Train derailments are already on a long downward trend since they peaked in 1978: https://data.transportation.gov/dataset/Railroad-Equipment-A...
This legislation was kind of a hot-blooded fast-twitch response to the East Palestine disaster, but it's not exactly clear that it would have done anything other than address some of the superficial concerns at the time.
Since then the DOT has already updated several of their derailment policies, the EPA has updated their procedure for burning off hazardous chemicals.
Another user responded here asking if this was the result of increased regulation considered burdensome at the time it was introduced and then deleted the question, presumably after reading more about it. The question itself is interesting though: the period after the 1970s saw substantially decreased regulation for railways in general and a loosening in how security regulation was approached for a massive decline in railroad safety issues. I.e. the market was heavily over-regulated at the time and prescriptive regulation had been having the opposite of the intended effect. I'm highlighting this not as one who despises regulation, quite the opposite, but just because it's a good point to highlight reacting to every accident with more regulation is not the right way to approach further regulation.
Some confounding factors on derailment statistics:
* Individual trains are longer than ever, which means that they carry more than ever. That means bigger derailments in absolute terms with a larger potential variety of components, even if the overall magnitude of derailments has decreased.
* Deferred line maintenance and other cost-cutting measures (like running longer trains with just one or two engineers) means more severe derailments (more cars off the rails, more extensive damage, fewer people available to detect or remediate problems).
This "safety" legislation is mainly about requiring 2-man crews on trains. The unions are of course very much in favor, but it would do nothing to prevent derailments like what happened at E. Palestine.
The problem should be solved with maintenance and automation. But that would hurt the union (though there would be more opportunity in maintenance.
As a reminder for those that don't follow this in detail: One of the main pushes of this bill would be requiring at least 2 people on all freight trains to "help improve safety".
Can you guess how many engineers there were on the East Palastine train? 3.
That obvious had no impact on this incident. As others have pointed out, more engineers are a security/safety theaters solution. It also makes unions happy, as it means they need to employ more people.
This is a terrible bill that was reactionary at the time, and does nothing to actually improve safety.
Saying "Congress" isn't advancing it, lets the people responsible avoid blame. While the bills have bipartisan sponsors, only democrats are willing to vote for the bill on the house/senate floor. In the senate, republicans are threatening to filibuster the bill, so it cant pass without a supermajority. And the gop-led house refuses to bring the house bill to the floor.
2023 was the least productive Congress since the Great Depression. Passing a total of 23 bills last year.
To just rephrase your point a bit more clearly - there is not even a particular partisan reaction to the bill itself - one of the two parties our government needs to run is currently collapsing in on itself so nothing is getting done.
Is there some poison pill in the bill? It's a really common tactic for the party in power to put wishlist items in the "Good things for America Act" that they know the opposition cannot support in order to get fodder for making the other side look so unreasonable.
In a "me vs you" situation in the context of the relationship, whoever cares about the relationship the least has the most power.
The republican party sees power as the most important goal and are willing to sacrifice the union to get it (US Generals including Milley and Mattis have nearly directly said this and did directly say this in the context of the republican party's king).
Democrats on the other hand are like a desperate ex in denial that the relationship has already ended.
Both parties are at fault. Being a victim does not disavow a responsibility to seek a better outcome. Blame is the opposite of responsibility and democrats are not taking responsibility. Instead, they are blaming republicans, voters, or the law. None of those things are stopping republicans from exerting increasingly more power. Republicans (republican leaders anyway) don't complain about lack of voter support. They create Fox News to manufacture support, or directly attempt a coup. Republcian's don't complain about malfunctioning courts, they load them with ideologues. Republicans don't complain about lack of voters, they gerrymander districts and concoct schemes to make it harder for voters they don't like to vote. They don't complain about a gridlocked congress, they push policy with the courts instead.
Republicans are taking responsibility to achieve the outcomes they want. Democrats are busy jerking themselves with useless result-less blame.
