California Wants Florida’s HSR Money – Unless You’re Jeff Denham

Feb 17th, 2011 | Posted by

UPDATE: Denham has withdrawn the proposed amendment. Good job, everyone! Original post begins below.

Just as with Wisconsin and Ohio’s HSR stimulus money, which was foolishly rejected by their right-wing governors, California is angling to get some of the $2.4 billion in funds that Florida’s governor foolishly rejected. We won $624 million in redirected funds from WI and OH. If we get a similar amount from Florida, it might just be enough to get tracks to Bakersfield itself. California’s leaders aren’t shy about asking:

“The $2 billion that Florida rejected are more than welcome here,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said.

California. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking that all the Florida money be sent here. “It is now clear that California will lead the way in demonstrating the viability of high-speed rail to the rest of the country,” they wrote.

The full text of the letter from Feinstein and Boxer is below:

February 16, 2011

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary LaHood,

We are writing to express California’s continued commitment to the President’s high-speed rail initiative and to ask that the $2.4 billion in Federal grants recently returned be redirected to our high-speed rail initiative. We believe this is an opportunity for the Administration to further its investment in the project that demonstrates the greatest potential for success. Awarding these funds to California will advance the President’s goals for high-speed rail, as expressed in the State of the Union.

California is leading the Nation in the development of high-speed rail. As you know, voters in our state have committed over $9 billion in bonds to high-speed rail – a unique level of public support that demonstrates that our state is a reliable, long term partner in this initiative. Combined with Federal grants, we have over $5.5 billion in funds allocated for construction that will begin in 2012. Californians know that these additional federal funds represent over 80,000 new manufacturing, construction, and technology jobs in our state. We are eager to expand our partnership with the Department of Transportation and get to work.

It is now clear that California will lead the way in demonstrating the viability of high speed rail to the rest of the country. We are ready to do so and look forward to working with the Department of Transportation to see the high-speed rail is a success in California, and the entire nation.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

The California Labor Federation added their support for redirecting the money here:

In his infinite wisdom, Florida Gov. Rick Scott decided today that his state would reject federal funding for high-speed rail. Well, if Scott doesn’t want the economic and environmental benefits high-speed rail promises, California would be more than happy to take that funding off his hands to spark job creation here.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

California stands ready to accept Florida’s funding to continue leading the way in realizing President Obama’s bold vision for a national high-speed rail network. By rejecting high-speed rail today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott shrunk from the President’s challenge to embrace a 21st century infrastructure that will solidify our country’s position on the leading edge of global competiveness. Florida’s loss is California’s gain.

A coalition of business, labor and government is working together to make the vision of high-speed rail a reality in the Golden State. The $2 billion Florida rejected could be used immediately in California to break ground on the project and put tens of thousands of people back to work. With unemployment hovering at 12.5%, high-speed rail is just the economic spark our state needs.

High-speed rail would create as many as a half million jobs in California. And the economic benefits wouldn’t stop there. It would also boost small businesses and infuse cash into struggling communities. California has been the national leader on high-speed rail since Day One. And that commitment is the very reason we’re further along in the project than any other state.

Pulaski:

Californians have displayed deep commitment to high-speed rail because we understand the economic and environmental benefits this project brings to our state. Voters have already approved a measure to devote nearly $10 billion to high-speed rail in coming years, and California’s commitment to the project has been rewarded with more federal funding than any other state.

California has a reputation as a state of visionaries — for good reason. When we see a challenge, we rise to the occasion. We stand ready to become the first state in the nation to fully realize high-speed rail’s promise.

We know that such strong support has worked in bringing around $4 billion in federal funding to the California HSR project so far. So what might prevent us from getting some more of it via Florida? The only obstacle would appear to be Congressional Republicans, who share the ideological hostility to HSR of their counterparts in the governor’s offices in Madison, Columbus, and Tallahassee.

One Republican who seeks to block federal funding for California high speed rail is California’s own Jeff Denham. Denham was elected last November in the 19th Congressional District, which includes some of the initial HSR segment in Madera County. The HSR project will therefore employ a LOT of Denham’s constituents, who could use the work – the Valley has some of the highest unemployment rates in California.

Apparently Denham wants his constituents to stay unemployed and not have jobs, because he is sponsoring language in the Republicans’ proposed continuing resolution to fund the federal government (which expires in the first week of March) to defund California HSR:

OFFERED BY MR. DENHAM OF CALIFORNIA:
~ the end of the bill (before the title) insert the following new section:

1 SEC. 4002. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for high-speed
2 rail in the State of California, for the California High Speed Rail Authority, or for
3 projects designed to further high speed rail in the State of California

Perhaps you might want to let Congressman Denham know what you think about his effort to kill jobs in his district in the service of a far-right ideological agenda. With the 2012 election coming up, an election where districts won’t be drawn to favor incumbents and where Denham will be vulnerable as a first-termer defending his seat for the first time, you’d think he would be more cautious than this. I’m not quite sure how killing jobs is going to get him re-elected or do anything to help his district. But it would be good to let Denham and his constituents know about this provision and ensure that we block it from becoming law.

  1. jimsf
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:40
    #1

    The mention of labor/business/govt coaltion..
    what would be really helpful would be to see a list of california businesses, local/statewide who support the project because they see how it will benefit them. And it would be helpful to hear more from them in the way of vocal support. If key segments of the business community come out in support it would help counter”govt bonndoggle” label. For instance the entire tourism/hospitality industry should be in full support of this.

  2. Adam
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:47
    #2

    Can’t reply to Denham. It will not accept my zip code because i’m outside his district. oh well.

    Jerry Reply:

    Do it the old fashioned way — Write him a letter.

  3. Winston
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:50
    #3

    Jeff Denham cares nothing for his supporters – he is a guy who is in politics for the money – so much so that his lavish fundraisers are shocking even to his fellow tea baggers. Consider the first story that comes up when you google his name: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/46999.html
    All this being said, he is likely safe even with redistricting unless Americans realize that the tea party’s main goal is to destroy America.

    joe Reply:

    How is he safe? He will have the entire state level government (all dem) attacking him for his refusal to send funding to help his district and surrounding areas.

    wu ming Reply:

    redistricting combined with the top two primary combined with ongoing demographic shifts means that very few republicans will likely be very safe, especially in the central valley.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The worst is that wing-nut Nunes…He is so right wing and out of step with most of the state.. the district he represents has about half the population probably of say San Francisco. He proposes taking the high-speed rail money and expanding 99 to 6 lanes… that’s why we have gas tax to this teabag fake needs it raised if he wants to do that..calling these people doesn’t help they won’t speak to you if you’re not in their district nor do they care what you say..

