California Gets $300 Million of Florida’s HSR Money

May 9th, 2011 | Posted by

When Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal high speed rail funding, it set up the possibility that California could reap a big windfall that helps us build out our HSR project. And so we have. Today Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced California will get $300 million of that money:

California – Central Valley Construction Project Extension – $300 million for a 20-mile extension along the Central Valley Corridor. This will continue to advance one of the highest priority projects in the nation that will ultimately provide 220 mph high-speed rail service from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The work funded in this round will extend the track and civil work from Fresno to the “Wye” junction, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the West and Merced to the North.

It’s not as much as California wanted – an application was submitted for all $2.4 billion – but it is a sign of further federal support for the project, and is welcome news.

The bulk of the funds went to the Northeast Corridor ($800 million) and the Midwest ($400 million). Given the need to keep Senators and Congressmen from other states happy and supportive of the HSR project – especially after Republicans demanded and won huge cuts to federal HSR funds – this move should be no surprise, and may even be good for California HSR in that it helps build political support for HSR in more states and among more members of Congress.

I’m sure some will be disappointed with the fact that California didn’t get a larger share. That would have been nice, but with so many other states competing, it may not have been all that realistic. Some may also read into this a slap at the California project. I’m not sure that’s warranted, but we should be at least a bit concerned that NIMBYism and HSR denial is starting to creep its way into the state legislature, and could undermine the project if not stopped.

Still, the bigger need is for more federal funding – a lot more. Clearly there is nationwide demand for HSR, and teabaggers won’t govern Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida forever. Congress made a big mistake cutting HSR funds and President Barack Obama made an even bigger mistake agreeing to those cuts. The White House may have decided to use the Florida HSR funds to rebuild political support in Congress for HSR funding. If that means California gets a smaller share today, but results in more federal funding in the years to come, then it’s definitely worth it.

  1. morris brown
    May 9th, 2011 at 07:06
    #1

    Yes, indeed the Authority needs much more money.

    They really got almost completely shut out in this round and new rounds won’t be found for a very long time.

    One might speculate that their trying to be a pig by applying for so much of the funds might have hurt them.

    But, what about only offering up a 20% match, way down from the previous original match of 50%. This was the approach that Board member, David Crane advanced, saying we have to get the best deal possible for California, and should only match with as little as possible.

    The Authority could actually spend $600 million more in the valley now, since they can match up to 100% of the $300 million they got.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Why dont you move…

    YesonHSR Reply:

    And take that bitch Hamilton with you

  2. morris brown
    May 9th, 2011 at 07:08
    #2

    Robert writes “and teabaggers won’t govern Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida forever”. Agreed. But the House turned over big time to the Republicans last fall, and that majority isn’t about to change for a very long time. Also, there is now, as is obvious from this grant, a big push for funds to go to the NE.

    Alan F Reply:

    Personally, I would put the odds of the Democrats of recapurating the House in 2012 at 25% to 40%. Would not be surprised to see the Democrats retake the House by a very narrow margin while the Republicans take control of the Senate or evenly split the Senate because of the number of Democratic Senate seats up for re-election. The Tea party movement has already peaked, although some of them will get re-elected or be in office for a while. But the 2012 election is 18 months away which is a very long time in politics and the economy.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Well I dont know about everybody else but I’m deeply disappointed we only got 300 million.. pathetic..I was thinking we were going to get at minimum 500 to 600 million and was really hoping they would split the remaining money down the middle between the Northeast corridor and California giving each around eight… Well they did in the Northeast corridor get around 800 million and the three or 400 million more California needed will be split up all over the place including additional equipment for the Midwest with some for us. As far as the opponents of this project they will of course come out in force saying the federal government funding shows lack of support for CA high speed rail and maybe why Lahood is coming out here next Monday to try and put good face on this and hopefully maker sound assurances of a lot more money coming in the years ahead.

    jim Reply:

    the opponents of this project they will of course come out in force saying the federal government funding shows lack of support for CA high speed rail

    Of the $10.1M in total available between ARRA and FY10, California got slightly over $4.2M. If that’s interpreted as lack of support, I’d hate to see what Amtrak’s $450M would be labeled.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Opponents of rail include Amtrak in there rants so really it doesn’t matter .. and I’m not saying the federal government is not supporting .. it’s the anti-rail opponents that will label this as such.. I am very glad that Amtrak got 800 million for the Northeast corridor its much-needed and to keep high-speed rail funding continuing in the years ahead.

    Alan F Reply:

    All of the rest of the $10.1 billion that has not gone to the CHSRA project or to various planning studies are effectively benefiting Amtrak and existing corridor services. If the grants are limited to the NEC and the two Amtrak owned connecting corridors (Keystone East from Philly to Harrisburg, New Haven to Springfield MA), the total amount awarded is more then the $450 million for the NJ improvement that is going directly to Amtrak. I’ll have to add them up later.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The upstate NY (Empire Corridor) portion benefits another Amtrak corridor which connects to the NEC. I’m not clear on whether we get the crucial second track from Albany to Schenectady, but we seem to have gotten most of the other near-term Capitol Area improvements (the new Hudson River bridge is not near-term). Unfortunately most of the needed improvements west of there are still in limbo.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They got funding for the second track in the last round. Should be out there with GPS and survey stakes now.

    Alan F Reply:

    $91 million of funding to build the second track between Albany and Schenectady was granted in the original round of stimulus awards. The project is probably still in final engineering design, but reportedly the project is being held up from moving forward to construction because of stalled negotiations with CSX and the FRA. The project was supposed to be completed by the beginning of 2013 I think.

    VBobier Reply:

    You’re forgetting that Republicans recently stepped on a Landmine & It exploded, Seniors said NO in a very loud voice to Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Sure Speaker Boehner has backed off from It, But have they put up any less caustic proposals? Not that I’m aware of(I have a tab open so that I can watch the CNN website), I’m waiting for the Gang of 6 and their budget plan as It follows what the Presidents Deficit Commission mentioned, Which I’m in favor of), I think that unless the Repubs scrap their plans for Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, tax cuts for the top 1%-2% of income and a budget increase for the military to $1 Trillion, Repubs may lose their majority in the house and lose ground in the Senate, As Repubs in power are clearly looking like their a bunch of crazy lunatics, Who want power at any and all costs.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I don’t expect Congressional Republicans to control the House after 2012. They’ve made themselves look psychotic (well, ’cause they are, you know), and they’re actually going to be hurt by the next round of redistricting more than most people expect. The wild card is voter suppression and disenfranchisement, which they’re actively attempting in Florida, among other places. (They got shot down in New Hampshire when they tried it, but Florida… well, Florida just lets criminals get away with stuff, y’know?)

    wu ming Reply:

    their successes gerrymandering the living bejeezus out of a lot of states in 2000 means there isn’t as much leeway to gerrymander much further. i agree that they’re likely to get crushed in 2012, although for structural reasons i could see them losing the house and winning the senate.

  3. Back in the Saddle
    May 9th, 2011 at 08:32
    #3

    I would put the odds of the Democrats recapturing the House at around 60% or better especially if the economy continues to work its way back. However, if the Democrats take control of the House and narrowly hold the Senate, the deficit issue will probably still be the major topic in D.C. For any movement to increase spending for HSR to occur, Congress needs to tackle the tax breaks for “big oil”, farm subsidy reform as well as end the Bush era tax breaks. We need to move ahead on transit projects like HSR, however, politicians will not be interested in funding this until the American electorate is satisfied that the debit issue is being addressed. I hope that comes sooner that later.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, Back in the Saddle. We need to stop helping Repubs to get elected and so Don’t buy Angel Soft TP, Its made by Koch Industries, Boycott what these Carpet Baggers are trying to sell, If You can that is.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Shoot the Bitches..

    wu ming Reply:

    that is way out of line.

  4. BruceMcF
    May 9th, 2011 at 08:49
    #4

    The nearer to the horizon question is the transport bill, and the name of the game there is the fight between the House and the Senate. Getting some money to the head of the Senate Transpo committee, some money to the clutch of Senators from the Northeast and some political wedge money for Michigan and Illinois seems to make sense.

    Indeed, given that Michigan is being run more to run roughshod over local democracy in service to developer interests, they are the obvious target for “getting a Republican governor to accept a rail grant”, since a developer would naturally want better Amtrak service from Chicago to get businessmen out to golf over the weekend on the golf courses on land they stole from struggling local governments.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The transportation bill is going to be the number one funding source for California high-speed rail and it needs to pass this year with an amount dedicated to give California 1.5 billion per year and another 2 billion for the rest of the nation..

    VBobier Reply:

    I’d rather see $4 billion for California per year and $4 billion for the rest of the US and only to states/areas that can be trusted and not to areas governed by Refuseniks, Unless those Refusenik Governed areas like Florida have figured out how to get around those obstacles to Progress.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed, given that Michigan is being run more to run roughshod over local democracy in service to developer interests, they are the obvious target for “getting a Republican governor to accept a rail grant”, since a developer would naturally want better Amtrak service from Chicago to get businessmen out to golf over the weekend on the golf courses on land they stole from struggling local governments.

    Hah. Good point.

  5. JTHJR
    May 9th, 2011 at 09:31
    #5

    I read on other sites (HuffPost, USAtoday) that California will also receive another piece of $340 million which we will share with the Midwest, Do we know how this will be disbursed?

    “Nearly $340 million will go toward state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest. California will also get another $300 million toward trains that will travel up to 220 mph between San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Midwest Corridors – $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and 7 quick-acceleration locomotives for 8 corridors in the Midwestern States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri.
    California Corridors – $68 million to acquire 15 high-performance passenger rail cars and 4 quick-acceleration locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, and Capitol Corridors in California.

    Winston Reply:

    It is worth noting that this $68m is in addition to the $100 million the state was awarded two weeks ago for the purchase of 27 passenger cars and 2 locomotives, bringing the total to 42 new cars and 6 new locomotives. These cars will be essentially the third generation of California Cars, which are all designed for 110 MPH operation.

    Winston Reply:

    Additional comment: These costs seem quite high. $3.38 million/car and $4.31 million per loco? The cars should be about $2m each. If the bids come in lower will the state be able to get more cars or is the cost already fixed?

    VBobier Reply:

    Cheap doesn’t mean better, But then You get what You pay for & It is a small order. It’s 42 new cars and 6 new locomotives.

    Winston Reply:

    Well, the order is supposed to be combined with Illinois’ similarly sized order and even so, 42 new cars isn’t an especially small order. The $2m number I mentioned is about what CA paid for the last batch of Surfliners and what Metrolink paid for its new safer Korean railcars.

    thatbruce Reply:

    On a slightly related note, that Metrolink order for Hyundai Rotem cars contains a number of cab control cars which, heavens to Betsy, actually look like the front of a train. Does anyone have statistics on how many accidents involve blunt-ended cab control cars vs the locomotive? (ie, how many accidents involved final thoughts of ‘that looks like the rear of the train, I can ignore it’)

    Alan F Reply:

    If I’m adding up the projected order size for the bi-levels correctly between the original IL Chi-St Louis award (30 bi-levels) plus CA recent $100+30 million FY2010 obligation (27) plus the announcements today, I get a total of 120 bi-level cars to be ordered. That is an interestingly round number. Sizable enough to get companies to submit competitive bids for. Especially with the prospects of additional orders from Amtrak for the western LD Superliner fleet.

    Alan F Reply:

    Actually the projected cost per bi-level car is $4.5 million when management overhead, spares, and training is included as stated in the Amtrak V2 Fleet Strategy report. Diesel locomotives are projected at $4.5 million each as well. These are placeholder costs to provide a buffer margin from what I can tell. The $100 million of FY10 funding is matched by either $25 or $30 million of CA state money. If you divide $130 million by 4.5, you get pretty close to 29 which is presumably how they came up with 27 bi-levels and 2 locos.

