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Valley Boy

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  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    I'm beginning to get the idea that Europeans must figure that their transit market, including rail car manufacturing, is nearing a saturation level and that making American investments would be key to their future growth.

    On Oct 01 04:55 PM Trane250 wrote:

    > I heard that Ansaldo was dickering to buy a factory in Schenectady,
    > NY from SuperSteel, which assembles rail & transit cars for Kinki-Sharyo
    > of Japan for the NYC transit system.
    > Ansaldo just discarded the well-respected name of Union Switch &
    > Signal of Pittsburgh in favor of their own. Union Switch is a world
    > leader in the design and manufacture of train & transit control
    > and operating systems.
    Oct 1, 2009. 05:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    I agree with you. Most of the surface-level light-rail systems are not doing well for ridership here in California. But one outstanding successful system is the Bay Area Rapid Transit. That system has no street or road crossings and is otherwise disconnected to the street network by either subway, viaducts or street dead-ends at the BART right-of-way. That is of prime importance in enabling the speed of the rail cars. People are interested in speedy transit at a reasonable price.

    On Oct 01 04:12 PM candooman wrote:

    > The statewide rail is a boondogle in the sense that few people will
    > use them. We would have better return on our money if the funds were
    > used to expand our light rails within the cities. More people will
    > use them if they can get to where they want to go with in walking
    > distances of stations. Expanding them will accomplish this. New York,
    > Boston and Chicago rails are well used because of this but a better
    > example is the system in Toronto. A combination of subway, light
    > rail and electric buses.
    > One thing I do not understand is why we do not use elevated light
    > rail in cities when it is so much cheaper and safer than surface
    > light rail. They work well in Las Vegas and Chicago.
    Oct 1, 2009. 04:31 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    Yes, Trane250, it sure seems like European train-lovers are in on American transit deals. An article in today's titled
    "L.A. Mayor praises light-rail car plant" lends support to that idea. The article mentions "a planned construction of a light-rail car manufacturing plant along the Los Angeles River" to be built by "Italian rail-car maker AnsaldoBreda."
    Oct 1, 2009. 04:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    I think your ideas on personal transit have more merit than the light-rail systems we have here in California. Most of those systems are not attracting the level of traffic the planners envisioned; buses are easier and cheaper to use. And I'm sure the planned statewide rail system will be a boondoggle. I would think that elevated monorails and personal transit systems would work in some downtowns depending on how many stops they provide at places that people are interested in: bus terminals, museums, civic buildings, convention centers, airports, train stations, system transfer points, plazas, financial districts, etc. Maybe someday the transit officials can retire the failing light-rail systems in favor of more practical systems.

    On Oct 01 01:53 PM jerrydd wrote:

    > You all can pan my ideas but next yr your gas will be $4-5/gal and
    > I'll still be paying $.02/mile ;^D And you will be back in recession
    > from the high price of oil, how much will you lose then?
    Oct 1, 2009. 02:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    For a very recent update, see for the article titled "Transportation Secretary LaHood Visits Portland."
    That is dated July 2 of this year. The article mentions "the first modern streetcar built in USA in 60 years" by "local union workers at Oregon Iron Works in Clackamas County." The new streetcars are servicing a new route in downtown Portland, an area with tightly congested streets.

    On Oct 01 11:06 AM Trane250 wrote:

    > Ryan Avent wrote: "But we could build trains!"
    > Ryan, can you give me the name of one American company that designs
    > and builds its own passenger cars or subway cars or integrated train
    > sets? I'll clue you in, there are none. The last one, the Budd Company
    > of Philadelphia, shut down around 1985.
    Oct 1, 2009. 12:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rail Transport: Why Can't We Learn from Europeans? [View article]
    Instead of congestion pricing for vehicles traveling in inner cities and downtowns, why not improve the existing transit facilities according to what the residents are actually willing to pay for and use. We already have congestion pricing with:
    expensive parking fees and fines
    limited space in parking garages
    limited street parking.
    Oct 1, 2009. 12:00 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Arthur Laffer Setting Up Another Debt Bomb? [View article]
    It was unfortunate that President Hoover did not have an advisor similar to Arthur Laffer. An advisor like him could have said that it was temporarily unwise to raise taxes during a steep economic decline in order to balance the federal budget. As it happened, the Democratic Congress worked with and/or pressured President Hoover in legislating the tax increases included in the Revenue Act of 1932 in June of that year. The tax increases made the economics of the Great Depression worse for at least another year by routing dollars to the government and away from the people.
    The stock market bottomed in July of 1932. That may have been either coincidental to the balancing of the federal budget or attributable to the budget balancing. Perhaps an historian could weigh in on that topic.
    Sep 28, 2009. 09:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Obama's Multifarious Plans Threaten the Economy [View article]
    If the recovery actually recovers, given all it has been through recently, it would happen because of the Federal Reserve's zero interest rate policy, China's commodity buying, foreign demand for some of our exports and the gradual unwinding of debt burdens. It would not happen because of the president's multifarious plans including the stimulus package.
    Sep 15, 2009. 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Faux Economics: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [View article]
    There are a huge number of road repair and improvement projects which need doing here in California. The backlog of work has been passed over in the last few decades in order to satisfy other legislative priorities and for paying ever increasing debt loads. Most of the work still needs to be done in order for the safe and practical movement of people, goods and services to be continued in the future. Some of the past projects should not have been undertaken since they obviously fell short in hindsight for any realistic cost-benefit analysis---overtime payments, trophy projects, demonstration projects, political goodies, etc.
    Sep 8, 2009. 03:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weakest Employment Market Since the Great Depression [View article]
    To elaborate on my reply about Harding's "bitter pill to swallow":
    His success in cutting short the depression of his era caused people to think that "to do nothing" would be the appropriate solution to hardship. But there was more to it than that. For an in-depth look at his administrative and legislative initiatives, in contrast to those of Hoover and Roosevelt, there are a couple of good books, both by Robert K. Murray:
    The Politics of Normalcy
    The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration
    Sep 5, 2009. 09:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Weakest Employment Market Since the Great Depression [View article]
    President Harding provided a natural approach to recovering from an economic depression. His ideas stand in contrast to the remedies touted today. In addition to allowing the free markets to provide the needed adjustments, stimulus and relief, he carried on with the following agendas:
    reduce the national debt
    trim the federal budget
    stay out of unnecessary wars
    discourage immigration
    encourage more public works spending at the local level
    pass a fair and modest tariff on imports
    work on arms control with rival nations
    privatize some public functions
    demilitarize some military functions
    Both the Federal Reserve and the opposition party worked with him to cut short the Post World War One Depression.
    Sep 4, 2009. 04:05 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Invest in Oil Over Alternative Energy [View article]
    The county governments at the Mt. Diablo area windmill farms can tell you about the kill rates for raptors. The raptors hover over their home range in the rock outcrops while scouting for prey in the grasslands below. That is where the windmills are placed. The ecological upshot: the less raptors, the more rodents---bad for farmers.
    The wind turbines should be moved somewhere else.
    Sep 3, 2009. 02:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wood Energy: The New Renewable? [View article]
    Development of wood energy for electrical generation and biofuels for transportation sounds like appropriate solutions for the economically depressed forested regions out West. We have surpluses of fire-prone undergrowth and thick forests which need thinning. Some forested areas are degraded with bug infestations. We are reminded about these situations every fire season.
    Sep 3, 2009. 12:11 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Economic Growth Rate Now Likely Near 3.7% Annually [View article]
    The bounce in a W-shaped recession or a VW-shaped recession could be substantial but short-lived. For instance, In the W-shaped recession of 1980-1982, there was 7.1% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 1980 and 5.9% GDP growth in the first quarter of 1981.
    It is prudent to play the current bounce for what it is worth in anticipation of the next down cycle. The next downturn will be sure to happen since there is too much bad news which this author tends to disregard.
    Sep 2, 2009. 11:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are We Headed for a Green World or Business-as-Usual? [View article]
    Geothermal, wave energy and river hydropower could be classified as terrestrial energy since they work with existing water supplies from the earth. Investing in those would be cheaper than building additional nuclear power plants---at least until the authorities are able to build miniaturized thorium plants. I would like to see the energy authorities tap into the numerous earthquake faults here in California for friction energy.
    Sep 2, 2009. 10:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment