California One of 4 HSR Stimulus Finalists?

Dec 20th, 2009 | Posted by

UPDATE: Mica now claims he was “misquoted”. Original post begins here:

That’s the claim of Congressman John Mica, Republican from Florida:

Florida is one of four finalists in the running for billions of federal stimulus dollars to build high-speed rail, U.S. Rep. John Mica said Friday.

California, Texas and the Chicago area also remain in the competition, said Mica, a Winter Park Republican. He would not reveal the source of his information…

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Rob Kulat, disputed Mica’s announcement, saying: “We are still evaluating applications. I haven’t seen a list because I’m told it doesn’t exist.”

That’s not exactly a denial. If those four states weren’t finalists, the FRA spokesman would have come out and said so. “Still evaluating” and “haven’t seen a list” are statements compatible with there being an informal decision to pick CA, FL, TX and Chicago area as the four recipients of funds.

Obviously we won’t know what’s really going on until the FRA makes its formal announcement of HSR stimulus recipients, which will probably happen sometime next month. But we can at least take a look at what this might mean for California if it does turn out to be true.

As we know, California’s HSR application was for $4.7 billion, to fund construction on four corridors: SF-San José, Merced-Fresno, Fresno-Bakersfield, and LA-Anaheim. Florida requested $2.6 billion, Illinois requested $550 million for Chicago to St. Louis upgrades, and Texas has requested $1.8 billion to work on their T-Bone HSR project.

Altogether that’s $9.65 billion, so some applications would have to be funded at a less-than-complete level. The FRA will award funding according to corridors, and won’t unilaterally adjust the amount requested for each corridor. What this means is that California’s $1.28 billion request for the SF-SJ section might not get funded, which would bring the level down to $8.37 billion, potentially easier for the FRA to play with in order to award the $8 billion in available funds.

Although Mica’s report is plausible, it would be curious if the Obama Administration chose to fund a project in Texas over other applications from key swing states. Both Virginia ($1.75 for DC-Richmond) and North Carolina ($3.9 billion for Charlotte-Raleigh-Richmond) applied for funding, and both states were crucial to Obama’s 2008 victory and will be again in 2012. The grandaddy of all the swing states, Ohio, requested $564 million for the “3C” project linking Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. If the FRA chose to replace Texas with the Ohio funding, they’d be much closer to $8 billion. And other states, such as Pennsylvania, submitted several funding requests in the $400-$500 million range that could then be funded as well, making more people happy in the process.

My own prediction has always been that California would not get the full $4.7 billion – that we would probably get $3 to $4 billion. If the FRA chose to not fund SF-SJ but fund the others, that would award us around $3.42 billion, right in the middle of the range I’ve expected. The feds would be helping fund the Central Valley test track and the LA-Anaheim route, both of which would be highly visible examples of HSR that can build public support to ensure the system gets fully funded and built by 2020.

  1. Alon Levy
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:56
    #1

    That Obama is planning to distribute grant money based on how good each corridor is as transportation and not how good it is as pork is a good thing.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Concur.

    Awards should be based on merits of the project and strength of application…. and perhaps some consieration to geographic equity. No pork or trying to persuade voters, please.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Realize that HSR has already been derided as “pork” – remember the “Casino train” nonsense being peddled by Eric Cantor and others back in February when the $8 billion for HSR funding was announced as part of the stimulus?

    I really think that transit advocates should be cautious when using the term “pork.” It obscures more than it reveals. There are worthy transit projects and unworthy ones, though given how much transit we need in this country, I’m hard pressed to think of which ones aren’t worthy.

    Even the derided Gravina Island, Alaska “bridge to nowhere” had a logic to it – build the bridge to enable Ketchikan to grow. That doesn’t mean it should have been funded, but the notion of “pork” calls to mind unnecessary spending that has no other defense besides its political utility.

    And so such a term doesn’t help much when it comes to HSR.

    There’s ALWAYS a political element to any federal funding decision. That cannot be eliminated. But we can and should strive for an HSR strategy that prioritizes a transparent process of determining a project’s worth.

    Besides, if it takes a little bit of “pork” to get more Senators to buy in to the notion of supporting long-term federal HSR funding, it would seem a price worth paying.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Well, I don’t believe in “pork” – most federal spending is good and worthwhile spending that doesn’t deserve the label of “pork.” Pretty much all of these HSR stimulus applications are deserving of funding. And I very much support the notion of awarding these rather limited funds on the basis of merit, however “merit” is defined.

    That being said, there’s often some element of politicization of the awarding of these funds. If that occurs here, then my guess in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina would be the beneficiaries. Florida, of course, was another of the two key swing states from the last decade that went Obama’s way.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think it’s defensible to say most federal spending is good. In fact much of the overspending on roads and the military comes from specific pork projects for members of Congress. There are plenty of military projects even McCain opposes, and plenty of road projects that got added to the Interstate system as a way of bribing Western states. Farm programs are even worse – taking out the political element to them, they’re counterproductive, and piss off every third-world country the US is trying to court.

    The problem is that politicization doesn’t even give you good HSR at the end. According to Anthony Perl, France and Japan got their systems because of the strength of the central government, which could build the most logical lines first. Germany, which had to balance spending across multiple regions, could never construct a complete high-speed mainline, and ICE ridership is unsurprisingly much lower than TGV and Shinkansen ridership.

    trainsintokyo Reply:

    And even then, as you know, Japan got some lines of dubious value (i.e. Joetsu Shinkansen) due to politicization. (To be honest, I’ve used the Joetsu Shinkansen several times and it is quite useful in the winter when the expressways in and out of Niigata shut down due to snow, so perhaps I’m just an ungrateful outsider…)

    Spokker Reply:

    Some armchair HSR planners like to refer to the almost idyllic transportation systems overseas as if none of them are tainted by political influence, as if trains never break down there, as if there are never problems that riders bitch about. No, they are perfect.

    Give me a break. It’s great to learn lessons from other nations (and that goes for issues unrelated to HSR, like health care for one), but if trains travel between LA and SF in three hours, I’m not going to bitch that it wasn’t exactly how the French did it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, this is true – after Tokaido succeeded, everyone wanted a line. SNCF is now in the same position as JNR in the 1970s, building HSR to small cities to satisfy the local politicians; to carry the JNR/SNCF parallel further, SNCF has just reported that with the latest trackage fee increase, it’s going to start losing money next year.