So you can blame republicans if you want, but as a fellow liberal leaning person, you should definitely realize that democrats benefit greatly by not having to step up. They don't want to hold corporations feet to the fire any more than republicans do. They can say they do, but franky I do not believe that democrats want to hold corporations to account any more than republicans do. There are a few progressives like AOC and Bernie who do, but the party as a whole is part of the problem, and I think they are a co-equal part.
Nancy Pelosi got in front of a camera and said "I have a right to participate in the free market." That's the closest thing to a leader for the democratic party saying they have a right to conflicts of interest. The most powerful democrat during the previous presidency said they have a right to be corrupt.
Democrats can say they want to stop congresspersons from trading stock, but they can only say that for the same reason that a couple of republicans are allowed to vote outside of party lines when there are already enough votes. This is just another example of the same behavior.
We need investments in rail infrastructure to take trucks off the road and to improve safety and to keep goods moving.
For some reason, our railroad are privately owned rather than owned by the states or the fed.
> For some reason, our railroad are privately owned rather than owned by the states or the fed
Who do you think built them? We have the world’s largest rail network for a reason.
> rather than owned by the states or the fed.
Are those actually the only options for public goods focus though?
I generally lean softly toward anarchic solutions, so of course my mind goes toward some kind of non-profit NGO or DAO rather than the same government structures that lead to war for oil, etc.
> or the fed.
Is there another example of a central bank owning a railroad? I don't doubt that it has happened historically, but this is the first time I've even thought of it as a possibility.
Japan's famously on-time and efficient rail system is made up of many privately owned systems.
It’s tragic in the UK at the moment. The government has taken over some large rail operators and are busy reducing services and increasing costs. They’re making many other detrimental changes to the railway system too
We can’t believe it but some of us enthusiasts are actually wanting privatisation back
Public can be good. Private can be good. Public can be bad. Private can be bad…
> For some reason, our railroad are privately owned rather than owned by the states or the fed.
Because we want them to work well? Look at how the government handles the infrastructure it owns.
Eas Palestine Derailment - Well There's Your Problem
> Members of Congress blast industry for putting profits over safety
Headlines like this make me laugh because it sounds like something is getting done when it's just congresspeople with no actual power making grand speeches that amount to nothing. They really gave those profiteers a real Congressional finger wag!
It seems odd to criticize an elected representative who comments on the irresponsible behavior of corporations.
This kind of deadlock should not happen. I think it’s indicative of what has gone wrong with the United States. Congress, nobody is willing to give an inch, and everything is a personal fight to the death.
Is "disaster" really the correct term for an incident where zero people where injured or died and everything in the town was back to normal pretty quickly?
the real issue is that there's no tracking for freight, it took too long to figure out what happened and how severe it was.
the network is lacking basic safety features. (because the network is big, and because checks were mostly done by relatively cheap labor, but both regulation and crew got watered down.)
the worry is that, since these happen quite frequently, eventually it'll happen in some city.
Did it “stall?”
Did they “blast the industry?”
Because they cashed their checks.
They are demanding that they cover the cost:
While the same quoted congressperson had time to get behind rail initiatives while safety stalled out:
Oh, and found 10M from the Federal government to quietly pay for the upgrades:
I am no expert here, but it sure seems like a lot of railroad stuff is happening and money moving around for a “stalled out” safety initiative. Maybe someone else can provide more context?
When you filter by election cycle it looks like they aren’t making any huge donations compared to their baseline. Maybe the baseline donations stop things like this, but I don’t think I’d jump to that being the clear reason.
Who is they? Legitimately: I can't figure out if I'm accessing the links wrong on mobile, or if they shape shifts across the 3 links
"That sentiment, was echoed by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who sponsored the Rail Safety Act in the Senate and held a virtual press conference this week to talk about the stalled legislation. Both Brown and Kaptur said lobbying groups and major rail companies continue to oppose the legislation, with the industry putting profits over public safety."
I mean, you're not exposing some conspiracy. Several Republicans with key committee seats took a ton of money and are now opposing the bill. Voters know who they are and are free to vote them out of office, but they probably won't.
Corruption isn't exactly required. Congress essentially isn't passing any legislation of any sort.
> Maybe someone else can provide more context?
How many people were killed or injured? Are we making an assumption about the severity of this disaster?
