CHSRA Applies for Another $1 Billion in Federal Funds

Jul 31st, 2010 | Posted by

At a meeting yesterday the California High Speed Rail Authority approved an application for $1 billion in federal funding, out of the $2.3 billion made available by the USDOT, out of the FY 2010 budget allocation. These are for items not covered by the ARRA grants. Here’s the list from the CHSRA release:

For this round of funding, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made $2.3 billion in additional funds available for high-speed and intercity rail projects nationwide. The funds would help complete engineering and other work on the project not covered by the ARRA grants. The Authority’s proposed application includes:

• Track and signaling work in the Merced to Fresno section, including work to connect the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line to the Amtrak station in Fresno.

• Track and signaling work in the Bakersfield to Fresno section, both near Fresno and between Bakersfield and Wasco.

• Track and other infrastructure on the Los Angeles to Anaheim section on the west side of the Los Angeles River.

• Electrification of the alignment along the San Francisco to San Jose section and construction of a station in Millbrae.

These may seem like smaller pieces, but it all adds up. If we get between $1 and $1.5 billion over the next 10 years, we’d have enough to meet the expected federal commitment. Obviously we’d rather have that money all at once, and we’ll continue to press for exactly that. But every little bit helps.

  1. Ted Crocker
    Jul 31st, 2010 at 17:35
    #1

    At the risk of being called a concern troll again, can someone explain something that came out at the meeting – why, for funding purposes, the FRA wouldn’t consider Caltrain an intercity passenger line?

    Peter Reply:

    IIRC, the distance between SF and SJ is not long enough.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because it does go in between cities San Jose’s protestations to the contrary.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. doesn’t….

    StevieB Reply:

    Caltrain is a commuter rail line which is distinct from intercity passenger rail.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I think a rail service is not allowed to classify itself both as “intercity” and as “commuter”. Even though the difference between the two is fuzzy at best. The advantages of being classified as “commuter” were apparently greater for Caltrain than those of being classified as “intercity”. (The purchase agreement when they bought the line from UP specifies that they are not “intercity”. Totally contrary to reality, but I guess these are “terms of art”.)

    Samsonian Reply:

    If CalTrain is classified as “commuter,” and HSR “intercity,” couldn’t the SF-SJ section be considered both commuter and intercity?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yes. However, I’m not actually sure whether the federal rules consider HSR to be “intercity”. Again, these are terms of art….

  2. Paulus Magnus
    Jul 31st, 2010 at 18:33
    #2

    Is there any reason why we couldn’t ask the Feds for a low or no interest loan to cover the remaining cost of the system, similar to how UP & CP were funded?

    YesonHSR Reply:

    There really needs to be a government backed tax-free bond that investors can help with building the system. We really need that pending transportation bill to come through early next year and give everyone planning high-speed rail a solid number on funding… and furthermore we need more than one to 1.5 billion year more like 2-2.5 for the first 6 to 7 years after that its the private investors who will complete the system

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Actually.. I’m surprised they didn’t ask for all 2.3 billion… we do have a 20% match for that, it’ll be interesting to see who else applies for this money and with what

    Alan F Reply:

    The 20% match requirement will significantly reduce the number of state applications as many states have only small or no amounts of funding available for passenger rail projects. The states that are likely to get a piece of the $2.3 billion are going to be those that got most of the $8 billion because they had established passenger rail programs and had studies & plans in place to qualify for the sudden windfall of HSR stimulus money.

    So far, I have seen articles that Iowa is planning to ask for $256 million for a Chicago to Iowa City service. They may get it as it would be a new Mid-West corridor service that could be added for an affordable piece of the $2.3 billion available. Connecticut will apply for $220 million while providing $260 million of bond funding for restoration and upgrades to the Amtrak owned New Haven-Hartford-Springfield MA corridor. The large matching amount from CT may well get them the federal funding they are looking for. Don’t know how much money they have available but I would figure ME, VA, NC, NY, and IL will be applying for something. PA has stated they don’t have the matching funds right now to apply although the Keystone East corridor is a worthy candidate for HSR funding. Not clear to me whether Amtrak can apply for NEC upgrade projects on its’ own or has to go through the state where that part of the NEC is located.