    Rafael Reply:

    And if they don’t run a deficit, RFF will. Both are entirely state-owned, so the change is really about making sure SNCF’s EU competitors will have to cover more of the total cost once they have to be permitted to run services on the French network. For now, only DB does (on the TGV Est), in the context of a strictly bilateral agreement.

  2. HSRforCali
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:11
    #2

    What the heck does Texas need $1.8 billion for? Last I heard, they still have to do an environmental review and right-of-way studies. I don’t see why you’d need that much money just to conduct studies.

    Article on Texas High-Speed Rail: http://www.star-telegram.com/local/story/1841686.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They really want the only Metroplex stop to be at the airport?

    All I can say is,

    Alon Levy Reply:

    http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn247/neutralgreymiddle/headbang.gif

    Why, oh, why can’t I embed images into comments?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Look at your Terms of Service agreement for Photobucket. They ban linking to pictures, though in this case it looks like they have disabled the account due to inactivity. In other words link to a host that allows links to pictures.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not even my photo – it’s something I grabbed on Google image search.

    Here’s another attempt:

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Whoever the photo belongs to, they agreed to Photobucket’s TOS which says they won’t serve pictures from outside their bailiwick. When I click on the URL that ends in /headbang.gif they serve back a image titled custom-disabled-linking-img.gif. The text in that image says neutralgreymiddle has been inactive for more than 90 days. When I go find the picture on his pages there’s a nice banner urging him to upgrade to “Pro” … Photobucket isn’t in business to amuse us, they are in business to make money. If they go out and buy servers and employ people to maintain them and pay lots and lots of money for bandwidth they can do things like block pictures. Pick pictures on server that allow people to link to them. Things like this test using an aninmated gif.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The second attempt was me uploading the photo to Imageshack, which says it supports hotlinking…

    Anyway: http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/5963/headbang.gif

    Enjoy.

    Rafael Reply:

    While I support the idea of HSR in Texas, I don’t see how they can start spending $1.8 billion by the Sep 30, 2012 time frame.

    Why even suggest eliminating the SF-SJ segment of the California HSR project for ARRA funding? It is much further along in terms of its environmental review than Texas HSR. Florida can at least claim to have made substantial investments in preserving the I-4 median, though the lack of service to downtown Orlando and Lakeland undermines the utility of phase 1. USDOT shouldn’t fund an HSR project just because the trains are fast and shiny – it actually has to serve an identified high demand for transportation.

    Just $550 million for a single route in the Midwest (Chicago-St.Louis) seems paltry to me. Environmental planning on other routes, e.g. Cleveland-Colmbus-Cinnicinnati, is also reportedly well advanced.

  3. BruceMcF
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:16
    #3

    You’d still be better off shifting as much of that as feasible from the ARRA funding, where a 50:50 match has been promised to the $2.5b annual appropriation, where a 20:80 match is quite plausible. $2b from ARRA and $1b from the annual appropriation (could be more, as few states are in a position to offer state matches in the $100m’s / $1b’s range) is a smaller long term funding gap than $3b from ARRA.

  4. jim
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:38
    #4

    I doubt that there is “a list.” There’s probably several lists. If the announcement is to be made mid-January (which is what has hitherto been indicated), then it’s likely the tech panels have already completed their scoring of the applications. Szabo’s staff would then create a bunch of lists, each adding up to $8B, differing according to non-technical criteria, for him to choose among. It’s possible that Mica was shown one of those lists — perhaps a “push 150+mph” list.

  5. jimsf
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 12:13
    #5

    I still don’t think florida is a good candidate for it at all. Id rather see florida’s money go to ohio or virginia.

  6. jimsf
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 12:13
    #6

    and I do believe in using money to get votes in order to stay in power.

    HSRforCali Reply:

    If Florida’s system was a downtown to downtown system, it’d make a whole lot more sense. Instead, it’s an extremely expensive airport connector. If I were the DOT, I’d require their first phase go into Downtown Orlando. I mean come on, even their Miami extension only takes it to Miami Airport, not Downtown!

    jimsf Reply:

    It needs to go from south beach to downtown miama, downtown FTL, and downtown ORL and TPA. and perhaps local wayside stops at the three cruise terminals.

    Joey Reply:

    Can you loose the IATA codes? It makes sense but it seems unnecessarily technical especially since we’re talking about cities and not airports.

    jimsf Reply:

    (ps those are city codes (railroad codes and mainly downtown) not airport codes= sorry the codes are just automatic to me)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In normal cities it makes sense to bring HSR to downtown. Downtown is the major destination and where the mass transit is. Orlando is not a normal city. The major destination is the theme parks.Densest concentrations of employment is at the theme parks or the airport. The busiest mass transit corridor, if you include the hotel shuttle buses, is between the airport and the theme parks. They are bringing HSR to the places where they will get the highest ridership. Someday, when HSR goes to Jacksonville for instance, they can bring HSR downtown.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Anaheim has a theme park, too, and even there they’re building an intermodal transit center instead of giving Disney an HSR-flavored handout.

    To say nothing of the fact that Orlando would need a much higher ridership than even the inflated Anaheim projections to justify HSR. Anaheim is projected to get 24,000 boardings per day; if it breaks 10,000, it will be a miracle. Orlando-Tampa would need on the order of 30,000 riders per day to make any kind of sense.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So they shouldn’t build HSR in Florida? Let ‘em take I-4?

    Joey Reply:

    Maybe if they’d do it right…

    There’s nothing wrong with airport stops in general, they just shouldn’t be the terminals for major cities.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Disneyland-Paris station has 1.5 million passengers/year, most of them in late spring and summertime. With Florida’s climate ensuring a steadier flow of visitors, 30,000 a day doesn’t look so unrealistic.

    James Fujita Reply:

    There’s no comparison between Anaheim and Orlando. The only thing the two have in common is 1) they’re both in Orange County and 2) they’re both dominated by monster-sized mice.

    building an “ARTIC” (ORTIC?) in “downtown” Orlando wouldn’t make sense, Orlando is so spread out it makes Anaheim look dense by comparison. also, ARTIC will be right on Metrolink’s main line, there is no equivalent pre-existing right-of-way in Orlando. It would be much easier to get a high-speed rail line to Disney in Florida than it would be in Orange County, California.

    Rafael Reply:

    The lack of a “downtown” Orlando station wouldn’t be as big a deal if SunRail and Florida HSR shared a transfer stop. Right now, none is planned.

