The magic elixir of high-speed rail

Fix the economy?  High-speed rail.  Cure transportation gridlock?  High-speed rail.  Restore American entrepreneurship?  High-speed rail.  Solve America’s health-care problems?  High-speed rail.  Hearing President Barack Obama extol the virtues of high-speed rail is like listening to a 19th Century carnival hawker claim a single bottle of Dr. Goode’s Magic Elixir will cure all that ails you.

Just as those foul-tasting nostrums failed to cure patients’ maladies, high-speed rail will solve none of our pressing national problems; in fact, it will make them worse by increasing our deficit and draining money from more productive endeavors.

The fact of the matter is, not since World War II has America been a country in which its people travel by rail.  Yes, there are a few transportation corridors in which commuter rail serves as a popular means of transportation; the rail link between New York City and Washington, D.C., for example.  But beyond those few examples, Americans overwhelmingly prefer to travel by car or plane.  Environmentalists, train buffs, and President Obama may wish it were otherwise; but it just ain’t so.

Yet, in his State-of-the-Union address last month, and in his recently unveiled FY 2011 budget, Obama persists in proposing to throw money – lots of money — at the myth that is high-speed rail; as if following a magical formula, “if you fund it, they will come.”

Sure, high-speed rail works in other countries – Japan and Europe, for example — and the trains themselves are really cool-looking.  But the economies and geography of such countries are far different from ours.  High-speed rail is not a one-size-fits-all solution that performs identically in one country or region as in another.  If built here with taxpayer dollars (which is the only way they will be built) – such projects inevitably will become black holes into which countless billions of dollars will disappear.

I heard the sales pitch repeatedly during the years I served in the Congress.  One time, it was an Atlanta-to-Chattanooga high-speed rail line; another time, Atlanta-Birmingham, or maybe Charlotte.  All these proposals lacked one thing – a basis in reality.

Yet, here we are again, in 2011, debating high-speed rail; this one weighing in at an initial cost of a half-trillion dollars, exclusive of the inevitably massive operating costs, over the next 25 years. During his State of the Union address last month, Obama claimed his plans would “give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail” — to which one might ask, “so what?”  Access to a costly rail system means nothing if people won’t use it.

At least one state governor – Florida’s Rick Scott – has seen through the smoke and mirrors of Obama’s proposal, and already turned down $2.4 billion in federal funds for a proposed, Orlando-Tampa high-speed rail line. Scott knows the initial dollars are the tip of the iceberg, and the system would wind up costing Florida taxpayers many times that figure over the long run.

Other states that have taken the high-speed rail plunge are feeling the bite that is fiscal reality.  California, for example, is in the initial phases of a vast high-speed rail network. But costs are expected to run between $65 and $81 billion – far beyond the early estimate of $45 billion.

Vice President Biden boldly declared early last year that the administration’s high-speed rail proposal would be the key to “taking cars off congested highways, reducing carbon emissions, and saving billions of dollars in human productivity.”  To the vice president, this may be  – to quote his whispered note to his boss at last year’s health care news conference – another “big, f—ing deal.”  However, with our country facing a staggering, $14 trillion debt and a projected $1.7 trillion budget deficit, let’s hope cooler minds than Biden’s prevail on this one. High-speed rail is an idea whose time has not come; and probably never will.

by – Bob Barr, The Barr Code

162 comments Add your comment

Tim

February 28th, 2011
6:53 am

Good call Bob, lets keep burnin oil and driving cars. What could possibily go wrong with that?

Karl Marx

February 28th, 2011
6:58 am

High speed rail burns tax revenue like a hummer burns gas and it will do nothing for highway congestion.

EVFan

February 28th, 2011
6:59 am

Bob,
I did some quick math on the congestion issue in the FL HSR boondoggle and determined that even taking the most optimistic rider estimates, car traffic would be reduced by only 3.3% in the Orlando area. And that’s the most congested.
As to pollution, if we believe the Pres, we’ll soon have 1M electric cars on the road with zero carbon emission. Moving most of us to EV’s, of which I am a huge fan, will do more for the atmosphere and energy independence than the HSR boondoggle in FL and elsewhere ever would.

Thou shall not encroach

February 28th, 2011
7:26 am

No high speed rail? Have we all forgotten how compelling it is to see a woman like Lady Liberty being tied to a high speed rail track by a scoundrel, like Obama, only to be saved at the last minute by a hero: Bob Barr. (I know, Barr is the one with the moustache).

In fact, I can’t wait for Barr’s next blog, when we get to witness the same thrill again. Of course, his actual narrative changes slightly to accomodate the impossible fantasy he seems so fixated upon, but what fun it is to see the journalistic equivalence of a saturday matinee serial.

Next week, that dastardly Obama tries to trick the blindfolded babe holding the scales of justice into accepting a free government papsmear. Same batty time. Same batty story.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
7:40 am

High speed rail burns tax revenue like a hummer burns gas and it will do nothing for highway congestion. And mid-night basket-ball stopped crime what a nd was to spend my tax dollar.

Carlosgvv

February 28th, 2011
8:38 am

We can debate the merits of an extensive high-speed rail system for our country. What we can’t debate is that our country is almost broke and can’t possibly afford such a system. This is a desperate attempt by Obama to fool the public since he knows he is getting closer to being a one-term president every day. By the way, Japan and Eurpoe have these systems because they practice long-term planning. Our politicans and business exclusivly practive short-term gains.

Monday | Allied Public Affairs

February 28th, 2011
8:44 am

[...] The Magic Elixir of High Speed Rail [...]

the watch dog

February 28th, 2011
8:47 am

I have been strongly in favor of only legal immigrants in the U.S. However, with a high speed rail program, I see an opportunity for the formerly illegal immigrants staying in their own country and still work in the U.S. for the benefit of all concerned. It would be high speed rail linking Mexico City with Dallas , Texas. It would be built with the cooperative effort of both countries, the hard work would be done by the immigrants at wages that they get for pickin peaches. The train would have the speed of 200 mph., fast enough to shoot the immigrants back to Mexico every night after work. I knew there was a solution. Now, I know it sounds somewhat absurd, however it could work. After all, now that the space ship has been laid to rest, the humongus money formerly spent on Space could be spent cooperatively in U.S. and our neighbor to the south.

Tony

February 28th, 2011
8:53 am

I completely disagree with this article. The reason that “Americans overwhelmingly prefer to travel by car or plane” is because it has previously been faster and more convenient. However, if there are high-speed rail alternatives that are more faster and more convenient, then I believe Americans will begin to embrace it.

The proof of this is in the example Mr. Barr provided in the Northeast corridor between NYC and D.C., where it is much less of a hassle to travel by train rather than car or rail. There are other areas of the country where this could also be the case.

Not to mention that the investment in these high-speed rail networks will provide thousands of jobs to people associated with the projects.

LA

February 28th, 2011
9:23 am

High speed rail = MARTA on steroids.

LA

February 28th, 2011
9:25 am

“if you prefer the feel-up from the TSA when you travel. ‘

Uh, there will be TSA type security on a rail system as well, ma’am.

LA

February 28th, 2011
9:25 am

“What we can’t debate is that our country is almost broke and can’t possibly afford such a system. ”

Amen.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
9:43 am

“Uh, there will be TSA type security on a rail system as well, ma’am”

ORLY? Where did you find this little factoid? I know it’s a shock to you, but some people are already using trains in this country. Please, show me an example of TSA workers grabbing their junk or perusing nekkid body scanners. Your fertile imagination doesn’t count as evidence, no matter how many times you’ve fantasized about it.

AudreyinGA

February 28th, 2011
9:54 am

Enter your comments here

jconservative

February 28th, 2011
10:03 am

Carlosgvv at 8:38 – “By the way, Japan and Eurpoe have these systems because they practice long-term planning. Our politicans and business exclusivly practive short-term gains.”

