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One aspect that really drives cost: how every transit project is started from scratch. In Sweden, where I live, transit projects are a constant production line. The unit economics are so much lower.

Which solves another issue that Americans always cite: how to build trains economically in places that are far apart or sparsely populated? Well, that’s Sweden and Norway, friends! Trains here don’t just connect population centers like Stockholm. There are ongoing light rail projects even in he sparsely populated north coast of the country, connecting “cities” around the Arctic Circle that wouldn’t even merit that classification by population in the context of the United States (like building more light rail in Montana). Per mile, these tracks cost a tenth of what it costs to lay track anywhere in the US right now because they’re laid by the same, experienced railway contractors who have been printing out railways with similar spec for decades now. Everything’s modular and repeatable, produced at scale, and installed by a base of experienced workers.

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One of the lessons is that the first project is always the most expensive. In Spain, the first high-speed line (Madrid-Sevilla) was the most expensive per-km until the two lines through Barcelona (which involved a tunnel under the city, which understandably added to cost). Of the current ones only the Atocha-Charmartin project (a tunnel through Madrid: Atocha and Charmartin are Madrid's two main stations) will exceed Madrid-Sevilla in real euros per kilometre.

If you don't have the political will to decide to have a second project already approved and ready to start construction as the first ends, then every project is a first project.

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well said!👍🏼

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You are talking 'common sense' but I think the climate of legal challenges to everything American is the problem - other countries do not seem to have huge armies of lawyers whose only purpose is to sue for profit !

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Sigh. Is there any room for me in this mythical land, the one you call Sweden, that you speak of?

If only I had a grand for every story about Amurika's repeated abject failure to bring large infrastructure projects in on time and on budget. La Kakakorruption! Anyway, I remember reading a long-form piece Richard Gadsden mentions below years ago now ... IDK they all blur into each other after awhile. I vaguely remember a few things about the Spanish subway-train project(s). First, was they were ruthless about culling out the weak sisters from the contractor pool. Second, one firm held dictatorial control over the contractors and projects. Third, the best contractors were put on the hardest jobs. Forth, they were ruthless about enforcing standardization through out each hub. Meaning, there was no room for artistic/egotistic nonsense during the initial build phase. The over-riding goal was a USEABLE transportation system. The wallpaper and one-off rococo budget/schedule killing crap had to wait until the primary objective was delivered to the taxpayers.... Could this happen in America? Maybe, but, at the very least, we'd have to kill all the lawyers first.

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Man do I love EU rail, Japan Rail.

Like I posted about Nuclear Energy, standardized Design... dramatically lowers costs.

Infrastructure..big Infrastructure is where Government in other countries teach us that the just leaving things to Private industry, free market to lead......leads to ad hoc, inconsistent, non-integrative ... fits and starts that cost a lot more and generates a lot of dissatisfaction.

So again... a National Railway plan. That

Develops, Designs and Builds a common nationwide and metroregional track, car, engine system.

Then.. like Defense.... contract out the Build competition. Rinse and repeat.

I've talked about a 200mph+ Tucson-Phoenix system for many years. Tucson is a great place for Phoenix folks to recreate. It also creates business advantages like offering dual career choices, working in both cities.

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All these interest groups using their levers in the law to stop transit from being built isn't "the free market". Note that in Japan, pretty much all the major rail is private. It's just that when they were building out their lines, they just needed to acquire the land and nobody could stop them from building what they wanted to.

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I still found the explanation incomplete, because this kind of nimbyism is rife in Europe as well. I like to understand why it has so much more profound impact in the US. I remember seeing somewhere that we build infrastructure much cheaper in Norway than the US, which just throws me a loop. We have fights over everything we build. I am 44 and the current rail track being built in my home town is something I can remember being fought over pretty much the whole time I grew up.

That we somehow get things cheaper done by ignoring special interest is just not believable. Everything here is fought tooth and nail whether hydro power plants, wind turbines, roads or railroads.

The article did not really make me any wiser as I didn’t see anything that looked unique to the US.

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It could come down to laws. Also interests. Who builds public transit in Norway? Can people sue to stop them? How is financing done and who has vested interests to see public transit built?

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Kind of hard to compare Norway with the US in that manner. Courts don't serve the same role in Norway as in the US. My impression from everything I have read or heard about the US is that almost every possible thing is handled through court cases in the US. It is not like that here.

But there are still tons of opportunities to complain and delay projects. Otherwise we would not have spent over 20 years to build another train track in my home town.