    IF Ray LaHood decides to fund Florida HSR, perhaps he could attach a condition to that effect.

  7. jimsf
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 12:36
    #7

    There is other money right, arra, plus this new jobs bill they’re talking about, plus other transportation money, that california can use as well right? It would be smart to use money that is headed for other rail improvements for things can benefit and expand existing projects that can also be a part of hsr. In other words make sure the money is used frugally.

    we can also trim down the cost of the hsr project by using existing infrastructure where possible and not over building, especially stations. Take bakersfield station, where there is a brand new rail station in place and where the addition of hsr would mean something as simple as adding one additional, hi level platform with two tracks. There is no need to build and entirely separate station. Do that in a few places and you can easily save the shortfall.

    HSRforCali Reply:

    Or other things like not tunneling underneath Anaheim. For now, that strikes me as the biggest waste of money.

    Andy Devlin Reply:

    How is the Anaheim tunneling project a waste of money? Is it a more expensive alternative than at grade – likely. But given the space constraints, it has to be considered. Having lived in Anaheim and crossed those tracks nearly every day growing up, there isn’t room for a construction project [bold]while keeping tracks open for the 50+ trains a day that now go through[/bold]. So I think the alternatives moving forward that were chosen by the authority were spot on. Take, or tunnel. I’m really curious to see how the cost estimates come out though given how much will have to be taken.

    Rafael Reply:

    They would have to widen the right of way first, if need be via eminent domain. That would not be popular and could undermine Curt Pringle’s re-election bid for mayor of Anaheim in 2010.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sending HSR to Anaheim is a waste of money in the first place. Speeds in the LA Basin are low enough that the benefit of HSR over just electrifying Metrolink and running modern non-compliant EMUs is next to nothing. If they can’t put timed cross-platform transfers at LAUS then they could through-route HSR on the two-track line at lower speed, but still at grade.

    The projected cost of HSR on LA-Anaheim is $4 billion, an increase over the previous projection of $2 billion. The cost of electrification would be on the order of $90 million. Electrification to Irvine would add another $70 million. EMUs cost $2.5 million per car; with 8-car trains, a top frequency of 4 tph (up from 3 today), and a one-hour trip time from LA to Irvine (down from 1:14 today, but EMUs accelerate faster and the run-through tracks would eliminate a bottleneck), you’d need a grand total of eight $20-million trains. If you want to extend trains to Sylmar, then you need four or five more trains. You’d do wonders to improve public transportation in Southern California, and come out about $3.6 billion under budget.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Sounds a lot like the “let ‘em transfer to Caltrain” solution for the Bay Area reconfigured for the LA Basin.

    Spokker Reply:

    If Metrolink and Amtrak were planning on running EMUs between LA and Anaheim with stops at the current Metrolink/Amtrak stops, I would support sending HSR to Anaheim.

    To minimize the annoyance of the transfer, riders should be able to purchase Metrolink/Amtrak tickets with their HSR ticket order. Schedules should be timed in order to minimize waits.

    Rafael Reply:

    Amtrak California operates medium-distance lines, not short ones like LA-Anaheim. They don’t have the money to electrify all of the Pacific Surfliner route and there would anyhow be howls of protest against the visual clutter of overhead catenaries in San Clemente, Del Mar and other beachfront communties. A separate complication is that Amtrak could not operate lightweight non-compliant rolling stock on the legacy track sections of the route.

    Metrolink is conceivably in a different position. If it were to purchase some new, non-compliant rolling stock of its own, it could operate a new regional HSR service between Palmdale and Anaheim on the HSR tracks. An extension to Irvine is planned for phase 2.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh yeh the san clemente howls. I always forget about those folks. aren’t they all in the home yet? I mean how much golf can you play?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Uh, no. Anaheim isn’t San Francisco; San Jose isn’t Los Angeles. In both cases, the important thing is to serve the primary destination, not the destination that’s furthest away.

    Just as importantly, the Caltrain corridor is wide enough for four tracks, whereas the Orange County Line isn’t. This inherently limits the speed of through-routed HSR. I don’t think it’s a big deal and HSR trains could still run on the line at lower speed – the line has more than enough capacity – but it’s not like with SJ-SF, where 200 km/h is on the one hand essential due to SF’s importance and the length of the corridor, and on the other hand feasible because of the width of the corridor.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    Anaheim isn’t San Francisco, that’s correct. And the Anaheim (and Norwalk/Fullerton) station will not serve just Anaheim. The two stations on the anaheim spur are going to be easier to get to for all of Orange county and large sections of LA county and northern San Diego county. Putting a station only in downtown LA or forcing a transfer would have a huge affect on ridership from everyone south of the 105.

    I still don’t know where they’re going to get the ridership numbers they’re claiming for that station, but it will be heavily used, no doubt about it.

    Spokker Reply:

    It’s not worth arguing about anyway. If HSR happens, Anaheim is happening too. I’m just going to go ahead and enjoy it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not just that they’re not going to get the ridership numbers they’re claiming for that station. It’s that they’re not going to get half the numbers they’re claiming.

    Arguably, a scheme that focuses on turning LA-Anaheim into a modern regional rail corridor would actually increase HSR ridership – it would offer good connecting transit. And focusing on electrifying the corridor and running HSR trains on it at lower speed would allow trains to run further south, toward Irvine, increasing the availability of destinations.

    Remember: I’m not saying people have to transfer. I think a through-run scenario should be best. But a timed cross-platform transfer at LAUS would still be better than retaining Metrolink’s slow, infrequent diesel service, which does a poor job feeding HSR. It would trade off slightly worse service to Norwalk and Anaheim for better service to Irvine, Santa Ana, and Fullerton.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What makes the 7 million people in the Bay Area more important than the 6 million people in Orange county and San Diego County?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, what does San Diego County have to do with HSR to Anaheim?

    And second, under this scheme, Orange County would get better service than the East Bay. The East Bay residents would need to take BART to SF, and make a complex transfer to TBT. The Orange County-HSR transfer at LAUS could be cross-platform.

    Joey Reply:

    Or maybe, if Santa Clara County has their way, they will got to San José instead…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    San Diego county won’t have HSR service for a long time.
    Many parts of San Diego County will never have HSR service.
    Interstate 5 passes very close to the Anaheim station.
    I-5 serves the parts of San Diego County that will never have HSR service.
    Most people in San Diego County have an automobile.
    There is an enormous lightly used parking lot at the Anaheim station.
    They can use the automobile to get to Anaheim where they can board a train.

