Infrastructure

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JasonL
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Infrastructure

Post by JasonL »

Eh. You don’t want surplus either. Not the kind that means no traffic anywhere. Congestion pricing is exactly the right answer for all parties. See also water pricing in CA.
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Mo
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

In WA, non toll payers saved an average of 5 minutes and toll payers saves a whopping 11-14 minutes on average.

What I oppose is selling the lanes off to private investors with the condition that the municipality can't build competing capacity for a decade or three.
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lunchstealer
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by lunchstealer »

Mo wrote: 07 Dec 2017, 21:51 What I oppose is selling the lanes off to private investors with the condition that the municipality can't build competing capacity for a decade or three.
Yeah, this is teh crap.
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Mo
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

I think I know Highway's reaction to this.

Image
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Highway
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Highway »

I read that earlier. The article does a good job of poking holes in the idea. I mean, it's 90 times more expensive than a normal road. 90 times! The cost of the road would have paid for the electricity it generated for over 20 years, not counting any interest. Now, it's fine to complain that current solar pricing has a long ROI period, mostly because the people selling it are capturing that in an attempt to be profitable, but this just went into materials.

But that article was plenty skeptical, and more articles like that would be fine by me.
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Mo
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

I figured you'd be fine with the article, annoyed by the road.
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Warren
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Warren »

Mo wrote: 29 Dec 2017, 23:28 I figured you'd be fine with the article, annoyed by the road.
I was going to say that as a white elephant, the road might put people off the idea. But then I remembered light rail.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Sandy »

EEVBlog did a nice video going through the actual output of the French installation and compared it to a nearby rooftop static angled installation using older tech. His initial estimates of the output of the road were extremely generous, and it’s a verified boondoggle.
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Highway
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Highway »

Warren wrote: 30 Dec 2017, 00:55
Mo wrote: 29 Dec 2017, 23:28 I figured you'd be fine with the article, annoyed by the road.
I was going to say that as a white elephant, the road might put people off the idea. But then I remembered light rail.
I had this kind of thought as well. But part of the issue with light rail and rail transit is that there are other places where it works (-ish), whether because of significant build out or perception. It's not something that's an abject failure, as I think the solar roads will turn out to be.

But then again, people are morons.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by JD »

NPR examines the Erie Canal as a model for infrastructure projects, and compares it to recent ones.
The Erie Canal was an immediate success. It unleashed a flood of resources from the West, dramatically increasing the variety of products and slashing consumer prices. New York manufacturers got increased access to markets in the expanding frontier, and New York became the central seaport for global commerce to reach America's heartland. Almost instantly, toll revenue from the canal was nearly five times more than the interest due from the state's bond debt. By 1837, only about a decade after completion, the entire debt was paid off.
...
Take, for instance, the proposed bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's a fiasco. It has received billions of dollars in both state and federal funding, yet — in more time than it took to build the entire Erie Canal — there has barely been any progress.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Highway »

I think that there is a major difference, in that the connected world we have now makes it much easier to predict usage, and therefore return on investment. There's a reason things like high speed rail haven't been built in the US: nobody thinks it's worth doing with their own money on the line. And they're exactly right.

And it's not like there aren't replacement things for the projects that haven't been built. Air travel more than provides the fast transport that HSR could only aspire to.

The only things I can think of that would be an infrastructure project on this scale are replacements of existing stuff. Replacing all of the fossil fuel electric generation with something else. Replacing all the water or sewer pipes. Replacing all the roads with some other type (don't ask me what).
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Warren »

Star Trek transporters FTW!
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Hugh Akston »

Warren wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:43 Star Trek transporters FTW!
Are you sure that stuff is safe?
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Re: Infrastructure

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Highway wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:30 Air travel more than provides the fast transport that HSR could only aspire to.
I saw a video about the maiden flight of the 777X and was surprised to see that the plane will burn 2.9 liters per 100 passenger km (81 mpg). This is considerably better than the 6.8 liters per 100 km (34.6 mpg) I get with my Hyundai Accent. Granted, I am only making short trips and I can carry more than one person, but I am also not going 750 kph in my car.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Aresen »

Hugh Akston wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 12:01
Warren wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:43 Star Trek transporters FTW!
Are you sure that stuff is safe?
Super Trek Nerds argue whether the Federation Transporters actually kill a person at one location and create a new, identical person at the destination.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

The 787-8 does 2.26 liters per 100 passenger km (104 mpg)
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by JasonL »

I ain't stepping in no transporter. I'm firmly on team "that is not you on the planet surface". This is pretty clear to me in that there's nothing in the whole process that actually requires disassembly on the ship. If you remain whole on the ship and just assemble an identical quantum state blah blah on the planet surface, what's different? Seems like the difference is you didn't commit suicide in that model.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by JD »

Highway wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:30 I think that there is a major difference, in that the connected world we have now makes it much easier to predict usage, and therefore return on investment. There's a reason things like high speed rail haven't been built in the US: nobody thinks it's worth doing with their own money on the line. And they're exactly right.

