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The US Congress

ElkiElki get busyModerator, ClubPA mod
edited March 25 in Debate and/or Discourse
Here is your thread to talk about US Congress. If you use it to talk about it anything else you will be kicked, possibly banned.
  • You can talk about what Democratic and Republican legislators are doing, but this is not a thread to discuss the thread itself and other people posting in it.
  • This is also not your thread to drop rants about your general feelings about the parties, the media, American society in general, how you were personally wrong in 2016, and the differences between leftists and liberals.
  • You can feel however you want about what's happening in Congress, but you need to maintain a baseline level of respect to other people posting, otherwise don't interact with them.
  • If you feel that a topic has ran its course, feel free to make your feelings known in a report. Trying to stop talk about some in topic by complaining in the thread will get you, at the very least, kicked.
  • Don't be a dick.
  • Don't expect to rules-lawyer your way into riding the edge of the rules throughout the thread, if you're consistently being a prick you'll be ejected.

All the rules posted by SIG previously still apply

I'm gonna look at the last thread, and anyone who was kicked in the previous thread will be kicked from this one.

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Posts

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @No-Quarter from the thread

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  • GethGeth Legion Perseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    Affirmative Elki. @No-Quarter banned from this thread.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @Kamar from the thread

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    Affirmative Elki. @Kamar banned from this thread.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @jungleroomx from the thread

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    Affirmative Elki. @jungleroomx banned from this thread.

    Tumin
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @Lanz from the thread

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    Affirmative Elki. @Lanz banned from this thread.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @DarkPrimus from the thread

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  • GethGeth Legion Perseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    Affirmative Elki. @DarkPrimus banned from this thread.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Geth, kick user @PantsB from the thread

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    Affirmative Elki. @PantsB banned from this thread.

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    HR 1799 looks like it should pass the Senate later today, extending PPP through the end of June. It would otherwise expire March 31.

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  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    Anyone know what the rough timeline is for S.1 (voting rights bill)? Tried googling but I was too lazy to dig into the details.

    Also, has Schumer or Biden given any indication what their main objectives are after the covid relief bill?

    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    Biden wants to do a tax reform that raises taxes on the corporations and wealthy individuals. Told my congress critters I support this and that they should probably write the bill to have a cap on how much in the way money the wealthy can weasel out of through deductions, loopholes and refunds. Granted, all three have taxes as a subject, so I fully expect to get a form letter. I think they plan on coupling this with infrastructure spending.

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  • MonwynMonwyn Registered User regular
    Lanz wrote: »


    Executive editor of The Prospect, David Dayen, on Manchin saying a new Voting Rights bill needs GOP support
    welp.

    Joe Manchin continues being an utterly useless fuck that we should probably push into just becoming a republican

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  • MorganVMorganV Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    Not sure if this comports with the OP's first bullet point or not (as it's a singular Senator, not the Senate as a whole), but I'm glad at least one Senator is looking into it.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/03/16/senator-calls-for-doj-merrick-garland-to-probe-fbi-fake-brett-kavanaugh-investigation/?sh=151f233efc2d
    "Senator Calls For DOJ To Probe FBI’s ‘Fake’ Brett Kavanaugh Investigation"

    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) keeps pushing himself towards the top of my favorite Senators list.

    Sure, it might "delegitimize" the court, but for the most part, that damage has been done since at least Gorsuch, and arguably since Thomas (and every conflict of interest his wife has put him in, that he hasn't recused himself from).

    MorganV on
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  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    MorganV wrote: »
    Not sure if this comports with the OP's first bullet point or not (as it's a singular Senator, not the Senate as a whole), but I'm glad at least one Senator is looking into it.

    It fits.

    smCQ5WE.jpg
    TicaldfjamzagdrobGiantGeek2020
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    Barret of course was dirty, but the whole process around Kavanaugh needs a deep introspective dig and transparency over all those reports that made Flake and Collins waver.

    There is a lot of information a new Judiciart Chair could request and release and damn well we have the right to know.

    And if the FBI did a deep dig and there really was nothing (not that I believe or expect) but if they did it does matter.

    BigJoeMMorganVShadowfireLord_AsmodeusFencingsaxMillMayabirdMan in the MistsJaysonFourElldrenemp123
  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    It definitely seems like it's basically an ACAB situation in the Senate, where the 'good' ones really do their best to ignore the bad actors

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  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    Last week Warren, Markey, Levin, and AOC released the BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act as a marker for where they want Biden's infrastructure bill to go. Ccan we please stop with the cutesy little acronyms.

