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Old 04-10-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
You guys are sheeple for getting distracted by the economics of dinky rail start-ups. Look at road and air travel. There be boondoggles of much, much, muuuuuuuuuch greater proportion. Instead, you just see a shiny new teapublican talking point and think it's enlightened. Bravo.
Exactly. It's insanity to demand rail pay for itself and that there not be any subsidy, while at the same time supporting a massively subsidized and wasteful road system that gobbles up 50x+ the federal transit budget.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Why hasn't it been built is pretty complicated, actually. I would look up the history of HSR and general passenger rail proposals in Ohio the past 25 years, as it is pretty interesting. The first proposals were in the early 1980s, only a few years after the last passenger rail came through the 3-C corridor. The reasons for why it didn't happen range from political opposition (mostly from Republicans like Kasich, who has helped kill more than just the last 3-C proposal in his time), to bad economic times coinciding with times of proposal to private companies refusing to cooperate with land acquisition for stations.
This agrees with everything I've said so far. We now have a Republican governor and we're experiencing some of the most uncertain economic times in modern history. I'm not very optimistic about high speed rail in the short to medium term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Whatever could go wrong did, but at no time was it about a lack of interest.
So let me get this straight: the government, the economy, and private land owners have opposed public rail projects in one way or another for the past few decades....but there was interest? From whom[of significance]? If every important factor gives rail a big thumbs down, then that means rail never had any support. It's fine and dandy that there are some citizens who support rail. But it means nothing. If the money isn't there, it doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Which is more ridiculous: Rebuilding less than 2 miles of highway through Columbus for $1.5 billion (which will have a lifespan of less than a decade before more maintenance is required) or using that money to build a 3-C rail corridor and still have enough left over to pay for about 65 years of annual maintenance? Don't talk about rail costs when we're willing to waste billions to widen a few miles of highway.
Why do you immediately assume that I'm a proponent of government roads? The roads versus trains debate is a perfect example of just how unreliable and inefficient government is. You're probably correct; a more even combination of trains and automobiles is preferable and most efficient. Unfortunately, we will never find out because government has been subsidizing the hell out of roads for ages.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
So we shouldn't diversify transit because oil companies won't be able to compete?
No, the government will not allow it to any significant extent. There are far too many politicians who are bought and paid for with oil money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
And you talk about lack of demand while actively supporting a rigged, biased system that favors roads.
Once again, I'm not sure why you're assuming this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Sorry, but corporations may lobby for roads, but they didn't spend the money to get them built.
LOL...I'm going to let that one pass, because there is a more important point: It doesn't matter.

Where do you think the government gets its wealth? It's an indisputable fact that governments can not create wealth. They can merely take from one part of the economy and give to another. Every time the government taxes an individual[whether via a direct tax or inflation] they are effectively substituting their own interests for that individual's interests.To make it simplistic: if all of the federal income tax went towards building a national train system, it would be very easy to see where everyone's money went. In this scenario, each citizen could witness first hand where their money went and think about how they would have spent it if it weren't taken involuntarily for the construction of a train system. Perhaps individual "x" would have donated to charity. Perhaps individual "y" would have used the money to open up a start-up which would eventually become the next Apple. Who the hell knows?? The point is that the valuations of individuals are what make up the "market". If left unhindered, the market can efficiently allocate resources. In such a scenario, there would be no argument over "roads vs train". It would be clearly settled: there is demand for "x" amount of train travel and "y" amount of road travel. Who knows what the final result would be, but I can guarantee that it would not favor roads as much as our current system does.

