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Author Topic: Obama's Public Works Project
amtraxmaniac
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The president-elect is proposing public works projects that rival that of the interstate highway system and will bring us up to par with Europe. Can he be speaking in part about a national high speed rail network? That would certainly match the billing.

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Patrick

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Gilbert B Norman
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No Patrick, he is not.

Most of the President-elect's initiative will be directed towards highways; after all 98% of the folk out there think transportation means autos with a few added to think of air.

Rail, mass transit, commuter, and intercity will get something, but it will be allocated to publicly owned ROW's - that means the Northeast.

However, that is my take - and I acknowledge some call me anti-Amtrak. Over at another forum a Member posted this dream sheet. In subsequent postings, he has absolutely stood by such.

Even the most "avid rabids" are skeptical:

.....anticipate during the next administration:

(1) TGV-ICE speeds obtained on (i) the NEC, (ii) two or more of the Midwest Corridor lines (probably CHI/STL and CHI/MKE), (iii) the Pacific NW Corridor, and (iv) a Californai Corridor.
(2) Near TGV-ICE speeds obtained in North Carolina, Virginia, and New York.
(3) A completely new bi-level fleet serving the Midwest Corridor.
(4) A completely new single-level short- and long-haul fleet serving the east coast.
(5) A Superliner III order.
(6) A restored Pioneer and Desert Wind.

I expect that David Gunn will be called upon to implement the above

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amtraxmaniac
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Sounds far fetched, yes, but so did the interstate highway system when it came about. People were skeptical of flying as well. Obama also spoke about energy efficiency in the same breath as he was speaking about public works. Somehow, I doubt he meant highways if he made a referrence to energy efficiency.

Call this 'keeping up with the Jones' if you wish, but we are in danger of being the only developed country in the WORLD without an national rail network. Europe and Asia have been electrified and moving at 200mph plus for some time. Our system as it is is unacceptable. And ALL of those systems in Europe and Asia required significant capital investment by the government. For the United States to follow suite would constitute a MAJOR public works project.

Obama may or may NOT be suggesting it. But one things for sure: it is the right thing to do. It is the most cost effective way of rebuilding America's infrastructure, save energy, and save the environment. Not to mention, it will put Americans to work. Are these NOT the incoming administration's goals?

Well, I guess that depends on what side of the aisle your from.

We've had enough status quo GBN. Its time for the naysayers to think outside the box. Our nation has suffered for too long from a lack of innovation when it comes to transportation infrastructure. Our answer to traffic, pollution, and soaring gas prices has been more cars, more roads, and more energy consumption.

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Patrick

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PullmanCo
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Ahhh, but

1) The Interstate and Defense Highway System had the Cold War to play on. It had a popular President, who was backing not change but modernity, utility and choice.

2) Railroads belong to private corporations. Witness the Big 3 and the banks. Congress, let alone the American people, are not necessarily willing to put big Federal dollars into private firms.

3) Even when both industry and Government are willing to work in mutual investment, it seems the oversight is a trifle stifling: Suspension of dividends. Ok, why as a shareholder do I have interest in putting MY MONEY in a firm when the US Government says there will be no ROI? If I'm a corporate officer, why do I have an interest in Governmental restrictions on my earnings and financial future?

... BTW, do not think I do not believe the corporate officers should have some skin in the game. They should believe in their companies, to the point of committing, on their own, their personal fortunes to the effort. If they win, they win big. If they lose, they lose big.

But I digress.

4) Who is going to buy the land for new basic trackage. What passes are they going to use to get through the Rockies? The North American continent goes from Sea Level at the West Coast ports to over 5,000 feet ASL in Utah, NM, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado. I've not looked at the Northern Plains much, but I suspect Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas have similar base levels. That's a lot of land to procure, and a lot of new construction. Who owns it? The railroads, or the US Government?

5) Here's probably the biggest single question: What will generate the most jobs per mile of work: Road or rail? If I was a betting man, that is the rubric I'd use.

