Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Linkage

I haven't had a lot of time to write, but wanted to share with you all what has come through the ole reader.
Arnold wants to waive CEQA to pass the budget. I like that for transit, not so much for roads.
Tom Friedman writes gas tax and Oberstar talks about it on NPR.
A Portland Architect talks about how GM should be the catalyst for a nationwide streetcar revival.
Four subway lines opened this year. Just not in this country.


ridaka said...

Colorado Railcar has officially gone bust:
Their official website and a little bit more by Seattletransitblog.
Portland got its trains but will they get them running and be able to service/maintain them in time?

Rhywun said...

To be fair, Chinese cities are in *desperate* need of subway infrastruture--more so than American cities. When I visited Beijing and Shanghai a few years ago, each city had 2 lines, and the predominate thinking was that expressways could solve all their transportation needs. It was so bad that new projects in the downtowns of cities were going up without even any sidewalks, as if they thought they were in Vegas or something. Needless to say, everywhere I went was choked with traffic--in a country where hardly anyone could afford a car.

A couple other thoughts: while it's certainly impressive how much work they've done in the last few years--and it would be nice if we could display that kind of dedication--remember that China doesn't trouble itself overmuch with niceties such as environmental reviews or workers' rights. They're getting better in these areas... but slowwwwly.

Telemaque said...

GM chose buses over streetcars because buses have planned obsolescence and streetcars don't, as shown by those 80 year old PCC cars that are still operational. They're not going to reverse themselves on this.

njh said...

GM could make streetcars with planned obsolescence.

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer to have a competent company make streetcars. GM would whine, bitch, moan and ask for permanent hand-outs if this ever happened...

grvsmth said...

Including Santo Domingo, that's five subway lines.

Matt Fisher said...

As much as Colorado Railcar never really prominently went into the business, I'll say that GM probably hates streetcars. That's all I have to say.

Alon Levy said...

buses have planned obsolescence and streetcars don't

Right, except that streetcars have a higher up-front cost.

The streetcar scandal wasn't much of a scandal. National transportation priorities were shifting from rail to roads; streetcars were losing too much money to remain viable.

Ben said...

This would be a bad move for GM; GM does mass production, and street cars will never have the volume to be mass produced.

Competition and conspiracy theories aside, street cars are huge investment without huge profits. Additionally this market already has well established competition.

I don't blame GM one bit for not going down this path.

Alon Levy said...

I don't think there's much money in buses, either. A single 40' bus costs 530 grand, or 830 if it's a hybrid. It sounds like a lot, but a single bus can remove 250 cars from the road - the bus will take about 130 commuters, who will then not own cars, and last about twice as long as the cars they'd buy - which reduces automaker revenue by about $4 million.