So you're angry because the government is taking money from productive members of society and spending it in a way in which you find disagreeable. You wish they would spend more money on x, not y. I'd rather see the individuals keep the money and spend it however they please. Then the market can decide the most efficient allocation of resources and end the "roads vs trains" debate.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:08 PM
 
1,066 posts, read 2,405,815 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
You guys are sheeple for getting distracted by the economics of dinky rail start-ups. Look at road and air travel. There be boondoggles of much, much, muuuuuuuuuch greater proportion. Instead, you just see a shiny new teapublican talking point and think it's enlightened. Bravo.
Thanks for your talking points. See my post above for a somewhat substantive response to this thought process. Or you can just post a smarmy two sentence response, as that seems to be your MO.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:49 PM
 
16,345 posts, read 17,950,202 times
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Originally Posted by ksu sucks View Post
This agrees with everything I've said so far. We now have a Republican governor and we're experiencing some of the most uncertain economic times in modern history. I'm not very optimistic about high speed rail in the short to medium term.

But that's not what people seem to be arguing (whether or not it's a good idea at the moment), but that rail doesn't make sense at any time.

So let me get this straight: the government, the economy, and private land owners have opposed public rail projects in one way or another for the past few decades....but there was interest? From whom[of significance]? If every important factor gives rail a big thumbs down, then that means rail never had any support. It's fine and dandy that there are some citizens who support rail. But it means nothing. If the money isn't there, it doesn't matter.

No, you misunderstand. There was usually plenty of support, just not always from the right people. One proposal in the early 1990s was pretty extensive, including a 3-C HSR project had had more than a dozen stops and top speeds approaching 200mph. John Kasich was living in Westerville then as well, and his opposition to anything public transit was already well-established. At the same time that this plan was moving forward, which had the backing of all 3-C city governments, ODOT, local residents, etc, there was a Columbus city plan to have at least 8 intercity lines that ran from Downtown to various suburbs, including one that ran out to the Westerville area. Kasich sponsored a bill in Congress during this proposal process to gut public transit funding, especially rail, no doubt with Ohio's and Columbus' respective projects firmly in mind when he did so. When that passed, dozens of rail projects nationwide were tabled, not just in Ohio where there was majority support. Sometimes it comes down to a few people. Other times, there was government support, but simply a lack of funding, not so different than when ODOT proposed moving back highway projects 20 years recently, only in this case, mass transit funding has always been iffy because it gets such a tiny part of the transit budget.

Why do you immediately assume that I'm a proponent of government roads? The roads versus trains debate is a perfect example of just how unreliable and inefficient government is. You're probably correct; a more even combination of trains and automobiles is preferable and most efficient. Unfortunately, we will never find out because government has been subsidizing the hell out of roads for ages.

So if you don't agree with it, why are you arguing against rail, which would use significantly lower subsidies, if at all in some cases, and be an overall more efficient system?

No, the government will not allow it to any significant extent. There are far too many politicians who are bought and paid for with oil money.

So your argument has nothing to do with the efficiency of rail, rail subsidies, passenger counts or anything else other than that we shouldn't have rail because lobbying says we shouldn't? I guess I'm confused why those other points even came up then.

Once again, I'm not sure why you're assuming this.

Because you don't seem to have any problem arguing for the status quo, or at the very least, passively defending it.

LOL...I'm going to let that one pass, because there is a more important point: It doesn't matter.

Where do you think the government gets its wealth? It's an indisputable fact that governments can not create wealth. They can merely take from one part of the economy and give to another. Every time the government taxes an individual[whether via a direct tax or inflation] they are effectively substituting their own interests for that individual's interests.To make it simplistic: if all of the federal income tax went towards building a national train system, it would be very easy to see where everyone's money went. In this scenario, each citizen could witness first hand where their money went and think about how they would have spent it if it weren't taken involuntarily for the construction of a train system. Perhaps individual "x" would have donated to charity. Perhaps individual "y" would have used the money to open up a start-up which would eventually become the next Apple. Who the hell knows?? The point is that the valuations of individuals are what make up the "market". If left unhindered, the market can efficiently allocate resources. In such a scenario, there would be no argument over "roads vs train". It would be clearly settled: there is demand for "x" amount of train travel and "y" amount of road travel. Who knows what the final result would be, but I can guarantee that it would not favor roads as much as our current system does.