    The CAHSR project will be lucky if it gets more than $500 million of the total. CA might have had a shot at $1 billion for the FY if Congress had settled on $4 billion for FY10 and not split the difference between the House and Senate amounts. For the next year, the House just voted on the FY11 Transportation bill with only $1.4 billion for HSR/intercity rail. To make real progress towards HSR and restored & improved intercity service, the federal funding really needs to be a minimum of $4 or $5 billion a year with a lot more getting done with $6 to $8 billion a year.

    Spokker Reply:

    With these amounts you can’t do much for HSR. I’d rather see something like the LOSSAN Corridor improved instead. Plenty of projects that are ready to go. Might reduce the amount of trains that are half an hour to an hour late. Maybe we can buy some locomotives that don’t randomly catch on fire.

    Right now the goddamn trains can’t even stop at the stations correctly. I was on a couple trains recently that overshot the station so we had to back up.

    That’s how we do in da OC.

    Alan Figgatt Reply:

    Yes, besides the CAHSR project, CA should be seeking funding for improvements to the Surfliner and Capital Corridors. If there is a big enough pot of federal HSR and intercity rail annual funding, CA should be getting around $1 billion a year for the HSR project and several hundred million a year for the existing corridors because those will see more immediate benefit from the funding and will eventually serve as connecting and feeder corridors to the CAHSR system.

    Problem is that we need a sustained national commitment of $8B (billion) or so a year for HSR and intercity rail to get there. Figure CA gets $1B to $1.25B a year, the Mid-West rail system gets around at least $1B a year, the NEC could use $1B to $1.5B a year all by itself, another $1B or so a year for the connecting corridors to the NEC: Springfield, Empire (NY), Keystone (to Pittsburgh), the Southeast HSR corridor to Charlotte NC, and connecting services to other cities in Virginia, New York, and New England. Split the remaining ~ $3B up on varying basis a between FL, Pacific Northwest, and then other states that have woken up and realized they should get into this passenger rail thing. But getting Congress to fund HSR to the tune of $8B a year is going to be a very hard sell. Well, maybe until oil hits $150 a barrel.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    CAHSR is going to match 30 percent compared to others 20 so we might just get 1Billion..have not heard any news from florida plans

    Nathanael Reply:

    NY won’t have its act together until at least next year (hopefully Joe Bruno’s criminal gang, mostly Republicans but some Democrats, in the State Senate will finally lose its effective majority), so I don’t expect NY to get much of anything. Sadly. My state deserves better, but we have such a messed up legislature thanks to massive gerrymandering… at least our state Constitution isn’t the mess yours is in California, though.

    Despite Illinois’s chronic budget problems, I expect they’ll come up with something, as they have each time in the past; both the President and the Secretary of Transportation are from Illinois. Englewood Flyover is funded; the next logical steps are the Grand Crossing Connection and the Metra Southwest Service reroute works, after which it becomes imperative to build a third track from Chicago Union to Grand Crossing, which includes some expensive bridges.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …we’ll just keep quiet about the 6 billion-ish being spent by the Feds in and around Manhattan. over the next few years. It’s too bad we had to come up with a 14 billion dollar match.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Keep quiet about the fact that even at San Francisco costs, the same projects would cost one third as much. Let alone at Paris or Madrid costs…

  3. Elizabeth
    Jul 31st, 2010 at 19:54
    #3

    Robert,

    My understanding is that each of those items are $1bn roughly. The idea is to submit a set of projects for each corridor that would bring additional independent utility to the one corridor that ends up being funded with the ARRA/state matching funds. But since they don’t yet know which corridor is going to get the ARRA funds, they have created a project for each possibility.

  4. Elizabeth
    Jul 31st, 2010 at 19:57
    #4

    If I didn’t make myself clear, this thing is shaping up to be winner take all. One segment will get all the ARRA money (excluding the $400 mm for TBT trainbox and planning $) AND all the 2010 money.

