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High Speed Rail / Texas Triangle


MaxConcrete

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It depends how much political power the rural counties have. My perception is that they can create a lot of noise, but they don't have much influence, especially in consideration of the large Houston and DFW influence. If TxDOT does provide a 50-foot-wide strip in conjunction with the Hempstead Tollway, the cost could be attributed to toll payers rather than taxpayers, or it could be justified to the public as getting a valuable track right (commuter rail) in return for the money.

 

Even if a partnership for commuter rail or any kind of public support is not happening, it makes sense to build the Hempstead Tollway and high speed rail at the same time. TxDOT and TCR would share the cost of grade separations, lowering the cost for both.

The plans that I saw for the 290 master plan did include the Hempstead Tollway but also an HSR corridor. Problem is, that such a thing would require a ton of right of way clearances from what I saw, which would raise the costs by a significant margin. There is, however, an ample space between the railroad and the road to put an HSR without demolition or trying to build it directly over the freight line. There would need to be at least one freight line at ground level to provide access to spurs, unless you want to up and abandon all of those as well.

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The plans that I saw for the 290 master plan did include the Hempstead Tollway but also an HSR corridor. Problem is, that such a thing would require a ton of right of way clearances from what I saw, which would raise the costs by a significant margin. There is, however, an ample space between the railroad and the road to put an HSR without demolition or trying to build it directly over the freight line. There would need to be at least one freight line at ground level to provide access to spurs, unless you want to up and abandon all of those as well.

 

Hempstead Tollway is dead. There are numerous articles on this. They will be using the HOV on 290 instead. The amount of ROW that you are probably thinking they will need for this corridor I guarantee is much less than you think. It's about as much as a 2-4 lane road (sans esplanade) which isn't much. They might shift over hempstead hwy slightly, but that's it.

Edited by Luminare
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Hempstead Tollway is dead. There are numerous articles on this. They will be using the HOV on 290 instead. The amount of ROW that you are probably thinking they will need for this corridor I guarantee is much less than you think. It's about as much as a 2-4 lane road (sans esplanade) which isn't much. They might shift over hempstead hwy slightly, but that's it.

Still, if you look at Hempstead Road on Google Earth today, there's a significant ROW between the railroad and the road (at least the single-tracked portions), enough for another four lanes to be added to Hempstead Road (in theory, of course, as that would make the crossings difficult). It's at least a 50 ft. ROW, which should be plenty for the HSR. No demolitions, no road reconstruction, fairly painless. Except for that railroad-themed restaurant there at Gessner. Small potatoes compared to the Katy Freeway-level destruction proposed before.

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This appears to be the first opposition to the project by influential political leaders. In a previous post I stated that the risk to the project depends on the amount of political power of the rural interests, and it looks like the rural interests are rallying their political forces.

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20150407-2-lawmakers-criticize-dallas-houston-bullet-train.ece

 

2 lawmakers criticize Dallas-Houston bullet train

The Texas Legislature’s top two transportation officials on Tuesday criticized a high-speed train planned between Dallas and Houston, whose officials have lauded the project for months.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said Texas Central Railway leaders spent too much time talking to officials in the metropolitan endpoints of the line and not enough discussing plans with the rural towns the bullet train will have to run through.

“They’re just shoving it down their throats, so the heartland is upset,” Nichols said.

Nichols chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, which is slated Wednesday to hear testimony on a bill that would strip Texas Central of its ability to use eminent domain for the project. Company officials have zeroed in on a route between Dallas and Houston that would minimize the need to use condemnation.

...

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This appears to be the first opposition to the project by influential political leaders. In a previous post I stated that the risk to the project depends on the amount of political power of the rural interests, and it looks like the rural interests are rallying their political forces.

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20150407-2-lawmakers-criticize-dallas-houston-bullet-train.ece

 

2 lawmakers criticize Dallas-Houston bullet train

The Texas Legislature’s top two transportation officials on Tuesday criticized a high-speed train planned between Dallas and Houston, whose officials have lauded the project for months.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said Texas Central Railway leaders spent too much time talking to officials in the metropolitan endpoints of the line and not enough discussing plans with the rural towns the bullet train will have to run through.