  4. tony d.
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 10:27
    #4

    The Tea Party and far-right GOP movement becomes more sickening with each passing day.
    But there’s a silver lining to all this nonsense and insanity: Obama should easily get a second term and Dems/moderate GOP will take the country back in 2012.
    Despite what that a$$ hole in Madera wants and what Mike Rosenberg writes, we will get
    Florida’s money and our system will be built; guaranteed!

    Victor Reply:

    The things the Repugnant ones propose to defund or eliminate or order to be done has to go through the senate doesn’t It? If so I don’t think It will come to pass, As the DOT would have to be ordered by Congress send the money back, If that’s even legal to do so in the first place, It would be like asking the SSA to send back the money for SSI benefits, It would prove their uncaring bastards/bitches and insane.

  5. Victor
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 10:29
    #5

    I’d love to contact this Troglodyte, Problem is I don’t live anywhere near Fresno currently, Although I might soon do as the area may be more affordable to Me than where I live now, maybe. So cause even though I could do the zip code with ease, the street address restriction is harder to get past and besides I’d rather not, So I’ll pass on that. I hope He loses in the 2012 election.

  6. Evan
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 10:43
    #6

    Yeah, can’t contact him with an address outside his district. Sigh.

    Jason Untulis Reply:

    Just use his own office address and cop to it at the end… it will at least get read…

    3509 Coffee Rd
    Modesto CA 95355-1356

    joe Reply:

    His Frenso Office zip is

    1040 E Herndon Avenue #201
    Fresno, CA 93720

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You most certainly can contact him, by writing a letter and sending it to either of the above addresses. Or you can telephone. Or fax.

  7. datacruncher
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 13:00
    #7

    Denham supposedly withdrew his amendment in return for oversight power of CAHSR spending for the House Rail subcommittee. The subcommittee chair is Bill Shuster.
    http://denham.house.gov/press-release/rep-denham-secures-aggressive-oversight-ca-high-speed-rail-project

    Denham says he wants to use the power to protect the interests of farmers and taxpayers.

    Denham, Nunes, and McCarthy also introduced a bill today to allow Calif. the choice to redirect ARRA funds to the widening/improving of Highway 99. Text of the bill is at:
    http://nunes.house.gov/_files/NUNES_015_xml.pdf
    Nunes’ press release and blog on the bill
    http://nunes.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=3474b9e6-19b9-b4b1-12c9-6c205dc289f3
    http://devinnunes.blogspot.com/2011/02/valley-republicans-seek-options-for.html

    Victor Reply:

    One can call as I did the following numbers:

    All official media inquiries should be directed to my Washington D.C. office at 202-225-2523. For after-hours inquiries, please contact 202-281-8646. If you are not a member of the media and have questions or concerns, you can send me a message electronically or call my office.

    I politely told the lady there what I thought of this bill and to keep their hands off of the rail money as the people of California want HSR and so does most of the legislature…

    Victor Reply:

    The phone numbers are for Nunes office.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The three little tea pots can’t do much except make for a lot of hot air and political Showboats… the president and the Senate are not to let any of that go through along with our local statewide representatives who backed high-speed rail.. if the Democrats cannot get things done with all three branches these newbie teapots will not get all their arrogant stuff done with just the house

  8. Peter
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 13:30
    #8

    Interesting development in Florida: Scott rebuked by 26 [state] senators over high-speed rail funding

    This is apparently a veto-proof majority. I’m not sure how the process in Florida works, but according to the article, the Senate is arguing that Scott can’t unilaterally cancel the project, as it was approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by a previous governor.

    joe Reply:

    Is this really a surprise? Scott, aka Lex Luthor, thinks he’s king of Florida and that making irrational ruinous decisions is bravery.

    “This is like holding a gun to our heads and telling the federal government: Don’t give us this money or we’ll blow our brains out,” Simmons said.

    Other senators said they also didn’t like the fact that Scott decided to reverse a decision of the Legislature without giving lawmakers a heads up.

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/17/2072075/scott-rebuked-by-26-senators-over.html#ixzz1EFq40oXn

    Peter Reply:

    No, it’s not surprising, I was just intrigued by the idea that it might not be his choice to make.

    Victor Reply:

    Ruh, Roh, Now He’s done It… I wonder what the legislature can threaten Scott with?

    joe Reply:

    Apparently he’s done nothing. If the news is correct, Scott doesn’t have have a choice – he lacks authority to unilaterally undo laws and bypass the legislature.

    They also apparently threaded to override any veto of any future HSR legislation.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well, that’s good news even though I would’ve liked the extra money for CA HSR. So I guess we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch.

    Seriously, when FL HSR between Tampa and Orlando is up and running before CA (assuming Scott is forced to build it), then I’ll be planning a trip to Disney World and Hogwarts Castle via Tampa and the HSR.

    dave Reply:

    Me too, I think FL citizens should know that I am willing to considering spending my CA dollars as a tourist if they build this thing just to ride it to Disneyworld when I land at the airport and hop on HSR.

    Spokker Reply:

    Don’t make a decision until you consider your options. You may be enticed by Disney’s free coach service.

    The coach service meets you as arrive at the airport. You check into your hotel room at the airport. Your luggage is delivered directly to your room from the plane as well. No need to visit baggage claim. The return trip back to the airport is also free. This process also allows you to bypass airport check-in on your return trip.

    Did I mention it’s free?

    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/benefits/airport-service/

    Spokker Reply:

    Of course, there’s no reason the same benefits can’t be offered with high speed rail, but I doubt it would be competitive with the free coach service, and I doubt Disney would offer a free high speed rail ticket with every reservation at an official Walt Disney World Resort. The high speed rail enables the visitor to visit other parts of Florida. Their free coach service is designed to trap visitors on property and that’s why they operate it at a loss.

