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Re: The problem with mass transit
Even if it's a government project, though, there has to be a business case. A large dam in the middle the Nevada desert paid for itself quite well, as an example. A transportation system must have a payback from fares or increased tax revenue.
A system to replace cars would not cause builders to develop more quickly or (I think) cause people to buy more houses. The state would lose registration fees, sales tax on vehicles, gasoline taxes and auto dealer tax revenue if your system were to take hold. What revenue would be generated to offset the losses, plus pay for the infrastructure investment and ongoing maintenance?
There are some things we do without a clear ROI, such as the space program and some would argue it didn't pay off well, but most times there needs to be a give to get.
Boulder City, NV
With more than 9 million tourist coming into the state every year, Total direct travel spending in California was $102.3 billion in 2011, a 7.6 percent increase from 2010 spending. Travel spending in California directly supported 893,000 jobs, with earnings of $30.4 billion. Travel spending generated the greatest number of jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation (221,000 jobs), and accommodations and food service (523,000 jobs).
30 Million visit Nevada each year (But 10 Million of those are from California)
I just did some quick ROI numbers on a High Speed (TGV like) route between L.A. - Las Vegas -Tahoe - San Francisco.
Assuming each leg cost $6 Billion, or $24 Billion total. The paid ridership at each station would need to be 30,000 per week @ about $130 per leg. This would be a walk-up ticket.
Break even on a no interest loan would take about 25 - 30 years. Useful life would be about 75 years. Realizing that ROI would be child's play for a co-state industry that captures in excess of $150 Billion/year. One could easily forecast double the revenue and jobs within 12 years if the underlying transportation infrastructure is available.
Problem is that I am using the $6 Billion per leg construction cost. That is the price for a private sector build. If the government does it - triple that.
Thanks. We can always count on you to do the math.
Away from horizontal mambo, er elevators, and back to trains - None of the plans I've read about would connect LA. Victorville just doesn't cut it.
Can you imagine the cost of a downtown right-of-way?