Thursday, October 01, 2009

WITHOUT A DOUBT

YES TO HIGH SPEED RAIL

Good luck with Governor Waaaambulance, Congressman Cao.

His administration was working toward high speed rail before he had a child-like reaction to being made fun of for previously opposing it publicly to score a one-off political point.

13 comments:

Superdeformed said...

Jindal is a dick, plain and simple.

If we want this area to grow we need a good commuter rail system.

G-FUNK said...

Who's gonna use it? It will never sustain itself and like most other rail systems will have to be subsidized by taxpayers.

Superdeformed said...

Yes people just love to drive and park in the CBD.

Angelique said...

I know of several very well-educated people who would prefer to live in New Orleans, but all the jobs they would be qualified are in the capital. The commute is dreadful by car so they have taken jobs that they are over-qualified for and are paid peanuts.

Likewise, I am sure there are those that are loyal to living in BR, but better job opportunities are in NOLA.

A train would be ideal.

Imagine the economic growth merely by the spending power incurred by those who now can take higher paying jobs thanks to the commuter train. If 18 mil is the shortfall, big deal. I bet the revenue thanks to the economic development will more than make up that relatively tiny sum.

Clay said...

LA-Swift (LA/BR bus link) has had sustained high levels of ridership since Katrina. It depends on little details (like exact embarkation/debarkation point and connecting services [parking, streetcars, etc.]), but I think there's as much evidence of a market there as one could reasonably ask for.

Dambala said...

clay makes sense...as always.

think about the problems it solves, for Buddha's sake.

think about the corridor of commerce it creates.

i just don't get how you can be against it.

E said...

Has anyone made a hurricane security argument for high speed rail?

Wouldn't a 90 minute train line linking New Orleans and Baton Rouge be a really really big help during the occasional late summer panic?

What were the budgetary obligations estimated for rail by the Jindal administration? I think I remember something like 18 million a year. That's a relative pittance considering the public benefit.

If you get the BR. and NO. airports on the same page, I betcha you could make up $18 million per year in expanded landing fees in no time... It just give this whole region so many more options... I mean... this secretly might be one of the worst decisions Jindal could possibly make.

Other regional corridors are enthusiastically applying for this money because they realize how important rail infrastructure as cities and states compete for population and industry. Look at what California is doing to plan rail lines. Heck, look at what Texas is doing.

If super-conservative Texas is doing it, there is no reason super-conservative Louisiana should be ideologically averse.

It might not be a popular reality but guess what?

Things cost money.

Jeffrey said...

Um, G-Funk, when did a highway ever cover its costs? Transportation always requires 'subsidizing,' which we would call 'investing' if we were more honest about how transportation works. Also, when is turning down $300M in free federal money ever a good idea, if we're talking about plain dollars and cents here?

E, Transport for NOLA made a hurricane security argument in general for all transit investments (see transportfornola.org). The catch is that we need a functional surface transportation system to get people to the UPT to do coordinated evacuations, and that means that we also need a better bus and light rail system. Hopefully that's forthcoming.

To sum up: Jindal sucks, because he cares far more about his own political ambitions than he does about this state. And it's a lot easier to do nothing and say it's fiscal prudence than to try to be bold and venture forward when there is no guarantee of success. That would actually be running a government like a business--see an opportunity, and leap for it (rather than platitudes about efficiency and transparency).

Anyone notice the similarities between the failure of the Governor's administration on high speed rail and the rationalization for the state to not invest in its ports in advance of the Panama Canal widening? What cowardice and lack of ambition drives this administration a consultant to say that "no container cargo will come to the Gulf ports" and then choose to do nothing?

What would a 'Captain of Industry' that conservatives so lionize and idolize do? Would he hire a consultant to do a study and take that at face value, or would they build it and fight tooth and nail to alter the economic landscape in our favor?

Jindal sucks. Cao is winning points in my book on this one.

E said...

I just wish Cao had had the courage to come forward publicly just a little bit sooner.

Jeffrey said...

Yeah, Cao is .

Also, the Jindal's folly is registering/we're getting made fun of at a national level:
http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/10/05/why-does-bobby-jindal-hate-choo-choo-trains-so-much/comment-page-1/#comment-8582

Yeah, Cao should have spoken up more than 20 hours in advance of the deadline. If Arnie is willing to do it, Cao should have been!

G-FUNK said...

Um, Jeffery, it's called a gasoline tax. Riding on the highway isn't free

Jeffrey said...

And G-Funk, how is a gasoline tax not a subsidy for highway use? That's exactly my point. When you drive your car on the highway, you don't pay anything for the use of it, and the costs of using it are therefore in no way commensurate with the costs of maintaining it--that's why the highway trust fund is running dry. So the same logic you are using to argue against a rail line would dictate that we should never build another mile of highway.

If we were more honest about how these things work, then we would realize that all modes of transportation require both capital and ongoing operational investments, and choosing to say that we shouldn't build rail lines because they aren't completely self-sustaining is totally disengenuous.

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