“They’re just shoving it down their throats, so the heartland is upset,” Nichols said.

Nichols chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, which is slated Wednesday to hear testimony on a bill that would strip Texas Central of its ability to use eminent domain for the project. Company officials have zeroed in on a route between Dallas and Houston that would minimize the need to use condemnation.

...

 

This is still hot air. They won't be using eminent domain anyway. Why is this so hard to understand!?!?

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This is still hot air. They won't be using eminent domain anyway. Why is this so hard to understand!?!?

I think they will as a last resort

This appears to be the first opposition to the project by influential political leaders. In a previous post I stated that the risk to the project depends on the amount of political power of the rural interests, and it looks like the rural interests are rallying their political forces.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20150407-2-lawmakers-criticize-dallas-houston-bullet-train.ece

2 lawmakers criticize Dallas-Houston bullet train

The Texas Legislature’s top two transportation officials on Tuesday criticized a high-speed train planned between Dallas and Houston, whose officials have lauded the project for months.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said Texas Central Railway leaders spent too much time talking to officials in the metropolitan endpoints of the line and not enough discussing plans with the rural towns the bullet train will have to run through.

“They’re just shoving it down their throats, so the heartland is upset,” Nichols said.

Nichols chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, which is slated Wednesday to hear testimony on a bill that would strip Texas Central of its ability to use eminent domain for the project. Company officials have zeroed in on a route between Dallas and Houston that would minimize the need to use condemnation.

...

How can you discuss with someone that doesn't want the project under any circumstances?

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So I found an interesting article on ArchDaily this morning which discussed the transformation of Budapest, Hungry's Metro line and the power of contemporary architecture to change the culture in how people view mass transit.

 

The thing to take away from this is that even in a European city like Budapest you still had the same backlash to a rail project line we have here, which I found quite compelling. The same arguments were used there as well! It's rather interesting.

 

A story like this should go to show just how incredible of a change in philosophy this rail line is in a place like Texas where these thoughts are even more intense! The rail isn't just fighting cars, it's fighting decades of an entire transportation culture and mentality that can not be underestimated and I hope that TCR understands this!

 

http://www.archdaily.com/616919/why-budapest-s-contemporary-architects-had-to-go-underground-to-find-success/

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Where'd you get the idea they won't be using eminent domain?

 

read the post where I put up the link to the Madisonville Meteor where in a Letter to the Editor it addresses this. I have also meet with TCR along with a few others on here where this was discussed and eminent domain will be avoided at all costs and they will instead seek free market alternatives because it both benefits them financial and legally and it benefits private citizens financially and legally. They have it written on their website. They have said this in numerous other articles. Please give me one statement from TCR or TCP where an individual has stated that eminent domain will be their weapon of choice. Please supply this evidence. What I stated isn't just some idea....it's stated fact and people should stop letting their emotions sway their understanding about this issue and seek information from the people who are running the show themselves. Not politicans. Not Newspapers. I get this information from TCR themselves and until they say otherwise in a published or open forum then it is what they will do.

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“They’re just shoving it down their throats, so the heartland is upset,” Nichols said.

 

This is a profoundly disingenuous argument. The project is five years in the making at this point, and there have been numerous opportunities for local politicians and affected citizens to become aware of the project and make their voices heard.

 

At the end of the day, I can't help but think the primary motivation is for rural residents to get one over on urban interests, simply because they think they can.

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This is a profoundly disingenuous argument. The project is five years in the making at this point, and there have been numerous opportunities for local politicians and affected citizens to become aware of the project and make their voices heard.

 

At the end of the day, I can't help but think the primary motivation is for rural residents to get one over on urban interests, simply because they think they can.

 

Thats why they call things like this "political grandstanding". It's just posturing. TCR has legal precedent, millions of dollars in market research/studies, and once the environmental impact study is past then that's the last nail in the coffin.