Nonsense. Government doesn't have to create wealth itself, but it absolutely does foster the necessary environment to allow for it by providing the base civilization in which corporations can grow and prosper in a free market system. If you think government has no role in that, try and open a successful business in Somalia and see how far that gets you. Even if you think that corporations help pay for that security and civilization, at the very least it is a codependent relationship. Corporations could never pay for the infrastructure, the police and fire, military, the educational system, etc. that keep a society functional enough so that they can make as much money as possible, at least not individually, and certainly not at the prices that government can. That is not to say it's entirely efficient, far from it, but this idea that corporations exist within a vacuum is silly and illogical.

So you're angry because the government is taking money from productive members of society and spending it in a way in which you find disagreeable. You wish they would spend more money on x, not y. I'd rather see the individuals keep the money and spend it however they please. Then the market can decide the most efficient allocation of resources and end the "roads vs trains" debate.
What productive members of society are we talking about? And my disagreement is not about what I want, but that it doesn't make financial or development sense to spend it in the way it has been. If roads were the most efficient, then that'd be one thing, but they're not. They're not fiscally responsible, they're not the most efficient. We can do a lot better. Besides, the market is not deciding the most efficient allocation of resources. If it was, we'd have a lot more rail and other forms of mass transit beyond the massive road system and the accompanying massive debt. Even if you think that the market is deciding, then clearly something is broken.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:56 PM
 
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ksu sucks, your fantasy land is so far outside pragmatic political reality that it's not really worth entertaining. The fact is this: all modes of transportation are subsidized in this country, and that is not going to change in our lifetimes. Period.

Given that, which is not worth debating, rail is given an unfair disadvantage, which should be evened out because auto-dependence has some really awful side-effects economically, environmentally, and healthwise. I'll talk a bit about the economics.

Roads are important to transfer goods and to allow people to get to places of employment, places to spend money, etc. But we are far past the point where building more roads has started to yield diminishing returns. In particular, building more roads explicitly subsidizes more sprawl, which creates more and more publicly subsidized infrastructure per capita (along with private infrastructure, residences, businesses, etc., which are abandoned/destroyed in its wake). Thus the funding of more and more roads, rather than bringing in money, is spreading the existing money thinner and thinner and thinner, and as the shiny new infrastructure ages, the maintenance bills come in. With less people and tax money per lane mile, wire mile, pipe mile, etc., (also less per policeman, fireman, you get the idea) governments are literally building themselves into bankruptcy with road construction.

Now, rail is not over-built. And rail encourages investment where there already is supporting infrastructure. Where roads induce sprawl, rails induce density, which means people and tax dollars locating where infrastructure can be maintained and sustained. Rail investment is far from the point of yielding diminishing returns, unlike roads. Since a private corporation cannot collect taxes, it is not possible for them to capture the benefits of development built near rail stations. But building rail stations attracts businesses and residents, the benefits of which the government is able to collect in the form of taxes, and of course the businesses and residents and anyone living elsewhere along the line also receive benefits.

This creates a virtuous cycle, because the rail line becomes more and more useful as more things sprout up near it, which makes more people use it, which makes more people and businesses locate near it, which brings tax dollars in to upgrade the line to make service faster and more frequent, etc....

The 3C corridor is quite dense for a region without rail service. Some people do not get the part where transportation infrastructure actually influences land use patterns, rather than the other way around (both directions of causation are true). Even fewer get that auto-dependence and sprawl are largely functions of government subsidies (especially in the form of infrastructure, but also things like oil subsidies and even homeowner/mortgage interest tax credits). Having a rail line would influence land use and development to make the line more usable over time, the same way you see subdivisions, stripmalls, and office parks popping up around highway exits.

