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stats are for losers - Idiot Control Now — LiveJournal
bees on pie, burning rubber tires
stats are for losers
You know, I was really proud of the fact that I haven't been on an airplane in almost nine years.

Sadly, that era is about to come to a close.

My youngest sister is getting married again at the end of the month, and because D's in school, he can't go. (He did say he'll catch the next one.) Because it's a 500 mile drive and I've never driven that sort of distance alone before, I'm going to have to fly.

I hate flying. It's the 21st century. Why is air travel still so shitty? And not just that, but worse than ever? Why have we made so little advancement in transportation?

For the heck of it, I looked at Amtrak. Now, it's 500 miles straight up I65 by car, a drive we can make in eight hours. By train? 37 hours. I'd have to go through VIRGINIA to get to Indiana from Alabama. On what planet does that make sense?

Why is everyone else getting high speed track laid down and we're still so very very limited in our travel options?

I just don't get it. D says it's political, and, well, that makes as much sense as anything else. He says if he ever ran for government office (which he wouldn't, because he has a brain and a soul, which disqualifies him), he'd run on a rail platform. That'd be his main issue, solving environmental and economic issues in one swoop.

Which is why it won't happen. It makes too much sense.

Geez, this country sucks.

Current Mood: aggravated aggravated
Current Music: words--missing persons

8 pathetic excuses or justify your existence
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: June 5th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
My only problem is that around the world high speed passenger rail projects ALWAYS promise to pay for itself, and more than nine out of ten times they fail to do so in spectacular fashion.

Other than that no problem. Taiwan has a lovely high speed rail. Very fast and convenient. Always runs half-empty and operates at a loss. If there's consensus to raise gas taxes by, say, 20 cents per gallon or so, that might be a way to pay for construction.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: June 6th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's always the problem, isn't it? The people in charge promise that it will pay for itself but they're too incompetent/corrupt to make that happen. Which is why you get all these states legalizing casino gambling and instituting lotteries to pay for education, and yet education is still so underfunded that teachers have to buy their own classroom supplies.

High speed rail seemed pretty popular and well-used in Europe when I was there, though.

No one can convince me the current airline system is the best way to go.
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: June 6th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I believe rail in Europe is subsidized as highways are here in the US. But their gas taxes are 10, 20 times higher than ours, and they have toll highways to pay for things. Combined, those two probably make rail preferable over driving alone for long distances.

Also, when you stop off the high speed rail station, in most places you'll still have to rent a car to get around locally. If the destination was 3, 400 miles away to begin with, you might not save THAT much time via high speed rail, when transport to and from the high speed rail terminal is taken into consideration.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: June 6th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, when you stop off the high speed rail station, in most places you'll still have to rent a car to get around locally

How is that any different than if you flew somewhere? (We never rented a car in Europe, although we did stay in major city centers in seven different countries, so trains, subways, buses, and taxis got us where we needed to go just fine. Plus good old fashioned walking.)

I want alternatives. I want more choices than just driving or flying if I want to go anywhere in this country. Flying is expensive, a huge hassle, not always a time saver, and hella uncomfortable. Then you have the planes not being properly maintained, the passengers going nuts, the air traffic controllers falling asleep....

To fly anywhere from here, I first have to fly to Atlanta. It's only a two hour drive to Atlanta, and once, D and I just drove to Atlanta and took our flight from there. Gee, it sure would be nice to have high speed rail between here and there and make that 30 minute flight unnecessary (not to mention another chance for them to lose our bags). Just ride into the city and transfer to the MARTA to the airport, easy peasy! Also it'd be nice for when we want to spend weekends in Atlanta, which we do two or three times a year. It would also be great so people from here could work in Atlanta and commute by high speed train, and vice versa. It would cut down on the interstate traffic between here and there, which is also hell on the roads and requires constant construction/maintenance.

Transportation needs to be improved in this country. Improving/creating rail between major cities is one way to do that. Is what we have now really the best way to get around? Really?
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: June 6th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
True; you still have to rent a car even if you fly in the US, unless the destination airport is already connected to a local public transportation grid that makes it practical not to rent a car.

In CA, high-speed rail is primarily trying to compete with driving as a mode of transportation; local public trans. is therefore only an obstacle for rail to overcome.

I love high speed rail! I don't like driving or flying myself. I'm just wary because based on experience around the world, high-speed rail is particularly prone to exceeding costs and falling short of expectations, despite the favorable conditions for high-speed rail in other countries. I'm not confident (in CA at least) that the government can succeed where most others have failed. If you can't make your light rail run on time, you probably can't make your high speed rail run on time.

So long as someone else pays for it and it doesn't run through my neighborhood, I think high speed rail is a great idea, and the safest most comfortable mode of transportation for distances up to 500 miles.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: June 7th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
D and I have to travel a lot to visit family in other states. If we had options other than driving and flying, we'd probably see our family more than once a year (or every few years, as was the case when his dad and grandma were still alive). I'll pay for it. I know D's glad to pay for it. But for now, we're stuck with slow heavy interstate traffic and torn up roadways or being trapped like rats in a tin can seven miles in the air after being groped like criminals. What a choice. May as well go in a covered wagon and hope not to die of cholera. The 21st century is turning out to be a total letdown.
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: June 7th, 2011 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I really need to qualify where I'm coming from: I've rarely ventured outside of CA, save a few trips to neighboring states and a few trips to the East Coast. Brother's been in Pittsburgh the past year, and told me that infrastructure there is a lot older than in Northern California, where roads are pretty good. My perspective would probably be different were I living somewhere else.

mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: June 7th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, if you don't do a lot of interstate (and inter-state) driving, you maybe don't see the big deal. I mean, we have fun on road trips, but we loved going everywhere by train in Europe.
8 pathetic excuses or justify your existence