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High Speed Rail / Texas Triangle


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On 12/3/2020 at 8:34 AM, mfastx said:

 

I mean, everyone was apparently fine with building highways to no end that take up way more property/homes than a rail line ever would (and continue to take up more even after they are built!), so I see it as a bit hypocritical to be staunchly opposed to a rail line for these reasons. 

To be fair, there were a lot of rural landowners who were opposed to the failed, quarter mile wide Trans Texas Corridor that included two separate highways within its ROW (one for cars and one for trucks).

Edited by JLWM8609
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On 12/6/2020 at 1:19 AM, august948 said:

 

Good third option, yes.  Cheaper than both, no.

 

The google maps distance between downtown Dallas and downtown Houston shows 241 miles.  My f150 averages about 13 mpg which comes out to about 19 gallons one way.  We'll round that up to 20 and multiply by $1.60 per gallon (close enough, I think I paid $1.55 the other day at sam's club) and we get $32.  That's $64 round trip in direct cost (not including the inevitably expensive Buc-ee's stops).  Just to quell the "but, but oil, tires and maintenance!" arguments we'll round that up to $100 round trip.  Is that even close to round trip airfare and whatever round trip hsr tickets will cost?  Probably not.

 

This is a good third option, and hopefully the start of a bigger and more useful network, but I wouldn't count on this significantly impacting road traffic between here and Dallas.  The people shelling out for this would probably have shelled out for a plane ticket unless the hsr tickets are going to come in closer to what you have to pay in gas to drive it.

As Spec said it's a little higher per trip than that. As a bonus, if you need to use the bathroom, the train doesn't have to stop for you. Same for food. Also wouldn't taste as bad as airplane food. 

 

Not much Business in Dallas, but it would be great to take for weekend trips to see friends and go to events. Flying sucks pre-COVID and this would save so much time. I enjoy driving and road trips but not the stress of bad drivers or accidents. Or speeding tickets.

 

When I visit Dallas I usually stay Downtown, and uber or DART where I can. All of the Hotels Downtown charge for parking over night so there's a plus as well.

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12 hours ago, JLWM8609 said:

To be fair, there were a lot of rural landowners who were opposed to the failed, quarter mile wide Trans Texas Corridor that included two separate highways within its ROW (one for cars and one for trucks).

I think a lot of the current opposition is from that original design, where it would be taking a lot more land

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On 12/5/2020 at 5:24 AM, august948 said:

 

Wouldn't most of those folks already be flying, then?

 

Not necessarily.  I used to fly to Dallas very regularly when you could just go to Hobby, buy a ticket from a kiosk, pass through a metal detector with your shoes, jacket, and belt on, and get on a less than full airplane with a half hour wait at the very most.  Now you must make a reservation, security is a bunch of kabuki, etc., etc. - all of which eats up much of the time advantage of flying - plus it's all but certain that the plane will be packed to the gills even though the seats are closer together because there's no longer a flight every half hour.  So I take a lot fewer trips, and drive the ones I do take.

 

I also used to fly to Austin about half the time, but now that their airport is almost in Bastrop it's almost always a better use of time to drive.

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On 12/3/2020 at 9:29 AM, gmac said:

 

Bingo! Both are huge boondoggles that should be shelved immediately.

 

the i45 expansion sure is a boondoggle, and made worse that the budget comes straight from my taxes.

 

the HSR might be a boondoggle as well, but I have no idea whose boons they are doggling for this project, but it's not mine, so I don't really care whether it's a boondoggle or not.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

the i45 expansion sure is a boondoggle, and made worse that the budget comes straight from my taxes.

 

the HSR might be a boondoggle as well, but I have no idea whose boons they are doggling for this project, but it's not mine, so I don't really care whether it's a boondoggle or not.

 

Which ones? Gas taxes?

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12 minutes ago, Triton said:

Whatever happened to the America that could build big. I feel like today's America wouldn't have built the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge 

Politics above the common good. I have hope that new and grand infrastructure is within our great country's near future. 

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20 hours ago, gmac said:

 

Which ones? Gas taxes?

 

those too.

 

gas taxes do not cover all of it.

 

from federal funding the federal gas tax covers more than 3/4, but not all, that's covered by big rigs, and heavy trucks:

https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-highway-trust-fund-and-how-it-financed#:~:text=Most spending from the Highway,by state and local governments.

Quote

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Highway Trust Fund tax revenue will total $43 billion in fiscal year 2020 (figure 1). Revenue from the federal excise tax on gasoline ($25.8 billion) and diesel fuel ($10.5 billion) accounts for 84 percent of the total. The remaining trust fund tax revenue comes from a sales tax on tractors and heavy trucks, an excise tax on tires for heavy vehicles, and an annual use tax on those vehicles. 

