15 February 2010

Beyond Motor City

In a comment post a few days ago, Quim posted a link to the PBS show "Beyond Motor City" I just watched it and found it some of it fascinating. For example, these quotes from the segment about Spain's infrastructure improvements:

These trains travel at 200-300km/hr. What we have found out in Spain is that distances of 400-700 km which can be travelled in about 2.5 hrs are faster than a plane.
-tour guide at train factory

The National Govt should be worrying about arms control, not potholes...
-Ronald Reagan, 1982 State of the Union Address

In 1980, we spent 3% of GDP on infrastructure. Today it is 1.3%
- Norman Anderson transportation consultant CG/LA Infrastructure

Through the eyes of a Spaniard, the (US) Interstate Highway system was a wonder. You were our example in the last century ....Begining in he 1980s in the US it was perceptible that things had begun to deteriorate, that the maintenance of those infrastructures was getting worse, and that the networks didn't evolve in any way to keep pace with the country. And in the 1990s in terms of infrastructure it was a country that had fallen behind the standards of any European country....

I would say that not only is the Spanish citizen content with how our country has been transformed (by the transit infrastructure) but I would say it has been incorporated into their basic outlook and they demand from their polititians the improvement of their infrastructure."
- Pedro Perez, Secretary of the Economy, Spain 1988-1993

(They key to maintaining public support, has been to create a system that works.) "The great majority of our riders use at least two types of transportation. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary that the points of transfer are very easy for the clients and that the path they follow and the amount of time invested be minimal."
-Ildefenso de Matias, Director of the Madrid Metro".
(In Madrid, a single ticket pays for parking, commuter rail, and subway).

If you go to the website, they also have a strange 70s interview with Robert Moses and other interesting clips like one of Mitch and Gina (former OTR resident)and their $1,000 house.

Somewhere in the video, when talking about 19th century investments, they talk about the Tehachapi Loop. Here in Google maps you can clearly see that trains are still using this infrastructure.


Radarman said...

I am mad keen on HSR, but I feel obliged to point out that Spain is right up there with Greece in the bad debt club.

CityKin said...

A national debt is unforgiveable IMO, however if the debt is made creating infrastructure, this is better than creating debt for immediate consumption, war or other waste. Not sure if Spain's debt is because of the infrastructure or because of other expenditures. Better transit infrastructure also helps aleviate their problem of separatists in Catalan and Basque regions.

Anonymous said...

You might want to go read Paul Krugman's blog on Spain -- don't have time right now to summarize or find a link for you, but basically, Spain did all the right things but got caught in extremely extenuating circumstances it did not create -- can't compare it to Greece at all.

Blue Ash Mom

Dan said...

I saw that show the other week and it was fantastic.