[dupe] / Related:
Residents' lives still in limbo a year after East Palestine toxic derailment
It can make sense. I come from a country(Romania) where fire regulations are insanely strict and complicated. If the fire department comes to inspect, they will 100% find issues and fine you. The result is that the most sane and basic requirements get drowned in a sea of useless regulations, so you end up with escape doors that are locked, missing alerting systems, flammable materials where there shouldn't be etc.
I need a more detailed explanation of what you're suggesting here: I get that having too many regulations can create a situation where an inspector will always find fault, that makes sense: but unless inspectors have a cap on the number of issues they're allowed to report, which doesn't seem sane under any circumstance, why would that then cause more obvious basic regulations to be unenforced? If anything I would expect the opposite.
Sounds like you might be interested, or already a fan.
The biggest problem unions have seems to be that they've never heard of the Jevons paradox. They try to "create jobs" at the expense of efficiency on the theory they'll get more work, causing everything they do to become prohibitively expensive and then it gets cut or offshored.
Over the past decade the Class 1's have been working towards doing 1 man crew's. But they're still 2 man at minimum. This bill achieves nothing. This is a "hey we did something about it! (please don't read what's in the bill and catch us bullshitting)."
What they should be doing is looking at the absurd increase in length of these trains to increase profits for the sake of safety, and the shortcutting of car maintenance. The latter which would've caught this issue to begin with.
To rephrase your point a bit more accurately. One of the parties is the party of no. The other is the party of "idk, what do you guys think?"
> One of the parties is the party of no.
Not at all. The republican party realized that if they want to push unpopular policy they cannot do it via democratic means.
So they made the very strategic decision (and strategically correct, since there have been no consequences for republicans worth mentioning), to gridlock the government and prove that it doesn't work, which directly gives them credibility. They have packed the courts with ideologues from the heritage foundation and then gridlocked the body that does oversight.
So in good years they build their power foundation, and in bad years they work on both weakening their opponents power and harming their credibility and exercising the power they built in their good years.
That is very very far from being a "party of no". The part of "no compromises" maybe.
They are winning. Choosing to defect in a game of prisoners dilemma is rational if you don't think your opponent will defect too or if the cost of their defection is too low.
"Speak softly, but carry a big stick" means in the game of prisoners dilemma, cooperate, but be able to punish defection.
Democrats don't punish defection. Democrats don't have a big stick. Democrats are just speaking softly.
If you want cooperation, you must have the ability to meaningfully defect.
Nah, it’s just an election year. The republicans have been stonewalling everything so they can claim the democrats aren’t getting anything done. They even killed the bipartisan border deal, which they have been asking for for awhile and which initially had Republican support but when their likely nominee told them to drop it, they did.
I’ve read through this twice and I can’t figure what you’re trying to both-sides here.
Lets say we're playing prisoners dilemma.
You know I will initially attempt to cooperate. You know that if you defect, I will still try to cooperate. What is your most rational strategy?
Your most rational strategy is very obviously to defect. My strategy of cooperation, and your knowledge of my strategy made defecting the rational choice for you.
So who is to blame? You for rationally choosing your own self interest? Or me for failing to come up with a strategy that leads to better outcomes?
Republicans packed the courts while Democrats were complaining about republican obstructionism under Obama. You can blame republicans all you want, but democrats need to take responsibility.
So what I am saying is both sides are responsible.
> Who do you think built them? We have the world’s largest rail network for a reason.
I don't know if shear size is a great way to evaluate what method of rail ownership is superior. The US is literally the third largest country on earth so it makes sense that we have a lot of "largests" when it comes to infrastructure networks.
What probably would make more sense would be a rail density metric instead. Something like km of rail per sq km of land would work (but has it's own flaws). But that metric then shows a number of other countries that clearly beat the US despite having nationalised or hybrid rail networks.
A good example would be Japan which has roughly triple as much rail relative to the size of their country and I doubt many people would argue that Japan's rail network is less effective than the US rail network.
In the US, rail is used for freight, while in Japan it’s used for passengers. Both are successful in their own ways but Japan’s rail network is much more visible.
Who do you think built them?
