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High speed rail a losing bet for Arizona

The Arizona Department of Transportation has released a draft report on rail transportation, laying out its plans for high speed rail in Arizona. The evidence points to high speed rail as a boondoggle waiting to happen.
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2 comments on this story

Apr 19, 2011, 9:04 am
-0 +6

All common misconceptions/lies regarding the California system.

Cost have not risen 10%, they have been adjusted for inflation. In the CHSRA 2009 business plan, they started calculating in year of expenditure dollars (2020), not in the initial year dollars (2008). The author’s claim is like complaining the cost of something has “ballooned” from $1,000,000 (US Dollars) to $378,700,656.90 (Zimbabwean Dollars). In both cases, this is a change in value of 0%.

Ticket prices have not doubled. $55 for a ticket is the scenario that maximizes ridership. $105 for a ticket is the scenario that maximizes operating profit. No one has decided on a ticket price except that it would be between $55 and $105 (below $55 and above $105 makes no financial sense).

As to the claim that roads pay their share and rail cannot, estimates of what share roads pay their operating and maintenance costs ranges between 51% and 70%. Here is one that says 60%. The rest is subsidized by the federal government and Chinese investors. On the other hand, HSR consistently worldwide runs an operating profit. Even ACELA in the Northeast Regional Corridor makes an operating profit of $146,500,000 according to the author’s own source, Pew Charitable Trust. This despite ACELA not being high speed by worldwide definitions at all.

Apr 19, 2011, 11:35 am
-0 +4

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, @HumboldtPark.

The question that comes to my mind is how it’s acceptable for roads to be subsidized by “tolls and taxes on fuel, tires, trucks, and autos,” but any money directed toward rail is somehow a mistake? There’s a bit of a logical leap that Schlomach makes there….



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