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California Going Ahead With Bullet Train

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-an-actual-bullet dept.

Government 709

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "[California state leaders] have rallied around a plan to build a 520-mile high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, cutting the trip from a six-hour drive to a train ride of two hours and 38 minutes. And they are doing it in the face of what might seem like insurmountable political and fiscal obstacles. The pro-train constituency has not been derailed by a state report this month that found the cost of the bullet train tripling to $98 billion for a project that would not be finished until 2033, by news that Republicans in Congress are close to eliminating federal high-speed rail financing this year, by opposition from California farmers and landowners upset about tracks tearing through their communities or by questions about how much the state or private businesses will be able to contribute."

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Forget about it. (-1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179156)

Everyone knows imperialist war is the only way that the capitalists have to get out of their crisis of overproduction.

That, or the revolutionary expropriation of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat!

Smash capitalism! Socialism or barbarism!!!!!!!! Workers to power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Forget about it. (2, Funny)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179278)

Yeah but no, but yeah. But no.

build a 520 mile-high speed rail

it gives great views from up that far - plus the pumping music and free drugs is certainly something I'd get behind.

Say... (-1, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179676)

Say... didn't we just see what happens when you build expensive devices upon which human lives depend in an earthquake zone?

Repeat after me, Cali-tards: "Mother earth is going to come and beat California with a cluestick until it rings like a bell. Hey! Know what else rings like a bell? The EARTH does, when there's an EARTHQUAKE. And kiddies... know what happens to really heavy trains full of people when they're going 520mph and the earth shakes like a pissed off hound dog? DEATH. And then there will be wailing and finger pointing. And kids, do you know where the finger is going to point?

At YOU.

The bond measure was for $98 billion (1, Insightful)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179168)

Having the costs "triple" to $98 billion when the bond measure was for $98 billion should be a surprise to anyone. Of course with boondoggles like this, it's no wonder that California is a fiscal crises.

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (1, Funny)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179186)

Shh. You're going to point out that throwing money into a large barrel and burning it, then repeating the process for every entitlement project is a good idea.

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (4, Informative)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179262)

The bond measure was never for $98 billion. It was for about $10 billion out of allegedly $40 billion. I do not know where you got your facts. Source: http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_1A,_High-Speed_Rail_Act_(2008) [ballotpedia.org]

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (1, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179304)

It's a "Hold my beer and watch this" moment for an entire state.

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (5, Interesting)

trunicated (1272370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179308)

The bond, Prop 1A from 2008 [wikipedia.org] , approved roughly $8.5 billion to begin the project, with a total budget of $33 billion to be used if the project could be shown to be able to run without subsidies from the government. The most recent estimates, which still show a ludicrously high number of riders (between 60 and 90 million per year) show that the budget will need to be $98, which is roughly triple the $33 billion original allocated for the project.

The project is in no way feasible for a state as deep into the red as California. The *only* logical explanation of why this is still going through is to allow those already riding the $8.5 billion gravy train to keep it going for another $90 billion.

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179424)

it's no wonder that California is a fiscal crises.

It could have a little something with Californians voting on propositions to put caps on their taxes.

Seriously, it's like telling people who are filling out their tax returns, "Just pay whatever you want".

Of course, they still demand all the services.

Plus, Californians send a lot more money to Washington in Federal taxes than they get back. Somebody's got to pay for the "Texas Miracle" after all. All those government jobs Rick Perry created don't come free.

Re:The bond measure was for $98 billion (3, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179500)

Both Texas and California send more money to the federal government than they get back; what Miracle are you speaking of?

Time (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179182)

The first transcontinental railroad took less than 10 years to build -- considerably less. Before doing something like this, figure out why the hell it's going to take 30 years, and fix that first.

Re:Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179206)

There were no environment studies, real opposition, etc?

Re:Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179256)

Yep, all the hostile natives were just fake opposition, eh?

Re:Time (5, Funny)

peted56 (1842988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179434)

And they just able to shoot them and get on with it, maybe that can work again..