Agreed.

I would add to that thought that the American voter has never been a person that looked to the past for lessons or tried to plan for the future. The American voter is a “today” person. This is true in particular for the “baby boomer” generation. “I want what I want when I want it.” seems to be the governing principle.

AudreyinGA

February 28th, 2011
10:04 am

More ancient thinking from an ancient mind telling you it works over there but it can not work
over here.

Glenn

February 28th, 2011
10:12 am

We really should go back to the horse & buggy . The Amish never have gridlock or any real traffic problems . Of course Obama would raise taxes on horse feed .

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 28th, 2011
10:15 am

High speed rail serves as a substitute for air travel only – it will not displace any automobile travel. The airlines are not exactly rolling in money, and the infrastructure required for high-speed rail would make the average cost per ticket substantially higher than those of airlines.

As with all economic losers, only the government would contemplate such an expenditure.

Cekker

February 28th, 2011
10:22 am

Aquagirl says:
‘…and the rest of us use transportation that doesn’t involve flying bombs…’

Come up for air waterhead! Bombs can explode on trains too you know. See — Madrid 2004, London 2005, Mumbai 2006, Moscow 2010

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:25 am

“Where did you find this little factoid? ‘

I look at how the US government handles security situations, ma’am. The government is as predictable as the left screaming HALIBURTON whenever W is mentioned.

“I know it’s a shock to you, but some people are already using trains in this country.’

Your mindless sarcasm isn’t really doing you any good, ma’am. All it takes is one bomb going off for the government to freak out and shove the TSA in our faces.

“Please, show me an example of TSA workers grabbing their junk or perusing nekkid body scanners.”

Project much, ma’am? I never said anything about the TSA grabbing your “junk.” But, since you brought it up….

100 Naked Citizens: 100 Leaked Body Scans

At the heart of the controversy over “body scanners” is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner. These are those images.

A Gizmodo investigation has revealed 100 of the photographs saved by the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner from Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc., obtained by a FOIA request after it was recently revealed that U.S. Marshals operating the machine in the Orlando, Florida, courthouse had improperly — perhaps illegally — saved images of the scans of public servants and private citizens.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/giz-scans/

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:27 am

“Your fertile imagination doesn’t count as evidence, no matter how many times you’ve fantasized about it.”

I’m not exactly sure whether or not you are just really stupid or maybe too much bong smoke fried what little brain cells you had left. I made three small comments and none of them had anything to do with what you incorrectly typed.

Bottom line: Go sell stupid somewhere else, troglodyte.

allen981

February 28th, 2011
10:28 am

Hey Tony, get over your long lost fascination with trains. We had a fully functioning passenger rail system here into the 1960s. It died because it didn’t work.

Proponents of high speed rail overlook some clear, uncompromising facts:

– Point to point rail systems only work between major (5 million-plus) cities within 300 miles of each other (hence, the northeast.) A Eurostar study in 2006 showed that high speed trains win out over cars only when city center to city center travel is 3 hours or less, and only in major markets. A train to Charlotte, the nearest major city to Atlanta? Over 3 hours.

In addition, look at the DOT’s city pair traffic data. All those people on I-85, and all those people on planes, are going to points beyond. A train would be of absolutely no use to them, and there will never be enough people going point to point, Atlanta-Charlotte, to support such a system.

A high speed train to Washington? Totally impractical, and it’s absolutely ridiculous to waste a few hundred billion bucks trying to make it work.

The U.S. had an extensive passenger rail system right up through the early 1960s. It failed because of jets and interstate highways.

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:28 am

Cekker

Aquagirl isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:30 am

Aquashrill

Here are some more articles for your low IQ to process.

Leaking Naked Photos, Crotch Grabbing, and Other TSA Hobbies

If you’re an experienced traveler, you may have noticed by now that the TSA has installed the full body scanners in basically every airport in the US. It was over three years ago when I reported that “The TSA is Going to Photograph You Naked!!!“, and the mandatory scanning has now gone into effect.

Despite promises that these full body scanning systems will not save naked photos of you, recently it was discovered that 35,000 photos of naked citizens were being stored by the U.S. Marshal’s Service (another Federal agency) and over 100 of those photos were leaked.

http://onemansblog.com/2011/01/18/leaking-naked-photos-crotch-grabbing-and-other-tsa-hobbies/

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:31 am

Aquashrill

And another one even though you will scream, FOX NEWS ISN’T REAL WHAAAAAAA I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!!!!!

Uncovered: Images From Full-Body Scanners Hit the Web

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/16/leaked-images-body-scanners-hit-web/#ixzz1FGgCeIwJ

Azazel

February 28th, 2011
10:41 am

If you build it, they will come!! Technologies exist to make HSR cheap and energy efficient — if not self powering. Interestingly, there are signs along the I-70 corridor between Kansas City and St. Louis (a little over 200 miles) “reminding” those who make this commute that rail travel between these cities saves GAS.
As with air travel, HSR commuters would still need local transportation to a final destination.
The old ATS (Atlanta Transit System) handled this very well with nearly door-to- door access.

As space for parking becomes a premium commodity in crowded downtown areas, then some combination of HSR and local access will be a necessity.

How much gas is used by commuters from eastern Alabama to Atlanta, or from Atlanta to Macon, or from the northern Atl. ex-burbs to inside 285 — everyday.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
10:41 am

“Aquagirl isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed”

This from someone who thinks rail security is the same as airline security. Is it beyond you that trains don’t carry as much fuel or can’t be hijacked to secondary locations? They’re less of a security risk. Period.

“All it takes is one bomb going off for the government to freak out and shove the TSA in our faces.”

Yep, there’s that fevered imagination again. Paranoid much? Somebody’s been hitting the bong again, but it sure ain’t me.

Oh, and in case you decide to venture out of TalkRadioVille, gas prices have risen 19 cents in the past week. I know if it’s in the AJC your immediate assumption is that it’s a commiepinko lie, but you might notice higher prices when you buy a taxpayer subsidized airline ticket. We’re not going to cut you a blank welfare check, y’know.

Talker

February 28th, 2011
10:42 am

A lobbyist can take Bob to Europe on educational junket and he will change his mind!

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
10:48 am

Wow, LA, you have an awful lot of crotch-grabbing and bodyscan links at your quick disposal. How surprising.

I’m sure you have a whole folder full, better to remind yourself how horrible—horrible! it would be to have those precious jewels gently nestled by the firm, commanding hands of the mustachioed stud kneeling before you.

Dr. Pangloss

February 28th, 2011
10:50 am

We travel by car or by plane because those are the only choices we have. I’ve been in places that had commuter rail, and it was great. I spent seven years commuting in the constipated traffic of Atlanta, and it was horrible: the congestion, the time it took to go to and from work, the accidents, the pollution that you could see with the naked eye. Every night I prayed for a MARTA station in my neighborhood, but Cobb County wasn’t having any of that.

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:55 am

“This from someone who thinks rail security is the same as airline security. ”

Funny thing is that I NEVER wrote that. Again, you have a serious reading comprehension problem.

“s it beyond you that trains don’t carry as much fuel or can’t be hijacked to secondary locations? ”

I guess you missed the Madrid, London and Russian train bombings.

2004 Madrid train bombings

191 deaths.

You were saying?

“They’re less of a security risk. Period.”

Do you work for the US Dept. of Defense? If not, please shut up.

“Yep, there’s that fevered imagination again. Paranoid much? ”

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You take THAT as paranoia???????? I stated a fact, ma’am. After 911, Bush implemented the TSA and here we are.

“Somebody’s been hitting the bong again, but it sure ain’t me.’