I believe financing is usually by the state, but funding is given per year. We have problems that projects get stopped or delayed in the middle because they don't get funding that year. Or political changes can cause projects to get less funding.

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Can you do California High Speed Rail? Yes, the topography is challenging, but so is, say, Italy's, and the current estimate of 105 billion for 500 miles = 130 million per mile is one of the highest in world history.

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Pedestrian Observations is always a great read: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/02/13/the-california-hsr-bombshell-redux/

It's from 2019 though.

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In short, CAHSR had to fulfill so many political promises to so many constituencies that it is no longer anywhere near budget nor as good as HSR, essentially becoming an extremely overpriced upgrade to Amtrak California.

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I had dealt with some of the teams building it (they imported a lot of the people from Spain) and one of the largest costs was land acquisitions. They said the smart farmers would basically say "well if you cut across my land half will be useless to me so you have to buy everything on the other side at [inflated price] or I'll force you to eminent domain"

They will of course throw every trick to delay so it becomes spend years to acquire the right of way or just pay them off.

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I have spent decades analyzing rail (land guideway systems) with Dr. James Powell and Gordon Danby, the inventors of superconducting Maglev, and in our studies of routes in New York, California, and a nationwide 48 State Interstate Maglev Project (see: www.maglev2000.net) and we found working with GAO that there are only a few rail lines that operate profitably. Most require public subsidy to pay for the rights-of-way, construction, and operating and maintenance costs over their life cycle. So we explored how we could exploit the energy efficiency of superconducting Maglev (greater power for 1/13th of standard electromagnets) to create a guided surface transport system for the nation. We determined that the system should be designed to mainly operate on existing Interstate rights-of-way and capable of carrying both freight and passengers. We describe the system and the 2nd generation SC Maglev 2000 in "The Fight for Maglev", "Maglev America", and "Silent Earth". We also discovered that this clearly superior 300 mph, all-weather, elevated guideway national transport system was strongly opposed by the airline industry and existing transport interests. Therefore, we have proposed the U.S. fund a test facility to compete this system with all comers foreign and domestic to determine the definitive performance and cost data to compare. We are confident that this system will be the best system to evolve the U.S. and the world's passenger and freight transport to a much more efficient electric powered no emissions system. We do these "fly-offs" in Defense for very expensive systems but we have not carried the competition notion to civil infrastructure. Advanced Superconducting Maglev is versatile because it can operate in both a monorail and planar mode and can use existing rail infrastructure that has been adapted to the Maglev 2000 system so it can enter our existing rail stations like our Amtrak stations, and bridges, etc. without interfering with conventional wheeled trains. We already know that M2000 is the lowest cost life cycle ultra-high speed guided transport system. We also know that it must be demonstrated at full scale to attract the public, media, and investors. Once tested and the system becomes the guideway gauge standard for the U.S. and the world, it should make the U.S. the preeminent guideway and vehicle producer in the world and it will not require a subsidy. Amtrak will finally operate at a profit and because it can uniquely electronically switch it will be connecting our ports, producers, and truck terminals in densely populated metro areas to food and goods. We are certain that this system can save every American and Canadian about a $1,000 per capita per year for their lifetimes om reduced cost of travel and goods. The public funding of the rights-of-way that we already own will be minimal and the cost of the Test Facility like the ones funded by the governments of Germany, Japan, Korea, China, and Poland is estimated to be about $600 million spent out over 5 years. The National Interstate Network with 75% of the U.S. population being within 15 miles of a station. Our next book, that I am writing with Robert Coullahan, "The Evolution of Infrastructure" will lay it all out and include how the elevated guideway can create a market for green concrete, green steel, and aluminum, and serve as a much more resilient addition to the national electric power GRID and extend broadband as it connects the lower 48. In "Evolution" we are also exploring an exciting concept for a global passenger and freight system that connects 5 continents with tunnels at Gibraltar and the Bering Strait. I think you will be intrigued by our freight container carrying vehicle with a powered roller deck, and our multiple electric delivery van vehicles that will be shipping goods overnight from any point in the US to any other point. The national network can be completed in 20 years including testing and the U.S. densely populated coastal routes in just 10 years. The Interstate Highway Right-of-Way framework is the idea of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and he also introduced Powell and Danby to me. I hope you will sometimes in the future use your gift to help describe this American scientist invented system to the world. Powell and Danby were awarded the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Medal for Engineering in 2000.

