Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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Seeing the usual bitching in the letters section of the local papers about Smart seriously has me annoyed as hell. To use cynical and backwards terms like "train to nowhere" (which is retarded on the face of it) is an insult to the many thousands of people who live along the 101 corridor that's going to be effected by it, either directly or indirectly. In reflection of former days when they had to install track in virgin wilderness in which case you can call it a train to nowhere, literally, the idea was to open up areas for exploitation and development.

As anyone who has wasted too much of his/her life on the highway parking lot called 101, alternative methods of transportation utilizing wasted areas of abandoned rail makes a hell of a lot of sense, despite the scary initial capital requirements to bring the line up to snuff, which seems like a tiny drop in the ocean of high finance Ponzi schemes that allow for our communities and institutions to be ripped of by jet-setting pin stripped gangsters. Meanwhile, small minded cretins bitch over a few pennies.

It may seem cynical, but where are the folks who were proud that we put a man on the moon and did things that didn't involve your pocketbook? The philisophical legacy of the ME! ME! ME! generation is disgusting. <\soapbox mode off>

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Comment by Jordan on August 28, 2012 at 12:34am

The 101 corridor needs passenger rail, just not the way smart is planning on doing it. Replacing all of the politicians on the smart board with people who have railroad backgrounds like Capitol Corridor would be a good start. And instead of two bureaucratic organizations involved in over seeing the line (smart and NCRA), why not just one? It would make things a hell of a lot simpler.

Some of us who don't like smart support the idea of passenger rail on the line, but it should be done right. A problem I see all too often in railfans is the whole "Train = GOOD all the time, no matter what" way of thinking. To be a true fan of something, one should not blindly support it regardless, but be able to recognize its flaws and shortcomings, and speak out on them, otherwise you're just contributing to the problem. Same goes for transit advocates.

Aaaaand I've just been called to work. Gotta love the Extra Board...

Comment by jbriogrande on August 27, 2012 at 11:13pm

The REAL question is:  What ever happened to common sense..?????...Waaaaaaaay too much Rhetoric, and why don't we take two steps forward, then one backward.....instead of the other way around.  Now.....Andrew has some sense, as do most of the respondents.  The only way to move forward is obviously FORWARD !!!  Let's see more good for all, and less good for me from our communities.

Comment by Andrew F. Laverdiere on August 27, 2012 at 3:09pm

Are you an accountant Dave? The surest way to destroy a nation and a company is to let accountants run it. Your homework Dave, if you accept, is to calculate the cost of road and highway transportation, especially in lost manhours when you're stuck on the parking lot (ahem, highway), and the expense and hassle of the life lost at the DMV and the gouging rates needed to maintain our extravagant and wasteful car/truck fetish. After all, Lets factor in all forms of transportation just to be fair.

In the larger scope of things, assuming that the population of the bay area is going to grow, you can do one of two things. Ignore the problem, stick your head in the sand, and bitch as your outdated infrastructure collapses from under-investment and your society grinds to a halt. Your other option is to build for the future, much as we USED to do with the water infrastructure that created California as a modern economy. 

The Libertarian disease financed by the leading criminal financial circles that have been caught being the biggest drug money launderers and terrorist funders (search the LIBOR scandal and the criminality of HSBC) has brainwashed a people who used to be proud of the builders and makers and who looked down at the parasites who got by financial schemes. Nowadays, we worship them as gods, and mouth their small minded money grubbing slogans.

Comment by Lawrence LaBranche on August 27, 2012 at 1:54pm

Dave, please, SMART opponents are above and beyond just simple skeptics. Because of a rumor, they started several petitions.

There is not a single mode of transport that does not require government help.

Looking at doing a cross county trip, Amtrak is cheaper than flying, and less hassle. Did you forget the hours spent going through security? How about the cost per bag of airlines now?

Comment by Dave S. on August 27, 2012 at 12:51pm

Gee Andrew, dial it down a notch.

As much as I love trains, especially the NWP, one must be skeptical of grandiose government projects. Will SMART get the ridership it needs to survive without government life-support and tax increases? Time will tell, but my bet is “no”.

As a California voter, I voted against the California High Speed Rail project, because I believed that the project would not attract private investment even with a $10B public down-payment. Nor did I believe that the project price tag of $46B would stick. Both of these fears have been realized already. The project will easily exceed $100B if not $500B if it is ever completed. In exchange we will get a system that falls way short of promises, and will employ hundreds of overpaid public employees with gold-plated benefits. Trains will run near empty because it will still be cheaper to fly. These colossal, wasteful government projects, swinging around the neck of taxpayers like an albatross reward the few at the expense of the many. Talk about a Ponzi scheme!

The point is, public cynicism is justified. Government at all levels has overspent and under delivered. Congress and our state legislature suffer the worst approval ratings ever, in the teens, yet both keep spending beyond our means. They spend not for noble or idealistic reasons, they spend to receive the support from the special interests that get them reelected. This is corruption at its core, because they are not spending THEIR money..

I’m also a big advocate of space, and our success in getting to the moon is truly remarkable. But few people realize the actual cost, in today’s dollars, which is about $110B. Was it really worth it for six landings? Despite this estimate, if we were to repeat the project today it would cost many multiples of this.

Other transportation boondoggles:
The Bay Bridge. “Oh, it will be cheaper to build a whole new span than retrofit the old one.” Cost is more than 2x estimate, and climbing amid questionable workmanship and record keeping.

San Francisco Central Subway project. Excepting from Wikipedia: “Due to the capital cost ($1.578 billion for the 1.7 mile light rail line), the Central Subway project has come under criticism from transit activists for what they consider to be poor cost-effectiveness. In particular, they note that Muni's own estimates show that the project would increase Muni ridership by less than 1% and yet by 2030 be adding $15.2 million a year to Muni's annual operating deficit

Politicians and public employee unions need to give the few of us who are still paying taxes a break. I love the fact that the NWP has been brought back to life, but I’m not convinced yet that it is a good investment of public sums.

Comment by Chad Gustafson on August 25, 2012 at 9:37pm
Amen.

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