You have the IQ of a carrot.

“Oh, and in case you decide to venture out of TalkRadioVille, gas prices have risen 19 cents in the past week.”

WTF does that have to do with anything??????? Geez little girl, you really do have problems with projecting.

“but you might notice higher prices when you buy a taxpayer subsidized airline ticket.

I fly on private jets, little girl.

“We’re not going to cut you a blank welfare check, y’know.’

Of course not, I don’t vote democrat.

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:56 am

“Wow, LA, you have an awful lot of crotch-grabbing and bodyscan links at your quick disposal. How surprising.”

It’s called Google, low IQ. You asked so I provided some linkage. Make sense, small IQ?

“it would be to have those precious jewels gently nestled by the firm, commanding hands of the mustachioed stud kneeling before you.”

I’m sure you’re wet just thinking about it.

LA

February 28th, 2011
10:59 am

Aquagirl

One thing I notice about your mindless rants is the fact that you don’t debate facts. I posted THREE columns about body scan pics being leaked and all you do is change the subject to gas prices.

Grow up, little girl.

Steve Anderson

February 28th, 2011
11:00 am

Aquagirl

Are you the same person who is banned from Jay Bookmans blog for “hacking” e-mails of @@?

LA

February 28th, 2011
11:01 am

“How much gas is used by commuters from eastern Alabama to Atlanta, or from Atlanta to Macon, or from the northern Atl. ex-burbs to inside 285 — everyday.”

Who cares?

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
11:07 am

@ Steve, no. I’ve never been banned from anyone’s blogs. Why would you think that? I suppose I could go over there and post something but I’m not one of the regulars on Bookman.

And how the h3ll would you hack someone’s e-mails from their posts on the AJC blogs?

@LA, I’m for a system which requires less security. You seem wedded to the one where you’re groped and scanned. I don’t think it takes Freud to figure out who gets wet at the idea of the TSA sexing you up.

Carlosgvv

February 28th, 2011
11:15 am

jconservative – “I want what I want when I want it”

Unfortunately, this does seem to be the governing principle and it is this infatile attitude that is getting us well on the way to being a third world country.

[...] critics weighed in against President Obama’s high-speed rail plans. (Newsweek, Reason, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox and Hounds [...]

Brain

February 28th, 2011
11:37 am

This is just like the false argument that consumers speak loudly about their preference for cars….They WANT a Suburban that gets 14mpg over a Prius at 51 mpg…..Or , maybe , they’d prefer a Suburban that got 30mpg, but don’t have that option.

On the grounds of fiscal restraint, I would agree that funding for rail is a huge fiscal challenge. But, we could have paid for in 9 times over if we weren’t fighting two wars for oil….And what we’ll spend in Libya to stabilize that country after the fall of Khadaffi will make the CA expenditures seem minimal, too……All for oil.

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
11:46 am

Obama’s plans for high speed rail are just empty words that play well for TV sound bites. It sounds good to simpletons and liberals like Aquagirl. This meritless idea is just further evidence that he has no plan and is out of touch with the economy. A fereally sponsored rail system would be a welfare train like MARTA. It would not solve our dependence on oil or prove any more effective mode of transportation than AMTRAK. If it were a vaiable option…it would exist because markets would demand it…not becuse of a sound bite in a speech.

allen981

February 28th, 2011
11:48 am

No one is looking at the facts: our country is too big, our cities too small, and we travel too far, to make high speed rail work.

What’s wrong with planes??? They are faster, they conserve far less fuel than even 15 years ago, and they are remarkably safe. Our airports are not at capacity, and in fact, former hubs such as Cincinnati and Memphis are very much under utilized.

And for the question about east Alabama commuters, commuter rail is not even part of the discussion; and it will not work either, in Atlanta, since there’s no central business district/job concentration areas to commute to. Downtown? Who works there? Very few.

Let’s make better, more efficient cars and planes, improve our roads, and take advantage of the infrastructure we have.

cyril

February 28th, 2011
11:53 am

Does anyone else remember how after 9/11 there was a call for a real national high speed rail system to get folks from point A to point B, because this country finally realized that the dependence on an airline only based system to reach our destinations may not be the smartest move once all the planes were grounded for days? Am I the only person who remembers this? Seemed like both Democrat & Republican were were supportive of this, but now yet again, it’s all about autos.

[...] The magic elixir of high-speed rail | The Barr Code. This entry was posted in Opinion, United States, US Government and tagged Barack Obama, [...]

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
12:06 pm

“A fereally sponsored rail system would be a welfare train like MARTA.”

Wow, they might even let colored folks ride in the same cars as white people. I can see how this would upset you greatly.

Jimmy62

February 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

Some of the high speed rail proponents in this thread seem to be under the mistaken impression that high speed rail doesn’t utilize oil or fossil fuels. Even if it’s electric, where do you think that electricity comes from? In this country it typically comes from coal power plants, not exactly the clean fuel of the future.

Where’s that Simpsons Monorail episode when you need it?

Patriot

February 28th, 2011
12:11 pm

Aquagirl – Not that you bother to read, but here is a link (one of literally hundrends on the web) about the TSA patting down 9 year olds AFTER they got off a train to Savannah. Good luck spinning this one. The TSA will be invading every aspect of our society with their goodies. Now they are talking about taking our DNA when we travel.

http://modernsurvivalblog.com/current-events-economics-politics/tsa-searching-9-year-old-after-a-train-ride/

Patriot

February 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

“I’m for a system which requires less security. You seem wedded to the one where you’re groped and scanned. I don’t think it takes Freud to figure out who gets wet at the idea of the TSA sexing you up.”

Aquashrill, grow up. Seriously, you brought up sex, groping etc. Maybe you ran out of batteries?

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:26 pm

“Wow, they might even let colored folks ride in the same cars as white people. I can see how this would upset you greatly.”

Aquagirl wins the “dumbest comments of the day” award. Not only does she misinterpret what people write, but she also projects crap that no one brought up.

List of her stupidity:

1: Groping.
2: Sex.
3: Racism.

You remind me of Tranny Godzilla only younger and more insane.

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:26 pm

Patriot

She doesn’t read and that’s how she constantly puts her over-sized foot into her mouth.

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:29 pm

“I’m for a system which requires less security.”

Good, ride your magic unicorn.

“You seem wedded to the one where you’re groped and scanned. ”

You brought up groping and scanning, low IQ. Again, retake remedial English.

“I don’t think it takes Freud to figure out who gets wet at the idea of the TSA sexing you up.”

Then again, you are the moron who brought up sex, groping, scanning, fondling, sexing, crotch-grabbing, and jewels.

Yep, it doesn’t take Freud to figure out that you aren’t getting any.

Heather

February 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

From since I last checked,this is America,the land of opportunity,or is it the lack of opportunity?Is this the 21st. century or the 19th. century?The US is known as a land that takes risks.It appears that people like you are not willing to take risks to spend billions that the government is giving us in exchange for creating jobs that can help Americans spend to put back into the US Treasury.As you may have forgotten,Mr. Barr,is the US holds the biggest carbon footprint because of excessive carbon emmisions which pollutes the air.Europe is a continent made up of 22 countries and they found a way to make it work for a small continent.With a big country like the US,we can make high speed rails work.Or are you afraid that it will work and Americans will lose their love for automobiles?It’s easy to say coming from you who probably drives to work conveniently and does have a comfortable job by writing blogs like these.You’ll never know until it happens to you.I’ll be praying for people like you.God Bless.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
12:41 pm

Youtube and natural news? That’s evidence? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

The youtube video has no context at all, aside from the ranting of the dimwit who posted it. Whoop-de-doo. I can find youtube videos on how the earth is gonna end in a couple of months. Somehow I have neglected to sell all my belongings and throw an end of the world party. Call me a skeptic.