    That’s why San Diego County is germane to the discussion of a station in Anaheim. Things that have been discussed here, it’s too bad you missed them.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Compared to Orange County the East Bay has a rich network of mass transit.
    People in the East Bay can use BART to get to the HSR station in San Francisco
    They can also use BART to get to the HSR station at SFO. Longer trip but an easier transfer. Assuming of course that the Californians come up with a rational station. That’s not assured.
    You may have noticed that atop the HSR station in San Francisco they are building a large bus terminal. Many of those buses serve East Bay destinations. People in the East Bay can take a bus to the HSR station in San Francisco and with a few escalator trips be in the HSR station. They can also use the airport shuttle buses from the East Bay to get to the HSR station at SFO. There is also the alternative of using a Capitol Corridor train to San Jose where they can transfer to an HSR train. Someday they will be able to take BART to San Jose and transfer to an HSR train. ( Or Caltrain East Bay if they come to their senses) Or they can drive to an HSR station. Someday they might even build HSR to Oakland or even Sacramento. They will probably build a few stations other than Oakland if they do that. They are in the preliminary planning stages of a fast line from San Jose to Stockton. There probably will be a few stations along that line. Work it right and there will be cross platform transfers from places like Fremont. Or even service through Fremont some day.

    People in Orange County after considering the extensive mass transit offerings in Orange county might, if the time of day is correct and when the moon is in the right phase in a month without a vowel in it might consider taking a bus to the train station. If they miss that day’s bus they would have to wait until the bus the following day. Otherwise they are going to drive to a train station.

    Anaheim is a destination. There are theme parks that attract many visitors. I’m sure Spokker can tell us all about the number of visitors they get. And how easy it is to get from the train station to those attractions. The parking lot near the Anaheim train station is for a big stadium. Stadia don’t attract a lot of passengers on an annual basis but getting some them there by train instead of having them all drive is an admirable goal. Piggybacking those riders onto an existing HSR system will be a good thing. There’s a large convention center in Anaheim which I’m sure attracts visorts who would be willing to use the trains. The Crystal Catherdral is in Anaheim, I’m sure that will attract a few passengers…. It’s too bad Anaheim doesn’t have a conventional downtown with conventional attractions. But they didn’t build the IRT through it in 1920 and it didn’t develop that way. Even without a stop on the BMT or BART there are people who want to, I know this might seem odd, go to Anaheim.

    There’s almost as many people surrounding the Anaheim station as there are in all of the Bay Area. The Bay Area is going to get at least three and probably four stations in phase 1 and many more in later phases. If there’s demand for service to San Jose there’s demand for service to Anaheim. May not make sense to push for it in phase 1 but it should be done.

    “let them use Caltrain” eventually results in a four track grade separated electrified Caltrain that also serves HSR trains. Why wouldn’t electrifying Metrolink result in the same kind of scenario. Fast electric trains attract more riders which increases frequencies. HSR terminating in Los Angeles attracts more riders. Which increases frequencies. That closes down the grade crossings too frequently…. they end up with fully grade separated electrfied railroad. Doing it now while there isn’t much traffic is cheaper and easier than doing it over the next 20 or 25 years around an increasingly busy railroad.

    Joey Reply:

    I think people take issue with the fact that a short, HSR-exclusive spur which will get only moderate ridership is being built from LA to Anaheim. If they were building a four track commuter/express corridor, I doubt anyone would complain.

    Rafael Reply:

    @ Joey -

    it’s up to Metrolink to leverage the new infrastructure for a new express service level based on suitable new rolling stock. There will be plenty of spare capacity on it between LA and Anaheim (later, Irvine). The timetable will be a good deal fuller between LA and Palmdale.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I-5 is a parking lot at rush hour. I-15 is also a parking lot at rush hour. The Surfliners to San Diego are full. The Coasters to San Diego are full. The Metrolinks to Oceanside are full. The track from San Diego to Oceanside is full.

    A station in Anaheim is completely useless to San Diego people unless they plan carefully to drive to LA outside rush hour.

    Spokker Reply:

    I can’t find the list, but there are a lot of shovel ready LOSSAN corridor projects that would enable Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink trains to hit 110 MPH between LA and Anaheim.

    There is little justification for HSR between LA and Anaheim. Metrolink and the Surfliner will not see improvements the way Caltrain will when HSR goes up the Peninsula.

    I think we should go through with the LOSSAN improvements instead of sending HSR to Anaheim. Ideally, I would like to see them electrify the corridor, switch to EMUs, and consolidate Metrolink/Surfliner trains so that there is one ticketing system and one schedule.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Metrolink would be even better served by combining ticketing and schedules with the MTA, to maximize the effectiveness of bus-rail and rail-rail transfers. It could act as the region’s S-Bahn to the MTA’s U-Bahn.

    Spokker Reply:

    True, but one thing at a time :)

    It helps management follow along. They are a little slow sometimes.

    Joseph E Reply:

    Spokker, won’t Metrolink benefit by being grade-separated thru most of the route? The current plans have most grade crossings separated by lowering or raising the street (while keeping the trains at grade, with security fences), so Metrolink and Amtrak will be grade-separated and able to run at 110 mph as soon as they are electrified.

    It may be true that Metrolink will not get electrification right away, but isn’t Caltrain electrification a separate pot of money from HSR as well?

    Spokker Reply:

    It looks like Metrolink will benefit from some grade seps, but the LA-Ana alignments calls for a couple flyovers where the HSR route will switch from one side of the ROW to another to accommodate BNSF’s sidings and yards. There’s a tall structure over the 710 freeway that has been considered. In these cases, the freight tracks stay on the ground.

    It’s kind of crazy what they have planned.

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah – AFAIK the LA-Fullerton segment has a lot of aerials and other weird stuff, but I was talking about the short segment between Fullerton and Anaheim where the ROW is 50′ wide.

    Anonymoose Reply:

    Why can’t they electrify the corridor but then send high-speed trainsets down to Irvine?

