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Obama calls for $53 bil for high-speed rail

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High speed rail - another area America could be leading in...unless the GOP continues their job-killing ways and does what they are so adept at: saying 'no' and once again blocking real progress from taking place in America.

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Good. Japanese Trains are the best in the world. Use it. Spend more money to develop more electric cars. More research on solar energy. USA will lead the world again not with the power of weapons but with the power of eco-energy. We will see a better world for the coming generations.

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Madness. America has nowhere near the population density that would make this viable.

Besides, we already have that gubmint albatross known as AMtrak.

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Call me slow but I just realized Americans are getting what they vote for. GOP politicians are so adamantly against progress in America in the areas of high speed rail, green tech, stem cell research, etc. largely because the conservative voters who voted them in are so fundamentally against progress themselves.

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realmind, sadly, conservatives don't want a better world for future generations. Innovation, creativity and progress are the antithisis of everything your general conservative believes in and wants. Just count how many conservatives say they are against this plan (they'll come up with every reason in the book to be against it) and you'll see this is true.

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SolidariTea at 07:39 AM JST - 9th February

America has nowhere near the population density that would make this viable

It doesn't have to stop at every little Mayberry between to population centers.

Take a Chicago-St. Louis route, for example. It could basically follow the route of Interstate 55 and stop in Springfield (capital of Illinois) on the way. High-speed rail is meant to cover vast distances in minimal time, not be the local JR line.

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Majority of the money will go to California for connections between San Francisco and Los Angeles and New York connecting to major east coast cities, such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or Boston. Initial funding for the project was approved by California voters in 2008 with the passage of Proposition 1A authorizing the issuance of $10 billion in general obligation bonds for the project. In California, the total cost is estimated to be around $45 billion and the project should be completed by 2022. Most of the planned projects will be delayed due to tight money.

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When this high-speed rail system is up and running, will the U.S. government have any money to subsidize everyone's tickets?

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while Japan is awesome for trains, the highspeed trains are not alone and work in tandem with an entire railway network of varying service, which is why it works so well (in terms of design not just gov't financing)

I'm afraid with a USA only having Amtrak and this it isn't enough to support it, albeit in corridors it should be able to replace many short haul airlines.

when electrified it would go a long way in helping the USA reduce it's oil dependencies.

makes too much sense though, would return the investment over time, and result in a transit public ....so the GOP will kill it obviously.

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yeah San Francisco would be even more transit-awesome with this connection to the LA corridor.

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I thought that everyone was upset at the billions it costs the US to fund their wars and the big deficit they have now that they'd be way against this $53 billion project. So now it's ok for the Democrats to get the US into more debt?

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this is different in that it is debt that is paid off in fares and rents. This is a new concept, I know

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besides, this bill only represents about four months of spending in Iraq. This is what your public money might have been going to, the public.

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realmind: I agree that Japanese trains are pretty amazing, and the system itself has got to be the best in the world (or at very least ONE of the best), but not sure the trains themselves are the best. What's more, a contract with Japan, which I'm sure Maehara is just drooling over, would cost WAY more than it would with Germany or definitely than with China.

Regardless, the areas of highspeed rail would obviously have to be carefully chosen because, and I hate to agree with SolidariTea, it's not quite the same to have Japan all linked up by rail and a nation the size of the US. Doesn't mean they can't link certain cities, or at least start investing in it for later. I also agree with realmind and Sushi that the US needs to invest in more green-tech in general.

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I'm all for a high speed railway in the US, but unlike Japan, its the government I don't like being in charge of it (I actually believe that man to man, the J-Gov does a better job than the US gov workers could ever think of doing). My other issue is if all the work going to go to unions (you know, the ones that called for health care,only to get a waiver not to be in) and "preferred" destinations?

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mikehuntez, this will be an investment in YOUR country. Whereas the last GOP govt. spent trillions on overseas interests, this govt. is investing more within America for Americans. Call it 'inward-looking' and 'selfish' if it helps you better understand it. And yet again, it seems like the non-Americans like smithinjapan and others want more and better things for your country than you do....

I say America should go all out to become a world leader in green tech, and should have been going all out adecade ago. Except the anti-progress conservative-sponsored GOP thought launching a couple of wars was a better idea. The lack of foresight among conservatives in general is stunning. I'll say it again: America should go all out to become a world leader in green tech. It can be a world leader in green tech. It should be a world leader in green tech. Otherwise most of the good jobs will keep going to China, Germany, etc.

