Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Midwest Miscellany

High Speed Rail and Transit Roundup

John Hilkevitch had a great column this week putting the matter of 110MPH service vs. real high speed rail on the table.

A Milwaukee Road rail line coal-burning locomotive was clocked going 124 m.p.h. on a stretch between the Twin Cities and Chicago — in 1939. Such long-distance trains routinely barreling across the Midwest at speeds exceeding the century mark may have been far ahead of their time 70 years ago. On the other hand, today’s back-to-the-future plans by the federal government to encourage development of 110-m.p.h. train service in parts of the U.S. may simply lack the spirit and forward-looking approach that was alive back then, or even as recently as the 1960s, when 200-m.p.h.-plus “bullet train” systems were built in Asia and Europe. It’s a touchy subject that has received scant attention as politicians glom onto the idea of investing billions of taxpayer dollars on high-speed rail to stimulate the U.S. economy.

It’s a must-read.

A Cincinnati blog compares the cities and distances in the proposed Midwest high speed rail system with those of the successful TGV system in France. The Midwest stacks up favorably. Clearly it is not an apples to apples comparison, but still an interesting data point

If you want to get depressed, watch this Fortune magazine video on China’s $300 billion bullet train. There are some embarrassing errors by the narrator, but still a good one.

The Chicago Transit Authority Board this week approved moving forward with three L expansions: a Red Line extension to 130th St, an Orange Line extension to Ford City Mall, and a Yellow Line extension to Old Orchard. The Red Line extension is the biggest news in terms of ridership – and cost. The extension is projected to add 41,000 new daily riders. It’s 5.3 miles long and $1.2 billion. Stay tuned to this blog for more on that.

Indianapolis Transit Video

People for Urban Progress and IndyCog put out this humorous but sad video about Indianapolis transit.

Minneapolis Pictures

Washington DC blogger Alex Block who writes CityBlock recently visited Minneapolis and put up some nice series of photos of that city’s LRT system and more. Check them out, and check out the rest of the blog while you are there.

Here are some samples to whet your appetite:

What Pittsburgh Can Learn from the Netroots

Mike Madison’s great Pittsblog has a great post up on what Pittsburgh can learn from the netroots. He has a cautionary warning about the limits of Internet activism. Urban enthusiasts around the Midwest should take heed.

Reckless optimism is sometimes warranted; once in a great while, it pays off. The younger/progressive wing of Pittsburgh can learn from NetRoots that naive enthusiasm is not enough. I talk to younger people in Pittsburgh who are wildly and unrealistically optimistic about Pittsburgh’s bright future; they are unaware of the daunting financial challenges that lie ahead. They can learn that social media and connectivity are not enough …. You have to have a message, and you have to connect the content to on-the-ground strategies. Content matters; you have to have something that’s worth saying. And that wing can learn that a narrow base isn’t enough.
Turning from younger/progressive end of the socio-political spectrum to the older/establishment end of the socio-political spectrum, there are complementary lessons to be learned: Adapt or be swept away. When the younger/progressive wing gets better organized and gets more strategic, and if it can come up with serious arguments on the structural economic and financial problems facing the region, then that wing becomes a force to be reckoned with. It isn’t necessarily an irresistible force, but it has to be acknowledged in a way that in Pittsburgh, today, it rarely is.

Frontier Follow-Up

NPR did a story in the Detroit-as-new-frontier genre. It’s similar to the ones I linked to before. More evidence.

BROOKS: Cooley is 33. He grew up in Michigan and worked as a banker in Chicago. But four years ago, attracted by cheap property, he returned to Detroit and bought these three buildings for a little more than $200,000.

Mr. COOLEY: We thought that was really inexpensive.

BROOKS: For a couple hundred thousand dollars, right? And you got three buildings.

Mr. COOLEY: Yeah.

BROOKS: And in Chicago, not possible.

Mr. COOLEY: No. And in fact, we were looking at something similar in Chicago, and we were looking at, like, just a building that would – needed a whole lot of work for about 800,000.

BROOKS: Cooley runs a real estate business in one of the buildings. And in another, he helped open Slows Bar BQ restaurant, which has became hugely popular and the anchor of a mini one-block urban renaissance. His partner is his 31-year-old brother, Phil Cooley.

