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Old 05-22-2009, 04:30 PM
 
30 posts, read 49,849 times
Reputation: 41

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1. Both our highway system and airline industry are heavily subsidized. In 2002, Congress appropriated $32 billion in highway funding and $14 billion for the airline industry in 2002. The FAA ran on a 2005 budget of $7.8 billion. How "successful" would the private airline industry be if it were not subsidized by the government? Would our "car culture" exist without our governments involvement in building and maintaining highways?

2. Amtrak operates on a pauper's budget in comparison, receiving just $521 million in 2002. Amtrak's entire budget accounts for less than one per cent of US Department of Transportation spending. The ratio of highway/airline to rail government funding between 1971-2001 was 63:1. How can rail compete with these modes of transportation considering such lopsided government support?

3. Four of the seven largest U.S. airlines are in bankruptcy and the airline industry needed $5 billion in cash and an additional $10 billion in loan guarantees from the government just to continue operating. The ONLY airline that operates with a profit is Southwest airlines.

4. The government has appropriated $13 billion dollars for high speed rail construction ($8 billion initially and $1 billion every year for five years). Construction of the interstate highway system cost taxpayers $114 billion (adjusted for inflation, $425 billion in 2006 dollars). The replacement value for our commercial airline industry that was subsidized by the government (airports, traffic control towers, etc...) is estimated at $1 trillion. The proposed LAX expansion would cost the state and federal government $11 billion alone!

5.Amtrak carried 28.7 million passengers in 2007 posting six straight years of ridership and revenue growth. Amtrak averages about 69,000 passengers a day.

6. High speed rail will provide $1.3 billion in highway congestion relief and $700 million in airport congestion relief. One third of commercial airline routes are regional. Imagine how much air traffic congestion could be eased by transferring those passengers to rail. It is estimated that a full passenger rail train takes between 250-350 cars off the road.

7. High speed rail is lightyears ahead in other nations. The U.S. operates one high speed rail line (Acela express in the northeast corridor) that averages 89 mph with a top speed of 150 mph. France's TGV operates 1,700 km of LGV averaging speeds around 173 mph with a top speed of 357 mph. Japan's Shinkansen is a 2,459 km network averaging about 162 mph with a top speed of 361 mph. China operates a 430 km/h network (Plans 12,000 km by 2020) with a top speed of 217 mph (Highest top operating speed in world). High speed rail service that operates well above the United States exist in France, Japan, China, Italy, Spain, Germany and South Korea. High speed rail proposals that would exceed what currently exist in the United States (Acela express) are being planned in nations such as Iran, Morocco, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Argentina and Brazil.

8.China is roughly the size of the United States. Secondly, the networks that exist in France and Japan are roughly the size of the networks that would exist under the proposals in the United States. Thirdly, no one is advocating for CONNECTED high speed rail spanning the entire country but rather regional networks that would exist only where it's profitable to do so.

9. High speed rail across the nation has the support of many republicans including Transportation secretary Ray Lahood and Republican Leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica of Florida.

Here is a video of California's HSR proposal:
YouTube - California High-Speed Trains

My sources:

Interstate Highway System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
U.S. Transportation Subsidies
The Practical Nomad blog: Government subsidies to airlines
Operating Administrations, U.S. DOT, FY 2005 Budget in Brief (http://www.dot.gov/bib2005/admins.html - broken link)
Amtrak Announces Record Annual Ridership - wjz.com (http://wjz.com/local/amtrak.ridership.2.837442.html - broken link)
Amtrak ridership increases - USATODAY.com
Shinkansen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
High-speed rail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by Greenestgrass; 05-22-2009 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:44 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,275 posts, read 9,970,295 times
Reputation: 9063
I think a big factor has to be our love affair with autos. Especially big, noisy, over consumptive ones.

Good info there, by the way.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:47 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,392,137 times
Reputation: 47449
i will be brief. mean streets, if the rail is not safe, if the walk to the station is not safe, i am stayin in the ford escort, it is safe.
there is a reason people in france want a lil car and dont wana take the train.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,969 posts, read 13,761,828 times
Reputation: 4539
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
I think a big factor has to be our love affair with autos. Especially big, noisy, over consumptive ones.