Naturalnews has articles on anti-vax nuttery, the miracles of coconut milk, and how to treat herpes with tansy. So, Patriot, how was your glass of organic non-GMO wheatgrass this morning? Did it help wash down the uncooked glandular supplements that are awesome, according to this website? Otherwise you’re selectively picking crap from a crap website, and simply flinging the poo like a caged monkey.

I do bother to read, thanks. I also bother to think while I read, and even after I read. I understand this is too mentally taxing for you. My condolences.

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:42 pm

“the US holds the biggest carbon footprint”

LOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Europe is a continent made up of 22 countries and they found a way to make it work for a small continent.”

LOLOL!!!!!!!!

Heather

You are funny!

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

“Call me a skeptic.”

Nah, I’d call you septic.

“how to treat herpes with tansy.”

Guess that made your year, huh.

“Otherwise you’re selectively picking crap from a crap website”

Interesting remark considering the fact that I posted THREE different links and you didn’t bother to comment on one link.

Wired to hard for you?

“Otherwise you’re selectively picking crap from a crap website”

Oh, that’s right, left wing morons only consider HuffPo and Media Matters “real” news sources.

“I do bother to read, thanks.”

No, no you don’t and your comments are proof of that.

“I understand this is too mentally taxing for you. ”

You wrote the book on that, ma’am.

retiredds

February 28th, 2011
12:52 pm

so Bob, when gas hits $10.00/gal., which it will, what form of transportation will you recommend? Mule, elephant, camel, or horse?

LA

February 28th, 2011
12:56 pm

“when gas hits $10.00/gal., which it will, what form of transportation will you recommend?’

If that happens, Obama will be impeached and we’ll be drilling all over the US.

Transpro

February 28th, 2011
1:10 pm

Bob, maybe your lack of innovation is why you are not in Congress anymore!Bring back the John Birch Society !

Jan David Jubon, PE

February 28th, 2011
1:39 pm

Bob Barr is right: “High speed rail is a false remedy” … but incomplete.

The complete message which our local, state, and federal leadership should be carrying to the populace is …

Successful High Speed Rail does not stand-alone. All passenger rail service decisions, whether for high, medium, commuter, etc., speeds, at any level of government, each have national as well as local and regional impact upon those economic and quality of life equilibriums needed for sustaining the regional identity, and national mobility so highly desired by all of the electorate.

Given the above, it is incumbent upon each of our local, county, state, and federal leaders to understand and honestly evolve one singular, flexible, but cohesive public passenger transportation policy/program for the nation, covering all levels of government, optimizing use of all technologies and operating speeds of all forms of public passenger transport, and which sets aside petty partisan politics.

By: Jan David Jubon, P. E.

2389 Saint Kennedy Lane
Buford, Georgia 30518-7334

Telephone: 770-831-5788
Fax: 770-904-5894
E-mail: jan.jubon@jubon.net

NNNN

Bryan

February 28th, 2011
1:51 pm

Just talking out of my rear end, but it seems to me that high speed rail works well where three things are true:

1. People frequently fly from one place to another and might like another option,
2. The two locations are close enough that high speed rail would be viable, and
3. The two places have adequate local transit options.

So, for example, New York to D.C. is a prime corridor for high speed rail (such as the Acela). People frequently travel from one to another, a train trip takes only about as long as a plane trip (once you factor in the hour-long groping you’ll get after traveling out to JFK), and both cities have public transportation. New York and Chicago might be another strong possibility — if the train were fast enough.

Atlanta and Orlando, by contrast, are terrible choices for high speed rail. The number of plane trips between Atlanta and Orlando is relatively low in the grand scheme of things — most people drive instead. And they do so because when you get to either place, you’re going to need a car. NYC and LA are likewise bad choices to link up — people frequently travel by plane between the two, and can use public transport once they arive…but they’re just too far apart.

So I hear you when you say that high speed rail is not a panacea — it’s not. But also stop with the sniggering “high speed rail is ALWAYS a boondoggle” stuff. Where it works, it works. Where it doesn’t…it doesn’t. We just have to be wise enough to know which is which.

Cekker

February 28th, 2011
1:58 pm

‘Bob, maybe your lack of innovation is why you are not in Congress anymore!Bring back the John Birch Society !’

What the heck is so innovative about high-speed rail? Trains have been around for 200 years and their operation gets faster and more efficient every decade. That doesn’t mean they make economic sense in every situation.

All the train romantics keep bringing up how great they work in Europe and the Northeast US. Really? How much in government subsidies and payoff does it take to keep them running? Untold billions is my guess.

The real reason Obama is pushing high-speed rail — union jobs. Period.

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
2:02 pm

Wow, they might even let colored folks ride in the same cars as white people. I can see how this would upset you greatly.

Race is not the issue here. Just like MARTA … this system would not be self sustaining without government subsidies because it will be too expensive to build. MARTA was ill conceived and those who need it most…black or white… are being priced out or the tax payer picks up the slack for the operating deficits. Show me something the government does well. Quit beign racist Aquagirl.

Dga

February 28th, 2011
2:04 pm

“Sure, high-speed rail works in other countries – Japan and Europe, for example — and the trains themselves are really cool-looking.”

Europe is a country?

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:05 pm

“The real reason Obama is pushing high-speed rail — union jobs. Period.’

That, and he has nothing else to push. His economic plan failed MISERABLY. He has NOTHING to run on in 2012.

“All the train romantics keep bringing up how great they work in Europe and the Northeast US.”

Yep, and Europe is going bankrupt faster than we are.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:06 pm

“Race is not the issue here. ”

AquaShrill is an absolute nut job.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:07 pm

“Quit beign racist Aquagirl.”

That’s like asking a Democrat to stop pandering for votes at a funeral.

EJ Moosa

February 28th, 2011
2:08 pm

Not only is AMTRAK highly subsidized, but high speed rail will be as is all other aspects of the rail business.

In fact, most of us do not realize that there are subsidies for rail at every turn.Have a look at a few of these stories:

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/prdailynews/news.asp?id=25870

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/prdailynews/news.asp?id=25875

http://myprogressiverailroading.com/blogs/railwayist/archive/2011/02/18/it-is-rumoured-that-florida-governor-rick-scott.aspx

I thought Atlas Shrugged would not be timely today until I did a little digging. Modern day American Railroads are the poster child for what’s wrong with the system today.

GasMeNowOrGasMeLater

February 28th, 2011
2:13 pm

Sooner or later we’ll be gassed at the pump ($5, $7, $10 or more a gallon). So Bob, what do we do then? $150 for a fill up? Get real. Get rail.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:15 pm

“Get real. Get rail.”

You gotta drive to the train, ma’am.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
2:20 pm

@ not-so supreme: well, then what is the difference? Air travel is a subsidized system that relies on taxpayers. MARTA is a subsidized system that relies on taxpayers. When you freak out about MARTA subsidies and not airline subsidies—well, I’ll be charitable and let you explain why one is so horrible and the other is not really a problem. Good luck with that.

Cekker

February 28th, 2011
2:24 pm

‘The US is known as a land that takes risks.It appears that people like you are not willing to take risks to spend billions that the government is giving us in exchange for creating jobs that can help Americans spend to put back into the US Treasury.’

Spoken like someone who pays no taxes.

We tried stimulus already — remember the all the shovel-ready jobs Obama promised before he realized there is no such thing.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:25 pm

“Air travel is a subsidized system that relies on taxpayers.’

LOL

“MARTA is a subsidized system that relies on taxpayers.’

Which is a huge waste of money/time.

“When you freak out about MARTA subsidies and not airline subsidies’

What in the world are you talking about?

“I’ll be charitable and let you explain why one is so horrible and the other is not really a problem.”

