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Old 06-16-2013, 08:06 AM
 
9,732 posts, read 9,628,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
I am very experienced with the northeast corridor, going back to the late 1970s. I lived in NY and MA used to ride Acela between Route 128 and NYC weekly in the 2003-2004 timeframe.

The question I have for you is....if ridership is at an all time high, why is it that Amtrak cannot make ends meet? Why are they constantly in the pockets of the taxpayers for more subsidy? And if the answer is that the NE corridor does make money, then why don't they ditch the unprofitable lines or privatize the NE corridor?

Britain privatized their rail throughout the country years ago, and it's working out fine. Maybe we should do that here, and then lines that have ridership and can make money and sustain themselves will, and lines that don't have the ridership and cannot support the operation will not exist.

As for Europe and Japan, you cannot compare. The distances are incredibly smaller between major capitals and the cost to build through countryside is much lower. There is no real air travel and the cost to drive is much higher within the small countries of Europe or Japan, or where there is air service, it's much easier to take the train and takes the same time. The US is many, many times larger with huge distances between major cities. The sole exception to that fact is the northeast corridor, where Amtrak has made attempts to institute European style rail transport, and it's been marginally successful.
...Well, probably the main reason that Amtrak cannot make ends meet is because it is operated by the government who has proven that they could lose money on a whorehouse, not-to-mention transportation where the government currently loses hundreds-of-billions, if not trillions, on both trains and roads.

I think that privatizing the passenger rail system, where applicable, is an excellent idea, just as I think that privatizing the road network, where applicable, is an excellent idea.

For example, another poster mentioned the need to widen I-85 to 3 lanes in each direction between the Mall of Georgia area in Buford and the South Carolina state line.

One idea could be to eliminate the portion of the fuel tax that funds the maintenance of Interstate 85 throughout the state of Georgia and replace it with inflation-indexed distance-based user fee funding that would ensure that 100% of all operations and maintenance costs on the road were always paid.

After implementing inflation-indexed distance-based user fee funding on I-85, the State of Georgia would then lease I-85 and the future parallel passenger rail transit corridor out to a private entity who would pay roughly $3 billion to lease I-85 and the passenger rail transit corridor on the parallel NS right-of-way (regional heavy rail/commuter rail/intercity rail and all transit entity-owned real estate assets along transit lines) for roughly no less than 30 years...this publicly-owned but privately-operated multimodal transportation corridor concept is referred to as a transportation "supercorridor".

As part of the lease deal, the private entity leasing both I-85 and the future passenger rail transit line would keep all profits from both the user fee-funded I-85 roadway and the future passenger rail transit corridor during the life of the lease.

The private entity would also get to keep all profits from the publicly-owned real estate assets within the I-85/NS Supercorridor.

The private entity would also be responsible for the costs of designing and constructing both the future passenger rail corridor and any improvements to the I-85 roadway (improvements such as the much-needed widening of I-85 to 3 lanes in each direction between Buford and the SC state line, as well as new & improved lighting where necessary, concrete sound barriers, landscaping, etc).

After designing and constructing the passenger rail transit corridor, the private entity would also be responsible for the continued costs of operating and maintaining the passenger rail transit corridor for the life of the lease.

The private entity would also be responsible for the continued costs of operating and maintaining I-85 throughout the life of the lease.

Meanwhile, the inflation-indexed user fees on the roadways within the I-85/NS Supercorridor (I-85, I-985 and express lanes through grade-separated intersections on parallel major surface roads like Buford Hwy, P'tree Industrial Blvd, etc) would also be used for congestion pricing to ensure that the expressways and tolled express lanes through grade-separated intersections on parallel major surface roads were always kept moving at a minimum speed of 40-45 mph.

Apply this supercorridor funding concept to every mainline Interstate and its major spur/parallel routes and parallel passenger rail transit corridor in the state and we will have a funding source for ground transportation that does not involve raising fuel taxes or sales taxes.

Through the use of variable tolls, congestion pricing would be utilized primarily to ensure that the mainline Interstates stay moving for freight trucks (and business travel) who, while subject to a higher flat user fee/toll rate for the increased damage they do to the roads (a rate of roughly $0.06 per-mile in 2013 dollars), would not be subject to congestion pricing because of their importance to the economy.

And while they would be subject to a flat distance-based user fee rate (of roughly $0.03 per-mile in 2013 dollars), vehicles with 3 or more occupants also would not be subject to congestion pricing as encouragement for making road space with carpooling (...that's as opposed to single-occupant vehicles who would be subject to congestion pricing rates of up to $1.00 per-mile in 2013 dollars at the most-congested times unless their single-occupant vehicle was part of their business).

Congestion pricing would also be used to ensure that one mode of transportation in the severely-constrained road network of the Atlanta region does not become dangerously overused at the expense of the transit network which would be used to catch the spillover from the excess longer-distanced single-occupant vehicle commuter traffic that has been priced off of major roads at peak times.

