California High Speed Rail Authority to Extend EIR Timeline

Feb 28th, 2011 | Posted by

With the selection late last year of the Central Valley high speed rail segment as the first part of the LA-SF project to be built, it eased the pressure on the other stimulus-eligible segments to have their planning processes be done in time for the September 2012 stimulus deadline. Today the California High Speed Rail Authority announced that it will extend the EIR timeline for the LA-Anaheim, SF-San José, Merced-Fresno and Fresno-Bakersfield segments:

The two Central Valley sections (Merced to Fresno and Fresno to Bakersfield) will delay their draft EIR release to June 2011, as a result of very positive Value Engineering which has been accomplished along the alignment, and which is being achieved in close cooperation with the local stakeholders. This will not affect the ROD/NOD, nor the award of construction contracts for the Initial Construction Segment, which is still envisaged for the second half of 2012. The two segments, LA/Anaheim and San Francisco/San Jose, have laid out a framework to investigate possible phased implementation that may provide services to these areas sooner and in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. Both sections also incorporate, in some form or other, “Shared Track” alternatives which become more complicated as phased implementation is envisaged. The LA/Anaheim phased implementation framework will be presented to the Board on March 3. To accommodate these shared track and phased implementation scenarios, more work needs to be done. This will result in the submission of the draft EIR being moved to late 2012, allowing inputs and participation by local and regional transit agencies and all other stakeholders. This approach allows us not only the time to involve these stakeholders, but also time to consider additional cost savings in further study of the alignments as we move forward.

It is important to note that only the estimated schedule for environmental milestones has changed; the schedule for construction has not. Should unexpected large amounts of additional funding become available at short notice, we will of course examine this schedule again and identify ways to not only expand the reach of initial construction, which will begin September 2012, but also to possibly accelerate these schedules.

So there you have it. More time to work in the Valley with farmers and local governments, as well as to settle some of the outstanding questions (like where the tracks go in Corcoran). And a lot more time to work with local governments and local residents in the Peninsula, in the LA County Gateway Cities, and in Orange County.

More time is probably useful. But it cannot become an indefinite delay. That helps nobody. Residents along the line, the surrounding community whose economic futures depend on the trains, and the state as a whole need to know the details. Let’s hope that this extra time gets used productively, instead of as an excuse for further delay.

  1. Peter
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 00:32

    I hope this will go a good distance in convincing reasonable people that while the Authority may have been somewhat secretive in the past, they are now making a much greater effort to actually have an open dialogue with stakeholders.

    I’m thinking of people like Aaron, who was legitimately complaining about having lost very valuable time with respect to trying to determine where the tracks were going to be traveling near/over/past his house, and relied on wrong information given to him by the Authority. I’m not sure I’m willing to believe that people deliberately lied to him, since it could have very easily been a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing (God knows the project has too many layers of contractors). That shouldn’t have happened, and wouldn’t have happened if they had been doing enough outreach to affected stakeholders to begin with.

    Victor Reply:

    Mistakes like this prove their only Human, Cause If they were Perfect, they’d not exist.

  2. dfb
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 02:01

    In case anyone is interested, CHSRA published its preliminary alternatives analysis report for the L.A. to San Diego line. Earlier, it had only published the executive summary.

    The report is 122 pages and the file 17.2 MB in size.
    It is only the list of documents for the March board meeting.

    One thing interesting is that the contractors think it may be able to convince Union Pacific to allow Metrolink trains to use its Alhambra line rather than the right of way down the center of the I-10 freeway that Metrolink currently uses and that is owned by L.A. County M.T.A.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Yes, I saw the EC a coup,e days ago. I found interesting is that it is recommended that only a San Diego Airport terminus to be carried into the DEIR/DEIS phase.

    Or more directly, no downtown San Diego station is to be studied. Observed was that a below grade alignment might impact ground water or encounter hazardous waste. Also, the City of San Diego ‘implied’ that they prefer an airport station.

    I don’t know how the city ‘implied’ that they preferred an airport location, but, I know that construction techniques are available that address ground water and hazardous materials. So, it is a short-sighted recommendation if you ask me.

    Maybe a downtown location need a stronger advocate. That is not me… Way too busy to take this up.