MARTA is run/operated by the state/city government. Airlines are private companies that compete for business.

Make sense, Shrill?

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:27 pm

“Spoken like someone who pays no taxes.

Most people who cry “MORE GOVERNMENT” are people who don’t pay income taxes.

“We tried stimulus already — remember the all the shovel-ready jobs Obama promised before he realized there is no such thing.

Yep, and not one brain dead left winger can explain what happened to that debacle. Unemployment is 10% and real unemployment is hovering around 19%.

Remember, NO President has ever gotten re-elected with unemployment over 8%.

Buh bye Obozo.

mike

February 28th, 2011
2:37 pm

HSR let’s forget it simply because this President brought it up. We will keep driving our cars no matter that we are being gouged more and more each day by the oil companies. By the middle of the summer gas should be pretty close to 5 bucks a gallon. That should make all the repubs happy since their concern has always been more money and breaks business and to hoodwink the people.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
2:38 pm

Yes, LA, it makes perfect sense. Airlines are taking taxes to subsidize their private business. Thanks for clearing that up.

Are you and your sockpuppet buddy really ignorant that air travel is subsidized? Although you do seem to think our oil problems could be solved by the mythical Drill Baby, Drill! solution. You really could be that clueless.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:45 pm

“it makes perfect sense. ‘

No it doesn’t. In fact, NOTHING you write makes any sense.

“Are you and your sockpuppet buddy really ignorant that air travel is subsidized?’

Wow, way to debate there, low IQ. I’m amazed that you can even spell words like “subsidized.” Not sure where or what a sock puppet buddy is, but I’m sure you do.

“Although you do seem to think our oil problems could be solved by the mythical Drill Baby, Drill! solution. ”

Well, seeing as Obozo and the left haven’t come up with any solutions……..

“You really could be that clueless.’

You wrote the book on cluelessness, troglodyte.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

“Although you do seem to think our oil problems could be solved by the mythical Drill Baby, Drill! solution. ”

It’s better than anything you or the left has come up with. Hey, whatever happened to corn ethanol? Oh yeah, it drove up food prices.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:47 pm

“That should make all the repubs happy since their concern has always been more money and breaks business and to hoodwink the people.’

So when is your cult leader gonna fix the gas problem?

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:49 pm

Aquagirl

What proof do you have that people would ride the high-speed train?

Who’s gonna pay for this train?

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

LA, that’s a lotta blabbering to convey that yes, you really are ignorant enough to believe airline travel is not subsidized by taxpayers. Or that you can convince others that’s the truth.

You’re not getting paid by the word, hon.

Honestly, you’ve reached what I thought was an unachievable goal: to be a *boring* troll. Oh, hey, LOLcat called and said U R doin’ it rong. Zzzzzzzz…..

Steve Anderson

February 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

Aquagirl

@@ once said that you were banned from Jay Bookmans blog because you got caught trying to hack her e-mail address through the AJC server. I’m surprised that no charges were pressed against you.

Dan

February 28th, 2011
2:53 pm

Whether or not people would use it is besides the point, even if all the people who reasonably have a need for such transportation op for it, they popoulation density in this country simply won’t support it, except as Barr points out, in a couple of corridors, pesky little facts, you know those little things that always puts the kibosh on liberal pipe dreams

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:55 pm

“that’s a lotta blabbering to convey that yes, you really are ignorant enough to believe airline travel is not subsidized by taxpayers. Or that you can convince others that’s the truth.’

Interesting because you haven’t posted one single shred of evidence to back up your claim. Just because you say it’s true doesn’t mean it is.

I also find it interesting that you didn’t write anything about my three links about TSA blunders. Stupid much? YES YOU CAN!

“Or that you can convince others that’s the truth.’

So where’s your proof?

“You’re not getting paid by the word, hon. ”

??????????????

“Honestly, you’ve reached what I thought was an unachievable goal: to be a *boring* troll.’

Yet you keep responding, monkey.

“Oh, hey, LOLcat called and said U R doin’ it rong. ”

Guess you’re English is as bad as your come backs.

LA

February 28th, 2011
2:57 pm

Hey AquaShrill

The defender of the environment now admits ethanol was a mistake. Will Congress heed his advice and end the corn industry’s $7 billion subsidy when it expires this month?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-30/al-gores-alcohol-problem-admits-ethanol-subsidies-a-mistake/

So where’s your solution to the gas problem? Oh that’s right, YOU DON’T HAVE ONE.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
3:00 pm

Steve sockpuppet, nope, and I’m calling BS on your, well, BS.

FUNNY

February 28th, 2011
3:00 pm

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:03 pm

“Steve sockpuppet, nope, and I’m calling BS on your, well, BS.”

Funny thing about Aquashrill is the fact that she can’t back anything up with facts. No, instead she resorts to throwing out insults at people who just ask her questions.

Steve Anderson

February 28th, 2011
3:04 pm

Aquagirl

You can call me any name you like but it won’t change the fact that you are a thief, a liar and a loser.

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:04 pm

“You can call me any name you like but it won’t change the fact that you are a thief, a liar and a loser.”

OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
3:16 pm

Hmmm…first LA, who sounds like one of the freaks who has been banned from bookman’s blog, starts baying at the moon. Then “Steve” drops by with moonbat accusations, not too ironically, that I’ve been banned from bookman. Then another ho-hum sockpuppet posts more blather.

Poor Bob. Not only is he stuck in the 1890’s, he’s so disinterested and phoning it in, his blog is like a weedy overgrown lot, infested by the LA blatant troll virus. I’d say the prognosis is really poor.

Well, I guess I’ll head over to Bookman’s, Gee, I’m so scared I’m blocked there—NOT. Or Jim’s, where the dude actually earns his paycheck.

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
3:17 pm

Aquagirl….Airlines are companies owned by shareholders that are in business to make a profit or they fail or get absorbed…ever heard of Eastern Airlines or Pan Am? Probably not since they are airlines that went out of business. My guess is that you like being on the dole and expect the government to solve all your problems. You probaly get section 8 supplements and use your food stamps and unemployment to buy your blue tooth and flat screen TV while the rest of us foot the bill.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

But please, LA, continue the conversation with yourself.

Common Sense

February 28th, 2011
3:30 pm

Anatomy of a False justification:

We should subsidize rail because we subsidize other methods of transportation.

No, we actually should stop subsidizing the other forms. If those utilizing do not want to pay for the services they are receiving, they should not be using them.

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:36 pm

“first LA, who sounds like one of the freaks who has been banned from bookman’s blog, starts baying at the moon. ”

Speaking of freaks, you really are crazy.

“Then “Steve” drops by with moonbat accusations, not too ironically, that I’ve been banned from bookman. Then another ho-hum sockpuppet posts more blather.’

Yeah, Shrill, that’s how blogs work. People drop by, post their opinions and debate. Sounds like you’re angry about getting banned on Bookman’s blog. Sucks for you.

“infested by the LA blatant troll virus. ‘

I love how you can’t debate or post any facts to back up your mindless rants.

“But please, LA, continue the conversation with yourself.”

You are bat-$hit crazy, Shrill. Now I fully understand why you were banned from Bookman’s blog.

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:37 pm

“Poor Bob. Not only is he stuck in the 1890’s, he’s so disinterested and phoning it in, his blog is like a weedy overgrown lot,”

Why are you hear, troll? If you don’t like his opinion, LEAVE!!!!!!

Mike

February 28th, 2011
3:42 pm

Aquagirl, you’re wasting your time with these Einsteins. Bet these idiots don’t know that back in the 50’s the oil companies bought the rights to trolley car operations and took them out of service. Heavy lobbying by the oil, automobile and airline industries over the past sixty years have effectively killed high speed rail in this country. It works in every other industrialized nation but the Neanderthals, particularly here in GA, refer to it as a ‘choo choo train’. We’re well on our way to becoming a third world country. By the way, read the other day that South Korea’s internet speeds are over two hundred times faster than ours, but we’ve got more bombs than they do!

