U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Georgia > Atlanta
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-04-2010, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,858 posts, read 15,192,827 times
Reputation: 3566

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobKovacs View Post
All I want is one simple answer:

Can someone explain to me how having high-speed bullet train service is going to solve a particular problem/issue in this country?

- Will it ease congestion?

- Will it provide travel for people who can't afford air travel or car travel?

- Will it stop global warming?

- Will it increase our ability to distribute goods and services?

People talk about how we need bullet trains, but I haven't seen a rational explanation of what we need them for.......
You're just too logical Bob. Logic and thought have no place in such an emotional and politically charged debate. You should know that cars are evil and trains are good...case closed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-04-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,983,750 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
I never know what I am getting in a used car. Sometimes used cars might have problems. If I am going to get a car, I need to have it for the longhaul, like my father had his for 20 years.
The same is true of new cars. In fact, I would say there are more unknowns, since there really isn't a track record for a given new model year to base quality judgments on. You can sometimes extrapolate from previous years, but...

My Dad always purchased used cars when I was younger, and the two new cars he ended up buying when I got older were by far the most problematic ones I remember him having. That probably drove me to being more careful when purchasing my own.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,983,750 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteyNice View Post
I never quite understood why people expect transportation to make a profit. Even the heavily subsidized airlines lose money hand over fist.
Airlines are not subsidized (heavily or not), and one of the main reasons they lose money these days is the fact that most people tend to fly the cheapest carrier without any regard for brand loyalty.

Because of this, it's almost impossible for a carrier to unilaterally increase fares to better cover costs, or to increase services in any meaningful way without losing money on the deal because a significant percentage of their customers would decide to go elsewhere for the small price difference.

This has been seen over and over again. To the general flying public, service doesn't matter. They say it does, but actual ticket purchases show otherwise.

Since multiple airlines cannot work together to increase fares (that would be "collusion", a violation of anti-trust law), we start seeing things like baggage fees, etc., to help cover the ever-increasing labor, landing fee, and security costs being incurred by the airlines. Even with those additional fees, though, airline fares are at historic lows, and airlines are still struggling.

That's the nature of capital-intensive businesses that have primary expenses that can't be controlled and which are currently at record or near-record levels. Fuel and people costs are #1 and #2 overall, and the cost to start an airline is astronomical.

The fact that there are so many airlines in competition with each other is at least part of the problem from the airlines' perspective. Fewer airlines would raise fares, almost certainly. But one could argue that fares should be a lot higher anyway given the various expenses required to operate a flight in the first place. Flying today is a bargain compared to what it probably should cost a traveller if the actual cost to fly were being charged.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 11:26 AM
 
719 posts, read 1,503,602 times
Reputation: 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobKovacs View Post
All I want is one simple answer:

Can someone explain to me how having high-speed bullet train service is going to solve a particular problem/issue in this country?

- Will it ease congestion?

- Will it provide travel for people who can't afford air travel or car travel?

- Will it stop global warming?

- Will it increase our ability to distribute goods and services?

People talk about how we need bullet trains, but I haven't seen a rational explanation of what we need them for.......
Well, to be fair, efficiency and goods distribution are not the only benefits to be considered here. By its nature, this is a project that right now is being framed at a high level of abstraction, the macro-infrastructure level. At this level, I'm not sure how useful such notions as ROI, etc. are to the discussion.

For example, how do you measure the ROI of a cultural institution? What are the comparable ROIs to the city of Atlanta that it now has the Fox Theater in midtown instead of another parking deck thanks to the efforts of preservationists? What is the ROI to the city that the Atlanta Braves call the city limits home? What is the ROI of having the High Museum structure and the museum housed inside located in the city?

The list goes on and on.

Now granted, a transportation infrastructure is not exactly the same as these other types of institutions. But it's not totally unrelated either. Just imagine the response you'd get if you suggested to a New Yorker knocking down Grand Central Station to put in a highway overpass, for example. Or one of Philadelphia's old stations. You'd be run out of town on a rail - high-speed even.

So this is the problem. True, superhighway systems like the one we have have many virtues. It apparently suits the American character well -- whatever that is. And yes, its presence may mean we have to take a hard look at whether to build a rail infrastructure alongside it, especially since it's been decades since the nation, outside the NE region, relied on them. (By the way, wonder what the "lost ROI" is on the old Atlanta train station -- which I understand was every bit a worthy peer to the ones in the older, bigger cities but tragically was bulldozed decades ago to make way for "progress"?) But in making the decision, I think we need to move the debate out of the narrow confines of project management lingo to where it belongs. Maybe we can dig out some of those dusty writings of the Chicago architects, for example, who built that city. Now those were some technocrats with vision, and that's the kind of combination of technological know-how and bold inspiration that I think we need in this discussion.

Last edited by WilliamM; 02-04-2010 at 11:42 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,858 posts, read 15,192,827 times
Reputation: 3566
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamM View Post
Well, to be fair, efficiency and goods distribution are not the only benefits to be considered here. By its nature, this is a project that right now is being framed at a high level of abstraction, the macro-infrastructure level. At this level, I'm not sure how useful such notions as ROI, etc. are to the discussion.

