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.

    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.

  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..

  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.

  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.

    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

    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?

    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.

  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.

    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.

    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.

  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.

  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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  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.

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