Steve Anderson

February 28th, 2011
3:46 pm

Aquagirl

You are a very sad human being.

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
3:49 pm

Common Sense you make Common Sense

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:49 pm

“Bet these idiots don’t know that back in the 50’s the oil companies bought the rights to trolley car operations and took them out of service.”

Please post a link to back up that claim.

“Heavy lobbying by the oil, automobile and airline industries over the past sixty years have effectively killed high speed rail in this country.”

Explain Amtrak.

“It works in every other industrialized nation”

Other industrialized nations have higher gas prices than we do, less people and are going bankrupt.

“We’re well on our way to becoming a third world country.”

You can think Obama for that.

“By the way, read the other day that South Korea’s internet speeds are over two hundred times faster than ours, but we’ve got more bombs than they do!’

We supply S Korea with bombs, bozo. Also, please post a link for your claim of SK and internet speeds.

thanks

THOMAS PAINE II

February 28th, 2011
3:49 pm

TO: Aquagirl, et al: “Big Sis” Janet has already said that it is her plan to have TSA agents involved with “security” in ALL public transport systems. This will include the rapid rail sytem that is wished for by everyone who has absolutely no idea just what it will cost to upgrade our thousands of miles of old track.

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:50 pm

“It works in every other industrialized nation but the Neanderthals, particularly here in GA”

How are you gonna pay for it, Gump?

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Mike I bet you miss your trolley car. What a great form of transportation there genius.

LA

February 28th, 2011
3:53 pm

Mike

How many cities had the trolley car in the 50s? Not many.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
3:58 pm

Supreme Being: you don’t have a problem with BILLIONS being spent each month for wars started in Iraq and Afganistan started by Bushie, however it bugs the hell out of you if someone’s getting a couple hundred dollars a month in public assistance; pitiful.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:02 pm

“How are you gonna pay for it, Gump?” Wow you’re sharp; who’s writing this stuff for you? Try reading my last comment, perhaps you just might learn something….perhaps…

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:05 pm

“Try reading my last comment, perhaps you just might learn something….perhaps…’

Ok, then tell Obozo to stop both wars and build the train. OH that’s right, he’s not and he can’t get states to sign on……………

Again, come up with a solid plan to pay for it and then we’ll talk. B!tching about the wars isn’t gonna do anything other than make you look foolish.

Hey, why don’t you get him to scrap his health care plan and put that money into building it.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:09 pm

“you don’t have a problem with BILLIONS being spent each month for wars started in Iraq and Afganistan started by Bushie,’

LOL!!!!! Oh, so it was all Bush? NOPE, lots of Democrats signed on including the VP and Sec of State.

Oh, and Obama is continuing both wars AND Gitmo is opened. And, to top that off, he extended the Bush tax cuts.

JRev

February 28th, 2011
4:12 pm

Atlanta needs a better transit system here before expanding out. MARTA needs more financial support, more stops, etc. MARTA doesn’t work because most people have to drive 15+ minutes just to get to a station, and the bus system is horrible. Only people who don’t have to arrive on time to work use the buses. Atlanta-Charlotte makes no sense, but an Atlanta-Savannah line would imo. It would be great to take a train to the beach. Atlanta-Athens might also work. But Charlotte? I don’t know anyone here who has a need to visit Charlotte on a weekly basis. Gwinnett really screwed up in the early ’90’s when they voted NO to expanding MARTA.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:13 pm

LA, are you the dummy sitting on Supreme Being’s lap? Too bad the two of you together can’t assemble one coherent sentence. Once we get out of nation building we can get something accomplished in this country. Have either one of you geniuses every been out of GA? I’ve had the opportunity to visit Toronto, and they have both an underground subway system AND a trolley system. I guess Obama and his forward thinking’s a little too much for either of you to comprehend; ya’ll just want your guns and your Bibles! YEE-HAAA!!!

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

“are you the dummy sitting on Supreme Being’s lap? Too bad the two of you together can’t assemble one coherent sentence.’

I love how you and Aquashrill come back with idiotic statements without any proof. Coherent? Not my problem if you can’t read.

“Once we get out of nation building we can get something accomplished in this country. ”

When is that, Mike? Obama continues both wars.

“Have either one of you geniuses every been out of GA?”

Not that it’s any of your business, but yes, I lived in Europe for two years and I travel out of the country at least once a year.

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit Toronto, and they have both an underground subway system AND a trolley system.’

Not sure what that has to do with a national high speed rail system. Toronto is designed differently than Atlanta. Atlanta has MARTA and MARTA is terrible.

“I guess Obama and his forward thinking’s a little too much for either of you to comprehend; ya’ll just want your guns and your Bibles! ”

What forward thinking, troglodyte? A high speed rail system isn’t “forward thinking” when you can’t pay for it. It’s not like Obama is the first person to ever think about that.

Again, how is he gonna pay for a high speed rail system if he continues both wars?

BPJ

February 28th, 2011
4:18 pm

Mr. Barr’s column, and many of the comments, are so confused/misleading that it would take much more time than I have to rebut all this claptrap. I’ll begin by noting that the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has carefully studied these issues for years, and has concluded that metro Atlanta would benefit greatly from high-speed rail to such destinations as Charlotte, Raleigh, Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Savannah. Sen. Isakson has long been supportive.

Several comments confuse intercity rail and commuter rail. Each stands on its own considerable merits, though it’s worth noting that some of the infrastructure investments for each overlap (the anti-rail crowd tends to count the same expenses twice, such as the multi-modal station having its entire cost attributed to commuter rail, and then again to intercity rail).

As for commuter rail, it is bogus to say “very few” people work Downtown. It is the biggest employment center in metro Atlanta; add in Midtown and other employment centers which easily connect to Downtown by MARTA, and the case is closed.

The Economist magazine has reported that studies show rail travel to be 7 times safer than auto travel.

None of the anti-rail arguments count the cost of building yet another runway, or even a 2nd airport. Yet Hartsfield-Jackson’s capacity could be significantly enhanced if many of these short flights (Charlotte, B’ham, etc.) were taken off its runways.

The weakest point in Barr’s argument is that hoary perennial: “we just don’t have the density in this country”. That’s just wrong in many cases (SF – LA – SD; Atl. – Char.; Houston – Dallas), and it overlooks current demographic trends, which are toward greater urban densities. People are moving back into cities. Really, this isn’t the 1970s, although Barr and others haven’t gotten the memo yet.
Smart countries don’t just plan for existing needs; they look at demographic trends and plan for the future. Barr & friends want Dumb Growth. I think America is too smart for that.

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
4:18 pm

Mike I did not anything about war and have a big problem with any wasteful government spending. Government assistance has its place too. However, Obama’s high speed rail plan is nothing more than hot air and pandering to unions and higher taxes for more wasteful government programs. Maybe you should just stick to trolley cars..it seems to be the only thing you are up on.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:19 pm

“MARTA needs more financial support’

Yeah, because MARTA has a great track record with handling money. How many times has MARTA been in trouble because of mismanaged funds?

“I don’t know anyone here who has a need to visit Charlotte on a weekly basis.’

Yeah, gee, I don’t know either. Could it be that Charlotte is huge banking hub? Or, maybe it’s close to the research triangle where a few great universities reside….

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:26 pm

Amazing how Libertarians refuse to apply their own principles to this particular issue. Why have Americans largely not traveled by rail since WWII? Three words: subsidies, subsidies, subsidies. We have chosen to subsidize the crap out of both highways (hello, Gen. Eisenhower) as well as other auto-based infrastructure and air travel. What we have gotten is predicable.