    Can the NorCal centered Californians for HSR take this up?

    All that is needed at this time is the CHSRA Board to approve the study of a downtown location – either autism or be,ow grade. A alternate location might need to be suggested too – such as below grade along Harbor.

    Fortunately, it sounds like the Authority will conduct community meetings to gather input before the Board takes action on the recommendation.

    Take the A-Train Reply:

    Selecting Lindbergh field seems like a strange idea anyway. It’s too severely constrained (one runway, surrounded by city on each side) to really pick up the long distance travel which would feed HSR service like SFO. Or maybe that’s the point? Treat HSR as it’s own “airline” or as a direct substitute for expansion?

    One of the earlier versions of the San Diego segment study rejected Qualcomm Stadium as the terminus, despite higher ridership, because it was not part of the downtown core and had poor transit connections. For now, it seems Lindbergh Field has neither advantage.

    Plus they dropped a University City station station entirely. They’re missing out on a UC, and a significant high tech area that grew up around it. Escondido seems a bit far (30 miles) for the “suburban” station, especially considering many of these trips would only be going to the LA Basin.

    Robert Reply:

    Downtown is the only place I would want to get to in San Diego, if I wanted to get on a plane at the airport I wouldn’t be taking high speed rail.

    tony d. Reply:

    Was stationed in “San Dog” for four years. Couldn’t you take the SD trolley from DSD to a future airport HSR station?
    I know in San Jose, Diridon Station doesn’t directly serve the core. You’ll need to take VTA light-rail/bus or future BART to get to HSR.

    Zach San Diego Reply:

    I’m very concerned about this. I live in San Diego and I can’t understand the obsession with an airport station over a downtown station. All the bus and trolley lines converge in the downtown area, bus service to/near the airport station is almost non existent. Although the trolley does go there directly, all the trolley lines “meet” in downtown and not at the airport. Downtown is way more of a destination than the airport. Another thing not being mentioned is the withdrawal of support for a second station in the SD area, anyone have any idea what is going on there? One alternative shows boring under UTC but the station was withdrawn. The trolley will connect directly to this potential station in about 5 more years and there are lots of bus routes which converge on the UTC area/transit center, also UCSD is within a couple of miles.

    For those curious here is a link to San Diego’s 2050 transportation plan where they show their support for only an airport station and not for a downtown station.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah, it sounds like a mess of a decision. I don’t see the point of an airport HSR station in San Diego. Lindbergh Field is not a great airport anyway, and is used almost entirely by people whose destination is San Diego — who would fly in there for the purpose of taking HSR to Escondido or LA? They’d just fly into LA.

    The only purpose of it would be access to the car rental facilities at the airport. I suppose that makes sense — there aren’t enough train stations with good car rental facilities.

    It’s not a disaster, of course, because extension to downtown or station construction further up the line could be done after the fact, but it does seem like an odd and questionable location. It would probably result in massive numbers of transfers via Trolley, which would overload the Trolley, and then what?

    JJJ Reply:

    A better airport terminus would be the Tijuana airport.

    The foundation for the terminal on the US side has already been built:,+ca&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.214763,69.873047&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=San+Diego,+California&ll=32.5494,-116.970706&spn=0.008628,0.017059&t=k&z=16

    It might be easy to swing around HSR to down there, and use the airport facilities as a border brdge (for Tijuana residents)

    For those who don’t follow air travel, Tijuana has a LOT of asian flight, as the airport has less restrictions on large planes than SD. And of course, it has a bunch of flights to all mexican cities.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is the airport used by Arabs?

  3. Brandon from San Diego
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 06:27

    Sorry, my PC Implements some auto corrections after I type. Didn’t catch a couple

  4. Travis D
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 07:17

    I’m pleased to see that value engineering is now being done. I always figured they would get around to it once construction was actually approaching.

  5. Brian
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 08:11

    O/T Latest From FL HSR: As I suspected (and was hoping for) news comes out about a possible bi-partisan lawsuit against Gov Rick Scott. I do know that a few years ago Gov Sanford of SC was forced to accept fed money for some federal education program. So the precedent is there both nationally and in FL Gov Jeb Bush was successfully sued for trying to strip away funding of a bill the legislature passed. I don’t know how this would affect the US DOT or FRA and the money they have allocated to FL HSR so far. So far Scott is holding firm with his opposition to FL HSR and saying he hasn’t seen anyway to eliminate state liabilities.