    That way there isn’t a transfer but the cost of a dedicated right-of-way is mitigated

    Anonymoose Reply:

    To clarify……

    It’d be the same thing as electrifying Metrolink but then using the same infrastructure to convey HS trainsets as opposed to building a new right-of-way that could support HSR-only service at only slightly higher velocities

    It seems that there is a lot less to gain for dedicated HSR tracks in Anaheim than in the Bay (where you cut an hour express trip by half)

    Joseph E Reply:

    The FRA does not want freight trains and heavy diesel passenger trains sharing tracks with HSR.
    HSR trains need to be as light weight as possible, but FRA regulations for trains on regular mixed traffic tracks require lots of heavy “safety” features.

    It is possible, but not likely, that the FRA would allow an exception.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, they can. It may require arguing with the FRA over compliance issues, but it’s technically possible.

    Joey Reply:

    Actually a couple of alternatives which involved the various FRA passenger services sharing the HSR tracks down to Anaheim (two tracks + more at stations) were considered and eliminated. Honestly I think that Metrolink needs to do what CalTrain is doing – that is, upgrade to a frequent, electrified, non-compliant commuter service with express trains, but since they have no plans to get their collective heads out of the 20th century, we’ll have to live with Metrolink being separate from HSR I suppose.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    If we see an upgraded, non-compliant, electrified metrolink, my guess is that it will be running on the new HSR tracks, not on the freight lines.

    Metrolink doesn’t have the luxury that Caltrain does in making the freight trains run at night, or on any schedule whatsoever (thanks UP). Here in LA we actually use our freight rail, a lot.

    More likely is that some of the extra capacity of the HSR lines will be filled in with Metrolink “baby bullets” running from Sylmar-Anaheim and Riverside-LAUS.

    CHSRA already showed as much in their outdated visual simulations, if you look at the socal simulations you’ll catch Metrolink Liveried HSR trains running on the HSR lines.

    Whether those commuter lines are run by the company that wins the operations bid, or if they’re run by whoever’s running Metrolink (soon to be Amtrak), we won’t know for a while, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a commuter line added to the official timetable. 23 minutes from Anaheim to LA is going to get a lot of riders.

    Rafael Reply:

    The tracks between Redondo Junction and Fullerton are part of the BNSF Transcon line. The Hobart Yard is the main reason OCTA cannot expand Metrolink service north of Fullerton, so a Metrolink-branded HSR service would in fact be the only way to increase passenger service.

    However, it would not be a “baby bullet” in the sense Caltrain uses it, i.e. a train with a maximum speed of 79mph that just doesn’t stop as often. Anything running on the HSR rails for longer than it takes to overtake a slower train will need to keep up with the true bullet trains. Ergo, if Metrolink wanted to operate a new express service between Palmdale and OC, it would need rolling stock capable of roughly 150mph top speed and greater acceleration than will be available on the trains running between NorCal and SoCal. In other words, true bullet trains with different gear ratios on the transmissions. Cp. Hitachi class 395 “Javelin” and AnsaldoBreda V250 Albatros “Fyra” services in the UK and Holland, respectively.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    However, if California designates the line as outside the core HSR line, it will allow the electrified Metrolink to serve extra stations, such as Santa Ana, without hitting the 24 station limit. It will also allow building the line to more liberal commuter rail specs, such as a top speed of 160 km/h instad of 240.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont see why they need to tunnel under ANA. Seems like aerial would be best there.

    mrcawfee Reply:

    From what i understand building an arial in anaheim would require about as much land to be taken during construction as keeping it at grade.

    Joey Reply:

    True – if you’re going to widen the right-of-way, you might as well keep it at grade. I can’t check right now, but I don’t recall many difficult grade crossings in that area.

  8. Dan
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 20:33
    #8

    As a bit of a newbie here, I’d be interested in someone explaining how the expensive anaheim spur is prioritized above San Diego? San Diego has ~4x the population of Anaheim, and is sufficiently far from LA to warrant usage of HSR. Even as an HSR advocate/fan, I would find it hard to justify taking the train to displace a ~40 mile drive.

    http://www10.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=anaheim+population+vs+san+diego+population

    //dan.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The original plan was SF-LA-Irvine. The San Diego route requires a LOT more construction, east to the Inland Empire and then south to SD. Tons more mileage. So there’s some sense in just doing the short jog south to Anaheim to pick up the 3 million or so people who live in Orange County.

    Ultimately, someone has to go first, and someone has to be in Phase II. If the roles were reversed, Orange County might be pitching a fit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This isn’t exactly true – before NIMBYism and space constraints killed the idea of running LA-SD service through Orange County, there was no need to swerve east and hit the Inland Empire. The IE would be in Phase 2 together with Sacramento, and, who knows, maybe they’d even have designed the IE extension to allow trains to continue to Phoenix without additional branching.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s not NIMBYism. As with the Grapevine, people don’t really understand the topological constraints on following the existing LOSSAN rail corridor south from Irvine to SD. There’s literally no room to expand the ROW in Capistrano Beach and San Clemente – either you’re cutting into unstable bluff or building HSR tracks on sand. The I-5 ROW is also unsuitable, as it is very hilly from Capistrano Beach (the PCH turnoff) to Mission Bay in SD.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    In addition to the technical constraints, there was a very large amount of environmental pushback against expanding the freeway near the Trestles surf break. As opposed to the NIMBYism that we’re seeing in other areas, where CEQA is being abused to protect property values, Trestles, Lowers in particular, really is a fragile and irreplaceable piece of the California coast that we all own and should be protected. While some of the hyperbole from both sides of that debate was nausiating, to say the least, putting the toll road through there would have been damaging.

    Two new HSR tracks wouldn’t have as large of an impact, upgrading the existing tracks would be even lower, but on the heels of the “Save Trestles” success, any agency planning on building anything in that corridor is smoking crack cocaine by the kilo.

    Rafael Reply:

    Not all of the southern coast corridor is problematic. If someone absolutely wanted to run HSR through there, the way to do it would be a tunnel under I-5 to bypass the beachfront section at San Clemente and a similar detour in Del Mar.

    Depending on the surface grade and the level of co-operation from Caltrans, such tunnel might have be bored rather than constructed using cut-and-cover. For reference, the unit cost of a bored tunnel is about 6.5 times that of grade separated construction at grade. Individual tunnels over 6 miles in length need a third service/escape tube, which increases the multiplier. San Juan Capistrano to Onofre beach is right around 6 miles.

    The point is moot, though, provided CHSRA can secure a right of way via Ontario airport and Riverside.

    jimsf Reply:

    They should have gone for a loop then the trains could just go round and round.

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah – I’m sure the coast corridor will be a piece of cake to build.