As jbcmh81 noted, the 3C line could be started up for a fraction of what one interchange in Columbus costs. Think about that. Which has more potential to create a bigger return on investment: an interchange, or a rail line that crosses the state hitting all the major cities (and connecting Cbus and Dayton to the national Amtrak network, which they currently aren't served by)? The interchange is a money-suck; roads have been yielding diminishing returns for years. But rail is untapped, and will create more development where there already is development, bolstering the state's economic stability.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:31 AM
 
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But that's not what people seem to be arguing (whether or not it's a good idea at the moment), but that rail doesn't make sense at any time.
That’s what I was arguing, so what do I care what others say. They’re wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
No, you misunderstand. There was usually plenty of support, just not always from the right people. One proposal in the early 1990s was pretty extensive, including a 3-C HSR project had had more than a dozen stops and top speeds approaching 200mph. John Kasich was living in Westerville then as well, and his opposition to anything public transit was already well-established. At the same time that this plan was moving forward, which had the backing of all 3-C city governments, ODOT, local residents, etc, there was a Columbus city plan to have at least 8 intercity lines that ran from Downtown to various suburbs, including one that ran out to the Westerville area. Kasich sponsored a bill in Congress during this proposal process to gut public transit funding, especially rail, no doubt with Ohio's and Columbus' respective projects firmly in mind when he did so. When that passed, dozens of rail projects nationwide were tabled, not just in Ohio where there was majority support. Sometimes it comes down to a few people. Other times, there was government support, but simply a lack of funding, not so different than when ODOT proposed moving back highway projects 20 years recently, only in this case, mass transit funding has always been iffy because it gets such a tiny part of the transit budget.
Once again, this fits my general argument that government owned rail is extremely political and “a few people” can have an enormous amount of control over the approval process. If you think goofballs like Kasich are doing this stuff for fun, you’re kidding yourself. As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are a lot of people like Kasich. These people are bought and paid for by interests that oppose government sponsored rail. If Kasich were to leave politics, ten other phonies would step the plate. This is why government rail is such a long shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
So if you don't agree with it, why are you arguing against rail, which would use significantly lower subsidies, if at all in some cases, and be an overall more efficient system?
I don’t know how to be clearer—I do not support any forms of government subsidized transportation in principle. Of course, I use government subsidized modes of transportation all the time, but that’s because I’m not an idiot. I have a life and I need to use whatever available means I can find to get from A to B. Government doesn’t allow competition so if I want to live a normal life this is the situation I’m stuck with. By the same token, there are plenty of full blown socialists who buy fruit at the supermarket, which is one of the most obvious instances of the free market at work. We have to keep our principals close but find ways to survive in the real world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
So your argument has nothing to do with the efficiency of rail, rail subsidies, passenger counts or anything else other than that we shouldn't have rail because lobbying says we shouldn't? I guess I'm confused why those other points even came up then.
It’s not “my” argument. It’s just a reality that you’re going to have to deal with, just like I do when I use government roads and trains. The sad truth is that government is bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Until the train lobby can afford to spend more than the oil lobby, we’re going to be stuck with this situation. We all have to sacrifice our principles and understand the reality that we live in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Because you don't seem to have any problem arguing for the status quo, or at the very least, passively defending it.
I’m not sure if you just responded this way before seeing the last paragraph of my response and decided not to change it, but this makes no sense. I’m not passively defending anything. In fact, I’m arguing for something much more radical(yet sensible) than anyone else in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Nonsense. Government doesn't have to create wealth itself, but it absolutely does foster the necessary environment to allow for it by providing the base civilization in which corporations can grow and prosper in a free market system.
This is the great progressive myth: that if the government does it, no one else can. Which I find funny, because the very basis of your argument is that government spends a ****-ton on roads and almost nothing on trains. And that’s true. Yet, you suggest that the government has out best interests at heart and “foster(s) the necceasry environment” for civilization. Well, it could easily be done without government, and I’m just as angry as you are about how stupidly the government has “fostered” a society almost entirely dependent on cars and suburban lifestyles.

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If you think government has no role in that, try and open a successful business in Somalia and see how far that gets you
Right. You do realize that’s a complete straw man, correct? For instance, I could easily say that if you think government is so great, try opening a business in North Korea.

And since you brought up Somalia, how about you take a quick look at this paper. Since the collapse of the brutal dictatorship of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has actually outperformed most of their neighbor nations in many economic and SOL indexes. Of course, most African countries lack the capital that most western nations take for granted, but compared to its peers it has fared well.