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You can't run a 300 mph system in the interstate rights-of-way. The interstates have bends and turns that work just fine at 70 or 80 mph, but start to feel like a rollercoaster at 100 mph, and subject you to significant g-forces at 300 mph. If you want to go 300 mph, you need to find a route that takes all turns *extremely* gently over a very long curve, which means deviating quite a bit, and thus taking quite a bit of property from landowners within a few miles of bends in the interstate.

For the last few miles of the approach to a station, these bends are fine, because you have to be slowing down or speeding up at that point anyway, but going through hilly areas becomes a nightmare of bridges and tunnels at that speed.

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1. Technology does not evaporate the underlying cost disease problems of engineering by litigation, NIMBYism and benefit extraction.

2. Maglev won't see adoption until it can show the switching costs from steel rails and the energy costs are substantially lower than incremental improvements on existing technology. Maglev is a ground-level Concorde.

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Bobson,

The public approval process is a problem. That is why, in the late 1980s, I became attracted to Senator Moynihan and his committee's idea of building the high-speed network along the rights of way of our existing already owned R-O-W in the late 1980s. In those days, the late Harry Reid was a new member of the committee and after Jim, Gordon and I wrote "The Fight for Maglev", he called me in to his Majority Leader's office and informed me that the idea was his and, Senator Moynihan had passed away but when I write about the idea, I mention Senator Reid. Senator Reid spent about an hour or more with Jim Powell and he was calculating the savings in ferrying fresh produce and food from California along Route 15. Leader Reid got out his pencil and went to with Jim Powell and I just stood back and watched.

To use the existing rights of way for the high speed mainline requires an elevated guideway, similar to the guideways that are being constructed around the D.C. area for the metro. It is a smaller footprint, and we plan to use prefabricated components that are hauled in and can be erected for much less cost of construction. The elevated guideway and Maglev are very quiet, no friction, no loud noise from steel wheels on steel rails. The Maglev passenger and freight vehicles' shape are streamlined, and wind tunnel tested, so we are trying to make it a very quiet system no whistling sound, etc. to make the guideway more neighborhood friendly.

I can promise you that the price per ton mile and price per passenger mile is less in Maglev. The energy efficiency of superconducting magnets is 1/13th that of standard electromagnets or electric motors. Plus, the vehicles are not hauling around the heavy wheel bogies of existing

trains. We believe that this system since it can operate in an elevated mode on existing rail trackage that can be cheaply adapted to Maglev (about $6 million per 2-way mile to pave a shoulder to attach the current carrying polymer concrete panels that inducts the vehicles magnet force to levitate and propel the vehicle at a speed controlled by the frequency of the current.

If we can persuade our government to fund a test facility like the governments of Germany, Japan (who used Powell and Danby's system for their world speed record holding passenger vehicles at 374 mph and honored Jim and Gordon for their invention), Korea, China, and Poland. We can generate the definitive cost and performance data required to compete this system. We think our 2nd generation system with its 4-pole magnets uniquely permits it to operate in both a monorail and planar mode, and switch guideways back and forth easily giving it the capability to use existing rail and electronically switch which is ideal for multiple parallel tracks for port and land truck and freight terminals gives this system an edge. And the 3rd generation system magnets are in the lab but we believe that eventually we will achieve superconductivity without liquid gas coolers,

So, you Concorde analogy hurt but the M2000 system is not an energy hog, It sips electrons.

We have a tiny following and our engineers are persistent. I think it will be a great industry for the U.S. and I am certain that its efficient electric powered operation is what is needed to futureproof a better standard of living and much better air quality. There are zero emissions, and we can recycle the vehicles when they get old.

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Why hasn't the maglev industry sidestepped the political process and developed a proof of concept with a freight railroad?

How does a 1/13 energy efficiency pay dividends in output? It obviously can't be a 13x faster vehicle. Can you build 13x more maglev mileage? (As we've learned from the railroad boom and bust in the 19th century, there's a certain economy to rail networks as the productivity between nodes varies considerably, and this will lead to the extension of the network into more marginal markets and burden the overall network with more physical plant and equipment to maintain.) Can you get 13x more movement of mass (passengers or freight) on maglev vs. steel track?

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We would love to work with freight rail, we both have the same market and our competitors in the market are highway freight trucks and intercity passenger air and mass transit highway buses. In fact, in the NEC corridor, we can make a profit by charging the same as the passenger buses. Buses and trucks can travel at 50 mph on the Interstates, and we can travel at an average speed of 300+ mph. It is much cheaper than flying. I am trying to meet with the new President of Amtrak and make our case for partnering for the future Interstate Maglev Network, see www.maglev2000.net.

