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View Diary: Yglesias: Taking the Bus to a Public Transport Stimulus (35 comments)

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  •  critical mass for rail (1+ / 0-)
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    In my opinion is BS, given the vast network of rail that served the nation when we only had 100 million people.

    It's an excuse not to build.

    Yes it's expensive, but at one time, you could get anywhere in the US by rail. Same with intercity bus which suffers from the same mindset.

    For commuter rail, you may have a point. people are silly and won't drive to the park and ride to spend another hour on the train when they can just drive themselves the hour or so to their workplace (plus we're dispersed too). But for a national rail system, the critical mass excuse is just that.

    Bah HUMBUG! I pop in when I feel like it(0.12, -3.33)

    by terrypinder on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:03:21 PM PST

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    •  This is, for example, an example of alternative . (0+ / 0-)

      ... projects overlooked. A regional stopping train service can work under conditions where a commuter rail system will not, and will still be a benefit to a local bus system with scheduling integrated with the rail services.

      Some failed projects are over-ambitious ... the Ohio HSR proposal several decades back was a grossly over-ambitious project, and set rail back a good long way by getting the idea entrenched on how expensive a statewide passenger rail system would have to be.

      If it had been along the lines of the Ohio Hub, it may well have got through in the first attempt, and would in any event have had a much better chance of getting through on second try before President Clinton signed NAFTA and shot the state's budget all to hell and back.

    •  Build it and they will come? (0+ / 0-)

      I understand and am well aware of where rail once served in the rural area where I am. Also that rail works in rural areas of other countries, but because they never ripped up their infrastructure.

      Critical mass is not an excuse. You have to have a business plan with ridership estimates including price, route location and schedule elasticity. In a place where there is no transit mindset, you build a system and it will fail and then you're worse off than before.

      The diary is about transit, not long distance rail really, and that's what I'm mostly talking about too.

      There is no worse thing for the long term future of rail than expensive infrastructure with empty trains.

      This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

      by itzik shpitzik on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:15:04 PM PST

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      •  right, i recognize that you're talking about (0+ / 0-)


        getting people out of their cars and into transit is indeed a problem here, because of the way we've dispersed across the nation. I recognize the critical mass argument there. I meant on the national level, I see it as an excuse not to build (or in our case, expand, since so much of the network is shared with freight which slows down times and causes long-range trains to lose their cost competiveness with everything.)

        but i'm also a guy who would definately move out of the city IF there was mass transit support (streetcars, light rail, even a commuter rail) to the suburbs where I live like they had up till the 50s.

        Bah HUMBUG! I pop in when I feel like it(0.12, -3.33)

        by terrypinder on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:18:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This diary is about energy saving transport ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... whether local transit, mass transit, regional transport, interregional transport ... I don't really care. We can't spend $600b over two years on a stimulus bill that does not reduce our total oil dependency ... we have a massive structural current account deficit, and we have to start closing the gap and increasing our ability to survive an external accounts crisis if one should occur.

        But maybe because the first time I lived where there was mediocre public transport that I relied on to get to work, I ended up catching a bus to catch a train ... I don't see the two as deadly rivals.

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