are a lot of "ifs" that would make me a regular train passenger. I haven't seen any of them happen yet.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@roesch-voltaire:

realize that much of what we do in the areas of education and science inhibits that effort.

I really can't think of anything more high tech than travel by rocket, but it's not practical, and it's not technophobic to reject rockets as a means of Earthbound transportation.

China has almost its entire population concentrated on its east coast. Trains are quite practical there. Not so much here.

former law student said...

And they're losing money on every seat, but perhaps they can make it up in volume?

GH never owned any airline stock. Profits are a sometimes thing:

Article updated: 10/20/2010 04:47 PM
American Airlines parent AMR posts 3Q profit

DALLAS — It took American Airlines a little longer than its rivals, but the nation's third-largest airline finally earned a profit for the first time in two years.

The news sent shares of parent AMR Corp. higher. The stock was up 53 cents, or 8.1 Percent, at $7.05 in midday trading.

Advertisement

AMR said Wednesday that it earned $143 million, or 39 cents per share, in the third quarter that includes much of the peak summer travel season.

That topped expectations. Analysts expected AMR to make 32 cents per share.

Revenue jumped 14 percent, to $5.84 billion, matching analysts' forecast.

Passenger yield, or the average fare per mile, rose 10.7 percent. Airlines have tightly controlled the number of available seats, which has helped them drive up fares this year.

Lincolntf said...

"...but realize that much of what we do in the areas of education and science inhibits that effort."

I'll agree with that much. Our grossly over-funded public schools are a disgrace, as are the hideously low standards that we hold teachers to. And having NASA diddling away it's time on Global Warming fantasies and Muslim outreach doesn't do squat for our scientific advancement.
Hopefully, the injection of common sense that's about to shock Washington D.C.'s system will help to start reversing both travesties.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11062708">traffic jams in China

Light rail transportation is a pipe dream for urban areas. Cook seems to think that if you build a light rail system that it will replace the automobile.

Fat chance. People who live in the suburbs, RURAL areas have no options. There are no buses, no taxis, no light rail. The ONLY way to get to anyplace is to drive. Gasoline would have to get over $10.00 or $12.00 a gallon before it would cause me to make any significant changes because the car is the ONLY form of transportation, other than riding a bike to the post office or local farm supply store, that I have available to me.

Part of this disconnect in conceptualizing transportation issues seems to be an East/West thing. To drive 96 miles one direction from Madison to Milwaukie (or whatever) is a nothing drive for people who live in the West.

I routinely drive a round trip of over 180 miles just to go do some grocery shopping. To get into the car and take a drive of 400 to 500 miles to get to your destination is ordinary. My husband routinely drives at least 200 or miles a DAY in his plumbing business getting to various locations.

Distance is just not that big of a deal and people want to have their independence and mobility when they get to their destination.

Light rail is a boondoggle.

Robert Cook said...

"That's no better than Greyhound, which is slightly cheaper but takes the same time."

But a train is a heck of a lot more comfortable than a Greyhound bus. Moreover, if we develop high speed rail lines, the travel times should drop significantly. While air travel--while still available and affordable to people who are not millionaires--will still make more sense for people traveling cross country, for shorter trips, rail make make much more sense, assuming we have the system in place and it is affordable.

At one time we did not have the intercontinental highway system we have now, and cross-country automobile travel was slower, uncomfortable, and more difficult. We don't have a high speed rail system in place now, but in future, if built, it may be the most sensible way to travel for less than continental distances.

Sixty Grit said...

Have any of you who want to spend tax money on trains actually ridden a train? I did recently, it was one of the worst experiences of my life - slow, noisy, filthy, urine soaked, crowded, in a word, horrible.

If you want to experience the 3rd world life style in the US, ride Amtrak - truly a disgusting experience.

D.D. Driver said...

I also love how we have people who think trains are some sort of forward looking futuristic technology. We tried trains for a while and they were awesome, until something better came along. Cars.