You might want to view some of the YouTube sites on superconductivity. The way it works is that the electrons don't meet resistance in the superconducting winding wire used to create the magnetic force, but it does take power to run the cryocooler to replace the heat gain in the liquid nitrogen contained in the surrounding "flask" ours are insulated and mirrored like a thermos bottle, but the fluids still gain heat, so we need to extract the heat. This system is used in MRI machines and particle accelerators, so it is a well proven technology. Japan uses it for their Powell and Danby passenger carrying. Their system is the same as ours, it is based on the Powell and Danby 1968 patent design. However, the new 4 pole magnet is much better because it can be built much cheaper, and the system can electronically switch and operate on conventional rail that has been adapted to Maglev.

It doesn't touch the tracks and does not interfere with conventional trains.

The big advantage of converting Amtrak to the SC Maglev 2000 system is it frees up the conventional rail for freight trains, which slows rail delivery time.

We are not wealthy but I think if we could do a demostration test center near a major easy to travel to city, so that people could see and ride and watch truckers roll on and roll off, I think we might be able to develop the investment to get this system going. Six hundred million dollars for Mr. Buffet is just an R&D write off of his considerable tax bill. And he could have the controlling shares in the future of a new logistics system to complement his investment in rail. If you know him, send him my way. I noticed that he bought into one of my geothermal energy projects that we created on land. In the new book, Robert Coullahan and I are writing "The Evolution of Infrastructure", we include a chapter on the conceptual engineering design of an Ocean Thermal System to desalinate water, and it also can generate electricity. Our future problems will be water, food, energy, and transportation to give us a decent quality of life.

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You dropped these: ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶

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Thank you. I am cyber challenged.and it was late.

I was very surprised by the lack of ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶

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Everything good for humanity or our future gets done in by the vested interests ! Seems a good case for a special Czar with the power to override the screaming & yelling !

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For the intrepid investigators, the reasons that Duke gave to kill the light rail are absolute bogus. There was something deeply dirty going on in the Duke board, one that hasn't yet seen the light of day. I was a student there and we worked with members of the community to figure out the problem. The issues raised (shaking, magnetism, etc) were NOT issues for other light rails around medical centers.

My understanding is that there were some suspicious donations from anti-transit groups (notably Koch, who donated $5 million and another undisclosed amount weeks before the university President cancelled the project). President Price was extremely excited about the light rail publicly when he first started, and changed his tune over time. Duke does not pay property tax.

Overall, there is an anti-transit corruption in this country, driven by fossil fuel and automobile lobbying groups. To build, we need to be able to defeat these forces.

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I think it's true that the reasons Duke gave to kill the project were bogus. But the plan itself was not really a great one. The route had a million little kinks and bends to slow down trains, in addition to its big overall curving route that wasn't the most direct route between any of the stops.

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Fair, but there were things in the way of a straight shot. To get a train built, you need to be flexible and even that is not enough.

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Jul 22, 2022·edited Jul 22, 2022

NS put a beautiful new 963-ft bridge over the Genesee Gorge. Cost $75 mil.

BNSF (Berkshire Hathaway) added a third mainline over Cajon Pass for about $5.6mil per mile.

Uintah Basin Railway is budgeted at $1.5bn for their new, greenfield line. 100 miles plus with several tunnels.

Now tell me with a straight face the government would keep budget anywhere close to that and I'll probably die laughing hysterically. Call me crazy, but UP has a market value of $150bn. What if we just paid the railroads to build railroads? Agree to buy a (big) chunk of their shares in exchange and pay construction (with oversight, of course. No Credit Mobilier!) edit and this is important on their already existing Right of Ways. Ditto Berkshire, NS, and CSX.

You know what the private RR's tell NIMBYs who whine about what happens on their Right of Ways? "It's a free country-- so if we bother you then please MOVE!"

At the rate the Government builds railroads this plan will be far cheaper and sustainable nationally. Oh, nd their projects tend to get completed. Just look at that first Transcontinental-- If Lincoln had decided the government should build the Pacific RR itself we'd still be waiting!

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Isn't the government in the railroad business because private passenger rail has already failed badly?

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Basically, Yes. However times have changed dramatically and it is considered acceptable to subsidize passenger trains, unlike prior to Amtrak.

When Amtrak was created the railroads were still regulated by progressive-era legislation. It made sense at the turn of the century but didn’t account for air travel or interstates and was driving the whole industry into bankruptcy by 1970.

