There Will Be No High Speed Trains in Cascadia Unless Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren Is Elected

Comments

1

If fossil fuels cost what they should, this wouldn't even be up for discussion.

3

You are only partly correct.

It is true that a Socialist will need to be in the White House to make this happen, but, it is also true that Socialists will need to be elected in many down ballot elections as well.

I have heard there was a referendum sometime in the 1970’s in Washington where voters were asked if they wanted federal highway dollars to mitigate traffic associated with projected growth, and it was rejected by the voters. I do not know why, or the details of the referendum- maybe there were riders attached that made it unpalatable, such as a quid pro quo where the feds give the money but get greater control over our laws or something. For whatever reason, it was not passed.

To prevent this, we need people on not only the giving end, but also on the asking end, to be Socialist. This year, a socialist ran for city council in a city of Washington state that was not Seattle. You didn’t report on that election. Nobody at the Stranger did. Chanan Suarez ran for Bellingham’s City Council in Ward 5, and managed to convince the majority of the Whatcom County Democrats to endorse him. He lost that election.

This is significant, because Seattle cannot move the majority of voters in this state by itself. Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales will be able to drum up votes in favor of a bullet train in Washington, but even the two of them combined cannot get voters far away from Seattle to vote for it. You need elected Socialists outside of King County.

Electeds are able to move votes. That’s how they get their jobs. And they can move votes to back a referendum. If you want Socialist projects in Washington, you need elected Socialists in every part of Washington. Especially along the corridor you want that bullet train to run, from Bellingham to Vancouver.

4

@2 Yeah. Gee. That must be why trains in Europe and the rest of the world are so unpopular! Have you ever been anywhere?

Air travel is only convenient at certain distances. Because it's not just the time in the air. It's getting to the airport 2 hour early. The long security lines. The discomfort of the travel. The traffic and expense to and from airports.

The high speed train from Milan to Rome is 2.5 hours. And it's delightful, spacious, and relaxing. And it's about $40-50.

For about $140 (not including a $30 taxi) you can take an EasyJey flight from Linate/Milan to Rome. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes but you add the two hours you have to get there early to make it through security, and travel to and from hotel, traffic, etc and that's 4 hours, easy. I've done both. The train is infinitely better. And you can get a first class train cabin for a few bucks more and it's awesome.

Think about it. High speed rail would be way better than flying in trips from Seattle to Portland. Or LA to Orange County. Where air travel or driving is more of a hassle and just is not economical.

High speed trains are IDEAL for regional transport. They are faster, cheaper, and more comfortable and more environmentally sustainable than air travel.

5

High speed rail releases less carbon per passenger than any other form of gasoline powered engine driven vehicle. It’s also faster than air travel and much less of a hassle. There’s no TSA, boarding is fast and easy. You can also move around on the train while it’s in motion much more easily than you can on a plane or a bus. If you need to change your environment - say, you’re feeling social but the person next to you is not, you can go to the dining car, or if you just need to get up and take a walk, that’s easy.

Also, persons who are either too young to drive, or too old, persons with disabilities that prevent them from driving, these people have as much of a right to travel as you or I do. Ideally, a college student at WWU should be able to catch a show at the Paramount with his friends and get back to the dorms after it’s over without having to know someone who has a car. An elderly woman in Olympia should be able to visit her great grandchildren in Tacoma without having to make prearrangements with paratransit. A high schooler in Vancouver who wants to visit her friends in Everett should be able to do so on a Saturday afternoon. And anyone who has the time during the week to visit the state Capitol to petition their legislators during session ought to have an absolute right to do so, whether they live close to Olympia or far away.

High speed rail is not only an economic necessity, as many small towns along the sound would prosper from greater access to customers and tourists, it’s also a quality of life concern. If a person is wheelchair bound or has some condition that makes travel via car impossible, or paratransit a complicated process, should we deny them the right to visit friends and family
, to lead a full life where they can go see the orcas just as easily as we can, or spend as much time as you and I can on a ferry boat ride through the San Juans if they want to? A high speed rail corridor that stops in Anacortes would make what seems like a fantastic dream to some as commonplace and ordinary as it is for everyone else.