The options are not status quo or nothing. I actually have high hopes for electric cars. I have little optimism for the Volt, but I am interested in what Silicon Valley is able to do with the Tesla.

To me, let's focus our attention on making good stuff better rather than turning back the clock a hundred years.

Robert Cook said...

"I routinely drive a round trip of over 180 miles just to go do some grocery shopping. To get into the car and take a drive of 400 to 500 miles to get to your destination is ordinary. My husband routinely drives at least 200 or miles a DAY in his plumbing business getting to various locations."

This seems insane to me, and with resources dwindling, is unsustainable in the longer term.

In more ways than just travel, our future will be very circumscribed relative to what we take for granted today.

Lincolntf said...

Let's remember the most important part of this story. It is not about transportation or economics at all, it's about the simpletons who fell hook, line and sinker for twits like Al Gore and Sheryl Crow. The fact that we even have to entertain the notions of these fools is wearing on me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/state/docs/corridor-badger.pdf

I-94 carries almost 50,000 cars per day between Madison and Eau Claire as of 2007--and you want us to be impressed by yearly ridership in the hundreds of thousands?

Per year, that's 18 million passengers, assuming one to a car, on I-94 between Eau Claire and Madison.

There's orders of magnitudes in difference between an interstate and high speed rail.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:

Moreover, if we develop high speed rail lines, the travel times should drop significantly.

Where do you live, Robert?

Almost everyone lives in driving distance from an airport. You can fly from anywhere to anywhere.

High speed rail cannot do that without having as much of it as you have airports!

I live in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, but I can fly to New York six hours. There will never be a way to do that with high-speed rail, unless the trains can teleport.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:

This seems insane to me, and with resources dwindling, is unsustainable in the longer term.

So you are saying that in the future there will be no plumbers?

The reason it sounds insane to you, sir, is because you have NO CLUE WHAT REAL LIFE IS LIKE.

How do you think plumbing gets plumbed and wires get wired? Men and women with tools have to drive around all in trucks to do that.

You have no clue at all. In the future we won't need plumbers? Will your socialist workers paradise develop a New Soviet Man who never plugs toilets? Or will we all perform Acts of Immaculate Excretion?

Do you think a plumbing business can have enough customers within walking distance to survive?

Original Mike said...

Almost everyone lives in driving distance from an airport. You can fly from anywhere to anywhere.

High speed rail cannot do that without having as much of it as you have airports!


Yes. There would have to be a MASSIVE building project to make trains a practical alternative for most people. Proponents have not thought this out past their, "what-we-have-now bad, what-we-don't-have good" logic.

Jim_J said...

There's another part of the rail issue that hasn't been discussed and if you live in South-east Wisconsin it will definitely affect you.

In addition to the Milwaukee-Madison high speed line, there are also proposals to build a light rail line connecting Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee. The state estimates it will cost $250 million (yeah, right) and will be funded by establishing non-elected Transit Authorities in each county with powers to tax residents.

The KRM idea has been pushed for years by people like SC Johnson in Racine. It will work for him because his offices are in downtown Racine but if you live on the west side of I-94 in Racine, Kenosha or Milwaukee counties you'll be paying for trains you'll never use because it will entail a 20 mile drive just to get to a station.

I can't wait for Tuesday to vote NO on these stupid proposals.

garage mahal said...

Light rail is a boondoggle.

We spent over 60 billion on infrastructure projects in Iraq. There's your boondoggle. Some never even completed, but still paid out. The same people that don't blink an eye when we literally lost 10 billion dollars off the back of pickup trucks in Iraq, are suddenly so concerned about a train project costing 800 million here? Ain't buying it. You hate because liberals like it, and meanwhile the rest of the industrialized world is going about their business and handing us our ass on a platter. And laughing. Just pathetic.

Carol said...

Trains are neat! Trains are old-timey! Everyone loves trains!

And that's about the depth of the thinking. They don't care if it's expensive. Daddy will pay. He owes it to you!

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Yeah, you lost on the facts, so now you have to go with Iraq.