    Joey Reply:

    With the small amounts of money available, it would be difficult to do anything useful on anything but one segment. Though SF-SJ and LA-Anaheim could both probably be done in bite-sized chunks.

    Missiondweller Reply:

    Given that these segments will likely take the longest (or am I wrong) it might be good if we could get the funding to start moving things forward. Assuming of course the NIMBY’s can be dealt with.

    Joey Reply:

    The urban sections might take a while to get done. I can’t see that being true of the Central Valley section. Anyway, the rest of the system is mountain crossings, so relatively speaking, these might be the easiest to build.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I still think the top priority should be Bakersfield-San Fernando Valley, as it would be immediately popular and successful, but apparently it hasn’t reached the design stage where they’re willing to ask for money for it.

    I guess they’d need to build the maintenance facility and connections to it first as well, but that decision seems to be on the slow track.

    Not happy with the order planning is being done in. :-/

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep, that does seem to be the case from what I’ve seen and heard as well.

  5. morris brown
    Aug 1st, 2010 at 07:58
    #5

    Yes, indeed it is winner take all and, together with the transcript of the Kopp office meeting it is obvious that SF to San Jose isn’t in the running.

    So will it be the central valley? Most likely politically impossible. So LA to Anaheim I guess by default.

    Diridon was so excited about the appointment of van Ark. I wonder what he thinks now?

    Be sure to read the memo so kindly linked over at Clem’s site, who correctly reaches the conclusion that the Peninsula will not be chosen.

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20100730084612_AgendaItem2-FederalFundingMemo.pdf

    Missiondweller Reply:

    Very frustrating

    Joey Reply:

    Meh. If postponing SF-SJ gives us a better chance of a decently planned and integrated shared corridor, then I’m willing to wait.

    But why is the central valley politically impossible?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s going to come down to Central Valley vs LA-Anaheim. Either would be a valuable upgrade.

    StevieB Reply:

    If LA-Anaheim is run at 90mph three times an hour then how much of an advantage would there be over current train service? Under these conditions I see the section as more of a feeder into the true high speed lines out of LA. The central valley is a better location to show the potential speed of the system. I think it will come down to which section can complete environmental reports.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Very true.. the LA Anaheim section of the high-speed rail will be the slowest section at 90 mph this is really nothing more than running the high-speed train sets over the current route with safety upgrades and electrification.. this may also very well happen in the San Francisco to San Jose section if the nimbys and others make it impossible financially to do over 100 mph. So yes the Central valley as we voted for HSR not glamore commuter trains

    thatbruce Reply:

    Such shared running would also demonstrate that it would be feasible to extend the operation of the CAHSR sets further south of Anaheim, perhaps eventually all of the LOSSAN corridor.

    Spokker Reply:

    There will be capacity, reliability and speed improvements to Metrolink and Amtrak.

    The Pacific Surfliner is the second busiest route in the Amtrak system. There are several thousand people going to and from Downtown Los Angeles during rush hour every day, which actually does take cars off the road (most Metrolink commuters own vehicles).

    Hopefully the improvements increase ridership on both of these services.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Improvements to Los Angeles to Anaheim section will be a huge boostfor Metrolink and the Pacific surfliner and are very much welcome . Running the high-speed train sets along the section provided one seat ride to Northern California. This just shows you how much a real priority rail is… 2.3 billion this year and for now 1.4 next… and just recently the house passed an additional $33 billion for the Middle East wars.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Surfliner improvements are ferociously expensive for fairly poor returns, due to the various sections built on clifftops, built on sand, winding around mountains, going through incredibly expensive neighborhoods, etc.

    Honestly the Central Valley might be a better advertisement for more investment. :-/

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You have a problem.
    You involve Amtrak.
    Now you have two problems.

    The whole point should be and must be to avoid getting sucked into the regulatory, fiscal, technical and vendor-capture black hole of FRA hell and 19th century railroading, whether it is on the SF peninsula, the Central Valley or in the LA Basin. Run away!