    The Next Generation specs call for 125 mph capability for the replacement single level, bi-level cars, and diesel locomotives. So the new bi-levels will be 125 mph capable, even if there is no place in CA to run them at those speeds other than possibly the HSR line from Merced to Bakersfield if it is not electrified and true HSR trainsets are not purchased. But with a 30+ year lifespan for the passenger cars, best to future protect it to the extent that is reasonable.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The Surfliner is being upgraded in areas to 110 miles per hour and that will likely continue, since it will be quite some time before the LA-SD route is built, and the Surfliner is liable to remain in existence, in a truncated fashion, since it will be faster for OC to use the Surfliner, even with today’s speeds, than dogleg up to LA and around through the inland empire on HSR.

    Jerry Reply:

    Is it possible to buy advanced HSR cars and use them on existing lines until the ‘real’ thing comes along???

    Joey Reply:

    Considering the lack of electrification and abundance of outdated FRA regulations on existing lines, I would say no.

    VBobier Reply:

    Not unless these Foreign made HSR equipment meets FRA standards for Collisions and so far only the Acela does this, It’s practically made for California, It just needs some more Horsepower as It’s maximum speed is 165mph and as It’s not currently capable of 220mph, yet. Oh and the Acela is made in the USA, Canada & France by Bombardier & Alstom and It uses Standard Gauge Track 1,435mm(4′ 8.5″) I found the specs Here. You’d still need to electrify a lot of rail line first, But It would work, As 220mph is only 55mph faster than 165mph, And until Grade Separation happens I think speeds would be restricted severely, Probably under 79mph somewhere, I think. If someone knows for sure on what speeds a train can go with no grade separation & with grade crossings, Please chime in.

    Joey Reply:

    Grade crossings are a non-issue, as most legacy lines can’t support anything above 79 mph because of curves (remember, freight likes low superelevation) and poor track maintenance. Anyway, Acelas are maintenance intensive and underperforming because of their weight. Not worth investing much money in and not something you would want to keep once you had dedicated tracks. Better to just hold off on high speed equipment purchases until we can run non-compliant trains.

    Donk Reply:

    So if it is possible to get a grant of $100M for rail cars through some other mechanism, why do they have to spend $300M+ in precious HSR funds on non-HSR trains for CA and the Midwest. That money should be spent mostly on track upgrades.

    As someone else her mentioned before, parking structures and grade separations should also be paid for by road/highway funds, not precious HSR funds.

  6. Elizabeth
    May 9th, 2011 at 09:43
    #6

    It should be noted that money is specifically only to get to the Wye. It was a nice token gesture by the Authority to call for funding up to Merced, but it appears to have been just that.

    VBobier Reply:

    Well It is 20 miles closer to Merced than before and that’s better than nothing.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    It seems pretty obvious what is going on here. The Administration doesn’t want to favor the Bay Area or Southern California in the project because it needs the help of both those constituencies in the future. So we are literally building the “undisputed” section of track and waiting to see what happens with Pacheco, Tejon, and all the other issues.

    I think in the end, this is smart, because redistricting is going to pull electoral weight out of the big cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco and further to the sub-urbs. That’s going to force SF and LA to pony up more to get what they want.

    Also, I think these awards favored NEC because Mica obviously wants investments there and if the Transportation Bill happens this year (which is what Pelosi and other big city Dems want, to have it happen BEFORE redistricting) he is the prime sponsor.

    tony d. Reply:

    Pacheco has already been decided (nearly 3 years ago), so yes, build out backbone while
    Tejon and other issues get sorted out. By the way, the same folk who claim Merced is
    getting screwed are the same ones who dismiss San Jose and Silicon Valley…huh!?

    Clem Reply:

    This cannot be repeated often enough. Just in case anybody missed it: Pacheco has already been decided nearly 3 years ago. That is somewhat more recent than the decision to use the Palmdale alignment, which had already been decided 7 years ago, except that decision is now being re-opened in favor of the Grapevine. The Pacheco decision is different because it is completely irrevocable and thus cannot possibly be re-opened, primarily because it has already been decided (nearly 3 years ago).

    Tony D. Reply:

    Technical expetise will never…I repeat, NEVER! triumph over common sense. Common sense dictates
    that HSR going Palmdale OR Grapevine will still serve directly the states largest city/metro area.
    Common sense dictates HSR somehow (in fairy land I guess) going Altamont vs. Pacheco would bypass (or at the least not serve
    directly) the states 3rd largest city and major economic center; won’t even talk about a gazillion dollar Dumbarton rail bridge, numerous NIMBY issues in Tri-Valley, UPRR through Altamont, expensive/ineffecient “Y” in Fremont area (hence SJ probably not being served by Altamont; BART would always be good enough), I could go on and on. Did I miss anything Clem? (LOL!)

    Tony D. Reply:

    Anyhow, I am looking forward to Altamont being served by a high-speed commuter overlay, so all is not lost.

    Joey Reply:

    I am not looking forward to spending another $10 billion on that.

    wu ming Reply:

    i’m not looking forward to paying $8-10 a gallon gas to drive that route because people didn’t have the foresight to build out a decent rail network back in the fat years (yes, these are the fat years).

    Joey Reply:

    Let me rephrase. I’m not looking forward to spending an additional $10 billion when it could be done at no additional cost.

    egk Reply:

    Why do you Pacheco fanatics continue to fantasize that 1) an Altamont alignment won’t serve San Jose and 2) that a rail line that serves many terminal destinations through a large portion of shared high capacity rail line is somehow “expensive/inefficient”?

    The whole point of using Altamont is to serve the Bay Area-Sacramento travel market (the second largest and fastest growing intercity market in the state, after LA-SD) using much of the same infrastructure as for the Bay Area-LA market. Cutting SJ off makes no sense. The SJ-Sacramento market is huge.

    There is nothing complex or difficult about running SJ/SF-LA and SJ/SF-Sacramento service through Fremont. In fact running inline mixed service is a very efficient way of offering high frequency connections to a variety of destinations without inefficiently running more trains than capacity demands (which, as has often been noted, is rarely more than 2 in non-Asian contexts).

    Common sense says that the ridership study and planning for a statewide rail system shouldn’t ignore the 40 million annual Bay Area/Sacramento trips. (Fun fact: the crucial Altamont ridership “study” predicted that only 5% of the Bay Area-Sacramento travel would be HSR in 2030, but that 14% of LA-SD travel would be. Odd, considering that travel times – both for HSR and competing auto – are almost identical for these markets).

    Common sense would dictate a real ridership study and an objective cost/benefit analysis. Better yet, let the free market decide: Build to north to Merced and then put out the rest up for bid in a PPP, and with the winning bidder itself deciding which of the alignments to build and how to run the trains.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Let’s not forget the LA to Sacramento market.

    When Pacheco is finally costed out Altamont will look a lot more attractive to the CHSRA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Trains going between Sacramento and Los Angeles won’t be using the Altamont pass. They won’t be using the Pacheco pass either.

    wu ming Reply:

    the best way to serve the LA-sac market is to build the ^%$#^%#@! thing so we can get on with building the extensions. stop suing for penny-ante aesthetic NIMBY BS, just build it. the way the whole state gets held up by these rich suburbanites is maddening.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Uh…can you spell B-A-R-T? Why would they give up the chance to be the funnel for Stockton, Modesto, San Jose, Santa Rose, Davis (j/k) to San Francisco? Right now the Authority predicts through Pacheco that SF to Sacramento is 1 hour 52 minutes. Taking BART and the Capitol Corridor it’s 2 hours 15 minutes. Altamont could shrink that time of course, but it probably comes at the cost of making the SF to LA time longer and that is going to hurt revenue much more for the operator than the benefit of SF to Sac going down by 15 minutes.

    I wasn’t implying that this shortage of funding is good for those hoping to see reconsideration of the route…instead I think the feds were smart not to pick sides and stay out of the fights.

    Joey Reply:

    The Authority predicted 1:06 express SF-Sac via Altamont. And close to 0:45 SJ-Sac. Much more than 15 minutes. Also they predicted that SF-LA would be faster via Altamont (if only by two minutes), not slower. I have yet to see any quantitative analysis that Altamont would produce a significant decrease in revenue.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Well keep in mind though, if you create a really fast way to get from Silicon Valley to Stockton, those passengers are going to choke out the more valuable long distance passengers. And if this really fast way uses the ROW that previously took said commuters between Silicon Valley and Stockton, it wouldn’t be good for revenue.

    In the end, I think as HSR becomes bigger it will add a line from SF to Reno. But that will require another tunnel under the Bay which as of yet, is not something anyone wants to own up to.

    Joey Reply:

    Choke out? That implies that either the tracks or the trains themselves would be at capacity, which I find hard to believe. In any case, commute trips can be managed relatively easily by setting fares appropriately. It’s true – commute trips tend to loose money (this is almost universally true), so it makes sense to limit them (and not to encourage people to live too far from where they work). If you do have dedicated commuter trains, they’re best off with a dedicated funding source (i.e. subsidy) such you don’t have to worry about them sucking revenue from intercity operations.

    Is it really worth going to Reno though? The terrain isn’t exactly easy, and there’s not much else out there. If Reno had a metro area of 4 million people it might be worth it, but it’s about an order of magnitude less than that. The best you can hope for is probably upgrading the existing line and running talgos or something similar (accepting that FRA regulations aren’t going anywhere on UP’s line).

    joe Reply:

    “Well keep in mind though, if you create a really fast way to get from Silicon Valley to Stockton, those passengers are going to choke out the more valuable long distance passengers…”

    Maybe. We’re not going to solve our energy/transportation by making HSR an exa-burb commuter transportation system. Eventually, people who work in the Silicon Valley will need to be closer to work or telecommute.

    Stockton-San Jose (or SF) daily commuting on rail is cheap oil thinking.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Um, I would look at it this way:

    If Altamont is selected over Pacheco– Suddenly there’s a rather quick way to get from Stockton (land of foreclosure and sorrow) to San Jose and potentially, Redwood City. It doesn’t take a genius to know that suddenly housing in Stockton will become much more valuable, because the ACE would take 2 hrs to drop you in Fremont or BART would take at least 90 minutes to get to SF. In other words, you could get to SF faster from Stockton on HSR than on BART…..

    If Pacheco is the route: BART can serve Stockton if it wants, Altamont can be upgraded. But with no station at Los Banos allowed….the only real commuter traffic come from Fresno. But since it’s unlikely that the first northbound train would reach San Jose in time…the trains can serve their real purpose of long distance travel.

    Joey Reply:

    Like I said, if you don’t want commuters, price them out. If you do, run additional trains (capacity is unlikely to be an issue) and find them a dedicated funding source. And whether or not they transfer to BART is irrelevant. And either way you don’t have to upgrade anything else.

    Alex M. Reply:

    CapCor+BART from Sacramento to SF should be just 2 hours, not 2:15.

    1:25 CapCor, :35 BART.

    Joey Reply:

    Sac-Emeryville is typically 1:48 according to timetables. You also have to account for asynchronous schedules. So let’s say 2.5 minutes to transfer + 7.5 minutes average wait time for BART. You’re up to 2:35

    Joey Reply:

    Sorry, you’re right. But accounting for transfer time, it’s closer to 2:10.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When did they build a BART station at Emeryville?

    Joey Reply:

    I corrected myself. Jeez.

    Alex M. Reply:

    Let me clarify: this is for CapCor from Sacramento to Richmond and then BART from there to embarcadero. Yes, I didn’t account for transer time, so you could probably say it would be about 2:05 on average.

    I should say, though that usually when I do this route, the CapCor gets into Richmond at 9:05 am and the next BART train leaves at 9:06. Fast, but doable.

    Joey Reply:

    My transfer time was averaged from BART’s 15 minute headways. But it’s a minor point. Anyway, it’s quite easy to much better than two hours (close to one hour) on SF-Sac.

    Clem Reply:

    Altamont could shrink that time of course, but it probably comes at the cost of making the SF to LA time longer

    No, no, no, no. How many times do we need to repeat that Altamont is FASTER than Pacheco for SF to LA, if only by a few minutes! So many people have this notion wrong.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    What about if you did not cross the Bay and round via San Jose, then went up to Freemont? Over the Dumbarton Bridge yes, but with the 2000 Draft EIS specifically the scenario without a Bay crossing, it would be a 3:15 express travel time.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Shush! Dissent is not tolerated! :)

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Suck my Altomont

    Joey Reply:

    political_incorrectness: why on earth would you do that though?