Re:Time (5, Insightful)

bp2179 (765697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179240)

We kind of frown upon the slave labor that the Chinese and Irish (and others) that were used to build the railroad. If I remember my history correctly, the US government gave the train Barons the land and I think subsidizing them. There was very little population (aside from American Indians) out west. It will probably take 20 years to settle Eminent Domain cases and another 10 to build the rail lines. I worked on a survey crew to build an outer loop around a mid sized city. The first survey was done in 1984, I worked it in 1998 and they didn't start building until 2003. We did have a few fun run-ins with angry landowners and their shotguns.

Re:Time (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179284)

High speed bullet trains probably require a bit more precision than the old steam engines.

Also, where do you get 30 years from?

Re:Time (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179410)

Check headers, GP is probably using neutrino-drift to post from 2003.

Re:Time (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179288)

"The first transcontinental railroad took less than 10 years to build"

In no small part due to the use of Chinese laborers that were banned from panning for gold- and the lack of consideration before the removal of Indians from the territories nearby.

I will assent that more than 27 miles per yer is more than doable though...

Re:Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179396)

I mean the railroad goes through cities. That could be part of it.

Re:Time (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179430)

The first transcontinental railroad took less than 10 years to build -- considerably less. Before doing something like this, figure out why the hell it's going to take 30 years, and fix that first.

The first railroads were intended as a way to get from place to place, and hence they actually had to be completed in a sensible amount of time in order to operate and recoup their costs (though I believe they struggled to do so?). These new railroads appear to be intended as a jobs program for union workers, so the longer they take, the better.

Re:Time (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179616)

The railroads didn't struggle to recoup their costs back then. They had government granted monopoly on the mode of transportation and had no meaningful competition from anything other than ships. And the ships were only useful if you wanted to ship your goods all the way across the country, otherwise you pretty much had to use the railroad as wagons were far from reliable and economical.

These days it's a completely different matter though.

Re:Time (0)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179452)

figure out why the hell it's going to take 30 years

Since it's to be done in 2033, presumably you started composing your post back in 2003. You must be a very slow typist.

Still think it's a better idea then a bail-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179192)

Just say'n

Why are businesses leaving? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179220)

Damn the reality! Full speed ahead!
The tax and spend express is getting ready to leave the station!

Re:Why are businesses leaving? (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179334)

In twenty years, California will have swollen to perhaps 50million people, many of them taking the I-5 or US101 route from LA to the Bay area. I-5 is pretty much clogged now: imagine what happens if you have to continue to resize Oakland, San Jose, SF, Burbank, LAX, John Wayne, Palm Springs, Sacramento, and all of the other regional airports to accommodate grown-- along with the freeways. Something's going to give. Invest now, and the infrastructure is there. Don't invest, and it's going to get uglier than it is now.... much uglier.

Re:Why are businesses leaving? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179464)

In twenty years, California will have swollen to perhaps 50million people

Only if the Chinese or Mexicans invade. Most of the people I know in California with actual productive jobs are trying to get out, and blowing another $98,000,000,000 on some stupid railway will only make them more determined to do so.

Re:Why are businesses leaving? (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179566)

As someone who just moved to California for a tech job, I am getting a kick out of your reply. I don't know why I'd want to leave, unless I didn't want to be employed.

Re:Why are businesses leaving? (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179684)

As a proud native Californian, I say get the fuck out. You probably took that job from a Californian because you are cheap, and now you're just one of those inbred, cornfed assholes driving up the property costs.

U.S. out of California!

Re:Why are businesses leaving? (5, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179614)

Amen.

before I was forced to retire due to ALS I had need to go down to a remote office in LA multiple times per month from the SF Bay area. Airplanes are quick once you leave the ground but the absolute living hell that is air travel made me dread the trip. Having a fast train is something I dreamed about since the month I spent in Europe on business. Totally stress-free "commute". Tie the fast line into municipal light rail like the widely used BART and San Jose light rail and you have a very successful merger of two huge metropolitan economies.

This is just insane. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179222)

Why not just subsidize aircraft flights? Really, 98 billion dollars could get you a lot of sorties and they could begin immediately.

The TSA will ruin this. (5, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179230)

Between the x-ray powered strip searches, the paranoid interrogations, and sexual molestations by abusive, angry pedophile wannabe mall cops, only masochists and boot lickers will want to ride in what could have been a beautiful piece of engineering. I'd rather drive in relative freedom than take a bullet train and be humiliated, brutalized, violated, and treated like an inmate. To quote the Elephant Man, "I am not an animal!".

