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As is always the problem when we discuss infrastructure initiatives in neoliberal dominated countries, USA/UK etc, it is not for the want of good ideas that nothing gets done, but lack of political bravery on the part of polticians who do not wish the electoral consequences of being seen to approve high cost capital projects of middling popularity

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:45:44 AM EST
by rootless2 on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 08:17:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It sounds suspiciously like a PPI arrangment where the unwillingness to raise taxes in the short term is passed by a sleight of hand a couple of decades into the future.

Something needs to be done, but I think it would be more honest to get a better funding practice now

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 08:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But would it be more effective?

When part of the platform for the opposition to getting the tax increase are opponents willing to just lie about the prospects for the success of a project, then for projects that are justifiable on a full economic benefits and cost basis, kicking the can down the road on the cost of an investment that will yield economic dividends is sometimes justified.

Of course, a big issue there is whether the transport infrastructure is a decreasing average cost or increasing average cost investment, since kicking the can down the road for an increasing average cost investment is the path into a quagmire. That's more the the New Jersey scenario with its highway spending on borrowed money so that it can borrow more money down the track for necessary maintenance.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 02:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, this is a case where the neoliberals did not succeed in stopping progress from being made. Work on the Chicago / Quad Cities route is work on the Chicago / Iowa City, Chicago / Des Moines and Chicago / Omaha route ... and that work is going ahead, and the starter 79mph service is going to be reintroduced in another two or three years from now.

And now that the "line on the map" says that the preferred alignment runs from there through Iowa City and Des Moines to Council Bluffs and Omaha, then once the Quad service is operating, the political pressure to start work on the extension is only going to grow.

After all, in Illinois, its not a "Democratic vs Republican" issue, since the local Chambers of Commerce in urban areas that lack a rail connection to Chicago always add to the clamor to be provided with one ... which is, after all, how the Rockford and Quad Cities funding made it through the Illinois state legislature.

And the Ohio / Wisconsin / Florida trick from 2010 of talking up the chance of diverting rail funds from highway funds won't work twice ~ that money went from Ohio and Wisconsin and Florida to California and Washington and Illinois and Michigan and Virginia and North Carolina, because they were willing to spend it on rail.

The Express HSR project in California is sometimes a bit touch and go, though when you wade through all the FUD, all indications are that its going to get approved this year to start construction on its first construction section from Merced to Bakersfield.

But there were too many Rapid Rail projects for the neoliberals to kill them all off. The administration's approach presented the neoliberals with a game of wack-a-mole, and while they were able to kill of three of the projects, the majority of the projects went ahead, and the projects that were killed off were replaced by two more projects. Those projects are proceeding as we speak, and as they come online, they are going to undermine the empty rhetoric of the ideologues with actual on the ground real world experience.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 02:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle started kicking around light rail proposals in 1969.  35 years later they finally moved dirt.  And that's Seattle, which is into public transit.
by rifek on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 02:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 70's and 80's were hard decades to get rail funding. In another couple of years, there's going to be the 4hr service between Chicago and St. Louis, which is going to start generating a "why can't we have that" dynamic.

A big question mark is what quality of service do they need to pencil out as break even or better. That was the political weakness of the Triple-C "Quickstart" plan in Ohio, that the first stage was not competitive with driving, and so would have required operating subsidies. The Rock Island alignment through Iowa, though, is as good as the Beria (outskirts of Cleveland) / Columbus alignment, and better than the Columbus / Cincinnati alignment, and if a 90mph corridor between the Quad Cities and Omaha and a 110mph corridor between the Quad Cities and Chicago seems to be adequate for not requiring ongoing subsidies, there'd be a lot of local Chamber of Commerce support for that service.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 05:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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