 

Also lets look a bit into who are these two politicians who are so against this rail project.

 

Robert Nichols:

 

-Republican

-Office since 2007

-70 years old!!!!!

-represents 3rd district (pretty much all of east Texas from Tyler to Nacogdoches, Jasper, and even into portions of Montgomery counties (lots of counties, but the ones listed just show how much the district covers....its a lot) 

-from Jacksonville, Texas

-apparently is a "small businessman" (So he is actually protesting against the very thing he represents! TCR is essentially a startup company which equates to a small business and this is their first push into a very wide open industry.)

 

Since the article doesn't want to state who the other lawmaker is I'm going to assume that both being "top two transportation officials" that the author means Don Huffines who is the Vice-Chair (Robert is Chair).

 

Don Huffines

 

-Repulbican

-Assumed office Jan. 2015 (so he is very new)

-58 years old

-represents 16th district (Portions of Dallas county)

-from Greenville, Texas (again East Texas)

-campaigned on expanding Highway funding and construction

-part of Huffines Moter Company which owns a lot of dealerships in the Metroplex (I think you can start adding all this stuff up now)

 

The Transportation committee itself has 9 members.

 

While I don't know the stance on the rest of the members, this information shows that it's no surprise why they oppose the rail line. However due to their stances on highway construction (a clear bias and one has a clear invested interest in more highways!) which uses eminent domain all the time I don't see their arguments holding up to the scrutiny of other members in the Senate IMO.

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read the post where I put up the link to the Madisonville Meteor where in a Letter to the Editor it addresses this. I have also meet with TCR along with a few others on here where this was discussed and eminent domain will be avoided at all costs and they will instead seek free market alternatives because it both benefits them financial and legally and it benefits private citizens financially and legally. They have it written on their website. They have said this in numerous other articles. Please give me one statement from TCR or TCP where an individual has stated that eminent domain will be their weapon of choice. Please supply this evidence. What I stated isn't just some idea....it's stated fact and people should stop letting their emotions sway their understanding about this issue and seek information from the people who are running the show themselves. Not politicans. Not Newspapers. I get this information from TCR themselves and until they say otherwise in a published or open forum then it is what they will do.

If people are against selling then eminent domain is the only way

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^^ Good research there. This makes a lot more sense in context.

 

Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, was also included in the article as being skeptical. He was one of the main actors behind Prop. 1. Reading his official biography, he's a car enthusiast and collector (which doesn't necessarily mean anything). His campaign contributions are more interesting, though - while most comes from real estate, Union Pacific is a significant contributor. I wonder if that means anything.

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^^ Good research there. This makes a lot more sense in context.

 

Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, was also included in the article as being skeptical. He was one of the main actors behind Prop. 1. Reading his official biography, he's a car enthusiast and collector (which doesn't necessarily mean anything). His campaign contributions are more interesting, though - while most comes from real estate, Union Pacific is a significant contributor. I wonder if that means anything.

 

Thanks.

 

That took maybe 5mins! The wonders of the internet. This is one reason why I have zero tolerance for ignorance on issues such as these in an age where information is power and is so widely available. There should be no reason why people take news articles or politicians at face value.

 

For the example you brought up your right that some of the things they like or get contributions from might not be anything, but it certainly adds a greater degree of focus into each person and added dimension. These things do matter. Car enthusiast, while maybe not behind his legislation does play a part in who he is as a person and how this person votes in office. They are suppose to represent us, but the unique thing about our system of government is that we like politicians to also be some what autonomous so it gives them greater flexibility while in office instead of being chained to every whim of their constituents, but this also means that their personal beliefs are very important and do matter because it plays in how they execute their powers in office! Same thing with campaign contributions. Luckily this HSR isn't going down any Union Pacific corridors (at least I don't think it is) so that shouldn't be a factor especially since Union Pacific isn't in the passenger rail market and would actually stand to benefit from an increase in rail infrastructure.

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Luckily this HSR isn't going down any Union Pacific corridors (at least I don't think it is) so that shouldn't be a factor especially since Union Pacific isn't in the passenger rail market and would actually stand to benefit from an increase in rail infrastructure.

