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Great American Tower 665'
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  1. Eau Claire, WI -- St. Paul: 85 miles. Population density roughly 4,300/mi. I guess population density isn't as important as people think: https://www.wpr.org/chippewa-valley-eyeing-private-public-partnership-passenger-rail What an acquaintance of mine, who is involved in this project, has to say: "A fair number of people in Eau Claire actually work in St. Paul, which is 85 miles west and something of a hellish drive on I-94. If the train service opens it is a pretty sure thing that lots of other people working in St. Paul will settle in Eau Claire because housing costs are much cheaper. Many of them would be there now if it weren't for the punishing drive. The train service would be something like the Hiawathas between Milwaukee and Chicago--also 85 miles: a combination of daily commuter traffic, business trips and discretionary leisure/family travel. The trains would probably carry lots of cyclists from the Twin Cities out to Eau Claire on the weekends because the scenery is really pleasant and the bike trails well developed, and in winter the same trains and trails would carry lots of cross-country skiers."
  2. Another private project. Commuter rail in the northeast. Boston Surface Railroad has a transport solution for the Northeast’s underserved metropolitan regions The railroad hopes to begin initial runs between Woonsocket, R.I., and Worcester, Mass., in late 2020. MISCHA WANEK-LIBMAN APRIL 25, 2019 https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/article/21077811/boston-surface-railroad-has-a-transport-solution-for-the-northeasts-underserved-metropolitan-regions?fbclid=IwAR3SrWWoziuGZJ98Dm5xpWbMkbzOV3lfrZ82rBGGkJxLU3WYCMi3mmrikCk
  3. With Richard Branson's Virgin Group investing in Brightline (which will soon be changed to Virgin Trains USA) and a private company looking to follow Brightline's model for a commuter rail project in Milwaukee (see latest post Private Intercity Passenger Rail Projects thread), it's looking more and more like the 3C Corridor (and some others in Ohio) would be good candidates for private investment/development to bring us train service. In fact, All Aboard Ohio has sent information to Brightline about the 3C, PGH-COL-Lima-FTW-CHI, DET-TOL-CLE-YTO-PGH, and CIN-CHI corridors about why they are worth considering for their investment.
  4. Now this is getting interesting: A private company is looking to start a 55-mile commuter rail line in Milwaukee. Looks like they are following the Brightline (which is now Virgin Trains USA) model of using the train to generate profits from real estate development. And, the company doesn't own the rail line they want to operate on: Group seeking $1.4 billion for private commuter rail project A New York capital raising firm is helping a Wisconsin company attempt to raise more than $1.4 billion to support a private commuter rail project in metro Milwaukee along with related real estate development. The project by Transit Innovations LLC would use existing freight lines to create the commuter system, called E-Way. The company says it would build 21 new stations and use two existing ones along 55 miles of track across Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Full article at: https://www.biztimes.com/2018/industries/banking-finance/group-seeking-1-4-billion-for-private-commuter-rail-project/?fbclid=IwAR0uUjs1YoGt8ADfbXD4o8gz3s9yt-rQ2qOm_oUZWgzvvC3-h213uQ6WLPU
  5. This is a good piece that takes a broader look at who the "transportation disadvantaged" are. The author argues that it's not just disabled, elderly, and those who cannot afford cars, but also those in the broad swaths of the USA who have no choice but to reach for the car keys. He also brings up an interesting perspective that, while it is true that Europeans pay higher taxes, in much of Europe it is possible to get by without a car. Conversely, in the US taxes may be lower, but because a car is required if most people are to get to work and just run life's errands, but cars cost an average of $9000 per year to buy, operate, and maintain. In a typical American household with two cars, that's an $18,000 unavoidable "car tax" that puts the European-US tax argument in a new perspective: Who Are the Transportation Disadvantaged? http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-07-20/who-are-the-transportation-disadvantaged/
  6. I missed this Washington Post piece when it came out 2 years ago. It clearly shows how the so-called love affair with cars was nothing more than a public relations campaign that has become ingrained in the public psyche. It also rightly points out that it is difficult to respond to this thinking with logic and facts. Which is why I like to say that it's not a love affair, it's a shotgun marriage. It's not my line, I heard or read someone say that at least 15 years ago if not longer. I wish I could remember who it was, but it's absolutely right. The article also goes through a lot of forgotten history, including a movement in the 1920s to get cars out of cities: The Myth of the American Love Affair with Cars: “It’s one of the biggest public relations coups of all time. It’s always treated as folk wisdom, as an organic growth from society. One of the signs of its success is that everyone forgets it was invented as a public relations campaign.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/27/debunking-the-myth-of-the-american-love-affair-with-cars/?utm_term=.3c8e224f7a0d
  7. People in Columbus need to organize and put pressure on the Mayor's office and the city council. Organize like they did in Cincinnati for the streetcar. That's what gets the job done.
  8. gildone