Mr. PHIL COOLEY (Real Estate Developer): I found that this is a city that really was wide open. I would definitely consider myself young and dumb, you know. I’ve learned far more from my mistakes here than I have from my successes. It’s lovely to be able to afford to do that here because one, the community is forgiving, and two, it’s less expensive than other places, so it’s affordable.

BROOKS: Phil Cooley worked as a fashion model in cities around the world, but he says he would rather live here in Detroit.

Mr. KOLTAY: And the thing is the spirit of the people that I know is what drew me here. I met people that are like, yeah, I got my own metal shop. And sure, I sleep here and it’s weird and I made this loft in the back of the place. And, you know, for a year I lived there without hot water, it was gnarly, but whatever. Now I’m golden. I’ve never seen a city that has this kind of opportunity for growth. And I think that’s beautiful.

Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert from the NYT piece also figure in this one. Perhaps they are good at getting in the papers, but I think it does offer a cautionary counter-note that, as in many Midwest cities, while great things are happening, the pool is still pretty shallow, so to speak. Via Rust Wire

Elsewhere on the Detroit front, former Bush speechwriter David Frum had a widely debated opinion piece on “What killed Detroit?“. His answer? Poor race relations and the rejection of intellectual pursuits in favor of brawn. It’s worth a peek, and is not entirely unsympathetic to the city.

And Michigan snagged $1.4 out of $2.4 billion in federal grants for battery investments. The state hopes to create a technology epicenter with this money. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Even without the bailouts, Michigan was going to receive most of any new investment from auto companies into new tech because the headquarters are there. Now with the Obama Administration’s own credibility on the line after its rescue of GM and Chrysler, the federal government as well has an incentive to stuff money into Michigan. Ohio and Indiana would appear to be the losers here.

Why the ‘Livable City’ Rankings Are Wrong

Joel Kotkin had another great piece last week that got widely discussed around the web as his stuff is wont to do. This one criticized all those more livable cities awards out there.

Cultural institutions, public safety, mass transit, “green” policies and other measures of what is called “livability” were weighted heavily, so results skewed heavily toward compact cities in fairly prosperous regions. Most of these regions suffer only a limited underclass and support a relatively small population of children….These places make ideal locales for groups like traveling corporate executives, academics and researchers targeted by such surveys. With their often lovely facades, ample parks and good infrastructure, they constitute, for the most part, a list of what Wharton’s Joe Gyourko calls “productive resorts,” a sort of business-oriented version of an Aspen or Vail in Colorado or Palm Beach….Yet are those the best standards for judging a city? It seems to me what makes for great cities in history are not measurements of safety, sanitation or homogeneity but economic growth, cultural diversity and social dynamism….Such places are aspirational – they draw people not for a restful visit or elegant repast but to achieve some sort of upward mobility. By nature these places are chaotic and often difficult to navigate. Ambitious people tend to be pushy and competitive.

That’s why the world’s truly great cities – London, New York, Chicago, etc. – don’t rate well in these surveys. Their energy, density, and chaos keep challenging you and makes you stay on your toes. These are the places that power the world economically and culturally. And they are the places that offer the greatest scope – and incentive – to personal growth and transformation.

It reminds me of my own previous article “Impossibility City“:

I don’t think people truly get the link between a broad vision of what a city is, a large sphere in which individuals can pursue divergent activities and goals, and economic success. As Sam Jacob of FAT put it, “Cities are not about the perfect vision; they are not about a singular idea. They are about a collision of all kinds of incompatible demands.” The life of the small town or the suburb are rigidly circumscribed. They might not be about a single vision, but they are about a more narrow and defined view of what life should be. They demand conformity. A place like that, no matter how large or even how successful, is not a true city.

A collision of incompatible demands. What a great way to put it. It is in containing that collision within a geographical, political, social, and culture context that a city creates its meaning. Cities can resolve the paradox, reconcile the incompatible into something new and powerful. It isn’t always pretty. The results are sometimes messy or unpleasant. But its in that resolution process that we create the energy and innovation that moves the city forward and allows its residents, business, and institutions to reinvent themselves and their lives if they so choose.

New York Bike Racks

Somebody snapped a photo of the new city standard bike rack in New York City. (From Streetsblog & @zacfrank)

Looks nice. People do seem to be wondering if it might be too easy to break these off and stea them. New York plans to install 5,000 of these over the next three years.