As stated above however, this cannot merely be imposed from above in a top down fashion. Any revolution that is successful must be a bottom up revolution. That means building a Socialist base at the ground level, electing down ballot Socialists in every part of the state. Bernie is important, but Bernie is also mortal. A Socialist base that is widespread and numerous will survive the loss of one person at the top. A single Socialist at the top with no base to support him will not leave any lasting legacy after he is gone.

Whether it’s the library board, city council or small town mayor, whether in Bellingham, Port Townsend, Friday Harbor or Wahaikium, it’s important to report on Socialists seeking office across the state, so we can send our campaign donations to them and support them through phone banking, endorsements, and canvassing.

Seattle cannot lift the massive weight alone, no matter how powerful she is. This is a statewide fight, not a fight for one city.

6

Population densities, in people per sq. mile of:

British Columbia: 12
Oregon: 36
Washington State: 101

Spain: 230
France: 308
Japan: 336
Italy: 533
Germany: 621
UK: 709

Go ahead, double the relevant figures to convert to the purely imaginary country of Cascadia*, if you must. You'll maybe (maybe) be able to make a case for a single line from Everett to Olympia, after you've done the usage vs. lifetime energy cost calculation.

(*) Of which neither Bernie nor Warren will ever be president. Because they exist, and it does not.

7

6,

This is disingenuous at best. By lumping all of Washington together, you dilute the population density of the Puget Sound with the vast expanses of unpopulated wilderness in places like Pond Orielle.

RS, you are a case study in ideologically driven data manipulation.

Every single post is an angry attack on the idea of Cascadia. You claim that it’s fiction. Well if it’s a fiction, it sure is a persistent one. And it isn’t going go away because of one angry old man posting made up statistics on the comments section of an alternative weekly’s blog page.

Why don’t you try pissing into the Grand Canyon while claiming to be the force that will cause it to flood? You haVe a greater likelihood of being right about that than you do of disabusing everyone in Cascadia of their regional identity.

I’m an ideologue as well, however, my side wins elections and actually gets shit done, you on the other hand don’t seem to ha=e anything to hang your hat on.

8

Exactly how many votes in each chamber would a cheer leading President actually be worth?

It seems to me that one of the biggest impediments to a progressive agenda is this focus on a figurehead, while ignoring the needed fights down ticket and against the systemic flaws exploited by the radically regressive elements.

Amy Klobachar is about as centrist a candidate as there is in this primary field, but she's passed more legislation than anyone in the Senate, and infrastructure is totally in her wheelhouse.

I just don't think you've made an adequate argument for your position here, Charles.

9

@7 "ideologically driven data manipulation" sounds like a pretty good description of the habitual erasure of people in your state you disagree with via retreat to an imaginary country.

A country where everyone who fundamentally disagrees with your politics has been disappeared-- well, that doesn't sound like much of a utopia to me.

10

@7 Incidentally, you're welcome to challenge the population density statistics, if you're able.

I got those numbers by googling "population density [state/region]" and converting from square km to square miles as needed. I'd prefer data for real countries or states, but as I said before (and you probably didn't notice in your dopamine rush of self-righteous rage) I'm willing to accept considerable adjustment for imaginary countries.

12

I challenge them because you conflate the entire state of Washington with the I-5 corridor. Link Light rail doesn’t serve the nonexistent population of Pend Orielle County, and yet you lump the land area of Pend Orielle in with the population of the state as a whole to derive the average.

And as far as erasing everyone who disagrees with me, that has never been my intention. I only want to erase the land area that doesn’t exist in the Puget Sound region from the equation used to derive the statistic you cited, you ideological hack.

14

Profitability isn’t the goal of every enterprise.

Raising a child is not profitable. It’s expensive, the kid might grow up to hate you, and often times won’t be there for you in your old age. Does that mean your precious little Jonny is a bad investment?

Marriage is often a poor investment. Your dearly beloved is probably not going to make you rich. If they divorce you, in this state, that’s half your income.