 

from state funding we have big shortfalls there and most of these have been overcome by pulling from the rainy day fund, and sales taxes.

https://comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-notes/2016/may/road-finance.php#:~:text=New Revenue for Roads&text=The state's Economic Stabilization Fund,excess of fiscal 1987 revenues.&text=Under Proposition 1%2C %241.7 billion,fiscal 2015 for transportation projects.

 

not exactly sure what your point was, but the taxes the oil companies pay for 'production' end up being paid for by me at the pump, I pay sales tax same as everyone else, and I pay both state and federal gas taxes.

 

at the end of the day, and as it relates to my post:

the public highways are paid for by you and I.

this railway is a private venture funded not by state or federal money, it may be a boondoggle, but it's not my money, so I don't care how they waste their money.

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6 hours ago, samagon said:

 

those too.

 

gas taxes do not cover all of it.

 

from federal funding the federal gas tax covers more than 3/4, but not all, that's covered by big rigs, and heavy trucks:

https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-highway-trust-fund-and-how-it-financed#:~:text=Most spending from the Highway,by state and local governments.

 

from state funding we have big shortfalls there and most of these have been overcome by pulling from the rainy day fund, and sales taxes.

https://comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-notes/2016/may/road-finance.php#:~:text=New Revenue for Roads&text=The state's Economic Stabilization Fund,excess of fiscal 1987 revenues.&text=Under Proposition 1%2C %241.7 billion,fiscal 2015 for transportation projects.

 

not exactly sure what your point was, but the taxes the oil companies pay for 'production' end up being paid for by me at the pump, I pay sales tax same as everyone else, and I pay both state and federal gas taxes.

 

at the end of the day, and as it relates to my post:

the public highways are paid for by you and I.

this railway is a private venture funded not by state or federal money, it may be a boondoggle, but it's not my money, so I don't care how they waste their money.

 

My question was one of curiosity about how you pay directly for the roads.

 

As far as the rail project, if they will commit in writing under penalty of public hara kiri to never accept a penny of tax money and never use eminent domain to secure land, I would be fine with it.

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2 hours ago, gmac said:

As far as the rail project, if they will commit in writing under penalty of public hara kiri to never accept a penny of tax money and never use eminent domain to secure land, I would be fine with it.

 

Yeah you can forget about them not having to use eminent domain to secure land.  There are people on the proposed route that have already made it clear they will not sell for any price.   But you already knew that...

 

On 12/8/2020 at 5:49 PM, gmac said:

 

Sure they would. Those were necessary projects.

 

I seriously doubt the Hoover Dam would get built today due to environmental impacts and/or eminent domain concerns.  

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12 hours ago, BeerNut said:

 

Yeah you can forget about them not having to use eminent domain to secure land.  There are people on the proposed route that have already made it clear they will not sell for any price.   But you already knew that...

 

 

Absent eminent domain, the last holdout is going to say "sure, I'll sell you an easement across my land. $400 million for the first 10 years, renewable after that for $500 million for another 10 years, then $1 billion for the next renewal. Take it or leave it."

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10 hours ago, Some one said:

Let's be honest, today's America wouldn't have built the interstate system.

Feels like we wouldn't even have NASA or subway systems if they didn't already exist. Feels like anything that is a major project is now a boondoggle and I don't feel like NIMBYism existed 100 years ago as it does today.

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34 minutes ago, Triton said:

Feels like we wouldn't even have NASA or subway systems if they didn't already exist. Feels like anything that is a major project is now a boondoggle and I don't feel like NIMBYism existed 100 years ago as it does today.

the Internet (specifically social media) can amplify the needs (wants) of the smallest group of people.

 

these special interests gain traction because groups of people want to feel better about themselves for giving the guy without a voice their support. and so on it goes till it sounds like these special interests are the majority.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Triton said:

Feels like we wouldn't even have NASA or subway systems if they didn't already exist. Feels like anything that is a major project is now a boondoggle and I don't feel like NIMBYism existed 100 years ago as it does today.

 

Disagree. I have no problem with necessary projects like early NASA and other infrastructure that served a large segment of society. You're comparing those with a vanity high-speed rail connection between two cities that are already pretty effectively connected.

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37 minutes ago, Triton said:

Feels like we wouldn't even have NASA or subway systems if they didn't already exist. Feels like anything that is a major project is now a boondoggle and I don't feel like NIMBYism existed 100 years ago as it does today.

 

The CA HSR project is probably the most ambitious major/infrastructure project in United States in the last 25 years.  I think the Space Shuttle Program was the last major project in the United States that had an impact on multiple states.  Yeah I'm excluding military projects before someone chimes in...

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5 minutes ago, gmac said:

 

Disagree. I have no problem with necessary projects like early NASA and other infrastructure that served a large segment of society. You're comparing those with a vanity high-speed rail connection between two cities that are already pretty effectively connected.