    Joey Reply:

    YesonHSR: Well now you have me convinced. Here I was, sorting through numbers and reasoning, and then you came along and after that little insult, I have switched (back) to Pacheco. Well done!

    YesonHSR Reply:

    For the lousy 300 million we just got..its SUCKS

    Joey Reply:

    And what does that have to do with Altamont?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @YesonHSR: If y’all don’t want the $300m, I’m sure that there’re other projects that were submitted that would be happy to have it.

    What the $300m allocation has to do with Altamont vs Pacheco, tis a puzzlement.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    It’s very simple, Bruce. The Administration knows that this is turning into a food fight among memebers of California’s Congressional delegation because some will favor Pacheco (like Pelosi, Honda) and some are going to favor Altamont (Eshoo, McNerney). Because of redistricting, all of them are going to face much more tenuous election chances in 2012. So the Administration figures better not to come out looking like they favor one camp or another and wait for the debate to run its course. (Hence they wanted no part of construction north of the Chowchilla wye to Merced, even though it’s “phase one” and why they didn’t want that segment built before Fresno to Bakersfield.)

    The same drama is evolving in Southern California, and that is why the route is stopping before it would have to adjust for either the Tejon route or Tehachapi. It’s not the number that’s important here, it’s what it represents.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Or else it represents wanting to give California something for momentum, but having a large number of other projects to fund, including a number with useful impact on the Senate side in the coming transpo fight with the House, so funding the next available chunk.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Joey, the “round through San Jose” option was analyzed because the Dumbarton crossing is a *problem*. The bridge is no good for high speed rail, because new footings would have to be driving disturbing toxic waste at the bottom of the Bay underneath a wildlife refuge. (Sigh.) The tunnel option — Well, Clem likes it and it may possibly be a decent option, but if you’re going that expensive, why not go with the gold standard and build a second Transbay Tube?…

    Joey Reply:

    The tunnel under Dumbarton would be vastly less expensive than a new Transbay tube. The water is shallower (meaning you don’t have to tunnel as deep – this affects approach structures etc), and the subsurface geology under Transbay is not incredibly well known. Anyway, there’s no place to terminate such a tube in SF.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes there is but they put it up to vote and decided that building a signature skyscraper, that non one will be able to get to, was a better option.

    Joey Reply:

    The Transbay Tower is irrelevant. It’s really 301 Mission that gets in the way.

    Wad Reply:

    EGK wrote:
    The whole point of using Altamont is to serve the Bay Area-Sacramento travel market (the second largest and fastest growing intercity market in the state, after LA-SD) using much of the same infrastructure as for the Bay Area-LA market. Cutting SJ off makes no sense. The SJ-Sacramento market is huge.

    And it’s already served by the Capitols on the third busiest corridor in the U.S. Does the Bay Area really need two?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Capitols are so slow that even SF-Pacheco-Sac is faster.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes. and once Altamont is built the sheer giddyness of being able to get from Livermore to Fremont without getting on BART means California will never build anything ever again.

    Joey Reply:

    Until you build a new transbay tube in addition to massive upgrades of the existing Capitol Corridor, you’re going to have a hard time getting travel times to SF anywhere near what Altamont offers. And frankly I am skeptical that this could be done before Phase 2 opens. Then you have the issue of there being limited slots on a line owned by UP, meaning you need to build even more infrastructure to get train frequencies up to an acceptable level (32 trains per day is not).

    joe Reply:

    Too slow?

    Improve the existing ROW – add dedicated track – but don’t screw-up HSR in an attempt to re-allocate funds to build redundant commuter and inter-city service.

    http://mcnerney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=539&Itemid=5
    “The Altamont Corridor Rail Project is a key part of expanding our region’s transportation network, working hand in hand with BART improvements and the development of high speed rail,” said Scott Haggerty, Supervisor, Alameda County and Commissioner for the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. “This project will also help reduce traffic along some of the area’s most congested highways, including I-580 in the Tri-Valley. Congressman McNerney’s bill is an important step towards constructing the Altamont Corridor Rail Project.”

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.1504:
    (4) The California High Speed Rail Authority has identified the Altamont Rail Corridor as a critical element to regional transportation needs and entered into partnership with the major governing and operating entities in the corridor to improve the regional ACE service in the near term and develop capability for joint use to accommodate intercity and commuter service as well as interface with the high-speed rail system in the future.

    (5) The Bay Area Regional Rail Plan projects that the ACE train that currently provides passenger rail service in the Altamont Rail Corridor will average 49,000 daily boardings by 2050.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes I know about that. The Altamont Corridor Rail Project, as conceived by the Authority, is a 150mph overlay which will use an entirely new alignment (except maybe between Pleasanton and Livermore). That’s the only way you’re going to get the travel times and ridership numbers advertised. The $400m proposed is a start for it, not full funding, which is likely to amount to $10 billion or so.

    Joey Reply:

    Let me revise that number. I decided to do the actual QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS (albeit roughly) and estimated that the Altamont Overlay could cost anywhere between $4.5 billion ($60m/mile) and $7.5 billion ($100m/mile – these are mountains we’re talking about). Though knowing the Authority, they could probably find a way to make it cost more. Perhaps not as bad as I thought it was, but no small chunk of change either.

    joe Reply:

    “Common sense says that the ridership study and planning for a statewide rail system shouldn’t ignore the 40 million annual Bay Area/Sacramento trips. ”

    We go to Sacramento several times a year on our way to Tahoe.

    Joey Reply:

    See, this is a problem. Just because you don’t travel to Sacramento much (I don’t either) doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who do (apparently 40 million such trips every year). Even a relatively small modal share would constitute a very large amount of riders.

    joe Reply:

    “(apparently 40 million such trips every year).”

    Yeah – I drive to Sacramento and then continue on. How do they know not count my pit stop to piss and refill my 32 oz big gulp?

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, so perhaps we could ask egk to cite his source, rather than making assumptions.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why do you need to go 150mph for that distance, let alone 220mph, unless you are going through to somewhere else? Its only 90 miles line of sight from San Jose to Sacramento.

    The more you magnify the estimate of the 150mph corridor, the more attractive a pair of 110mph/125mph corridors along the Capital Corridor and Altamont alignment looks in comparison, as neither of those will be in the multiple $billions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why do you need to go 150mph for that distance, let alone 220mph

    so that you can make the 140 mile trip from Sacramento to San Francisco – via Altamont – in under an hour. Average speed of 140, at three quarters of the maximum means you have to have a maximum of 186 the whole way. Western end of the Dumbarton Bridge to San Francisco is going to be relatively slow so you have to bump up the speed east of there….
    ….. has to compete well with driving via I-80 between Sacramento and San Francisco which is 90-ish miles.

    Joey Reply:

    Bruce: please take a look at the corridor on Google Earth or something. 110 to 125 is not possible on the current alignment. You’d probably be lucky to get 60-80 on many of the curves. Anything faster requires a new alignment, and inevitable tunneling between Pleasanton and Fremont.

    As for the 150mph thing, I have no idea why they think that’s necessary for a commuter line (albeit a long one). I doubt they’re thinking about travel times to Sacramento anyway. Maybe the Authority just enjoys overbuilding things…

    And adirondacker, the point isn’t to get to Sacramento fast via Altamont. The point is that if you build via Altamont to begin with, you can get to Sacramento quickly on infrastructure you would be building anyway.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Meh. Improving the Capitol Corridor route does the same thing. Buys you Oakland and it’s suburbs.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Joey, get 60mph on the worst of the curves, 80mph on others, speed limit on others, and what transit speed are you talking about?

    Its only 85 route miles Sac/Emeryville, 90 miles Sac/Jack London, 165miles Sac/SJ. So a 70mph transit speed is 1:20 Sac / Jack London, 2:25 Sac / SJ, a 90mph transit speed is 1:00 Sac / Jack London, 1:50 Sac / SJ.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But Bruce the big scary Union Pacific would bare it’s fangs. Unlike it would over it’s route through Altamont. I’m sure the grade crossings are just fine with them and running through the streets of Oakland doesn’t present any operational problem at all.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki3QCZhacHY

    egk Reply:

    Where did 40 million came from? This study claims 14% of 152 million annual trips in 1997 (= 21 million trips). Add the population growth since then and you get 40 million today.

    Another way to get a fun number is to look at the final 2007 ridership report (the one used to argue for Pacheco). In that report it is claimed that Sacramento/Bay Area would have 7 million annual riders in 2030, and that this would be a mere 6% of the 2030 Sacramento/Bay Area trips. Putting those numbers together gives us an even more whopping: 115 million annual trips in 2030 (this is from pp. 17 & 19 of
    this study

    Projected 2030 travel demand is not tabulated, but we can continue to reverse engineer to get:

    LA-SD: 140 million
    LA-Bay Area: 35 million
    SD-Bay Area: 10 million
    Sacramento-Bay Area: 115 million

    Joey Reply:

    Bruce – I was really talking more about Altamont, though the section from Richmond to Martinez of the CC isn’t great either. And how the hell do you propose to get the CC up to an average speed of 90 anyway? As for Sac-SJ, the CC route will always loose out. Even under Pacheco, taking a high speed train will be faster.

    And adirondacker: (a) improving the CC costs money, whereas HSR will be built either way (keep the existing service to serve Oakland if you must, but give others better service since it doesn’t cost extra). As for the street-running section in Oakland, that should be done with or without the Capitol Corridor. Mile-long freight trains are much more hazardous in that situation than passenger trains. And (b) Building HSR through Altamont would mostly avoid the UPRR corridor, with a possible exception between Pleasanton and Livermore, but for the most part there’s plenty of space there.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why postpone improvements in Bay to Sacramento transit times until the HSR is ready to get to Sacramento in 2025 or 2030? Improving the CC provides benefit in any event.

    Regarding “for the most part, there’s plenty of space there”, that sounds an awful lot like the kind of airy claim that comes unstuck on closer scrutiny. What’s the backing information for the claim?

    Joey Reply:

    Simply because you are unlikely to find funding to improve the CC significantly in the near future. Anyway, even with improvements, Altamont would still offer better travel times for a lot of people (for SJ there’s almost no comparison).

    As for that claim, it comes from far too much time spent on Google Earth. Things get a little constrained through the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore themselves, and a few property takes would probably be necessary, but the cost would be rather trivial in the context of the project as a whole.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and Altamont offers shitty travel times to people that improvements to the Capitol Corridor would benefit. In other words Meh.

    Joey Reply:

    Who said that current CC users would be forced to use Altamont?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Simply because you are unlikely to find funding to improve the CC significantly in the near future.

    But highly likely over the medium term future, which still leaves the improvement in service a well before the Express HSR corridor gets to Sacramento.

    Anyway, even with improvements, Altamont would still offer better travel times for a lot of people (for SJ there’s almost no comparison).” Which is why pushing to improve both existing rail corridors for passenger service Bay/Sacramento over the medium term offers better bang for the buck in terms of passenger benefit per dollar.

    The trips you are talking about start and originate in a lot of different places both in the Bay and in the Sacramento area ~ the one-size-fits-all approach starts out by assuming that some big chunks of that transport market are just going to have to keep driving.

    As for that claim, it comes from far too much time spent on Google Earth.” Google Earth tourism only takes someone so far as far as possibilities for new alignments go.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Altamont is operationally less efficient. To make whole, whereas service levels are the same from SF to SJ, will cost more to operate.

    Why to Alamont nuts ignore this obvious fact?

    Joey Reply:

    Because we contend that the difference in operating costs will be small. Can you prove otherwise?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    On the face of it, maintaining the same service levels to two different terminals, where one has approximately four times the ridership as the other, implies that some services that are marginally profitable for the more lucrative terminal will be operated at a loss for the other terminal.

