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> Stop Building the Interstate System?
crashfourit
post Apr 30 2006, 05:26 AM
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QUOTE(skeeterses @ Apr 25 2006, 11:18 PM)
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And if you really think there is "nothing" that government can accomplish that private enterprise can't do cheaper, easier and faster, I would have to guess you've never traveled on a interstate highway. There is a reason it's call "U.S. Interstate-80" instead of "General Motors Interstate-80" NO corporation could have bore the cost of building a highway system from state-to-state. GM provided the cheerleading, but Dwight Eisenhower the initiative and the money.

There was a reason why it wasn't profitable to build highways. Highways simply were not necessary and should not be necessary. The United States used to have an excellent railroad system, which is far more energy efficient than Jumbo Jets and Interstate highways. If there is anything that the Government can do to help reduce gas prices, Government needs to halt all construction on the Interstate Highway System, and halt all construction on new parking lots. Building more highways only encourages unneccessary gas usage and clutters up the landscape with concrete monstrosities.
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Should we stop building the interestate system?
If so, should we build railroads instead?

What will the economic and other ramifications of doing this?
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skeeterses
post Apr 30 2006, 08:35 AM
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Should we stop building the interestate system?
If so, should we build railroads instead?

Absolutely! This is an excellent debate topic that the politicians are too chicken to talk about. Continueing to build more highways is a major waste of land and here's why. Rising oil prices affect more than just the cost of gasoline. When oil hits $100/barrel, pesticides, fertilizers, and tractor fuel will become much more expensive or scarce. That will mean very expensive groceries. The land currently occupied by highways will be needed to grow food. And America will need to use its Golf Courses for that purpose as well.

What will the economic and other ramifications of doing this?
If America restores its railroad system, America should be able to have some industrialized economy after oil hits $100/barrel. Nonetheless, when oil does reach that point, Americans will be forced to scale back their activiities and forget the job with the 30 mile commute. Railroads will not be a silver bullet for America's oil addiction but they will be necessary in the future.
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CruisingRam
post Apr 30 2006, 08:54 AM
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Should we stop building the interestate system?
If so, should we build railroads instead?

Stop building? No- more railroads- sure!

What will the economic and other ramifications of doing this?

What is it now- 1 in 5 jobs are auto related, and some more on the fringes with other power sports/power tool related.

Goods and services were moved more efficieantly by trucks than railroads, when moving smaller amounts to area "A" and "B". Sure, the railroad can move, say, Coal, across the country far more efficiently- but what if they just need one container of say, toothbrushes, 200 miles away? The loading and unloading, time spent, yadda yadda, negated any "efficiency" of the railroad, big time!

Interstate travel is not the root cause- it is the massive intwining of oil and our economy. It is not just cars and trucks. It is the tractors that plow the fields, the power plants that electrify our homes, the stuff that power industry, that really puts us into uber-guzzle mode.

At some point, we will find something that doesn't use oil to transport 'stuf" on those hiways- they are a conduit, not a symptom!
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A left Handed pe...
post Apr 30 2006, 04:48 PM
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Should we stop building the interstate system?

No. Railroads are completely useless for local travel, and while they may have their charms for long distances, once you got where you were going, you would have to rent a car, and the cost of renting one would probably offset the reduced gas costs mass transit.
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Ted
post May 19 2006, 01:42 PM
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QUOTE(A left Handed person @ Apr 30 2006, 12:48 PM)
Should we stop building the interstate system?

No.  Railroads are completely useless for local travel, and while they may have their charms for long distances, once you got where you were going, you would have to rent a car, and the cost of renting one would probably offset the reduced gas costs mass transit.
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I agree. The only place railroads seem to work is in parts of Europe (Esp. Germany). In and around cities there the railroads and busses do work for local travel but to do it in our much larger country would be difficult at best. And if Amtrak is the best we can do here lets not even try. After traveling on trains in Germany and Switzerland to then get on Amtrak makes one see how badly railroads can be.

