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Found 21 results

  1. (Courtesy of The Canadian Press) OT: How about also raising the spending limit for shopping in the US. Would be nice if we could come back after a a day with $500 CDN (goods) and week with $2000 CDN (goods)
  2. Le jeudi 19 juin 2008 Un règlement sévère sur le bruit dans Ville-Marie La Presse L'arrondissement de Ville-Marie a été le premier à Montréal à imposer de sévères amendes contre ceux qui salissent les voies publiques. Il est maintenant le premier à infliger des amendes extrêmement sévères contre les citoyens et les entreprises qui font du bruit. Le règlement sur le bruit de l'arrondissement a en effet été modifié, ce jeudi après-midi, lors d'une séance spéciale de l'arrondissement, afin de responsabiliser la population à la nécessité de limiter les agressions sonores commises de jour ou de nuit. «Cette modification était nécessaire, a dit le maire de Ville-Marie, Benoit Labonté, chef du parti Vision Montréal. Nous avions constaté qu'un grand nombre d'établissements généraient une pression du niveau acoustique qui perturbe l'environnement, particulièrement dans des zones mixtes commerciales et résidentielles.» Les modifications visent la musique diffusée à l'extérieur, les cris, les clameurs «ou autre forme de tapage». Pour les particuliers, les amendes varient de 300 $ à 1000 $ pour une première infraction, de 1000 $ à 3000 $ pour une récidive, et de 3000 $ à 10 000 $ pour une récidive additionnelle. Les commerçants et les entreprises coupables d'avoir généré du bruit pourront recevoir quant à eux des amendes variant de 1500 $ à 12 000 $. Le directeur général de l'arrondissement, Alain Dufort, a précisé que Ville-Marie reçoit en moyenne de 50 à 80 plaintes par année pour du bruit. Le conseiller municipal Sammy Forcillo a critiqué les modifications apportées en se demandant si les citoyens qui fêteront la Saint-Jean seront, par exemple, exposés aux foudres de ce règlement. «Veut-on tuer une mouche avec un canon?», a demandé M. Forcillo, membre du parti Union Montréal. «Les sociétés de développement commercial ont-elles été invitées à se prononcer sur ce règlement?», a ajouté la conseillère municipale (Union Montréal) Catherine Sévigny. Le maire Labonté n'a pas répondu mais a dit que ces modifications s'adressent «aux gens qui menacent la qualité de vie des citoyens» pas «à ceux qui comprennent la première fois». M. Forcillo et Mme Sévigny ont voté contre les modifications au règlement sur le bruit. Par ailleurs, l'arrondissement a annoncé qu'il fournira une somme de 150 000 $ à la radio communautaire CIBL si elle déménage sa station, actuellement située sur le boulevard Pie-IX, dans Ville-Marie. La radio pourrait occuper de nouveaux locaux dans le Quartier des spectacles. Hey, on se croirait à Toronto! Est ce que ça veux dire que les Bars du Boul St-Laurent ou de Ste-Catherine devront couper la musique à partir de 23:00 pour faire plaisir aux osties de NIMBY's???