If the TSA could be kept away, then it would be great. But that isn't going to happen.

Re:The TSA will ruin this. (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179358)

Nah, the TSA will expand to cover travel by car. And bus. And taxi. And limo. And motorcycle. And bicycle. And segway.

And exaggeration can ruin anything (5, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179412)

You can object to TSA practices - the violation of privacy, the ineffectiveness, and the rare but flagrant acts of sadism or molestation - without the pointless exaggeration. To hear you talk I'd be much safer and more comfortable wearing a "Democracy Now!" through Pyongyang Station than I would be boarding a California bullet train.

Blathering about pedophilia, fascism, and interrogations just makes your objections sound like paranoid ravings. Yes, you must be persistent, passionate, and creative in protecting your rights and protesting their violation, but above all you must be rational.

Your words are nothing but a disservice to anyone fighting for the Bill of Rights: it makes their job much harder when their rational objections become conflated with the rampant hyperbole and absurdly loaded language of people like you.

Re:And exaggeration can ruin anything (4, Funny)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179506)

You can object to TSA practices

"Willkommen to the Police States of Amerika.

Your papers, schnell!"

Since when did rationality achieve anything? (1)

ynotds (318243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179582)

Yeah, I too would like to believe, but the track record is abysmal and getting worse.

There is a cigarette paper between rationality and rationalisation.

They even made a movie about the case Larry Flint won, but nobody else has his courage.

Re:And exaggeration can ruin anything (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179634)

Rare acts of sadism or molestation? You do realize that the molestation is going to apply to everybody, right? They're still phasing it in, but the intention is to send everybody either through the scanners or for an enhanced patdown. Normally if a stranger is using his/her authority to touch children or adults like that it's considered sexual assault.

Re:The TSA will ruin this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179490)

"The TSA will ruin this."

Let's hope so. That's the best thing that could happen to this huge waste of money we don't have.

Re:The TSA will ruin this. (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179510)

The TSA has already started randomly searching vehicles:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/10/like-tsa-youll-love-vipr/247221/ [theatlantic.com]

High speed rail has a host of benefits, but you're right: the TSA will probably ruin this. That said, we do have 22 years before they have a chance to ruin it so maybe, fingers crossed, they'll be gone by then?

Re:The TSA will ruin this. (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179662)

TSA is Federal. This would be a State service over which TSA has no authority.

What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179232)

What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? I am sure that the Las Vegas hotels and casinos would love to invest in something that would make it easier to get people to their city.

Re:What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (2)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179306)

It's called the DesertXpress, going from Victorville (80 miles NE of Los Angeles) to Vegas. It originally was going to Anaheim (30 miles SE of LA), but the Cajon Pass is scary in a train.

Re:What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (2, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179354)

LA to Vegas would make more economic sense. But this whole enterprise isn't about making sense, it's about funneling pork to state politicians and their buddies backing them -- unions and corporations.

Even the unapologetically liberal LA Times is critical of this turkey of a project.

Re:What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179690)

The issue in my understanding isn't so much the cost as the product. There are plenty of places in the US where high speed rail makes sense, even in CA there are places, but this particular line ultimately covers way too much ground and there's numerous ways in which it could go wrong.

They could just as easily do smaller sections with an eye to link them up in the future, we've been doing something similar around here with our light rail, but they're going to do the entire project linking up what looks to be about half of southern CA.

It probably wouldn't be much of an issue if they'd not have the regular income problems at the state level. But with all the debt the state tends to rack up, I have no idea how they intend to ultimately finish the project. If they can make it economically viable then it would ultimately pay itself off, I just don't see that happening.

Re:What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179512)

They're about to fire up a line from Fullerton to Vegas. The prices they listed were high, tho. Only a few bucks cheaper than flying and much more expensive than driving without saving any time.

Ah, there it is. "X Train" with an estimated start date of late 2012. $99 each way and 4.5 hours.

Re:What about Los Angeles to Las Vegas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179576)

"Only a few bucks cheaper than flying and much more expensive than driving without saving any time."