    Investing in Surfliners and San Joaqins or Capitol Corridors is indistinguishable from investing in bonfires fuelled by stacks of $100s.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Hey hey hey. Be fair to Amtrak — their management seems to have no love for the 19th century FRA rules, they’re just doing the best they can while shackled with them.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually it’s unfair to call the rules “19th century” — the trains ran faster in the 19th century. Many of the efficiency-killer rules came from the 1940s.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The trains most definitely did not run faster in the 19th century. The express trains you’re thinking of are from the 1920s and 30s. And while they could run faster because of higher superelevation and no FRA-imposed speed limits, they were very heavy, and, other than the GG-1, accelerated like crap.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    What are now FRA buff strength rules originated with the US Post Office (now the Postal Service) in an attempt to protect their employees in wrecks; mail cars were also called “head end” cars because they normally were coupled right behind the locomotive. Having a heavy locomotive in front of you and a much heavier train behind you was not a good place to be if the train ran into anything solid and your car was an old wooden thing in this position.

    Acceleration is an interesting thing with steam engines; they are completely different from anything else. A steam locomotive’s power source is its boiler; the pistons, rods, and wheels are its transmission. At low speeds, the boiler has plenty of power, but the cylinders can only use so much steam at a given RPM/running speed. At higher speeds, this situation becomes reversed, and the boiler becomes the limiting factor.

    A diesel-electric is different in that the main engine can run at full power from a standing start, and its electric motors will pull harder at low speeds than at higher ones.

    The net result of this can be described as the steam locomotive essentially having constant torque but variable horsepower, while a locomotive with an electric drive had constant horsepower available but with variable torque.

    The effect of this showed up in the time-acceleration-speed graphs and tractive effor-speed graphs obtained by the New York Central on the tests of its Niagara class 4-8-4 steam engines of 1946 in tests against earlier steam engines and contemporary GM-EMD passenger diesels. The steam engines had a tractive effort-speed graph that resembled the horsepower curve of an internal combustion engine except that this started at 0 mph, and climbed to a peak between 40 and 60 mph and leveled off somewhat after that. The diesels were the exact opposite, pulling extremely strongly at 0 mph but the power fell off rapidly from that point.

    Where this got interesting was in the acceleration curves. All the steamers would start out slower than the diesels, including the immense Niagara, and the diesel would be very much ahead at, say, 30 mph. At that speed, the steamers would start to hit their stride, and would begin to accelerate quite rapidly, the Niagara leading the way. At 50 mph, the Niagara would catch up to the diesel in elapsed time to that speed, and beyond that accelerated much faster; the diesels in fact topped out at about 95 mph, while the Niagara was still accelerating where its line ran off the chart at 100 mph, and in a much shorter overall time than the diesel took to get to its top speed.

    The Niagaras were also given a high-speed slip test to check their counterbalancing. This was important to reveal if the engines had any tendency to pound the track with all that revolving and reciprocating weight (it was not unusual for a main rod alone to weigh over 1,500 pounds, quite a piece of metal to be both reciprocating at one end and revolving at the other at up to 9 times per second on some engines in passenger service). This test involved running the engines at 80 mph onto a section of track that had been given a coating of grease, inducing a high-speed slip; high speed movie cameras recorded the action as driving wheels spun at a rate that would be well over 140 mph without pounding or wheel lift, revealing excellent balance.

    You can probably tell I like steam engines.

    Of course, even I wouldn’t suggest they still be used except for heritage service, but we should remember where we came from, and what we were and are capable of.

    I’ll also mention that these engines were about double the weight of the classic GG-1!

    You’ll have to register for this, but you may like to take a look into the GG-1 here:

    http://www.trains.com/ctr/default.aspx?c=a&id=383

    Enjoy!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There is actually an advantage to having your maximum acceleration at low speed: the train spends less time at low speed during acceleration. For a modern electric intercity train, the initial acceleration can be fairly high, but will then level off at higher speed. So on the one hand, it will take a lot of time to get to speeds higher than 250 km/h, but on the other it will spend relatively little of this time at low speed. Thus a train that takes 10 minutes to reach top speed may lose much less than half this time by making a station stop.

    jimsf Reply:

    really?