  3. La Presse threatens union with closure By Mike King, The Gazette September 4, 2009 La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Gazette file photo MONTREAL – La Presse, North America’s largest French-language broadsheet, will stop publication Dec. 1 if its 700 employees don’t give up $13 million in concessions between now and that date. Caroline Jamet, the 125-year-old newspaper’s vice-president of communications, confirmed publisher Guy Crevier sent the staff an email yesterday informing the workers they have three months to reach an agreement to avoid suspension of both the paper and its website, cyberpresse.ca. In acknowledging La Presse’s current business model “has no chance of surviving,” Crevier noted how management has cut its share of the $26 million needed to be reduced this year to continue operations and that contract negotiations must be sped up to get the other half from the 600 unionized workers. “We have to reduce our cost structure and the only missing link is the contribution of the employees,” Jamet told The Gazette. She said the main issue is the 32-hour, four-day work week that the company wants changed to 35 hours over five days because of the expense of extra staff for that fifth day. That move would likely result in the loss of about 100 jobs, but Jamet added retirements and voluntary departures could reduce the number of layoffs. Crevier, also president of Gesca Ltée – the Power Corp. of Canada subsidiary that owns and publishes La Presse and other French-language papers in the province and Ontario – listed what was done to cut $13 million: • Ceased publication of its Sunday paper June 28 • Reduced the size of the paper to reduce paper costs • Put a voluntary departure program in place • Concluded agreements with financial institutions for new financing, including to cover the “seriously underfunded” pension plan. He first announced to employees in June that, facing an anticipated $215 million deficit by 2013, the paper was seeking to cut costs by $26 million annually over the next five years. It was at that meeting the decision on the Sunday paper was made known. Union leader Hélène De Guise said the longer work week is one of the items being negotiated as well as the possibility of trimming employees’ vacation time. But she added the bargaining team wants to further analyze Crevier’s pronouncement before making any further comments. The last collective agreement expired Dec. 31. Crevier ended his missive stating: “The future of La Presse, your future, is in your hands. It’s up to you to decide.” Jamet, also spokesperson for Gesca, said the measures being taken at La Presse presently have no effect on the chain’s other dailies: Le Soleil in Quebec City, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, La Voix de l’Est in Granby, Le Quotidien in Saguenay and Le Droit in Ottawa. It is up to the publishers at each of those papers to identify how to cut their costs, she added. In July, the Boston Globe’s union approved a package of $10 million in wage and benefits cuts after owner The New York Times had threatened earliler this year to close New England’s biggest paper unless major concessions were made. The same thing happened at the San Francisco Chronicle in March in order to avoid being closed by the Hearst Corp. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  4. General Motors et Chrysler auraient entrepris des discussions préliminaires en vue d'une union, selon deux grands quotidiens américains. Pour en lire plus...
  5. Je dois me charger de l'argent envoyé de l'étranger et je ne peux pas communiquer avec le contacter western union branche dans ma ville. Conseils?
  6. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Whole+Foods+grocery+chain+seeks+locations+Montreal/8423890/story.html#ixzz2UBTI7njo I would so love to see them here. One could only hope, if they do open Loblaws (now being rebranded as Provigo) and Metro will finally serve a better assortment of warm meals.
  7. We get our petrol from Alberta, I know its more costly than a Saudi operation, seeing its oil sand and what not. Plus all the taxes, but with the situation in Libya why are people freaking out about oil production, when we have our own shit. For one why should our prices go up, if we produce and refine our own petrol The way I see it, if people in Canada raise their gas prices because of Libya, they are just profiting from people's stupid fear. Plus what we are paying doesn't make sense already, but thats just me. We pay around 0.16 cents per liter. Actually, I might have figured out my question. Seeing most oil prices are set by outside production (i.e OPEC) that was really effects the price, which to be if thats the case, fuck them and their oil politics and Canada and other countries should form a new oil union for other countries who want off OPEC oil and want something else. -end /rant.
  8. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/nyregion/06broadway.html?_r=2&ref=michael_m_grynbaum&pagewanted=all Ceux qui n'aiment pas les "piétonisations" à Mtl devront s'y faire. C'est un mouvement de fond, et généralisé.....
  9. (Courtesy of Ars Technica) I wonder if something like this will happen in Canada or Quebec lol
  10. Montreal shopkeepers told to put brooms away Graeme Hamilton, National Post Published: Saturday, July 19, 2008 A labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates the city's collective agreement.Dave Sidaway, Canwest News Service File PhotoA labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates ... MONTREAL - A bylaw adopted last year obliging shopkeepers and apartment owners in downtown Montreal to sweep in front of their properties has spruced up the city. Fewer cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers litter the sidewalks, and garbage bags are no longer left out for days before the trucks pass. But acting on a complaint from the union representing Montreal's blue-collar employees, a labour arbitrator has ruled that the bylaw violates the city's collective agreement with its workers. Sidewalkcleaning is the exclusive domain of the blue-collars, arbitrator Andre Rousseau concluded, and the city has no business enlisting "volunteers" to do the work. The decision effectively means that city sidewalks and streets are a closed union shop, so anyone taking a broom in hand