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It should be a world leader in green tech." You've got a lot of faith in this sector.... are you putting your money into it? Or do you know how much just this admin has prevented investment into said sector? Oh, and again, green tech is fine, as long as you don't have to use union workers, cause that is a driving factor in many areas that's driven jobs, of course stiff regulations need to be mentioned.. Do you know how much land must go to produce ethanol? are the land mass required to create solar fields? This high speed train would and should be welcomed, but I'm afraid the stiff regulation, the high taxes and company will need to pay, the high salaries for workers (who are so under performing), this more of a pipe dream than anything else

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skip, you raised some good points, especially about 'preferred destinations,' which has obviously been a relatively big factor in play in the final choice of shink destinations in Japan. in play in the final choice of shink destinations in Japan. How to get around it, I'm not sure as politics will always involve horse trading and inefluence peddling whether we like it or not. Perhaps start with a basic network that connects all the main cities?

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Perhaps start with a basic network that connects all the main cities?" No, almost the entire east coast is already connected and north mid west to Chicago. I would suggest it goes from Fla. to Texas to bring investment into those places along the bible/rust belts. go north from Dallas to the border to help build those places out. If they use non-union people, ease up on preferred contracts, and provide tax breaks to companies who manufacture in the US, then I'll even take my shirt off and lay some rails.

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We should start with a basic network that connects all the urban centers in the country. Connect Miami to Portland for example. The Rocky Mountains are nothing that Chinese companies won't be able to conquer.

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HSR could have worked if there was better infustructure for when commuters got to their destination but that ship has sailed. Now when they get to their destination they'll still need to take a cab or some other automobile and the congestion will be largely unaffected. If Amtrak hadn't screwed the pooch so many years ago and had been able to create a proper light rail system within cities it could almost be viable, but as it stands it's just another $53 billion down the drain.

It should be a world leader in green tech.

Proper 'green' technology is still in its infancy and does require more investment. However, the view most people take on it is a little to restrictive for my taste. I'd prefer more robust research into Generation IV nuclear reactors, the waste degrades in decades and the energy yeild can be up to 300 the current for the same amount of fuel and could even use current nuclear waste to produce energy.

I'm tired of gasoline and coal but ethenol, solar, and wind just don't pack enough punch for a deathblow.

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Hey, Vice President Biden rides Amtrak. He saw the future, back when they elected him to the Senate in 1972. It should be more than good enough for the rest of us.

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mikehuntez, this will be an investment in YOUR country.

What? They are going to build it in Canada? Or are you just not up on the fact that I've mentioned numerous times that I'm Canadian and assume I'm American? You know what they say about Assume. So if you are not American why is it that you are always spouting off about GOP government? I really don't understand if you are not a "YANK" then why you care so much for the country and get yourself in a tiff about anything a Republican gov't does? This sounds like risky spending to me and would hope that they spend more time to see if it's financially feasible since there is more dependence on personal automobiles in the US. Hasty decisions could lead to disaster.

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mikehuntez, Maybe he thought you were one of those who claims Canada when they don't like the U.S. President. You certainly seem to be quite concerned yourself with the goings on of a country that isn't yours too... pot and kettle? I hope you aren't forgetting about the second half of what they say about "assume".

In any case this will mean more jobs, as there will be a need for people to man the stations and trains, maintain the railways, etc. That's what we so desperately need, MORE JOBS.

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Another Obama pipe dream here.

The neo-Luddite green faction of the Dem's base will fight this tooth and nail. Of course The unions are for it, but it will require such flagrant and widespread abuse of eminent domain I think even the most totalitarian among Obama's fellow Dems will balk at it.

In the end only the lawyers will win - which is why they support the democrat party like they do.

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Another Obama pipe dream here.

It's a nice pipe dream.

Of course The unions are for it, but it will require such flagrant and widespread abuse of eminent domain I think even the most totalitarian among Obama's fellow Dems will balk at it.

True. Doubt they'll be able to do this using establish right-of-ways like interstate medians, which would be a logical choice.

In the end only the lawyers will win

They always win.

