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Old 02-03-2010, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,861 posts, read 15,213,177 times
Reputation: 3576

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
Well, I don't live up there. I can't afford to relocate anywhere right now. I am here in metropolitan Atlanta.
Right, I'm here in Atlanta as well...but "up there" is where Amtrak has had high speed rail, and "up there" is where they have barely kept their heads above water, despite having the best possible use case and population for high speed rail in the US. As they say...."if you can't make it there, then you can't make it anywhere" and I predict that rail in the US just won't work from a business perspective for long distance travel.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:47 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 23,964,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
Ridership in the NEC has been flat with a slight peak in ridership at the height of the gas price spike in 2008...the Acela trains which are billed as the answer (I've ridden them many times between South Sta and Penn Sta) were taken out of service on and off due to mechanical problems over the last few years...Amtrak is barely keeping afloat in the northeast and losing hugely all over the rest of the country. Some of the reasons they can keep it going in the northeast is because many of the terminals are used for commuter rail and the facilities are subsidized by the local and state governments. Many of the rights of way are also upgraded and maintained by local entities for use by commuter services. Amtrak piggybacks on that use.

My point is that in the best possible use case in the northeast, Amtrak still has serious challenges and people have not abandoned their cars (ever driven on I-95?) or stopped taking the air shuttles. The prices on Amtrak have continued to increase, and the cost/benefit isn't that good unless gas prices are at historic highs.
Ridership is going up and not just on Amtrak , but on all the other agencies that use the NEC , people are slowly balancing there car culture here, Long but short distances can be covered by a Train and Long Cross Country by Train & Air. Also adding amenities like Free Wifi , Bathrooms , Cafe Cars, to some Major routes. The only drop in the NE ridership is on the LIRR.

~Corey
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,861 posts, read 15,213,177 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Ridership is going up and not just on Amtrak , but on all the other agencies that use the NEC , people are slowly balancing there car culture here, Long but short distances can be covered by a Train and Long Cross Country by Train & Air. Also adding amenities like Free Wifi , Bathrooms , Cafe Cars, to some Major routes. The only drop in the NE ridership is on the LIRR.

~Corey
Not doubting your stats, but would like to review them. Can you post a link? I have friends who work for Metro North Commuter RR but what we're discussing isn't commuter rail but inter-city rail, specifically high speed rail in the southeast. During the gas price spikes, ridership increased on commuter rail and Amtrak posted a modest (I think it was 2% or 3%) increase in ridership in the NEC. Don't know what the recent trend has been.

I do know that the operating profit for Amtrak in the NEC has been very small, and again....many of the stations and other infrastructure is subsidized by local governments and authorities for commuter rail. That would not be the case in the southeast.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,861 posts, read 15,213,177 times
Reputation: 3576
You know what....I will eat all my words....and jump on the high speed rail bandwagon....IF...there is anyone out there who can share any kind of ROI assessment, ridership study, or other statistics that show that rail in the southeast is a good idea and would serve enough people to justify the borrowed capital (and most likely operating) costs.

Have the Democrats in Congress, USDOT, the GAO, Amtrak, GDOT....anyone...actually reviewed the numbers and business case, or is all this just more candy in the guise of economic stimulus?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:37 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,328,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
You know what....I will eat all my words....and jump on the high speed rail bandwagon....IF...there is anyone out there who can share any kind of ROI assessment, ridership study, or other statistics that show that rail in the southeast is a good idea and would serve enough people to justify the borrowed capital (and most likely operating) costs.

Have the Democrats in Congress, USDOT, the GAO, Amtrak, GDOT....anyone...actually reviewed the numbers and business case, or is all this just more candy in the guise of economic stimulus?
"Borrowed capital"? That would assume the rail line operator will be required to pay back the money. Everything I'm hearing says the fed is going to through in billions of dollars and just print some more money to make up for it- no one is expecting this to be a profitable venture......
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
969 posts, read 1,702,265 times
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Right now, train travel in this country is TOO SLOW to compete and many people have a negative perception of it. That is why it's not a popular option. If we can make travel by train competitive with other modes of transportation and shift people's perception of trains in this country, you will see a steady increase in ridership. This will be another option to help move people and goods throughout our country more efficiently.

This country cannot afford to put all its eggs into one basket (roads) and not invest in other modes of transit, such as high speed rail. It is so ignorant to think America will always be #1 forever. We are falling behind and we need to invest in our own country! If earlier generations didn't invest in our highway system (which was the envy of the world!), would we be the country that we are today? I highly doubt it.

Finally, about the whole "profit" thing. The ROI and "profit" is the economic benefits and retaining our position as a world power. Do roads make a profit? NO. Do we throw billions of dollars at roads? YES. Will high speed rail make a proft? Might not either, but the economic impacts of investing in our roads and transit versus not doing anything are huge. If we do nothing, or just continue to pave over our entire country, America will continue to loose steam as the economic powerhouse of the world (and continue to be slaves to foreign oil!)