Exploitation and cheating sure, but the railroads are recent.
Wasn't much of the US rail network funded by a public-private partnership? Why should the rails be privately owned? Didn't the government provide a lot of the land, too?
The checkerboard pattern you see in Oregon's forests from a satellite are because the government gave away a crapload of land to fund railroad development
And yet the Chinese rail network is infinitely more productive, smaller in size, transports millions of people around a comparably sized country, in addition to the inputs and outputs of its massive industrial base, and is largely a state construction. It would seem that extent of rail is not the measure of value here, nor is that correlated with private ownership, but instead we should assess the overall productive capacity of the infrastructure.
US freight rail moves roughly 40% of the cargo in the country, China's moves about 15% (and is in long stagnation/decline in terms of how much it moves). Roughly 80% of what moves within China does so by an endless sea of trucks.
That's a pretty huge difference in terms of modal share.
And even with the sprawling size of the US network (and differences in things like labor costs), US freight rail is still more efficient at moving cargo in terms of costs.
You’re comparing a passenger rail system to a freight rail system. Totally different beasts.
Infinitely more productive? That's a claim. China's rail has $900B in loans, and profits haven't covered servicing that debt for nearly a decade.
Chinese rail network is a money sink
> or DAO
Oh, an entity like the original DAO that led to Ethereum selling out?
"The Contract is the Law" until its not.
he probably means the federal government lol
Efficient if you look at the big three JRs (Central, East, West).
JR Shikoku, JR Hokkaido, and JR Freight are basket cases.
So we're talking about transportation, and I guess I have to ask exactly what transportation infrastructure you then mean? Because the only serious, broad, federally-managed transportation infrastructure I can think of are like, military airbases. Which tend to be pretty good!
That's assuming, of course, you mean the US government--which does not own things like highways, for those unclear; it does have a controlling stake in Amtrak, but aside from the NEC (which is great IMO) Amtrak does not own the railways that actually serve as rail infrastructure. Because, of course, country governments elsewhere regularly own or have majority stakes in both railroads and railways, to pretty good success.
Or, on the other other hand, maybe you mean non-transporation infrastructure? 'Cause frankly, the US Postal Service was pretty great 'til "the government doesn't work and we're going to prove it by ripping out big chunks of it" politicians got their hands on it.
Also, the argument for "companies are more efficient than government" is that the free market will sink corrupt/inefficient organizations.
I don't see how it applies to infrastructure management. I understand how it can apply to energy producers (overall disagree on that, i work for a big energy producer who have multiple plant of a lot of different types, and in the end the electricity market the EU copied from the US made us less efficient, i have math to prove it), to service providers, or even to train companies and railroad building companies. And i think that for non-critical infra construction it's even good.
But managing infrastructure is hard, and put a company at the right place (between consummer and producers) to both put a toll on a service, and to be increasingly susceptible to corruption.
> That's assuming, of course, you mean the US government--which does not own things like highways
I was responding to a comment which said "states or the fed," so of course I was referring to those both. The states own the highways.
> Because the only serious, broad, federally-managed transportation infrastructure I can think of are like, military airbases. Which tend to be pretty good!
I hope you're not putting forth the Department of Defense as a positive exemplar of government efficiency.
The federal government funds 90% of the interstate highway system. The job it does at this is kind of medium and has all of the usual problems that happen when you're spending somebody else's money, e.g. the roads are always under construction because the construction companies get paid if they're "working" (even if that means standing around) so finishing projects quickly is disfavored because they want the work to expand to fill the available budget rather than the other way around.
The general problem with government projects in the US is that they put too much emphasis on false economies of scale and try to allocate contracts that are too large. For example, instead of contracting with one company for rolling stock and it maintenance, they should buy rolling stock as-needed from anyone who makes it broadly matching a required spec (e.g. the correct width of the track) and then contract with separate companies for maintenance.
The most important thing, which they fail at utterly, is to make contracts small and simple and make it easy for companies that don't specialize in government contracting to bid on them. Because otherwise they only get companies that do specialize in government contracting, even when the contract is for some fungible commodity, and end up paying unreasonable rates for everything.