    Joey Reply:

    You seem to be implying again that an objective quantitative analysis will never triumph over your general feeling of what is correct.

    joe Reply:

    It’s as if there are different ways perceive and make decisions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator#Functions:_Sensing_.28S.29.2FIntuition_.28N.29_and_Thinking_.28T.29.2FFeeling_.28F.29

    Joey Reply:

    But to clarify, you are saying that we should (at least sometimes) value an uneducated opinion over quantitative analysis?

    egk Reply:

    No really, he is right. In addition to quantitative analysis, I base my opinion intuitions about transportation drawn from 1) years of living in the Bay Area and 2) years of using HSR to get around a country about the size of California, with about the population we should be planning for.

    Joey Reply:

    But have the two ever disagreed, and if so, what did you do?

    Peter Reply:

    Clem, they are not reopening ANY decision to go with the Antelope Valley at this point “in favor” of Tejon. They’re simply reexamining whether Tejon may be more feasible than it appeared before.

    My personal guess is that they’re conducting this additional study to confirm that yes, Antelope Valley is the preferable alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    Mea culpa… you are correct that no selection has been made. It’s just an option being studied at this point. I was just trying to get Tony’s goat and typed faster than I should have.

  7. Spokker
    May 9th, 2011 at 10:50
    #7

    Off topic.

    Like an asshole, I drove 50 miles to check out the very first Metrolink express train from San Bernardino to los Angeles. Everything went swimmingly and I’m surprised they were able to pull this off on a heavily single-tracked line.

    Anyway, the point is that the naysayers who say that transit in Los Angeles doesn’t exist and therefore nobody would use high speed rail are slowly but surely losing the argument. As time goes on, rail in Southern California will only improve and here is a small but important example.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    It’s going to be interesting to see the ridership numbers on that, since those express trains are now time competitive with driving.

    Spokker Reply:

    Coming back I noticed something even crazier than express trains. The reverse-commute trip was packed as well. I was thinking to myself, “Why are so many old people on this train?”

    I realized what was going on when I got off in San Bernardino as droves of people were rushing off the train to shuttle buses that would take them to an Indian casino, haha. Whoever thought of that idea is a genius.

    Basically if you buy a round trip ticket to San Bernardino station you get a free ride and $25 worth of coupons for San Manuel Indian Casino. They had five f’ing shuttle buses for the crowd and it looked like they would need some more to handle the volume of old people rushing off that train. It was an amazing sight.

    I learned it started May 2nd. I want to see the ridership numbers on *that*.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Lesson learned: the last mile can make or break ridership.

    Spokker Reply:

    Also, old people love to gamble their social security checks away.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My wife takes the bus to Shokowah all the damn time. She tells me sometimes the ladies get into fights over who gets on the bus first.

    We’re trying to get a big casino($1 bil) in Rohnert Park, which will put a magnet destination on SMART. Jerry Brown has to approve a compact with the local tribe, which is getting back a reservation it lost ca. 1960. Those tribes would never have disbanded if they knew one day they would a monopoly on casinos in California.

    BTW, and speaking of SMART, the NWP got FRA approval to resume freight operations between Schellville and Windsor, beginning it looks around the middle of June.

    Spokker Reply:

    Oh, but yeah, the express train was a full house.

    Jerry Reply:

    As I’ve said before, put a gambling car on the trains and they will pay for themselves.

    Donk Reply:

    Hell, why not have a drug car and a prostitution car also. They want public-private partnerships.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    OCTA has also signed off on funding six additional Metrolink trains per day within OC and a new OCLink Pass which permits unlimited train and bus ridership within OC for $7 per day.

    Spokker Reply:

    Six afternoon and evening trains that don’t go to LA and will run nearly empty between Fullerton and Laguna Niguel.

    Unless the trains are extended to and from LA, they should cancel this and divert the money to rapid bus service.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Dome trains buddy..thats where the money should go…and large cars numbers so we can write them down..and post them on foamer boards!

    Spokker Reply:

    Hehehe.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    There are still plenty of intra-OC trips which might be taken up by those trains, especially games and events at Angels Stadium and the Honda Center. I do think the OCLink Pass is bigger news however.

  8. Ken
    May 9th, 2011 at 11:45
    #8

    Every bit counts and we’re now $300 million closer to making HSR a reality in CA. Thanks FL for extra money! :)

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah It’s all thanks to the FLovernator, But then He loves to Terminate projects He doesn’t like.

  9. Donk
    May 9th, 2011 at 11:57
    #9

    The NEC is deserving of $800M HSR funds. Good for them. We can’t take all the money here in CA. This is great news for the future of HSR funding in America. With funds to 15 states, they now should have Mica, the East Coast, and Midwest states on board to support future HSR funding.

    BTW, looks like the Northwest kinda got screwed.

    And how are they funding the D/FW-Houston link – isn’t that one not yet considered a HSR corridor?

    Ken Reply:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The NEC is the most populous and dense area in the region that deserves a true HSR system. While the Acela is the best we have, it can be much better and is a great testing area to prove that rail works in America.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The NEC deserved the money for other things than what it got it for. They’re planning to spend nearly $300 million on grade-separating a single junction between the LIRR and the NEC, which is already grade-separated in one of the two directions. They’re also planning to spend $400 million on a small segment of constant tension catenary, where the budget on the Master Plan called for $1 billion on finishing constant tension catenary from NY to DC.

    StevieB Reply:

    The DoT press release says $450 million in “NEC Power, Signal, Track, Catenary Improvements” on a 24-mile segment of the NEC. The amount going toward catenary is not specified.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sigh. Amtrak kept saying it was a matter of catenary. It probably is, since the signaling is a mongrel overlay of ETCS. The track spacing is 4 meters, which is less than optimal, but it’s not a huge deal. The 10 cm wider Fastech 360 could do 360 km/h with 2 degrees of tilt on tracks with 4.3 meter spacing.

    VBobier Reply:

    2 degrees You say? Acela can do as much as 4.2 degrees due to track limitations or 6.5 If the limits were raised to the max.

    Rolling Stock:
    Builder
    Bombardier/Alstom
    Built
    USA, Canada, France
    Delivered
    1998–2001
    Formation
    2 power cars and 6 coaches
    Tilt
    Hydraulic. Max. 6.5 degrees (some 4.2 degree line limitations)
    Design Speed
    265km/h (165mph)
    Dimensions
    Length 20m (666ft), width 3.1m
    Weight
    624 tons (566 tonnes)
    Number
    20
    Capacity
    44 first class; 260 business class
    Power
    9,200kW (2 x 4,600kW)

    Amtrak Acela Specs

    VBobier Reply:

    One more time on the link:
    Amtrak Acela Specs

    Joey Reply:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if better travel times could be incurred with lighter equipment but less tilting. The Acela’s power to weight ratio (and acceleration, I’m inferring) is pretty pathetic.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Man, what a porker!

    [more than double the weight of the N700 shinkansen, per passenger car…]

    Alon Levy Reply:

    With 4.2 degrees of tilt, the Acela is allowed the same cant deficiency as the E5/E6, which only has 2 degrees of tilt. Both can do about 7″ of cant deficiency.

    The Pendolino technology the Acela is based on can do 12″ of cant deficiency with 8 degrees of tilting outside FRA-land, but is limited to Acela speeds. At higher speeds, the only tilting trains are based on Talgo technology or on the N700 or Fastech 360, and are limited to 7″ of cant deficiency.

    VBobier Reply:

    Now I happen to like the N700, the N700 did a run at 332kph(206.295236 mph according Google), The N700 would need beefier motors and be able to do an average of 220mph(354.05568 kph according Google). Though The Fastech 360 seems to offer the best bang for the Buck, If the CHSRA can get halfway funded, then I think the Japanese have the Train for California, Hopefully It won’t need many mods of course.

    Fastech 360 is the name given to a pair of former experimental high-speed trains developed by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) to test technology for the next-generation Shinkansen rolling stock. The name is a portmanteau of Fast, Technology, and 360 kph (360 kph/224 mph), the target operational speed for production trains based on the new technologies. Speeds of up to 405 kph (251.7 mph) were targeted during performance testing.

    VBobier Reply:

    Oopsie forgot the link: Fastech 360

    VBobier Reply:

    An update on the Fastech 360…
    A Bullet train with Ears
    FASTECH 360 High-Speed Shinkansen Test Train to Debut

    Joey Reply:

    CalTrain’s waiver already precludes anything non UIC-compliant (which Japanese sets aren’t), but I believe they were talking about a UIC compliant version. There will undoubtedly be an acceleration penalty though.

    VBobier Reply:

    I found a video of more than one E5 Hayabusa going through a station and they didn’t slow down at all.

    E5 Hayabusa debuts in revenue service: Part 2

    Passing Shin-Hanamaki, Kitakami, and Mizusawa – Esashi Stations at top speed
    E5 Hayabusa debuts in revenue service: Part 2

    E5 Hayabusa debuts in revenue service: Part 3

    Next, a four-part homage to the train that made the E5 possible, the Fastech 360. Designed for a top speed of 405 kph, the train laid the foundations for the technologies that are now part of the Hayabusa, as well as some that never made it into the mass production units, including the famous “cat ears.”

    Part 1:
    Clips between Sendai and Furukawa, and at Ōmiya and Karuizawa.
    Part 2:
    Clips between Furukawa and Kitakami.
    Part 3:
    Clips between Kitakami and Morioka, and on zairaisen.
    Part 4:
    Clips between Morioka and Hachinohe.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s not a question of passing through stations. CalTrain’s waiver mandates UIC crash standards.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ Joey: Then the E5/Fastech 360 would just have to be brought up to the UIC crash standard then, As there really isn’t a Train that is made for Californias Unique terrain, At least not yet, But It’s something to start looking at. In any case this train is built to cope better with tunnels I’ve read. They tested that 360 S model under all sorts of conditions, day or night and on the mainline tracks.

    Peter Reply:

    Sorry, but what about California’s terrain is unique? The trains will cross deserts, as they do in Spain and other places, they’ll go through tunnels, as they do on nearly every other HSR line in the world, they go through cities, they go over bridges, they cross mountain ranges, etc. Nothing unique about California’s terrain.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The N700 actually has about the same power-to-weight ratio as the E5 – depending on the source I check, it is either slightly stronger or slightly weaker.

    Joey Reply:

    If I’m not mistaken, that particular junction (east of Sunnyside Yard if I read you correctly) is already somewhat grade-separated, but set up such that NEC and LIRR trains have to cross paths to get to the correct tunnels approaching Penn Station. Are they planning to configure it such that westbound (southbound?) trains use the current eastbound (northbound?) overpass and put the eastbound (northbound?) trains on a new overpass?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The westbound junction is already separated, in the sense that Amtrak trains can enter the northern tunnels without any conflicts. The eastbound junction has a conflict between Amtrak trains from the tunnels and LIRR trains from Hunterspoint and Long Island City, but there are very few trains serving those stations and there will be even fewer once East Side Access opens, since Hunterspoint’s main draw is the connection to the 7 to Grand Central.

    In both cases, there remain conflicts between Amtrak trains using the southern tunnels and LIRR trains using the northern tunnels. The simplest solution is to make all Amtrak trains use the northern tunnels at rush hour. It’s not the best because the southern tunnels can connect to Jersey without switching moves, but it can be done without conflicts at Penn by using a single inactive but existing turnout.

    Joey Reply:

    The center two tunnels cross over each other after the portal. So Amtrak needs to be on the southernmost track of both the eastbound and the westbound tracks in order to access the southern tunnels. The current junction puts Amtrak on the northernmost track for both. And it does make sense to restrict LIRR to the northern tunnels and Amtrak to the southern tunnels, as it essentially allows you to operate Penn as two smaller stations, a northern one feeding into the West Side Yard, and a southern one feeding into the North River Tunnels, with no conflicts.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I think you’re switching northern and southern in the sentence beginning “And it does make sense.” Amtrak is to the north of the LIRR under present-day infrastructure.

    Sending Amtrak to the northern tunnels requires a compromise on switching moves in the Penn throat; it’s annoying, but it can be done without conflict. Then the southern tracks would be treated as terminal tracks first and rerouted to the new tunnels to Jersey when they are built. LIRR trains using the northern tunnels could access West Side Yard (but should eventually go to Jersey to avoid turnarounds at a congested terminal); LIRR trains using the southern tunnels would turn and go to Sunnyside or do reverse-peak service.