It seems to me that your causation is faulty. You assume that since every civilized nation has a state, a state must be necessary for civilization to survive. That strikes me as intellectually lazy, and I think you can do better. Using the same logic, the most ‘developed’ nations in the 16th century were monarchies. At the time, one could suggest that monarchies were necessary for civilization to survive. Indeed, democracy would have been considered ludicrous by many of their contemporaries.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
but this idea that corporations exist within a vacuum is silly and illogical.


I never suggested such a thing. In fact, I’d go even further. Most modern corporations would not survive in their current form if it weren’t for the government. Between the subsidies, the government contracts, etc., I have a hard time believing that a company like Boeing could survive in its current form without continued government largesse. In other words, without government, the corporate world would probably shrink significantly, and that’s probably for the better. Just like the over-subsidization of roads, the current corporate system can be blamed on the government.


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Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
What productive members of society are we talking about?
I’m talking about every American who has earnings which are taxed.

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Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
And my disagreement is not about what I want, but that it doesn't make financial or development sense to spend it in the way it has been. If roads were the most efficient, then that'd be one thing, but they're not. They're not fiscally responsible, they're not the most efficient. We can do a lot better.
I don’t disagree. But my main point is that the governments track record is horrible, and it won’t get better. They aren’t going to listen to people like you because you can’t compete with lobbyists. This is not a coincidence; it’s the very nature of the system in which we find ourselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
Besides, the market is not deciding the most efficient allocation of resources. If it was, we'd have a lot more rail and other forms of mass transit beyond the massive road system and the accompanying massive debt. Even if you think that the market is deciding, then clearly something is broken.
No, that’s the problem. The market isn’t allowed to decide. The government has effectively squeezed the private sector out of the transportation[roads, trains] business. But that’s okay, because the government can only mask the costs of this massive misallocation of resources for so long. Federal spending on roads and in general is unsustainable in the long run, but the US federal government doesn’t care because it has the ability to hide these issues in the short term(thanks to the Federal Reserve, the petrodollar, etc.).
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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Believe it or not, I have a life outside the internet. I will have to save the rest of my responses until later when I have free time.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Cleveland and Columbus OH
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Originally Posted by ksu sucks View Post
Believe it or not, I have a life outside the internet. I will have to save the rest of my responses until later when I have free time.
Shenanigans.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ksu sucks View Post

Once again, this fits my general argument that government owned rail is extremely political and “a few people” can have an enormous amount of control over the approval process. If you think goofballs like Kasich are doing this stuff for fun, you’re kidding yourself. As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are a lot of people like Kasich. These people are bought and paid for by interests that oppose government sponsored rail. If Kasich were to leave politics, ten other phonies would step the plate. This is why government rail is such a long shot.

I don’t know how to be clearer—I do not support any forms of government subsidized transportation in principle. Of course, I use government subsidized modes of transportation all the time, but that’s because I’m not an idiot. I have a life and I need to use whatever available means I can find to get from A to B. Government doesn’t allow competition so if I want to live a normal life this is the situation I’m stuck with. By the same token, there are plenty of full blown socialists who buy fruit at the supermarket, which is one of the most obvious instances of the free market at work. We have to keep our principals close but find ways to survive in the real world.

It’s not “my” argument. It’s just a reality that you’re going to have to deal with, just like I do when I use government roads and trains. The sad truth is that government is bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Until the train lobby can afford to spend more than the oil lobby, we’re going to be stuck with this situation. We all have to sacrifice our principles and understand the reality that we live in.

This is the great progressive myth: that if the government does it, no one else can. Which I find funny, because the very basis of your argument is that government spends a ****-ton on roads and almost nothing on trains. And that’s true. Yet, you suggest that the government has out best interests at heart and “foster(s) the necceasry environment” for civilization. Well, it could easily be done without government, and I’m just as angry as you are about how stupidly the government has “fostered” a society almost entirely dependent on cars and suburban lifestyles.