    Peak Oil

    You're on the right track. Price volatility, demand destruction when prices get too high, etc. These are among the things that happen when you hit Peak Oil. It doesn't negate it, though, as Gramarye seems to think it does. OPEC not cutting production is a bit more theater than anything else. OPEC has never been good at sticking to production cuts.
  9. gildone

    Peak Oil

    Fluctuating oil prices, including extended of declining oil prices are not and never have been at odds with Peak Oil. Over a decade ago, the Peak Oil crowd explained this is one of the things that would occur. That aside, your argument doesn't change the fact that discovery of new sources of oil-- in terms of barrels found-- vs. barrels produced (on a global scale) have been lagging for decades. This is exactly Peak Oil. Just facts. Nothing alarmist. No crying wolf either despite your protestations and those of the industry and media to the contrary.
  10. gildone

    Peak Oil

    Sorry, but no it's not. Your statement is a good example of how we keep lying to ourselves about what's really going on. Plus it's awfully easy to make a statement like that without providing a shred of evidence to back it up. Anyway... 1. This is not a recent development. Production has been exceeding new discoveries for several decades now-- read the article and look at the data (I suspect you haven't actually read the whole thing?). 2. Oil companies never stop looking for oil. They need to replace their reserves in order to keep their stock prices up, the dividends going and the investors happy. This problem really started rearing its head in the mid 1990s when decades old oil companies began merging. They were merging because they could no longer increase their reserves anything but marginally with new discoveries, so they increased them by merging. In a similar vein, the reason Exxon, for example, has been quietly buying back its stock for quite a few years now is to artificially keep the price of their stock up because they can no longer replace their reserves like they used to. The new oil just isn't there in significant quantities anymore compared to the past. 3. New oil discoveries are expensive because they are smaller in size, lower in quality, lower in yield, and lower in energy returned on energy invested compared to the super-giant fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Mexico, Texas (the original Texas fields, not the new shale oil ones), Shallow Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Daquing field in China, Iran, Iraq, Alaska Prudhoe Bay, etc that were discovered decades ago. If there were significant cheap, easy fields left that's what the oil companies would be going after, but there are none left. 4. 90% of global production today comes from legacy, super-giant oil fields that are decades old (see partial list above). There just isn't enough new oil out there to replace these huge, cheap, easy fields, many of which are in production decline. 5. Even when prices were higher, these new, expensive fields just couldn't do what the super-giant legacy fields (again, see above). It takes a couple thousand wells in the shale-oil fields of North Dakota, for example to produce what less than a 10th of that number can produce in Saudi Arabia. 6. On top of it all, and I provide this one to show the level of denial that is occurring: things that aren't crude oil have been included in "new oil production" since about 2006-- the industry and even the US government in the US Energy Information Administration changed the definition of crude oil to mask the problem. They started including things like biofuels and natural gas liquids in the oil production figures. These things aren't oil. I even saw a figure in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago that was comparing US oil production with Saudi production in an effort to show that our oil production was exceeding that of Saudi Arabia. But the US chart included natural gas liquids and biofuels, but not the Saudi chart. Sorry, but you can't take two bushels of apples and a bushel of oranges produced in one place and compare it to to two and a half bushels of apples produced somewhere else and say the first place produced more apples. Reality is what it is. Denial can't change it. We are in the midst of Peak Oil now.
  11. gildone