had better watch out. The blue-collars are notoriously jealous of their turf. In 2003, workers waged a campaign of intimidation against private contractors who had been hired by the city for such jobs as cutting grass and repairing sidewalks. Jean-Yves Hinse, Montreal's director of professional relations, said the city will appeal the ruling to Quebec Superior Court. "If it is interpreted broadly, not a minute goes by that we are not breaking the collective agreement," Mr. Hinse said. "Someone is picking up some paper, someone is sweeping his balcony." Mr. Hinse also worried that the ruling undermines efforts to foster a sense of civic responsibility in Montrealers. "We don't want Montreal to become a dump," he said. "Everyone has their responsibilities. We want citizens to have the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean and safe. It's an appeal to their civic virtues." The cleanliness bylaw was introduced in 2007 after city officials despaired that Montreal was becoming overrun with garbage. Fines range from $125 to $2,000 for individuals, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Companies can be fined up to $4,000. Benoit Labonte, Mayor of the downtown borough of Ville-Marie, boasted last month that 2,700 tickets had been issued in the first year of the bylaw's application, with fines totalling more than $1-million. "I congratulate all citizens, because during the past year we have seen a clear improvement in the cleanliness of the borough," he said. But the bylaw had been in force less than a month when Michel Parent, president of the blue-collar union, filed a grievance complaining the city was assigning blue-collar work to "volunteers or non-profit groups," which is not permitted under the collective agreement. The city countered that it was simply imposing duties on property owners, who are not volunteers in the sense of the collective agreement. Mr. Rousseau concluded that sweeping the streets and sidewalks customarily falls under the blue-collars' jurisdiction. The bylaw, he said, "patently aims to give citizens responsibilities similar to those that are usually given to blue-collar employees." He ordered the city to ensure cleaning of sidewalks, roads and laneways was done by its employees. Mr. Parent said the city should hire more workers if it wants a tidy city. "If this is work that was done by blue-collar employees, it should continue to be done by blue-collar employees," he told Radio-Canada. "We are fighting to save those jobs." Peter Sergakis, an outspoken property owner who was initially critical of the bylaw, acknowledged that the city is now cleaner. "The blue-collar workers wouldn't bend to pick up a cigarette butt. They're spoiled," he said. "I don't have much faith that they're going to clean the sidewalk. I think we're going to go back to the dirt." The case is unlikely to help the union's image problem. Union members were suspected of vandalizing private contractors' equipment during a labour dispute and dumping pig manure in the apartment building of an elected city official. In the winter of 2006, as potholes cratered Montreal streets, an internal city investigation secretly followed three work crews. The 10 workers enjoyed marathon lunch breaks but only managed to fill nine potholes over three days. [email protected]
  11. Montreal Croupiers Take Electronic Poker Table Battle to Court by PokerPages.com Mon, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 12:00am Three unions representing 1,450 croupiers at Quebec area casinos lodged a request with Quebec Superior Court to force the board that regulates gambling in the province, the Regie des alcools des courses et des jeux, to address complaints that the 25 automated electronic Texas Hold'em poker tables installed Jan. 18 at the Montreal Casino are illegal. The croupiers, who have been without a contract since Dec. 21, 2006, are in ongoing discussions with the Societe des casinos du Quebec. The croupiers say the tables are illegal and charmless. The PokerPro tables, made by PokerTek, a North Carolina USA-based company, do not meet Quebec's legal requirement that slot machines be pure games of chance, said Jean-Pierre Proulx, a spokesperson for the croupiers union, affiliated with the Quebec Federation of Labour. Proulx maintains that poker has a large element of strategy as well as chance, so should not be treated the same as a slot machine. The union has been waiting for a ruling from the Regie on the legality of the machines. 43 Electronic Tables Already Installed Besides the 25 automated poker tables installed at the Montreal, 13 have been installed at Lac Leamy in Gatineau and 5 in Charlevoix. According to Vito Casucci, a spokesman for Pokertek, the machines can deal 50 per cent faster than human dealers, allowing customers to spend their money faster. The union is concerned that casino staff may consequently lose their jobs and that the new poker rooms represent a trend toward more electronic games. According to a union spokesperson, the Regie has steadfastly refused to meet with them or confirm that a complaint against the introduction of the dealer-free machines has been lodged. The union filed a complaint with Quebec's alcohol and gaming regulator Dec. 7, arguing that the absence of a human dealer makes the tables illegal under Quebec law. "We are asking the court to make a ruling that the Regie has to meet with us," union spokesperson Jean-Pierre Proulx said. "They have not responded to our demands, they put our lawyer on hold and said they have no file of our complaint. Technically, the Regie is not doing their job." He said the croupiers' unions, affiliated with the Quebec Federation of Labour and representing workers from Montreal, Gatineau and Charlevoix, complained to the Regie twice in December and twice this month. Regie spokesperson Rejean Theriault said receipt of the complaints was acknowledged but the situation could not be analyzed until the machines were opened Jan. 18. "It's like investigating a murder when there's no body," Theriault said. http://www.pokerpages.com/poker-news/news/montreal-croupiers-take-electronic-poker-table-battle-to-court--30339.htm
  12. Montréal 1957, Archives de la Ville de Montréal Francais: ( ) ( ) English: ( ) ( ) Where is the located (University at St-Antoine)? And when/why did the MGH stop flying the ?