 

The line parallel to 290 is a UP line. I'm wondering if they're not too thrilled about all the recent chatter about suburban and commuter rail lines.

Edited by ADCS
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The line parallel to 290 is a UP line. I'm wondering if they're not too thrilled about all the recent chatter about suburban and commuter rail lines.

 

I would be shocked if Union Pacific is only hearing about this NOW! I highly doubt it.

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read the post where I put up the link to the Madisonville Meteor where in a Letter to the Editor it addresses this. I have also meet with TCR along with a few others on here where this was discussed and eminent domain will be avoided at all costs and they will instead seek free market alternatives because it both benefits them financial and legally and it benefits private citizens financially and legally. They have it written on their website. They have said this in numerous other articles. Please give me one statement from TCR or TCP where an individual has stated that eminent domain will be their weapon of choice. Please supply this evidence. What I stated isn't just some idea....it's stated fact and people should stop letting their emotions sway their understanding about this issue and seek information from the people who are running the show themselves. Not politicans. Not Newspapers. I get this information from TCR themselves and until they say otherwise in a published or open forum then it is what they will do.

 

Perhaps you misunderstood my question.  I didn't ask what made you think TCR or TCP was going to make eminent domain their weapon of choice (nor did I claim they said such a thing).  I asked what made you think TCR will not use eminent domain.

 

-- I have read the post where you put up the link to the Madisonville Meteor and I've read the Letter to the Editor contained therein.  The letter does not once even mention eminent domain.

 

-- Of course eminent domain will be avoided.  That can be said about every project undertaken by every entity that has the power of eminent domain.  Land acquisitions are always attempted by negotiation first.  Intending and planning/hoping to avoid using eminent domain is not the same as stating that they will not be using eminent domain.

 

--  I cannot find anywhere on their website where it says they will not use eminent domain.  In fact, their website makes it quite clear that they both have the power of eminent domain and will use it if necessary.  As a last resort;  again, the use of eminent domain is always a last resort.

 

-- Perhaps you could provide some links to articles where they have said they will not use eminent domain?

 

-- Nice strawman, but of course you know that neither I nor anyone on this thread has claimed that TCR or TCP has stated that eminent domain will be their weapon of choice.  As such, I will be supplying no evidence to support a claim I have not made.  As discussed above, eminent domain is never anyone's weapon of choice. It is always plan B.  But not being the weapon of choice is far different from declaring that the weapon is off the table.  I have not seen anywhere that they have said eminent domain is off the table, as you have suggested.  In the vein of "please supply this evidence", I would ask again for your evidence that TCR or TCP has said they will not use eminent domain; that they have taken the eminent domain weapon off the table.

 

-- The statement that TCR will not use eminent domain indeed isn't "just some idea."  It's far less than that. From the facts you've given us, it appears to be nothing but pure unadulterated nonsense, borne of illogical emotions swaying your understanding (to coin a phrase.)

Edited by Houston19514
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I would be shocked if Union Pacific is only hearing about this NOW! I highly doubt it.

 

Well, from what I've been reading in recent weeks, you've got TCR and TCP talking about partnering with the CoH and Harris County on potential commuter options, where that really wasn't on the table six months ago. I get the impression that there's been a lot of pressure from City Hall and the Harris County Courthouse on making that part of the deal.

 

This might be UP's way of letting TCR and TCP know that this wasn't part of the deal that they had discussed with them previously, and would throw a wrench in UP's support of the project. That's admittedly speculation, but it makes sense in line with Pickett's concerns about the feasibility of TCR operating without taxpayer money. You could read that as them saying "rumor has it you're going to get some cash from the folks in Houston for commuter rail that could lead to interference with our business there. Might want to rethink that."

 

Then again, that might be a little too much Kremlinology there.

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Perhaps you misunderstood my question. I didn't ask what made you think TCR or TCP was going to make eminent domain their weapon of choice (nor did I claim they said such a thing). I asked what made you think TCR will not use eminent domain.