And it's not like there aren't replacement things for the projects that haven't been built. Air travel more than provides the fast transport that HSR could only aspire to.

The only things I can think of that would be an infrastructure project on this scale are replacements of existing stuff. Replacing all of the fossil fuel electric generation with something else. Replacing all the water or sewer pipes. Replacing all the roads with some other type (don't ask me what).
Yeah, I think you pretty much have it. You could point to real benefits from building the Erie Canal: according to Wikipedia, "It was faster than carts pulled by draft animals and cut transport costs by about 95%." In comparison, what comparable benefits can people point to from currently proposed infrastructure projects? Cleaner air? Lower maintenance costs? That's nice but not exactly earthshaking. People always say things about HSR like "You could get from New York to Miami in only X hours!"* Yeah, but you can already do that on a plane. Unless it's way cheaper, why should people care? Ultimately, people care about doing things they couldn't do before.

* Looking up some stuff like this reminded me of why I get so irritated with Euro-train-fanatics. For example, consider a trip between Amsterdam and Naples, which is roughly comparable in distance to New York-Miami. A nonstop flight takes about 2.5 hours. The train takes about 15 and you have to change trains at least twice. Train boosters always say things like "Oh, but if you consider that trains go to the city center but you have to travel to the airport..." but even if you added three hours on either end of our Amsterdam-Naples flight, it would still be quicker than the train.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

No one takes the train from Amsterdam to Naples except for college backpackers. More common is a Munich to Berlin, Paris to Frankfurt or London to Edinburgh type trip. Those are 4-5 hour train rides, but when you take into account getting to the airport and waiting, the train is better than the flight.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Jennifer »

Regarding large-scale infrastructure projects today: I could definitely see a case for bringing high-speed internet to the entire country, equivalent to the old rural electrification scheme. The internet today is arguably as much a necessary utility as electricity -- at least in the sense that no business will want to start in or relocate to an area where it is unavailable, and any ordinary American living in such an area is at a huge disadvantage, when it comes to taking part in the mainstream economy.
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Highway
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Highway »

But there already is high bandwidth internet available everywhere. Satellite internet is fine for high bandwidth and access. It's not so great for low latency applications, but if we're talking about what should be required, is gaming part of that list? Is VoIP? Or is it having access to commerce and opportunity?

I don't see much value in an effort to run cable or fiber to all the people in the US. It would be much easier and cheaper to just pay for people to use satellite.
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Re: Infrastructure

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Highway wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:30 I think that there is a major difference, in that the connected world we have now makes it much easier to predict usage, and therefore return on investment. There's a reason things like high speed rail haven't been built in the US: nobody thinks it's worth doing with their own money on the line. And they're exactly right.

And it's not like there aren't replacement things for the projects that haven't been built. Air travel more than provides the fast transport that HSR could only aspire to.

The only things I can think of that would be an infrastructure project on this scale are replacements of existing stuff. Replacing all of the fossil fuel electric generation with something else. Replacing all the water or sewer pipes. Replacing all the roads with some other type (don't ask me what).
There are two different issues. One is whether infrastructure is worth building, under current parameters.

The other is why infrastructure has gotten so slow and expensive to build. (And ours is slow and expensive even compared to, like, France.)

Obviously there's _some_ price at which HSR would be worth building. If it were genuinely gonna cost ten dollars to build HSR from Los Angeles to SF, everyone would support it! Pushing costs down is worthwhile on principle, and then as they go down, more projects become cost-effective.

This is not to say that we can push them down far enough to make X pet project worthwhile. (Obviously you're not building HSR for ten dollars.) But the slowness and cost is a problem standing on its own.
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Jennifer »

Highway wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 14:51 But there already is high bandwidth internet available everywhere. Satellite internet is fine for high bandwidth and access. It's not so great for low latency applications, but if we're talking about what should be required, is gaming part of that list? Is VoIP? Or is it having access to commerce and opportunity?