  9. jimsf
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 23:32
    #9

    why in fact, aren’t they planning to provide service to the entire route- phase I and II using the single seat rides, but traveling on existing row at traditional speed, thats how they should have planned it. then we’d have full service and high speeds on certain segments and upgrade them as we go.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The problem is lack of electrification and good signaling (though if the railroads don’t block it, good signaling will come in a few years). France could run the TGV on legacy lines at lower speed because it had a good legacy rail system for it to run on. Countries without the same legacy systems have to engage in extensive upgrades to allow HSR trains to run – for example, South Korea has needed to double-track and electrify some of its legacy lines to allow the KTX to use them, and has upgraded them to somewhat higher speeds to allow the KTX to use them without crawling.

    In addition, parts of the route are freight-owned. The preferred corridor north of Fresno is UP-owned, which will probably be a problem for HSR construction, and will definitely be a problem if California tries running passenger trains on the existing freight line.

    jimsf Reply:

    well if the phase one is very successful and people like it… even if it doesn’t make a profit, phase II will get a boost in support.

    Joey Reply:

    What Alon said — FRA aside, our existing railroads are crap. None are electrified, the vast majority aren’t double-tracked, they lack even a basic form of PTC, and I would be willing to bet that many aren’t kept up to any decent standard of maintenance.

    Arguably it would make sense to run HSR trains at reduced speeds from LA to SD along an upgraded coast line (hell, since that would be so much cheaper it could even be done in phase one), but I guess that’s not the way things work in this country…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    … in California. The NEC between NY and DC has been electrified, signaled and mostly grade separated since 1937. Big chunks of it and branches off it have been electrified etc for almost 100 years.

    jimsf Reply:

    adirondacker- I have to say that as much as I like to give grief to new yorkers for being all new yorker-y out here…. last night I watched a recap of 9-11 a very intense and detailed first hand video account of that whole hour. It was very difficult to watch. but I must say I don’t think anyone else would have handled it as well as new yorkers did that morning. It was gripping.

    I guess I just wish they send their working class folks out here instead of their stock broker and real estate agents.
    Now I want to vacation in brooklyn!

    Joey Reply:

    Ehh … forgive me, but what does this have to do with anything?

    jimsf Reply:

    nothing, ‘cept he’s form ny and I wanted to make the comment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The pastoral suburbs of lovely bucolic Newark NJ for most of my life. Used to have a stunning view of the Trade Center from the end of the block. Only moved to the mountains a few years ago. It’s like the Russian River Valley with more snow and much less expensive.

    jimsf Reply:

    ah new jersey, my friend debbie harry is from new jersey.

    jimsf Reply:

    all I know is I never want to have to drive again. I want my travel around the state to be as step on step off easy as my subway ride from civic to emb. Im telling you, being able to waltz onto a train at point a and waltz off at point b a short time later with nary a thought is so freeing, I do it in a daze most of the time its so automatic and with trains leaving tbt to statewide destinations every 5 or 10 minutes who knows where you might wind up on a whim!

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    The gauge tolerance for European high-speed tracks is 1mm (1/25 of an inch). The FRA gauge tolerance for trains up to 60mph is 38 mm (1.5 inch), and FRA inspectors have found it exceeded by more than 1 inch on lines used by freight trains. You really can’t run a Japanese or European train on such deformed tracks. It wouldn’t survive an hour.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is this a gauge tolerance for tracks, or trains? That is, if you take a TGV and run it on a legacy line at 130 km/h, does it still need to conform to a 1 mm spec?

    Either way, medium-speed trains have been able to run on legacy track with tolerances of 3-4 mm, allowing interoperation of Russian and Finnish trains.

  10. jimsf
    Dec 20th, 2009 at 23:53
    #10
  11. jimsf
    Dec 21st, 2009 at 00:00
    #11

    read the comments after that article.. whats all this about an invasion of bald guys from socal? some one in the valley is upset about it. Is there a hair club for men in Modesto or something? i know cali has problems, but bald men, thats new to me.

  12. Rafael
    Dec 21st, 2009 at 03:40
    #12

    O/T: Eurostar services have been suspended for a third straight day as engineers test a snow shield retrofit, with no firm date for resumption. The ones that were fitted as part of the annual winterization effort proved inadequate in this particular situation.

    Meanwhile, the company is trying as best it can to provide alternate transportation for its most “vulnerable” customers, but the southeastern UK is notoriously underprepared for snow and even northern France is struggling. Some airports have been closed, the rest have no spare capacity. Many roads in both countries are a mess and, the ferries across the Channel are nearly fully booked.

    A Eurostar spokesperson is blaming the incident in Channel Tunnel on fluffy snow, a.k.a. the wrong type. Englishmen and snowflakes, a match made in heaven.

    Since all this happened in the busy Christmas travel season, around 100 trains scheduled to carry 55,000 passengers have been canceled so far. As many as 420,000 were hoping to travel on Eurostar over the holidays but are now stuck in limbo. HSR represents very high capacity infrastructure, so a great many people depend on it to work reliably in any type of weather that can reasonably be expected to occur.

    Suggestion: test the trains in a climatic wind tunnel to more accurately quantify the winter operating envelope and then develop permanent modifications to trains and/or operating procedures to expand it, if need be at reduced speeds. Wind tunnel testing is what Siemens used to validate the modifications it made to ensure the Velaro RUS (Sapsan) could operate in Russian winter conditions, which are much harsher than any in Western Europe.

    Improving the reliability of HSR operations in winter weather is also a key objective of the Gröna Tâget R&D project in Sweden. The documentation mentions the risk of accumulated snow melting in the warmer air inside tunnels, only to freeze into ice once the train emerges on the other side.

    The Eurostar incident may be of some minor relevance to California HSR, since it does snow in the Tehachapis, though it almost never gets cold enough to accumulate any powder. Wet slush isn’t a problem as cooling fans aren’t strong enough to lift it from the ground. The planned HSR route there includes a series of short tunnels separated by short stretches of exposed track. While this situation is different from that presented by the Channel Tunnel, trains will still be exposed to rapid swings in ambient temperatures. Pacheco Pass and Soledad Canyon very rarely see more than a very light dusting of snow.

    Rafael Reply:

    Update: Eurostar will be resuming limited service on Tuesday Dec 22.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A little powdery snow is being blamed for an utter hsr debacle at the Channel, with the stranded passengers claiming the railway staff went “äwol” when trains failed. With a government run California hsr you can expect similar problems. Think of a statewide version of San Francisco Muni, where a militant union makes it next to impossible to fire any employees and over the top compensation packages..