Your party is in power, you can't duck that. It's amusing to see you try to scare us with a Bush puppet.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Typical. Call everyone out, demand FACTS! CHARTS! FIGURES! and when you get them yeal IRAQ! BUSH!

Loser.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

roesch-voltaire said...

We visited Chicago last weekend and it took us 100 mins to drive six miles from O'Hare to Loop; last week China announced that they had developed a train capable of traveling almost 260 mph between Shanghai and Hangzhou- a distance of 125 miles.

Respectfully: this is a textbook example of cherry picking. You honestly want to compare the worst traffic within one congested city to the best proposed but not yet existent system running between cities?

Or maybe not cherry picking. Maybe apple picking. And orange picking.

Paul Zrimsek said...

it took us 100 mins to drive six miles from O'Hare to Loop

No wonder it took you so long: you were lost!

Paul Zrimsek said...

If only we build a fast enough train, we can some day regain the pinnacle of geopolitical supremacy from which we were ousted by France and the TGV.

garage mahal said...

Typical. Call everyone out, demand FACTS! CHARTS! FIGURES! and when you get them yeal IRAQ! BUSH!

Loser.


What are you on? I didn't demand anything. I just called morons like you morons for talking out of their ass without facts, which you again displayed here. I showed you the actual charts and figures of ridership, all you could come up with is a selfish, juvenile and myopic rant that just because you don't like to ride trains, nobody else should have access to trains. Guess what, people are riding trains all over the country irregardless if you don't. And I'm a bit surprised you came back today after the beatdown you took yesterday.

Michael said...

There is nothing better than a train discussion to reveal the limitations of liberal reasoning and economic understanding. Fascinating.

Paul Zrimsek said...

it took us 100 mins to drive six miles from O'Hare to Loop

P.S. What was wrong with the Blue Line? Not expensive enough?

Big Mike said...

Last time I took American they required three days to get me across the country.

Well, if you wanted to take the train from New York to San Francisco you'd start with the Lake Shore Limited, which follows the old New York Central "Water Level Route." According to Amtrak's timetable it departs Penn Station at 3:45 PM and arrives in Chicago at 9:45 AM the next day (19 1/2 hours -- when it's on time). Then you cool your heels until 2:00 when you catch the California Zephyr that lets you off in Emoryville over 51 hours later (there's a bus to take you across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco proper).

Somehow I think you would still be better off flying.

Maguro said...

What I would like to see is a high speed train manned by gay soldiers carrying freed prisoners from Gitmo to a world-class environmental engineering program.

That would pretty much check all the squares in my liberal bullshit bingo card.

Michael said...

Garage: The "facts and figures" you show do not contain one iota of financial information. You might google Amtrak, the organization that runs these passenger railroads. You might learn that they lose their ass, that they are heavily subsidized and that the individuals in charge of the lines you wish to ride would rather have you bitch about not getting a seat than adding another car. They don't have to spend a billion dollars to add a car, they simply have to fetch one from a rail yard where it is rotting and put in on. Surely you don't think that what you posted substantiates a need for railroad building? Surely you are smarter than that.

Michael said...

RV makes the case perfectly. He drives parallel to the train from O'Hare to the Loop in Chicago. Now that, my fellow readers, is the reason we are not going to build any more fucking trains.

Class factotum said...

Ridership on the the Amtrak Hiawatha line from Milwaukee to Chicago line nearly doubled from 397,518 passengers in 2002 to 766,167 in 2008. That's per year.

And many of them are going to - the airport.

Mitchell airport director Barry Bateman estimates close to a million of Milwaukee's 8 million passengers come from northern Illinois.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-02-11-airmilwaukee11_CV_N.htm

Big Mike said...

@garage, I don't mind trains. You might even gather from my comments above that I'm fond of them.

But I resent paying increased taxes so that a tiny fraction of the traveling public can ride trains just because they'd rather ride trains than fly or drive.

And stop calling people "morons" just because they know better than you how to interpret the charts you yourself link to.

Class factotum said...