-- I have read the post where you put up the link to the Madisonville Meteor and I've read the Letter to the Editor contained therein. The letter does not once even mention eminent domain.

-- Of course eminent domain will be avoided. That can be said about every project undertaken by every entity that has the power of eminent domain. Land acquisitions are always attempted by negotiation first. Intending and planning/hoping to avoid using eminent domain is not the same as stating that they will not be using eminent domain.

-- I cannot find anywhere on their website where it says they will not use eminent domain. In fact, their website makes it quite clear that they both have the power of eminent domain and will use it if necessary. As a last resort; again, the use of eminent domain is always a last resort.

-- Perhaps you could provide some links to articles where they have said they will not use eminent domain?

-- Nice strawman, but of course you know that neither I nor anyone on this thread has claimed that TCR or TCP has stated that eminent domain will be their weapon of choice. As such, I will be supplying no evidence to support a claim I have not made. As discussed above, eminent domain is never anyone's weapon of choice. It is always plan B. But not being the weapon of choice is far different from declaring that the weapon is off the table. I have not seen anywhere that they have said eminent domain is off the table, as you have suggested. In the vein of "please supply this evidence", I would ask again for your evidence that TCR or TCP has said they will not use eminent domain; that they have taken the eminent domain weapon off the table.

-- The statement that TCR will not use eminent domain indeed isn't "just some idea." It's far less than that. From the facts you've given us, it appears to be nothing but pure unadulterated nonsense, borne of illogical emotions swaying your understanding (to coin a phrase.)

I'm so tired of explaining this.

Which is easier? Using ED to take land which results in law suits and massive amounts of extra money spent on legal fees,

OR

Spending an extra $100k to make someone happier, and avoid courtroom costs altogether?

This is a private company with private money so of corse they can hand out more money to land owners than what their property is worth.

There's your logic...

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Oh, and here's a quote;

Company president Robert Eckels says eminent domain is something they want to do sparingly.

"It's a very time-consuming, expensive process. It's something you have to have if you're going to build a project of this scale, but it's not the most efficient way to buy property nor the most pleasant way for anybody involved," says Eckels.

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/more-public-meetings-scheduled-on-highspeed-rail-project/

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Before we start an argument, I'm not angry at you specifically. All I've seen about this project the past 8 months have been the same kind of repeat argument against it that has already been discussed here at length. That's not your fault, and frankly, I'm a little irritated at TCR for not doing anything worthwhile to combat this overwhelming wave of negativity. We've heard rumors of social media presence and community interactions. I'm curious how far along TCR is in this aspect. I don't doubt their capability, I'm simply curious why they've been silent for so long. This project will literally be the first of it's kind in America and that should be huge for us! This is a project that will form a more solid connectivity between cities and peoples than ever before. The more stations we see appear in the future, the more those towns will grow. I'm excited for this project but damn, there's just some issues with its image that I feel could hurt TCR in the long run.

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More evidence that TCR has not, in fact, foresworn the use of eminent domain, as Luminare would have us believe.  Thanks for posting.

 

Luminaire told us that "They won't be using eminent domain".  We have still seen no evidence to support that unqualified statement. Wanting to use eminent domain sparingly is far different from declaring you aren't going to use it at all (as Luminare told us TCR has said).

 

It is not at all hard to understand that use of eminent domain will be and should be the last resort.  It's expensive, time-consuming and tendentious. 

 

Neither should it be hard to understand that there's a huge difference and a contradiction between:

 

(i) flatly stating "TCR won't be using eminent domain" (something TCR has apparently not said, contrary to Luminare's representations) and

 

(ii) saying they hope to use eminent domain sparingly (which TCR has said repeatedly).

Edited by Houston19514
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And it's bad PR too, especially when it's a private entity with political connections trying to do it. But I imagine if the need does arise that they need a portion of someone's land, they'll have to use it whether they want to or not.

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Thanks for confirming what I said.  Of course they want to use eminent domain sparingly.  Use of eminent domain is always the last resort.

 

But Luminaire told us that "They won't be using eminent domain".  We have still seen no evidence to support that unqualified statement. The link you kindly provided even belies Luminaire's statement.  Wanting to use eminent domain sparingly is far different from declaring you aren't going to use it at all (as Luminaire would have us believe TCR has said).

 

It is not at all hard to understand that use of eminent domain will be and should be the last resort.  It's expensive, time-consuming and tendentious. 

 

Neither should it be hard to understand that there's a huge difference and a contradiction between:

 

(i) flatly stating "TCR won't be using eminent domain" (something TCR has apparently not said, contrary to Luminaire's representations) and

 

(ii) saying they hope to use eminent domain sparingly (which TCR has said repeatedly).

 

Well since your making such an incredible effort to go out of your way to point out that one thing (which is a very important thing), I guess I will address your complaint.

 

You are right. I did make an error that I shouldn't have made and its the one error that should never ever be made. It's the reason why you should never use the word "never" in anything because there is the possibility that it could very well happen. Then you are just left with a great big egg on your face. I actually appreciate you calling me on this (no....really I am glad...seriously don't roll your eyes as you are reading this!)

 

What I meant to say was exactly what you stated and others have said is that they have the ability to use it. They will use it if they have too, but they don't want too. They only want to use it as a last resort.

 

It's actually funny how each person reads things different. When I read those exact same words I interpreted them as being a clear indication that they will not....which is true in a way. But others read it as OMG they are going to use eminent domain....which is also true. Both can be true and both can be false and it doesn't help we each have our own biases and we each play for one team or the other.

 

Its like the example of the glass with half having water inside. Do you see it half full or half empty. both answers are right and both can be wrong. It depends on context. So far from the meet I had with TCR and the times TCR has discussed Eminent Domain it's been with an ATTITUDE that they will not...even though they can and might use it if they need too. It's definitely something they need to clarify further, but honestly it will be on a case by case basis. It's not something that could be put into a doctrine.

 

With that being said, I will be a little more judicious with my diction moving on in this conversation and think we all should. The real evidence is in what they are saying and not what we interpret what they said as being.

 

I hope that clears things up :P

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No. Farmers serve a purpose but I wouldn't call them extraordinarily educated.

 

 

Rural folk aren't exactly rocket scientists

Those are two of the more offensive comments I've seen in a while. Especially coming from someone who apparently has some level of college education. You obviously don't get out much in rural areas. Those folks aren't stupid, many of them are better educated than you, and they all have far more class. They do tend to see things from their own perspective, which is reasonable, but they are willing to listen, and will change their minds when the arguments are convincing. However, they are never happy when they are told "suck it up, that's how it will be".

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Those are two of the more offensive comments I've seen in a while. Especially coming from someone who apparently has some level of college education. You obviously don't get out much in rural areas. Those folks aren't stupid, many of them are better educated than you, and they all have far more class. They do tend to see things from their own perspective, which is reasonable, but they are willing to listen, and will change their minds when the arguments are convincing. However, they are never happy when they are told "suck it up, that's how it will be".

 

Crikey, I'm actually agreeing with Ross.   :mellow:

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Those are two of the more offensive comments I've seen in a while. Especially coming from someone who apparently has some level of college education. You obviously don't get out much in rural areas. Those folks aren't stupid, many of them are better educated than you, and they all have far more class. They do tend to see things from their own perspective, which is reasonable, but they are willing to listen, and will change their minds when the arguments are convincing. However, they are never happy when they are told "suck it up, that's how it will be".

Please don't get sanctimonious with me. You are evidently unaware of the statistical facts.

Rural college-enrollment rates are an often-reported problem, one that periodically yields recommendations from the field on ways this issue could be addressed. Only 17 percent of rural adults 25 or older have a college degree, which is about half the percentage of urban adults. About 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in rural areas were enrolled in higher education in 2009, compared with about 46 percent in urban areas and 42 percent in suburban areas.