    Joey Reply:

    The northernmost tracks of each set lead to the northern tunnels. And okay, this wouldn’t be a problem if Amtrak used the northern tunnels, but imagine this: A westbound Amtrak train travels to Penn using the northernmost tunnel. It must now traverse toward the center of the station to access the North River Tunnels. While it is doing that, no LIRR train (or anything else) can exit the northern half of the station. Now, you could alleviate this problem by connecting any new tunnels under the Hudson to the LIRR half of the station (such that the West side yard leads were between them), but in the short term there would be conflicts.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This is less of a problem than it seems. The northernmost station tracks aren’t really needed except as peak overflow; trains using them would go directly to the yard. Amtrak could then use the non-adjacent tracks that can access both the northern tunnel pair and the tunnels to Jersey, which using crossovers are numbered 14-19; LIRR trains using the northern tunnels could access any track in between and reverse direction without conflict.

    The other way to alleviate this is to mandate that everything using the northern tunnels either go to the yard or run through to Jersey, which boils down to retrofitting LIRR trains with dual electrification and/or reelectrifying some LIRR lines with catenary, both of which would massively improve operations. I don’t know about retrofit costs, but the cost of reelectrifying the Port Washington Branch, the only one for which this is strictly necessary, is $50 million at NEC costs and $160 million at Caltrain costs.

    Joey Reply:

    Amtrak using the northern tunnels would conflict with anything which either terminated in the northern half of the station or continued into the yards, because while, say, an Amtrak train was heading west in the station throat, nothing could access the eastbound northern tunnel. You would also have conflicts where Amtrak would merge with NJT on the other side of the station. Terminations are best done between through tracks, not next to them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, this is exactly what I’m proposing: westbound Amtrak trains should use tracks 18-19, LIRR trains wishing to terminate and reverse direction should use tracks 16-17, and eastbound Amtrak trains should use tracks 14-15. LIRR trains using the southern tunnels should veer south and use tracks 6-13, which is far more than enough for them to terminate and reverse direction.

    LIRR trains using the southern tunnels would terminate independently of the track 14-19 configuration I’m describing, but that’s effectively a separate station anyway.

    The conflict with NJT exists no matter what. Fortunately, there’s so little Amtrak traffic it’s a minor capacity bottleneck. (And under through-running, NJT trains would be diverted to conflict-free tracks anyway.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Also, click on the link anchored in my name.

    Joey Reply:

    NJT and Amtrak could have no conflicts if Amtrak used tracks 5 and 6 for eastbound and 13 and 14 for westbound or something like that. NJT trains could terminate between them or continue to Sunnyside. LIRR would have exclusive use of the northern half of the station, with trains entering the yards on 20 and 21 and exiting on 15 and 16. 17-19 would be used by trains reversing at Penn, with no conflicts.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sure. But you’d still need to grade-separate that junction…

    Under present organizational dysfunction NJT has no intention of using central or northern tracks. So the grade separation is not going to do anything on that end. If the organizations involved were competent, there would be no separate NJT and LIRR trains, in which case trains from New Jersey would use tracks 14-16 eastbound and 17-19 westbound, same as Amtrak and northern-tunnel Long Island, and additional terminating trains from Long Island would use tracks 5-13.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I really don’t know why the LIRR won’t consider catenary conversion. It would be a major long-term improvement, but nooooooo…..

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    700 miles of track wouldn’t be cheap to convert.

    Joey Reply:

    If there was a real effort to unify the three NY commuter railroads into one network, it might make some sense. Then again, equipment that worked with both would probably be cheaper. Though incompatible 3rd rails on LIRR and MNRR would be a problem.

    But as it is, you really wouldn’t gain much benefit from it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, the LIRR only runs about 130 miles of route under 3rd rail. It’s $400 million to move to catenary. There are more useful places to spend the money on, but we’re still talking about one tenth the cost overrun on East Side Access.

    Second, trains for both third rails are purchased in the same order, so the cost of retrofitting them to run with both options should be trivial. The only relevant LIRR/Metro-North boundary is the Empire Connection, which could just have two third rails for some length of track, one on each side of the running rails.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    130 route miles and how many track miles? During the conversion you have to find a place to put the AC substations and their feeder lines. It wouldn’t be cheap to convert 1000 M7s into M8s.
    Run an shoe designed for top running third rail over third rail designed for under running, or vice versa and what you do is rip up the third rail. That’s going to happen even after you design build and install the expensive to manufacture and maintain shoe that can convert to either. All so that foamers can take a one seat ride on an M7 from Yonkers to Jamaica.
    If you are going to convert anything, Hudson Line first. The Hudson Line M8s can then go to Penn Station – using catenary all the way. The express from Albany can go all the way to Albany on catenary. The express from Albany can change ends in Penn Station and go to Washington DC.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sorry, all the costs I’ve seen so far scale with route length.

    And yes, I know the shoes are incompatible. Here’s what I proposed on TTP, just as a reminder: trains have shoes that can be moved from a top rail to a bottom rail position. For a while they run under both, changing on the fly. Alternatively, change at Penn Station while dwelling.

    The Hudson Line is a high priority for catenary conversion, yes. So is the LIRR Main Line to Jamaica – Amtrak trains not going to Boston should go to Jamaica and serve JFK to pick up additional traffic.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Fine build a shoe that can run on top, flip over and run on the bottom. Or build retractable shoes and have every car carry both sets. How often does the flip or retract fail and tear up third rail? It’s not worth it so that people don’t have to change trains in Penn Station. Either of them.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, the Northwest got $797.3m total funding. They were so totally screwed. Shakes fists!!!

    As far as $15m DFW/Houston, remember that those are planning funds, since there was some planning funding to hand out in the money Florida handed back. Planning to build an HSR system is kind of HSR planning activity by definition ~ and its kind of the only type of HSR funding that they could give Texas for DFW/Houston.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Northwest was close to literally running out of ready projects to fund! All they have left projected but unfunded is the trestle replacement east of Tacoma, and some projects north of Seattle which are worthless until the Canadians step up to the plate and do their part of the job in BC, which they show no signs of doing.

    Now, I know they need to work on that trestle replacement, but they’re gonna need a new long-term plan soon, or they won’t have any other projects to work on between Seattle and Portland!

    wu ming Reply:

    they could use a lot more rolling stock, no?

  10. Donk
    May 9th, 2011 at 12:47
    #10

    Breakdown from CAHSRA site:

    The total funding awarded to California’s high-speed rail project is now as follows:

    • January 2010 ARRA award of $1.85 billion + state match (50 percent) of $1.85 billion = $3.7 billion

    • October 2010 Fiscal Year 2010 High-Speed and Intercity Rail funding award of $715 million + state match (30 percent) of $306 million = $1.02 billion
    • December 2010 ARRA re-allocation from the states of Wisconsin and Ohio, $616 million + state match (50 percent) of $616 million = $1.234 billion

    • Today’s re-allocation of Florida ARRA funds of $300 million + state match (20 percent) = $375 million.

    Total funding (federal + state) = $6.33 billion

    The strength of California’s intercity rail program has led to additional federal funding awards to other transportation agencies totaling nearly $600 million, bringing California’s awards to 40 percent of all available dollars.

  11. JJJ
    May 9th, 2011 at 13:26
    #11

    I was hoping for 800m for NEC, 800m for Cali and 400m for everyone else.

    Oh well, its better than nothing right?

    The real sad news is that there is no 2011 funding allocation. If it had been 4b as originally planned, we would have seen another 1b, no problem. That would have pretty much wrapped up all the funding needed for the valley.

    Also, have the “train to nowhere” idiots finally realized that *gasp* funding comes in every year to extend the tracks, and by the time the first mile of track is being graded, half the system will have been funded?

    Useless Reply:

    California already received more than any other state, so it wouldn’t have been fair to give additional bulk of funding to California. In case no federal funding materializes in the future, California can turn to Asian bidders for construction financing.

    JJJ Reply:

    Of course it would have been fair, we’re the only state with a plan.

    Thats like saying if Alabama gets 100m in Tornado aid, then California should to, so that it’s fair.

    wu ming Reply:

    as a donor state, it’s already seriously unfair to CA. getting a little bit of our taxpayer subsidies back from the feds is in the direction of fair, but still a raw deal if you ask me.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    How many “donor states” got $0 in HSR funding? 20% out of $2b is well over California’s per capita share.

    joe Reply:

    With the $300M, CA earned a total of $3,500 Million out of the total Federal pot sent aside for HSR.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Make that 15% of this tranche, bringing it to well over 25% of the total.

    YESonHSR Reply:

    That 400 million cut from FLA 2billion was bad..we could have maby had 700million plus the state match may have got us to Merced

  12. Richard A
    May 9th, 2011 at 15:24
    #12

    Where is the money? Is it in a bank account of CAHSR or sitting on the DOT books as $x billlions with an accounting footnote ” for CAHSR”? Has CAHSR published audited accounts yet?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Perhaps they should cut out the middleman and write checks directly to Parsons Brinckerhoff.

    ajmstilt Reply:

    Typically it’s a re-imbursement fund. CAHSR spends the money and sends the fed DOT a bill.

  13. Risenmessiah
    May 9th, 2011 at 15:53
    #13

    On a side note, the comment by Board Member Lynn Schenk makes a lot more sense now. She realizes that it might make more sense to start construction in San Diego and Sacramento next that fight through the battles coming over Tejon and Pacheco. Don’t expect anything else built until the CalTrain and Grapevine debates die down.

    morris brown Reply:

    Schenk’s comment makes no sense what so ever, since it is entirely illegal to use Prop 1A funds for the other phases, until Phase 1, of which San Diego was not part, have been funded.

    Note, she even acknowledged that by saying, we should re-write Prop 1A. Well, Prop 1A is going to get re-rewritten short of a new Proposition be sent to the voters to change this one.

    As an opponent of the project, I would be totally enthusiastic about the legislature passing a new Prop to replace this one. I’m just sure the population centers of LA and SF and the peninsula will be ever so more willing to vote for this new one, knowing full well that all the money is not sitting in the Central Valley.

    Eric M Reply:

    No need for a new proposition, nor another vote Morris just because the outcome wasn’t to your liking the first time. Prop 1A passed which mandates a link in phase one from San Francisco to Los Angeles withing the time frame of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

    joe Reply:

    Do over! This time we explicitly ask the voters if we can build 4 track system up the Peninsula or should we coddle millionaires.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @morris brown:
    Schenk’s comment makes no sense what so ever, since it is entirely illegal to use Prop 1A funds for the other phases, until Phase 1, of which San Diego was not part, have been funded.

    Caveat: AB3034 does imply that Phase 1 (SF TBT to LA/Anaheim) is to be constructed first, but that same section, AB3034.2704.04.(b).(3) also says that other listed corridors may be constructed using bonds ahead of Phase 1 as long as doing so would advance the whole project and not impact the construction timeline for Phase 1.

    I can’t find a mention in AB3034 that explicitly prohibits construction of non-Phase 1 corridors using non-bond funding.

    While construction to San Diego using bonds would be out, construction to HSR standards of say Anaheim to Irvine, LAUS towards Riverside, San Jose/south Bay Area towards Oakland, and further up the CV towards Sacramento may be permissible, especially if the adjacent Phase 1 segments are bogged down for other reasons (excessive litigation comes to mind).

    For instance, a HSR-capable corridor between Fremont area to San Jose is required under both Phase 1 (Altamont) or Phase 2a (Altamont Overlay). That would be a nice bit of low-hanging fruit that could be easily constructed with bond money ahead of the formal Phase 1 segments, and doesn’t seem to have the same knee-jerk reaction that HSR-along-Caltrain triggers.