If I want to go Chicago from Milwaukee to see my sister who is at a conference at a hotel on Wacker, I either drive 180 miles round trip, paying $5-$10 in tolls, plus $51 to park overnight at the Swisshotel, plus dealing with Chicago traffic. Or I take Amtrak for $44 round trip and walk to the hotel from the train station.

If I want to go to Madison, I get in my car and drive from one large city to one small city with almost no traffic except the students jaywalking by UW. I park for free or almost free once I'm there. No tolls. Even if there were a train from MKE to Madison, I would not take it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I said: "I routinely drive a round trip of over 180 miles just to go do some grocery shopping. To get into the car and take a drive of 400 to 500 miles to get to your destination is ordinary. My husband routinely drives at least 200 or miles a DAY in his plumbing business getting to various locations."


Cook says:
This seems insane to me, and with resources dwindling, is unsustainable in the longer term.

In more ways than just travel, our future will be very circumscribed relative to what we take for granted today.


Hey. Dickwad. What part of there IS NO OTHER WAY didn't you get.

There are no sources of public transportation. The jobs that my husband has to go to in order to do the plumbing are miles and miles apart. The plumbing jobs don't come to him, you know.

If you want light rail in your neighborhood....I suggest that YOU pay for it and not tax those of us who will never ever benefit from such a boondoggle.

It is all about cost benefit. Would I like to have public transportation conveniently located near me, so I can zip down to the City or Southern California. Sure. However, there is no way that it would pencil out and ever be anything than a money sink that OTHER people would have to pay for my benefit. You want to subsidize my shopping trips?

This is the same concept that has been applied to the wasteful project in your area.

garage mahal said...

Garage: The "facts and figures" you show do not contain one iota of financial information.

I wasn't linking to the charts to show it would profitable, I was only trying to beat back the inevitable stupid comment that always come up that "no one will ride these trains!", without doing the slightest bit of research, like ridership levels of existing trains in similar regions. How many that are solidly against light rail have actually done some actual researchon it? I'm guessing less than 2%. Just a guess though on that.

garage mahal said...

@Michael
Here again is the projected ridership levels. Tell me what you think as far as cost/benefits.

Michael said...

Garage; Ridership "projections" depend on an important input that you did not provide: ticket cost. If the proposal is for a fifty cent ticket then I think the projections are reasonable. If, as I think I read, the ticket from Milwaukee/Madison will be closer to $100 then the projections are bogus. Another way is to take the optimistic projections multiply them by 30 and divide the resulting figure into the projected cost of the project: this will give you the number of dollars that each passenger will have to pay to retire the cost interest free over thirty years. You should then determine how many employees the line will hire, how many station personnel etc and estimate how much these people will be paid. Then add in the cost of fuel to run the train, a factor for repairs and maintenance and a capital reserve. Don't forget to add in the cost of heat light and power at each station as well as security and snow plows for the parking lots. You will charge at the lots (your only sure fired way to make money here) so factor in some income from this source as well as the cost of maintaining the lot. And there you have it, a perfectly robust engine of progress, a veritable choo choo of profits.

Lincolntf said...

"How many that are solidly against light rail..."

Nobody is against light rail. We're against wasting massive amounts of money on worthless garbage like a billion dollar "high speed" train that can't travel at high speeds.

Jim_J said...

Fortunately the majority of Wisconsin residents understand the issues around high speed rail so Scott Walker will be elected Governor.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Way to ignore MY link. The interstate that already exists serves over 50,000 passengers PER DAY, jackass, between Eau Clare and Madison.

50,000 * 365 = 18 million, moron.

18 million > all the figures you linked added together to by linke AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE.

That's actual butts in seats in the year 2007, not projections.

So you think it's perfectly reasonable to spend $810 million on something that carries only a tiny fraction of the passengers the existing interstate carries?

Oh, wait,I forgot your argument now is BUSH IRAQ WAAAH I KICKED YOUR ASS YESTERDAY.

Tool.