  13. http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/Grand+Plaza+hotel+shuts+doors/3633909/story.html [sTREETVIEW]http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=45.518145,-73.567035&num=1&t=h&sll=45.546981,-73.642344&sspn=0.018805,0.062013&ie=UTF8&layer=c&cbll=45.518051,-73.56697&panoid=2VUOMSEo3-GQUABb5zEK8A&cbp=12,341.92,,0,-31.42&ll=45.518136,-73.583336&spn=0.02138,0.054932&z=15[/sTREETVIEW] [MAPS]http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=45.518145,-73.567035&num=1&t=h&sll=45.546981,-73.642344&sspn=0.018805,0.062013&ie=UTF8&ll=45.518045,-73.566964&spn=0.005375,0.013733&z=17[/MAPS]
  14. 1-50 Regulation in Effect for all Aircrafts as of August 1, 2015 Transport Canada has announced that the 1:50 ratio will be the new regulation in effect for both wide and narrow-bodied aircraft effective August 1, 2015. Airlines will be able to “flip flop” between the former 1:40 ratio and the new 1:50 ratio according to their operational requirements. Exit doors may also be left uncovered on wide-bodied aircraft, a major change from previous proposed regulations. Your Union views this development as a completely unacceptable and unnecessary risk to the safety of both crewmembers and the public. In changing the regulation without the usual consultation process, Transport Canada and the Harper government continue to act on behalf of the airline industry and in a manner that is without sufficient parliamentary and public scrutiny. Decades of privatization, deregulation and hyper-competition have led to a relentless drive to cut labour costs. Transport Canada makes no secret of this, and has calculated that the regulation will allow operators to achieve cost savings of $288,469,940 during the next ten years by reducing the number of Flight Attendants and associated costs including salaries, hotel stays and per diems. To read the new regulation, please see: http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-06-17/html/sor-dors127-eng.php. For the federal government and its transportation officials to so baldly place profit over safety is a national disgrace. It appears this government has learned nothing from the rail tragedy in Lac Megantic, which has also been linked to deregulation and the loosening of safety rules Your Union is reviewing all available options to continue our legal fight against the 1:50. We will update you on our intended response as soon as possible. We also look forward to the upcoming federal election, which we are confident will oust Harper and elect a government that supports worker rights and public safety. But to achieve that goal, our members must do their part. The Airline Division Political Action Committee will be working hard between now and the election to turn out Flight Attendants to vote. We will bring the full weight of our safety expertise forward to the new government and the public. Our research on this issue has been extensive, and is grounded in the real life understanding of the safety risks associated with reduced cabin crew. In fact, we believe our members’ real life experience is the best possible evidence that 1:50 jeopardizes safety, disrupts service, and reduces the job satisfaction and morale of Flight Attendants. During the past several months we have been compiling our members’ stories about the effect of 1:50. In the coming weeks, we will publish a series of bulletins that capture the voices of members describing how 1:50 has affected them on and off the job. Each bulletin will describe a different aspect of how 1:50 has affected them, including at work where members report increased fatigue, anxiety about decreased safety and service; and at home, where members report reduced income, greater stress and depression, and harm to personal relationships and overall wellbeing. These stories are gleaned from the responses of well over 100 Flight Attendants who responded to questionnaires made available by the Component and CUPE Local 4092. We encourage members to continue to share their stories in the months to come. Please follow the next bulletins. Your Union remains committed to fighting the 1:50 ratio on the legal, regulatory, and political levels. http://accomponent.ca/
  15. Montréal Presse Canadienne (PC) 24/08/2007 15h17 Un affaissement engorge le centre-ville On s'inquiète d'un affaissement de terrain en plein centre-ville de Montréal. Les pompiers sont sur place pour vérifier l'impact de cet effondrement sur le Montréal sous terrain et la structure du magasin La Baie et d'autres commerces du secteur. La circulation est interrompue sur le boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest entre les rues Union et Aylmer. Le métro est fermé entre les stations Berri et Lionel-Groulx. La STM offre un service d'autobus complémentaire. L'affaiblissement apparent de la structure du métro a forcé les autorités à évacuer des centaines de personnes, en début d'après-midi, vendredi, au centre-ville de Montréal. Personne n'a toutefois été blessé, selon le Service des incendie. Un appel a été logé au 911, vers 13h30, au sujet de fissures apparues au niveau sous-terrain du magasin La Baie, dans les tunnels menant au métro. Une partie du deuxième sous-sol se serait affaissé. Des fissures étaient aussi visible dans la chaussée du boulevard Maisonneuve Ouest. Un périmètre établi entre les rues Union et Aylmer a été évacué. Des ingénieurs sont sur place pour examiner les lieux et l'état des structures. Le service a été suspendu sur la ligne verte du métro, entre les stations Atwater et Berri-UQAM.