Last edited by mike7586; 02-03-2010 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,861 posts, read 15,213,177 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike7586 View Post
This country cannot afford to put all its eggs into one basket (roads) and not invest in other modes of transit, such as high speed rail. It is so ignorant to think America will always be #1 forever. We are falling behind and we need to invest in our own country!
No, what is ignorant is to always try and compare us to Europe or Japan, and to "invest" borrowed capital into projects that have not been reviewed to ascertain their actual ROI.

We will lose our #1 status if we allow our politicians to further wreck our fiscal health and borrow and mortgage our future more than it already is. What we need are intelligent solutions to real problems, and not poorly conceived solutions to non-existent or minor problems. For example, do we really have a huge problem with a huge number of people traveling between Nashville and Atlanta? It might make sense to "invest" in the northeast, between LA and San Diego, Chicago to St. Louis, and other key corridors. Taking a shotgun approach because some of you hate cars is just not helpful in my opinion, especially at the massive cost.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
969 posts, read 1,702,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
No, what is ignorant is to always try and compare us to Europe or Japan, and to "invest" borrowed capital into projects that have not been reviewed to ascertain their actual ROI.

We will lose our #1 status if we allow our politicians to further wreck our fiscal health and borrow and mortgage our future more than it already is. What we need are intelligent solutions to real problems, and not poorly conceived solutions to non-existent or minor problems. For example, do we really have a huge problem with a huge number of people traveling between Nashville and Atlanta? It might make sense to "invest" in the northeast, between LA and San Diego, Chicago to St. Louis, and other key corridors. Taking a shotgun approach because some of you hate cars is just not helpful in my opinion, especially at the massive cost.
Actually, I think it is ignorant to say "This is America, not Europe or Japan." We can take what is successful in other countries (some which are our competition) and tweak it so it works for OUR country. We do have a serious transportation problem in this country and it's just as important as health care, etc. This country's greed and people spending more than they can afford is another topic.

Also, I never said I hate cars. You anti-transit people love to say that about pro-transit folks. I don't want the country paved over. We have so much farmland too that is so underutilized, which is another topic for discussion. What we are simply saying is we cannot rely on one form of moving people and goods around (roads). Is that really so difficult to understand?

Atlanta and much of the Southeast didn't get a lot of money for High Speed Rail because you're right, the demand is not there yet, especially Atlanta to Nashville (which is why it didn't get any money!). Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, DC line makes sense. All of the other routes you mentioned got a lot of money, because they make sense, so what is your point? Nashville to Atlanta doesn't make sense right now, which is why it didn't get any money...

Like I said before, if earlier generations didn't invest in our highway system, which was the envy of the world, we would not be the same country today. I'm sure there were naysayers back then too (about how it was a waste).
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:11 AM
 
52,068 posts, read 47,851,243 times
Reputation: 16227
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
No, what is ignorant is to always try and compare us to Europe or Japan, and to "invest" borrowed capital into projects that have not been reviewed to ascertain their actual ROI.

We will lose our #1 status if we allow our politicians to further wreck our fiscal health and borrow and mortgage our future more than it already is. What we need are intelligent solutions to real problems, and not poorly conceived solutions to non-existent or minor problems. For example, do we really have a huge problem with a huge number of people traveling between Nashville and Atlanta? It might make sense to "invest" in the northeast, between LA and San Diego, Chicago to St. Louis, and other key corridors. Taking a shotgun approach because some of you hate cars is just not helpful in my opinion, especially at the massive cost.
I am not worried about #1 status. I am just concerned about getting things done right. The way some things have been isn't right.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 23,014,621 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by waronxmas View Post
You are right that the Airlines themselves have probably seen very little in the way of public subsidies, but that's only half the story.

All Airports (and highways) were built with public money by the local and federal government. All freight and passenger railroads (except for subways) were built by private companies. Even the streetcar and interurban lines of the early 20th century were built by private companies. Once the construction of the Airports and highways were subsidized in the 1950s onwards, that spelled the end of the passenger rail system for the most part in this country.
Absolutely. Most airports and terminals are designed, built, and run by the local government and/or a specialized local authority created for that purpose, like MAC in the Twin Cities, and the airlines often have surprisingly little say in how things (like baggage claim areas) are organized or allocated.

Most airports also charge airlines quite a bit for the privilege of landing there ... that's especially true overseas. It seems to me that Narita (NRT, Tokyo's main airport) used to charge quite a bit for the few US airlines (NW, UA) that had permission to land there, and probably still do. Ain't nothing free for an airline. :-(

Last edited by rcsteiner; 02-03-2010 at 11:38 AM..
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