Here's the link again, which you won't check, AGAIN.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/state/docs/corridor-badger.pdf

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal;

The argument, genius, is not that NO ONE rides the train. The argument is that NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ride the train; that you would need HUNDREDS of trains to make a dent in the interstate traffic--and that's just in WISCONSIN on the I-94 between Madison and Minneapolis!

And of course your response is BUSH IRAQ WAAA

Michael said...

Gabriel Hanna: Your reasoning leaves out the fact that some drivers would opt for the train, but the current usage cannot be faulted. The problem here is that some train lovers are not math lovers or assume that the money for these projects drops from the ether. No amount of data will change that. They will always revert to a non sequitur of some variety.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Michael:

some drivers would opt for the train,

Of course they would. But you would hundreds of trains to accommodate 50,000 passengers per day.

The ENTIRE BART system has a daily capacity of 360,000. I ride BART and enjoy BART, and it makes perfect sense for the Bay Area.

I-94 is perfectly adequate for Madison-Minneapolis.

Palladian said...

Dust Bunny Queen, you miss the point of Comrade Cook's statements. He's implying that, in the circumscribed future that exists in his dreams, you will not be allowed to live the "insane", wasteful lifestyle you're currently enjoying. Public transportation will not come to you, you will be required to come to public transportation.

I say this as a non-driver who actually uses public transportation regularly, in New York City. It makes sense here, and our system is one of the most heavily used in the world, and yet we're still constantly in the red, with crumbling infrastructure and grotesque mismanagement and enormous costs, all thanks to Comrade Cook's fellow travelers, the unions and the political class here in New York.

Michael said...

Gabriel Hanna: Clearly the freeway is best between Madison/Milwaukee, between everywhere in most places.

When I lived in the Bay area I lived on the peninsula so had to take the choo choo if I wanted to do public transportation. As you know the choo choo station is not handy to the actual center of San Francisco so it necessitated either a long hike or a cab. Good, but not great.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Palladian:

Dust Bunny Queen, you miss the point of Comrade Cook's statements.

I got it right away. People are not to be allowed to live in the country. High speed rail will take all the farmers to work. Everyone else can live in relocation camps until the government can figure out where they will be allowed to live. Workers will live in efficient, sustainable, proletarian housing near the cities. Useless mouths and kulaks can help build socialism or take their nine grams.

David said...

Rail Train Leaves Tracks.

Kills Skiing Cow.

D.D. Driver said...

"Here again is the projected ridership levels. Tell me what you think as far as cost/benefits."

You post those numbers as if they are persuasive to your cause. Sorry, I am not swayed by the prospect of less than 1500 daily riders in Madison by the year 2020. You find that persuasive?

For all the accusations against the Right for anti-intellectualism and "know-nothingness" (some of it well-earned) the Left continues to wage the War Against Math.

David said...

"Its gone from me,

Oh, Oh, subsidy."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Michael:

From time to time I do some work at LBNL, and I have an uncle in Hayward. If I get bored of Berkeley I can go to the city. BART is perfect for what I need when I'm there. But the thing is I don't have anything in particular to do there; I'm just sightseeing.

In NYC we rode the subway everywhere, but again we were just sightseeing. I'm sure if we lived there it be hard to have a car.

But I'm not in favor of tearing down BART and pulling up the subway. I'm in favor of not doing stupid things like build trains that don't compare to interstates and airports in cost, ridership, or time.

I'm not opposed to public transit either. I'm just opposed to boondoggles.

garage mahal said...

Garage; Ridership "projections" depend on an important input that you did not provide: ticket cost. If the proposal is for a fifty cent ticket then I think the projections are reasonable.

The DOT estimated a one way ticket from Madison to Mlke would range between $22-$33. The Hiawatha from Mlke to Chicago is currently $22.

For all the accusations against the Right for anti-intellectualism and "know-nothingness" (some of it well-earned) the Left continues to wage the War Against Math.

I am the only one here that posted any numbers whatsoever, [aside from Michael], which is needed for math.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Garage mahal:

I am the only one here that posted any numbers whatsoever, [aside from Michael], which is needed for math.

