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29 January 2010


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Dixon Cruickshank

Since this stimilus and we got more than you na nana na na I thought I should put it instead of under pork so i will repost

stimulus another boondoogle'high+speed+rail+to+start+right+here+in+Tampa'

keep in mind a couple things - Tampa to Orlando is 85mi - Tampa to Disney is 68 - by the time you exit the I stste downtown and drive to the terminal(15min)-park-pay to park (10min), buy tickets (15min) and load the chill'in's on the train,this is based on the train leaving upon your entrance. You'd be at least halfway there if you kept going out I-4 - and instead of $10 for gas you get pay to park and buy a ticket for $10 to $30 and figure out how to get where you wanted to go, taxi maybe? On the other hand if in Disney for say a week - try and talk the kids into leaving Disney to come to Tampa, for what? An old cigar factory, the bars in Ybor City, hot secretarys walking downtown? maybe the aquarium but I doubt that.

I still wonder at 68 miles that being a 22 min trip @ 180mph - hardly even get it going before your slowing down - would only make sense to a Government worker.

BUT on the same topic we already have an Amtrak station they just remodled for 3mill to remodel about 5 yrs ago a few blocka away - although to get Orlando or Miami you have to ride a bus from the station 50 miles to Winter Haven to catch the train going from Miami to NY - Amtrak is not allowed to start and end a route within a state - so no trains can run from Tampa to anywhere in state - brillent huh. I used to send my son to grandma's in West Palm so learned all about it.

George Rebane

Dixon, in case you haven't heard, we're also going to get a few billion to build a fast rail from LA to San Fran. Sen Dianne is turning cartwheels. I suspect that it's not going to create too much benefit to the state any time soon. So be a mensch, and quit bragging about your stimulation. Pass the hat around the good people of Florida and have them throw in a few bucks for the former Golden State. The people in Ohio need a little help funding our socialist dreams.


In the early part of the century, I was given an assignment to write about the high speed train from LA to SF and Sac by the Comstock Business Editor, who like positive articles. But, after doing some research it was clear the the article was going come out negative, no matter how I sliced and dices the data, and twisted my analysis.

I could not get around the fact it was cheaper and quicker to fly Southwest to LA that to take the high speed rail. Rail was faster then driving, but most people were flying not driving, except cars full of families on the way to Disney Land and they really needed a car to get around to the other tourist venues. in LA If they took the train, they had to rent a car.

The people pushing the high speed train were the State employees that worked in Sac and LA and SF and LA, because their offices were downtown near were the terminals would be. In fact one of the big issues at the time was the location of the high speed rail terminal. The last upgrade to the SAC light rail was suppose to go to the future high speed rail terminal, so workers could ride it from the office buildings to the terminal.

Another issue was would the train service Fresno and Bakersfield. If it did it was going to lengthen the time of the trip due to the de-acceleration and acceleration time and time to load and unload passengers. They could not make the promised LA to SF times with lots of stops. The other valley cites were also a bit putout they were not even in the running for terminal.

The prices of the high speed train tickets just doubled. I will have to seen how that stacks up against Southwests current ticket prices. It would be fun to redo the research on my article which was never published. Too negative! There was no advantage to the high speed rail that I could find other than the pride of having a high speed rail line, projected CO2 reductions and the pork California would receive for building it. Oh yea, almost door to door delivery of state workers.

Steven Frisch

You know if we listened to Russ and George we would still be riding horses, and not for the right reasons, good fertilizer production and a low carbon transit source. We would be riding horses because the cost benefit ratio of payment for oats, corn and grass and the unpaid time it takes to get to place B would not be worth the trade off of staying in place A and doing farm labor or splitting wood.

Sometime we just need to invest in R&D and new technologies. This is the appropriate role of government, kick starting innovation.

George Rebane

Steve, excellent illustration between the left and right. Your comment slights all the civilization changing innovations starting with Watt's steam engine, telegraph, railroad, practical electricty, telephone, airplane, automobile, through the Liberty ship and beyond. All of them were invented and pushed through by private inventors and entrepreneurs, quite often against very heavy governmental opposition.

This is not to say that some good stuff hasn't also come out of government sponsored research. (The part that has was inevitably an entrepreneurial transfer of technology to which government was blind in its initial motivation for funding.) But the discounting and discrediting of private enterprise in solving civilization's problems and running immediately to 'appropriate' government funding highlights the gulf between our two ideologies.