We need better local roads with timed signals (or no signals), built to last more then a few ears. Again anyone who has driven in Germany knows what good roads look like.

On the technology front numerous “small car” automated systems have been proposed for cities but no one wants to spend the money and the feds have trouble keeping the national system going. The best idea I have seen id to combine a rail line with an interstate (Atlanta) where the rail line runs in the median. Still limited but workable in city areas
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skeeterses
post May 20 2006, 01:38 PM
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QUOTE(CR)
Goods and services were moved more efficieantly by trucks than railroads, when moving smaller amounts to area "A" and "B". Sure, the railroad can move, say, Coal, across the country far more efficiently- but what if they just need one container of say, toothbrushes, 200 miles away? The loading and unloading, time spent, yadda yadda, negated any "efficiency" of the railroad, big time!

My concern about the Highway Construction is what will happen if America's Industries don't come up with something else to run cars and trucks on. The Laws of Economics says that Industry will attempt to come up with alternative energy as the oil prices go up. But the Economic Laws don't say whether the free market will succeed in that endeavor. Making Alternative Energy sources a possible way to run our Interstate System requires a LOT of investment. BTW, do you see Exxon-Mobile talking about Alternative Energy?

Now, for the moving toothbrushes 200 miles part. If we don't come up with Hydrogen powered trucks, America may consider putting those toothbrush factories closer to market. With all the Offshoring that Corporate America did in the name of Globalization, there's a lot of work to get America's Industrial Base back on its feet and more energy efficient. But the American people are going to have to do it.
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Syfir
post May 20 2006, 01:46 PM
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1. Should we stop building the interstate system?

No.

2. If so, should we build railroads instead?

No.

I lived in Japan for a couple of years and the train system there is fantastic. Only problem is it couldn't work in America. Others have mentioned how close everything is in Europe for one of the reasons it works there. Same with Japan.

It's almost just as quick to take a train in Japan as it is to take a plane. Certainly it is comparative when it comes to cost. Yet air travel is still a profitable business in Japan. Why? Because even with as good as their train system is it doesn't address all of the travel/shipping/etc. issues.

Take the US and those problems are magnified. Nothing is close enough, especially out West. It is sooo much faster to fly or even drive.

I used to live in Los Angeles and would fly or drive home to Idaho. One time I decided to try the train. I figured it would be cheaper than flying but nicer than driving. Wrong. The ticket was just as much as flying and was 4-5 hours longer. I know that some of that would be alleviated if it became more common to use the train as they would include some express trains and they could charge less if more people rode but it is still would not be the convenience that flying is.

Flying is easier too right now because pretty much every major and not so major city has an airport. Railroad? They would have to install it and it wouldn't be as economical to throw a small train at the more rural areas that you can service with a small plane.

Salt Lake City recently completed a metro rail and I like to ride it but it just doesn't go enough places. Right now you can take it from one of the nearby cities into downtown (yes it stops at several stops along the way) and you can take it from downtown up to the University of Utah but unless you are commuting to school or work from a very limited area it just isn't worth taking. There are plans to extend it down to Provo but that still won't address more than a fraction of the travel needs for the Wasatch front, not to mention all the people passing through on their way somewhere else.

I don't know how it is in Europe but Japanese cities are a lot denser than western US cities. That means that there will be a lot more places within walking distance of any given train station. It also makes it more reasonable for bicycles as well.

For long distance travel almost anything is safer than trains, especially when you factor in such things as terrorism. Here comes a train with 500 people on it. Let's blow up the bridge just before it gets to it and see how many survive. Do that on a busy road and the casualties would be much less. Planes? Well we have seen how they have gotten to them in the past but it is easier to protect planes than it is to protect how many millions of miles of track?

I am not saying there is a significant number of terrorist around right now, but it doesn't take many to do significant damage to a train network and is a heck of a lot easier than damaging planes.
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