They were expected to provide all of their own capital while operating hundreds of money-losing passenger trains daily while simultaneously had their freight rates set by the ICC. This of course resulted in the Penn Central (amongst others) bankruptcy (the largest until Enron), leading to semi-nationalizing all the northeast railroads, and eventually leading to govt agencies running commuters like Metro-North (which runs on the old “Central” part of Penn Central).

Since de-regulation the railroads have become enormously profitable, and have consolidated to where the way are now (re-regulating them is another topic currently being discussed).

They’re possibly the best piece of transportation infrastructure in the US today.

I say we subsidize them. It’ll be so much cheaper.

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No wonder Warren Buffett was interested.

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So, the problem is grift and corruption? Makes sense. Such a shame. I think it also is a cultural problem here in the US. Cars have always been a sign of independence and wealth. That has evolved to large pickup trucks with empty trailers behnind them. Mass transit is considered to be something for people who cannot afford a car.

Here in Houston, we badly need mass transportation. I always thought it would be a good idea to put train stations in the shopping malls and airports. They are located by the major freeways where you could build the rails in the existing corridors. Then have buses connect park and ride lots to the stations. The new high-speed rail project to connect Houston, DFW, and San Antonio is moving along but from where I live, you will have to drive almost an hour to get to a station. Without a decent regional system to connect to it, it isn't nearly as beneficial as it could be.

People in the Northeast complain about their subway systems and Amtrak, but they have it so much better than we do. It's pretty amazing what Eisenhower accomplished with the interstate highway system. We really need that sort of vision and leadership today to accomplish a much needed reboot of our national (and local) transportation system.

By the way, what is happening with all that money that was approved in last year's infrastructure bill? hopefully not more grift and corruption.

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> So, the problem is grift and corruption?

No, that's a lazy takeaway and not really what was said.

The problem is that someone is given veto power over the project and you have to alleviate ALL of their concerns before they will sign off. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with graft and corruption.

Have you ever done any home renovation? Imagine if every single neighbor had to sign off first. And you approach them and say, "Can you please draft a list of every single possible theoretical concern you might have and I will come up with a comprehensive mitigation plan that would stand up in court."

And one of your neighbors was a highly anxious, worst-case-scenario worry wart. "My kid has allergies, can you implement a dust mitigation plan? I sometimes work an early shift and need to go to bed early, so you can make sure construction always stops by 3pm? I have young kids, can you please do a full background check on all your workers to make sure they aren't child sex offenders? Can you give me that report, by the way? Where are all their trucks going to park, anyway? Maybe you should rent the empty lot next door so you don't use up all of "our" street parking?"

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I’m going to be within walking distance of one of the Maryland Purple Line train stations when it comes to completion over the next three years. That’s the good news. The project has a concrete completion date with no further legal impediments.

The area along the coming rail has already seen significant redevelopment and commitments for new projects, including close to 1000 affordable apartment units from Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund and new offices relocating nearby.

The brief summary in the article above is a good start. Although, it leaves out a few key points. First, this project goes way back then most people probably realize. I thought that it initiated in the late 1990s when I first heard about it. No, Purple Line advocacy has been around since the early 1980s! It has been so long some of the original leading proponents are no longer with us and their children have taken the mantle. Think about that. Why have we been going back-and-forth on this for close to 40 years?

NIMBYs.

The article above doesn’t mention how residents in the wealthy suburbs of Chevy Chase, Maryland, successfully derailed, pun intended, everything for decades under the false pretenses of environmental NIMBYism. Governor Hogan merely became one of the last to hold the baton in a long line of stonewallers.

The elephant in the room, however, is that the Metro system is failing overall as ridership has not come back to pre-pandemic levels and uptime/maintenance remains a significant concern. But that’s probably a discussion for another day.

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I was going to make the same points. There was litigation from the get go from those living in Chevy Chase as well as Columbia Country Club through which the tracks of the old freight line run. They were also behind the NEPA lawsuit that stopped the project for a year while the sitting Judge hemmed and hawed about whether an appropriate environmental impact statement was done. Even when this is completed, I don't think they will see ridership levels as predicted. The pandemic has brought about a change regarding in person office work. This is one of the primary reasons that the Metro system has seen ridership not come back to pre-pandemic levels.

I live in Bethesda and thought the Purple Line was an unneeded boondoggle. I have been proven correct.