According to my lights, if governments had proscribed private innovation a couple of centuries ago, then we really would still be riding horses.

Steven Frisch

Sorry George, but almost all of the innovations or inventions listed above benefited from "subsidies" as we previously agreed to define them.

The deployment of the steam engine and the development of it in the US took place while protective tariffs against importing British manufactured goods were in place.

Rail lines were subsidized by state issued stocks to help stabilize the capital investment, and state supported banks, which under your philosophy would not have existed.

The telegraph and railroads were both heavily subsidized later, railroads through the granting of vast tracts of public land to companies to underwrite the cost of construction, and through public underwriting of stock (that led to the credit mobilier scandal when Union Pacific ripped of investors and gave vast gifts of stock to elected officials in exchange for favorable votes).

Electric grids were subsidized by public investment in transmission lines and the public issuance of stock in some companies, and grants of public rights of way, and the direct issuance of public bonds to build lines.

In Chicago the grid was build by public money than handed over to a private company. The aircraft industry was heavily subsidized as a national defense issue as well.

I just wish you guys could be both honest and consistent. The government did not oppose rail, electricity and transportation; it supported it. A subsidy is a subsidy.

I did not slight innovation, I welcome it.

I merely pointed out that the truth is that it is the public and the private sector working together that has often been responsible for innovation, and that you consistently disregard the public side in your quest to tear down government.

I readily grant that a great deal of innovation is entirely private, but for you t deny the public role is intellectually dishonest.

George Rebane

Steve, I didn't deny public role in the subsequent exploitation of any of these innovations in the same vein as I have not denied private industry exploitation of innovations developed on the public nickel - e.g. the World Wide Web. All I'm saying is that the history of innovations (the creative act itself) favors the private individual acting on his own recognizance and recognition of the need. (Countering unmade statements seems to be the usual track of these debates.)

And we also have a variance in what we term subsidies, especially public funding to the *intended* benefit of the public. Almost all the 19th century public monies for capitalizing privately developed technologies were bribed out of corrupt public officials by visionary but greedy capitalists who correctly identified the markets and the proper application of technology to those markets so that they could all make a buck. The elected honorables were an easy mark since there was no/little downside to their 'investment' of public monies, none of their own was at risk while fame and fortune was the upside.

With regard to selecting/directing technological innovation, the government mavens were as butt stupid then as they are now. And I don't call you intellectually dishonest or any other names in your certain disagreement with this. I believe you are doing your best.

Steven Frisch

I love the way you deny what you say. You say it then you deny it.

That's what I mean by intellectually dishonest and inconsistent, which by the way is an attack on your ideas not your person.

I think you are doing your best as well, you are just blinded by ideological purity.

George Rebane

Fair enough, we do communicate differently. As an example, calling someone "intellectually dishonest" in my book implies that I am intentionally trying to mislead my readers, clearly a character flaw that makes up a most intimate component of a person. And the charge therefore is an attack on the person.

Inconsistency is the result of, perhaps, my ideology not being sufficiently coherent and/or cohesive. Or perhaps my shortcomings as a writer.

As a minimum, I have to admit that I didn't say it well enough for you to understand. I guess we both will have to soldier on and try to our best.

Dixon Cruickshank

For you to write something Mr Frisch would understand would be on the order of turning water into wine or actually walking on water - niether of which I think you can do by the way.

And as usual, instead of trying to make sense out High Speed Rail which doesn't make any - he wants to argue whether building aiports qualifys as subsidies - Steve if you have a good/bad arguement for high speed rail, which we are discussing, point it out, otherwise put a sock in it LOL

Just remebered - aren't you affiliated with that Scientific Thinker or something - the one that did the original article on the Glaciers disappearing in 2035, not sure if its the same one?????

Steven Frisch

I have no affiliation with Scientific Thinker.

Dixon Cruickshank

Thanks Steve, sorry about the sock -

Dixon Cruickshank

By the way Steve - all these things you say were promoted by Gov were exactly that - they were promoted AFTER they were invented - the Gov didn't build RR tracks and then invent the trains. I also think the telegraph was invented before they started putting up poles. NASA and DOD have had items that made it into the public domain - GPS and some adhesives but they were developed for their particular purpose - not just to invent something for us.

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