    jimsf Reply:

    so you won’t like this either

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    200% of 0 = ?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The price per car, $2.5 million, is the same as for a 700 Series Shinkansen.

    jimsf Reply:

    of course, these 130 are not coach cars.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Doesn’t matter – they’re all unpowered coaches. It shouldn’t cost more to build a car with sleeper rooms or baggage holding facilities than with coach seats. The big difference in cost is between unpowered cars, MUs, and locomotives.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Sleepers and diners do cost more than coaches. You have a lot more in the way of plumbing (air operated, by the way), more water storage for all those toilets and showers, a lot of folding beds, extra doors and partitions, individual room air conditioning controls, linen lockers, etc., in a sleeper. A diner has its own difficulties in design and constuction, including the storage of a lot of food (sometimes below floor level), and a heavy kitchen with additional power loading, water storage, and even a weird weight distribution that requires three different spring ratings–a conventional coach setting at the table end of the car, a somewhat heavier spring rating on the aisle side that bypasses the offset kitchen at the kitchen end, and a still heavier spring rating under the side that’s under the kitchen itself.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The interior design of a train matters a lot less than the motors underneath. The cost premium of EMUs over coaches is large; adding motorized bogies costs more than adding $200 air conditioners. Abroad, regular trains have been adapted to sleepers relatively easily – for example, the CRH2 (i.e. the E2 Series Shinkansen derivative).

    Nathanael Reply:

    Problem is it’s a tiny order (four different sorts of car, remember, not very many of each) with no guarantee of more. Economies of scale would cut the cost if they were making more.

    jimsf Reply:

    bitter much?

    jimsf Reply:

    I’d vote for central valley first. Less controversy, a more welcoming environment, sections that can become the test track, and the best place to first stage demonstrations.

    IF the upgrades to this section are made in manner shown on those diagrams to where san joaqin trains would use the new upgraded section in the interim, does that mean that for that portion they would increase top speeds to 110 or so?

    YesonHSR Reply:

    It’s going to be the Valley everywhere else is too much drama.. I’m saying it’s going to BNSF Fresno to Bakersfield.. it’s the easiest to build no whiners very pro-high-speed mayor and business community in Fresno.

    Samsonian Reply:

    I think the Central Valley is good place as well, but there are some problems there too. The best alignment for most of the CV is along the UPRR corridor (Fresno-Sac). And as we all know, their cooperation hasn’t been forthcoming. Without it, it’ll be a lot harder to build.

    Fresno-Bakersfield isn’t without problems either.

    Hanford apparently doesn’t want a downtown station, and no one is particularly hot on the sprawl-inducing, beetfield, east Hanford alignment and station to serve Kings and Tulare counties. Without a downtown Handford station, the other best alignment is the UPRR corridor with a Tulare station. With either, the SJVR rail lines could be used for a passenger rail service from Lemoore NAS to Visalia and Tulare, with a HSR intermodal.

    Both BNSF and UPRR alignments appear to serve Bakersfield CBD reasonably well, but there was controversy over the BNSF alignment.

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/06/bakersfield-high-was-never-at-risk-but-that-didnt-stop-hsr-critics/

    Either Bakersfield High or a hospital would have some impacts from the BNSF alignment, because they directly abut the BNSF rail line and rail yard. It could be that UPRR corridor becomes preferred for Bakersfield as well.

    The Central Valley is good place to start, but it clearly can’t be put out to bid tomorrow either.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The plan considers the Tulare/Hanford station to be optional, in the future. In phase 1 the preferred alternative is to have no station between Bakersfield and Fresno.

    Samsonian Reply:

    I know that. But these decisions about whether and how a station is to be done, are part of the alignment decisions.

    After all, we don’t want alignment that precludes a good in-fill station.

    Also nobody is going to volunteer for a full speed HSR route that runs through them, while getting no service. Without a station from the get go, or a very realistic possible infill station, they’ll oppose that alignment.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The Central Valley should be the first section..and the Fresno-Bakersfield along the BNSF that very first place to break gound..It has no whinng Nimbys or arrogant UP its 100 miles long perfect, for the test section and the current Amtrak service operates on it and can go to110mph until opening day and this is enough funding to build it ..even without the bond money… (1.6billion per ARRA grant)

    Elizabeth Reply:

    All sections have been designed to use up the full $3.3bn ($1.65 ARRA + $1.65 state match).

