Orlando High Speed Rail IS DEFINITE

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tizzo

Member
Do you see specific parallels with the Fla and NJ projects that would appear to make them comparable to the Big Dig?

I only ask because it seems like you could cite the Big Dig to scare governments away from ANY significant infrastructure project.

I know you didn't ask me, but the only real parallel I see is with the likelihood of cost overruns. I'm not from that area, but as I understand it the Big Dig was needed, and is heavily used, both of which sharply distinguish it from the FL rail project.

Where they are similar is that the cost estimates are exceedingly optimistic. Although I'm not sure that you had as much foreknowledge of that fact with the Big Dig as you do with the FL rail project. That is, it is possible that everyone involved with the Big Dig was genuinely surprised to watch the costs climb as much as they did. I'm sure that were the FL HSR to be built there would be lots of politicians feigning surprise that the construction cost was much higher than expected, or that it was bleeding red ink in operations because nobody was riding it. But the surprise would be just that, feigned, because we already know that it's going to cost more than they are projecting (HSR projects always do), and we also know that there won't be any reason for anyone to ride it.
 

tizzo

Member
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I'm not trying to slam the idea, I live in Melbourne FL, have family in Tampa Bay, and Seasonal Passes to WDW. I'd personally love HSR and my family would use it. Especially given gas prices -- it takes me close to $50 in gas to drive my family out there both ways.

I live in Melbourne also, and I would certainly consider taking HSR if it there was a chance it would save me money or even be cost-neutral. But everything I've heard leads me to believe that a ticket is going to cost at least as much per person as you would spend on gas and tolls to drive. Plus the closest station out here in any proposal would be at the Port. So I'd be driving 20 or 30 minutes to get there before I even get on the train.

I'll tell you about the transportation project I'm waiting to hear about. I once read about a proposal to extend SR-417 from the south end, where it hits I-4, all the way out to the Pineda causeway. Almost a straight shot from my driveway to WDW!

Don't get too excited though - I heard about it several years ago in a news story about a 25-year plan or something, and haven't heard or read anything about it ever since. I poke around Google looking for something about it every now and then, but have never been able to find anything. Although I've noticed driving under the Pineda extension every day on I-95 that it does appear to go at least a little way beyond the highway - almost as if they're planning for a next phase of some kind . . .
 

AndyMagic

Well-Known Member
You're probably right, and you're not the first one to make that observation in this thread. However, unless you feel like high density is something to shoot for rather than be avoided, this is just another compelling argument against the HSR not for it. Asking people to pony up billions in tax dollars to help reduce their quality of life would be a hard sell in any economy.

I wasn't aware that this was up for debate. Increased density is something that nearly every urban planner agrees is something the country should be shooting for. We solved the problems of crowding and tenement living from 20s and 30s long ago. Quality of life in good cities with healthy transit systems is quite high and certainly higher than sprawling no-wheres. Vienna has the highest quality of life of anywhere in the world as rated by the Mercer index. San Francisco and Chicago are the top quality of life cities in America when based on the same index. All three have very high densities. Everyone has a preference for living but we are in fact seeing more and more people moving away from the suburbs and settling in urban centers. People are growing tired of sitting in traffic for 25 minutes to get to a Walmart and driving back to their secluded homes far from other people. High density allows folks to walk down their block to get groceries and hop on a metro to get to work while enjoying a book. This isn't the 60's. Cars and swaths of wasteful empty lawn in front of your house does not equal higher quality of life anymore.
 

AndyMagic

Well-Known Member
And several people have agreed that a rail link would be a good idea, but not a high speed rail link. The cost, even without having to push through an established, dense population, is still significantly high for the existing demand, which is very low.

I agree with you here to an extent. However, I would caution looking at "current demand" as a reason not to do something. Demand shifts instantly once something is built. There is no demand now because it doesn't exist. There was little demand for an interstate system when it was built. Demand followed and car companies were dancing in the streets. Obviously a good regional system and intercity rail would be the better way to start in Florida but that won't be happening. This was federal money for something specific and I stand by my statement that throwing it away was foolish. If the government allowed for the money to be used on other mass transit projects in Florida instead of HSR, then that would be a different story. The goal was to have a national network but the money went to Florida first because they had so much preliminary work done, because the alignment was easy, and because progress could be seen instantly. The redirected 2 billion won't make that big of a difference in the New York area or even in California.
 

tizzo

Member
I wasn't aware that this was up for debate. Increased density is something that nearly every urban planner agrees is something the country should be shooting for. We solved the problems of crowding and tenement living from 20s and 30s long ago.

I wasn't aware it was up for debate either. I and most people I know consider quality of life to be (in general) inversely proportional to population density. I guess I never even considered the possibility that there was another side.

Having lived both in an urban setting in college, and "upgraded" to the suburbs for my adult life, I can tell you that for me there's no comparison. My quality of life is MUCH higher here than it was then, and not just because I have a positive income now. I'd almost go as far as to say that if I was forced to move back to a city (and I would have to be forced), I would probably consider it a nightmare.