    Joseph E Reply:

    I actually like the idea of building Sacramento to Bakersfield quickly, since the lack of tunnels means it can be built without much risk. But the section between Sacramento and Merced is still not fully planned, especially on the approach to Sacramento, so I’m not sure this makes sense. A Sacramento to Bakersfield train might be profitable, but it won’t be the huge success we need to get more HSR built. SF to LA will be hugely popular and profitable if built right, so we need to get those mountain crossings planned and built.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Yeah, and I recognize the EIRs are in different phases. It’s not so much that I would suggest we do it, but that now at least, I understand where she was coming from. SF obviously wants Pacheco and LA wants Palmdale. I have no problem with those being the alignments, but I can see why people want to sidestep this fight and do as much as they can in the mean time.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you utilize the I-5 freefield “it can be built without much risk” and perhaps very much on the cheap. How much cheaper(if any)we can only know if the engineers take a look at the option.

    Wad Reply:

    Again, show me how you think NorCal to SoCal traffic will increase to the point where it can offset Central Valley traffic.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The freefield “conjecture” would encompass Sac, Bako and Fresno so only part of the Valley would be left out. Actually left to a 110mph upgrade of the UP service along the 99 corridor..

    The upside is potentially very large savings in construction costs, faster sustained speeds, and an expedited start of operations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Except for the parts that get 110 MPH service from the wilderness out on I-5 into Bakersfield and Fresno.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What is the harm in a cheap and quick look at the I-5 freefield option?

    Could be the anticipated savings are simply illusory. But what if they came back with the possibility that it could cut the cost by one half. That would be enormous and a game saver should affairs turn sour and should figure in the decision making.

    StevieB Reply:

    Could it be that Fresno to Bakersfield is already funded and far along in planning? The cost politically and financially to change now would be enormous. Changing to an I-5 alignment through the central valley now is ridiculous.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    Synonymouse always trolls this idea around. It’s like a broken record. The main reason to keep the current alignment is that there are several million people living on the 99 corridor and we want a system that provides service to them.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You can serve Bako and Fresno via freefield.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_field
    Unfortunately passengers and trains live in a Newtonian world. Though if you can warp the space time continuum to make the trip from I-5 to either Bakersfield or Fresno quick and cheap why not warp it a bit more and just make SF-LA using the same method. Just think of the money they could save if they could have a train be in Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento at the same time.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I very much like the quantum arrangement where LA and Bakersfield are on opposite sides of the same train at the same time, Fresno and TBT are on opposite side of the same train at the same time, and so the HST Fresno/Bakersfield is simultaneously a VHST LA/SF, and of course people can commute from Bakersfield/LA by crossing the train vestibule, and do not even have to be given seats for the trip. The physical impossibility is an inconvenience with the plan, but why not do a cheap and quick look at the hypothetical cost and benefit?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    of course people can commute from Bakersfield/LA by crossing the train vestibule
    Why not? Some people commute from Long Island by passing through the vestibule of a train. Unfortunately it’s Newtonian, change from a train on track 1 by passing through the train on track 2. Track 2 is a Spanish Solution track. To the the train on track 3. 6,7 and 8 have the same arrangement for the return trip.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps Van Ark & co have already looked at the I-5 freewayfield option and found the savings unimpressive and have simply been discreet about it. If the savings were truly extraordinary I am sure they would keep it in the arsenal of fall-backs should funding implode.

    If hsr fizzles out I guess the foamers will have the Valley orphan track to recollect the failed Prop 1A – I wonder who will maintain phantom double track in the boonies if neither the UP or Santa Fe purchase. Meantime Amtrak passengers will still be taking a bus from Bakersfield to LA.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The express passenger tracks through the Valley will be, at worst, used by an improved San Joaquin, running much faster and with fewer stops. Which, if Bakersfield-LA isn’t completed, will mainly benefit Sacramento….

    Spokker Reply:

    If that is your idea of independent utility, then we might as well have built the HSR tracks from LA-Anaheim because it would benefit a hell of a lot more people than the San Joaquin’s 2,600 riders per day. And there is a lot more potential growth.

    An even better example of independent utility is LA-Palmdale because Metrolink trains could hijack the ROW and go faster than 40 MPH. They are already running an “express” train on this route but it still takes an hour and a half as opposed to two hours.

    Joey Reply:

    Agreed, LA-Palmdale (and later extending to Bakersfield) would probably be the most useful corridor to start with.

    Joey Reply:

    Other countries have shown that HSR can be built rather easily through farmland at low prices, even if you overcompensate for the value of the land.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    I suppose you refer to France, but I’m not sure it could be done the French way in the US.
    Here is how it’s done:
    Two payments are made. The property itself is officially sold at market price. This prevents artificially inflating the real estate index.
    The second payment is negotiated between an SNCF lawyer and the owner and is nobody else’s business. It is supposed to be compensation for psychological and professional damages. As such, it doesn’t have to be declared and is not taxable. The SNCF considers it’s a win/win operation because delays would cost a lot more money and lawsuits give a bad public image.

    morris brown Reply:

    You can like what you want, but I suggest you and others who pen none sense here, read the over-riding document Prop 1A, and at least have some little sense of what is allowed and what isn’t.

    This would also seem to apply to Board member Schenk, who thinks she can get San Diego promoted to the first phase.

    Robert in an interview cited in today’s Daily Post, claims the Simitian proposal violates Prop 1A, since he says that proposal would prohibit the train ending at the TBT. As Simitian replies, he made no such claim in his proposal, and in fact Simitian favors going to the TBT.

    Everyone here should wake up and smell the roses. The Authority really got pushed aside in the latest FRA grant. They wanted 2 billion, expected 1 billion and got 300 million. Yet they send out the PR machine and claim wonderful.

    This is the last of Fed funds for a long while. The upcoming 6 year transportation plan is gong to have very little if any funds for HSR, and any funds that will be included are gong to be in a category of needing to find a funding source. Read the documents.

    On the Peninsula, CalTrain has been left out to lunch. There are no funds from HSR for them, and none are on the horizon. They have made enemies of many cities along the corridor.

    CalTrain had better separate from the Authority and do it soon. The “Friends of Caltrain” which seeks to get a funding source for the operation of the train, will have no chance of getting the voters to approve a tax, so long as CalTrain continues to try and share its corridor with the Authority.

    joe Reply:

    This proves The Mercury News causes brain damage.

    “The Authority really got pushed aside in the latest FRA grant. They wanted 2 billion, expected 1 billion and got 300 million. Yet they send out the PR machine and claim wonderful.”

    Pushed aside as in CA was given a disproportionate amount of funding (by population) **already** so the 2nd application for FL’s funding is taken into acocunt what CA was ALREADY given.

    Here’s how the $300M is be put into the correct context:

    http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20110510/NEWS01/105100313/High-speed-rail-project-gets-300m-more-federal-money?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

    California’s high-speed rail has received yet another infusion of cash — $300 million that was destined for the state of Florida until that state’s program was canceled this year.

    The latest funding will bring California’s high-speed rail projects budget up to $6.3 billion, with $3.5 billion coming from the federal government”

    Wow. 3.5 B from the feds out of what? 10.1 B total? I’m not sure if it’s 10.1 B totoal but assue so – we’re 1/9 the US pop but get over 33% of HSR funding?

    CA went for the _entire_ FL pot of funding because CA could.

    CA is the ONLY state with a real HSR project in the works that could use the funds to BUILD a HSR system.

    Delusional:
    “Everyone here should wake up and smell the roses.”
    CA won 3.5 Billion in HSR finding in a year when the GOP cut the discretionary budget and targeted HSR.

    Spokker Reply:

    And next year California will be getting zero federal funding.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So California’s Federal funding will be the same as everybody else.

    Spokker Reply:

    This is a great thing for high speed rail.

    Spokker Reply:

    The way I interpret this is high speed rail being delayed by election year hijinks.

    And it isn’t even election year yet! Christ!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Oh, its a two year Presidential election cycle ~ the Republicans have looked at their field, and Presidential year electoral demographics, and decided that only sabotaging the economy and blaming Obama for the result gives them a hope of winning the White House in 2012.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But the political drift is clearly to the right. The Canadian election confirmed this and Canada has historically been more liberal than the States.

    The GOP is going to hold out for more cuts. Plus they seem to have gotten the message to lay off the entitlements for now. They aren’t going to throw away their chance for the presidency by attacking Social Security when a cautious electorate is tending in their direction.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In Canada, 60% of the electorate voted for center-left and left-wing parties. They just split the vote among four different parties, so the 40% of the electorate that voted for the right got a majority.

    Peter Reply:

    Wow, synonymouse knocked out with facts!!!

    synonymouse Reply:

    That is not at how the press interpreted the Canadian election. The most radical party, the separatists, suffered a major defeat.

    The inability of the purported liberal-left 60% to form a government says all about the loss of their will to govern.

    Nathanael Reply:

    In Canada the problem is quite simply the first-past-the-post system (same stupid problem we have in the US). In any modern democracy with proportional representation Harper would have been out on his ear long ago.

    The vote-splitting in Canada is a symptom of a longer-term trend where the NDP is taking over the mantle of sanity from the Liberals (and to a lesser extent the Quebecois). Next election, everyone will know to vote NDP rather than Liberal and the Tories will be crushed.

    Unfortunately, we’re going to have a similar mess in the US because of our similarly antiquated system. The US needs an actual left-wing party at the national level, and it’s becoming very likely that the national Democratic establishment will prevent the Democrats from being such a party. With the Democrats occupying the moderate right wing and the Republicans occupying the Back-to-the-1400s portion of the political spectrum, a party shift is inevitable, but first-past-the-post in gerrymandered districts makes this a slow and painful process. In contrast, Germany with a better political system was capable of having an outright government upset int he state containing Stuttgart, with the Greens taking control for the first time ever.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The actual left-wing is gone. Communism is dead. Unless you count dissipates, slackers, anarchists, stoners and poseurs as the working class..

    But the Republicans are in even worse shape. There is next to no connect between Wall Street and Main Street. What exactly do MIchael Bloomberg and Haley Barbour have in common? The GOP is split into numerous factions: libertarian-libertines vs puritans, cosmopolitans vs. stix hix, nation-building internationalists vs. isolationists, multinationals and monopolies vs. mom & pops, no borders vs. sealed borders. I believe we will see the emergence of a traditionalist rural party along the lines of the Front National in France, even tho it has no chance of coming to power. An d with very little use for and trust in the super-rich.

    The Democrats will be made up of machine apparatchiks like Pelosi and the Republicans of economic royalists and imperialists.

    Peter Reply:

    Who said you had to be a Communist, or even a Socialist to be left-wing? If you actually know anything about politics, you would know that there are many left-wing political groups that are made up of people other than “dissipates, slackers, anarchists, stoners and poseurs”. Just look at Germany’s SPD. Yeah, they began as the Socialist Party of Germany (Sozialistische Partei Deutschland), but they recast themselves as a much more centrist group, becoming the Social Democrats.

    In the US, those groups have always simply out of necessity had to join with the Democratic Party in order to prevent becoming completely irrelevant. Just look at the Communist Party in the US. They’ve kept themselves separate from the Democrats, and are therefore ignored by all.

    The Democrats will be made up of machine apparatchiks like Pelosi

    Like John Kerry or the Kennedys? Facts do tend to get in the way of conspiracy theories, don’t the?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Morris is right. Caltrain should pull out of the liaison dangereuse with the CHSRA. It will have to do battle with BART-MTC, some formidable enemies, on its own. But Caltrain does at least have in technical superiority what BART has in political superiority.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That makes sense. But you would think the land magnates would understand the encroachment requirements of the hsr are tiny by comparison to the immense acreage they own. A sizeable of the hsr ROW would be in tunnel moreover. Besides it is a very modern electric railway, not clumbering diesel freights and the trains will be in and out very quickly.