Right. You do realize that’s a complete straw man, correct? For instance, I could easily say that if you think government is so great, try opening a business in North Korea.

And since you brought up Somalia, how about you take a quick look at this paper. Since the collapse of the brutal dictatorship of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has actually outperformed most of their neighbor nations in many economic and SOL indexes. Of course, most African countries lack the capital that most western nations take for granted, but compared to its peers it has fared well.

It seems to me that your causation is faulty. You assume that since every civilized nation has a state, a state must be necessary for civilization to survive. That strikes me as intellectually lazy, and I think you can do better. Using the same logic, the most ‘developed’ nations in the 16th century were monarchies. At the time, one could suggest that monarchies were necessary for civilization to survive. Indeed, democracy would have been considered ludicrous by many of their contemporaries.

I never suggested such a thing. In fact, I’d go even further. Most modern corporations would not survive in their current form if it weren’t for the government. Between the subsidies, the government contracts, etc., I have a hard time believing that a company like Boeing could survive in its current form without continued government largesse. In other words, without government, the corporate world would probably shrink significantly, and that’s probably for the better. Just like the over-subsidization of roads, the current corporate system can be blamed on the government.

I’m talking about every American who has earnings which are taxed.

I don’t disagree. But my main point is that the governments track record is horrible, and it won’t get better. They aren’t going to listen to people like you because you can’t compete with lobbyists. This is not a coincidence; it’s the very nature of the system in which we find ourselves.

No, that’s the problem. The market isn’t allowed to decide. The government has effectively squeezed the private sector out of the transportation[roads, trains] business. But that’s okay, because the government can only mask the costs of this massive misallocation of resources for so long. Federal spending on roads and in general is unsustainable in the long run, but the US federal government doesn’t care because it has the ability to hide these issues in the short term(thanks to the Federal Reserve, the petrodollar, etc.).
Ok, so what I'm getting from this is that you're of the opinion that private companies can and should take control of building infrastructure? Forgive me, but what guarantees would there be that they would be run with greater efficiency than government? What oversight would there be on say, building a new bridge? How would it be maintained? Where would the money come from? I assume that all forms of transit, including roads, would be heavily tolled in some way. How would that effect the overall economy when suburban moms have to pay a toll every time they had to leave the house to run an errand? What about infrastructure within cities?

You keep suggesting that government is "bought and paid for" by special interests, the majority of which come directly from private business. If private business is supposed to do everything better, where exactly have they been shown to actually be in the business of doing something that may go against their own interests but benefit the general population? An example of the government doing this is the National Weather Service. Do you think it would be more beneficial to the population if they had to pay every time they needed information on potentially life-threatening weather? I bring up this example because Rick Santorum tried to gut the NWS in order to specifically help for-profit competing businesses.

I'm not arguing that private business can't help or take over certain things, but I'm not sure transit is one of them. I see no long-term benefit to privatizing all forms of transit. In any case, you didn't get the point. Is there an example anywhere at any time in history where private business existed solely without a national government? If it can be done, why has it never been done? Like it or not, you can't privatize rule of law. You can't privatize the basic foundations of what make up a civilization.

Considering Somalian refugees still flood into Columbus every year, it still has a long way to go. 1 going to 2 is a 100% increase. When you start at the bottom, it's easy to rise. Somalia strives to shake off failed state tag | Reuters This article just came out yesterday. Improvement, but not exactly a place I'd want to open a business.

So again, find an example where the state never existed and private business flourished. I'm not closed-minded, but if this is what you think should and could be, what examples are you basing this on?
And if you agree that government/private business is a codependent relationship, how do you propose eliminating government from the equation?

Is the private sector more interested in mass transit than the government is? Based on what? I guess I don't understand how you can say that private interest lobbyists are keeping the government from investing in mass transit at the same time you're saying the government blocks private interests from investing in mass transit.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:13 PM
 
1,066 posts, read 2,405,815 times
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ksu sucks, your fantasy land is so far outside pragmatic political reality that it's not really worth entertaining. The fact is this: all modes of transportation are subsidized in this country, and that is not going to change in our lifetimes. Period.