A pet isn’t profitable. You’re not going to sell Fido as an older dog for more than you bought him for as a puppy, plus the expenses for food, taking him to the vet, etc.

Taking care of military veterans is not profitable, I mean, if they die on the battlefield, that’s a good return on investment, but if they live to old age and develop medical conditions related to their service, or they get PTSD or TBI or drug addiction, they cost more than you’re getting in return. So why not kill them all on the battlefield before you ship them home?

The School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf, both state run and located in Vancouver, aren’t profitable. Neither is the facility in Buckley for taking care of severely disabled children. Would you euthanize them the way the Nazis did? Their explicitly stated rationale for doing so was because disabled people aren’t profitable.

If the only goal of any project we ever engaged in was profit, the world would be a hellish nightmare.

15

Hello,
I think we need to start with an adherence to nomenclature for this to be a realistic discussion of passenger rail transit. Namely, not conflating all new/current passenger rail as “high-speed” rail and the respective costs / benefits.
Simply put, at this time, we do not need at “high-speed rail” nor the burgeoning “very high-speed rail” platforms in the Puget Sound, or Cascadia, at this time.
“Higher-speed rail” (aka “medium-speed rail”) which tops out at about 150 mph would be just fine between Vancouver, B.C. and Portland, OR with a logical station grid between the two, e.g. Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia (yes, Centralia!), and Portland.
This is proven and robust technology and would not cost as much as the high-speed dream. If you want to start stretching practical rail travel, i.e. competing with air travel, farther south and east, then sure, dream big. But, we do not have to do this to build a practical system that would both accommodate long-distance commuting as well as inter-city transit between the nodes mentioned.
Amtrak, e.g. between Seattle and Portland, while potentially qualifying as higher-speed rail, does not often break conventional-rail speeds, i.e. less than 100 mph. And, do not get me started on the slog (ha!) that is the Coast Starlight…there are sections where the train feels like you are on the S.S. Minnow moments before beaching on that uncharted desert isle. Seriously, it is embarrassingly slow and rickety on many stretches due to the heavy freight presence and general disrepair of the infrastructure.
We can have a heavy-rail system that works for Cascadia or even just the Puget Sound. But we need to stop stretching light-rail past its optimum distance and stop dreaming of something like the TGV suddenly being dropped from space.
As a note, we have had 100+ mph rail travel as a practical technology now for nearly 100 years…in the USA even…time to catchup with yesterday.

16

notgniffubqb @15 FTW.

Speeds would also be greatly improved by simply offering express trips with fewer stops (which won't benefit the smaller towns) in addition to normal service. That, and dedicated transit rails, which is the big spend.

For express trips within the I-5 corridor (Vancouver BC - Seattle - Olympia - Centralia, if you like - Portland - Salem - Eugene, if you like) connecting to local service, you'd be able to achieve higher speeds and shorter duration trips compared to car travel (and possibly air travel, with airport and taxi times included). With dedicated transit rails (not leased from freight lines as is now the case), you'd achieve predictability of service compared to driving which is subject to traffic and inclement weather (snow).

Anyway, you're right that there's no need for bullet trains to make rail a reasonable reality.

Honorable mention for Wandering Stars, who's nearly always right, @14 (whom I've been meaning to ask about their profile image: is that a book being trimmed in a bindary, or is it a slab of blubber or fish flesh?).

I made a similar point to my Econ 101 class at UW {a required conversion and mass indoctrination course of over 200 students held in Kane Hall) in 1983 while simultaneously studying Russian Soviet society. Point being, you can use economic arguments to justify capitalism if you like, but all of human existence needn't be economically focused or profit driven. There's a whole lot more to life than money, and it's not only the rich who have a right to a rich life. Most things, but take for example the Arts, do not get "better' when they are more profitable. More often, the reverse is true. But words like good or better, kind or just, are outside the scope of economic "science". Unfortunately, many Americans are so radically indoctrinated that they view all of existence as governed by the ruthless laws of capitalist economics. Pity.

17

GF,

That is a copy of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Other Stories, without the cover, being retrieved from the messy interior of a desk.