    The CHSRA imho would be using eminent domain for exactly the reasons and purposes that legal precept was created. I believe the CHSRA has constitutional and civil rights principles on it side and if Tehachapi turns out to have serious geology issues as well there is no other alternative.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah, I couldn’t agree more and here I do. :)

    EJ Reply:

    San Diego has some of the greatest NIMBYs I’ve ever seen, though. In Del Mar, you’ve got people protesting a plan to move the train tracks off the oceanfront bluffs and into a tunnel, because all that construction will “disturb the community.” Yes, that’s right, the local transportation board is proposing putting the train that goes through their community, which currently runs right along the beach, blocking access and causing a safety hazard, into a tunnel, using mostly other people’s money, something that most communities would kill for, and they’re yelling about it. Compared to these people, the Palo Alto mafia are a bunch of fuckin amateurs.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    I can’t wait to hear how much they’ll scream and whine when they widen I-5 four to six lanes on the way to Oceanside.

    Disturb the community? Let’s run a freeway right through it and then we’ll talk what is “disturbing the community”.

  14. Emma
    May 9th, 2011 at 18:56
    #14

    $200 mi. of the $400 million were awarded to Michigan.

    joe Reply:

    and $0.00 mi. of the total amount went to Wisconsin.

    Joey Reply:

    $0 million = $0

    Emma Reply:

    Didn’t Walker reject the money? Or was that Ohio? I don’t know anymore.

    Alan F Reply:

    Wisconsin applied for $150 million in funding for rolling stock and renovate a train storage maintenance facility for the Chicago-Milwaukee service. Which is more than a little odd because apparently the maintenance facility upgrade was part of the $800 million Madison project that was killed!

    Walker says he is not opposed to the current Hiawatha service, but killed the extension to Madison. Wisconsin also participated in the joint $806 million dollar application with Illinois serving as the lead state on the application to buy new rolling stock – 100 bi-level cars and 31 locomotives. That application was partially funded for 48 bi-levels and 7 locos to go to 8 corridors – none of which are in Wisconsin. Wisconsin got zilch. Make of that what you will.

    The Wisconsin rolling stock plans are muddled anyway because the state brought 2 Talgo trainsets in advance for the Madison extension with the intent of ordering more. With the Madison project dead until WI gets a new Governor, for Amtrak, operating only 2 Talgo trainsets mixed in with trainsets of Horizon single levels and new bi-level cars is not going to make much sense. Odds have to be that Washington state will buy the 2 Talgos from WI as WA is planning to order 2-4 more trainsets in the next several years anyway.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    THIS IS A CALI HSR ..WHOOO cares about the midwest

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Kirk from IL and Blunt from MO are two Republicans on the Surface Transport subcommitee of the Transport committee. California wants Kirk at least logrolling for HSR funding, and Blunt not fighting it very hard.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    sorry was feeling snarkey after yesterdays news..Midwest upgrades are very much needed and a funding ally for future HSR investment monies

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Yes, although I’m not sure the Administration choice in Illinois makes much sense. I mean, politically it does, but I don’t think it really helps HSR become more viable.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It makes sense on its merits. The only quibble is the semantic complaint of whether it would be labeled HSR if it was built in another country that never went through the imposition of 79mph rail speed limits almost nationwide. But even then, expanding the network of what would be considered Express Intercity services in most other high income nations obviously benefits Express HSR as well.

    joe Reply:

    Yes Gov. Walker rejected funds, some of which would have gone to the project for which he later re-applied and was rejected.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Walker (WI), Kasich (OH), and Scott (FL) rejected rail money. All are puppets of ALEC and the Koch Brothers, though only Walker has been caught on tape admitting it. Snyder (MI) is generally considered to be such a puppet as well, but he isn’t a complete idiot, so he has supported rail funding.

  15. joe
    May 9th, 2011 at 19:30
    #15

    DOT received requests form 24 states for a combined total request of 10+ Billion. WI got nothing.

    “Twenty-four states submitted nearly 100 applications for high-speed rail funds”, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

    “When DOT announced the competition for these awards in March, we were inundated with 98 applications seeking more than $10 billion,” LaHood said.

    http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2011/5/9/wisconsin-left-out-of-latest-high-speed-rail-funding-allocation

  16. joe
    May 10th, 2011 at 05:44
    #16

    http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_18028059?nclick_check=1

    Mike Rosenberg never fails to disappoint. Read his article on CA’s application for FLs HSR funding and answer the question: How much of the ARRA funds (% or total dollar) did CA win.

    Zinger:
    “Although a large amount, the grants doled out Monday represent just 0.7 percent of the total funds the state needs to complete the $42.6 billion rail line. ”

    FaceBook’s mayor sez:
    “”The (federal) legislators aren’t going to put as much money into it; there is a little more caution,” said Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline, whose city has sued to halt the project. “I just think it’s going to be a slower road. This is going to take more time.””

    Now for the bad news:
    “The first leg of the project will now cost $6.33 billion and stretch some 130 miles from Bakersfield to Fresno to Chowchilla. Construction will start in fall 2012, and officials continue to insist they will secure the full funding needed to start running bullet trains 520 miles between San Francisco and Anaheim by 2020.””

    We’re building HSR with fed dollars and it will NOW COST (vs what?) and OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO INSIST THEY WILL SECURE FULL FUNDING (after winning a disproportionate share of HSR funding they apparently should quit).

    StevieB Reply:

    Rosenberg tries to disparage HSR at every opportunity even resorting to picayune criticism of the location of CA in the DOT press release.

    U.S. Department of Transportation officials made the announcement during news conferences in New York and Detroit. The department’s 1,600-word news release highlights projects in the Northeast and Midwest and does not mention California’s initiative until the third-to-last paragraph.

    He is really grasping at straws here so much so that his integrity is mootable.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The department’s 1,600-word news release highlights projects in the Northeast and Midwest and does not mention California’s initiative until the third-to-last paragraph.

    Bastards! Putting California’s $300m in the third to the last paragraph of the press release, and only giving a piddling $300m, forcing the cost of the first segment up by letting California build a longer first segment! (bastards!)!! !! !!!
    ?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Truly Federal villiany knows no bounds.

    StevieB Reply:

    Contrast this with the SFGate report on the same news story.

    California’s planned high-speed-rail system, the target of plenty of recent criticism, got a boost and a vote of confidence Monday when the federal government awarded it another $300 million.

    SFGate only speaks of benefits of the new funding.

    “It’s the gateway,” said Rachel Wall, a spokeswoman for the authority. “It’s unlocking that access to the Bay Area for us.”…
    “This is an additional award that was not expected,” Wall said. Over the past 16 months, California has been awarded $3.5 billion in federal funds – more than any other state.

  17. Meteor Blades
    May 10th, 2011 at 11:10
    #17

    Always fun to read you guys, even though I’d have to read 50 reports to understand everything everybody is saying here.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Heh. Welcome to my world!

    Make that 51 reports…I’ll have more tonight about the Legislative Analyst’s new attack on the project. It’s truly insane stuff.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Don’t bother, Robert. I can sum the report up for you–

    LAO: Legislature freaks out at the thought that CHSRA just might score big after watching agency toil in obscurity for years. Leadership attempting to look “in control of situation”. Developing.

    Winston Reply:

    I think that one of LAO’s ideas is a good one – adding more staff employed by the state to manage the program and relying less on consultants.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Yeah, but what that really means is take people who work at Caltrans who are not necessarily good at rail and have them come up with a cheaper solution. I agree the agency could stand to get bigger, but it doesn’t have the funding stream for that right now.

    Jack Reply:

    Yeah but Cal-trans?!?!?

    Winston Reply:

    They already manage the San Joaquins and the Surfliners.

    Alex M. Reply:

    And Capitol Corridor.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “manage”? The Surfliner, Capital Corridor, and San Joaquin are all Califonria Amtrak under Caltrans, but they’ve contracted operations out to Amtrak, itself. Amtrak is also contracted for Caltrain operations.

    wu ming Reply:

    i vote for jimSF for train czar. we’d have very nice cafe cars, that’s for sure.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He has some fantasy of Pullman waiters seating people at tables with white linen tablecloths and then points at the clever sous vide that they sling at Acela passengers to prove that people wnat his fantasy.

    wu ming Reply:

    the learning curve is quicker than that. lurk for a week or so and you’ll be more or less up to speed.

  18. Nadia
    May 10th, 2011 at 12:33
    #18

    The LAO report can be read here:

    http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2011/trns/high_speed_rail/high_speed_rail_051011.aspx

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Smells of lowenthal all over it

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Actually, it looks like everyone on the Senate Transportation Committee used it as a way to attack the project or the Governor. I think the fear is setting in.

    Daniel Krause Reply:

    Its an outrageous document. I just appalled at how ridiculous it is.

    Daniel Krause Reply:

    I was warned recently about a move to shift funding to the urban areas – a “bookend approach.” Looks like Caltrain, Simitian et al area all over this document. Boy the incredible shortsighteness in attempting to siphon HSR money for projects of a localized scope continues unabatted. Massive construction projects typically start in the middle and in low-cost areas, while the complexity of the urban areas are figured out. This document’s bias was given away with the argument to shift funds to urban areas.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Daniel,

    Is it possible you have the situation reversed? Consider that the Rail Authority knew the contents of the report a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn’t it be a savvy political move to try and pre-empt the criticism by trying to paint those in the legislature who control the budget strings as parochial? Even if said legislators are as non-parochial as they come?

    Don’t be part of a PR machine.

    Daniel Krause Reply:

    This is a clear attempt to defund the project, threatening 4B in Federal funding or it is an effort to redirect the funds to other part of the state for commuter rail upgrades (which is a ridiculously risky strategy, hence my previous comment about shortsightedness since billions could be lost). I suspect opponents of HSR are more than happy to see either scenario occur. My comments are based on what is substantively going on, not a PR machine. All the peices of the oppositional strategy are coming in focus and there is going to be sever blowback for any democrats who align themselves at the end of the day with a strategy that threatens 4B in Federal funding and thousands upon thousands of jobs during an economic crisis.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    They’ll have to weigh that against the 66B ton albatross around their necks several years out and how that interferes with their political ambitions. Especially *if* the jobs don’t quite pan out, the cost creeps, another round of bonds needs to be approved or gov subsidies of some form are required.

    The LAO’s report is just one in a long series of wake-up calls. If this project isn’t all it was advertised to be, there will be finger-pointing & blowback for those who pushed snooze.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Lowenthal has been trying to get his hands on the HSR money to use for commuter rail instead for several years now. Simitian may well have joined that effort. If they want that, they should go ask voters if that’s OK, instead of trying to do that via the legislature.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Seriously, evidence?

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    In the descriptions of alternatives to the Central Valley, LA-Anaheim and SF-SJ are justified in large part by their benefits to daily commuters, which certainly smacks of gearing HSR funds towards commuter services.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The concept when you have completion risk is independent utility. If the project doesn’t get to the finish line for a long time, can you put the infrastructure you have built to good use?

    I think they are just listing some corridors which would meet that criteria. I might also throw the grapevine onto that list (assuming the money in hand is enough to link bakersfield to Santa Clarita).

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    If an LA-Bakersfield link were there I’d be more convinced, since you’re also taking care of one of the main engineering obstacles to the entire system in addition to providing a new intercity service. It wasn’t included, though, and the San Jose-centricity of it all still strikes me as politically motivated.

    And SF-SJ is pretty blatantly a way to upgrade Caltrain with HSR funds. To use a homegrown example, do I think that we should be improving capacity and frequency on Chicago’s westbound commuter rail lines? Yes—but I understand that trying to re-appropriate the FRA’s grant for the Moline intercity rail extension isn’t the way get that done.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    My understanding is that the report pre-dates reconsideration of the Grapevine. I would definitely include it on a list of potential “independent utility” projects.

    Alex M. Reply:

    I seriously doubt anyone will be riding the HSR every single day.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Lowenthal already has a record of being parochial, attacking HSR, and trying to steal HSR money for other purposes. Seriously, Daniel has evidence on his side, and you don’t, Elizabeth.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    “That’s how it worked with the transcontinental railroad!!!” ;-)

    The “bias” of this document (which is not good for LAO’s reputation) is that while it identifies lots of problems that are real…it limited itself to solutions which have already been proposed by members of the Senate Transportation Committee.

    The report’s author, a University of Texas grad, has to know about the proposal Rick Perry made there for the TRANS-TEXAS CORRIDOR ™ and that it included a rail component. Where’s even a whiff of that in here?