With things like their bike rack programs, LED streetlights, the High Line, and their Street Design Manual, New York is really has some of the most progressive street/trail design going on out there. While the whole Midwest is behind, I’d like to particularly call out Chicago.

Chicago has done some amazing things with bike lanes, streetscape improvements, etc. But it has stuck with cutesy retro design approach that is very generic, and also has not been a source of major innovation the way places like NYC and Portland have. Chicago uses generic, off the rack u-shaped bike racks, antique gas lamp replicas, basic bike lanes, etc. It is now copying New York with its Bloomingdale Trail – with some of the design team previously having worked on the High Line. With its vast mileage of abandoned elevated freight tracks, Chicago could have and should have been first to this.

My understanding is that there’s a vacancy over at the top at CDOT. Whomever the mayor puts in that position needs to bring a strong sense of design and an innovation mindset to help Chicago catch up in this area.

National and International Roundup

Speaking of New York, here’s a super-cool map of the daytime and night time populations of Manhattan that @PD_Smith pointed us at on Gawker. Click for full size.

Check out the 20 finalists in the Re-Burbia competition.

The psychology of economic development in New Brunswick. “Attitude matters. Psychology matters. If we can reset the narrative on Northern New Brunswick and point it in the right direction, we will have taken a huge step forward.” (via @intelegia)

Why Seattle won’t grow as fast as planners say.

Neukölln: Gentrification as it should be?

More Midwest

The Journal had coverage of the “Living Cities” conference in Dayton. This was a gathering of people from the 10 cities Forbes labeled “dying” in one of its infamous lists.

Chicago’s murdered children (The Guardian) – Chicago’s violence wave gets international press. I’ve got my quibbles with their methodology. I wouldn’t call an 18 year old a “child” for example. But this is clearly a whole bunch of Not Good.
CTA, Pace feud getting nasty (Greg Hinz @ Crain’s Chicago Business)
Saga of the Burnham Pavillions (Blair Kamin @ Tribune)

Poison pill amendment is about less, not more (Enquirer editorial) – The Enquirer weighs in against the proposed anti-rail charter amendment.
$10 million upgrade and expansion for tennis stadium (UrbanCincy)

Foreclosures grow in fertile suburbs (Dispatch)

A new wing, a new direction (WSJ) – Great national piece on the Cleveland Museum of Art and its expansion plans

Detroit school woes deepen (WSJ) – 257 ghost payrollers, five people indicted
Jobs recovery may bypass Michigan (Detroit News)

Kansas City
Downtown, surrounding areas get marketing boost (KC Star)
Funkhouser lists what he hopes to achieve in Kansas City (KC Star)

Topics: Architecture and Design, Transportation
Cities: Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh

25 Responses to “Midwest Miscellany”

  1. Alon Levy says:

    Just one nitpick: 200 mph trains are a recent invention – the first line capable of such speeds opened in 2007. In the 1960s high-speed rail meant 125 mph, and even today most lines operate at 186 mph, not 200.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The WSJ article riled a few people up with its percieved snarky tone:

    Here is one bloggers' detailed parsing of the article:

    Kick 'em when they're down

    And the Dayton Most Metro Forum has a discussion on the forum, which later morphed into the discussion on the article.

    For places on this list bad news is better than no news at all, since they are such zeros to start with.

    To me, the article seemed fair though tongue-in-cheek.

  3. BruceMcF says:

    Why precisely is that Chicago Tribune op-ed a "must read" … to learn the latest talking point that the Libertarian Think Tanks and their unwitting allies among Express HSR enthusiasts?

    Clearly, the Libertarian think tanks are pursuing a "divide and conquer" strategy on the HSR policy, and the Express HSR enthusiasts who unwittingly support the think tank strategy are shotting themselves in the foot – undermining the political potential of Express HSR to get the up-front capital funding it needs, by limiting the amount of route miles that can be put into service in the first five and ten years.

  4. The Urbanophile says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Anon, thanks for those links. Appreciate it.

    Bruce, I'm not sure if I follow. Are you suggesting that anti-rail forces are trying to use the "real high speed rail" meme as a poison pill? If people are saying that out there, please do send some links because I'd like to read up on this.

    I don't think that 110MPH service offers many benefits, frankly. It's end to end journey time won't be much better than Megabus.