    Brian Reply:

    It is now official, two lawmakers (repub and demo) have filed papers at the FL Supreme court in Tallahassee to sue Gov Scott to “expeditiously accept the federal money”. This is getting fun now!

    Brian Reply:

    Here is the official court petition outlining the reasoning for the lawsuit and supporting documents.

    Victor Reply:

    I still say they should Impeach Scott and be done with Him…

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    This is what happens when you overstep your legal authority.

    Some people need to be reminded that kings went out of style in this country in 1776, and we never really did have anything like a dictator, though some presidents were accused of such and certainly others thought they could try.

    Perspectives from a Florida expat now living in New York:

    joe Reply:

    I disagree, we idolize autocratic CEOs. Scott and Walker are playing CEO.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Has Lahood agreed to another week extension?? thought I read it somewhere..and really no rush at this point.I dont think the Repubs will be able to do anything with the money and time soon.

  6. tony d.
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 08:11

    Shared track “Firebird” for SF-SJ! BART-operated “HSR locals” from SF-SJ. Make it happen! (Rafael would be proud)

    Peter Reply:

    No. Firebird bad. Firebird destroys all local service. Local service worth fighting for.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Well, the “local service” that exists today isn’t doing all that well now is it; hence the proposed service cuts by Caltrain. Local service of 1-2 miles should be serviced by buses anyway, not full fledged commuter rail or HSR. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The thing about local service is that it’s local, which the world over works out to 1 or 2 miles until you get out to the far suburbs.

    joe Reply:

    DC Metro is local and suburban. It depends where you are.
    Metro stops are very close in central DC.

    Chicago uses (used) A and B trains & stations to cut down on stops and use track. Major stops are AB as are those in the City’s Loop. Trips between adjacent A and B stations require a transfer point and make no sense. Use a Bus.

    Joey Reply:

    Local in this case means stopping at all stations. Contrast with express, which of course skips stops. CalTrain has too many stations for a local train to be time-competitive. Express service is CalTrain’s most lucrative venture, but local service shouldn’t just be eliminated either. And transfers actually do work, provided they’re set up right.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    From my point of view Metro – or BART – service is all local all the time. All the trains make all the stops all the time. Something they have to do because they only have one track in each direction, Caltrain won’t have that problem. They will have local tracks and express tracks.

  7. morris brown
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 08:58

    Those who want the real truth about this boondoggle should read

    These author’s even outdo Robert in lenght of their article.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, I read it. It’s pretty clear that the real truth is that California HSR will get built and it will be a success.

    thatbruce Reply:

    A lot of these articles state problems with one part of the country, ie the NEC:

    The only place where high-speed rail could theoretically make sense would be the Northeast corridor from Washington to Boston, which would pass through Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. The problem is, Orski explains, it’s likely “50 years too late,” because the area along that route is already densely populated and developed, making it cost prohibitive to acquire right of way.

    where the salient point is that it would be cost-prohibitive to get a new ROW, and hope that their readers apply that point to a different part of the country, eg the Central Valley:

    Why are planners starting the construction in a tiny, almost-unknown town outside of Fresno rather than in a major population center?

    while glossing over the differences between the two examples, specifically:

    The cost of building in the Central Valley and of acquiring any land is cheaper, and the terrain is much flatter.

    The end result is that HSR is deemed ‘too expensive’ irrespective of where it is placed, even though the general area (CAHSR vs NECHSR) is one of the prime drivers of the cost.

    synonymouse Reply:

    According to this article State Senator LaMalfa doesn’t want to put a re-vote of Prop 1A on the ballot right away. Big mistake, imho, as the developer complex pimping the hsr has the resources to brainwash a victory this year, next year, or any year. Meanwhile PB will plunge ahead with its retard scheme.