  16. Interesting video from a MIT economy teacher: http://wallstreetpit.com/13455-simon-johnson-says-the-crisis-is-just-beginning http://www.smh.com.au/business/call-that-a-crisis-stand-by-for-the-worst-is-yet-to-come-20100108-lyzc.html World leaders and central bankers cannot count their chickens yet, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. The contraction of the money supply in the US and Europe over the past six months will slowly puncture economic recovery as 2010 unfolds, with the time-honoured lag of a year or so. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, will be caught off guard, just as he was in mid-2008 when the Fed drove straight through a red warning light with talk of imminent rate rises - the final error that triggered the implosion of Lehman, American International Group and the Western banking system. As the great bear rally of 2009 runs into the greater Chinese Wall of excess global capacity, it will become clear that we are in the grip of a 21st-century depression - more akin to Japan's lost decade than the 1840s or 1930s, but nothing like the normal cycles of the postwar era. The surplus regions - China, Japan, Northern Europe (or Germania), the Gulf - have not increased demand enough to compensate for belt-tightening in the deficit bloc - the Anglo-sphere, Southern Europe (or Club Med), Eastern Europe - and fiscal adrenalin is already fading in Europe. The vast East-West imbalances that caused the credit crisis are no better a year later, and perhaps worse. Household debt as a share of gross domestic product sits near record levels in two-fifths of the world economy. Our long purge has barely begun. That is the elephant in the global tent. Yields on AAA German, French, US and Canadian bonds will slither back down for a while in a fresh deflation scare. Exit strategies will go back into the deep freeze. Far from ending the practice of central banks buying their own governments' bonds (known as quantitative easing, or QE), the Fed will step it up. Bernanke will get religion again and ram down 10-year US Treasury yields, quietly targeting 2.5 per cent. The funds will try to play the liquidity game yet again, piling into crude oil, gold and Russian equities but this time returns will be meagre. They will learn to respect secular deflation. Weak sovereign wealth funds will buckle. The shocker will be Japan, our Weimar-in-waiting. This is the year when Tokyo finds it can no longer borrow at 1 per cent from a captive bond market, and when it must foot the bill for all those fiscal packages that seemed such a good idea at the time. Every auction of Japanese Government bonds will be a news event as the public debt punches above 225 per cent of GDP. Once the dam breaks, debt service costs will tear the budget to pieces. The Bank of Japan will pull the emergency lever on QE. The country will flip from deflation to incipient hyperinflation. The yen will fall out of bed, outdoing China's yuan in the beggar-thy-neighbour race to the bottom. By then China, too, will be in a quandary. Wild credit growth can mask the weakness of its mercantilist export model for a while but only at the price of an asset bubble. Beijing must hit the brakes this year or store up serious trouble. It will make as big a hash of this as Western central banks did in 2007-08. The European Central Bank will stick to its Wagnerian course, standing aloof as ugly loan books set off wave two of Europe's banking woes. The Bundesbank will veto proper QE until it is too late, deeming it an implicit German bail-out for Club Med. More hedge funds will join the European Monetary Union divergence play, betting that the north-south split has gone beyond the point of no return for a currency union. This will enrage the Euro-group. Brussels will dust down its paper exploring the legal basis for capital controls. Italy's Economy and Finance Minister, Giulio Tremonti, will suggest using European Union anti-terrorism legislation against ''speculators''. Wage cuts will prove a self-defeating policy for Club Med, trapping it in textbook debt-deflation. The victims will start to notice this. Articles will appear in the Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese press airing doubts about EMU. Eurosceptic professors will be ungagged. Heresy will spread into mainstream parties. Greece's Prime Minister, George Papandreou, will baulk at EMU immolation. The Hellenic Socialists will call Europe's bluff, extracting loans that gain time but solve nothing. Berlin will climb down and pay, but only once. In the end the euro's fate will be decided by strikes, street protest and car bombs as the primacy of politics returns. I doubt that 2010 will see the denouement but the mood music will be bad enough to knock the euro off its stilts. The US dollar rally will gather pace. America's economy - though sick - will shine within the even sicker Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. The British will need a gilts crisis to shatter their complacency. In time the Dunkirk spirit will rise again. The pre-emptive QE by the Bank of England's governor, Mervyn King, and timely devaluation will bear fruit this year, sparing Britain the worst. By mid to late 2010, we will have lanced the biggest boils of the global system. Only then, amid fear and investor revulsion, will we touch bottom. That will be the buying opportunity of our lives.