Based on how many different points you made, you seem to feel strongly about this. I'm not going to counter every one, but I'll jump around a little.

For one thing, I'm not sure that what an urban planner thinks we should be "shooting for" is the same as what we actually should be shooting for. You cite a lot of comparisons between cities of different densities. You don't cite any comparisons between cities and suburbs.

While I'm aware of the trend of people moving into cities, I always assumed most were doing so involuntarily, though I could be wrong about that. Probably because, as I indicated, that's the only way I would do so.

You also paint a very appealing picture of city living, with walking to the grocery store, and taking the metro to work. But most metros I've been on, you don't dare take your eyes off your fellow passengers, let alone read a book.

I couldn't imagine how many extra trips to the store I'd have to take if I could only buy as much as I could carry.

I guess when you get down to it it really is just a matter of preference. But I guess I would then submit that if high-density is your preference you have plenty of choices. No reason to wish it on a population that doesn't want it.
 

Wilt Dasney

Well-Known Member
While I'm aware of the trend of people moving into cities, I always assumed most were doing so involuntarily, though I could be wrong about that. Probably because, as I indicated, that's the only way I would do so.
If you look around, you'll find plenty of writing about a "back to the city" movement inspired by things like revitalized town centers, converted loft housing, and a general weariness with commuting and a perceived blandness and lack of "authenticity" in suburbia.

Most of the writing is probably more anecdotal than data-based, but the perception that many people are growing tired of suburban life and being enticed into urban settings is clearly out there in some circles.
 

degunter

Member
A loss for Florida

I agree with those who are against spending the money on a project like this when we are so far in debt, but, and it is a BIG but, the money is already spent (or allocated) and will most likely be given to another state. So all those who are against spending the money and support Rick Scott killing the project are really only hurting Florida, because we all will still be paying for it... somewhere. Instead, the state will spend over $500 Million adding one lane in each direction on I-4 (based on the last expansion completed in 2005 and only 28 miles, the Hillsborough County portion) or over $350 million for just over 1 mile connector between I-4 and the Crosstown Expressway (in Tampa). How much money does I-4 make? Or any non-toll road for that matter. Zero. But it certainly costs a lot to maintain those roads every year.

I never believed the HSR would make money itself, but the increase in the local economies and the money it would have brought into Tampa and Orlando I think would have been great.

I wonder what Disney will do with all the money they won't have to spend on the changes to their infastructure and busing, etc...

Hopefully something good will come out of all of this, but right now I don't know what that will be... unless you live in California or Rhode Island or wherever this money ends up.
 

googilycub

Active Member
I wasn't aware that this was up for debate. Increased density is something that nearly every urban planner agrees is something the country should be shooting for. We solved the problems of crowding and tenement living from 20s and 30s long ago. Quality of life in good cities with healthy transit systems is quite high and certainly higher than sprawling no-wheres. Vienna has the highest quality of life of anywhere in the world as rated by the Mercer index. San Francisco and Chicago are the top quality of life cities in America when based on the same index. All three have very high densities. Everyone has a preference for living but we are in fact seeing more and more people moving away from the suburbs and settling in urban centers. People are growing tired of sitting in traffic for 25 minutes to get to a Walmart and driving back to their secluded homes far from other people. High density allows folks to walk down their block to get groceries and hop on a metro to get to work while enjoying a book. This isn't the 60's. Cars and swaths of wasteful empty lawn in front of your house does not equal higher quality of life anymore.

These are you opinions not facts. Here are some facts for you....

2000 population number for the city of Chicago-2,896,016
2010 population number for the city of Chicago-2,695,598

2000 population number for the city of Chicago AND the suburbs-9,312,255
2010 population number for the city of Chidago AND the suburbs-9,804,845

The city of Chicago and its higher density LOST 200,000 residents in a ten year period while the lower density suburbs went up almost 700,000 people. People sure are flocking to that higher density living.:ROFLOL:
I have lived in both the city of Chicago and I now have a house in the burbs, and you would have to drag me kicking and screaming to go back to the city. Not living on top of each other, having your own space, is a higher quality of life to me.....
 

_Scar

Active Member
These are you opinions not facts. Here are some facts for you....

2000 population number for the city of Chicago-2,896,016
2010 population number for the city of Chicago-2,695,598

2000 population number for the city of Chicago AND the suburbs-9,312,255
2010 population number for the city of Chidago AND the suburbs-
9,804,845

The city of Chicago and its higher density LOST 200,000 residents in a ten year period while the lower density suburbs went up almost 700,000 people. People sure are flocking to that higher density living.:ROFLOL:
I have lived in both the city of Chicago and I now have a house in the burbs, and you would have to drag me kicking and screaming to go back to the city. Not living on top of each other, having your own space, is a higher quality of life to me.....



Look at New York City. 500,000 increase.... and it was already packed. Insane.

And this decision is insane.

Insane.