    Boondoggles are self-limiting and can be instructional – as BART provided DC with an example of what NOT to do. As this thing wears on and it shortcomings become clearer to more and more of the public funding will become ever more problematical. Unfinished or stripped-down and undermaintained Stilt-A-Rail shows every promise of ultimate dysfunction, mediocrity and embarrassment. Hubris always exacts its toll.

    tony d. Reply:

    Poor guy…

    Victor Reply:

    Yep, Synny is a poor deluded phule.

    joe Reply:

    We should be endlessly vote-fishing and revote Prop 1A until the anti-rail lobby gets their desired result – then stop because “The People of California have spoken.”

    Take the A-Train Reply:

    Hey, it worked in Seattle for the monorail!

    nslander Reply:

    Thank you for posting that. It artfully reveals those opposed to this project are the same interests who always appeal to fear and cynicism in order to halt progress. It effectively articulates the measured dissent of Sarah Palin.

    StevieB Reply:

    Robert Yaro at Regional Plan Association gets it right in his article Why High Speed Rail is Right.

    Several times before in American history – beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s national development plan in 1808 – American presidents have produced visions like the one promoted by President Obama for the nation’s future infrastructure development, usually organized around the latest cutting-edge transportation technology. For Jefferson, it was canals; for Lincoln it was railroads; and for Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower it was limited-access highways. In virtually every case, nay-sayers and political detractors fought these investments, and in some cases delayed their implementation by decades. In every case, however, these visions were largely realized

    Gianny Reply:

    Why is Obama getting mentioned at all with HSR when California has been planning it for years and if it had been for ARNOLD decision to stop funding them we would probably have a system under construction now.

  8. J. Wong
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 09:58

    The Authority is doing what is necessary to make sure the project is a success. The delayed EIR will address many concerns and get more people to support HSR. In the end, HSR will run up the Peninsula to SF on the existing CalTrain ROW, and there is nothing the NIMBY’s can do to stop it.

    joe Reply:

    Given the continued infill growth, The Peninsula will need rail to relieve congestion. The current position by Menlo Park is that there isn’t enough public transportation to support new development – outside of Meno Park’s approved infill projects.

    “Concern grows over traffic impact of Cargill development”

    12,000-home Saltworks development … the project, … includes 1 million square feet of office space, new parks and more than 400 acres of restored wetlands.

    But opponents of the projects in surrounding Peninsula cities fear it will add to traffic on roads beyond the 1,436-acre Bayfront site

    “They can’t fix the lack of public transportation in the area,” said Menlo Park City Councilman Andy Cohen, whose group voted to oppose the project.


    Menlo Park OKs Derry condo-commercial project; Council approves 135 condos, 22,525 square feet of commercial space near El Camino Real.

    The project is the second major development approved for the El Camino Real corridor in the past three weeks: A proposal by John Beltramo to build a 26,800-square-foot commercial building and 16 two-story townhouses near the intersection of Valparaiso Avenue and El Camino Real was approved by the council August 9.

    Higher density

    In approving the project, the city amended the general plan, and changed the zoning of the site to allow about 39 residences per acre — more than twice what is intended for the site in the city’s general plan.

    morris brown Reply:

    Just to be clear. The Derry project mentioned, was subjected to a successful referendum petition of which I played some part.

    The project has been at a standstill for the last 4 years, with the developer un-willing to move forward in these economic times. The density of the project was reduced and a public benefit payment payment of $2 million was agreed to be paid the City by the developer.

    The Beltramo project also has not gone forward, ad has had two extension since this 4 year old information. (it is hardly dense)

    Why in the world anyone would think that HSR is seriously going to affect local traffic congestion is beyond me; especially here in Menlo Park.

    I doubt hardly anyone on this blog is interested in this local situation, but let me set the record straight.

    What is more to the point is to recognize the true cost of this project is simply not as advertised at $43 billion.

    Look at:

    When you remember old postings in this blog and articles from Robert proclaiming that any cost estimates which were going to be much higher that the $32 billion the Authority was proclaiming were just non-sense.

    Amazing how proponents of this project can just keep supporting it, regardless of the cost and regardless of problems with routing and regardless of new much lower ridership numbers as well as much higher ticket prices.

    nslander Reply:

    So you must be REALLY bent at the $100+ billion of public subsidies to highways in CA since ’95.

    joe Reply:

    Morris: “In the end, HSR will run up the Peninsula to SF on the existing CalTrain ROW, and there is nothing the NIMBY’s can do to stop it.”