  17. I see all the projects either proposed or currently in construction, one has to think that Montreal is booming again. Correct me if i'm wrong but there are following skyscrapers going up or proposed: FTQ Marriott Altitude CF Bell Center Land in front of bell centre (parking lot) Waldorf-Astoria Tour Union Altoria Rio Tinto Place de La Cite Internationale CHUM / CHRUM MUHC Griffintown One has to think that Montreal is now in catch-up mode.
  18. The most expensive tunnel in the world Jul 29th 2012, 17:28 by N.B. | WASHINGTON, D.C. EARLIER this month, Amtrak, America's government-owned passenger rail corporation, released a plan outlining how it's going to spend $151 billion it doesn't currently have (and has no prospect of receiving anytime soon) to bring true high-speed trains to America's crucial Boston-New York-Washington rail axis. Gulliver has already explained why Amtrak's project is ambitious, expensive, and unlikely. But the more you delve into the details of the plans, the sillier they appear. Take, for example, Amtrak's proposal to bore a 10-mile rail tunnel underneath Philadelphia. As Steve Stofka, a transport blogger, explains, this proposal would require the most expensive type of tunnel imaginable—"It is freaking expensive to bore a ten-mile-long tunnel through an alluvial floodplain under a highly urbanised area—and to maintain it, since it will reside below the water table," Mr Stofka writes. At $10 billion, he notes that the project would be about three times as expensive per mile as the Gotthard Base Tunnel under the Swiss Alps. And all this is for marginal improvements in speed and access. The tracks around and through Philadelphia aren't, generally, big obstacles to high-speed rail—the tunnels in and around Baltimore, Maryland are. It would be much cheaper to replace Baltimore's terrible tunnels than to build a fancy new one under Philadelphia. The Philadelphia tunnel, unfortunately, isn't even the worst part of Amtrak's plan. That honour goes to a $7 billion renovation of Washington's Union Station (pictured), which Slate's Matthew Yglesias rightly calls "insane". Amtrak's cost estimate is many times higher than for similar projects in Europe. And as Mr Yglesias notes, it seems that Amtrak doesn't have its priorities straight: [F]rom the look of Amtrak's proposal in addition to the high unit costs problem, there seems to be an awful lot of emphasis on doing stuff that has no really clear operational benefits. For example, they don't like the fact that right now Union Station's existing platforms have unsightly and inconvenient columns in the middle of them. To get rid of the columns, they need to scrap the 2,000-space parking deck that they're supporting. Then they want to replace the parking deck with a 5,000-space four-level underground garage. That's an awful lot of money to spend on something that has minimal operational value from the standpoint of actually operating a railroad. There's no doubt that America's big east-coast cities could benefit from access to true high-speed rail. But before it gets the funding necessary to make that happen, Amtrak should put forth a credible, smart proposal that puts the needs of passengers and the public first. I have taken Amtrak trains out of Union Station several hundred times. I've never given more than a moment's thought to the "unsightly and inconvenient" columns on the platforms, but I have noticed how trains crawl through the tunnels in Baltimore and move much more slowly, overall, than similar trains in Europe. Renovating Union Station and replacing its parking garage isn't likely to make Amtrak's trains go any faster. Amtrak needs to get a handle on which kind of projects are worth billions of taxpayer dollars—and which aren't. http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2012/07/rail-renovations