> the US Postal Service was pretty great 'til "the government doesn't work and we're going to prove it by ripping out big chunks of it" politicians got their hands on it.
The US Postal Service had a monopoly on first class mail at a time when lots of things were delivered via first class mail. It wasn't particularly cost efficient but it delivered the mail and it couldn't be outcompeted by someone else because competing with it was prohibited by law.
Then first class mail got replaced by email while online purchasing increased enough to give UPS and FedEx enough economies of scale to outcompete USPS for package delivery even with the USPS having existing trucks delivering the mail. Then it actually had to compete on efficiency, which it failed to do and ran into problems. Then people started trying to reform it.
Which never really worked because a government agency is constrained by political forces, e.g. public sector unions that capture legislators ("management") who are supposed to represent the general public against the unions representing the public's employees. If you then put it into competition with private companies, it will generally operate less efficiently and go bankrupt. Which is fine as long as the private companies continue to operate in a competitive market themselves, until someone decrees that we need to save the publicly operated business that failed in the market.
Which government? State-owned trains in Europe and Japan are amazing. The US could do fine too if it cared to actually fund infrastructure rather than letting it whither on the vine.
The problem isn't the amount of funding, the problem is competence administering the funding. California's HSR has tens of billions invested and no track laid. I'd love to import European or Japanese rail administrators so that the investment could result in trains actually running, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.
I'd love if our railroads ran on time anywhere near as often as the postal service does. Or even as often as the city bus does.
Doesn't seem odd to me - if all someone (an elected person) does is get in front of the camera and make speeches about something a corporation is doing wrong - but never writes/sponsors a bill (and more importantly gets the votes to get it written into law) to fix those bad things - then they are doing exactly zero to make things better - they deserve all the criticism they get.
Because they can't actually do anything. They don't charge people with negligence or levy fines. The opinion of a congressman on this issue is only slightly more valuable than mine. The regulations they're proposing won't be punitive in any way and won't dare actually disrupt the flow of profits.
And that's fine, that's the point of congress. Now if the DoJ had words to this effect then it might come to something.
counterpoint: the amount of money that congresspeople and potential congress people are paid by corps and interest groups to get elected (i.e. "a lot") suggest that, in fact, their opinions _are_ much more valuable then a non-congresspersons.
The attitude probably reflects decades of effective messaging by big corporations to paint gov as inefficient and corporations as the only solution to problems.
I think the Panama papers did that for me. FTX also contributed. And there is plenty more. It’s not like we don’t have enough evidence.
I would strongly suggest following the work of one of the last bastions of real independent journalism the ICIJ:
They are a gift to society and deserve our deepest support.
Members of Congress
Thanks. I’m not sure if the links are working properly. They are working for me but two of them as very slow loads on my mobile.
Disagree. Lobby not party is the driving power here.
You should really dig in to understand who’s sponsoring and what the hard issues are vs the soft issues.
The bill has moved away from automation improvements and the original bearing failures from the out-of-service hot box monitor that caused the accident in the first place (which would have prevented the accident, there were three engineers on the train and plenty of staff to handle — they just didn’t know there was a problem until too late) and towards staffing improvements and handouts to the railroads vs handouts to railroad unions which is why it’s languishing.
It’s very clear that two lobbies are at work here, as the stalemates on the bill have little to do with safety and everything to do with huge costs vs labor wants split right down party lines and exactly aligning to their respective donor interests. When you see the donors interests operate like a zipper on a jacket to split bills, it’s wise to recognize the influence of lobby and not pay too much creed to the color of the jacket, because the jacket pockets full of money are the point.
And then add in the historical contexts of the railroad safety program hills of the pst and you can clearly see the outline of the conflict that’s presented is not what it’s about.
The biggest biggest divide now is not between the Republicans and the Democrats: it's between the insane and the insufferable. Lubricating pockets makes further rail disasters an almost certainty, and those that hide in partisan politics (which is everyone involved in both parties on this one) are to blame.
That’s super valid as an argument.
There are 2 things that happen: you bribe the firefighters(rarer), OR you just continue functioning without their signoff(more common).
