• Buttigieg nominee for Secretary of Transportation

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by electricron
 
Whether they change the way taxes are collected to fund the Highway Trust Fund or not, let’s keep it simple with just a single tax. If they want to tax by milage, then eliminate Federal fuel taxes altogether. They should not be able to double dip.
  by bostontrainguy
 
electricron wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:47 pm Whether they change the way taxes are collected to fund the Highway Trust Fund or not, let’s keep it simple with just a single tax. If they want to tax by milage, then eliminate Federal fuel taxes altogether. They should not be able to double dip.
The Biden Administration eliminating a tax? You're not from around here are you?
  by mtuandrew
 
Ok, his taxation ideas are important - is there any way we can relate that discussion to trains either in the broad or the narrow frame?
bostontrainguy wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:15 pmThe Biden Administration eliminating a tax? You're not from around here are you?
Ok I’m a liberal and this is still funny :P
  by ExCon90
 
If mileage-based taxes were directly related to axle loadings of specific vehicle types -- I realize this is a leap of faith -- I suspect that 18-wheelers would pay a much larger share than compacts, and even to SUVs, than they do now and could raise motor-carrier operating costs at least somewhat.
  by justalurker66
 
Pete has a trillion dollar infrastructure plan that includes $160 billion in transit. Hopefully some of that goes to trains.

Locals are optimistic that some of it will go to the NICTD South Shore commuter service, which has received some federal funding for two major projects that are underway (an expansion new service and double tracking a major portion of the main line). As mayor, Pete pushed to return the South Shore to a downtown station in South Bend. I like that plan when I look at it from a bus rider's perspective (the station would be close to the main bus hub in South Bend) but don't like it when I consider the car driver's perspective (the bus station area is not a good place to leave a car nor to drive to unless you are already in the city).

Service design split by how people get to the station. If one assumes people walk or bus to a commuter rail station to head in to the city (Chicago) put the station where it is easily accessible by bus or in a walkable community. If one assumes people drive to the station build a huge parking lot and make it accessible to the local highway system. The downtown idea seems to support bus/walk when the ridership is park/ride.

But as long as Pete's throwing money back home I'm sure it will be accepted. And a downtown South Bend station would allow for an extension further east.
  by Ridgefielder
 
My personal experience is that, in general, Gen X'ers (like Buttigieg) and Millennials tend on the margin to be more pro-rail than the prior generations. Part of it has to do with what you experienced.

If you're like me, born in the New York suburbs in 1975, you have no memory of the bad days of the late 1960's in passenger rail, when, with a few exceptions, the big rails were either bankrupt (PC, etc.) or actively trying to discourage passenger ridership with lousy service (SP, for example.) My earliest memories of Amtrak, for instance, involve Amfleets and AEM7s clipping along on the NEC.

By the time I became aware of what was going on around me the Interstate Highway system had been complete for a couple decades, if not more. Roads around urban areas were congested and increasingly potholed. And there was an increasing realization that things like the Cross-Bronx Expressway or the Fitzgerald Expressway were terrible for the urban fabric.

At the same time, the de-regulation of the airlines, the resulting focus on lower fares and demise of carriers like Eastern and PanAm meant that the overall air travel experience got worse year by year-- to the point, today, where people would rather take a bus than fly if the time penalty isn't too much.

It's a completely different mindset than that of someone who was born in, say, 1950-- who came of age in the 1960's, when superhighways and jet planes were new and the average passenger train was elderly heavyweight equipment whose best days were 20+ years in the past.
  by eolesen
 
I predict a repeat of the Obama DOT. Lots of small starts for local transit agencies, pumping more cash into the black hole called CAHSR, and probably long distance gets added to the equipment replacement that was already underway. And Gateway.

But that will probably be it.

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  by mtuandrew
 
Agreed with that, Ridgefielder. Pete wasn’t even around for the last years of the South Shore’s orange cars - the first stainless NICTD cars are the same age he is. He would have only seen transit and train improvement, and I do hope he continues that trend.
  by GWoodle
 
https://www.tn.gov/tdot/finance/gas-tax ... nking.html

find the fuel tax table for the states , including sales tax:
For gas, high $0.62 (California) to $0.13 (Alaska)
For diesel, high $0.81 (California) to $0.13 (Alaska)
Federal tax $0.18 has not changed since 1998, in the Bush era.
Expecting a push to do something to raise rate, index for inflation, with money for transportation trust funds.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 5:25 pm ......And Gateway.
If that is "a borin'" when Joe leaves office Jan 20, 2025 - if not sooner, then I think he will be remembered as a "transportation president". This won't be because it's "small potatoes" compared with the rest of the world, but rather because it's a project so blatantly needed - and that four preceeding Administrations (Bill was in the WH when I first heard of it) couldn't, or wouldn't, let it happen.
  by eolesen
 
I'd put my money on Biden being gone by 2023, which won't leave a lot of opportunity to be remembered as a transportation friendly administration.

Gateway benefits NY and NJ more than anything. Few people outside a 100 mile radius of NYC will not care about whether it happens or not.



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  by David Benton
 
Entirely possible. But I'm starting to think he will make the most of it, And make some big changes. Amtrak should benefit from some big investment in public transport and "green" energy.
  by urr304
 
We will see what happens after confirmation.

As I said in another discussion, Gateway can be seen as important even to us out in the hinterlands, it will depend on who pays how much percentage.
  by bostontrainguy
 
For what it's worth, just saw a news report about how Buttigieg has no experience in Transportation and is just an identity political choice. Probably a political favor call from the primary too. The report mentioned that he was mayor of South Bend, Indiana that has a tiny transportation system consisting of a fleet of 60 buses.

I did a little checking on his infrastructure program and it it seems very highway-centric mostly addressing changing the way we are all taxed from a fuel tax system to a mileage usage system. There doesn't appear to be much about rail. I have to think that there are many more qualified people out there who are much stronger advocates of rail and transit. Really have to question this choice.