Go back about 150 years. Fed Gov and the railroads were in bed together
for decades to settle the west, to the point where the line between the
railroads and the government got real fuzzy in spots. Railroads had land
grants, exclusive hauling rights, all sorts of sweetheart deals. Not
saying that was always a bad thing (unless you were a Native American or
a Buffalo, of course), just that it is what happened.
But in modern world, for human cargo, railroads only make economic sense
in certain locations, where the traffic flow will pay the costs. In US,
BOWASH corridor, SF-SD corridor, and <maybe> the Chicago-Detroit
corridor, would qualify. Perhaps a few more where they could share
existing freight ROWs. The interstates just have too much of a head start.
On Mon, 31 Mar 2008 00:00:54 +0000, aemeijers wrote:
Don't forget that interstates are completely subsidized. Taxes pay for
the wars to guarantee the oil flow. Taxes pay for the interstate system.
Why shouldn't taxes pay to maintain railway lines? Especially if the
railway lines can save the nation some wars and pollution?
From the Wikipedia entry on Amtrak (please check wikipedia.org for
<Critics claim that gasoline taxes amount to use fees that entirely pay
for the government subsidies to the highway system and aviation. In fact
this is not true: gas taxes cover little if any of the costs for "local"
highways and in many states little of the cost for state highways.
They don't cover the property taxes foregone by building tax-exempt roads.
They also don't cover policing costs: Amtrak, like all U.S. railroads,
pays for its own security, the Amtrak Police; road policing and the
Transportation Security Administration are paid for out of general
Perhaps that would work out in the hinterlands but most interstate
ROWs near the cities where land is hard to come by are pavement to
pavement with a concrete barrier down the middle these days because
they kept adding lanes to the existing ROW
We would still have wars in the middle east. Oil is just the excuse,
the reason is Israel
On Sun, 30 Mar 2008 16:37:03 -0500, gfretwell wrote:
You should read the wikipedia entry on Amtrak. Amtrak is held to much
more stringent self sufficiency requirements than either the airline
system or the automobile systems, which are very highly subsidized.
The real problem is the places that need light rail the most, are
least likely to have the real estate to put it and nobody wants a
train running behind their house so the effective footprint of the
track is close to a mile wide.
The alternative is that in 5 years, you'll still be paying huge
amounts for gas, but you WON'T have mass transit. That's even worse.
We screwed up mass transit a long time ago, and correcting that will
be costly, but not impossible.
Furthermore, you don't have to have rails for MT. You CAN use busses,
which don't take anywhere near 5 years to implement, and the routes
can be changed immediately at no cost as situations warrant. Not the
best answer, but it is and answer.
On Mar 30, 5:19 pm, email@example.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:
I can't disagree with most of what you said.
The efficiency with which tax money is spent is a major issue,
somewhat separate from the encouragement of fuel efficiency by raising
Two problems, two solutions that might be related.
The gas tax revenue is fairly small, but is supposed to be used to
fund roadways and improvements. Kill the tax, and in a few years the
roadways are in bad shape, at which time you pay more for repairs,
detours, etc. Dropping the tax is a short-term answer that creates a
Anyway, if you kill the tax, and stop funding needed roadwork, you now
have roadworkers out of work, which adds to the unemployment. The gas
tax hasn't kept up with inflation and increased road needs for many
The "special interests" are a counter to the mob. Sort of a
checks-and-balances, a division of power. The "mob" won't let the special
interests get too far afield, and the "special interests" act as a brake on
"gimme (oil, drugs, etc.) for free."
George Will proposed a simplified campaign finance law:
1. No cash,
2. No foreign contributions,
3. Instant disclosure.
On Sat, 29 Mar 2008 07:02:11 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Oh yeah, that's a great idea, because short-sightedness is in such short
supply already! Let's make sure to remove any financial incentive to
actually get away from our dependence on foreign oil. We also get the
lovely side benefits of more pollution and less safety. Fantastic.
Frankly, what's happening now is a reckoning that's been long in the
coming. If we as a nation had maintained the focus on reducing oil
consumption and dependence we had in the seventies, even in a toned down
fashion, we wouldn't be in the straits we are now.
The solution now is to explore alternatives. I'm looking into building a
zero-energy home right now and I'm amazed at how cheaply and practically
it can be done, depending of course on what part of the country you're
living in. Geothermal heat pumping (e.g. http://rebeeco.com/content /
view/15/15/ ) works pretty much anywhere in the U.S. and would greatly
reduce our environmental footprint. With fuel oil as high as it is, this
will greatly reduce our fuel costs as well.
Basically we've been lucky, spoiled and short-sighted for the last 30
years, and now we're paying for it. In order to solve the problem we need
less short-sightedness, not more. Or we could use your solution, and
leave the problem to our kids.
I agree, with the addition that I did not see any real focus to
maintain. A short-lived talk about maybe doing something, but other than
producing a few years of Vegas and Pintos, nothing of any real
4 years ago, I suspected that the cost of petroluem and NG heating was going
to go up considerably in the near future. Based on that and on the fact
that we probably have the cheapest electric rates in North America (6 cents
KWh), for our new house I decided to go with an electric heat pump. We had
an American Standard (Trane) 14 SEER system put in and haven't missed the
ever increasing LARGE increases in gas & oil heat.
Good call! The previous owners of my home used 5,700 litres of
heating oil in the year prior to my purchase. I got that down to
roughly 2,000 litres through various efficiency upgrades and a new
oil-fired boiler, indirect hot water tank and Tekmar control system.
Three years ago I installed a ductless heat pump and, with that, my
fuel oil consumption over the first two years fell to 827 and 830
litres respectively. This winter, whilest somewhat colder, it should
come in at 750 litres or less -- I'll know the exact number when my
tank is topped-up later this month or next.
I use roughly 500 litres for domestic hot water purposes with the
remaining 250 or so for backup space heating during the times when the
heat pump can't keep up. Next month I will be installing a small 58
litre, 1,500-watt electric water heater to pre-heat the water that is
feed my indirect tank. By eliminating the bulk of my DHW demand, I
expect my fuel oil consumption to fall in the range of 300 litres/year
Long term, I hope to install a second ductless heat pump to better
serve the lower level and a heat pump water heater. At that point, I
will be able to eliminate oil altogether.
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