As I predicted, you ignored my figures and link AGAIN.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/state/docs/corridor-badger.pdf

One more time, jackass:

I-94, Eau Claire to Madison, DAILY ridership: ~50,000 = 18 million per year

Your $810 million dollar train:

jack squat, according to you, hundreds of thousands per year, a drop in the bucket compared to 18 million riding the Interstate now.

So, once again, you will ignore it, and yell BUSH IRAQ WAA.

garage mahal said...

Way to ignore MY link. The interstate that already exists serves over 50,000 passengers PER DAY, jackass, between Eau Clare and Madison.

I didn't click your link, but I will trust it. We are spending 1 billion dollars to add one lane, each way, on a 45 mile stretch of highway. Remember, as you noted, X number of people are already traveling on that stretch of highway [although not 50,000 travel on that 45 mile stretch of highway per day if your numbers include the entire stretch from Eau Claire to Madison]

How many more people will travel that 45 mile stretch each day if it's widened by one lane? Enough to justify 1 billion dollars?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

How many more people will travel that 45 mile stretch each day if it's widened by one lane? Enough to justify 1 billion dollars?

Can't you use a calculator? The same ~$billion that you want to spend on a train which, you concede, will only accomodate traffic in the hundreds of thousands!

Jesus Christ. It could cost TEN billion and be worth more than the train because the train carries far fewer than one tenth the traffic! AS YOUR OWN FIGURES ACKNOWLEDGE!

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garge mahal:

although not 50,000 travel on that 45 mile stretch of highway per day if your numbers include the entire stretch from Eau Claire to Madison

YES. LOOK AT THE GODDAMN LINK.

Do I have to call you on the phone and READ IT TO YOU?

Go look up the Maruqette Interchange, surely you've heard of it. They just spent $810 million on it. It is used by 300,000 cars per day!

Look up the goddamn figures! You complained that no one was but you, but you haven't looked at ANYTHING!

garage mahal said...

It's ALREADY carrying the traffic! Whether it's widened or not.

How many more people will travel that 45 mile stretch of highway, if it is widened by one lane?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

From the link you won't look at:

Average annual daily traffic along

In 2007:
I-94: 21,300 - 85,600
US-12: 9,300 - 113,000

In 2030:
I-94: 29,600 – 125,400
US-12: 13,100 - 165,000


garage, you can't just quote numbers in isolation. The question before us all, is it worth it to build a train that's going to carry a few undred thousand people, in a year, for $810 million, when the alternative is an interstate that carries more passengers in a WEEK than that train will ALL YEAR and costs much, much less than $810 million.

Come on. You have to do the math. I realize not everyone makes their living doing math, but this is just arithmetic.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

How many more people will travel that 45 mile stretch of highway, if it is widened by one lane?

Suppose it's one percent more. 500 people per day.

500*365 = 180,000

That's like half as much as your $810 million train!

garage mahal said...

Do I have to call you on the phone and READ IT TO YOU?

Okay this made me laugh out loud. I seriously need to wrap this up for now, UW hockey game 7:00

My question [not a statement] is, how many MORE people would travel that 45 mile stretch of highway, if it's widened by one lane, costing 1 billion dollars? I used it as a comparison, so I'll eat it if I'm wrong.

El Pollo Real said...

Garage Mahal wrote: I am the only one here that posted any numbers whatsoever, [aside from Michael], which is needed for math.

Algebra? Mahaller? Anyone?

rhhardin said...

If we don't expand the US rail system, where will future bike paths come from?

Big Mike said...

@garage, no one believes your numbers without seeing the basis of estimate (BoE). For all anybody knows they pulled the numbers out of thin air -- it wouldn't be the first time the DoT has justified a project by low-balling the estimated cost and overstating the estimated utility.

And even if the numbers are real then one needs to consider the cost of maintaining the roadbed, maintaining and operating the trains, the electricity they would consume, labor and other operating costs, etc., etc., etc. If you get a million riders a year at $22 a year (which you probably won't because one can drive from Milwaukee to Madison for a lot less than that and take about the same amount of time) then can the line be operated for $22M annually? Probably not.