    Airport to resort travel times probably wouldn’t be that different. It’s about 22 miles to Walt Disney World (I picked one of the value resorts, closer to the proposed station), and hopping aboard a high speed train seems overkill for this route, especially considering you will have to transfer to a bus to get to your hotel anyway.

    According to a ridership study which appears to have fallen off the face of the planet (but used as a citation on Wikipedia), travel time between Orlando Airport and the proposed Disney World station would be 34 minutes in traffic and 21 minutes via rail. The extra transfer from rail to bus would eat up some time savings. The coach service would probably be faster during non-congested periods where the average travel time is 25 minutes.

    I would go with the free coach service if I were not a train enthusiast. It appears to be a superior option. There are other reasons to support high speed rail in Florida, but an airport-Disney World connection are not one of them, from a purely operational point of view that is. Clearly, I’m not factoring in emissions or a world where gasoline is running out.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Dave’s premise is exactly the sort of hope that the Administration has. FLHSR isn’t going to be used by business travellers inasmuch as it will be used for people connecting through Orlando’s airport to the Coast. Sure, it’s an expensive way to reach the Magic Kingdom compared to the shuttle, but consider the opposite…take a day trip to Busch Gardens or (eventually) Miami. Sports fans will get to use for the Devil Rays and Buccaneers and Magic.

    And that’s the ultimate goal. Have people from other states ride it, see what it is like, and decide it’s something they want close by too.

    egk Reply:

    On the other hand since you are presumably going to Disney World to ride some cool rides (or at least to let your kids do so) I can’t imagine passing up a 150 mph ride to the park.

    And, of course, the way it is now is not the way it might be in the future. Maybe you can check into your hotel right there at the HSR station at Disney and have your bags whisked to your room while you go off to the park…

    Once the train is there, do you really think Disney will continue to spend the $10 million or so it must be costing them to run these buses? (

    Spokker Reply:

    “Once the train is there, do you really think Disney will continue to spend the $10 million or so it must be costing them to run these buses?”

    Absolutely. After all, the high speed rail line will have other stations.

    “Maybe you can check into your hotel right there at the HSR station at Disney and have your bags whisked to your room while you go off to the park…”

    Will the bags be transported on the train? Will the operator be willing to do that? Does it penalize the schedule at all?

    “can’t imagine passing up a 150 mph ride to the park.”

    Maybe they could install animatronics along I-4.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Spokker:
    I think egk’s comment about the bags was that you would take the FLHSR to the Disney Station (manhandling your own bags on the train), leave your bags with the hotel check-in desk located at the Disney Station, and while you are at the park, your bags get taken to your room at your hotel. At the end of the day, you catch one of the hotel shuttles from the park to your hotel to be reunited with your bags.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Gawd only knows how your bag gets checked in some obscure airport in the Northeast or Midwest and your it magically appears in your room in a Disney Resort. Or how you call for a bell hop when you are leaving and your bags magically appear on the baggage carousel in the obscure airport you departed from. If Disney wants to make that happen, and indications are they do, on the train it will happen.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Clearly, I’m not factoring in emissions or a world where gasoline is running out.

    Too right! Preach it, brother! Running trains between a airports and tourist resorts at over 100mph is the key stablilization wedge required to address climate change and Peak Oil. The rest is easy.

    Spokker Reply:

    Haha, meow!

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    “Of course, there’s no reason the same benefits can’t be offered with high speed rail”
    If they do it in France, why not in Florida?
    They have partnerships with Eurostar, SNCF and Thalys, and offer all-inclusive weekend packages (train, hotel, park). The station is just outside the park’s main entrance, which makes it far more convenient than airports. Disney Eurostars are non-stop and by-pass Paris.

    Spokker Reply:

    Gare de Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy is within walking distance of the two parks and a few hotels. Walt Disney World is so huge that most people are going to have to transfer to a bus to matter where they locate the station, in order to get to their hotel. Might as well board the free coach service at the airport and not deal with a transfer.

    Spokker Reply:

    To get an idea of how large Disney World is, Epcot is about a 5 miles drive/ride from the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom is about a 7 mile drive/ride from Animal Kingdom.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Well, remember that the monorail was thought to be the answer before Disney realized buses were a heck of a lot cheaper. Keep in mind, most of Disney needs a certain percentage of its visitors to be local, and a connection to Tampa helps make that happen. These are people who aren’t going to be checking bags or anything like that. Plus, an extension of HSR to the east would help out their cruise line and beach resort.

    It’s true that it makes no sense to have packed trains from MCO to WDW and then ride empty to Tampa, but I suspect that Disney will keep the free shuttle going even if they have to run the buses on biodiesel and begin to serve the station as well.

    jimsf Reply:

    I will never spend my california dollars on florida tourism. not even for an hsr ride. Ill wait for ours.

    Spokker Reply:

    What are California dollars? Are they like Disney dollars?

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    That’s a great idea. California could secede and use Disney dollars as currency. Someone get this man a Freeper coffee mug!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    An HSR train up and running in Central Florida by 2016 in is more money for California. Perhaps not now, but over the long haul.

    Brian Reply:

    Being from FL, I was not surprised – but am surprised how he did it and when. Rick Scott is just an amateur politician and it shows. He has pissed off enough Repubs in the state house that he now has a majority against him! It is an interesting idea that you will here more of, whether or not Scott can cancel a project approved by the state without having the legislature vote on the idea. All it would take is an opinion by the FL Atty General I hope. Hopefully he will be convinced by this opposition to him to reverse his plans.

    Peter Reply:

    Well, the DOT has apparently given the Florida Legislature 8 days to figure it out (Feb 25th is the ultimatum, apparently).

    Brian Reply:

    Yeah I saw that. The main issue is that Scott will have to approve any deal as the state owns the land. But I hope he is convinced otherwise by the constitutional issues raised with his actions. Honestly, I don’t think he will agree to any change even if it does take the state off the hook for any costs. He is such an ideologue on HSR! And to think he won by only 100,000 votes…. out of millions cast.

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah, but if Florida’s Senate has enough votes to override his veto on this issue, does Scott’s opinion/veto/ideological-and-political-idiocy even matter?