    See my previous writings on the subject: Metropolitan Linkages and High Speed Rail

  5. Alon Levy says:

    Bruce, I don't think insisting on true HSR is a divide and conquer strategy. It may have been if Prop 1A had failed in California, but given that it passed, and given that California is likely to start operating HSR by 2018, the best anti-rail strategy would be different. Once CAHSR succeeds, the federal and state governments are likely to start massively funding any HSR plans that are on the table. If I wanted to derail HSR, I'd recommend going forward with mediocre rail, so that a) I could point to its failure as evidence that this region doesn't need HSR, and b) the region would not have any shovel-ready HSR plans.

  6. BruceMcF says:

    In my blog, I look at O'Toole, who uses the strategy of denigrating the Emerging HSR services repeatedly. He is not the only source from Cato/Heritage/Reason that I have seen doing it, but since he working up state by state "Why HSR is bad for your state" reports, when he has a meme he likes, it gets repeated.

    The 110mph corridors identified in the Midwest Hub and Ohio Hub plans are excellent corridors in their own right. Several of the corridors offer sufficient population densities per hour of of train trip to generate operating surpluses as stand-alone corridors, and the fully rolled out system benefits from substantial network economies as well.

    That means, of course, that once the trunk corridors have been established, revenue bonds will be able to provide the state match for ongoing capital improvements … including improved grade separations and 125mph hardened crossings and electrification, so that the corridors themselves can finance the state portion of their upgrade to 125mph Regional HSR corridors.

    The infrastructure works to untangle passenger and freight access to and through the larger metro areas that is required for the 110mph services can be leveraged by later Express HSR services … just as the original French TGV corridors were able to leverage Express Intercity infrastructure in major metro areas and focus construction of 220mph in more rural areas.

    And, just as in France, when the Emerging HSR corridors have been upgraded to Regional HSR corridors, Express HSR trains can run onto the corridors … though they will of course have to be tilt-trains to run as fast as the Regional HSR trains themselves … so that, first, services can be launched with completion of main sections of an Express HSR corridor, with the service times being reduced in steps as the corridor is extended and, second, services can run along a common Express HSR corridor and then onto the Intercity Express network to a variety of destinations.

    And finally is the politics. Contra Alon, even in areas where genuinely mediocre conventional passenger rail services are provided with greater frequency and reliability, as with Amtrak-California and on an incremental basis with many of the intercity corridors extending from Chicago, they are politically popular.

    Offering service equivalent to the best European conventional Express Interurbans, especially in a region like the Eastern Midwest and Great Lakes where there are so many 300 mile and less trip pairs of 1m+ metro areas, will prove politically popular.

    And the greatest political vulnerability that Express HSR faces is the long construction time, which makes it critical for it to be part of a broader enterprise. Having services funded by the HSR policy already in operation, and sufficient number of constituents demanding a line of their own, is substantial political insurance that the ongoing funding required by the Express HSR corridors will continue to flow.

  7. Bob says:

    "With things like their bike rack programs, LED streetlights, the High Line, and their Street Design Manual, New York is really has some of the most progressive street/trail design going on out there". Did you hear anything new regarding when NYC will be installing the new LED streetlights. The projected date was this past spring but the summer is almost over and I don't believe any lights were put in as of yet.

  8. JG says:

    BRUCE: The three tier approach assumes and requires that 110 mph service will generate ridership and sufficient revenue along most corridors. Please post data or studies when available. The model worked in Europe in the 1960s. There was little competition at that time with air travel and the equivalent of interstate highways. Conventional rail was the main competitor and this was a welcomed alternative. That does not apply to the U.S. in 2009. Refrain from using this example in arguments.

    The door-to-door times on most corridor studies only show competitive travel times when trains run at higher speeds. Flights from St. Louis to Chicago only take <1.5 hours, run all day, and are usually reasonable in price. A 110 mph trip at 4 hours will never be cheap enough to compete with a MEGABUS between both cities. The Midwest HSR Assoc used true HSR speeds in their route study (as does CalTrain) for this reason.

    The political "downfalls" from appropriate HSR concentrated along fewer high priority routes as compared to "low-speed" high speed rail spread around is arguably the same; except the LOW QUALITY, HIGH QUANTITY plan (though cheaper and faster to implement) has no chance to actually generate ridership, revenue, or a cultural transformation. Good ridership really is primary goal, not just building some trains.