    Caltain & HSR improvements to the ROW will reduce traffic congestion at crossings, take cars off 101 whoch reduces the on ramp backups and of course local traffic will have improved train service (speed and frequency) with Caltrain electrification. All of these services allow people to commute through Menlo Park without driving.

    Good luck killing Cargill 12,000 homes and the 26 condo units on el Camnio & Partridge

    NIMBY’s recognize that Menlo Park is hell bent on growth – residential construction – for revenue. They fight HSR for votes and continue to infill the city.

    This infill – without any support for improved public transit will drive more and more residents to support HSR and the Caltrain ROW improvements.

    joe Reply:

    and this:

    Friday, February 18, 2011,

    A scoping session for a proposal to build 26 condominiums at 389 El Camino Real, near College Avenue, in Menlo Park will be held during the Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 28.

  9. observer
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 11:25

    What I see here is that the authority pretty explicity confirms they have a predetermined outcome for the EIR – thereby making the EIR process a complete fraud… They don’t even yet have their EIR details worked out, yet they are skipping all the way to confirming without the slightest of hedge that ROD/NOD and awarding of construction contracts are on track.

    “This will not affect the ROD/NOD, nor the award of construction contracts for the Initial Construction Segment”

    I wonder if there will be any parties in the central valley that might be inclined to challenge the EIR in court. If so, they should probably take note of this published CAHSR statement..

    Peter Reply:

    “What I see here is that the authority pretty explicity confirms they have a predetermined outcome for the EIR – thereby making the EIR process a complete fraud”

    I really don’t see where you get that from. That’s how a regular EIR/EIS process is set up. They basically know what project they want to build from the get-go, and refuse to change it. Here, they have in fact made some significant changes to the project as they went along. For example, they originally favored Altamont over Pacheco, and changed their mind as the process went along. They originally wanted to build along Highway 99/UPRR, but changed to BNSF between Fresno and Bakersfield.

    Those aren’t signs of a fraudulent or sham process, those are signs of a healthy process.

    “They don’t even yet have their EIR details worked out, yet they are skipping all the way to confirming without the slightest of hedge that ROD/NOD and awarding of construction contracts are on track.”

    There’s still well over a year to work out all the issues in the Valley. What indication do you have that they won’t manage that?

  10. jimsf
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 15:06

    <a href="Home / News / Local
    Rail strategy, union controversy on supes agenda
    County supervisors will vote Tuesday whether to approve a new strategy that could derail the current proposed high-speed rail alignment that cuts through prime local farmland east of Hanford.
    The process would commit the county to enter into a process of “coordination” with the California High-Speed Rail Authority that will makes the two government agencies equal parties at the negotiating table, according to the strategy’s supporters.
    County officials passed a resolution earlier this year that supports an alignment along Highway 99 or Interstate 5.”

    Nathanael Reply:

    Is that Kings County again? Their board of supervisors seem to have been acting like asses, and a one-sided attempt by them to derail any viable routing isn’t going to go anywhere. They already rejected the Highway 99 routing earlier, then they rejected the downtown alignment, then they rejected the bypass alignment…. now they want the highway 99 alignment again? Ha.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    This is why the Authority must have power and say things can be built instead of locals games and ploys

  11. jimsf
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 15:11

    Highway or ‘transportation’ trust fund?”>

    Victor Reply:

    I like this idea, I hope It becomes reality.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How the Hanford area folks could ever imagine being “equal parties at the negotiating table” is beyond me. They don’t stand a chance. David had much better odds against Goliath. Do they know who they are up against? These are the same guys who are trying to ram berms and/or aerials down the throat of rich, politically savvy PAMPA.

    They screwed themselves, like a whole lot of other Californians. when they voted for Prop 1A.

    Tony D. Reply:

    The only one who’s screwing themself is you mouse! Seriously, will you just stop with your nonsense.

    wu ming Reply:

    “politically savvy PAMPA”?

    refresh my memory, how have the political candidates rich folks in PAMPA send into politics done lately?

    meg whitman, carly fiorina, tom campbell, steve westly, right off the top of my head. and politically savvy? GMAFB.