 

Your personal judgement as to whether this is "necessary" is not some sort of objective truth. Yes, there is already transportation available between the two cities; this project would increase the capacity of that connection. Just like the interstate. And air travel. It might be a mode you wouldn't personally use, but that doesn't make this a vanity project or a boondoggle. 

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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

 

Your personal judgement as to whether this is "necessary" is not some sort of objective truth. Yes, there is already transportation available between the two cities; this project would increase the capacity of that connection. Just like the interstate. And air travel. It might be a mode you wouldn't personally use, but that doesn't make this a vanity project or a boondoggle. 

 

Duly noted.

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52 minutes ago, mkultra25 said:

 

In today's America, Eisenhower would have been run out of the Republican party on a rail long before the interstate system got past the blue-sky phase.  

By todays standards, Ike was a commie pinko.

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In my book, the Texas HSR is vastly more necessary and valuable as an example than it will be as a direct benefit to the travelers of Texas, though the benefits there are huge as well. We desperately need a modern high speed rail SOMEWHERE in this country to get built and show people it can be successful, and that might as well be here in Texas.

 

Speaking for me personally, I travel to Dallas a few times a year and I hate - HATE - that drive. Something about it is just awful to me in a way that going to Austin or San Antonio isn't. Now that Southwest's prices aren't as competitive as they once were, and with airport shenanigans shaving off basically all the time saved by not driving, I know I would be seriously considering taking the HSR if it were an option.

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We need to stay competitive in the world and the United States is severely behind in the high speed rail market. Just imagine if America could be a world leader and start exporting this technology to other countries as many Asian countries currently do. Until we catch up, we will have to rely on Asia.

 

And I think Texas's approach to high speed rail is hands down the best. Let private industry come to the forefront on this endeavor. Private companies are, imo, much better at keeping the cost down. Look at California... it got so expensive they've had to outright cancel major parts of it. 

 

As I said earlier in this thread and I'll say it again, just because you don't drive or fly between Dallas and here, doesn't mean others don't. CBRE frequently flew hundreds between Dallas and Houston and that's just one company. There are thousands of companies that do the same. Even if regular people don't use this, business will because they see it as a quicker way of getting from point A to B since you don't have to go through the same waits and checkpoints as you currently do at airports.

 

That's critical because many times we had people fly in the morning, go through conferences and meetings throughout the day, and then sent them back home later that evening. And every employee said the samething that had those travel days... it's not fun when you have to go through the airport. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Andrew Ewert said:

Speaking for me personally, I travel to Dallas a few times a year and I hate - HATE - that drive. Something about it is just awful to me in a way that going to Austin or San Antonio isn't. 

 

I take it you're not a fan of the buffet at Sam's in Fairfield.

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

 

That's critical because many times we had people fly in the morning, go through conferences and meetings throughout the day, and then sent them back home later that evening. And every employee said the samething that had those travel days... it's not fun when you have to go through the airport. 

 

 

Even worse my gf had to fly the night before to Dallas for meetings because she wanted to make sure she was available for clients on the East coast.   The train would be fairly seamless in that she wouldn't need to put her laptop/phone away and could work comfortably on the way to Dallas.  Also don't forget about those summer thunderstorms that can wreck flight schedules.  I've ridden on the TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen, for me it's my preferred way to travel given the option.  

Edited by BeerNut
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  • 3 months later...
17 minutes ago, gmac said:

I knew the rascals who are trying to build that rail line would get their snouts in the trough. Why spend your own money when you can snag it from Uncle Sugar!

They aren't ones the pushing for this. The federal government are already trying to spend this money. Nowhere in that article does anyone currently associated with the project push for federal money. And look, Biden and his cronies up in Washington seem intent on spending that trillion dollars anyway. Don't want them to? Contact your local representatives and voice your displeasure at this trillion plus dollar infrastructure bill and the tax hikes they are trying to push through. And if the bill does go through, if the government wants to send money to this project, let them; they'll spend it either way, so it might as well go to something with a chance of succeeding, rather than some other boondoggle.

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10 hours ago, Big E said:

voice your displeasure at this trillion plus dollar infrastructure bill and the tax hikes they are trying to push through.

Nope. I think the bill is much needed to repair our crumbling infrastructure nationwide.

I just don't want to spend money on a fairy-dust land grab. You can bet I have already been in touch, since this boondoggle first came into being.

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21 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

Would be nice if the feds kicked in to extend the line all the way to downtown...or Galveston. 

It would be nice to have HSR to Galveston, but I don't think the passenger volumes would be there.  The next leg I see from Houston is to New Orleans - a 5 hour car trip condensed down into a 2 hour train ride, with people from both Houston & Dallas being potential customers (transfer in Houston)

 

The other two lines are the 35 corridor, though getting the ROW would be hard, and from Houston to San Antonio

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I forgot to post this from a while back.  