We all live an imperfect world. I think it’s important for all of us to have certain principles or values which we stick to, even if they are unlikely to come to fruition in our lifetime. I would imagine you can understand this thought process. After all, you’re advocating for rail funding in a country obsessed with roads and suburbia. I’m sure you have a rough idea of what your ideal world would like. There’s a decent chance that your “fantasy land” is too far outside the pragmatic political reality that it’s not really worth entertaining.


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Originally Posted by natininja View Post
Given that, which is not worth debating, rail is given an unfair disadvantage, which should be evened out because auto-dependence has some really awful side-effects economically, environmentally, and healthwise. I'll talk a bit about the economics.

Roads are important to transfer goods and to allow people to get to places of employment, places to spend money, etc. But we are far past the point where building more roads has started to yield diminishing returns. In particular, building more roads explicitly subsidizes more sprawl, which creates more and more publicly subsidized infrastructure per capita (along with private infrastructure, residences, businesses, etc., which are abandoned/destroyed in its wake). Thus the funding of more and more roads, rather than bringing in money, is spreading the existing money thinner and thinner and thinner, and as the shiny new infrastructure ages, the maintenance bills come in. With less people and tax money per lane mile, wire mile, pipe mile, etc., (also less per policeman, fireman, you get the idea) governments are literally building themselves into bankruptcy with road construction.

Now, rail is not over-built. And rail encourages investment where there already is supporting infrastructure. Where roads induce sprawl, rails induce density, which means people and tax dollars locating where infrastructure can be maintained and sustained. Rail investment is far from the point of yielding diminishing returns, unlike roads.
I’m in complete agreement up to this point. There is no question that the government(federal, state, and local) is subsidizing road at the expense of rail.
Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
Since a private corporation cannot collect taxes, it is not possible for them to capture the benefits of development built near rail stations. But building rail stations attracts businesses and residents, the benefits of which the government is able to collect in the form of taxes, and of course the businesses and residents and anyone living elsewhere along the line also receive benefits.

Private companies [corporate or otherwise] absolutely benefit from rail and the resulting increased density. You stated as much in your original post. One thing that I can’t figure out is that you guys seem to be assuming: no government, therefore corporations. It’s much more complex than that. Although this may be besides the point, it’s important enough to mention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
The 3C corridor is quite dense for a region without rail service. Some people do not get the part where transportation infrastructure actually influences land use patterns, rather than the other way around (both directions of causation are true). Even fewer get that auto-dependence and sprawl are largely functions of government subsidies (especially in the form of infrastructure, but also things like oil subsidies and even homeowner/mortgage interest tax credits). Having a rail line would influence land use and development to make the line more usable over time, the same way you see subdivisions, stripmalls, and office parks popping up around highway exits.

I understand all of that and I embrace it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
As jbcmh81 noted, the 3C line could be started up for a fraction of what one interchange in Columbus costs. Think about that. Which has more potential to create a bigger return on investment: an interchange, or a rail line that crosses the state hitting all the major cities (and connecting Cbus and Dayton to the national Amtrak network, which they currently aren't served by)? The interchange is a money-suck; roads have been yielding diminishing returns for years. But rail is untapped, and will create more development where there already is development, bolstering the state's economic stability.

Look, I agree with you. I feel a bit like a broken record, but it bears repeating: governments do not make decisions based on profit and loss analysis. If this type of development were left to private forces, there’s no question that the interchange would be thrown out in favor of a more efficient private train system. The problem is that government ownership makes these decisions incredibly political. As a result, very stupid decisions have been made and will be made in the future.


So long as we’re looking at this from a pragmatic POV, it’s very unlikely that trains will compete with roads in this country to any significant extent. There may be some token projects here and there, but the fact is that this country’s government has subsidized roads to such a significant extent that the damage is likely irreparable.
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