    Brian Reply:

    That is the $2.7 Billion dollar question. What will Scott do even if he knows the legislature can veto his spending? Again its a constitutional question as LaHood requires Scott to sign off on anything by the 25th. Will Scott even listen? He seems to listen to two tea bagger ladies about HSR more than the whole FL state legislature. He even pissed the gov’t off by holding his new budget announcement at a tea party event in some small ass rural town! He likes being a renegade governor I think. We will know more by next Wednesday if FL HSR is really dead once the back room deals have been made in Tallahassee.

    joe Reply:

    The Gov can veto a law but he can’t refuse to follow a law or spending bill – that disobedience is constitutionally not allowed.

    Victor Reply:

    Maybe grounds for Impeachment?

    jim Reply:

    He just has to delay for a few months. The bulk of the money turns into a pumpkin the end of this FY.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    This is why a central question is whether the new authority already established for the project can proceed just on the basis of the Legislature approving it. It was, obviously, no set up for this eventuality … but Mickey Mouse wants his HSR, and while many Southern Florida and Panhandle Republicans can ignore Mickey, its not clear how many Central Florida Republicans can or will.

    Victor Reply:

    Until Friday the 25th, Interesting.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is 26 out of 40 veto-proof in Florida?

    Brian Reply:

    I’ve read conflicting reports if 26 or 27 votes are needed. As a correction it is not a constitutional issue as I previously thought, but a FL statute issue from what I have read further. It will be an interesting next 8 days here in Florida for sure! I believe the only way Scott will back down is if he is told by his atty general thay he overstepped his authority. Already there are issues with him selling state owned airplanes that were appropriated in the state budget. He really is such an arrogant asshole. Sorry for that, but that is my thought.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Vielen Dank.

    Victor Reply:

    That’s Ok, He deserves no less of everyones contempt.

  9. Nadia
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 15:50
    #9

    Robert – This is old news – the press release about Dedham withdrawing his amendment came out yesterday.

    Rep. Denham Secures Aggressive Oversight Of CA High-Speed Rail Project

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Allie Brandenburger

    Date: February 16, 2011 (202) 731-3222

    Washington, DC – Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) today secured a commitment from Rep. Bill Shuster, Chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, to provide significant oversight over California’s high-speed rail project.

    With the commitment from Chairman Shuster, Rep. Denham withdrew his amendment restricting federal funds for California’s high-speed rail project. Rep. Denham supports the concept of a high-speed rail in California but he also recognizes that since the project’s inception, the projected costs have skyrocketed and the project has become misguided in such a way that any more federal funding would be totally irresponsible without congressional oversight.

    “I am committed to reducing spending. I plan to provide aggressive oversight of California’s high-speed rail project and with Rep. Shuster’s commitment, I am confident we will do so,” said Rep. Jeff Denham. “The project has lacked adequate cost controls, the transparency our Valley farmers deserve and the oversight our taxpayers demand. If necessary, we will work to hold a hearing in California’s Central Valley.”

    Allie Brandenburger

    Communications Director

    Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-19)

    (202) 731-3222 (cell)

    Peter Reply:

    And your point with posting his withdrawal of the amendment, after Robert stated it had been withdrawn?

  10. Nadia
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 17:44
    #10

    High-Speed Rail: Florida Lawmakers Look for End Run Around Gov.

    A new plan hatched on Capitol Hill would transfer the federal funds to a third party in an effort to insulate Florida from any financial risks association with building or operating trains. But the plan would still need Scott’s support, an uncertain prospect in the politically-charged environment of government spending and debt.

    Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), told reporters Thursday that lawyers are working on a plan that appoints a third-party entity to receive the money from the feds.

    That entity—possibly Amtrak, a metropolitan planning organization, a transit authority, or some other public or private group—would administer the project and also shoulder Florida’s financial exposure. That amounts to about $280 million, at least at first. Nelson and other lawmakers argued the arrangement would take care of Scott’s concern that Florida could be on the hook for costs of building or running the system.

    more here:
    http://transportationnation.org/2011/02/17/high-speed-rail-fla-lawmakers-look-for-end-run-around-gov/

    Spokker Reply:

    Politifact feels that Scott has the upper hand here.

    http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/feb/17/jd-alexander/senator-makes-point-about-rick-scotts-authority-ni/

    “…Scott can wreak havoc on rail plans in other ways.

    If a bond issue is required, he could try to kill the project through a vote on the Cabinet, or he could to hold up giving away the right-of-way to build the rail line. Or he could order his Department of Transportation secretary to fire people associated with the rail project.

    “He has the ability to direct agency heads and the ability to control expenditures that come into the budget over the next few years through a veto,” said former state Sen. Dan Gelber, who was the Democratic candidate for attorney general. “If the governor’s dead set on making it not happen, he can make it not happen.””

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    The problem here is that in order to ratify this agreement, Scott has to sign it into law. He can’t abandon monies already appropriated, but that’s nothing. He can expend those appropriations and never tap or sign on for more cash. I suppose the Legislature could override his veto and make the Commission there autonomous, but that’s a little crazy.

    Spokker Reply:

    He’s probably out there paving over the right of way as we speak.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Scott can wreak havoc on rail plans in other ways.

    The President of the United States could wreak a lot of havoc too, if he wanted to. The HSR grant is microscopic relative to all the other Federal grants Florida receives.

  11. dave
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 17:46
    #11

    According to this:

    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/02/even_republicans_are_angry_ric.php

    Even Jeb Bush (Former FL HSR killer) is puzzled by Scott’s move.

    Victor Reply:

    That was Good.

    Donk Reply:

    Hopefully this is the start of the turning point for HSR in US politics, where Republicans realize the error in their ways and the whole thing turns from being a Blue-Red issue to a Tea Party/Libertarian vs Everyone Else issue.

    Donk Reply:

    …now there are a handful of Republicans on record officially supporting HSR (Mica, LaHood, and these state senators), so maybe other Republicans won’t be so scared to voice their support also. All we need now are some Republicans to hop on board that are more influential, and to drive a wedge between the Tea Party and the mainstream Republicans on this issue.

    Victor Reply:

    Yeah Boehner and the Tea Partiers who are threatening to shut down the US Government(after March 4th) if they don’t get their way, Which is a $200 Billion cut in spending, As in If We don’t get what We want, there will be No US Government… What’s next?

  12. Back in the Saddle
    Feb 17th, 2011 at 21:43
    #12

    Could anyone provide the estimated cost of constructing the high speed rail line from the area north of Bakersfield through the Tehachapi Range and south to a connection with Metrolink in the Antelope Valley? I was wondering if what Florida is giving up would make that a possibility.