El Pollo Real said...

Okay this made me laugh out loud. I seriously need to wrap this up for now, UW hockey game 7:00

Sieve!

garage mahal said...

Suppose it's one percent more. 500 people per day.

I have no idea Gabriel. I don't think most people that drive that stretch do so because of lane width.

Sieve!

5 Sieves = free Culvers ice cream. Oh boy! The daughter wants 5 goals.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

My question [not a statement] is, how many MORE people would travel that 45 mile stretch of highway, if it's widened by one lane, costing 1 billion dollars? I used it as a comparison, so I'll eat it if I'm wrong.

My estimate is 500 more cars per day. That's 180,000 per year.

D.D. Driver said...

"I am the only one here that posted any numbers whatsoever, [aside from Michael], which is needed for math."

You should pay more careful attention, because there are others (myself included) that have been posting numbers and using those numbers to *support* our arguments. On that point, I'm still waiting to see you connect the dots between 1500 (that's not a typo) riders and $800 Million. Over $500,000/daily rider.

I'd also like to know *who* is going to spend $60 for a RT between Madison and Milwaukee. Give me a demographic. Tell me how frequently they will ride the train and for what purposes. All I here is "truthy" wishfulness unsupported by any concept of reality.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Do you see my point? That a tiny increase in Interstate traffic totally dwarfs a high-speed rail system? But the high speed rail system costs a hell of a lot more to get this small increase.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage:

If you get to assume more people won't use the Interstate if there are more lanes than why can't we assume that no one will use the train if you build it? That doesn't make any sense--no one would add lanes to roads if more people didn't use roads.

At any rate, the figures I posted show the projected interstate usage for 2030, eyeballing it looks like 20-30% increase in I-94 traffic, not the 1% I guessed.

D.D. Driver said...

I've pointed this out in another forum, but at 1500 daily riders... we could spend taxpayer money to buy a state-of-the-art Tesla electric sedan (retail around 50k) for the 1500 would-be heaviest train users and it would cost $75 Million. We would be supporting a promising and useful technology and we would save $725 Million!

former law student said...

it departs Penn Station at 3:45 PM and arrives in Chicago at 9:45 AM the next day (19 1/2 hours -- when it's on time). Then you cool your heels until 2:00 when you catch the California Zephyr that lets you off in Emoryville over 51 hours later

Boy, if only we had -- oh, I don't know what you'd call it -- something like high speed rail or something!

garage mahal said...

That's like half as much as your $810 million train!

Do you see my point? That a tiny increase in Interstate traffic totally dwarfs a high-speed rail system?


Gabe, [can I call you Gabe?] if your math is correct:

1 billion 180,000 riders
800 million 480,000 riders

Anyway I appreciate the convo, and appreciate the research. Goota run for now though. Peace

former law student said...

I'd also like to know *who* is going to spend $60 for a RT between Madison and Milwaukee.

The IRS thinks a motorist spends $90 for a RT between Madison and Milwaukee. (180 miles at 50 cents a mile) So $60 would be a bargain. The IRC is incented to understate the cost, if anything. Likely the savings are much greater.

The motorist's cost of $90 doesn't capture the cost of maintaining the roadbed, lighting, policing, accident removal, snow plowing and salting, etc. etc.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

1 billion 180,000 riders
800 million 480,000 riders


See the power of math? Now instead of using the 1% I made up, use the 20% from what I linked to, and we get

1 billion: 3.6 million riders
800 million: 480,000 riders

Maguro said...

Boy, if only we had -- oh, I don't know what you'd call it -- something like high speed rail or something!

Or an airplane.

garage mahal said...

Lastly, the 480k was just the Madison station alone. There are 3-4 stops in between. Ok really gotta run now.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

The motorist's cost of $90 doesn't capture the cost of maintaining the roadbed, lighting, policing, accident removal, snow plowing and salting, etc. etc.

Because state and Federal gas taxes do not exist and are not allocated to building roads.

