Monday, April 25, 2011

Planes Bad, Trains Good.

TOH- The No Agenda Show.

Woo, Woo- Don't forget May 7th. is NATIONAL TRAIN DAY!
If you are in the New York area on that day you can join Gladys Knight at the Beacon Theatre to help America celebrate National Train Day and AMTRAK's 40th aniversity for only $65-$200.
They have teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to present the Rock'n the Rail Way concert. However your ticket price is not tax deductible (What's up with that?)

I have commented before that there is a full court press in this country for overly expensive, unwanted high-speed rail. Often cited when trying to sell this turd are the Chinese and Japanese high speed "successes". Well, not so fast.

BEIJING — China’s expanding network of ultramodern high-speed trains has come under growing scrutiny here over costs and because of concerns that builders ignored safety standards in the quest to build faster trains in record time.

Last week, the new leadership at the Railways Ministry announced that to enhance safety, the top speed of all trains was being decreased from about 218 mph to 186. Without elaborating, the ministry called the safety situation “severe” and said it was launching safety checks along the entire network of tracks.
The Finance Ministry said last week that the Railways Ministry continued to lose money in the first quarter of this year. The ministry’s debt stands at $276 billion, almost all borrowed from Chinese banks.

“They’ve taken on a massive amount of debt to build it,” said Patrick Chovanec, who teaches at Tsinghua University. He said China accelerated construction of the high-speed rail network — including 295 sleek glass-and-marble train stations — as part of the country’s stimulus spending in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University and a longtime critic of high-speed rail, said he worries that the cost of the project might have created a hidden debt bomb that threatens China’s banking system.

“In China, we will have a debt crisis — a high-speed rail debt crisis,” he said. “I think it is more serious than your subprime mortgage crisis. You can always leave a house or use it. The rail system is there. It’s a burden. You must operate the rail system, and when you operate it, the cost is very high.”

It turns out that the ticket sales are not high enough to even service the debt. In other words pay the interest on the money borrowed to build these wonderful new trains. And this is what Obama is trying to convince us we need.

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