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?DISPATCHED=true&cid=25983841&item=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.edweek.org%2Fedweek%2Frural_education%2F2013%2F10%2Frural_students_lag_urban_peers_on_college_enrollment_persistence.html

In 1970, there was a 6-point difference between urban and rural counties in the percent of people over 25 years of age who had college degrees. (Rural stood at 5.7 percent; urban was 11.6 percent.)

By 2010, the gap was nearly 15 points, as shown in the chart above.

http://www.dailyyonder.com/college-degree-gap-widens/2012/03/26/3828

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Please don't get sanctimonious with me. You are evidently unaware of the statistical facts.

Rural college-enrollment rates are an often-reported problem, one that periodically yields recommendations from the field on ways this issue could be addressed. Only 17 percent of rural adults 25 or older have a college degree, which is about half the percentage of urban adults. About 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in rural areas were enrolled in higher education in 2009, compared with about 46 percent in urban areas and 42 percent in suburban areas.

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?DISPATCHED=true&cid=25983841&item=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.edweek.org%2Fedweek%2Frural_education%2F2013%2F10%2Frural_students_lag_urban_peers_on_college_enrollment_persistence.html

In 1970, there was a 6-point difference between urban and rural counties in the percent of people over 25 years of age who had college degrees. (Rural stood at 5.7 percent; urban was 11.6 percent.)

By 2010, the gap was nearly 15 points, as shown in the chart above.

http://www.dailyyonder.com/college-degree-gap-widens/2012/03/26/3828

 

You can't judge a person's intelligence based on their level of education.

 

I hope this gets split off into off topic, cause I'm genuinely intrigued to see if you can come up with something that is a real answer, because this ain't it.

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You can't judge a person's intelligence based on their level of education.

I hope this gets split off into off topic, cause I'm genuinely intrigued to see if you can come up with something that is a real answer, because this ain't it.

Maybe not but you can judge a level of knowledge (usually)

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I wasn't following the topic closely, so my question is how likely is this TCR project to be implemented? As I recall there were lots of rail projects in recent years: T-bone, intermodal terminal, commuter trains around Houston, something federally funded, Houston-Galveston 2.0, etc., all had support and enthusiasm, but nothing ever came of them except studies and more studies. I appreciate that TCR is private, but there used to be a private Houston-Galveston train in 1990-s, and it didn't work out either. I think they were trying to have the city take it over, but it fell through. I am just not sure that public transportation can be made to work for profit long term, and there seems to be a lot of ideological opposition in Texas to trains specifically for some reason. Some politicians are already talking against TCR. So given all that are there any particular reasons to believe that this time will be different?

 

And my second question is, assuming it happens, where will be the terminus in Houston? They are saying "near downtown", but I am not sure what that means. I think somebody wanted to buy the USPS building near the current Amtrak station, was it them? Why can't they use the place under the Burnett light rail station, where intermodal terminal was supposed to be?

 

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I wasn't following the topic closely, so my question is how likely is this TCR project to be implemented? As I recall there were lots of rail projects in recent years: T-bone, intermodal terminal, commuter trains around Houston, something federally funded, Houston-Galveston 2.0, etc., all had support and enthusiasm, but nothing ever came of them except studies and more studies. I appreciate that TCR is private, but there used to be a private Houston-Galveston train in 1990-s, and it didn't work out either. I think they were trying to have the city take it over, but it fell through. I am just not sure that public transportation can be made to work for profit long term, and there seems to be a lot of ideological opposition in Texas to trains specifically for some reason. Some politicians are already talking against TCR. So given all that are there any particular reasons to believe that this time will be different?

And my second question is, assuming it happens, where will be the terminus in Houston? They are saying "near downtown", but I am not sure what that means. I think somebody wanted to buy the USPS building near the current Amtrak station, was it them? Why can't they use the place under the Burnett light rail station, where intermodal terminal was supposed to be?

Houston to galveston railroad was hoping Union station would be downtown terminus. But Lanier and his cronies changed the baseball stadium plans to hit Union station specifically so trains didn't have a downtown station, particularly a grand one such as that. So texas limited had no hope with a station in the heights. Also insurance costs were sky high but if Union station was available that cost could be eaten as the benefits would be greater.