And it doesn’t seem to be working out too well for us, does it? Sure, the merits of true HSR are debatable, but I’d take just plain-and-simple normal-speed rail on an equal footing with the two more privileged forms of transport. Our drive-everywhere society of today is ANYTHING but a market-based outcome, and if Mr. Barr can’t look at the evidence and see this, then he’s no Libertarian.

And oh, can anyone tell me what Peak Oil is? Might want to look into that one.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:27 pm

Btw, in terms of passenger rail, MARTA transports passengers at a lower per-person cost than any peer system in the country today. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:31 pm

“Btw, in terms of passenger rail, MARTA transports passengers at a lower per-person cost than any peer system in the country today. ‘

Doesn’t matter since MARTA and Atlanta don’t mesh well geographically.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

Hey Supreme Being: Do you have a large head like they do in the science fiction movies? Bet I know what it’s full of. Anyway, all you’re giving me is the same old Republicant talking points; blah,blah, blah…..by the way, my parents grew up in Decatur during the 20’s and 30’s and rode the trolley all over Atlanta and said it was FAST.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:40 pm

Hey Mike, do you stick corn cobs up your anus and jump around like a circus monkey?

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:41 pm

“Anyway, all you’re giving me is the same old Republicant talking points’

Says the girl who has posted nothing but Democrap talking points. See, Mike, I can play this game too.

“my parents grew up in Decatur during the 20’s and 30’s and rode the trolley all over Atlanta and said it was FAST.”

So your parents are lesbians. Who cares?

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:41 pm

Very well stated, BJP. Your comments should be in the AJC instead of Barr’s. Good to see someone making sense here; besides, I’ve become bored with trading insults with these toothless double-wide dwelling idiots.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

LA: I simply threw that little-known fact (and it is a fact, you can check me) out because people tend to think that MARTA wastes untold billions in corruption and poor decision-making. And yes, it certainly could be run much better than it is (oursourcing operations to a private entity while keeping the infrastructure under public control might be a workable solution.) But in terms of actually moving people from one place to another, MARTA does quite well — and it has to, since it is systematically starved of funding.

So given your cryptic comment that MARTA and Atlanta don’t “mesh well geographically,” why not help them mesh better? More rail lines, more stops? If MARTA works efficiently with “the cross” why not add some more “spaghetti” to the mix? (Just look at DC’s metro: started the same time as MARTA rail, run with similar technology, and now many times the size. My brother in DC lives a full life without a car since it works so well; that’s hardly possible here, even inside 285.)

A more general comment on this subject: anyone who complains about rail subsidies without reckoning with the massive subsidies that enable sprawl (everything from highways that don’t pay for themselves — trust fund or not — to the highway patrol to non-tax-producing land set aside for asphalt) simply isn’t taking the argument seriously. If you want rail to “pay for itself” you should demand the same thing of highways and air travel. Amtrak’s modest subsidy is dwarfed by the billions from the general fund (not covered by the federal gas tax) used to build and maintain highways each year.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:44 pm

“Your comments should be in the AJC instead of Barr’s.’

They already have Cynthia Tucker.

“I’ve become bored with trading insults with these toothless double-wide dwelling idiots.’

Wow, what a profound insult, troglodyte. Heck, I wonder if you’ll come up with “inbred” in your next comment. Speaking of double-wides, your welfare check should come in the mail next week.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:45 pm

Ah, and I see that this is the usual “AJC Comments” sort of discussion, with insults and ad hominems hurled right and left. Sorry that I bothered.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:47 pm

LA, my parents are deceased; A little good-natured ribbing and you go where every good Republicant goes and that’s straight to the gutter. Stay down there in the sewer with that two (excuse me, three) timing Christian Newt, you two deserve each other and make such a loving couple. Bet your mama wishes she had flushed you down the toilet or maybe choked you with your umbilical cord.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:47 pm

Reid in EAV

The best rail systems work in cities that are grid based. See: NY and Chicago. MARTA will never work because Atlanta is too spread out.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:49 pm

(This, by the way, is one of the few discussions that doesn’t necessarily have to be partisan. The Sec-Trans under Obama — Ray LaHood — is currently the only Republican in the cabinet. And for all my pro-urban, pro-rail biases, I generally swing to the free-market, small-government side of things.)

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:49 pm

“Ah, and I see that this is the usual “AJC Comments” sort of discussion, with insults and ad hominems hurled right and left. Sorry that I bothered.”

I didn’t call you names nor throw out insults at you.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

LA: You are brilliant at marshaling unsupported assertions. So I’ll point out a few counterexamples: London, Paris. Both sprawl. Both (particularly London) are grid-averse. And both are car-optional.

And heck, even Los Angeles, for all its spread-out-ness, has gotten rail and transit religion. I’m aware of a growing number of people in LA County choosing to live car-free, which at one time would have boggled my mind.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:53 pm

“my parents are deceased; A little good-natured ribbing and you go where every good Republicant goes and that’s straight to the gutter. ”

Good natured? Huh, I guess I misread “toothless double-wide dwelling idiots.” Wonder how I could have misinterpreted that?

“Stay down there in the sewer with that two (excuse me, three) timing Christian Newt, you two deserve each other and make such a loving couple.’

Not sure what Newt has to do with me or my comments, but please continue to bring up people/things that have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

“Bet your mama wishes she had flushed you down the toilet or maybe choked you with your umbilical cord.’

And the truth comes out. I love how libs pretend to be “tolerant and peaceful” and then throw out garbage like that.

Thanks for showing us all what a complete and utter disgusting excuse for a human being you really are.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:55 pm

“You are brilliant at marshaling unsupported assertions. So I’ll point out a few counterexamples: London, Paris. Both sprawl. Both (particularly London) are grid-averse. And both are car-optional.”

Then again, we are talking about the USA, not two small countries with smaller populations than the USA.

“And heck, even Los Angeles, for all its spread-out-ness, has gotten rail and transit religion. I’m aware of a growing number of people in LA County choosing to live car-free, which at one time would have boggled my mind.”

So why does LA have the worst traffic in the entire country?

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
4:56 pm

LA- I don’t care that it’s not at me. I assumed it was only a matter of time.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:56 pm

“The Sec-Trans under Obama — Ray LaHood — is currently the only Republican in the cabinet. ”

He’s from Illinois. Not exactly your “conservative” area of the country.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:57 pm

“LA- I don’t care that it’s not at me. I assumed it was only a matter of time.’

You assume too much.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
4:58 pm

I’m done; at work and it’s time to leave. The best to all of you, have a good day.

LA

February 28th, 2011
4:59 pm

“I’m done; at work and it’s time to leave.’

Hope your boss doesn’t find out you’re blogging during pizza delivery hours.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:01 pm

Reid in EAV

Chicago’s CTA is on the verge of bankruptcy…..again. The rest of Illinois has to pay taxes to cover something they never use unless they go into the city.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
5:02 pm

L.A. has bad traffic because it has both sprawl AND density, and made a bad mid-century decision to invest heavily in highways and largely abandon all other modes of transit. Today, engineers understand that road capacity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. (You may have heard a phrase called “induced demand.”) Because there is little marginal cost associated with using highways, they will always be used to the max at peak hours. So to put it in a short, memorable way, “you get what you pave for.” And in building the 5, the 405, the Ventura, the 101, etc. etc. L.A. has paved quite a bit.

The saving grace (to me, anyway) is that L.A. is still largely a grid and has lots of density (even if it’s in multiple spread-out nodes) and with the right transit solutions, it can either alleviate this issue or make it possible for more and more people to opt out.