    I've got some problems with it. The basis of the bill is $500 billion in grants (over 10 years) for electrifying the public transit system with grantees being states, localities, transit agencies, port authorities, Indian tribes, or combinations of it. I'm super skeptical of using grants to meet the climate crisis. They're good, don't get me wrong, but frankly we're at the point where if the federal government wants to go big then they need to actually contract out themselves and put the assets in the ground themselves rather than wait on states and localities to do it. You have a potential issue where really big energy states (*cough* Texas) won't take part in this kind of program because they don't particularly care about addressing the problem and are absolutely willing to turn down federal funds. There's also the issue where all the asset design and planning gets put on localities and other entities that don't necessarily have the capacity for that kind of work: all that will do is increase the cost of achieving the goal and increase the time it takes.

    Then there's the dumb stipulations put in that don't really make sense for this. No state can receive more than $40 billion, and grants will prioritize low per capita income areas? Those are mostly rural areas (density tends toward higher per capita incomes) and ignore the fact that most transit carbon emissions come from urban areas without quality public transit. Grants still require a local match with only up to 85% of the cost? I mean 85% is great, but that 15% can be super fucking expensive depending on the area and the need. Which brings me to a final issue -- $50 billion a year is fucking nothing. Austin just passed a massive bond for a light rail project that will cost $10 billion over the next decade, so 2% of the total grant amount. That's 50 similar-sized projects, and the project frankly isn't even big enough to really address all the congestion and climate damage traditional commuting causes.

    As I kind of brought up when the House released their plan for a national clean electricity standard, this is all fine, but in terms of a wish list it doesn't really seem like congress critters are thinking large enough and is kind of disappointing.

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  • something a million times dumbersomething a million times dumber JUDGE BROSEF Registered User regular
    seems like the kind of thing that would have been a good start twenty or thirty years ago

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  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    seems like the kind of thing that would have been a good start twenty or thirty years ago

    The pseudo private sector (aka without a whole lot of policy direction) has put over $200 billion into transmission infrastructure alone over the past two decades and we still need more: $500 billion won't cut it. Just disappointing to see this not only from the sponsors but also the advocacy groups supporting it. Really gives the sense that people really don't quite grasp the size of the issue.

    something a million times dumber
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Last week Warren, Markey, Levin, and AOC released the BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act as a marker for where they want Biden's infrastructure bill to go. Ccan we please stop with the cutesy little acronyms.

    I've got some problems with it. The basis of the bill is $500 billion in grants (over 10 years) for electrifying the public transit system with grantees being states, localities, transit agencies, port authorities, Indian tribes, or combinations of it. I'm super skeptical of using grants to meet the climate crisis. They're good, don't get me wrong, but frankly we're at the point where if the federal government wants to go big then they need to actually contract out themselves and put the assets in the ground themselves rather than wait on states and localities to do it. You have a potential issue where really big energy states (*cough* Texas) won't take part in this kind of program because they don't particularly care about addressing the problem and are absolutely willing to turn down federal funds. There's also the issue where all the asset design and planning gets put on localities and other entities that don't necessarily have the capacity for that kind of work: all that will do is increase the cost of achieving the goal and increase the time it takes.

    Then there's the dumb stipulations put in that don't really make sense for this. No state can receive more than $40 billion, and grants will prioritize low per capita income areas? Those are mostly rural areas (density tends toward higher per capita incomes) and ignore the fact that most transit carbon emissions come from urban areas without quality public transit. Grants still require a local match with only up to 85% of the cost? I mean 85% is great, but that 15% can be super fucking expensive depending on the area and the need. Which brings me to a final issue -- $50 billion a year is fucking nothing. Austin just passed a massive bond for a light rail project that will cost $10 billion over the next decade, so 2% of the total grant amount. That's 50 similar-sized projects, and the project frankly isn't even big enough to really address all the congestion and climate damage traditional commuting causes.

    As I kind of brought up when the House released their plan for a national clean electricity standard, this is all fine, but in terms of a wish list it doesn't really seem like congress critters are thinking large enough and is kind of disappointing.

    Creating new light rail would be a NEW STARTS project, not electrification. (Expanding would be CORE CAPACITY.) It also would inherently be electrified because of what light rail is. Funds dedicated solely to electrification of public transit would basically mean pantographs over commuter rail lines and electric bus/ paratransit fleets. Which, $500bn should go pretty far for. Caltrain is spending $1.9bn to electrify, order new EMUs, and install PTC along it's 77 mile line, for an idea.