    Joseph E Reply:

    Well, there some long tunnels involved, so it should be several billion at least.

    Joey Reply:

    Bakersfield to Palmdale appears to come in at about $5 billion.

    Joey Reply:

    Though CAARD estimates it closer to $9 billion.

    joe Reply:

    CAARD uses the same nonsense Gov Scott used to reject FL’s HSR, ginned up, inflated construction costs.

    Nadia Reply:

    Well, if the Authority would released updated capital costs – we could see who is closer.

    Why not start a letter writing campaign to the Authority to get them to release the numbers?

    Look at the RFEI on the Authority’s website starting on pg 33. Clearly they know the answer – just ask them to “unhide” the Excel column and we’ll see.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    We are not “ginning” up construction costs. If we were applying an additional “optimism factor” lie they are doing in the UK, we would have given a number close to $100 billion, but that is not what we did.

    Look at the quantity of aerial, tunnels, trenches etc in the current plans PRODUCED BY THE CHSRA and compare them to those used in the $43 billion figure.

    We understand this is an inconvenient truth, but it is better to deal with facts than ignore them.

    There is the example of the LA – Anaheim segment. It was sold to legislature as costing $1.2 bn (2007), in the original business plan at $2 billion (2008)and when properly costed came out at more than $5 billion (2009). It was only after cost estimates that reflected the true complexity of the porject that a serious discussion began on whether dedicated tracks were worth it, given the cost.

    Donk Reply:

    I would rather keep on pretending that it will cost $43B and start spending the $5B that we have in the bank. It probably will cost much more than $43B, but once we sink $5B in there is no turning back. I am not saying that I am against cost controls, I just want to get it underway. So why would I want to start a letter writing campaign?

    Peter Reply:

    Death by a thousand cuts. Make the Authority look like they’re being shady. Unfortunately, it’s an effective tool. Somehow people are still under the misapprehension that CARRD is “neutral” in this debate.

    Victor Reply:

    CARRD Neutral? Like hell, Their just thinly veiled fronts for Nimbys, Who’d say It has to be done “right” or not at all and by “right” It’s make a subway out of HSR or no building HSR anywhere. Those are Unrealistic demands w/o money to back them up, So far a few places have wanted Trenches or Tunnels, Yet have not offered to pay a single red cent to pay for those Demanded Improvements, If they make demands and then offer to pay nothing, Then they will take what comes through and learn to live with HSR above ground like spoiled brats should.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I understand that you don’t like what we are saying but trying to attack us personally, without basis, doesn’t help the conversation.

    This project, as currently conceived, is very very expensive. What to do about that is a conversation that should be happening. The public who supported the idea of high speed rail on the 2008 ballot should be part of that dialogue.

    Victor Reply:

    @ Liz: Who says It will be that expensive, Where’s Your proof? CARRD doesn’t know what It’s mumbling about…

    Victor Reply:

    @ Liz: If You want the public in on this put up the money for a petition drive and put It on the ballot, , Money being gathered now is for Construction, Costs of which are well known by those who have done It before, If It was an expensive as CARRD says It will be then, Then why is there such keen interest in building HSR from overseas? Answer Me that… Cause there’s money to be made, Lots of It, As is seen else where in the world, As is happening in the NEC too, Airliners have dropped from the sky over the last few years, Do what Amtrak wants and some or a lot of airlines just won’t serve that area anymore.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Quite, rather than half the cost of the same expansion in transport capacity by status quo means, it could well be three quarters of the cost of the same expansion in transport capacity by status quo means.

    Of course, the more quickly it is built, the lower the cost, because this is Year of Expenditure budgeting.

    Eric M Reply:

    That’s exactly what they are doing. Remember, these are the same ladies that screamed bloody murder when they didn’t like high speed rail going up the peninsula, all before they formed CARRD.

    Nadia Reply:

    CARRD has NEVER advocated for a trench or tunnel. We don’t advocate for particular solutions.

    We advocate for public participation to better the project. Having everyone openly discuss the hard choices is the way to get the best project.

    In fact, the first public testimony I gave at a Senate hearing was to ask for Context Sensitive Solutions as a way to work towards a better project.

    We have never “screamed bloody murder” about anything on this project. In fact, just the opposite, we have calmly and rationally discussed how to improve it.

    Asking for updated capital cost isn’t an attempt to make the Authority look shady. We’re confident they have the numbers – all we’re asking is that they share them.

    Joe Reply:

    But stating the obvious, they have a bias against HSR, isn’t fair.

    The best attack on HSR is cost overruns, Scott used it in FL and it will done in CA.

    Peter Reply:

    @ Nadia

    Have you guys taken down your counters on the main page of your website yet? We should start a new counter: “Days since the last ‘Conflict of Interest’ on the Board was removed, and CARRD hasn’t taken down their counter yet”

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Peter,

    Just for you, I took down the counter (although I did take the opportunity to put a new one up).

    Peter Reply:

    Hey, that’s just fine with me.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Anaheim to LA is why you want to know the costs now. The costs of a dedicated ROW turn out to be very very high. When the cost was out (the only section to be anywhere close to fully costed), people rethought some basic assumptions. Under the ostrich approach, you would have started building and by the time you had a handle on the costs you were stuck with the choices you made.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Do you think a shared track desgin like the own proposed for LA-ANA on Caltrain will be much cheaper than what has been planned?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    No idea, but the having the cost up certainly encouraged some creativity

    Peter Reply:

    Also, do you think there is a better approach for the Valley? I for one am interested in your suggestions, despite my criticisms of your group’s approach.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    CARRD doesn’t back specific alignments per se but there are several ideas that don’t seem fully explored.

    From my perspective, the trick with keeping costs and concrete down in the Central Valley (which is essential to the economic and environmental case for this project, given that LA – Bakersfield is expensive no matter what you do) is that it needs to be at grade but not create substantial new barriers and nor cause havoc for farmers.

    email us info@calhsr.com or info@carrdnet.org if you want offline discussion

    Donk Reply:

    My only real beef with CARRD is that they only focus on HSR. There are plenty of other infrastructure projects in CA that are money pits, and most of those have no hope of ever turning a profit. If it was instead Californians Advocating Responsible Infrastructure Design (CARID) I would have more respect for you guys. But being called CARRD indicates that you have some sort of bias against rail.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    From my perspective, the trick with keeping costs and concrete down in the Central Valley (which is essential to the economic and environmental case for this project, given that LA – Bakersfield is expensive no matter what you do) is that it needs to be at grade but not create substantial new barriers and nor cause havoc for farmers.