    Peter Reply:

    More like political neophytes with delusions of grandeur.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PAMPA continues to pull in people with talent, power and money. There was talk of Nokia relocating from Finland to the area. These are folks who are not interested creating blight but in alleviating it. Something like a return to “The City Beautiful” aesthetic of the 20’s , in absolute contrast to signature Bechtelian Brutalism entombed in dirty concrete and dull grey aluminum by BART.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The City Beautiful is SanFrancisco…. please PAMPA.. you mean suburban sprawl , and actually many young people want to live in the city .. they may work down there.. you’re too sensitive the BART is not ugly .. maybe a little dated today.. in that case we should tear down every single freeway because they are also concrete ugly

    synonymouse Reply:

    Freeways are grotesquely concrete ugly, but they are not going to come down any more than BART is going to come down. Both represent a huge investment, something California is hard pressed to afford.

    Money for all big projects, both road and rail, is going to be very hard to come by, as it comes into direct conflict with social spending. It is not just guns or butter any more, but also boondoggles or butter. Indiscriminate freeway widening is just as much boondoggling as hsr detours engendered by political corruption.

    Warren Buffett, you know – the Baron of the Santa Fe, has come out today against stimulus spending. HSR is the poster boy of the Stimulus. Point is federal funding of hsr projects is very likely to disappear. Calfiornia has to rethink and prioritize. I do not grasp the hostility to the TRAC plan for Tejon, which is faster for all parties, even Palmdale. I feel sure that even some Republicans would understand the value and utility of filling in the gap between Bakersfield and Sylmar. Forget about the Peninsula – let the locals figure out whether they want Caltrain or BART ring the bay. It’s redundant anyway.

    Victor Reply:

    In a pigs eye and while Republicans are in power, What has already been granted will not be redirected, A bill with limited support from the Senate Republicans will go nowhere fast, So keep spinning, We know Yer NUTS. HSR will be built, You’d have to rip HSR from Californias Cold Dead Hands to stop It and I sure don’t see that happening, It would prove that the far right is not only untrustworthy, But an insane dog that needs to be put down. Since California can afford the Bonds that It already voted for, Then I’d say Yer belching a lot of Hot Air and Phony FUD that only a few gullible people believe.

  12. datacruncher
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 18:23

    Some comments about eliminating high aerials in the Central Valley are catching my eye in the PMT report which likely tied to the Value Engineering.

    “ Merced to Fresno: Conducted a comprehensive cost containment review to identify potential
    lower cost alternatives, particularly with a view of eliminating high aerial structures. Significant
    potential savings were identified and are being more thoroughly assessed. Meetings with affected
    stakeholders commenced. The cost containment measures will require some modifications to the
    DEIS/DEIR documentation delivery.
     Fresno-Bakersfield: Conducted a comprehensive cost containment review to identify potential
    lower cost alternatives, particularly with a view of eliminating high aerial structures. Significant
    potential savings were identified and are being more thoroughly assessed. Meetings with affected
    stakeholders commenced. In particular, we have had good meetings with the City of Fresno. The
    cost containment measures will require some modifications to the draft DEIS/DEIR
    documentation delivery.”

    Elizabeth Reply:

    My understanding is that these change are why EIR is delayed until June. Hopefully some hint of what is being discussed will be released earlier or discussed at operations committee meeting.

    Clem Reply:

    For a quarterly program management team report to the board, I thought this was incredibly thin. PB used to furnish ten times as much information on a monthly basis back in the ancient year of 2010.

    I thought the degree of completion of the peninsula segment EIR was noteworthy. 79% to ROD/NOD and 95% completion of the admin draft EIR, if I recall correctly. This “phased implementation” talk could turn out to be another round of shut-up-and-take-your-medicine… Otherwise, how could they possibly be so close to finishing?

    The value engineering comments from the oversight people are also interesting. Essentially, “that’s great, but why weren’t you doing value engineering from the start?” PB must have been stung by synonymouse’s brilliant new slur: Stilt-a-Rail.

    Spokker Reply:

    “PB must have been stung by synonymouse’s brilliant new slur: Stilt-a-Rail.”

    That would undermine his other conspiracy that the construction mafia has already made all decisions and that only comments from the political patronage machine are taken into consideration.