    Oh and I thought it was the party line that the Tehachapis were the “shining path” of the hsr. How could there be any snow on a route that has been sanctified by the CHSRA? The faithful know it only snows on the the Grapevine. Talk like that could cause those Palmdale real estate developers to get their underwear all bunched up.

    jimsf Reply:

    Thats bs syn, we have a union run railroad in california now, and I personally know the people who run it and they don’t go awol they are extremely competent. especially the front line and on board personnel.

    jimsf Reply:

    as for muni, again more bs. Ive been riding muni for 40 years have you?

    jimsf Reply:

    Instead of worrying about the developers in palmdale, if you’re smart you’ll buy up a house or condo there for pennies now, and make a killing once the boom starts when it suddenly becomes a very viable place to live. Thats the american way. I’m thinking about it.

    Rafael Reply:

    Oh for goodness’ sake. The Tehachapis route was chosen because it involves fewer miles of tunneling and allows trains to cross both the Garlock and the San Andreas faults at grade. Why is it so hard for you to understand that a Grapevine route would be substantially more expensive to construct and riskier to operate? Boring three-tube tunnels through extremely gnarly geology is nose-bleed expensive, with high cost escalation risk.

    Sure, there are non-trivial issues with the Tehachapis as well. The route adds 12 minutes to the express line haul time, it creates the possibility of sprawl in the High Desert, UPRR could easily prove a headache between Lancaster and Palmdale and, there’s occasionally some wet snow up there. Nevertheless, I’d rather no-one ever gets stuck in a hot tunnel up to 5 miles from the nearest portal after an earthquake or technical malfunction.

    Btw: Eurostar is a joint venture between SNCF, SNCB (both state-owned), EUKL and BA (both private). Also, BA’s pilots were about to go on strike before Christmas until a judge ordered them not to. It’s not just state-owned companies that have to deal with a unionized workforce.

    http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/about_eurostar/company_information/ownership_structure.jsp

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe British Airways is a privatized operation that used to be government. Old habits die hard.

    The Grapevine is manifestly superior and merits the extra expense(if that actually were to prove to be the case). The shorter distance means significantly faster service and less trackage to maintain. It would easier to increase maximum speeds due to no urban areas enroute. I have a suspicion that even with a branch to Bakersfield from the I-5 route the mileage would be roughly similar. Personally I would defer the Bakersfield branch for now and extend from Livermore to Sac. instead.

    Sadly this mistake will take years to be recognized by the diehards at CHSRA ghq.

    Joey Reply:

    If there was money to spare I don’t think anyone would be so concerned about the grapevine.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The faster route is key to the success of the hsr. This is an easy sell with the public as there is no doubt the electorate would select the Grapevine if they had been allowed the opportunity.

    Prop 1A may prove so unwieldy and restrictive that there will be attempts to amend, in the process re-opening the alignment issue.

    Joey Reply:

    You talk about faster travel times and yet you mention Livermore (with the implicit BART transfer). Something doesn’t add up there.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Build the easiest part first – the racetrack – first. It’s money well spent. What the Peninsula wants and needs is very expensive. It may very well turn out that BART might replace Caltrain if that isthe only way to provide Palo Alto with the subway it wants. Alternately Caltrain could remain a diesel operation for the time being – that would solve the UP freight problem.

    The connection to downtown SF is overrated – after all Willie Brown, Quentin Kopp and BART have been against it for decades. The 101 corridor will always be there – BART has proven again and again that money can be found for the most extravagant projects if the political will and political connections are there

    Joey Reply:

    I’m not convinced. SF is a major destination, and the Transbay Terminal is and will increasingly be a transit hub with connections to the East Bay, North Bay, and other destinations, not just some BART station in the middle of nowhere. The Tehachapi route adds 12 minutes to the line haul time, whereas a transfer to BART or CalTrain could add as much as 30-40 minutes. Not to mention the fact that those types of transfers have a tendency to kill ridership.

    Paul H. Reply:

    You do realize that you are very much alone in your grapevine/I-5/livermore alignment? It is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard for a proposed high speed rail system in the state. Not only that, but you’re willing to lose the peninsula and valley floor population ridership for your LA to LIVERMORE (can’t believe I’m typing this as a direct route) alignment. You’ve got to know NOBODY would have supported that in the ’08 elections. It would have been crushed. CAHSR is the only instance in politics where votes basically equals ridership. The passage of prop 1A has virtually already made the system a success, now its just a matter of it being built. Please don’t speak of this nonsense alignment, you’ll continue to lose credibility.

    jimsf Reply:

    youre completely off the reservation now.

    dejv Reply:

    Long tunnels mean VERY high construction costs and termini far from population mean low ridership.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    Still waiting for you to explain why the tunneling report was flawed, Tolmach.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Flattered to be presumed to be Richard Tolmach. Not him, but I do agree with his positions.

    Engineering consultants want to stay in business. They won’t if they undermine the client’s policy decisions. Anything in California involving big public money is highly political. The fix was put in for Palmdale. Period.

    It is not hard to skew a report. Inflate the pros and ignore the cons of your selection and do the reverse for all the alternatives. Throw in a few provisos and concession to make it somewhat credible. Done deal. Pick up the check.

    Joey Reply:

    I would think that if engineering consultants were only looking after their own interests, they would choose the most elaborate solutions possible, like, for instance, tunneling through suburbia or across active faults…

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    You’ve only explained why a report, any report, could possibly be flawed. You haven’t explained why the conclusions in this particular report are flawed.

    This:

    “The fix was put in for Palmdale. Period.”

    Is not an argument without something to back it up.

    Here’s a hint: work out some estimates as to how much more ridership CHSRA could expect if the line was 12 minutes shorter. Figure out the cost estimate of putting a tunnel across a major, overdue fault line. Work out the alternative tunneling scenarios in case the one the software found isn’t feasible. Then figure out what the net gain in ridership is after you’ve saved 12 miles and taken stations away from a captive ridership pool of millions of people who have no other mode of transit to vie for your business, then figure out whether that net gain in ridership (if it exists, it probably doesn’t) is worth the increased expense for your grapevine/i-5 train to Livermore (hah).