    Right, but you have the Union Pacific saying that its Right-Of-Way is God-given and untouchable. Given that the entire Central Valley grew up around that right of way 140 years ago, someone is going to lose out. And it’s not if there aren’t incidents of that before, such as the “Mussel Shoals tragedy”.

    Still, the choice of construction (viaducts) through Fresno is puzzling. What CARRD must do is figure out which choices actually could be wasteful, and which are unpopular. Because if you merely trust everyone’s assertions, you will end up in a situation in which almost all actions by the Authority are unpopular, and by extension wasteful. Instead, I’d argue that most of the unpopular decisions are not wasterful per se.

    Speak truth to power, not Palo Alto.

    Peter Reply:

    How about using creative construction methods, such as Systra’s U-Shaped Viaduct? That might help decrease the cost of those sections that need to be elevated. They would have to switch to a design compatible with four tracks for stations, but otherwise it could save them a fair amount of money in terms of concrete. It also has the advantage of already including noise barriers…

    Alan Reply:

    Just out of curiosity, Elizabeth…where did you and the others in CAARD get your civil
    engineering degrees?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I think the point we are trying to make is that it is 4th grade mathematics to be able to calculate a higher cost point for the project. It is where civil engineering comes in (cost of 250 mph long tunnels through Tehachapis and appropriate reserves) that we stopped.

    Eric M Reply:

    There are not even any bids on the project yet and at a time when construction is cheaper because of the economy

    Elizabeth Reply:

    We also used the ARRA numbers from this summer and fall.

    Joe Reply:

    I agree with the 4th Grade description of the CAARD estimate.

    Scott used bogus cost overrun estimates to justify his prejudicial decision to kill HSR in FL.

    I expect the same tactic will be tried in CA.

    Victor Reply:

    Scott will be lucky If He gets only a Rebuke, It could get much worse If decides to do so anyway. But in any case We can watch and see Him squirm under the legislatures spotlight, If does defy the legislature anyway that is and He might. If He does, He might be burnt toast.

    Victor Reply:

    No Tunnels were planned by the under staffed & under funded CHSRA through an area that has fault lines running through It, Unless You have linkable proof of course, Like from an official source? Besides I don’t think they know the costs yet, As No construction bids have been sent out yet for Bakersfield to Palmdale, Much less for Fresno to near Bakersfield. If You know something & It’s linkable & Official, Please tell US, I’m sure people would love to know… So It’s either put up or fold.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Just out of curiosity, Elizabeth…where did you and the others in CAARD get your civil
    engineering degrees?

    Remind me: what are Quentin Kopp’s, Rod Diridon’s, or Curt Pringle’s professional qualifications?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not sure about Diridon and Pringle, but Kopp has a history of successfully building rail projects, within a factor of 3 of the original budget.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kopp is the guy who killed the Caltrain TBT tunnel.

    Alan Reply:

    You didn’t answer my question. You’re trying to make it appear that your figures are more
    reliable than the degreed civil engineers who have been working on this project for
    years. What is the source of your expertise that makes your estimates better than
    the PB engineers?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    And we would caution that the numbers could be much higher for this segment. They are using higher aerials than they have released unit costs on and they are proposing tunnels longer than 6 miles to accomodate 250 mph speeds and possibly rebuilding a dam. We chose to go on the low side, but the actual number is probably higher.
    It is a tough project in there.

    Victor Reply:

    CARRD, Smarrd, They just don’t want a new idea to get a foothold here, As their really just a Nimby front.

    Spokker Reply:

    You should really look at what they did. It’s not perfect, but it’s something the CHSRA should respond to.

    Victor Reply:

    Why? Experts shouldn’t listen to those who aren’t in the business and who know nothing on the subject beyond their opinions, If CARRD doesn’t like a berm, too bad, As construction of the tracks is not a Democracy, It’s a Dictatorship, Run by Engineers who have real university degree in their fields of expertise, Not by those with High School and/or mere college degrees. Know nothings don’t make safe anything, a lot of noise, When they don’t know what’s right from a hole in the ground.

    Spokker Reply:

    I see I’m not the only one who gets hammered on the weekends and goes posting on train discussion boards.

    Alan Reply:

    Maybe he’s a little over the top in expressing his opinion, but the point is valid.
    The people working for CHSRA have real, provable experience in building these
    things. The people at CAARD don’t.

    jim Reply:

    No. It wouldn’t be a possibility. It is just possible that what Florida is giving up plus the maximal state match would be enough to fund Bakersfield-Merced completely: electrification, comms, signaling, stations and three or four trainsets to run up and down on an hourly schedule (no HMF, though). It depends on how much gets saved by slimming down the existing planned aerials to a 17 tonnes/axle spec instead of having to support P-42s. On the 2009 Business Plan numbers it would be a slam dunk. On Elizabeth’s numbers it can’t be done.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have to be strong enough for the maintenance of way vehicles. Some of those are going to be conventional diesels for when the catenary gets torn down by a fouled pantograph. You can’t run anything without a heavy maintenance facility someplace. Unless you are planning on running the trains until their first heavy maintenance interval and then letting they sit unused on the sidings until the heavy maintenance facility is built.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its cheaper to get a lower weight way vehicle than to build the entire corridor for 33ton axle load.

    Indeed, a substantial amount might be saved by shifting the independent utility plan to cater to 25 ton axle load vehicles, since there are 25 ton axle load passenger rail diesel locomotives for twin-headed operation.

    Victor Reply:

    That may be, But until HSR is built, Independent Utility dictates what must be and if Amtrak uses 33ton axles then that is that is what must be built for. As It’s better to overbuild than to not overbuild, Just look at the Brooklyn Bridge, They didn’t skimp on the size of the cables and for good reason, If they’d ordered the size they really wanted, They wouldn’t have gotten It and yet would have been told It was what they ordered, So they ordered bigger instead, problem solved, And everyone was happy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much to MOW trains weight. There’s gonna be MOW trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Doctor Yellow trains weigh the same as regular Shinkansen trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And when they find a problem and they send the train out to grind rail or adjust the catenary, how much does that one weigh?