Good info there, by the way.
Exactly.

I'd personally never give up my car to ride a train. Sorry....I know it would be better for the environment, but I wouldn't.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:02 PM
 
8,287 posts, read 11,473,129 times
Reputation: 4938
High Speed rail would work in the US if there were dedicated tracks to it instead of having ACELA share with freight railroad companies. High Speed rail needs it's own right of ways seperately in order to achieve the speeds found in Japan & Europe.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:34 PM
 
3,699 posts, read 3,025,705 times
Reputation: 10007
I think it stems from the fact that we do indeed have a class system in our country. Cars were sold early on as a way to segregate your self from the prole class, the inferrence that only the low men take the mass transit was enough to motivate the gentry to choose the car. Today we see light rail going through some of the worst neighborhood's, only AM commuters would ride, and only if their numbers were sufficient to offer some protection. We are segregated, still, the car has been the great equalizer, once in your car you can feel a lot safer than those poor folk who will be taking mass transit, and risk the exposure to some of societies worst walking nightmares. European's are now beginning to see the difference a diverse culture makes. It used to be the black/white difference, now it's the additional cultures from around the world, separated by car and neighborhood it seems workable, throw them in the same pot and look out. It's sad to say these things, but I think it's true, we aren't ready to integrate the transportation solution just yet.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 19,561,668 times
Reputation: 5575
Quote:
Originally Posted by afoigrokerkok View Post
Exactly.

I'd personally never give up my car to ride a train. Sorry....I know it would be better for the environment, but I wouldn't.
You can't say never, because you have never tried it. Perhaps if there was a train going your direction, and you tried it, you would have a completely different attitude...
I tried for years to get my daughter to ride the train, but she was unwilling to leave her car.
Finally last year when fuel prices got so high, she took the train to work a couple of times, to see what it was like. After two days, she purchased a monthly pass, and has used the train every since. She swears by it now, and complains on those occasions when she must drive her car.
She saves 250 miles a week on her car, and has no more stress or tensions going to and coming from work.
Get on the train, take a nap, or read a book... Life has never been so good..!
I realize it's convenient to always have your car handy, but there are trade offs.....
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,969,207 times
Reputation: 3820
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiRob View Post
High Speed rail would work in the US if there were dedicated tracks to it instead of having ACELA share with freight railroad companies. High Speed rail needs it's own right of ways seperately in order to achieve the speeds found in Japan & Europe.
In the Northeast corridor (and very few places elsewhere) Amtrak owns the tracks it runs on so doesn't have to share with freight trains. That's why the NEC trains mostly run on time unlike Amtrak trains in the rest of the country.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:08 AM
 
48,519 posts, read 80,998,062 times
Reputation: 17978
We are having enough trouble keeping roadways maintained and really don't need another rmassive unprofitable transit system IMO to pay for.Any rail system needs to pay for itself. If you look our highways are paid thru taxes on users such as gasoline tax. The amtrac system is not paid the same way.I thnik that in many areas light rail that pays for itself would work.Airlinhes and airplanes is what put teh death nail in railway passenger travel because price got to be reasonable in aitline travel especailly considering the time saved.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,969,207 times
Reputation: 3820
Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
We are having enough trouble keeping roadways maintained and really don't need another rmassive unprofitable transit system IMO to pay for.Any rail system needs to pay for itself. If you look our highways are paid thru taxes on users such as gasoline tax. The amtrac system is not paid the same way.I thnik that in many areas light rail that pays for itself would work.Airlinhes and airplanes is what put teh death nail in railway passenger travel because price got to be reasonable in aitline travel especailly considering the time saved.
No transportation system in the history of civilization has ever paid for itself. Our highway system is not fully supported by user fees (gas tax) as the Federal, state, and local governments are required to use more and more general revenue every year to subsidize construction and maintenance.
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