And Fox News delivering this info from the link was pouring salt in the wounds. At least link a news site.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I agree with you here to an extent. However, I would caution looking at "current demand" as a reason not to do something. Demand shifts instantly once something is built. There is no demand now because it doesn't exist.
Demand will never shift to something that is less efficient. The high speed rail is more expensive and slower than a car. The demand to has to be focused on at least one location, and with high speed rail it really needs to exist between two points. That is the only way the cost is ever justified. If just building something would draw people, establish towns, density and travel it would be a lot easier and cheaper to build this in the middle of Kansas and let everything grow up around it. Transit can generate new interest only when it taps into an existing interest, and there is very little interest in moving between Tampa and Orlando.

This was federal money for something specific and I stand by my statement that throwing it away was foolish.
And then what of the day after construction is complete and the state of Florida is on the hook for the millions of dollars to operate? That is Governor Scott's whole problem with this. From Day 1, the state cannot afford to run this train.

The goal was to have a national network but the money went to Florida first because they had so much preliminary work done, because the alignment was easy, and because progress could be seen instantly. The redirected 2 billion won't make that big of a difference in the New York area or even in California.
The "national network" is a series of disconnected lines. The Florida High Speed Train, even when fully built out as the planned Tampa-Orlando-Miami route, would have zero high speed rail links to anywhere else in the country. That would only be accomplished by the "other rail connection" between Orlando and Jacksonville.

People are growing tired of sitting in traffic for 25 minutes to get to a Walmart and driving back to their secluded homes far from other people. High density allows folks to walk down their block to get groceries and hop on a metro to get to work while enjoying a book. This isn't the 60's. Cars and swaths of wasteful empty lawn in front of your house does not equal higher quality of life anymore.
People are tired of sitting in traffic because it still exists! Automobiles are not banned or just rejected in these cities.

So all those who are against spending the money and support Rick Scott killing the project are really only hurting Florida, because we all will still be paying for it... somewhere. Instead, the state will spend over $500 Million adding one lane in each direction on I-4 (based on the last expansion completed in 2005 and only 28 miles, the Hillsborough County portion) or over $350 million for just over 1 mile connector between I-4 and the Crosstown Expressway (in Tampa). How much money does I-4 make? Or any non-toll road for that matter. Zero. But it certainly costs a lot to maintain those roads every year.
But that cost to increase the highway is still less than operating the expensive, mostly empty trains for years before they start to become desirable. Part of what made the project so cheap is the huge amount of right-of-way still unused by the Interstate.

I never believed the HSR would make money itself, but the increase in the local economies and the money it would have brought into Tampa and Orlando I think would have been great.
It would have brought squat to the local economies because it would have been less efficient than the existing means that few use. Economic activity is not created by increasing the cost of doing business.
 

GenerationX

Well-Known Member
As long as the project's in the news, it's going to be discussed. Better here than in a new thread, I say. (But the title really does need changing.) :lol:

Orlando High Speed Rail IS DEFINITEly a boondoggle

Orlando High Speed Rail IS DEFINITEly misunderstood

Orlando High Speed Rail IS DEFINITEly going to be a contender in this year's March Madness Wacky Brackets
 

CaptJapan

Member
I'm not gonna touch this debate.
But I will say this. We can't drive cars forever.
Better to make plans now, then later.
And as for Suburbs to City living?
All I'll say is can't keep cutting down forests to build new suburbs forever.
 

flavious27

Well-Known Member
Amtrak's plan to upgrade the Acela Express from Boston to New York and Washington is estimated to cost $120 billion.

You mean their pie in the sky plan that includes multi-mile tunnels into and out of cities along the line so acela can travel up to 220 mph?
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
This isn't the 60's. Cars and swaths of wasteful empty lawn in front of your house does not equal higher quality of life anymore.

Really? I just enjoy the heck out of my green lawn and sprawling backyard in my classic 1960's two car garage ranch home. And my friends enjoy this home too, when I throw my popular and swingin' cocktail or dinner parties. It's a very pleasant place to live, this tract of 1960's lovingly-maintained modern homes in sunny SoCal, with great neighbors and happy times year-round. (You should see the 4th of July decorated bike parade the kids put on each year!)



It made sense in 1962, and it still makes a lot of sense today in 2011. And since I just bought a new suit at Nordstrom last week with very thin lapels, narrow trousers, and a dark sharkskin sheen just made for entering a Twist contest, it's like it's 1962 all over again and I'm an extra on Mad Men. :cool:

The great thing about America is that we can all live the life we want to live, and allow others to do the same thing. :wave:
 

jt04

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm not gonna touch this debate.
But I will say this. We can't drive cars forever.
Better to make plans now, then later.
And as for Suburbs to City living?
All I'll say is can't keep cutting down forests to build new suburbs forever.

Green police alert. Why can't we drive cars forever? Unless you mean we will give up cars for personal flying machines.

This decision could have severe consequences for other republican governors, though lahood and obama need to ease any overruns to the states.

And they will do this through sleight of hand or just printing more monopoly money? :rolleyes:

Economics 101.

Bye bye HSR. :wave: Perhaps we can spend that money on nuclear power. :)
 
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