    Victor Reply:

    He’s also a Bigot by His use of the Offensive R word too.

    Spokker Reply:

    What word?

    Victor Reply:

    The word You used to hear in grade school about some who were slow, Just look for His comments dated, It’s 6 letters long:

    March 1st, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Spokker Reply:

    Oh. Who cares.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The use of retard was intentional to, in my no doubt lame way, cast the PB plan as schoolboy dumb. I think PB in their own mind must be ashamed of such a ninny detour, but the are being forced to do for political reasons not of their own making or choice. For that you have to blame the sleazoids whose names we all know.

    Interestingly Bell remains in the news. Even the lowly cops had a ticketing scam going on. I wish the investigators hovering over Bell would cast their fishing line over to Palmdale.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Just wait until synonymouse learns that the world is round and that the earth revolves around the sun, not vice versa…

    Victor Reply:

    And all this time I wondered If there was any real intelligence in His micro brain, He must be Klingon or something.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I’m looking at the alignment around Burbank, which was supposed to be now all at grade, but it looks mostly elevated. Here are the relevant pages:

    Am I missing something?

    MGimbel Reply:

    From the looks of it, there appear to be several at-grade crossings the alignment has to get over in in this area. Probably cheaper to elevate the tracks rather than build several new road underpasses and overpasses. Just guessing though.

    Donk Reply:

    Hey Elizabeth, why aren’t you guys jumping for joy today? Isn’t the push for value engineering, lowering costs, and extending EIRs exactly what your organization is supposedly pushing for?

  13. Loren Petrich
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 20:50

    So we have some announcements on SF – SJ, Merced – Fresno – Bakersfield, and LA – Anaheim

    Anything on the remaining segments?
    SJ – Giroy – Merced Junction (my name for it)
    Bakersfield – Mojave – Palmdale – Santa Clarita – Burbank – LA

    Joey Reply:

    The LA-Palmdale AA was updated in either unmeaningful or depressing ways.

  14. john laue
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 21:34

    Why is there is little attention paid to the Bakersfield/Palmdale segment. Without this missing link, all of the other planned improvements through built-up areas that producde so much contraversy are meaningless. This segment can be built with little public and community oppopsition, and will make it possible to actually travel by rail between LA and SF while the other segments are being debated. Otherwise, we have nothing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I couldn’t agree more. TRAC is saying the same thing, except use the manifestly superior Tejon alignment. Tehachapi is the diesel freight route – I could see spending money to improve it in conjunction with the UP. I wonder if the UP, the SP or the Santa ever came up with a way of improving upon the Loop, which is definitely an operational bottleneck.

  15. wu ming
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 22:38

    krugman has a good one on how much nicer trains are than the alternatives.

  16. Joseph E
    Mar 2nd, 2011 at 12:00

    “oth sections also incorporate, in some form or other, “Shared Track” alternatives which become more complicated as phased implementation is envisaged.”

    This sounds like good new for Caltrain and Metrolink. Previously I had been very worried that we would end up with 2 tracks exclusively for HSR, with no ability for Metrolink or Caltrain to use those tracks for express regional service. Sharing tracks makes a great deal of sense. Even though we will still need 4 tracks for the amount of service Caltrain wants to run in the future (and 2 tracks may not be enough for everyone between LA and Anaheim), the ability for regional passenger trains to share the tracks will make it much easier to integrate with the local transit systems.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use one smart card to buy an express Metrolink ticket from Irvine to Burbank, and then to ride a Metro light rail train or bus? And you could ride Caltrain express from San Jose to San Francisco, then transfer to BART or Muni with the same card.

    I don’t imagine High Speed Rail integrating the fare system with local transit systems; the tickets are so much more expensive, and few people will be riding every day for commuting. It makes sense to let the local transit system (eg. Caltrain, Metrolink) serve commuters and local trips, while HSR focuses on intercity, cross-state trips.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Shared track alternatives don’t necessarily mean shared tracks always. They can mean that the services share the existing tracks and then later the grade seps and 4 tracks happen (at which point they might be segregated).