    *Edit*
    Additional context. CTA bought 20 electric busses for piloting a transition. They cost ~$1.5m per bus. With a fleet of 1,880 busses that would mean a capital cost of $3bn to replace every bus. (There'd be $millions in new electric infrastructure since they'd need their own transformers at every depot ++ to handle that kind of load) for the third largest public transit system in the country. It's substantial money.

    moniker on
    Solomaxwell6
  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    Maybe in my mind it's the issue of "if you build it they won't necessarily come". They've got think bigger. But, re-reading it now, as a pure transit bill it the amount does make sense. I was thinking it was transit + power.

  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    Ironically realizing it is purely a transit bill brings up another criticism: this is capital, which has never been the real problem in transit funding, and not anything to address O&M

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Ironically realizing it is purely a transit bill brings up another criticism: this is capital, which has never been the real problem in transit funding, and not anything to address O&M

    Capital is the problem for electrification, though. The upfront costs for electric vehicles are much higher even if reduced maintenance and fuel ultimately makes it more affordable longer term. Especially with the added infrastructure costs to make the initial transition.

    And electrifying commuter rail? It's $billions in order to provide... the same service to the same people. There are major ancillary benefits, but that doesn't really help justify a bond issue when you could be using the money for deferred maintenance or grade separations instead, which have more direct impact on service levels and community annoyance.

    *Edit*
    I'm not even sure if you can get matching funds from FTA if all you're doing is electrifying a line rather than expanding it. You couldn't even get it for upgrading existing lines without any substantial improvements before Core Capacity (thanks Obama) allowed spending on that existing transit.

    moniker on
    Solomaxwell6
  • ProhassProhass Registered User regular
    Monwyn wrote: »
    Lanz wrote: »


    Executive editor of The Prospect, David Dayen, on Manchin saying a new Voting Rights bill needs GOP support
    welp.

    Joe Manchin continues being an utterly useless fuck that we should probably push into just becoming a republican

    Any law against murdering must have the support of murderers

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  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    Georgia passed and signed their new 'no votes for you' law, so Manchin's take on voting rights will probably not be appreciated by at least two of his co-workers.

    Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to get it!
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    zagdrob wrote: »
    Barret of course was dirty, but the whole process around Kavanaugh needs a deep introspective dig and transparency over all those reports that made Flake and Collins waver.

    There is a lot of information a new Judiciart Chair could request and release and damn well we have the right to know.

    And if the FBI did a deep dig and there really was nothing (not that I believe or expect) but if they did it does matter.

    Let's also not forget how Kavanaugh had a very sizable debt that was mysteriously paid off. As a citizen, I would very much like to know how, why and who paid that debt off because there is a pretty good indication that it was Kavanaugh who paid it off and that incredibly concerning because that could very well mean we have a sitting member of SCOTUS that has or still is trading votes to cover such a favor. Also I wouldn't be any less concerned about this, if Kavanaugh had been put there by democrats because I'm hostile to the idea of a sitting justice dealing in bribes; especially, when that justice is on the final court of the nation.
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Last week Warren, Markey, Levin, and AOC released the BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act as a marker for where they want Biden's infrastructure bill to go. Ccan we please stop with the cutesy little acronyms.

    I've got some problems with it. The basis of the bill is $500 billion in grants (over 10 years) for electrifying the public transit system with grantees being states, localities, transit agencies, port authorities, Indian tribes, or combinations of it. I'm super skeptical of using grants to meet the climate crisis. They're good, don't get me wrong, but frankly we're at the point where if the federal government wants to go big then they need to actually contract out themselves and put the assets in the ground themselves rather than wait on states and localities to do it. You have a potential issue where really big energy states (*cough* Texas) won't take part in this kind of program because they don't particularly care about addressing the problem and are absolutely willing to turn down federal funds. There's also the issue where all the asset design and planning gets put on localities and other entities that don't necessarily have the capacity for that kind of work: all that will do is increase the cost of achieving the goal and increase the time it takes.

    Then there's the dumb stipulations put in that don't really make sense for this. No state can receive more than $40 billion, and grants will prioritize low per capita income areas? Those are mostly rural areas (density tends toward higher per capita incomes) and ignore the fact that most transit carbon emissions come from urban areas without quality public transit. Grants still require a local match with only up to 85% of the cost? I mean 85% is great, but that 15% can be super fucking expensive depending on the area and the need. Which brings me to a final issue -- $50 billion a year is fucking nothing. Austin just passed a massive bond for a light rail project that will cost $10 billion over the next decade, so 2% of the total grant amount. That's 50 similar-sized projects, and the project frankly isn't even big enough to really address all the congestion and climate damage traditional commuting causes.