They know something you don't. In 30 years, a gallon will be around 450$

exactly what usa needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179234)

some fucking ambition, good luck to em.

Monorail (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179254)

Is there a chance the track could bend?

Re:Monorail (4, Funny)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179274)

Not a chance, my Hindu friend.

Re:Monorail (0, Offtopic)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179534)

came for the monorail simpsons ref. went away satisfied.

Oy Vey! (1, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179272)

This again? This train will *never* be built. And it's a stupid thing to build. Passenger rail hasn't made money since the mid 1800's, going faster won't make it any more viable.

Re:Oy Vey! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179348)

I continue to maintain that if the stimulus and the like made sense, they would be doing something like electrifying Caltrain (a frequently-used commuter rail line in the Bay Area) ahead of schedule. Improving that service would keep more people out of smoggy rush-hour gridlock, saving them gas money (to spend elsewhere) and time (to spend doing better things) and carbon emissions (one of the current administration's pet goals) and stress.

Instead we have $100 billion for nonsense-train. Good lord. This is why we can't have nice things in this country anymore.

The reason people don't travel by train in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179420)

.... is because a train trip cost more than DOUBLE the cost of a flight and it takes one day per flight hour to get to your destination (with multiple transfers).

A lot of people will gladly take the train if the cost was 1/3 of the fight. The extra time would be viewed as part of the adventure if the cost was right.

Re:The reason people don't travel by train in the (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179516)

The reason people don't travel by train in the USA is because a train trip cost more than DOUBLE the cost of a flight and it takes one day per flight hour to get to your destination (with multiple transfers).

The reason a train trip costs a lot and takes a long time (for most trips outside of the Northeast Corridor) is because we haven't invested in the railways to make it otherwise. I reluctantly agree that long-haul high-speed rail in the United States is probably a pipe dream and will probably never be a sufficiently cost-effective compared to the other options. But regional rail (like the Northeast Corridor) generally is useful and cost-effective (relatively speaking - all transportation infrastructure loses money; that's why the government does it and not the private sector). California is one of the few places where regional rail makes sense in my opinion - there's a lot of churn between the major cities.

(Side note: Please don't start your post in the subject line, it's very confusing to follow)

Re:The reason people don't travel by train in the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179596)

Look at amtrak. It costs less to fly from nyc to dc than to go via rail. Why would the new line be any cheaper per ride

Re:Oy Vey! (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179438)

Passenger rail hasn't made money since the mid 1800's, going faster won't make it any more viable.

Then we've certainly been wasting an awful lot of money for an awfully long time. Damn those liberals and their lying propaganda!

Seriously, citation please?

Re:Oy Vey! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179446)

Passenger rail hasn't made money since the mid 1800's

Passenger rail makes money in one specific case: getting people from A to B as fast as possible [wikipedia.org] . And you don't get that from most of the Amtrak lines with every Representative insisting it stops for 30 minutes in every little town in their district, plus the freight trains getting the right of way.

Still, if people want to make train popular, they have to admit that Americans aren't going to give up their cars so easily. Funny that the Europeans already figured that one out [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Oy Vey! (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179564)

Just wait until airline tickets start reflecting the real cost of airline travel. You really think you can fly for 5 hours on $99?

Land? (4, Insightful)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179276)

Can someone explain how it is crowded countries like Japan or Germany can manage to get land for high speed rail, but the US can't?

Especially since Japan seems to have such problems getting land for airports that they have to build artificial islands [wikipedia.org] just to house them.

Re:Land? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179340)

read the history of the Narita Airport before you think Japan is the land of everyone working together like ants/bees.

Re:Land? (4, Insightful)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179352)

Different legal regimes. It's easier in some countries than in others to expropriate land for public purposes. It's also easier to oppose government actions with lawsuits in the US than in many other countries.

Re:Land? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179374)

Because in Germany or Japan, when the government wants to obtain some land, the owners are usually willing to move.

In the USA, the owners promptly sue to prevent their property from being "taken", delaying the inevitable for as long as they can, or hole up with their shotguns.