Congestion pricing would help keep roads moving for the growing freight and business operations that our economy depends on while helping to keep viable the transit operations that will help keep a very fast-growing population from clogging up our increasingly constrained (limited) road network at peak travel times.

In addition to congestion pricing, and referring to the remarks that another commenter made earlier about buses (I believe it was Bajan Yankee who made the comments about buses), parts of the intercity/interstate bus networks that use the Interstates can be integrated into the rail network.

For example, Megabus and Greyhound bus traffic going to someplace like Charlotte and beyond via an I-85 can be folded into express interstate high-speed passenger rail routes, while Greyhound buses that may make local stops on a route that either uses or runs parallel to I-85 between Atlanta and Charlotte can be folded into intercity/interurban high-speed passenger rail routes that will make some or all of the roughly 9 or so intermediate stops between Atlanta and Charlotte (and beyond).
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:00 PM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,550,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Why are roads a responsibility and railroads not? Aren't they also just transportation from A to B for freight and passengers and public safety and defense?
Different models. What worked for rail is for government to seize the right-of-way and let the railroad companies take them over. Rail is fine as is...for moving freight.

Quote:
No they aren't. I travel on exactly 1 of Marietta's roads. I've never been on Anderson St. there in Marietta and never will be, and it's not a main road so under your logic, it shouldn't be built because it's only used by a fraction of Americans in a small part of the country and doesn't even connect anywhere.
But roads are ubiquitous. You can have a development with a road but no rail. But you can't have development with rail but no road.

Quote:
Look at the news. There are all kinds of developments springing up next to rail stations all over the place, not just transit, but along intercity rail lines as well.
Almost always with government backed incentives. And development is not springing up around Amtrak stations. What there is around Atlanta's Amtrack station is due to Peachtree Street. Amtrak is not spurring development. The NEC seems to be Amtrak's only effective area.

Without government incentives, the MARTA stations areas would largely be barren. Doraville was having a tough time developing its former GM site and it's right beside a MARTA station. Just a few MARTA lines so you'd think scarcity alone would make the areas around them hot properties.

Quote:
Many of the smaller communities on the long distance routes, see them not as simply a landcruise, or relic from the 50s, but a vital transportation lifeline, that connects them to the airports.
Why would they be seen as "vital". That suggests that there is no other connection...like a road? Roads are vital to communities, not rail.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:31 PM
 
2,406 posts, read 3,129,960 times
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Mathman dropping some knowledge.

Well said.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Morningside, Atlanta, GA
280 posts, read 362,605 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post

And development is not springing up around Amtrak stations. What there is around Atlanta's Amtrack station is due to Peachtree Street. Amtrak is not spurring development. The NEC seems to be Amtrak's only effective area.


.
I totally agree that the one Amtrak route to Atlanta is not driving economic development. However, you are correct that the NEC is Amtraks sweet spot and it is driving development in the Northeast.

What we have to keep in mind is that the NEC is heading South. The NEC schedule now includes service from Boston through to Richmond, Petersberg, Newport News/Hampton Roads, and Norfolk areas (See NEC timetables 3 and 4). Richmond may still be a decade away from Acela service (there is a bridge issue coimg South from Washington), but it is coming. North Carolina has expanded rail on the Raliegh-Charlotte corridor which has become popular and regular NEC service will eventually reach Charlotte. So while Atlanta-Charlotte 100+ MPH is not going to happen anytime soon (even 2040 might be stretching it), remember that the NEC is coming to Charlotte. When an Atlanta/Charlotte high speed line is built Charlotte will be the Southern Terminus of the NEC.

So high speed rail to Charlotte? It won't happen anytime soon, but the NEC is coming South. For now, the corridor is only ready to add additional trains (existing service from Atlanta North frequently sells out and the only stop in Charlotte is in the middle of the night), but I think we want to be ready for the NEC.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,942,195 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
Why would they be seen as "vital". That suggests that there is no other connection...like a road? Roads are vital to communities, not rail.
Paved roads do predate rail transit by about six millenia or so.

History of road transport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I really don't get the "It's not fair they're subsidizng roads but not HSR/mass transit" argument.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:02 PM
 
9,732 posts, read 9,628,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kferq View Post
I totally agree that the one Amtrak route to Atlanta is not driving economic development. However, you are correct that the NEC is Amtraks sweet spot and it is driving development in the Northeast.

What we have to keep in mind is that the NEC is heading South. The NEC schedule now includes service from Boston through to Richmond, Petersberg, Newport News/Hampton Roads, and Norfolk areas (See NEC timetables 3 and 4). Richmond may still be a decade away from Acela service (there is a bridge issue coimg South from Washington), but it is coming. North Carolina has expanded rail on the Raliegh-Charlotte corridor which has become popular and regular NEC service will eventually reach Charlotte. So while Atlanta-Charlotte 100+ MPH is not going to happen anytime soon (even 2040 might be stretching it), remember that the NEC is coming to Charlotte. When an Atlanta/Charlotte high speed line is built Charlotte will be the Southern Terminus of the NEC.