Texas Central Railroad High-Speed Rail Safety Standards

Quote

This final rule of particular applicability (RPA) establishes safety standards for the Texas Central Railroad (TCRR or the railroad) high-speed rail (HSR) system. These standards are not intended for general application in the railroad industry, but apply only to the TCRR system planned for development in the State of Texas. This rule takes a systems approach to safety, and so includes standards that address the aspects of the TCRR HSR system consistent with the regulatory framework for the general system, but in a manner appropriate to TCRR's technology and application, including signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating practices, system qualifications, and maintenance. The TCRR HSR system is planned to operate from Houston to Dallas, on dedicated track, with no grade crossings, at speeds not to exceed 330 km/h (205 mph). The TCRR rolling stock, track, and core systems will replicate the Tokaido Shinkansen HSR system operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JRC), and will be used exclusively for revenue passenger service.

 

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9 hours ago, Triton said:

By your definition, hasn't almost every single line of infrastructure at some point been a "land grab"?

I assume you're asking me.

By private companies using eminent domain? Sure.

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On 4/6/2021 at 11:31 AM, gmac said:

Nope. I think the bill is much needed to repair our crumbling infrastructure nationwide.

Then I don't really see what your problem is then.

 

On 4/6/2021 at 11:31 AM, gmac said:

I just don't want to spend money on a fairy-dust land grab.

This isn't a land grab in any real sense. The only land being taken will be for a railway easement, which isn't much land in the grand scheme of things and it would only ever be used for a railway. If the rail isn't built, the land remains untouched. I don't see how this would be anymore of a boondoggle than anything else the government would spend the money on.

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5 hours ago, Big E said:

Then I don't really see what your problem is then.

 

This isn't a land grab in any real sense. The only land being taken will be for a railway easement, which isn't much land in the grand scheme of things and it would only ever be used for a railway. If the rail isn't built, the land remains untouched. I don't see how this would be anymore of a boondoggle than anything else the government would spend the money on.

The problem? Seriously? The infrastructure bill should focus on addressing current issues.

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3 hours ago, mollusk said:

Isn't that part of the point?  Surely they aren't under some delusion that freight service should be able to accompany it... (***epic eye roll***)

Roflmao...no, they aren't under any delusions.  This is just another form of the "Bridge of Death" argument.  Next we'll hear HSR endangers fire ants.

Fortunately, once you reach the "Bridge of Death" stage in your arguments you're already riding a banana peal on a downward slope.  Just ask Walmart.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/19/2021 at 12:17 PM, BigFootsSocks said:

https://abc13.com/high-speed-train-houston-dallas-bullet/10519504/

 

Imagine believing this is a valid argument lol

For the dim and true believers, yes its an argument. We also have to remember most of the "holdout's" aren't holdouts for ideological reasons, or those of passion, but because they believe their land is worth way more than market value, or they believe they can get more. Its like breaking a safe or a wall, all it takes is time and leverage. Media cover it to get clicks, politicians jump on the bandwagon to up their cred with constituents, but once leverage has broken the wall, media finds a better story, and politicians find another person to squeeze at that point its just the dim and true believers to stand in the way, and eventually they will become irrelevant as the winds of change blow them away as well, and they too fold.

Still bullish on this project. If it was able to weather The Coff, and it has, then it should be just fine.

20 hours ago, BeerNut said:

Evidence that its doing fine.

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3 hours ago, Luminare said:

For the dim and true believers, yes its an argument. We also have to remember most of the "holdout's" aren't holdouts for ideological reasons, or those of passion, but because they believe their land is worth way more than market value, or they believe they can get more. Its like breaking a safe or a wall, all it takes is time and leverage. Media cover it to get clicks, politicians jump on the bandwagon to up their cred with constituents, but once leverage has broken the wall, media finds a better story, and politicians find another person to squeeze at that point its just the dim and true believers to stand in the way, and eventually they will become irrelevant as the winds of change blow them away as well, and they too fold.

Still bullish on this project. If it was able to weather The Coff, and it has, then it should be just fine.

Evidence that its doing fine.

I think I'll get together with a few friends and run a railway right through your living room. You surely wouldn't object to that, would you? It would be progress, after all!

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Posted (edited)

Asked a question gmac already sorta answered.

What it clearly comes down to is that most people agree with the concept of acquiring private property for the purpose of infrastructure projects *if* those projects are worth it. We just can't agree on which projects are worth it and which ones are "boondoggles" (or actively destructive to communities, the environment, etc).

 

Edited by Texasota
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8 hours ago, gmac said:

I think I'll get together with a few friends and run a railway right through your living room. You surely wouldn't object to that, would you? It would be progress, after all!

Except this isn't running through living rooms, but fields. Nobody's losing their house over this. When it goes through populated areas, it will follow existing rail corridors, and when its traveling through the country, no one's house will be in the way.

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