Because most businesses were not compliant all of the sudden, the government couldn't just shut down everything, so they allow businesses and buildings to function without authorization, simply by filling in an affidavit saying you acknowledge firefighters didn't approve and you continue at your own risk. Even the capitol building, where the MPs "work" everyday, is without proper authorization! When you go to a nightclub, you don't know if they have an actual permit from the firefighters, or a mere affidavit...and you end up with disasters like https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colectiv_nightclub_fire
This whole situation made everyone very complacent with fire safety, to the point it's worse than if people and businesses would have been left alone.
Holy fuck. That’s absolutely insane.
I can’t speak for Romania, but if the outcome of any mistake is that you get shutdown, there’s an implicit cap on how much you can get punished.
Oh for sure but that's a very different discussion than just "largest rail network" as a qualifier for success.
If we want to talk freight utilisation, Japanese freight rail usage is low because of the country's geography/generally easy access to water/maritime shipping (since shipping by water is always more cost/energy effective per tonne relative to rail).
So a comparable example in that case would be China who has similar geography, a similar sized country, and a rail network roughly 70% the size of the US rail network (#2 largest network). However China moves nearly 3x more raw mass per year relative to the US and 50% more tonne kilometers per year relative to the US.
Point being that US freight rail is massive because it geographically and economically makes sense for it to be so. Similar networks exist in other countries that take nationalised or hybrid rail approaches yet those countries consistently outperform US rail in basically every metric but shear size.
> shipping by water is always more cost/energy effective per tonne relative to rail
Is that true? I always thought it was the other way around. Rail has relatively low rolling resistance so I thought it would take a lot less energy to move the same weight by rail compared to water.
Yeah I think China is a more fit comparison and highlights what the issue is in the US - very little central planning authority. People discuss the American “government” like it’s a monolith when it’s fiefdoms at all levels; it’s not surprising we can’t build anything anymore.
The slaves were also recent.
>Southern railroad companies began buying slaves as early as the 1840s and used enslaved labor almost exclusively to construction their lines. Thousands of African Americans worked on the southern railroads in the 1850s
There is a temporal overlap between "slave america" and "railroad america".
Slavery didn’t account for the majority of railroads built
> That's a pretty huge difference in terms of modal share.
Now do comparison of transporting people and that’s impact on the economy
Lets quickly check Wikipedia
Total length: 155,000 km (100,000 km electrified)
Total passenger/km: (1,470.66 billion passenger-kilometres, 2019)
Total freight: 3,018 billion cargo tonne-kilometres (2019)
Total length: 257,722 km (160,141 mi) (I can't find figures on electrified length, seems at most 2000km?)
Total passenger/km: (10.3 billion, 2014)
Total freight: 1.71 trillion short ton-mile, approx 963 billion tonne-kilometres (I used wolfram alpha for that conversion)
So if my calculations are correct - which they may not be - on fewer rails China transports an order of magnitude more passenger and freight traffic.
Your conversion is wrong. 1 mile is about 1.6 kilometers; 1 short ton is about 0.9 tonnes. One short ton-mile will be about 1.5 tonne-kilometers.
94% of China's population lives in the 43% of the country closest to the ocean.
Rail networks aren't capacity-limited by the number of miles of track and China has three times the population.
But the premise is meaningless. It's easy for a government to affect the usage of something by subsidizing it or constraining alternatives to it, which has little to do with whether it would be more efficient or well-managed as a public agency.
…as the parent did when they asserted that the US has the largest rail network, which encompasses both, so no, not really “totally different beasts.”
The government has invested grotesque amounts of money to support the most inefficient, isolating, unhealthy, environmentally damaging mode of transit known to the public (cars). Transit would be vastly cheaper, cleaner and faster if private industry were to have been in charge.
They did bring in a French HSR operator that built rail in Asia, but they bailed for projects in a less politically dysfunctional landscape… North Africa . It’s our pork barrel political machinery that’s fucked up.
They'd run into the exact same problems getting rights of way. There may be incompetence in administration, but it's not the only problem.
