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Old 04-29-2013, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,734 posts, read 9,845,111 times
Reputation: 9852

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
A typical highway lane: $5,000-$10,000 per year in maintenance costs, most of it paid by gas taxes.
Incorrect.
Do Roads Pay For Themselves? | U.S. PIRG
Highways don’t pay for themselves -- Since 1947, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called “user fees” by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways.

Highways “pay for themselves” less today than ever. Currently, highway “user fees” pay only about half the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s network of highways, roads and streets.
....
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,398 posts, read 21,239,668 times
Reputation: 24221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prytania View Post
Disagree. Heavy rail and light rail in my experience are MUCH faster than autos. In Atlanta, Phoenix or during my most recent trip, the London Underground is unparalleled in speed and frequency of travel. I'd love to ditch my car.
Who cares about the speed? I've an avid reader, dive into a book or magazine the minute I'm on the bus or train, and I find myself cursing when my expected stop is nearing and I'm thoroughly engrossed in what I'm reading and there's no time to finish it until my return trip!

All reading time is wasted by driving a car!
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,544 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
All reading time is wasted by driving a car!
In your opinion. Some people actually *gasp* enjoy driving, even commuting, despite some who would have you believe otherwise. I find that I have plenty of time at home to read or do whatever I want without the need for "transit reading time".
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,734 posts, read 9,845,111 times
Reputation: 9852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
And while it's great that rail can theoretically carry as much as a 6-9 lane superhighway, most places don't need 6 to 9 lane superhighways. And in reality it carries about 1,200 a day. [A single NYC subway car carries more than that in one day, based on their ridership and cars in service]
A single freeway lane can acommodate a realistic level of 15,000-20,000 vehicles per day. That's a realistic load of around 20,000-30,000 passengers per day, not what it could theoretically care with nothing but 14 passenger vans with round the clock heavy usage with every seat occupied.
Arguing that subsidized automobiles and paved roads are used more than rail is not persuasive. Comparisons to pet rail projects that were deliberately built lame, thanks to politics, bloated by government waste and red tape, and strangled by bureaucracy aren't persuasive.

Back when private enterprise was involved, it was much different. Rail companies not only funded it themselves, they funded trolley parks (later amusement parks) to increase ridership on week-ends. Historically, we know that local urban and interurban rail (1890 - 1920) once carried 90% of the passenger load. There's enough evidence to show a deliberate effort to destroy electric traction rail and favor petroleum powered automobiles. Which was understandable, when America was "Queen of Oil" and what was "good for GeeEm" was "good for America." But Americans may not wish to be captive customers of such benevolent forces like GeeEm or foreign oil producers.

When there is a viable alternative, folks will use it. But without rail, what alternatives do we have?
No flying cars nor vacuum tube transport exist. Mag-lev is far too expensive. Electric cars still require expensive infrastructure (and no gas taxes!)

In the case of rail, it was criminally destroyed, and we are stuck paying exorbitant amounts to bring it back. Partly because no one will address the underlying problem of government meddling and corruption from the opponents of rail.

The issue is that the current system can't continue - can't expand - and we can no longer afford it. Major cities face gridlock. Commuters spend hours on the road. Infrastructure costs are mounting. And population is still increasing... which means that there is only going to be more pressure as more people will want to travel from A to B.

From the data, I think it makes sense to rebuild electric traction rail network to a level that 60 to 80% of all trips can be made via rail. It would make life better for the remaining automobile drivers. It would eliminate foreign oil imports. But that's not what any government rail project is offering. They're deliberately limited and lame. (ex: Atlanta's "new" Streetcar).

With a Congress more devoted to flush toilets, banning light bulbs and tinkering with "Daylight Savings" we can be assured that things will get far worse before they ever get better.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:01 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,858,676 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Not so much. But inching along in the freeways is still much, much faster than public transit. I prefer to inch along than commute by train since it's faster, more comfortable, more flexible. To each his own, however.
Depends on where and when. In Chicago the bus is no better than a car in rush hour, in fact worse but the EL on the other hand will be as fast or faster. It just won't be faster at times other than Rush. While I do love to drive, it can be rather funny sitting in traffic on the expressway being passed up by the Red line or the Blue line!

Street cars if they have their own right of way can be faster than driving but if they don't they will be no better than the bus except for higher capacity.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,062 posts, read 16,078,369 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
Incorrect.
Do Roads Pay For Themselves? | U.S. PIRG
Highways don’t pay for themselves -- Since 1947, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called “user fees” by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways.

Highways “pay for themselves” less today than ever. Currently, highway “user fees” pay only about half the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s network of highways, roads and streets.
....
I like how you say incorrect and then do my own citations for me that prove I am correct =D

"Only about half" (it's actually more than half for highways, generally less -- often much less depending on the state -- for state and local roads).
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,062 posts, read 16,078,369 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Depends on where and when. In Chicago the bus is no better than a car in rush hour, in fact worse but the EL on the other hand will be as fast or faster. It just won't be faster at times other than Rush. While I do love to drive, it can be rather funny sitting in traffic on the expressway being passed up by the Red line or the Blue line!

Street cars if they have their own right of way can be faster than driving but if they don't they will be no better than the bus except for higher capacity.
Yeah, similar with BART. Unfortunately, unless both ends of your destination happen to be on the El... not so good. I'll be in downtown Oakland (Jack London Square area) tomorrow. Ignoring the abysmal transit from me to commuter rail, it'd take 2 1/2 hours on transit (ACE to bus to BART). Fifteen minute drive to rail (or an hour on transit), driving without traffic 1:20, with maybe 2 hours at most. So transit after driving to commuter rail 2:45, driving upwards of 2 hours. Roundtrip transit cost would be about $40. Marginal cost of driving is about 25 cents/mile or $40, plus about $10-15 to park for the day.