    This has to be cleared in an EIR because the additional trains, without grade seps, will have impacts to local traffic that might be permanent if phase 2 of phased implementation doesn’t happen.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    They may also limit Caltrain’s ability to expand its service with existing tracks.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use one smart card to buy an express Metrolink ticket from Irvine to Burbank, and then to ride a Metro light rail train or bus? And you could ride Caltrain express from San Jose to San Francisco, then transfer to BART or Muni with the same card.

    ? I think you sort of can do that using a Clipper card although you have to pay for all legs individually. You can use your Clipper card to pay for Caltrain and then again to pay for Muni.

    David Reply:

    Clipper won’t work for the Irvine->Burbank->San Jose part of the journey, though. :)

    Although it looks like the bay area’s Clipper and LA’s equivalent Transit Access Pass are made by the same people, who I’m sure will be more than happy to extend their little monopoly to running compatible turnstiles for HSR, which will be just as unreliable and slow as the MUNI card readers. Like Suica/Passmo/ etc. in Japan, but more proprietary and no doubt more expensive.

    Spokker Reply:

    TAP cards and contactless passes are more unneeded than high speed rail!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    This sounds like good new for Caltrain and Metrolink. Previously I had been very worried that we would end up with 2 tracks exclusively for HSR, with no ability for Metrolink or Caltrain to use those tracks for express regional service.

    Unfortunately for everybody on planet earth, that it the exact opposite of what America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals at PBQD and allied consultancies are planning: what they seek, per their own design documents, are entirely segregated facilities and, in particular, 100% segregated stations. Talk of “shared tracks” makes less than no sense in such a context: it’s a sophistic side-show. In fact, the sort of “sharing” they’re talking about may have the effect of increasing costs, because America’s Finest Transportaiton Planning Professionals insist on adopting their own globally unique track and systems standards and also insist on incorporating multiple train control systems, which is, without fail, a recipe for multi-hundred million dollar cost blowouts (guess who benefits from that?) and years of delay and ongoing technical nightmares.

    Synomymouse’s crazy talk about maglev being comparable to or perhaps cheaper than what America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals are up to: we get all the disadvantages of maglev (incompatible systems and segregated stations and elevated expensive viaducts and non-integrated operation) at every point, and receive none of the benefits of an integrated rail system.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use one smart card to buy an express Metrolink ticket from Irvine to Burbank, and then to ride a Metro light rail train or bus? And you could ride Caltrain express from San Jose to San Francisco, then transfer to BART or Muni with the same card.

    In advanced civilized first world democracies you can do that today, and even do it today using a piece of paper and not forking over half a billion dollars to barrel scraping defense contractor Cubic, Inc, for its “smart cards” and faregates.

    All it takes is a few strokes of a pen and a rudimentary level of public agency public service. Technology is entirely beside the point, and in fact is a massive distraction from and obstacle to the point.

    I don’t imagine High Speed Rail integrating the fare system with local transit systems; the tickets are so much more expensive, and few people will be riding every day for commuting.
    You’re not imaginging hard enough or logically enough, then.

    Running multiple trains each with empty seats is what costs money and wastes resources and “requires” massive (= contractor profitable) over-building of the system and over-purchase of rolling stock and over-staffing of train crews.

    In advanced civilized first world democracies it is perfectly possible to board a high speed train using a (paper!) bus ticket, because integration of services and best and most cost effective delivery of public service are priorities of the funding agencies.

    Contrast with our local situation, in which contractor profits, which are in this case diamaetrically opposed to the public’s interest, are all that counts.

    This isn’t about technology, it’s simple economics, and we (ie the Californian and US public) are getting the wrong and unlubed end of the economic stick.

    Spokker Reply:

    I have a smart card. It’s called a debit card. I stick it into the ticket machine and it spits out a piece of paper that lets me ride Metrolink and then transfer to Metro Rail. Holy shit.

    Spokker Reply:

    And the only thing the Metro Rail fare gates are going to do is prevent me from using that paper ticket to transfer to the subway. That’s progress.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m feeling old. Decades ago all transit systems took the same tokens and chits of paper. The government issued it, it’s called cash. I’m old enough to remember when the they even made change….

    synonymouse Reply:

    I’d have to concur with RM’s list of shortcomings of maglev but it sure looks like PB is hell bent for leather on folding in those same drawbacks with their steel on steel technology.

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