Maybe, just maybe, Obama's people can think out of the box. I'm not betting the cash position I have in my IRA on it.

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George Harris
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Expect to see some old schemes get a new label and maybe some money. A few might actually get built, but I am not willing to bet anything on it, either
Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
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A lot of these things will get a new wrapper and be called new. Thew wil depend upon the proven short memory of the majority of the electorate to put over the idea that they are new ideas and promects, not long talked about ones brought out and warmed over.
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Mr. Toy
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The details of any works program have yet to be released, so the best we can do here is speculate. Judging from the stories I've read, Obama's proposal would likely be on the same scale as the interstate highway system, but would not revolve around a single program such as that. I expect it would cover a wide range of road, runway and railroad projects, plus energy, water and other utility projects, all designed to modernize and repair the nation's overall infrastructure.

This country has a lot of deferred maintenance, which Obama discussed all through the campaign, so his public works program is just a repackaging of earlier campaign promises. During the spring and summer its purpose was to keep things in good repair and help us be more competitive on the world stage. Now, under different economic circumstances, it's a jobs program.

Either way, we need it.

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PullmanCo
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Mr Toy,

Agreed. That said, anyone who thinks it involves new rail work probably is outside the scope of Mr Obama's advisors...

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Mike Smith
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Folks, lets get real...

President Ike had a history of getting the job done as a General in WWII, so he had the skill-set he needed to push through the interstate highway system.

President-elect Obama has absolutely no history getting anything significant done to help the people of this Nation. He's a talker, not a doer, and he's surrounding himself with idealists, instead of doers.

Not gonna happen, unless Obama gets some experienced people in positions of authority. If you see him hire people like that, then you can start to talk about what they will do.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here is the President-elect's sound byte (@ 3:30) from Meet the Press regarding the Interstate Hightway System:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/28096572#28096572

Here is same from Mr. Obama's Dec 6 radio address (@2:40) as released by his office:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGpIT2bVZDw

I'm going to leave this one with a "we report, you decide".

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PullmanCo
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Having listened to the MTP segments, I somehow do not think rail is on the table.
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amtraxmaniac
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We need other options. Our national passenger rail network (or lack thereof) is a catastrophe. Call it keeping up with the Jones, but there is no excuse for the fact that every other developed nation in the world has a national high speed rail network except the United States. Why? Oh, I don't know. Many reasons, I suppose. Maybe because we have become a nation that puts personal luxury before protecting the environment (car culture). Maybe because the government responds only to the interests of lobbies that hold monopolies on how people get from point a to point b. Who really knows? Those are just a few theories.

At this rate, we will eventually rape mother earth of all her resources, make the air unbreathable, and not create a single sustainable job along the way. More highways mean more vehicles which means more smog...and all we want to talk about is the money coming out of our pockets and the pockets of the fat cats running the class I's. What a shame. Capitalism at its worst.

Maybe I was hoping Obama would be the one to FINALLY bring the United States into the 21st century. But I can see that the ones REALLY calling the shots are still living in the 19th century. What happened to the country that sent a man to the moon (but apperently thinks high speed rail to be somewhat of a pipe dream)?

I guess we should be questioning a need for NASA as well.

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Patrick

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ehbowen
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Amaniac,

If the ones REALLY calling the shots were still living in the 19th century, we'd be building railroads out the ying-yang. They're stuck in the 1960s. Just thought I should clarify.

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--------Eric H. Bowen

Stop by my website: Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!

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amtraxmaniac
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HA HA-true now that you mention it.

I'm not ashamed of the fact that I'm an optimist. Neither do I hide the fact I'm critical of what has become a 'Car Crazed Culture'. There used to be a romanicism(spelling?) in getting from point a to point b. And now that it seems like trains are not just romanicism, but becoming more and more of a practicality, people want to see them gone or severely limited in use. High speed rail is the practical answer to many of our transportation, national defense, economic, and environmental issues. I'm dumb-founded by the lack of insight by not just our elected officials, but the voting public.

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Patrick

Posts: 387 | From: Bakersfield, CA | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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