Boy, if only we had -- oh, I don't know what you'd call it -- something like high speed rail or something!

Are you going to build high-speed rail between every two cities that have an airport connection? No? Thought not.

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Lastly, the 480k was just the Madison station alone.

That's for Chicago - Madison, not Madison - Eau Clare.

The Marquette Interchange IS in Milwaukee on the route you linked to, and serves 300,000 cars PER DAY. And was upgraded at the cost of $810 million, as I pointed out earlier--letting 1 car = 1 rider that's 300 times as many people per dollar.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Boy, if only we had -- oh, I don't know what you'd call it -- something like high speed rail or something!


Are you this dense? This was IRONY, right? Because the short little, re-made rail line that is being discussed costs $810 MILLION, inter-continental would be ASTRONOMICAL, and UNLESS it moves at ~900-1000 KPH it STILL wouldn’t beat a train…you grasp a train, even TGV is only going 200-300 KPH, whilst the Airbus is going 3-5 times faster? The difference between FLYING and moving by rail?

former law student said...

state and Federal gas taxes do not exist and are not allocated to building roads.

Actually, they aren't so allocated, not 100% anyways. But highway maintenance costs more than that -- compare the tolls on the Tri-state to the taxes you spend on fuel to cover the same distance. The difference comes from general taxes.

D.D. Driver said...

"The IRS thinks a motorist spends $90 for a RT between Madison and Milwaukee. (180 miles at 50 cents a mile) So $60 would be a bargain. The IRC is incented to understate the cost, if anything. Likely the savings are much greater."

It's pretty amazing that with all the different types of cars with huge range of sales prices and fuel economies the IRS can pick a number out of the air like that. It's also pretty weird that it is a round number $.50. It's almost seems like it's an arbitrary number.

In any event, your logic only works if people could then sell their cars and not have to pay for maintenance, insurance, etc.

Do you think that will happen? Will the train pick them up at their doorstep? Is the train going to take them to the grocery store and drop their kids off at school? People still have to keep their cars. Car payments, insurance, etc. These are all sunk costs.

*Who* is going pay $60 RT to ride the train? I've yet to hear anyone answer this question.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@D. D. Driver:

It's pretty amazing that with all the different types of cars with huge range of sales prices and fuel economies the IRS can pick a number out of the air like that. It's also pretty weird that it is a round number $.50. It's almost seems like it's an arbitrary number.



I was thinking that too. I often go to Spokane, a 150 mile round trip. I get a little over 30 mpg, so it costs 5 gallons of gas at 3 bucks per gallon.

$15 / 150 mile = $0.10 / mile

So the mechanical wear and depreciation on my care is four times as much per mile? Maybe that's a standard assumption, but it doesn't sound realistic to me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Anway, I can drive the 90 miles and back for $18 and spend less time to boot.

Compared to $60 and slower.

Gabriel Hanna said...

So here I am in Madison and I want to go to Milawukee. I already own a car, and I need to drive to the train station anyway. In my wallet I have $100. Do I spend $18 on gas or $60 on a train ticket?

Granted neither price reflects the full cost of either mode of travel--but my taxes and my paycheck don't change from day to day. I already make what I make, already pay the taxes I pay, and already own a car.

So why on earth would I ride the train? And have no car when I get there?

roesch-voltaire said...

Talk about cherry picking as folks mention how much they spend for gas and parking without mentioning the cost of depreciation on the auto-- why do we get .57 cents per mile in expenses? Of course do not count the cost to the environment and health, etc. From my experience, the Chicago example was repeated in LA, Atlanta, New York, and Boston in the last two years I drove through those cities. While Republicans want to denigrate the ability of Americans to do better-- how could we possibly run clean, efficient trains, as a lefty, I continue to hope and believe that we can do better.

Big Mike said...

@FLS, if only we had high speed rail we might be able to cut the time from New York to Chicago from 19 1/2 hours down to, maybe, 12? As opposed to 2 for air travel?

Just fly United instead of American next time.

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