    Or, alternately, you can just keep coming back here and trolling the boards with the same nonsensical, mouth-breathing nonsense and claiming that the whole thing is corrupt because you said so.

    Holy crap, some guy on the internet said it’s corrupt and didn’t give any reasons why, he must be right!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, maybe if there were 500 billion dollars to spare people would be happy with the Grapevine.

    Seriously, the HSR authority really wanted the Grapevine route. They did a lot of engineering studies. The engineers said it was simply too unsafe and very likely to turn into a “Big Dig”.

    dejv Reply:

    > A little powdery snow is being blamed for an utter hsr debacle at the Channel, with the stranded passengers claiming the railway staff went “äwol” when trains failed. With a government run California hsr you can expect similar problems.

    You can expect similar problems because Californian HSR will have so many deep enough and long enough tunnels to create similar conditions and because Americans are so dumb they won’t learn from other’s mistakes. :D

    dejv Reply:

    > A little powdery snow is being blamed for an utter hsr debacle at the Channel, with the stranded passengers claiming the railway staff went “äwol” when trains failed. With a government run California hsr you can expect similar problems.

    Because CA HSR network will include so much long and deep tunnels to keep their interior 30C/60F warmer than outside air. :D

  13. synonymouse
    Dec 21st, 2009 at 12:32
    #13

    back in the 60′s. Nowadays I just watch the reports of Muni’s foibles on local tv. Did they ever get the operators to stop peeing in the sanders on the lrv’s?

    jimsf Reply:

    Muni is a local media whipping boy, blamed for everything from the economy to el nino, when in fact like most systems it effectively delivers a huge number of people, quickly and safely to their destinations everyday, without incident and for a bargain price. Same goes for most transit systems, bart, la metro, and the rest. They all get bashed when something goes wrong, but generally receive zero praise the the daily success. You can be sure the ca hsr will be no different. When it operates as planned you won’t hear a word, but the media and skeptics will ly in wait, for an “incident” to pounce on so they can get everyone to throw up their hands and exclaim “failure.” Its just like the all the media doom about california, or san francisco, or any list of things that say the end of the world is upon us, when in fact the city, ,the state, the nation, and the transit agencies, continue to function and go about their business, just as each of us will do today.

    Something happened in europe, how many things like this have happened compared to how long the chunnel has been in operation. this, and the fire? a pretty good record considering the scope of the project and its operations.

    Nathanael Reply:

    In fact, San Franscisco has serious problems. Not at Muni, though. The rest of the city keeps cheating Muni.

    Read this article:
    http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-12-16/news/the-worst-run-big-city-in-the-u-s/1

    jimsf Reply:

    …and you might as well get ready for it, because you can bet there ARE going to be technical problems at first, and you can be sure that the media will pounce on them with immediate cries of corruption and we told you so, but the kinks will be worked out and eventually the system will become a mundane part of california life just like everything else. So just get ready, when it opens, they will be looking for every little glitch to criticize and it will take a while before the system is running perfectly.

    Spokker Reply:

    Hey Jim, people treat Muni like shit and are surprised when Muni treats them like shit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogrCb5l-JHE

    I only wish we had something like Muni around here.

    jimsf Reply:

    Muni while not without its problems ( most of which are caused by the passengers themselves – don’t get me started on how basic laws of physics ie “board in front exit in back”, or “move back so people can board quickly”, or “let people off the subway to make room before you push your way on” completely escape the average muni rider who acts like if they don’t shove their way on and then grab the first available spot and refuse to budge, that they will be left behind and never get home… anyway don’t get mae started. and by the way, muni bus drivers start at 16 bucks an hour. ( starbucks barristas make 12 in sf ok? I mean people act like they have some well paid cushy job, please, whos gonna drive a bus at bottom pay and botton seniority, which means the worst runs to the most frightening parts of town, all day long, and put with the the scum of the earth and risk life and limb…. for 16 bucks an hour…

    what was my point.. oh yeah don’t get me started.

    you do wish you had muni and ill tell you why, coverage! we got coverage – theres some long known tidbit that every san franciscan lives within 2 or 3 block of a muni bus stop. it may be slow but there’s no place in town you can’t get to.!

    jimsf Reply:

    we did get some service cuts this week, but the new map is out and you can see – we still have incredible coverage……

    jimsf Reply:

    I think I have like 16 different routes outside my building lobby.

    jimsf Reply:

    yeh I got fed up and yelled at one of those criminal scumbag loser fare evading you know whats the other night on the F line. He was holding things up arguing with the driver. I finally stood up ( I was on my way home from work and just wanted to get home) and tell him pay or get the … off.

    the guy had choice words for me but after enforcing trasnit rules and regs all day anyway, I was primed and ready. He got off.
    Fare evasion is a crime and will not be tolerated ever anywhere. no ticket no ride.

    Rafael Reply:

    @ jimsf -

    well, infrastructure is supposed to work, that’s what taxpayers are paying for. Complaints after breakdowns are perhaps not warranted if maintenance funding is inadequate or the result of force majeure, but it’s fair to criticize a public transportation agency for e.g. hiring drivers that cause accidents because they’re texting or otherwise operating the vehicles or infrastructure incorrectly. Examples from SF and San Antonio, TX. The Metrolink crash in Chatsworth is another example.

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-07-20/news/17219191_1_commuter-trains-ted-turpin-crash-site
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPIs4c261ZU

    That said, the MSM have a way of concentrating their attention on single incidents that involve a large number of people. They hardly ever report on the much larger number of smaller accidents caused by private motorists on the roads.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes but in america, things don’t work well, in general. so Im just saying, our democratic/capitalist faux market driven results in things getting done, but getting done the long way around and with inevitable flaws built in. We insist on it after all, so we can’t get mad at the results. Americans, who have complete power and freedom to create whatever kind of country the wish, have chosen what we have. so what can you do. here we are.

  14. Nathanael
    Dec 22nd, 2009 at 22:16
    #14

    I really hope the leak was wrong.

    Florida doesn’t deserve *anything* thanks to its historic incompetence and is going to be a waste of money, especially since the damn place is going to sink under the waves.

    The Chicago area deserves great bundles, but I *really* hope it doesn’t all go into Chicago-St. Louis, which has been a money pit with nothing to show for it. Build some improvements on Chicago-Milwaukee and the Chicago-East Coast mainline (including Detroit, Carbondale, and Indianapolis services) please — this will help lots of states simultaneously.

Comments are closed.