For example, how do you measure the ROI of a cultural institution? What are the comparable ROIs to the city of Atlanta that it now has the Fox Theater in midtown instead of another parking deck thanks to the efforts of preservationists? What is the ROI to the city that the Atlanta Braves call the city limits home? What is the ROI of having the High Museum structure and the museum housed inside located in the city?
When you're discussing spending tens of BILLIONs of dollars, all of it borrowed, so-called "notions as ROI, etc" are very useful and relevant. What kind of responsible business spends billions of leveraged dollars on a project with no clear value or ROI? Our government should be treating its capital projects with the same due dilligence. Many of you seem content to just let the government spend billions of borrowed dollars on a project without the slightest disclosure or projections of the need for the project or the cost to care and feed the infrastructure down the road.

Your comparison to cultural institution is ridiculous and is apples/oranges. The multiplier effect or economic impact to a city of infrastructure is hard to estimate, but one thing you can estimate is how many people a year will come to Turner Field. You can make assumptions of the benefit and economic impact. There is also minimal cost to the taxpayer for the Braves being located in Atlanta. The same information and assumptions cannot be made about building a muti-billion dollar high speed rail line. How many riders/year? What will the revenue be per year? Operating and capital costs/year?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 12:42 PM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,295,188 times
Reputation: 3565
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
You can make assumptions of the benefit and economic impact. There is also minimal cost to the taxpayer for the Braves being located in Atlanta. The same information and assumptions cannot be made about building a muti-billion dollar high speed rail line. How many riders/year? What will the revenue be per year? Operating and capital costs/year?
I'll even offer to skip any notion of ROI, profitability, etc- just explain to me why we're building all of this high-speed rail all of a sudden. We all knw it won't make money, but maybe if it cures cancer or something, I'll see the benefit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
7,732 posts, read 12,466,030 times
Reputation: 2774
I personally am not anti-car. My line of thinking is that when are these vaunted highways going to turn a profit? The answer is never, unless we toll everything.

I want parody. Simple as that. It's all about choices.

Roads don't pay for themselves, and neither does mass transit. We need more options, plain and simple. If we have to raise taxes to do so, then so be it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 01:23 PM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,295,188 times
Reputation: 3565
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnatl View Post
I personally am not anti-car. My line of thinking is that when are these vaunted highways going to turn a profit? The answer is never, unless we toll everything.

I want parody. Simple as that. It's all about choices.

Roads don't pay for themselves, and neither does mass transit. We need more options, plain and simple. If we have to raise taxes to do so, then so be it.
So, I want to be able to take a gondola anywhere in the US- should the fed create a country-wide network of canals so I can have parity with the highway system? (And yes, it's "parity", not "parody". SNL skits are parodies......)

And again, I'm not looking for ROI calcs anymore- just explain to me what purpose this high-speed rail will serve- profitable or not.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
7,732 posts, read 12,466,030 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobKovacs View Post
So, I want to be able to take a gondola anywhere in the US- should the fed create a country-wide network of canals so I can have parity with the highway system? (And yes, it's "parity", not "parody". SNL skits are parodies......)
LOL - Thanks for catching that, I was typing fast and distracted....

As to the rest, get real. BUT, canals would be nice.


In all seriousness, I am willing to pay more in taxes if that's what it takes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-04-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
8,020 posts, read 12,549,229 times
Reputation: 5944
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
When you're discussing spending tens of BILLIONs of dollars, all of it borrowed, so-called "notions as ROI, etc" are very useful and relevant. What kind of responsible business spends billions of leveraged dollars on a project with no clear value or ROI? Our government should be treating its capital projects with the same due dilligence. Many of you seem content to just let the government spend billions of borrowed dollars on a project without the slightest disclosure or projections of the need for the project or the cost to care and feed the infrastructure down the road.
Here's the thing: The government is not a business nor should it be ran like one. In an ideal world, the government should spend tax money to build things for our benefit. Why on earth should the government not spend tax dollars and save it up?

Aside from that, their is a clear value in public works projects: To serve the public.

In the past we spent billions of dollars on to build huge projects without the expectation they'd make money:

-The Manhattan Project
-World War II
-The Space Program
-The interstate highways
-Airports
-The building of Georgia's "lakes": Georgia has no natural lakes and this city wouldn't be here if were for the government spending money

In fact, using your logic we should not have built airports because hardly anyone used airplanes for travel in the beginning.

There are things more important than just getting our money back when it comes to building government projects as well. In most cases, that money needs to be spent so that we can raise or maintain our strategic economic or defense status.

In the case of HSR, I do not disagree with you that the amount of people who will use this network won't be significant at first. Unlike NYC and DC, we don't have people traveling in huge numbers to Atlanta for daily work and the current modes of transportation suit them fine. The most it will probably be used for is tourism. However, given a long enough time line, people will begin to commute to Atlanta via rail from Birmingham, Chattanooga, Greenville, or Memphis since it evolves less hassle than flying or driving.

There is also the fact that the world is running out of oil. It's doubtful that all oil will be gone in our life times, but it's pretty well agreed that within the next 50 years the demand will be greater than the supply. While it is theoretically possible to switch cars and planes over to other forms of fuel, we already have the technology and knowledge to run trains on electric. Having a well connected train network in place before the problems begin a generation or two from now will be to the strategic benefit of America.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Georgia > Atlanta
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top