ITT: 'Muricuh vs Europe
(User was banned for this post ("Meme Reply" - Megafan))
ITT: 'Muricuh vs Europe
(User was banned for this post ("Meme Reply" - Megafan))
Thing is, we only use them for freight, not passenger travel. You can do passenger travel trains, but there's only one or two and it takes something like 5 days to travel cross country in one (with stops, of course).
Fact of the matter is, the Interstate Highway System the US has, and the US's reliance on automobiles negates serious use of train travel. Since driving a car is pretty much the same, requires no upfront cost other than paying for your own gas and having a car (which most people have, and you'd need to have in order to get access to a train depot anyways), is often quicker, and has a lot more freedom in where you can go. Plus when you get to your destination you don't have to get a rental car to get anywhere.
And if you want to get somewhere fast, just fly.
Trains work well in Europe because Europe is smaller than america, and it is much more population dense. There are litterally vast stretches of land in America where it is nothing but wilderness - its a very large country. Trains are excellent in areas of high population density where there is easy access to it and good routes. Not that great when the population density means train depots can only be located in areas of higher density to justify the cost, which mean you'd have to travel much farther to get to a depot.
Not to mention, a small european country paying for a rail system to connect to another small european country's rail system (to eventually connect all of Europe) = much cheaper than a single very large country trying to pay for a single (very large) rail system. Especially when you already have the Interstate Highway System - the largest road system on earth, and the largest "public works" project ever done by mankind. It's practically a world wonder and construction feat of itself, and part of the reason why Suburbs became huge in America. Just not an impressive looking wonder, so nobody actually cares about it
Also, on the subject of the article, while this is cool, I still don't like how expensive the ticket will be. It'll actually be borderline cheaper AND faster to fly, which makes me think this will end up being a money pit that no one ends up using.
This is coming from someone who has lived in the middle of LA their entire life and I think that this is a good thing. People drive hours and hours just to get to their job in LA and let's not even begin to talk about the traffic jams and the plain old 5:00 rush that happens every day. If people were to take this train to their destination it could lighten up the roads a bit and get people to save their money a bit. This is of course if they lower the prices for these things. The everyday commuter would want to pay less to go on these things. Oh, and we do use trains. As the guy above me said they're used for cargo not transport most of the time. A train usually passes by my house at least several times a day. Amtrak used to come through here but they stopped and have never come back since.
every city in the US needs a massive boost to it's public transportation. and a fucking tax on those damn suburbanites that commute into the city but not paying a dime in taxes to it to maintain roads and such
Oh and end all oil subsidies too because its not like the companies need the money when they keep making record profits.
Toll roads around here and badly designed anyway, if you take a wrong turn or need to get off the highway for a second, then you have to pay again to get back on the highway. I'd rather not have more of that.
However I think income tax is exempt from this. I.E. you pay local income tax wherever your location of work is. I could be wrong though. And I think income tax is actually not taxed by the city you are in, only by the state/federal governments
this whole thing was such a scam though, the reported costs for the project went up rapidly over the last four years
this project isn't new or suddenly came about, it's old, been stretched out, and hasn't seen the light of day since it's original proposal, which was something like 4 years ago
this article makes it seem like it's a new fantastic thing for the US, and there's absolutely nothing to worry about with financial costs
the burden is so heavy that California can't pay for it out of its own costs, so it required federal tax funds as well
I do not think this is the best time to start building a railroad for California they're in a shitload of debt aren't they? Plus the reported costs seem exorbitantly high. . http://goo.gl/4u1lF 68 Billion is an extremely high cost, is it really that expensive to produce?
Also for those who can't stand the gas tax idea, lol we have the lowest gas tax in the world.
Granted Mexico has a direct subsidy but we subsidies our gas indirectly. We has built our lives off of the lie of cheap oil so its better to adjust to a life where its slightly more expensive now rather ultra expensive later without the transit projects funded my said gas tax.
At the very least we should tie the dam thing to inflation.
Granted this already happens, but it'll only make it worse.
The hope is that the extra money generated from the policies I suggested is that one day that person (and most of the rest of the general public for the matter) will have no need for their car and can take public transit for less money in less time.
Why America having the same gas prices as Europe is the stupidest thing ever:
1. Congestion. Europe is much more congested of a region than most given regions in America. High gas tax promote people to use cars when needed, instead of all the time. This reduces congestion, and keeps things flowing better. Congestion simply isn't a major issue for 90% of the urbanized population in America. The places where it is an issue mostly amount to areas that are mega-cities (high populations, think New York, LA, Chicago, etc).
2. Europe has virtually no reliance on Suburban infrastructure, while the majority of the American population lives in a suburban area. Suburbs are designed by nature to be driven on, and they have lower population densities. You simply CANNOT live in a suburb without driving. Making it expensive to drive basically will cause the majority of the American population to have much less spending power than your average European, and completely destroy the lower class who live in suburbs.
3. Prices of everything will skyrocket, because we have a large financial investment into Semi-truck and national shipping infrastructure. High gas prices will make traveling out of state prohibitive on a personal level (it already is somewhat expensive - my trip I'm taking across the country this summer will cost a total of $550 in gas alone, and I'm running with a 40mpg vehicle). Commercial transportation across the country is going to be too expensive to support at Europe-level gas prices. The economy WILL collapse.
4. Due to low population density, almost every square inch of urbanized area in America is extremely pedestrian unfriendly. The only places that have a strong public transport and pedestrian transport support are large cities, because they have the population density to support such things. And they pay for that by making it so parking downtown is very expensive. High gas prices require people to walk/bike/scooter/etc to do what they want to do. This is very easy in Europe because the majority of the cities and population centers were designed to have a large amount of pedestrian traffic. And because the population density in Europe is much higher, they can afford much larger scale public transport, meaning that it's literally possible to get almost anywhere in Europe without a car and without it taking several days.