  13. jimsf
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 08:17
    #13

    House rejects slashing Amtrak FY11 funding
    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    The House of Representatatives Thursday approved cuts of various sizes for various government programs, but rejected a proposal to cut $446.9 million in Amtrak funding for the current fiscal year 2011.

    Seeking to cut $61 billion from the current fiscal year budget, the House approved cuts affecting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), school improvement funds, and the U.S. Institute for Peace.

    The vote rejecting the Amrak cuts reportedly was 250-176, indicating more Republican House support for the nation’s passenger railroad network than many observers anticipated.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Amtrak serves most of the nation with something…HSR looks like it will be fought over because its for the “Blue” urban areas..Now let the Senate/Boxer and the Pres get that 1Billion for HSR back in…and start to work on the real deal for HSR …The 6year Traspo bill

    Spokker Reply:

    I saw this in Railway Age but I didn’t see any mainstream papers talking about it. Shrug.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its the set of posturing cuts they are making in the continuing resolution, there no reason to believe that the Senate will leave any of them in place, and certainly not funding for services that survived Republican majorities in both chambers in the early part of last decade.

  14. jimsf
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 08:21
    #14
  15. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 08:56
    #15

    It has now been reported that last night the House Appropriations committee voted to cut all High Speed rail funds (8 billion). Still looking for more news on this but at:

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/politics/article345145.ece

    this article confirms.

    Apparently they voted to rescind all HSR funds thus far allocated and to not appropriate any further funding. What end will be is un-clear at this point, but clearly the Republicans are going to make a strong stand against Obama’s HSR initiative.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    WRONG its the one Billion for next year

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Isn’t this article on the continuing resolution fight to keep the Federal government funded presently?

    I expect that the House Appropriations Committee would indeed strip HSR funding, and the Senate will of course put some back in.

  16. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 10:01
    #16

    @YesonHSR

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703373404576148334016891372.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    From this link (Karl Rove — Wall Street Journal]

    Tactically, Republicans should respond to Mr. Obama’s agenda as they did to his infatuation with high-speed rail projects. Three days after Vice President Joe Biden touted the magical balm of high-speed trains, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers released the continuing resolution for the balance of fiscal year

    It cut the rest of this fiscal year’s high-speed rail funds, rescinded $3.5 billion appropriated in previous fiscal years but still unspent, and rescinded $3.75 billion in unspent transportation money from the 2009 stimulus, almost all of it from Mr. Obama’s high-speed rail plan. Overall, nearly $8 billion was cut from transportation, but none from vital road projects that are real priorities for the states.

    Alan Reply:

    And of course, we all know that Karl Rove is a paragon of truth and virtue…

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Really that pig…and wait till this gets to the Senate…the teabastards will find out

    Victor Reply:

    BARF

  17. jimsf
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 10:11
    #17

    I still hope florida cancels and cali gets the money. I am not sure that the florida project first phase would be successful enough and if ridership were low it would look bad. I mean who is going to fly to tampa and take hsr when its just as simple to fly directly to orlando? And locally, with lousy public transit in florida, hsr wouldn’t be that much of a draw for residents between orlando and tampa. Ive been there, though not in the last decade, and I just don’t see it as a place where people will embrace it. Miami orlando – now that would be a different story.

    Victor Reply:

    I don’t, I think Florida needs the money, So that more Repubs get the idea that HSR is not a Blue vs Red idea, It’s a long delayed idea on Passenger Rail, After all Rail built the USA, Not autos or airplanes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In the Republican mind and to some the in the popular mind hsr has become synonymous with bloated and wasteful government spending. In California for turning hsr into the right’s bete noire you can thank the puppeteers who wove blatant lies into the fabric of Prop 1A and PB for infrastructure blowout.

    If anything what has been going on in DC and in Wisconsin will serve to bolster the Repubs in Sac to confront Jerry on Prop 1A. It needs to go.

    Victor Reply:

    Not likely, Jerry has backed HSR for more than a 1/4 Century, You’re a Minority here in California, HSR will be built, Don’t like It? Move out, We won’t miss Ya at all. The border is North, East and Yep to the South with Mexico.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Given the way that other middle income countries are building HSR, its not certain that Mexico will be entirely safe from the threat of improved transport infrastructure.

    Might be 110mph tilt trains piggy backing on the back of improved freight corridors to union bust US ports by moving containers of cheap electronic crap from China to the US via the Mexican Pacific Coast, but.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’d do it just to ride HSR ;-) But I could see people doing it if they cannot get cheap fares to Orlando because of demand while fares to Tampa go begging. (The airlines will load balance by having cheaper fares to Tampa.)

    James Fujita Reply:

    HSR in Florida probably would get a certain amount of “hey dad, can we ride the bullet train?” traffic. and a certain amount of “hey kids, let’s ride the bullet train” traffic as well.

    in addition to people flying in to Tampa and taking the train to Orlando, there’s also the possibility of people flying into Orlando, staying in Orlando and using the train to get to Tampa. tack on a day in Tampa onto a trip to Disney World.

    of course, Orlando-Miami would be even better, as the distance would be further and Miami would be a better draw than Tampa.

    jimsf Reply:

    and tampa is a cruise port as well so that does help.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There are tourists who will take it … the terminus is Orlando airport so, no, nobody would fly into Tampa to take the HSR to a destination, they would fly into Orlando to take the HSR to a destination.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Flying into Tampa may make sense if the fare to Tampa is a lot cheaper and HSR makes getting to your destination from Tampa relatively easy.

  18. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 14:31
    #18

    Senator proposes major change in High Speed Rail Project.

    Lowenthal wants to dissolve the Authority and place under State agency.

    ——————–
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/02/state-lawmaker-calls-for-replacing-bullet-train-board-with-members-having-more-specific-expertise.html

    The leadership structure of the agency charged with building California’s 800-mile high-speed rail system would be completely overhauled under legislation introduced Friday by a key state senator.

    Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) wants to replace all current board members at the quasi-independent California High-Speed Rail Authority and move the operation directly under the business branch of state government.