    Please note: none of the central valley segments would include electrification.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The Fresno and Bakersfield section was listed at 1.6 billion in the ARRA 890 million coming from state bond…1.65 AAAR along with 2010 would be able to build this section without using our bond

    Samsonian Reply:

    Meh. If postponing SF-SJ gives us a better chance of a decently planned and integrated shared corridor, then I’m willing to wait.

    I concur. I’d rather wait some years to get this right, than have them implement their “plan” on us, resulting in less service.

    It’s interesting to note that LA Metro, OCTA, and others managed to push CHSRA towards a shared LA-Anaheim track configuration so quickly. If we have extra time, that might be what’s needed to advocate for a true, shared, track configuration on the SF Peninsula.

    Of course, a big part of the problem here is CalTrain’s incompetent management. They seem to want the fubar’d plan more than anyone else. And CHSRA and their consultants are more than happy to oblige.

    Donk Reply:

    So then CAHSRA should apply for funding for the full $2.3B for multiple segments. They could leverage the ARRA money + Prop A match for one of the segments, then simply use Prop A matching for the other funding requests (without ARRA money). This way there would be one request for $1B and a couple additional requests for $500M-$1B.

    CA should go for the whole pot for the hell of it in case the other states aren’t able to come up with a 20% match.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Livermore-Tracy-Stockton/Merced.

    What sort of complete, utter set of idiots wouldn’t have something as straightforward as that ready to go?

    Joey Reply:

    This does involves a mountain crossing (albeit a pretty easy one). Also, how would this be any more useful than any of the Central Valley segments?

    Samsonian Reply:

    Existing passenger trains would get a significant speed up over the existing UP line, and it lays ground work for future HSR in the corridor.

    Those of who live in the Bay Area know that the Altamont and Sunol corridors are among the most heavily traveled and congested in the region.

    jimsf Reply:

    Merced to livermore? for what?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …so they can go admire the BART station.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh. I thought maybe Merced was a hotbed of nuclear physicists, living in a secret gated community.

    Samsonian Reply:

    Those Livermore Labs scientists and engineers got to live somewhere.

    I bet some live in the Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore area, some commute from the interior Bay Area, and some commute from the Central Valley. It’s one of many reason why we need better passenger rail service in this corridor.

    Observer Reply:

    Prop 1A doesn’t just require “independent utility” of any existing train service (surfliner, Amtrak, Caltrain). It requires a USABLE SEGMENT, of HSR that will operate HSR service without operating subsidy, with use of those prop 1A funds.

    In otherwords, Prop 1A was written to ensure that 100% of the funding for an entirely usable segement of HSR would be available BEFORE Prop 1A funds are released. The ‘building block’ approach doesn’t qualify for Prop 1A funds.

    THAT’s what voters approved (and since we know everyone on this blog is all about respecting what voters approved….)

    Neither the LA-Anaheim or the Caltrain grant sections described here accomplish this. And I’m not clear if the other segments (Fresno, bakersfiled, etc) qualify or not.

    If they chose either of LA/Ana or SF/SJ options here, they wouldn’t even get the Prop 1A matching funds, so they wouldn’t really have the 3.3 they’re talking about here. (If they somehow got it appropriated, they’d be tied up in courts WELL past these deadlines. With certainty)

    Peter Reply:

    That’s actually not correct. AB 3034 requires that the bond funds be used to construct a corridor suitable and ready for HSR, and that one or more passenger train services can begin using the tracks or stations for passenger train service. I didn’t see anything about electrification of the CV corridor, so it is arguable whether constructing that section is “ready” for HSR without electrification. However, even with the San Joaquins’ current equipment you could run 100-110 mph, so that would count as “Emerging High-Speed Rail” or “High-Speed Rail”.