5. America has a much larger Rural/Small Town population, or farmer population, than that of Europe. Places where the nearest grocery store is a 30 minute drive on the highway away. If the gas prices here were as highly taxed as Europe, these locations would literally become ghost towns and entire state's economies would crumble, because it would be impossible to afford to live there.
6. America has much less of a pollution issue as a whole than Europe, simply due to lower concentrations of people. Sure, in mega cities the pollution is an issue, which is why those places generally DO have higher gas prices, expensive parking, and good pedestrian/public transport support. But Europe as a whole, being much higher density, would suffer much higher pollution (and they did, during the industrial revolution), without the prices they have now. They NEED those prices to prevent the whole of Europe having similar pollution levels as a large city would have after 10 years.
That way you simply pay more into social infrastructure (like healthcare, transport, etc) by having a good job, instead of punishing people from using already existing infrastructure that is GOOD to be used from an economic standpoint.
Though even still we wouldn't be able to have the same type of taxes as Europe (i.e. 50% income tax) simply because our government is by design inefficent and made to have little power. This makes it so things like Taxes are hard to properly allocate money for, and spend wisely, in order to keep government power in check.
I know, it's a bit of an outdated concept in the globalized world but it is what helped make America a strong enough country to break away from colonialism and act as a safe haven for people in the age of imperialism. So it's kind of ingraned in our culture, to be wary of high taxes or a strong governing body that has power. Sadly the only way to fix this is for America to either just accept that it will no longer have strong global relevance and/or a small revolution. Which probably won't happen easily because we're a nation of idealists. Even if some of the idealists are idiots and they end up mucking up an already inefficent goverment.
The Texas Transportation Institute estimated that, in 2000, the 75 largest metropolitan areas experienced 3.6 billion vehicle-hours of delay, resulting in 5.7 billion U.S. gallons (21.6 billion liters) in wasted fuel and $67.5 billion in lost productivity, or about 0.7% of the nation's GDP. It also estimated that the annual cost of congestion for each driver was approximately $1,000 in very large cities and $200 in small cities. Traffic congestion is increasing in major cities and delays are becoming more frequent in smaller cities and rural areas. http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/ I see this as reason enough to try and tackle our transit problem head-on.
The fact that you need to drive everywhere to live in a US suburb is a bad thing in itself. Europe's suburbs are more like little cities, you can use a car to get where you need to go but you still have the option of walking. Also suburbs eat energy at an alarming rate, far more than any urban or transit oriented development. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...an-environment http://content.usatoday.com/communit...-energy-use-/1
This is a rather simple fix, raise it over time to allow the market to adjust. This would give shipping companies time to switch over from road to rail, a far more efficient way for hauling goods. Would trucks still be needed? Yes but only for short haul trips like Europe. But why do you use so many trucks now someone may wonder, simple, its the suburbs with stores spread far and wide with poor access to rail. As for that little trip cross the US, by the time the mode switch over efficient means of transport is complete gas prices would have dropped because of lower demand to a point where calculating for inflation we might see that the gas price has not changed all that much.
That is something that would have to change, far flung town might have to grow up fast or risk being abandon. Parking lots will need to be turned into mixed use development and last but not least roads will need to be reconfigured to accommodate public transport, walking, biking etc. This would mean that some housing developments would have to be abandon till the time comes that the density calls for expansion into those areas but all changes come with sacrifices.
I kinda have answered this already with admitting that some towns would indeed go under and that some people may need an exception to the gas tax such as poorer people, something that would easily be applied to family farmers.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/US-overall-nonattainment-2007-06.png The US still has major issues with smog and other car related pollution and in some areas other sources of major pollution. Again on the subject of the environment you have the suburbs eating up far more energy then the cities that directly contributes to pollution. Looks like we NEED those prices to prevent more cars from eating up our roads and belching toxic gas everywhere.
I guess in closing my point is that we can't stay on the path we are right now and need to make some sacrifices to prevent further damage down the line.
So essentially Political Gamer you're calling for a mass relocation and consolidation of our immense rural population, by taxing those people until their current lifestyle is unsustainable.
The US is still blindingly addicted to oil and we still lack the proper mechanism to deal it, just ignoring the problem is the worst solution.
Not everyone wants to live in a city. I've been to the city, it's cool and all, but I wouldn't want to live there. Not only are cities much more expensive and dangerous, but arguably the quality of life and education is lower than you'd find in a rural area. Oh, and city drivers are absolute shit too, I don't know how any of them hold a license. Actually city people in general seem short tempered and rude, and I wouldn't want to spend my life around them.
I can understand the backlash I am getting, we have been conditioned to love the car and switching away from something like that can be hard. The issue is that can't really see any other options beyond (quite literally) driving ourselves into a black hole without some kind of gradual yet dramatic shift.
Yeah there's an important distinction between urban and rural. We all agree for the most part that big cities should get their shit together, suburbia's a bit more contentious but public transportation just would not be feasible for the 16% of the population that lives in 90% of the land area.
So you get people coming in and saying we should do drastic measures across the board like taxing gas more that would fuck over the people who would be cut off from civilization without an affordable car, and who are dispersed enough that public transit would be more impractical than private.
Throwing the baby out with the bathwater so to speak.
The freeways were constructed using bonds and tax dollars, the overwhelming majority of the tolled sections of the interstate highway system were constructed separately and added after the fact. Collecting tolls also prevents the majority of them from collecting federal funds for upkeep. Making the American public swallow tolls to use the freeways that they paid for would be a pretty difficult task.
EDIT: This is in addition to the previously mentioned problems of gas taxes negatively affecting the poor and/or remotely located with little discernible benefit to them.