So yes, while it might be fun to watch the cars inching forward while you're on rail, the jokes still on transit at the end of the day. There's other advantages and it's a particularly poor transit route with three transfers and lots of walking. I do sometimes take commuter rail into San Jose. It takes about 2 1/2 hours, so slightly slower than driving even with traffic), but there's a desk so I can use it as productive time and rail runs directly to downtown San Jose rather than having to deal with transfers and fight the rush hour crowds on BART which are just as congested as the freeways. Amtrak runs directly, unfortunately, it's more of a Greyhound service than commuter and only runs three times a day. It's also Amtrak, which means it's so slow that Greyhound is faster.

Last edited by Malloric; 04-30-2013 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:54 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,062 posts, read 16,078,369 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
Arguing that subsidized automobiles and paved roads are used more than rail is not persuasive. Comparisons to pet rail projects that were deliberately built lame, thanks to politics, bloated by government waste and red tape, and strangled by bureaucracy aren't persuasive.

Back when private enterprise was involved, it was much different. Rail companies not only funded it themselves, they funded trolley parks (later amusement parks) to increase ridership on week-ends. Historically, we know that local urban and interurban rail (1890 - 1920) once carried 90% of the passenger load. There's enough evidence to show a deliberate effort to destroy electric traction rail and favor petroleum powered automobiles. Which was understandable, when America was "Queen of Oil" and what was "good for GeeEm" was "good for America." But Americans may not wish to be captive customers of such benevolent forces like GeeEm or foreign oil producers.

When there is a viable alternative, folks will use it. But without rail, what alternatives do we have?
No flying cars nor vacuum tube transport exist. Mag-lev is far too expensive. Electric cars still require expensive infrastructure (and no gas taxes!)

In the case of rail, it was criminally destroyed, and we are stuck paying exorbitant amounts to bring it back. Partly because no one will address the underlying problem of government meddling and corruption from the opponents of rail.

The issue is that the current system can't continue - can't expand - and we can no longer afford it. Major cities face gridlock. Commuters spend hours on the road. Infrastructure costs are mounting. And population is still increasing... which means that there is only going to be more pressure as more people will want to travel from A to B.

From the data, I think it makes sense to rebuild electric traction rail network to a level that 60 to 80% of all trips can be made via rail. It would make life better for the remaining automobile drivers. It would eliminate foreign oil imports. But that's not what any government rail project is offering. They're deliberately limited and lame. (ex: Atlanta's "new" Streetcar).

With a Congress more devoted to flush toilets, banning light bulbs and tinkering with "Daylight Savings" we can be assured that things will get far worse before they ever get better.
And NYC Subway also costs $2 billion per mile, or enough for for 1,000 lanes of highway miles. I'm glad you agree that your example is stupid rail and that just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's good. NYC's subway is very effective, and yet it it's also very expensive. The current subsidy is $1.17 per passenger, and with an annual ridership of 1.7 billion, that's about $2 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies.

A freeway lane can move 10,000/day easily and costs say $10,000 per year. To move that same 1.7 billion, you'd need 465 lanes of freeway. (1.7 billion/(10,000*365) = 465. That's $4,650,000.
NYC Subway: $2,000,000,000 in annual subsidy.
Freeway total cost: $4,650,000. And then, as you yourself have said, most of that is paid for by gas taxes and not general tax revenues, but we'll ignore that since it's not even relevant.

http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transporta...riders-a-buck/
http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffsubway.htm

Freeways in NYC wouldn't work not because they're expensive. They're not expensive at all, at least not relative to subways. They wouldn't work because you couldn't fit 465 lanes of freeway going into Manhattan. Your stupid rail example is using an earth mover to plant your geraniums while a freeway-only solution to NYC is using hand trowels to dig the Grand Canal. Sure, the hand trowel is $1.99 at Home Depot, but it's not a practically way of digging the Grand Canal.

Last edited by Malloric; 04-30-2013 at 01:03 AM..
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:16 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,988 posts, read 41,959,650 times
Reputation: 14805
Except one lane-mile of expressway won't have a maintence cost of $10,000 / year in NYC. This is higher because it's elevated, but still $10,000 / year sounds too low.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/ny...anted=all&_r=0
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,062 posts, read 16,078,369 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Except one lane-mile of expressway won't have a maintence cost of $10,000 / year in NYC. This is higher because it's elevated, but still $10,000 / year sounds too low.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/ny...anted=all&_r=0
And because it isn't maintenance. It's letting it go until it needs to be replaced in basically the most built up area in the country.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres...stsSummary.pdf

Double it, triple it, times it by 10 or even 100. Doesn't change anything anyway.

And remember, we're comparing ongoing costs... is it sustainable for the government to keep spending, spending, spending. NYC Subway is the best we've got as far as efficiency of a mass transit system. Some commuter rail might have a lower % subsidy (barely), but that's as good as it gets. $1.17 per ride. Maybe a better way of getting at it is TOTAL road costs. In California, a high gas tax state, the subsidy per person is well under $500/year. So you'd get to board public transit roughly once a day. No transfers, no return trips. One boarding of the most efficient transit system we have if every place looked like NYC.

Last edited by Malloric; 04-30-2013 at 07:25 AM..
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