    As I kind of brought up when the House released their plan for a national clean electricity standard, this is all fine, but in terms of a wish list it doesn't really seem like congress critters are thinking large enough and is kind of disappointing.

    This might not be as bad as it seems on paper. I'd have to see where many of the plants are because I'm pretty sure most are in rural areas, even if their main customer base is urban and suburban areas. So that might make it a bit less worse if this results in many of those being made less fuck awful or replaced with something that used a cleaner source of energy. That said, this is still pretty dumb because a certain percent of those funds, at least 40% should be going towards things that are likely in urban and suburban areas. Like there should have been a huge carve out for mass transit in those areas because that would be a huge area that would address climate change, reduce pollution, improve the economy in areas that get it and help those in poverty or that are above poverty, but struggling to stay out of there.

    Like don't get me wrong, I would love to see more mass transit options everywhere, but I get that there are areas where outside of the rail line that gets you out to the middle of nowhere. There just isn't much sense in having a mass transit setup beyond that because the density is so low, that it's impractical. Even with the areas where that is practical, you just aren't going to get the bang for your buck for getting a few bus routes up, that you would over say unfucking the Hampton Roads or DC mass transit setups. Plus, I can see more pushback in rural areas against most mass transit, if not all, because unfortunately, it's been made part of the culture war and those tend to be areas where even if one supports mass transit, you probably still need a personal vehicle for a decent number of things.

    FencingsaxProhassDoodmannMayabird
  • Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    Unless the bill itself is different from the summary (and I don't think the bill itself exists yet), it doesn't just prioritize low per capita income areas. It prioritizes:
    projects that serve
    a frontline or vulnerable community, are located in an area that has experienced high
    adverse health and environmental impacts from pollution, and/or that improve access to
    or add a new green space to the community

    And as for the 85% requirement, the Transportation Secretary has the option to "waive the requirement entirely and fully fund select projects."

    As Moniker said, this is a bill targeted at one specific issue, it's not trying to be all things to all people. The summary specifically refers to the bill as a "step". Don't expect Warren et al to rest on their laurels and say "aha, climate crisis solved!"

  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Ironically realizing it is purely a transit bill brings up another criticism: this is capital, which has never been the real problem in transit funding, and not anything to address O&M

    Capital is the problem for electrification, though. The upfront costs for electric vehicles are much higher even if reduced maintenance and fuel ultimately makes it more affordable longer term. Especially with the added infrastructure costs to make the initial transition.

    And electrifying commuter rail? It's $billions in order to provide... the same service to the same people. There are major ancillary benefits, but that doesn't really help justify a bond issue when you could be using the money for deferred maintenance or grade separations instead, which have more direct impact on service levels and community annoyance.

    *Edit*
    I'm not even sure if you can get matching funds from FTA if all you're doing is electrifying a line rather than expanding it. You couldn't even get it for upgrading existing lines without any substantial improvements before Core Capacity (thanks Obama) allowed spending on that existing transit.

    While true, the O&M is still an important component here that often gets ignored. I'm not sure that focusing purely on electrifying commuter rail will really solve much when even non-electric commuter rail is still much much better emissions wise than SOVs: we'd want to expand public transit to make it more available to more people and increase ridership numbers, which flipping from non-electric to electric isn't exactly going to solve.

  • proxy_hueproxy_hue Registered User regular
    I'm starting to think we should move from wanting bipartisan support towards more multi-regional support. If a particular issue has the support of the majority of senators and those senators are from all of the major regions of the US, that represents a pretty solid mandate of the people.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited March 27
    Oghulk wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Ironically realizing it is purely a transit bill brings up another criticism: this is capital, which has never been the real problem in transit funding, and not anything to address O&M

    Capital is the problem for electrification, though. The upfront costs for electric vehicles are much higher even if reduced maintenance and fuel ultimately makes it more affordable longer term. Especially with the added infrastructure costs to make the initial transition.

    And electrifying commuter rail? It's $billions in order to provide... the same service to the same people. There are major ancillary benefits, but that doesn't really help justify a bond issue when you could be using the money for deferred maintenance or grade separations instead, which have more direct impact on service levels and community annoyance.

    *Edit*
    I'm not even sure if you can get matching funds from FTA if all you're doing is electrifying a line rather than expanding it. You couldn't even get it for upgrading existing lines without any substantial improvements before Core Capacity (thanks Obama) allowed spending on that existing transit.

    While true, the O&M is still an important component here that often gets ignored. I'm not sure that focusing purely on electrifying commuter rail will really solve much when even non-electric commuter rail is still much much better emissions wise than SOVs: we'd want to expand public transit to make it more available to more people and increase ridership numbers, which flipping from non-electric to electric isn't exactly going to solve.