I don't see much value in an effort to run cable or fiber to all the people in the US. It would be much easier and cheaper to just pay for people to use satellite.
I see your point and agree with it to an extent (at least for now), but on the other hand I can imagine similar arguments why a nationwide electrical grid was unnecessary: with little power plants/generators, as opposed to these big modern Hoover Dam/TVA-type hydroprojects, a company can get enough power to keep the lights on [footnote: some old-timers of my childhood talked about 'the light bill' rather than 'the electric bill' because they remember when lighting was the main or even only reason people wanted electricity] -- but if we're talking about what should be required, is refrigeration part of that list? Room-strength refrigeration? Are we talking "reading lamp" or "Las Vegas in the future"- level illumination ...

In all seriousness, and given how fast technology and computers keep evolving (a top-of-the-line internet-connected computer from 2000 would be essentially useless for any possible internet-based job today). For example: by now, VoIP arguably is part of the bare-minimum internet package required to have "access to commerce and opportunity" -- just today, by chance, I had a phone interview for a (longshot) remote writing job which, if I get it, will mean each workday would start with an editorial conference/chat over Google Hangouts. And I, personally, only ever apply for the type of jobs which require me to work primarily with some type of word-processing software, as opposed to the far greater power needed to do something involving heavy graphics or video work.

That said: though my current computer is not remotely good enough to be a gaming or graphics computer today, likely it would be kickass by the standards of 20 years ago -- and the level of internet capability which today is only needed for luxury stuff like data-hungry gaming, or movie-library downloads, before too long that'll be the bare minimum capacity required to just do the equivalent of watching YouTube videos.
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Highway
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Highway »

Jadagul wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 15:25
Highway wrote: 28 Jan 2020, 11:30 I think that there is a major difference, in that the connected world we have now makes it much easier to predict usage, and therefore return on investment. There's a reason things like high speed rail haven't been built in the US: nobody thinks it's worth doing with their own money on the line. And they're exactly right.

And it's not like there aren't replacement things for the projects that haven't been built. Air travel more than provides the fast transport that HSR could only aspire to.

The only things I can think of that would be an infrastructure project on this scale are replacements of existing stuff. Replacing all of the fossil fuel electric generation with something else. Replacing all the water or sewer pipes. Replacing all the roads with some other type (don't ask me what).
There are two different issues. One is whether infrastructure is worth building, under current parameters.

The other is why infrastructure has gotten so slow and expensive to build. (And ours is slow and expensive even compared to, like, France.)

Obviously there's _some_ price at which HSR would be worth building. If it were genuinely gonna cost ten dollars to build HSR from Los Angeles to SF, everyone would support it! Pushing costs down is worthwhile on principle, and then as they go down, more projects become cost-effective.

This is not to say that we can push them down far enough to make X pet project worthwhile. (Obviously you're not building HSR for ten dollars.) But the slowness and cost is a problem standing on its own.
Well, from my perspective in the industry, a lot of the reasons that infrastructure has gotten slow and expensive to build are good things, primarily accounting for externalities that previously would have been ignored (wetlands, stormwater control, sediment control), intentionally / unintentionally made worse (disparate impact on the poors because noone's going to stand up for them), or just not thought of (say, impacts to traffic and other neighborhoods not directly wiped out by the project).

So yes, there are things that are still more expensive to build, in the US, but a lot of the reasons are things we don't necessarily want to give up, because giving them up now means that there will be noone in our corner when the next project comes for us.

Another reason for increased cost is the attached requirements to the construction of things: One thing that people make a huge deal about as far as cost and time to build is roadways, particularly major roadway upgrades. But there is one main reason for that: We cannot close the road we have to reconstruct it. Noone's going to accept a complete shutdown of their beltway so that a lane can be added all around, or the bridges can be reconstructed to accommodate that lane. We could do roadway projects in probably 1/3 the time of construction, and maybe 3/4 the cost, if we could shut the road completely down. But that's unacceptable. So we spend a lot of money on phased construction to keep what we have open as much as possible.

There's also the fact that there just isn't the cost savings to be had. Like with rail: it's gonna cost 100 million dollars per mile, at the cheapest. And that's a 10 years ago number from a study we did, it's probably closer to 150 million per mile. Excluding right of way. That's just building it on your land. Sometimes some yahoo comes along like Elon Musk and says "oh, it'd be way cheaper this way." But I notice that there aren't tunnels anywhere from The Boring Company, and the Hyperloop companies are about on the same level as a Land Speed Record attempt: a curiosity with no funding, because there's no real promise or potential reward.
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Mo
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Re: Infrastructure

Post by Mo »

The problem is that infrastructure in the US costs at least 3x-20x of what it costs to build in other industrialized countries. The 2nd Avenue line is 10x more expensive than the German equivalent and 20x more than the Italian ones
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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