Re:Land? (1)

ninjackn (1424235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179450)

Probably due to things like regulations and all the necessary surveys. The cost of building something in the US and more specifically California have gone up tremendously over the last century. I wouldn't be surprised if more than half the money of building a new building or rail is spent on surveys of the land regarding the environmental impact. As a California resident I'll often hear news on things like an endangered species of snails preventing the construction of a project and then the small interested group of people protesting the construction project and demanding another survey regarding if the snails can be moved and their impact on the place they're being moved.

Re:Land? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179568)

You answered your own question by citing your counter-example.

Germany and Japan, are immensely smaller in land mass.

USA=3,717,813 sq. miles
JAP=145,920 sq. miles
GER=137,882 sq. miles

source=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_outlying_territories_by_total_area

It's a hell of alot easier to build high speed rail systems in countries as densely populated as Germany and Japan. Not so much in areas like the the USA where we have, in comparison, 300% more land mass.

Re:Land? (4, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179702)

Can someone explain

The US indulges an enormous collection of elites and their pressure groups that preclude or impede most development rather effectively, and common folk tacitly support this sort of governance (see NIMBY, BANANA, etc.) after they achieve their desired level of comfort. We call this 'environmentalism' and beat each other over the head with it.

Another reason is that US constitution established strong property rights and prescribes specific criteria and obligations for 'takings' by government. Some people believe that strong property rights has led to great prosperity and liberty. Others believe those people are evil capitalist pig-dogs that must skinned alive and slow-roasted in front of their offspring as a lesson to all.

The state of current rails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179296)

I was just recently looking into buying tickets from Philadelphia to MA for travel. Guess what? It's cheaper to fly. By a factor of 3. So, before we get ahead of ourselves and try to build something, why don't we look at existing infrastructure: it sucks. Amtrak is an inefficient organization. Although trains are slower than airplanes, the idea is that they are less expensive; however, this is clearly not the case when Amtrak is running the show. Projects like these strike me as a massive waste of resources. If a real need for such a thing arises, the government will probably not be the ones to fund it.

Re:The state of current rails (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179398)

I was just recently looking into buying tickets from Philadelphia to MA for travel. Guess what? It's cheaper to fly. By a factor of 3.

Huh? Rarely is that the case. You might have hit a peak travel time or something. I pulled a date out of my butt and asked for Philly to Boston on December 1st, and Amtrak's prices were between $88 and $126 (Northeast Regional). There were also Acela Express fares that ranged as high as $245, but that's not apples to apples (Acela Express is all business class.)

Southwest Airlines prices, in the meantime, were $161 flat (Anytime fare).

Regardless, expensive isn't as much my consideration. The train (at least, the Northeast Corridor, along which I am very fortunate to live) is an order of magnitude less hassle than the airplane. And I can get up, walk around, and hang out in the cafe car. And no one yells at you for congregating outside the toilet. And the seats are actually reasonably sized. And along the NEC, the train will drop you off downtown, instead of some airport 10 miles out from the city where you then need to rent a car or take a bus.

Re:The state of current rails (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179586)

I assume by MA you mean Massachusetts; there's a major Amtrak route from DC to Boston that passes through Philadelphia.

tickets for that route are more expensive than usual right now because of the holiday timeframe, I wonder how the airlines are.
Acela 'Express' is way more expensive, but regular trains also run along that route.

I live in Rochester NY, right on the route from Boston to Chicago (which includes Cleveland), as well as a route that that serves upstate NY and Toronto.
less-direct routing to where one needs to go would be a problem if Amtrak goes there at all, but that's often a moot point.

Amtrak could be a lot better, but it's generally not as bad as you're making it out to be here.

Re:The state of current rails (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179608)

why don't we look at existing infrastructure: it sucks.

It's not so much the infrastructure sucks as that it doesn't exist in most of the country. Amtrak has basically no passenger rail other than the Northeast Corridor. They borrow off the freight railways, thus they're limited to low speed trains and subject to delays when freight is being moved.

$11 per square foot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179298)

The total cost is $11 per square foot. Or, to put it another way, since the proposed corridor is 100 feet wide, $138 per foot of rail (there will be 4 tracks for a total of 8 rails).