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Houston to galveston railroad was hoping Union station would be downtown terminus. But Lanier and his cronies changed the baseball stadium plans to hit Union station specifically so trains didn't have a downtown station, particularly a grand one such as that. So texas limited had no hope with a station in the heights. Also insurance costs were sky high but if Union station was available that cost could be eaten as the benefits would be greater.

I'd take all that with a grain of salt, of course.

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About this time, the Harris County Sports Authority was created with Jack Rains and Billy Burge running it. They advised my attorney, Roland Chamberlin, and me that, in order to pursue our project, we should work with a pair of attorneys the authority had retained. After several meetings with them it was clear that nobody at the authority had any interest in trying to help preserve rail at Union Station.

This was driven home after I met with Mike Surface, who worked for Harris County. During a meeting with him, he told me that in order to effect a multi-million-dollar construction cost savings the footprint of the stadium was going to be moved south all the way to Texas Avenue, thereby covering the space where tracks could be laid. I did not believe him. I called the lead architect at HOK, with whom I had had previous discussions, and asked if this was true. He told me he had never heard of such a thing.

After I finished, Todd canvassed the other council members and came back to tell me that we had a very strong majority. I came back the following Wednesday when they voted. Todd canvassed them again before the vote and this time told me that all of our support had evaporated overnight. Mayor Lanier was there one of the days but I don't remember which. Go figure.

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You can go talk to the guy that ran texas limited and find out for yourself.

http://m.chron.com/opinion/article/Houston-deserves-better-rail-service-4337295.php

I've read that article, and it's different than your re-interpretation. Sounds like he wanted the Union Station for rail use, was out-bid by Enron, briefly enthused by the idea of a hybrid baseball stadium/train station (done by someone at the architect's team and probably not representative of the final product), and then was disappointed when the rail component was dropped (which would've been a bit more complicated if it were serving dual uses from an engineering/pedestrian accessibility standpoint), that is if it ever existed and wasn't just a pipe dream by him and some folks at HOK Architects. Even then, it's just him talking (no one else's side of the story), complicated by the fact that this "Mike Surface" guy was a criminal, too.

Some of these "What Could Have Been" discussions in terms of unbuilt projects, we don't have a real idea of how close to a reality it would've been. For example, the full-scale Star Trek Enterprise attraction at Las Vegas in the early 1990s was killed by a Paramount exec, but only five months of preliminary planning had gone into it and could've been stymied or killed by a variety of other factors.

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I've read that article, and it's different than your re-interpretation. Sounds like he wanted the Union Station for rail use, was out-bid by Enron, briefly enthused by the idea of a hybrid baseball stadium/train station (done by someone at the architect's team and probably not representative of the final product), and then was disappointed when the rail component was dropped (which would've been a bit more complicated if it were serving dual uses from an engineering/pedestrian accessibility standpoint), that is if it ever existed and wasn't just a pipe dream by him and some folks at HOK Architects. Even then, it's just him talking (no one else's side of the story), complicated by the fact that this "Mike Surface" guy was a criminal, too.

Some of these "What Could Have Been" discussions in terms of unbuilt projects, we don't have a real idea of how close to a reality it would've been. For example, the full-scale Star Trek Enterprise attraction at Las Vegas in the early 1990s was killed by a Paramount exec, but only five months of preliminary planning had gone into it and could've been stymied or killed by a variety of other factors.

Rail at a stadium site is not a difficult concept at all. Look at Barclays center which has subway lines and the LIRR all stop underneath it. Also Franklin got government money which takes a lot of time to apply for and win and was on the same page with the architects. If you can't see the obvious corruption of Lanier to purposely block rail you have rose colored glasses. He went out of his way to do it even though rail easily could have been part of the configuration. It's part of the anti rail sentiment him and his buddies delay and Culberson and some at TxDOT have as well. And it's putting us 50 years behind the rest of the civilized world.

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