    BRUCE: HSR has potential to transform America. The data argues – maybe unfortunately – for a more expensive targeted implementation in high density corridors. Your battle and passion is R v. L ideology and not transportation issues in America. (There were a note-worthy number of grammar and major sentence structure errors in your comment to the point I could barely follow your arguments. I certainly make spelling and sentence structure errors at times and don’t worry about it, but even I suggest a serious proof reading of your work before posting a comment so sure of its claims.)

  9. JG says:

    URBANO: Thanks for the links.

    Cool link about Cincinnati serving as a HSR hub. I maintain an objective and skeptical eye toward HSR in the Midwest, however this comparison is very thought provoking. My concern is what "other" factor(s) differentiates French from Midwest geography and demographics that could make this a poor comparison? Certainly my biggest concern is Cincinnati as a hub which does not correlate well to Paris. It appears a Chicago hub with lines to Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and a southeast line (Indy, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Columbus) would be a better comparison based on population to the French TGV. Still I applaud the Cincinnati analysis.

  10. Alon Levy says:

    Amtrak is popular whenever it serves an area – even in North Dakota, where it stops in the middle of the night, once a day. But it's not popular enough outside a group of core users, which is why it leads to a political status quo in which service is kept at current levels to satisfy the foamers, but little investment is made to satisfy the budget hawks.

    The French strategy was the opposite of what you make it to be. SNCF built the TGV as an alternative to upgrading existing low-speed corridors, where trains were limited to 160 km/h. It only made investments in low-speed lines insofar as the TGV could be routed over them. Even those investments only made sense because France already had a network of electrified passenger-priority lines. In Japan, whose pre-Shinkansen network is narrow gauge, the old system was never so upgraded, so its top speed is still 130 km/h except in a few sections, like in the US.

    The strategy you suggest, of incrementally upgrading lines, has been tried and failed in Germany. The ICE lags the TGV in ridership by an order of magnitude, and has only one line capable of 300 km/h operating. As a result, Deutsche Bahn has not had the profits or the political independence of SNCF, leading to even more money spent on widely distributed upgrades, with little left for true HSR. (Emerging HSR is a euphemism for "slightly faster than in 1926.")

  11. OINKER says:

    No where did I see mention that the Cinci-Indy-Chicago Pork express would likely cost the taxpayers $10B (+/- a Billion).

    For the investment, a Cinci passenger can drive to Union Station, pay the unknown fare, and in 3 hours be in downtown Chicago.

    hmmmm…how is that any different than driving to CVG, go thru security, pay airfare (granted is exorbitant because of DL) and arrive in Chicago in 2.5 hours plus the time to get to the Loop by train…so 3+ hours more or less.

    The difference? Let me count the ways:
    1) $10-$11B (that is with a B) for the infrastructure (not sure if that counts the trains, terminals etc)
    2) Unknown annual operating/maintenance
    3) Unknown fare
    4) Likely will cause air travel reduction at CVG which has already mothballed 2 terminals and has one brand new 3rd runway that should be mothballed.

    "I hear the Pork Train coming
    its rounding round that bend
    not carrying much of nothing
    it the Pork Train Express
    …its draining all of my cash"

  12. Anonymous says:

    More douchebaggery from OINKER. You have nothing constructive to offer to the discussion. Your shtick got old before you even started posting on this blog.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Interstates and airports cost lots of money to maintain OINKER. The FAA air traffic controllers, and TSA security personnel are all provided by the government courtesy of the taxpayer, not to mention the billion dollar road networks that service the airports.

    The O'Hare expansion alone will cost 1.5 times as much as the Midwest HSR network.

  14. Bike Racks says:

    Certainly one's biggest concern can be Cincinnati as a hub which does not correlate well to Paris.At Bazaark we bring solutions on a variety of quality items: from Kitchenware, Outdoor Furniture to Garage Storage Solutions, Bike Racks & more

  15. OINKER says:

    Anon 8:19 & 8:21 –

    Pray tell what have you offered…that would be nothing.

    ORD expansion is tagged at $6B…that would pay for 1/2 of the St. Louis to Chicago Pork Train….which is just one slab of bacon; the entire HSR Project for the Midwest is probably 8-10x the cost of ORD expansion.

    $48B to $60B is quite an expensive ham! Plus the annual cost of maintenance/operation/security!