So high speed rail to Charlotte? It won't happen anytime soon, but the NEC is coming South. For now, the corridor is only ready to add additional trains (existing service from Atlanta North frequently sells out and the only stop in Charlotte is in the middle of the night), but I think we want to be ready for the NEC.
...That's an excellent point that the Northeast Corridor is heading South (in more ways than one).

Charlotte may be poised to receive Northeast Corridor-type passenger train service before Atlanta by virtue of North Carolina's closer location to the Northeast Corridor and much-larger investments by the State of North Carolina in passenger rail transit (and transportation infrastructure in general) than the State of Georgia.

But nothing will motivate Metro Atlanta region and Georgia politicians more than to see a close competitor in Charlotte and North Carolina get Northeast Corridor-style passenger train service before Atlanta and Georgia.

The South Carolina Upstate (particularly the growing industrial and tourism center of Greenville) is already highly-motivated to have a much more consistent passenger rail connection to both the population and business centers to the north (North Carolina and the heavily-populated Mid-Atlantic/Northeastern states) and to the south (heavily-populated and fast-growing Atlanta and her world-leading international airport).

But upgrading and expanding passenger rail service in the Atlanta region remains a challenge for the time being because of the limited capacity just for EXISTING freight train volumes ALONE.

If/when passenger rail service is eventually upgraded and expanded in the Atlanta region, both the region's and the state's overall level of rail capacity is going to have to be expanded to accommodate both the increased level of freight rail traffic that will generated by an expanded Port of Savannah and the high volume of passenger rail traffic that a road-constrained metro region of 6-10 million people will generate...a volume of passenger rail traffic many people likely don't even believe the Atlanta region is capable of generating because of the region's currently severely-undersized transit infrastructure.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13798
Quote:
Originally Posted by kferq View Post
I totally agree that the one Amtrak route to Atlanta is not driving economic development. However, you are correct that the NEC is Amtraks sweet spot and it is driving development in the Northeast.
What development is the NEC driving in the Northeast?
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Morningside, Atlanta, GA
280 posts, read 362,605 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
What development is the NEC driving in the Northeast?
Basically, the economic impact of passanger rail investment in the NEC (remembering of course that passenger rail investment improves frieght infrustructure) was equal to that of highway development (in the same corridor) over a five year period. They also found that highway investment increased development quicker, but the effect faded, whereas the effect of passanger rail investment had a slower impart but continued stronger to the end of the period.
http://www.gmupolicy.net/transport-e...Investment.pdf

The study is from George Mason's policy center which is considered right of center and the slower impact of the rail investment was used to criticize the Obama administrations stimulus policies.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:40 PM
 
9,732 posts, read 9,628,869 times
Reputation: 6937
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Paved roads do predate rail transit by about six millenia or so.

History of road transport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I really don't get the "It's not fair they're subsidizng roads but not HSR/mass transit" argument.
...The truth is that "they're" (as in the government, I presume) really not completely subsidizing roads either.

The government's (local, state and federal) CREDITORS are the ones that are really subsidizing our road network since the fuel taxes that the government collects from us don't cover the full cost of constructing, operating and maintaining the road network.

Fuel taxes only pay part of the cost of constructing and maintaining the road network, the government borrows the rest so that we can have our comfortable illusion that our taxes cover the full cost of building and maintaining the road network.

Hence the misinformed cries of "I already paid for that road with my taxes!".

That someone's taxes may have paid for the road but for only part of the road.

Private U.S. banks, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, oil exporters, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Carribbean banking centers and so on, paid the rest of the cost of building and maintaining the road, a cost which the government is not necessarily doing all that great a job of paying back seeing as though the government collects too little in fuel tax revenues and user fees.

Who owns the U.S.? - Top 10 foreign holders of U.S. debt:
Yahoo! Finance - Business Finance, Stock Market, Quotes, News
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:26 PM
 
9,732 posts, read 9,628,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Paved roads do predate rail transit by about six millenia or so.
...Paved roads do predate railroads by thousands of years, but more like by only four millennia or so as the first tracked roads were found to be in Ancient Greece in the form of ruts cut into stone roads to guide wheels of vehicles hauling ships overland between two close bodies of water as well as guide the wheels of vehicles hauling heavy loads at quarries.

Diolkos - a paved trackway that was used to haul boats overland across the Isthmus of Corinth in Ancient Greece.
Diolkos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Railways in the Greek and Roman World:
http://www.sciencenews.gr/docs/diolkos.pdf
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