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    Although I’ve only skimmed the thing, what stands out to me is that two of the three alternative segments terminate in San Jose. I’m intermittently following the CAHSR saga from afar, and even I can tell there’s something supremely fishy going on here and whose the cause of it.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I think people are looking for a reason not to talk about the substance of the report which focuses on the completion risk in the project and how that should be dealt with.

    Tomorrow Will Kempton will be testifying about the peer review’s latest missive which we have on our website http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/PRG-Letter-to-Roelof-Van-Ark-May-2-2011.pdf

    The letter strongly hints that the rail authority will need to float additional state bonds to pay for the project and that they need to be open about that.

    What do people think? Is there support for another $15-20 billion of bonds?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I will have a post up tomorrow AM about the “substance” of the report, such as it is. The report basically calls for putting the whole thing on pause, but they have no real basis for making that claim.

    More state bonds may well be needed. That’s fine. No shame in that at all. With the problems in Congress, California may have to play a bigger role. Someone has to lead.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    I didn’t talk about much of the report because:

    1. I skimmed it.

    2. I only follow this project (and blog) intermittently, so I’m not always up-to-speed on CAHSR’s politics and finance.

    3. I live in Illinois and am not familiar with a lot of California-related things.

    However, having some experience with ridership modeling the suggested city pairs really did strike me as odd and, thanks to two of the three terminating in San Jose, politically motivated.

    Jack Reply:

    They want us to renegotiate with the federal government, might as well give back the money now… The Fed will find 28 other states eager to use the money and will meet every government demand. This is HSR on life support like it’s been for the past 5 years. 7 millions only, they’ll never complete a business plan on that starvation diet. Thank god our legislature doesn’t have to abide by this.

    Jack Reply:

    Wow this just reeks; How do you kill a goverment project. Delay Delay Delay, They want to kill the CV segment to further study other segments so they can decide agian to start in teh CV. This does have lowenthal/simitian all over it.

    JJJ Reply:

    The feds have mandated construction start in the CV, thanks to Costa right?

    So conversation over. Whats dont is done. No point in wasting time with ridiculous power grabs.

    We have 18 months to start construction or all the money is taken away. Finish the EIR and start hiring laborers.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    You can say that again. Just get the construction going for pete sakes! Keep as much as possible at grade, grade separate the roadways cause it is probably cheaper and let’s get the show going!

    datacruncher Reply:

    An interesting coincidence here. LAO says shift the CAHSR work to CalTrans after previously saying CalTrans needs more work to justify its budget staffing request.

    LAO – May 10 on CAHSR – “High–Speed Rail Project Could Be Shifted to Caltrans”

    LAO – March 2 on CalTrans – “Capital Outlay Support (COS) Program Is Overstaffed. The budget requests about $2 billion in 2010–11 for COS—staff resources that perform activities to develop and manage the department’s capital construction program. We reviewed Caltrans’ COS budget for recent years and found that the program’s budget lacks sufficient workload justification……Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature:……

    ■Reduce the program’s staffing by about 1,500 (and $200 million a year) to align with actual workload if Caltrans does not provide workload justification for its COS budget request.”
    http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/2010/transportation/trans_anl10.aspx

    datacruncher Reply:

    That should say March 2, 2010.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Ironically, the Division of Rail inside CalTrans has like 53 employees. CHSRA has 19. The report says that HSRA admits similar projects outside the US usually have a staff of 60-80 people. 53+19= 72.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    It’s more than a coincidence. Caltrans has staffing expertise and a surplus, while the Authority has neither. This is what’s known as a no-brainer. Sacramento has been discussing this for months.

  19. Reality Check
    May 10th, 2011 at 16:04
    #19

    OT: HSR yard-opposing Brisbane (“people should revolt against this“) will now reportedly be “crippled” by the pending departure of VWR International, its top (50%) sales tax generator.

    The move will cost Brisbane roughly $2.1 million a year and reduce its general fund budget by more than 18 percent … VWR supplies the city with about 50 percent of its sales tax revenue … Brisbane has made numerous attempts to reach out to the company to negotiate with it to stay in the city but the company has been completely unresponsive … The lost revenue would reduce Brisbane’s police force by 67 percent and its fire department by 88 percent …

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    They might want the yard or the TOD

    YesonHSR Reply:

    They are insane if they dont want the HSR yard and it jobs…this housing plan is dead for a decade at least and its an old railroad yard to boot!!

    thatbruce Reply:

    Its a ‘light’ maintenance facility, which amounts to storage, cleaning, filling up the water tanks and emptying the toilets. The number of jobs involved isn’t that large and frankly, a Bay Area storage/cleaning yard would be cheaper to put in Gilroy or Fremont, depending on which crossing is used, or even performed overnight at Transbay.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Nah, that Brisbane land should be cheap and minimizes dead-heading. It was last used as SP’s “Bayshore Yard” and after decades of use stretching back to the steam era, there are reportedly lots of toxics in the soil there. Seems an ideal place for HSR+Caltrain maintenance yard as compared to far-away and operationally less convenient / more expensive Gilroy or Fremont.

  20. morris brown
    May 10th, 2011 at 16:35
    #20

    Early media report on the LAO report:

    SJ Mercury: http://www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_18034071?nclick_check=1

    State report hammers high-speed rail plans

    “In a highly skeptical report, the Legislative Analyst’s Office called for almost a complete overhaul of plans to build California’s $43 billion high-speed rail project — the state’s biggest public works effort ever.”

    Form your own conclusions. Of course, as I read opinions above, the LAO is nothing but a puppet of Lowenthal, or Simitian.

    Eric M Reply:

    “the LAO is nothing but a puppet of Lowenthal, or Simitian.”

    You hit the nail on the head!!

    Nadia Reply:

    From their website:

    The Legislative Analyst’s Office has been providing fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature for more than 70 years. It is known for its fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analyses of the state budget. The office serves as the “eyes and ears” for the Legislature to ensure that the executive branch is implementing legislative policy in a cost efficient and effective manner.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    They have become much less objective under Mac Taylor, and appear to be working actively with staff for Simitian and Lowenthal to undermine the HSR project.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Robert,

    Do you have an evidence whatsoever? You are making a very serious allegation.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Lowenthal has been pushing a re-org that would make the CHSRA more like the Air Quality board

    The LAO is suggesting Caltrans.

    Yes, they both think things need to change but I am not seeing any signs of a conspiracy theory.

    joe Reply:

    Observation, not allegation.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Let’s split the difference and call it innuendo.

    Joe Reply:

    Trust.

    Is the LAO trusted by the stakeholders or is it a tool?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’ve heard some things via back channels to this effect. But I chose the word “appear” because it seems obvious based on what we’ve seen so far. The LAO under Mac Taylor has shed its objectivity and now participates openly in debates over legislation, policy, and at times, even ideology.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Any questions about the objectivity of your “back channels”?

    Joe Reply:

    Yes, how can anyone involved in CA politics or HSR be objective? They cannot.

    The issue is whether the LAO has the trust of the legislature and their staff.

    Joe A. Reply:

    Not surprising, I guess that there was no way that the bay area and Los Angeles were going to let the poor SJ Valley get these precious funds (literal meaning of poor). Conspiracy or no conspiracy, subtle or not subtle – that is what this is. If this happens, whatever you call it, these funds will simply be for commuter rail projects in the bay area or Los Angeles, and high speed rail will for all practical purposes be dead for the time being. As the LAO report mentions, it does suggest a Merced to San Jose alternative; if worst comes to worst – it will probably take a mandate from the Obama Administration for even this alternative to be selected as I do not believe for one second that the Bay Area or LA will allow this.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The LAO suggested 2 potential alternatives that favored San Jose, yet according to that Mercury News article even Silicon Valley interests say it should start in the Central Valley:
    “But Carl Guardino, head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, disagreed with the suggestion that the rail line be built in the Bay Area first. “Let’s be blunt,” he said, citing opposition among many Peninsula cities. “We don’t have our act together; we don’t have broad support in our communities here. So why not begin laying tracks in the Central Valley, where it can prove its worth and where unemployment is as high as 30 percent?””

  21. Daniel Krause
    May 10th, 2011 at 16:55
    #21

    Shocking and very sad news. Omar Ahmad passed away this morning.

    http://burlingame.patch.com/articles/san-carlos-mayor-omar-ahmad-dies-2

  22. morris brown
    May 10th, 2011 at 19:06
    #22

    KGO-TV on the 6:00 PM news had about 2 minutes on the LAO report. Alan Lowenthal, Diane Harkey, Taylor and others with short input.

    The one interview proclaiming the oroject must proceed as is, was from a Senator or Assemblyman from the valley, whose theme was “we need the jobs.”

    High lighted the strong comments the LAO report made.

    Comments about the LAO being biased are pure BS, Robert.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The LAO sure sounds biased from the biased bullshit report they came out with.

    It’s surprising how easy it is to turn a good agency into a biased one. G W Bush did it with literally dozens of agencies.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Looks like others are calling out the LAO for their bias.

    I’m not the only one to have noticed Mac Taylor’s biases, and it’s on much more than just high speed rail. He appears to be trying to use the LAO as a kind of state-funded Reason Foundation.

    Joe Reply:

    This is the Legislature’s power grab for the Federal money allocated to HSR.
    They’re damaging the LAO’s independence and ironically, boosting the credibility of the HSR Authority.

  23. morris brown
    May 10th, 2011 at 19:19
    #23

    The KGO-TV video can now be viewed via the internet.

    Current link is:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video#global

    Towards the middle of the page is a link to the High Speed Rail report. (2 minutes)

  24. datacruncher
    May 10th, 2011 at 20:08
    #24

    Fresno’s mayor is already speaking out against the LAO report.

    “”I think, with anything, there are a couple of valid points, but there are some conclusions in this report that are absolutely unfounded,” Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said.

    The mayor said the report’s conclusions – which call for significant legislative intervention – feel political in nature.

    Among her biggest concerns are taking the decision on which segment to build first from the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority and giving it to the state Legislature.

    “Can you imagine our state Legislature being responsible for that kind of decision when they can’t even make run-of-the-mill decisions like balancing the budget?” Swearengin asked. “It would entirely be political, and would not be based on the effectiveness of the trains or the overall project.”

    Ultimately, she said, it would end up being a parochial project limited to the Los Angeles region and the Bay Area.”
    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/05/10/2008923/report-says-proposed-high-speed.html

    Elsewhere in the same article, the head of the Fresno EDC refers to the proposed change by pointing out the heavy Peninsula opposition and saying the Los Angeles segment would be nothing more than a commuter train.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And what’s not political about the project’s current Fresno-orbit? And what’s effective about the Palmdale-Tehachapi detour. Or connected San Jose over Sac.

    C’mon – this whole thing is welfare for the Valleys – San Joaquin and Antelope – a porkfest.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its supposed to be welfare for somebody ~ in the original sense of the word, before it was smeared ~ if its not a public benefit, why do it?

    Placing the routing through Fresno and the choice between the Pacheco and Altamont alignments in the same basket shows your inability to keep track of the magnitudes of benefits on offer with different alternative alignments.

    The Pacheco vs Altamont choice is a 5% choice plus or minus either way. Passing through the largest intervening population center along the way which is presently substantially underserved, and which is brought to under two hours to the population anchors on both ends of the corridor, that’s a slam dunk.

  25. morris brown
    May 10th, 2011 at 20:16
    #25

    Here is a YouTube video with Eric Thronson of the LAO delivering the message the LAO is sending on the HSR project, with their report.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo_HfSQYzCM

    (4 minutes)

  26. Joseph A.
    May 10th, 2011 at 21:18
    #26

    Actually, this is my first time contributing an opinion. If there was a previous Joe A, I am not him, I am new to this.

  27. morris brown
    May 11th, 2011 at 03:58
    #27

    SF Chronicle on the LAO report

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/10/BAQ51JECSU.DTL

    Joe Reply:

    The benefits of planning ahead at SFO.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/11/BURD1JEI5M.DTL
    A lesson for HSR, build today for future use.

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