  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow, $6 billion for O'Hare expansion… Did they not just upgrade runrays recently? It starts to argue for intercity transportation alternatives.

  17. pete-rock says:

    Two quick points I'd like to make about the Detroit and Chicago stories in your post.

    RE: Detroit pioneers — I'm a native Detroiter, and I remember thinking even 20 years ago that Detroit had to hit a bottom that no other city could even approach before true pioneers would invest in the city again. The legacy of Detroit's past will have to be trumped by the enormity of super-cheap land that will attract innovative urban pioneers. I've always felt that had the auto industry started in some other city, Detroit would've eventually become a Milwaukee-sized metro area (a city of 500K or so; a metro area of +/- 2.5M). I think that's the population point where the D will reach its economic and social equilibrium.

    RE: Chicago child murders — I've lived in Chicago for the last 20+ years, and I have some major beefs about this "X number of kids killed in Chicago" campaign that's going on. First, I've looked at crime data from the Chicago Police from 1990 onward (as part of another project I'm working on), and there were 2-3 TIMES MORE CHILDREN MURDERED ANY GIVEN YEAR IN CHICAGO IN THE 90'S THAN TODAY. That was the Crack Era, where gangs fought big-time over turf and drug sales. No one seems to bring this discrepancy up now. Crime — and violent crime in particular — has steadily and consistently decreased in Chicago over the last 15 years. However, I will allow that violent crime is becoming more concentrated in outlying neighborhoods where it had not existed to this extent before.

    Certainly every child murdered is a tragedy and a terrible loss to loved ones. But this needs to be put in the proper context. This "murdered Chicago children" campaign is a product of the Chicago Public Schools and former schools CEO Arne Duncan — now the U.S. Sec. of Education. Sec'y. Duncan has admitted that the campaign started when he was in office here, to draw attention to the problem 8-10 years ago. The campaign now has such a public relations cache that it cannot allow for any progress or improvements — who wants to say there are fewer children murdered when even one is too many?

    Sorry for the long entry, but I've had real problems with this for a long time.

  18. JG says:

    PETE: Thanks for the CHI data I did not know this, but it matches crime trends seen since recently in large cities. I appreciate you sharing that broader context.

  19. OINKER says:

    Anonymous said…

    "Wow, $6 billion for O'Hare expansion… Did they not just upgrade runrays recently? It starts to argue for intercity transportation alternatives."

    – ok, so lets hear your argument for intercity transportation alternatives.

    (this should be piggly wiggly fun)

  20. Alon Levy says:

    the entire HSR Project for the Midwest is probably 8-10x the cost of ORD expansion.

    Your numbers are ex recto. Sorry.

  21. Sus says:

    Alon – then please enlighten. What are the numbers for the MW Pork Train…in Latin if you must.

    Sus Sus Sus

  22. JG says:

    I love it. HSR just fires people up. The comments tend to stink when the ideologues show up (Bruce and Oinker.) Oinker and I have in common that we are skeptical if HSR could be successful in the U.S. (my hesitation is specifically in the Midwest). We differ in that Oinker ignores data that does not support his position. Truly childish.

    Theirs is among the most primitive and shallow approaches to debate or understanding. Such is the reason for peer-review in academic publishing. At the same time blogs allow the ideologues and the disingenuous to be exposed. Cheers to URBANO for keeping his blog comments open.

  23. OINKER says:


    "We differ in that Oinker ignores data that does not support his position. Truly childish." – please direct me to data that supports HSR would be successful in the Midwest or anywhere outside of the NEC?

  24. JG says:

    PORKER: Read the last 6 months of Midwest Miscellany on this blog and you will find it (along with some arguements against HSR.) Thanks for reinforcing my point.

  25. OINKER says:


    Have read them. Not persuasive.

    They all are:
    'it would be cool,neat, blah blah, blah' or 'the Shinkasen worked' or 'it worked in France' or 'it worked in China' blah blah blah….but behind all of that is not a shred of data that supports that HSR will work anywhere in the US except the NEC. (unless the entire thing is subsidized, the fares are less than the bus, and highway gridlock exists on every mile of interstate from Point A to Point B)

    Why spend BILLIONS so that the few can take the Pork Train from Cinci or St. Louis or Indy to Chicago; which takes more time than can be done today for the cost of a plane ticket?

    Thanks for reinforcing my opinion of you!


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