    Lowenthal, a former chairman of the Transportation Committee, has criticized what he sees as a lack of accountability at the agency, which has been the subject of several critical audits in recent years. The authority is slated to receive billions in state and federal money and begin work next year on a $43-billion section of the project that would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with trains traveling up to 220 miles per hour.

    Among other things, the legislation would require a new crop of board members to have a range of experience in areas such as construction law, financing, engineering, environmental policy and local government. The rail agency also would be brought under the umbrella of the governor’s secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing.

    Prospects for passage were not immediately clear.
    “The high-speed rail project is the most complex transportation project ever undertaken by the state,” Lowenthal said. “As a supporter, I believe the project would be better served if the board members had specific expertise.”

    Authority board members and a spokesman were not immediately available for comment.

    In the past, the agency has defended its efforts, saying its tradition of operating with a lean staff and reliance on outside contractors has made it effective and agile.

    Current board members include an array of influential former state and federal officials, including former Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle, former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, former U.S. Rep. Lynn Schenk, former Assemblyman Tom Umberg and David Crane, a top financial advisor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I can’t see how musical chairs would do much good at this juncture. PB has taken over the whole show. Any replacements would have to have the blessing of the patronage machine and the first criterion for the job would be to promise not question PB’s divine infallibility in all things hsr.

    Best to dissolve the provisos of Prop 1A. It is the plan, not the personalities, that matter in the end.

    Victor Reply:

    Their experts, You are nobody special and know nothing, Get a Petition up to do that then and prepare to spend the money on It, Otherwise It ain’t going to be dissolved, Like You and Whose Army?

    Peter Reply:

    I like how “transportation planning” was not one of the areas of expertise Lowenthal is looking for.

  19. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 20:53
    #19

    Mostly off topic, but perhaps of interest here: US auto scrappage rate is still higher than the car replacement rate:

    http://casafoodshed.org/archives/category/transportation/

    Is this due to the poor economy, or is it part of a larger trend to what is called “demotorization” in Japan?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the one hand, the peak-driving research suggests it’s a larger trend. But on the other hand, the economic growth in the US in the last ten years has been horrible; VMT growth has lagged GDP for a while, but now that GDP growth is low, VMT is actually in decline. So I don’t know if there’s enough trend from which we can extrapolate reduced driving over the next couple of decades.

  20. swing hanger
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 21:19
    #20

    Also off topic, but Southwest Airlines has raised ticket prices due to higher fuel costs:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=12952702

    http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/economics/fuel_monitor/Pages/index.aspx

    Spokker Reply:

    2010: Who needs HSR? I can go to SF from LA right nowfor $59.99!!!

    2011: Who needs HSR? I can go to SF from LA right now for $64.99!!!

    2012: Who needs HSR? I can go to SF from LA right now for $69.99!!!

    2020: Who needs HSR? I do. Gimmie the link so I can book a ticket dawg.

    Victor Reply:

    And what are their profits? Nearly zero, Feeder routes always have been and always will be just that, Feeders, As the profit is elsewhere, The Feeders will drop from the skies when the trains speed up, As has been proven in the NEC on at least two routes.

    Peter Reply:

    They were doing quite well, especially thanks to the LARGE amount of fees they’ve been tacking on. Then just recently their profit margins tanked as fuel costs began to rise again steeply, and their networks were disrupted by severe winter weather.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Just because they are set up to use the same kit on their feeder routes and their trunk routes does not mean that they make no profit on their trunk routes … which is, of course, why they no longer oppose Dallas / Houston HSR, provided it has stops at both DFW airport and Houston’s airport.

    The less exposure of the total trip to oil price shocks, the better their trunk routes can weather oil price shocks.

    StevieB Reply:

    With fuel a third of expenses Southwest Airlines is very sensative to rising fuel costs. No one is predicting lower oil prices when California High Speed rail begins service. Rail will become more competitive and operating profits will have other states clamoring for rail service.

    Victor Reply:

    And It seems the Saudis have been fudging their oil sheets as they actually seem to have less left now, As both Time and Yahoo have stories on this, Oil isn’t going down, Just UP and UP some more. The USA needs HSR in a big way, Otherwise We could soon be doing the Mad Max for real.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The facts pointing to the likelihood that Saudi oil figures were fudged has been raised multiple times at the Oil Drum. That’s why when they were pretending to offer to produce more oil at the time of the last oil price shock, they were deliberately “offering” oil of grades that there was little available oil refinery to process, and with contracts at offsets to Brent that nobody would pick up. Its was propaganda oil on offer.

    Victor Reply:

    And there’s still no profit there, as some insanely think that profit has to be everywhere, Problem is Feeders are only run for as long as they funnel traffic without incurring heavy losses, When that happens due to competition from faster trains like in the NEC, Planes stop being flown there or those planes aren’t flown nearly as much as they were before, So It will be here once HSR is up & running, regardless of initial construction costs. As has been proven in every other county where HSR has been deployed at, HSR will be built, get used to It. If people really want a revote of Prop 1a of 2008, then go get a petition with Your own money and put up a ballot measure. You wonder why SouthWest is in favor of HSR? It’s cause Feeders are a drain on SouthWests bottom line and others in the area too.

  21. Peter
    Feb 18th, 2011 at 21:30
    #21
  22. Rick Rong
    Feb 19th, 2011 at 14:00
    #22

    This topic has included a number of posts that directly concern Elizabeth, Nadia, and CARRD. Except for Spokker’s comment, at February 18th, 2011 at 7:05 pm, that appears to recognize that CARRD’s comments are legitimate parts of a rational discussion, the other posts appear to be nothing but ad hominem attacks that define the “pro” side as a group of mindless cheerleaders who are prepared to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the facts. Whether you agree with their conclusions or not, if you consider what they do objectively and fairly, you will have to agree that, unlike those who attack them, Elizabeth and Nadia have put in a lot of time and effort to marshal the facts on which they base their conclusions. In order to have a mature and productive discussion of the issues, those who disagree with their conclusions would do well to make the same effort to come up with facts on which to base counter arguments, if such facts exist or can be discovered. Although I do not agree with all of their conclusions, I must acknowledge that, in terms of honesty, sincerity, integrity, and effort, CARRD’s representatives have set a high standard which, unfortunately, few others have met.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re new here, aren’t you?

Comments are closed.