Brightline is a privately company building a bullet train from LA to Las Vegas opening in 2027. The same company recently completed a new bullet train from Miami to Orlando.
it is...the entirety of fire marshal and firefights laws being replaced by just 4-5 rules would save countless lives:
- build secondary escape doors and don't lock/block them
- have smoke detectors in every room
- have fire extinguishers in every building, and for large buildings for every 200sqm or so, and every floor.
For large commercial spaces, add sprinklers.
These are bare minimum things, but it would be better than what it's like today. And from there, they could slowly add more rules where it makes sense, and shutdown whoever is not implementing these.
Try this experiment: Attempt to push a boat while swimming in the water, then try to push the same boat while it is on a trailer on land.
Which one is easier to move?
Yeah, I can see that.
At the same time, swimming speed isn’t very useful for anybody. What are the relative energy requirements to move ten thousand pounds at 30 mph in the water vs on rails?
The problem is not the lack of centralized authority, it's the vetocracy, gridlock, and political resistance to anything that's not car-based pattern of development.
Notice that we managed to build an interstate system and lot of other infrastructure.
We only managed to build an interstate system via a massive, centralised effort by the federal government to plan out and fund construction of the interstate highway system.
The yellow book (designed by the federal govt) maps extremely closely to what became the final interstate system.
The states did the actual building and own the actual land but the federal govt told them where to build, gave them the money, and otherwise forced their hand into the construction.
I'm not necessarily saying federal control over all infrastructure is a good thing but it really was in large part due to the federal government that the interstate system actually happened.
I was referring to the problems you describe by that. All that infrastructure got built with PWA era pork barrel politics and many of the projects were highly illogical. The books The Power Broker and Cadillac Desert dissect these issues, the latter focusing on our hydrology infra which is as at least as, if not way more stupid than our roads.
You’re right though that it’s not exactly about it being centralized.
I know. But your comment seemed to imply that railroads are much more recent than slavery when there is in fact significant overlap.
This type of subtle historical revisionism is used to distance ourselves from the horrors of slavery. I don't think it was a conscious effort on your part, though. Don't take this as an attack, please. It's just a gentle reminder that slavery isn't actually all that ancient of a practice.
What percent of people in the US live in the 43% of the country closest to the ocean?
> The same company recently completed a new bullet train from Miami to Orlando.
Brightline is an accomplishment, but this significantly oversells it: the Orlando-Miami route tops out at 125mph, which is barely HSR by any normal standard. A good chunk of the route is on pre-existing lines that top out at 79mph. For comparison, trains on the LGV Nord (31 years old) operate at 190mph.
I hope they continue to invest in HSR, but I don't think we should settle for marketing here.
An interesting feature of the Brightline West project is that it does not go deep into populated urban areas to save money.
The terminus in Las Vegas is south of the airport and the Strip. The terminus in “LA” is in Rancho Cucamonga, 37 miles east of LA and in a whole different county.
CAHSR was partially sold as a downtown revitalization project, and so has expensive full speed approaches into Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, etc.
River barges are more efficient than trains, see the two sources below as well as the sibling comment.
> Per one gallon of fuel:
> A truck can carry one ton of cargo just 59 miles.
> By rail, one ton of cargo can travel 202 miles.
> An inland barge can carry one ton of cargo 514 miles.
> The study shows that barges can move a ton of cargo 647 miles with a single gallon of fuel, an increase from an earlier estimate of 616 miles. In contrast, trains can move the same ton of cargo 477 miles per gallon, and trucks can move the same ton of cargo 145 miles per gallon.
> | transport mode | Fuel consumption |
> | ---------------------- | BTU per short ton-mile | kJ per tonne-kilometre |
> | Domestic waterborne | 217 | 160 |
> | Class 1 railroads | 289 | 209 |
> | Heavy trucks | 3,357 | 2,426 |
> | Air freight (approx.) | 9,600 | 6,900 |
In other words waterborne freight is generally around 25% cheaper energy wise and far easier/cheaper to scale capacity relative to rail.
It's also worth looking at some of the other numbers on that page. German numbers work out ocean freight to be over 3x cheaper energywise per tkm relative to rail.
15 mph is more typical for a cargo ship than 30.