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I took Amtrak 3 years ago.I was shocked and embarrassed to see that it had not changed a bit since my previous ride, 15 years earlier. The Car is King in America, but collectivists like Obama are too tin-eared and out of touch to understand.

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I took Amtrak 3 years ago.I was shocked and embarrassed to see that it had not changed a bit since my previous ride, 15 years earlier.

Should it be that way? I don't think so. The car is not necessarily king in the northeast where Amtrak is quite well used. The service is not great to say the least but it's better than jammed up roads.

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ANOT I came here to put my 2 cents into it whereas I cautioned on the side of prudence. Not attack the government or a party that doesn't even currently make up the government like some do. In reality I couldn't care less about US politics but being a neighbor I am concerned about the economy and hope you are right about the jobs part of it. But if it is seldom used I think it may just end up being a big tax burden to the States unless well thought out. I hope you don't a problem with that.

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I try to imagine myself traveling between the downtown areas of two US cities aboard a high-speed train. The first thing that enters my mind is, "what will I do when I get off?" The only answer I can come up with is look around for a car. In Japan, connections are not a problem because nearly all Shinkansen stations link up with local rail or subway lines. But in the US that is unlikely to be the case.

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I can only imagine if Roosevelt's Interstate Highway System had been built today: if - IF - it were ever funded and finished, each state in charge of its own section would find that they crossed state lines hundreds of miles apart.

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It seems from what I've read here from the comments that this should only be one step in developing infrastructure, and that more will be needed at the various destinations. This isn't really a reason to drop the idea, but the planning should be integrated with future ideas so it all works together.

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"I can only imagine if Roosevelt's Interstate Highway System had been built today: if - IF - it were ever funded and finished, each state in charge of its own section would find that they crossed state lines hundreds of miles apart."

Maybe your imagination is limited. Or maybe you didn't read much history. But the US had thousands of miles of privately funded highways before the gov decided to get in the business.The builders hardly needed the gov to tell em where to meet.

more to the topic tho - It is a shame so few study the history of how the railways made it from coast to coast in the firrst place; because it is one long cautionary tale of how big gov corrupts. Compare the kind of corruption and depredations the gov-funded corporations got up to with the efficiency and far more honest dealings of the private railroad companies.The gov-backed groups had their hired guns killing the Indians along the planned routes. James Hill, oth, dealt honorably with the native Americans.

You mention "each state in charge of its own section ". The gov - backed and -built railway lines delibertely took the most inefficient routes. And why not? It was all on the gov's dime, to be recouped of course by sticking it to the public or shaking down businesses. It boggles the mind to see how persistent the 'progressive' mindset is in its denial of facts and its disregard for history.

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The only train transportation that makes money (barely) in the U.S. are local commuter trains in large metropolitan areas. Only because it's deemed a better alternative to sitting in traffic congestion for most people.

High speed rail ... rhymes with fail.

RR

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I can only imagine if Roosevelt's Interstate Highway System had been built today

FYI: The U.S. Interstate Highway System was created by Ike.

RR

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This would be a good investment.

It would encourage more competition from airlines and possibly cheaper alternatives to visit some of the big cities.

Plus, it is environmentally friendly.

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U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan.

Which will turn into a 20-year, $200 billion spending boondoggle.

Majority of the money will go to California for connections between San Francisco and Los Angeles

There are dozens of flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles every day. And you can get them for under a hundred dollars each way. But why settle for this when you can have high speed rail that will take three times as long and at a higher price? I'd be surprised, when all of the billions of dollars are added up, if the cost per passenger would be less than a thousand dollars each way using high speed rail.

It would be far better to put this money into research and development for a car that doesn't require fossil fuels. That would have a far bigger impact on the environment and in ending dependence on foreign oil.

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But those flights emit carbon monoxide in the air.

That is the point!

California is the most populated state in the US and it wants to cut down on carbon monoxide, traffic jams, and possibly a cheaper way for people to travel than spending even more billions of dollars expanding the highways.

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Majority of the money will go to California for connections between San Francisco and Los Angeles

Two decaying cities in a rapidly failing state, destroyed by its Democrat leadership. Only progressives could be this mypoic.

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But those flights emit carbon monoxide in the air.

But this is only a fraction of what cars produce. America is built around the car and they're not going away. It's not like Europe or Japan. Obama and other progressives as usual don't get it. The goal should be to make cars emission free.

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