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With current budget challenges, High-Speed Rail is a luxury that the U.S. cannot affordJune 14, 2013
Discussions are resuming in the Southeast about a high-speed rail (HSR) corridor. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that high-speed rail’s limited success in Europe and Asia is not transferable to the U.S. Most high-speed rail lines require large government subsidies. Additionally, HSR fails to provide environmental, economic development, or mobility benefits.
VMT growth and the Millennials, Whither autonomous vehicles?, I-5 bridge collapse highlights flawed systemJune 12, 2013
In this issue:
- VMT growth and the Millennials
- Whither autonomous vehicles?
- I-5 bridge collapse highlights flawed system
- Americans' highway fee preferences
- Bogus Chinatown bus study
- Upcoming Conferences
- News Notes
- Quotable Quotes
In an Op-Ed in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution I detail why, based on a study of high-speed rail (HSR) in Europe and Asia, HSR is a luxury the U.S. cannot afford. Even with generous subsidies traveling by HSR is more expensive than flying for 12 of the 23 most popular routes in the world. HSR does not have the environmental or economic benefits its advocates claim.
The evidence suggests that high-speed railís limited success in Europe and Asia is not transferrable to the U.S.May 30, 2013
The prospect of building a high-speed rail network in the U.S. has received a great deal of attention. However, different patterns of passenger travel, goods movement, car ownership and spatial structure mean that even the limited success high-speed rail has had in Europe and Asia will be difficult to replicate here. As a result, high-speed rail is best regarded as a luxury this country cannot afford. For far less money, the U.S. could create a world-class highway and aviation system with first-rate bus and airplane service. Now is not the time to experiment with more expensive modes of transportation.
Given time optional lanes reduce congestion and provide travel optionsMay 20, 2013
The new toll lanes on I-10 and I-110 opened with complaints and slower traffic in the general purpose lanes. While frustrating this is not unusual for these type of lane conversions. It takes up to a year for travelers to experience the maximum benefits. Given time the HOT lanes will provide drivers a reliable travel time and a new option.
Comparisons to California and other rail projects suggest rail system will cost Florida taxpayers much more than $280 millionJanuary 6, 2011
If the proposed Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail line goes over budget or fails to meet ridership expectations Florida taxpayers could get stuck with a bill of up to $3 billion, according to a new Reason Foundation report.
Long-standing research shows costs are underestimated on nine out of every 10 large passenger rail transportation projects, with cost overruns averaging 45 percent higher than anticipated. If the Tampa-Orlando rail line were to go over budget by 45 percent Florida taxpayers would be on the hook for $1.2 billion more than the $280 million currently forecast.
The Reason Foundation warns that Florida may be miscalculating the costs of high-speed rail by even more than that. Consider that the expected cost of building the first segment of California’s high-speed rail line is 111 percent higher than Florida’s - $67.8 million per mile compared to $32.1 million per mile in Florida. The costs of the Tampa to Orlando system would be $3 billion more than advertised using California’s estimated cost per mile.
The Reason study also flags concerns about ridership numbers. The Florida project is predicted to carry 2.4 million riders annually, which is two-thirds the ridership on the existing Amtrak Acela Express service. The Acela trains serve several big metropolitan areas, including New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The population of those cities is approximately eight times the population of the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas.
Policy Study 370September 1, 2008
With the high costs of building in California and the history of cost overruns on rail projects, the final price tag for the complete high-speed rail system will actually be $65 to $81 billion, according to the Reason Foundation report.
And while the Rail Authority forecasts between 65 and 96 million intercity riders by 2030, the due diligence report finds these projections are dramatically inflated. After compiling numerous ridership studies previously conducted for California rail systems, the study demonstrates the state can expect 23 million to 31 million riders a year in 2030.
Any failure to meet the Rail Authority's lofty ridership projections would force ticket-price increases, further cutting ridership, or require taxpayer subsidies to cover the financial shortfall, adding to future budget deficits. The due diligence report finds "the San Francisco-Los Angeles line alone by 2030 would suffer annual financial losses of up to $4.17 billion."
View Resources by Type
- Obama's Shaggy Dog Story About the Golden Gate Bridge
July 17th, 2012
- Rejoice, Californians! The High-Speed Rail Vote Shows the System Working!
July 12th, 2012
- How Rail Screws the Poor
July 11th, 2012
- Public-Private Partnerships in Puerto Rico
July 9th, 2012
- Sorry Mob, Your Rulers Have Spoken: California Senate Approves Rail Funding
July 6th, 2012
- California Voters to Gov. Brown: Stop Yanking Us Around
July 5th, 2012
- 5 Reasons the California High-Speed Rail Project Shouldnít Get More Money
July 2nd, 2012
- Cracks Appear in California State Senate as High-Speed Rail Vote Approaches Station
June 29th, 2012
- William Shatner Pantsed by TSA
June 29th, 2012
- Did Gov. Brown Just Admit Defeat of High-Speed Rail Project? Donít Celebrate Yet.
June 21st, 2012
- L.A. Expo Line Opens Two More Rail Stations; Ridership Still Very Low
June 21st, 2012
- UCLA Professor Sues for Firing over Diesel Pollution Study Whistleblowing
June 14th, 2012
- Letís Subsidize Trips to Vegas! Update on the Other Stupid, Awful High-Speed Rail Proposal in California
June 13th, 2012
- Brown Seeks Exemption from Environmental Suits Against Train Thatís Supposed to Help the Environment (But Wonít)
June 4th, 2012
- Are California Rail Authorities Looking to Cover Their Tracks with Email Purge?
May 22nd, 2012
- July 1: Do or Die for California High Speed Train Funding (Guess Which One Weíre Hoping for?)
May 17th, 2012
- California High-Speed Rail: Highest Burn Rate Ever
May 14th, 2012
- Feds to California: Spend That Money You Don't Have on High-Speed Rail
May 10th, 2012
- Trainspotters: Deriving Numbers by Counting "Nonsensical," "Intellectually Dishonest"
May 8th, 2012
- New Light Rail Ridership Falls Short by More Than Half
May 5th, 2012
- America's Most-Expensive Runaway Train: California High-Speed Rail
May 5th, 2012
- Reason's Bob Poole on How to Fix America's Airports
May 5th, 2012
- Joe Shmoe Shrugs: Kotkin on Californiaís Middle-Class Exodus
April 22nd, 2012
- Nothing Left to Cut! California Spends $205,000 to Move $15 Shrub.
April 16th, 2012
- Print|Email Puerto Rico's Infrastructure Reniassance - David Alvarez on Public-Private Investment
April 16th, 2012
- The California High-Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report
Policy Study 370
- Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Could Cost $3 Billion More Than Expected
Comparisons to California and other rail projects suggest rail system will cost Florida taxpayers much more than $280 million
Experts: Mass Transit, High-Speed Rail, Light Rail, Buses and More
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Senior Fellow, Reason Foundation
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Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy
- Samuel Staley
- Shirley Ybarra
Senior Transportation Policy Analyst
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