From a libertarian perspective it’s quite easy to solve traffic congestion: just put a variable toll on all the roads. Make it expensive enough at peak hours and the traffic will flow. Then, at 2 a.m., you needn’t charge at all. Highways are simply a socialized good, and when things are both socialized and underpriced, they are oversubscribed. Hence: lines for commodities in communist Russia… and traffic congestion.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:06 pm

Reid in EAV

L.A. is a complete mess financially. There is no way they can fix any of their problems because the entire state is going bankrupt.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
5:06 pm

RE: Chicago — one needn’t ever use transit in order to benefit from it. As bad as Chicago traffic is, it would be worse without the CTA. So if you’ve driven on the Eisenhower, guess what? You’ve “used” the CTA. If you’ve patronized a business where employees get there via transit, you’ve “used” the CTA. If you’ve benefited from conventions and other big events where good public transit is a key selling point, you’ve “used” the CTA.

Heck, I don’t use those four-lane “developmental” highways in south Georgia, yet the state is quite willing to tax me to build them. Where’s the outrage over that one?

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:06 pm

“Hence: lines for commodities in communist Russia… and traffic congestion.’

Uh……..communist Russia’s problem was…..communism.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:08 pm

“As bad as Chicago traffic is, it would be worse without the CTA.’

Then again, I was talking about the state of Illinois and not Chicago.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
5:09 pm

LA, are you interested in learning something, or do you just want to win? Why the constant subject changes? I cannot speak knowledgeably to the fiscal issues in California. But I do know land-use, transportation and cities and unlike a lot of folks in that boat, I’m generally to the right politically. Best of both worlds. ;)

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:09 pm

Reid in EAV

I wrote: The rest of Illinois has to pay taxes to cover something they never use unless they go into the city.

People who live and work in Champaign, Springfield etc don’t use the CTA in any way unless they visit Chicago.

The same can be said of MARTA and GA. People who live outside of Atlanta don’t give a crap about it and don’t want their tax dollars paying for it.

Make sense?

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:11 pm

“LA, are you interested in learning something, or do you just want to win? ”

What in the world are you talking about?

“Why the constant subject changes?’

What did I change the subject on?

“I cannot speak knowledgeably to the fiscal issues in California.’

And therein lies your problem.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
5:12 pm

“Uh……..communist Russia’s problem was…..communism.”

Oh, my goodness — this is like trying to talk to my second grader. Yes, of course! But what was the economic system? It was a command economy. Arbitrarily-set prices. Socialized goods. Hence: lines, and lots of them. Same deal with the highways. No pricing mechanism, and something built by the government that we’re not charged for each time we use. Again: lines.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:16 pm

“Oh, my goodness — this is like trying to talk to my second grader.”

You may want to back off on the insults lest you want to tread rough ground.

“But what was the economic system?”

Garbage.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:17 pm

Reid in EAV

Final warning. If you want to continue to debate this topic without insults, stop now with the insults.

Reid in EAV

February 28th, 2011
5:20 pm

“Tread rough ground?” LOL! Oh no, he/she is going to insult me! Duck and cover! Sound the alarm!

Right. I am clearly wasting my time here. So long, LA.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
5:25 pm

High speed rail will solve many of the problems facing the nation, and the sooner you all drop the partisan politics and focus on the reality of the day – such as the fact that oil is rising to the point of choking America – the sooner we can get on with real solutions and not more hot air. Building more roads as a solution shows that you all are stuck in the past, and are ignoring the reality of the world. High speed rail is the only thing we can do as a nation to significantly reduce our oil consumption as part of our daily life. THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION… otherwise we would be hearing one from the so-called experts… what are they?

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:25 pm

“LOL! Oh no, he/she is going to insult me! Duck and cover! Sound the alarm!”

Nope, I never did insult you.

“Right. I am clearly wasting my time here. So long, LA.”

Buh bye.

LA

February 28th, 2011
5:28 pm

“High speed rail will solve many of the problems facing the nation”

No it won’t and you have nothing to back it up.

“and the sooner you all drop the partisan politics and focus on the reality of the day’

Pot, meet kettle.

“such as the fact that oil is rising to the point of choking America ‘

You can think Obama for that.

“Building more roads as a solution shows that you all are stuck in the past’

Yet no one brought up roads.

“High speed rail is the only thing we can do as a nation to significantly reduce our oil consumption as part of our daily life.’

That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

“otherwise we would be hearing one from the so-called experts’

You mean like you? LOL

Mr. Ponce

February 28th, 2011
5:29 pm

Mike

Lie much?

Supreme Being

February 28th, 2011
5:35 pm

Mike … better move your double wide…tornados are in the area and your food stamps won’t cover the rapairs. Now hop on that trolley and hurry home and think about that high speed rail you could be on.

JOHN P

February 28th, 2011
6:37 pm

Now I know why Bob Barr is an ex-congressman! He is too wise and too smart to mingle with the idiots in the US Congress. Anyone with one eye and half sense knows that air pollution in GA and man-made global warming is a scam. We don’t need another boondoggle to add to Amtrack and MARTA.

any

Jim Loomis

February 28th, 2011
9:04 pm

Ideological drivel based on ignorance, willful or otherwise. Here’s a fact for you: ALL forms of public transportation are subsidized. The feds provide the air traffic control system for the nation’s airlines and states and municipalities provide airports. Why are interstate highways built with reinforced concrete? Certainly not for my Toyota Tercel. Are you proposing toll boths on bike lanes? And should sidewalks be paid for by the businesses and homeowners that benefit from them? Yet despite steadily increasing demand and all the social and environmental benefits, you start foaming at the mouth and call passenger rail a boondoggle because it’s subsidized! Mark Twain said it best, sir: Better to say nothing and let people think you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Stacey

March 1st, 2011
12:35 am

We have already spent billions to keep Amtrak afloat ( yes, you can now get a patdown AFTER you leave the train). What’s few more trillion gonna hurt.

Eric

March 1st, 2011
8:40 am

Good article again, Mr. Barr. I wish the same logic was applied to NASA–how many more trips do we need to take to outer space (and its cost)? The only place I see rail needed of any kind is in densely populated cities, yet even then, you have to consider the boondoggle of a rail system like L.A. Still, I have heard that the high-speed rail systems in Germany and France are solvent and effective–what is the difference between the U.S.?

LA

March 1st, 2011
8:46 am

“I wish the same logic was applied to NASA’

Don’t worry, Obama has given NASA over for “muslim outreach.”

jm

March 1st, 2011
8:55 am

A. The cost for High Speed Rail is a pittance when compared to the unfunded deficits of entitlements.

B. There are a few areas in America where the density matches that of European Countries. Namely, Florida, parts of Texas, and parts of California.

C. Across the other parts of the country, the solution, as proposed, does not really fit the description of High Speed Rail. It’s actually just providing rail service where there isn’t any currently.

I have no illusions that there might be better ways to spend this money. But Barr’s argument, as always, holds no water. The guy is an intellectual charlatan.

Techfan

March 1st, 2011
9:08 am

Trains are subsidized? I wasn’t aware that roads were constructed and maintained free of charge. Until every road in the US is made a toll road and operates on a break even basis, the rail subsidy argument won’t hold water.

Bill Doxey

March 1st, 2011
12:06 pm

Rep. Barr, How about “regular speed” commuter trains on existing tracks as a solution? I live in Carrollton. Be nice to drive to Bremen and “train” to downtown (40 mins.). Save on gas and parking and reduce traffic congestion/accidents..

GinaCucina

March 6th, 2011
2:28 pm

Wow… I started to read this list of comments to see what people thought about the article. And it rapidly deteriorated into name-calling and stone-throwing. If this is the most intelligent kind of debate we Americans can have, I seriously fear for our country. Do you all represent the Atlanta area?