    Note also that it only requires that passenger rail service operated by the AUTHORITY not require any subsidy. Amtrak California can still use the tracks.

    Peter Reply:

    Hmmm, although AB 3034 states that “high speed train” is a train capable of sustained 200 mph or more.

    Peter Reply:

    So the question would be whether the Legislature would be willing to release any bond funds even if the funded usable segment would not meet all of AB 3034’s requirements.

    Observer Reply:

    The question is not whether the legislature ‘would be willing’ – the question is whether its legal. If they’re ‘willing’ to break the law, you can be sure there will be plenty of folks lining up to enforce the law through the courts.

    Peter Reply:

    If the legislature authorizes it, how is it illegal?

    You’d need standing to file suit against it. Good luck with that part.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    The Legislature does not have the authority to make changes to CA code that has entered the books through voter approval. They can add to it, but they cannot modify it without going back to the voters.

    Prop 1A has boxed them into several tight corners. It could be quite desirable for them to propose a package of fixes to be sent back to the voters. The problem is the timeline of getting those amendments into the books and still meeting ARRA deadlines.

    Peter Reply:

    Well, they seem to be confident they can manage it without running afoul of the Prop 1A requirements. Let’s see what they say. You can then sue them later. I’m sure Morris will.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    There are no plans for electrification at this time outside of the CalTrain segment.. looks like the rest may possibly be a vendor finance item.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, you’ve gotta build the track in order to electrify it. I’m going to assume specs for bridges and tunnels will include room for electrification fit-out, other than that I don’t think this is a big issue.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    And that is the plan on the ARRA segments submitted.. first the tracks with with the funding later phases will include train control system and the power

    Observer Reply:

    and therefore no matching Prop 1A – no electrification = no hsr = no usable segment.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    There is enough funds from the ARRA money plus 2010 to build what was in the application for this segment without prop1a funds..we will save that money for the rest of the project ..including BULLDOZING thru menlo and PA!!!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Uh, that doesn’t make sense. If the track gets built (without prop 1a funds needed) the electrification can be funded from prop 1a, for example….

    I suspect the electrification is delayed due to CPUC or something. I read they don’t have any actual rules about overhead 25KV!

  6. nobody important
    Aug 1st, 2010 at 14:34
    #6

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/07/31/2025627/investors-shy-from-california.html

    You should do a rebuttal to this, Robert.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    It’s really not that bad… the comments from the readers are stupid… the most misleading thing about this article is the headline and Jeff Baker’s comment later on in this article states private investors come along later in the project.. of course a quote from Sen. Lowenthal though it was fairly balanced… once again questions about finance will disappear once the federal government comes through with transportation bill or a dedicated high-speed rail bill ..much like Sen. Kerry proposed right after the November 2008 elections

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    One is coming tomorrow. As YesonHSR said, it isn’t that bad, but Barker’s point is key, and it has been known for at least 2 years. More in the morning.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Trying to sell loan guarantees as not a taxpayer subsidy is going to require some serious casuistry.

    Eventually the CHSRA will have to own up to the fact that there are no at-risk investors and that the hsr is an entitlement-subsidy entity like BART or Amtrak. This will become obvious as the long-anticipated “investment grade” analysis forever remains over the herizon.

    The CHSRA was not designed to appeal to entrepreneurs but to politicians. Doomed to mediocrity. That’s why Jobs claims committees are not allowed at Apple.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You mean like the hidden subsidies toll roads get with their government backed bonds? Or the explicit subsidy roads, airports, seaports, hiking trails, canals, the odd funicular here and there get?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Capitalism just ain’t what it used to be, as the Fraud, er, Wall Street crowd has unfortunately demonstrated in recent years.

    Actually, I think the finance industry has gotten too cozy with really high returns, and doesn’t like the idea of having to grub along at relatively meager rates of return, which is what the 1960s look like in comparison. That would make them have to work for their money and wait for things, like the rest of us. For them it is a huge step down, and they don’t like it.