    Peak Oil

    Despite temporarily low oil prices and what the industry and media say, Peak Oil is still a reality. Discovery of new sources of oil have been lagging behind global oil production for decades and it is now at a 70-year low: Peak Oil by Any Other Name is Still Peak Oil One of the most compelling charts I have ever seen is the “Growing Gap” chart that used to appear on the front page of every ASPO Newsletter. This is the one from the last ASPO Newsletter, written by Colin Campbell and published in April 2009. Since then, more than seven years have passed, and peak oil has disappeared from the mainstream press headlines--almost. On August 29, Bloomberg published a story alerting to the fact that conventional oil discovery has reached a 70-year low. It published a very interesting chart, using data provided by Wood Mackenzie, the oil consulting firm, to show that fact. Unlike the ASPO chart, Bloomberg's chart only goes back to 1947, the year before Ghawar was discovered... Full article at: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-09-08/peak-oil-by-any-other-name-is-still-peak-oil
  12. How to fix the damage from in-city highways Every time an in-city highway has been replaced by more human-scale infrastructure, the city and region has benefitted, according to transportation experts who led workshops for USDOT. ROBERT STEUTEVILLE SEP. 1, 2016 Transportation and planning experts Peter Park and Ian Lockwood each helped lead recent workshops for US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) called the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge. The events were the first of their kind: USDOT sought to alleviate the negative impacts of in-city Interstates built in the 20th Century that divided neighborhoods and often displaced hundreds or thousands of people. Lockwood served as a leader of two-day workshops in Spokane and Nashville and Park steered workshops in Philadelphia and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. The events occurred in mid-July. Public Square editor Robert Steuteville interviewed Park and Lockwood about freeway caps, highway teardowns, complete streets, and what they learned from USDOT’s “Every Place Counts.”... Read more at: https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2016/09/01/how-fix-damage-city-highways
  13. Traveling Between Berlin and Munich Is About to Get a Whole Lot Easier Trains on a new high-speed route could ultimately be driverless, too. Feargus O'Sullivan @FeargusOSull Sep 1, 2016 On Wednesday, the E.U.’s most populous country got a little bit smaller. Thanks to a newly electrified stretch of railway track just opened across Germany’s Thuringian Forest, travel times between Berlin and Munich will soon be slashed. By December 2017, it will take a whole two hours less to travel between Germany’s largest and third largest cities. Reducing the 505 kilometer (314 mile) journey to just over 4 hours, down from 6 hours and 15 minutes, will finally offer genuinely fast land transit across one of Central Europe’s most important routes. When the convenience of downtown-to-downtown travel is factored in, the high-speed rail link (trains will eventuall run at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour) will give planes and highways a run for their money... http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/09/berlin-to-munich-train-high-speed-rail/498332/
  14. Canada Opening 22,000 km Car-Free Bike Path Across The Country In 2017 by Jeremy Hazan · September 1, 2016 Canada has its very own “car-free highway” currently being built and so far it’s 20,770 km long! Construction began in 1992 and is scheduled to be completed by 2017, just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary. So far over 87% of the trail is complete, and it already connects most of the major cities in Canada. Although it isn’t a bike path in the traditional sense, it is exclusively designated for recreational purposes and only allows bikes, hikers and horseback riders in the summer and in the winter it is used for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Read more and see map and photos at: http://www.mtlblog.com/2016/09/canada-opening-22000-km-car-free-bike-path-across-the-country-in-2017/#
  15. Texas Central is facing more hurdles now that the Surface Transportation Board has ruled that the project lies entirely within state jurisdiction. Opponents are now foaming at the mouth over stopping the project: Texas Bullet Train Opponents Hope to Block Project Next Year https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/26/lawmakers-take-high-speed-rail-next-sesssion/ Excerpt: The state Legislature could put up major road blocks next year for a private firm's plans to build a high-speed rail project connecting Houston and Dallas now that a federal transportation board has decided the project falls under state jurisdiction.
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