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... institutional arrangements where the Federal government provides heavy capital subsidy for new interstate transport works and little or no subsidy for operating expenses of anything except airlines (obviously the airlines cannot survive on their own, poor dears, they keep going bankrupt even with heavy operating subsidies).

Note that "HSR" here is the Congressional legislative language, which lumps true HSR together with Rapid Rail. And while we can get all techno-dweeb about the differences between the two, they do have one thing in common ... when connecting city pairs of sufficient population sufficiently close together in terms of travel time, they can generate surpluses of passenger revenues over operating costs.

So the Federal government paying all (Stimulus Bill) or 50%-80% (regular HSR funding formula) of the capital cost of an HSR line can set up a scenario where there is no need to fight for ongoing operating subsidies against the constant efforts of the Conservative Movement to sabotage the US economy.

The entire Ohio Hub for instance (blue, below), a 110mph Rapid Rail network that quite effectively expands the route matrix of the Midwest Hub, New York Empire Corridor, and Pennsylvania Keystone Corridor, would cost $5b in 2002$, so certainly under $10b in current dollars.

And for the Ohio Hub, the financial hurdle is the 110mph tier of operating speeds ... the Ohio Rail Development Commission's analysis showed operating recovery of 80% to 90% when a 79mph Ohio Hub is added to the 110mph Midwest Hub, and 120% and better operating recovery when a 110mph Ohio Hub is added.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 10:31:57 AM EST
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