  7. Brandi
    Aug 1st, 2010 at 16:39
    #7

    I feel like California should have shot a little higher. You know you never get as much as you ask for. Lots of states seem turned off by the 20% match. Connecticut and Illinois are the only contenders that seem to likely to step forward so far. Sad to see no one else from the Northeast step up. I’m not actually sure how much competition there will be. Either way California should get the $1 billion as it is the only true high speed rail project other than Florida. When are the applications due?

    Alan Figgatt Reply:

    The HSIPR FY2010 applications are due on August 6. So we should see a number of state DOTs post their applications by the end of the week or soon thereafter. There will be other states than CA, CT and IL. Iowa for one. Probably several other mid-west states. I have seen that Virginia will be applying but it may be only for engineering and detailed design studies. If Maine has the money, they would be looking for $40 to $50 million for speeding up the Downeaster service.

    Looked it up and Amtrak is listed as a eligible applicant. Wonder if they will submit something on their own for some NEC projects, although I am not certain if the whole issue of NEC not being eligible until the corridor wide EIS is in place has been settled yet. I am currently traveling on the NEC from Washington to New York every several weeks, so some NEC upgrades would be welcome, although they won’t come for years.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Sad to see no one else from the Northeast step up.

    The Northeast has been stepping up since the railroads began to falter in the 60s. Amtrak says the average contribution from the states for capital projects has been around 2/3rds.

    Samsonian Reply:

    On any given local capital project, that may be the case.

    But there isn’t still a plan to upgrade the NEC into true HSR, and the lack of state support is one major reason why.

    There’s so many states along the NEC, and no agreement on cost share. Some states, like RI, have high trackage but low ridership. Others like NY, have low trackage and very high ridership.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There have been at least two agreements. They get started and then Senators from places like California whine about how much it’s going to cost and the funding gets cut.

    Brandi Reply:

    It definitely seems much more difficult to build systems across state lines. I mean the only real HSR systems being built are in CA and FL and they are completely within state lines. You’d think with all those senators and representatives from the whole region though someone would have thought of pushing for some money for the NEC.

  8. Peter
    Aug 2nd, 2010 at 15:29
    #8

    Do we know if the $3.312 billion plus $1 billion would suffice to build both Merced-Fresno AND Fresno-Bakersfield? Without the stations, of course.

    Although, using the funds for Anaheim-LA would enable them to sidestep some of the Prop 1A requirements for bond funds. They would not have to have the alignment be ready for “high speed trains” capable of 200 mph revenue speed, as they were only looking at going 90 mph along that corridor anyway. That could be a distinct advantage for LA-Anaheim, although they are only looking at 125 mph for SF-SJ.

  9. political_incorrectness
    Aug 4th, 2010 at 01:00
    #9

    Somewhat OT:

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=23995 What will this mean for HSR and passenger trains in general?

  10. RubberToe
    Aug 4th, 2010 at 09:49
    #10

    I have a question concerning the possibility of the LA-Anaheim segment seeing the first actual construction. Comments above indicate that the track itself would be built with the electrification and signaling coming later. I was also just looking through some AA material at the CHSRA website related to the now included possibility of having a “shared track” option between LAUS and Anaheim. Basically they would run HSR, Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink trains on 2 dedicated tracks, have 2 freight tracks, and an additional track for longer distance Amtrak trains. They also now seem to suggest that an at-grade LAUS platform might be the way to go instead of the previously suggested elevated platform for cost reasons.

    If they did the LAUS at-grade and actually constructed the new tracks for the LA-Anaheim segment, presumably then the LAUS run through would be available for Metrolink and/or Amtrak Surfliners to use from that point forward. Does this seem right? If so, that could produce some time savings on both Metrolink and Surfliner routes that go South from LAUS and could use the run through tracks. Anybody have any idea what the LA-SD time might be reduced by?

    The Southbound Surfliners between LAUS and Anaheim are all currently showing 39 minutes in the schedule, while the Northbound trains vary between 42-49 minutes. I guess it depends on what amount of that time is consumed by the stub at LAUS, and also having to wait for freight, both of which would be eliminated if the above came about. The slow crawl out of LAUS through the first set of switches seems to take forever, but that would be history.

    RT

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