I'm no expert, but that seems a little high. On the other hand, maybe it's not, in which case we're fucked, since if this is the cost to build one railway imagine how much trouble we'll have replacing every single bridge, overpass, and tunnel in the country as they reach the ends of their lifetimes.

Re:$11 per square foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179458)

The faster the train the greater the required separation of the tracks and the straighter the track has to be.

Sign of empire declining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179300)

Forget this railroad, what infrastructure project can be built in the US anymore that is of any substantial size? Any current project that has the potential to significantly change the economy of a state or region?

Re:Sign of empire declining (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179630)

If the Beltway collapsed, I bet we'd find money for that post haste...

It's crazy (4, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179318)

I will certainly ride this train if it actually gets built. But it's a really, really dumb idea, and what we're likely to end up with is a train that goes from nowhere to nowhere because public support evaporated when the bill came due.

And remember, this is the state that cancelled dental insurance for poor people because it ran out of money.

If you are wondering... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179336)

... this is what extreme liberalism gets you. An unrealistic idea with impossible demands that's doomed for failure, and, even if it succeeded, wouldn't benefit us that much.

Don't paint me a liberal hater, all forms of extremism are bad, this is just an example of one.

From Women's Prison to Chinese Railworker's Grave (2, Insightful)

BigFire (13822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179342)

That's what they're building. No, we actually don't have the money. But when has reality stopped backers of High Speed Rail?

But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179378)

I thought private space combined with 3D printing was going to revolutionize everything? I was thinking private 3D printed sub-orbital transports, flights leaving every half hour, FILLED with people! We can't even sustain Concorde, but what's a few thousand dollars per ticket?

Re:But but but (1, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179520)

I thought private space combined with 3D printing was going to revolutionize everything? I was thinking private 3D printed sub-orbital transports, flights leaving every half hour, FILLED with people!

That's an interesting point. Could SpaceX build a reusable suborbital launcher which could fly the same distance for less than the train?

My guess would be yes, given how ludicrously expensive this railroad is going to be.

Take $98billion (0)

matty619 (630957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179406)

And use it to subsidize flights throughout California for the next 20 years, and you'll move more people more quickly than this ridiculous project. Talk about a vanity project....good lord...do the math...how many tickets will have to be sold at what price to even make this monstrosity even remotely cost neutral?

MORE airport subsidies? (3, Interesting)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179482)

The reason why we have so many airports, so many highways, and so few trains already is due to the current subsidy structure.

Re:MORE airport subsidies? (-1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179498)

And because trains suck ass.

Re:MORE airport subsidies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179666)

I don't know. I live in the suburbs and during rush hour good luck. You will sit in traffic forever. I can't fathom them building decent public transportation here. It would be a challenge. Everything is so spread out. I could see them building expanding lanes and eliminating lights by building bridges though or simply building a new major road that bypassed the store specifically for rush hour traffic.

Re:Take $98billion (0)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179556)

If you do the math (and I did when it was on the ballot), it is impossible for this train to ever come even remotely close to breaking even even if every train moves at 100% capacity.

Portland-Seattle-Vancouver would make more sense. (5, Interesting)

isaac (2852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179418)

This doesn't make sense. A rider arriving in LA is going to need a car when they get off the train, unless they fancy spending a lot of time waiting for on Metro (formerly known as the RTD - Rough, Tough, and Dangerous.) Total boondoggle.

It would make a hell of a lot more sense to link the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, BC corridor with high-speed rail, since these are all cities where one can actually get around reasonably well without a car. It'd be a game-changer to have TGV-speed rail on that corridor - one hour between the downtown cores of Portland and Seattle, or Seattle and Vancouver? I've had regular, daily intracity commutes longer than that.

Oh well.

-Isaac

Re:Portland-Seattle-Vancouver would make more sens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179612)

Pfft, as though anyone would want to go to LA. This is to help people escape.

This will never work. (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179428)

What they need is a monorail.

Re:This will never work. (1, Funny)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179494)

Yes sir, there's nothin' on Earth like a bona fide, genuine, electified six-car monorail. What'd I say?

BROKE AS A JOKE (4, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179436)

California is a walking bankruptcy, and they are doing this? To what? Help people leave as fast as possible?

The moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179472)

We can go to the moon for less, hell a whole new space program on that kind of dough. This is the problem with the US. We can't do a damn thing without it costing so much. How about fix your border problem, highway congestion, instead of building a rail road? $100 billion will pay 16.6 million trips (@ $200 per flight) for the next 30 YEARS!

Why not... (3, Insightful)

TheMeth0D (182840) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179476)

California is already over 2 billion short on the budget this year and is long overdue for a serious financial wake-up call.

Hope all the other states are taking notes on "what not to do"... Projects like the "high speed" rail just dump gas on the fire.

Way to go spendthrift voters of California!

High Speed rail (0, Flamebait)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179492)

We already have High Speed Rail, they are called AIRPLANES and can actually go places that a single track cannot. Like Burbank to Oakland, LAX to SFO, Ontario to Sacramento etc etc.

And it costs a lot less to build and maintain that infrastructure than the boondoggle that HSR is gonna be.

If you do the math, you could GIVE everyone a plane ticket a year on Southwest and come out ahead. Someone needs to put up the reality check of what it actually costs per Resident per year to build and then operate.

Of course, the UNIONS are all for this crap, as it will have to be built with Union Labor, who then funnels the dues back to the DNC who support HSR. We used to call those Political Kickbacks. I guess if that is how you have to buy votes ....

Re:High Speed rail (0)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179656)

Heh, "do the math."

Maybe you should examine the math of airlines before you base your whole theory on the $99 round trip cattle class ticket.
Once airlines are forced to actually price tickets to reflect the cost of air flight, people will start begging for rail.

Re:High Speed rail (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179694)

Sure beats the money going to a small group of bankers! At least those union people are numerous and actually do some labor between their breaks. Not to say that this is ok simply because there are worse groups to funnel money to but merely to put it into perspective. A fair amount of our politics is STILL about communities of real people voting for politicians to funnel money to them; not all the graft goes to the 1% (just a lot of it which is how most get into the 1% BTW... )

Some things pass simply to help some state get an influx of money; most our states in the USA are always broke and the few good states pay to prop those up, CA is one of those states BTW! In the EU they don't prop up their members, not much and not today. I refuse to get upset over a paying state (CA) getting some of their federal dollars returned; even if it is for something like this --- which is largely their own fault for letting the public land get robbed for short term gain so it costs 1000x more to buy a part of that land back again. My idiotic state sold off a lot of rail lines generations ago; making it prohibitively expensive to buy them back. I only wonder how long before our public road system is sold off for a short term gain! Our state fair grounds were already!! (and they've doubled admission and other fees + it actually costs the state now while before it brought in some money.)

Re:High Speed rail (3, Insightful)

bidule (173941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179710)

If you do the math, you could GIVE everyone a plane ticket a year on Southwest and come out ahead. Someone needs to put up the reality check of what it actually costs per Resident per year to build and then operate.

Did you expand your analysis to the energy/pollution savings? And how does the cost/benefit stacks up against other ways to reduce energy consumption or pollution.

Public Works projects (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179642)

Aren't there several hundred miles of canals and such that need to be rebuilt and replaced all over California?

Also outside of earthquakes can't they just build two tunnels using boring machines? The Swiss ran 2 35miles tunnels for around/under $10billion hell so did Japan with the Seikan and England and France with the Channel Tunnel so why can't they do the same in Cali? If they can have a subway they can build a damn underground high-speed rail way. Besides wouldn't a tunnel be more Eco Friendly then a bunch of above ground stuff then again we're probably to inept to bother.

Fix the current train system first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179644)

You can't take a train from San Francisco to San Diego without getting on a bus.

mod uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179652)

that *BSD is Crrek, abysmal First, yo0 have to need to join the are there? Let's

great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38179672)

They will only need to operate for 300 years at full capacity and no costs to pay for it

how dumb projects justify financing (1)

doug141 (863552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179706)

Consider any project financially unsound enough that the locals would never pay for it. Then add matching federal funds so the cost is cut in half, and all of a sudden it gets the local vote to go ahead, now that it is half financed by distant federal taxpayers. Problem for the locals is, the distant taxpayers have some dumb project in their own backyard also. This is the way dumb things get justified all over the country.
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