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While it is true that ridership for commuters going into Washington DC has dropped significantly due to work from home policies, the Purple Line is not a rail taking people into the capital. It effectively connects New Carrollton, Riverdale, the University of Maryland, Langley Park, Takoma Park, Silver Spring, and Bethesda without the need to be stuck in traffic. Many students and workers along this path do not have the luxury of remote work or school, as evidenced by the constantly packed buses and cars on the road at all hours.

The train has appeal for persons that don’t want to necessarily be bound by all the stoplights and congestion. It could have been far less expensive were it not for the intense legal battles, which proves the OP’s point.

It’s too early to claim anything has been proven, really. At the very least, the Purple Line has spurred an unseen level of real estate development along the corridor. I will be next to numerous luxury and senior living apartments within a one-mile radius. Boondoggles imply wasted effort with no returns. That is not going to be the case from what I can see.

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Jul 22, 2022·edited Jul 22, 2022

We don't get smart and have the will to build transit efficiently for similar reasons we don't build enough housing: too many middle class and rich people in this country don't have interest and committment having more of either of these, they can afford cars and drive them, a lot, and they are homeowners getting rich while renters get gutted.

Hard to get excited for something you don't want, something that may reduce the value of your $2 million bungalow that you bought for $250k, 25 years ago.

Feel like technical and process and efficiency challenges always get figured out when we have will, but we don't have the will.

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"Feel like technical and process and efficiency challenges always get figured out when we have will, but we don't have the will."

Oh really? When was the last US public project that was efficient? Was it this century?

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i LOVE cars and i LOVE polluting the world and spending a third of my paycheck just to maintain life

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I can't help asking. In the picture at the top of the story, is the young blond woman mooning the passing train?

I'm afraid that the question distracted me while reading what is, in itself, an important story.

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All of them are. It's a tradition at Laguna Niguel in July to gather and moon Amtrak.

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First, we have a good (enough) freight rail system. We could use this as a basis to build out a pre WW 2 version of passenger rail at reasonable cost. But no one wants that. They want modern high speed passenger rail.

Which needs its own right of way. Built from scratch. Without grade crossings like US interstates built in the 50's.

And remember, we have cars...best for short distances and air...best for anything over 1,000 miles. And is there anyone that can't get from A to B in the US today?

I would say a conflation between freight and passenger rail is a huge barrier. And once they are split, there are no "obvious" economies.. so it is a huge project. Someone has to pay. And someone will be inconvenienced.

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In France the high speed trains can go on the low speed tracks - that was one of the main strategic choices they made back in the beginning of high speed train. This means that a train can be high speed on some part and normal speed on other rather than needing a complete high speed network.

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All you really need to do is look at the history when the Railroad Barons were bribed to build the rails across the continent. Literally nothing has changed since then: They still want to line their pockets at taxpayer expense while not actually doing the job. They were able to utilize imminent domain to rob people of their land while refusing to run rail in a straight line because they were paid by the mile laid not distance crossed so there were more bends than a plate of spaghetti. They have no incentive to actually do their job, no punishment for not doing so, they just mope around with their hands out while drastically underpaying workers. So of course, population centers do not want to have to deal with these parasites.

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Jul 22, 2022·edited Jul 22, 2022

Very true.

However today we could purchase Union Pacific and own a railroad that connects every major market in the Western US-- And I'd bet it'd be cheaper than what the CA HSR will finally cost!

Of course, don't know if I'd want the government running trains. One of FDRs best decisions was letting the RR's run the RR's, in contrast to Wilson almost destroying the industry with his idiotic nationalization.

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Well, the US is in a pickle, then.

The government does run a railroad. Amtrak workers are literally civil service. Anybody who worked in a private railroad in the US has either died or is well into retirement age. But ... Amtrak when it was created inherited operating procedures from the private railroads that became wards of the state. So there was a long decline in the early and mid-20th century where railroads stopped innovating.

I also don't know how the US could like not only import high-speed rail plant and equipment from overseas, but also the operating knowledge from nations that had continued to innovate in operations and management beyond World War II. If we're talking about Europe, those high-speed rail systems are state-owned enterprises. Japan has two privately owned companies who also own or control much of the real estate.

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I would be happy to see more asses on transit if only our transit agencies and government entities weren't the ones showing them.

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In Africa they would say it was just caused by corruption. The good thing about loans from China was the project was actually completed.

The UK has the same problem as the USA as the burgeoning above budget costs of the HS2 high speed rail line. Any nuclear or major construction project are the same.

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Do building roads and freeways experience similar delays and cost over runs in the USA?

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