    Right, but that is also exactly why funding electrification is never a priority compared to chasing funds for expanding the system. (Also, maintenance) It's an easy win to reduce both greenhouse emissions and particulate matter in mostly poor and minority neighborhoods on the 'wrong side of the tracks' who are at elevated risk of asthma and heart disease. Also the toxic miasma under Union Station when a dozen engines are idling during rush hour.

    It also makes future expansion guaranteed to be electric, because the most expensive part of anything is the transition when you are maintaining two wholly different types of fleets and infrastructure. If you keep running diesel you'll continue to run diesel because you already have all the parts and expertise, until it becomes overwhelmingly more expensive than just doing the switch. As soon as that switch is pulled, then the inertia points that other direction and you keep to it. Even when this federal support fades away.

    *edit*
    It also shouldn't have much of any resistance or lawsuit delays or all the other NIMBY bullshit that new transit proposals face. It's literally just stringing up catenary over existing routes and upgrading existing bus depot's for the shiny new busses it's buying. No Environmental Impact Statement required.

    moniker on
    Man in the Mists
  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    Ironically realizing it is purely a transit bill brings up another criticism: this is capital, which has never been the real problem in transit funding, and not anything to address O&M

    Capital is the problem for electrification, though. The upfront costs for electric vehicles are much higher even if reduced maintenance and fuel ultimately makes it more affordable longer term. Especially with the added infrastructure costs to make the initial transition.

    And electrifying commuter rail? It's $billions in order to provide... the same service to the same people. There are major ancillary benefits, but that doesn't really help justify a bond issue when you could be using the money for deferred maintenance or grade separations instead, which have more direct impact on service levels and community annoyance.

    *Edit*
    I'm not even sure if you can get matching funds from FTA if all you're doing is electrifying a line rather than expanding it. You couldn't even get it for upgrading existing lines without any substantial improvements before Core Capacity (thanks Obama) allowed spending on that existing transit.

    While true, the O&M is still an important component here that often gets ignored. I'm not sure that focusing purely on electrifying commuter rail will really solve much when even non-electric commuter rail is still much much better emissions wise than SOVs: we'd want to expand public transit to make it more available to more people and increase ridership numbers, which flipping from non-electric to electric isn't exactly going to solve.

    Right, but that is also exactly why funding electrification is never a priority compared to chasing funds for expanding the system. (Also, maintenance) It's an easy win to reduce both greenhouse emissions and particulate matter in mostly poor and minority neighborhoods on the 'wrong side of the tracks' who are at elevated risk of asthma and heart disease. Also the toxic miasma under Union Station when a dozen engines are idling during rush hour.

    It also makes future expansion guaranteed to be electric, because the most expensive part of anything is the transition when you are maintaining two wholly different types of fleets and infrastructure. If you keep running diesel you'll continue to run diesel because you already have all the parts and expertise, until it becomes overwhelmingly more expensive than just doing the switch. As soon as that switch is pulled, then the inertia points that other direction and you keep to it. Even when this federal support fades away.

    I can buy that. Thanks for providing more context to this.

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    The fact that its 2021 and not 1921 and yet core parts of the passenger rail network are not electrified is pretty mind boggling anyway.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    The fact that its 2021 and not 1921 and yet core parts of the passenger rail network are not electrified is pretty mind boggling anyway.

    Standard Oil was bastards. See also: LA Red Cars

    moniker on
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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    The fact that its 2021 and not 1921 and yet core parts of the passenger rail network are not electrified is pretty mind boggling anyway.

    I have a dream that high speed mag lev will connect the major subway hubs. East coast and west coast first, then lines swing across the nation. I would love if I could hop on a train and be in Denver in 3 hours. Or New York City in 1 hour. We aren't there yet, but 20 years maybe.

    Doodmann
  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    The fact that its 2021 and not 1921 and yet core parts of the passenger rail network are not electrified is pretty mind boggling anyway.

    Standard Oil was bastards. See also: LA Red Cars

    A weekly reminder that Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a documentary and our modern world was constructed by greedy evil men.

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  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    moniker wrote: »
    The fact that its 2021 and not 1921 and yet core parts of the passenger rail network are not electrified is pretty mind boggling anyway.

    Standard Oil was bastards.

    I mean sure, but its been a century since they broke up and the rail system is still basically running on 1912 era technology. Refined 1912 era technology, but still. And while passenger rail may be marginal in the US, freight really isn’t. Its like if 99% of the US still had dirt roads because no one in the government ever bothered to invest in pavement.

    Jealous Deva on
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