Kevin McCarthy’s New Attempt to Block HSR

Oct 3rd, 2011 | Posted by

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who ostensibly represents Kern County but answers mostly to wealthy right-wing donors like the Koch Brothers, is moving forward with an effort to block the California high speed rail project. As he explains in the Bakersfield Californian:

I have already requested a 30-day extension of the public comment period for the EIR to give members of our community more time to have their voices heard, and will soon introduce legislation to rein in this project until more evidence can be gathered on its feasibility. Specifically, this legislation would freeze federal funding for California’s high-speed rail project for one year so that congressional auditors can review its viability.

McCarthy’s justification for this, as offered in the op-ed, rests as usual on misleading statements and flawed evidence. Let’s take a quick look:

Bakersfield would be one of the first communities affected by high-speed rail, and soon. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is looking to break ground next year, and its recent Environmental Impact Report shows people, homes and churches would be displaced. Not to mention the line would run right through Bakersfield High School.

In fact, one alignment would run along the side of Bakersfield High School and could require a building to be moved. That’s quite different than suggesting it will plow through the middle of campus.

High-speed rail has proven a drain on government coffers. Every HSR line in the world requires some sort of government subsidy. A 2008 Amtrak study found that six of Europe’s passenger rail systems require a combined annual subsidy of $42 billion. That’s in addition to the initial investment. Unfortunately, many are turning a blind eye to these facts.

This is false. HSR lines generally are built by government, but do not require operating subsidies. They pay for themselves, and sometimes subsidize other rail operations, as in France. McCarthy is trying to play on the American assumption that rail is unpopular and has to be subsidized in order to operate – yet he won’t admit that freeways are massively subsidized too. McCarthy, of course, turns a blind eye to these facts.

California’s project has been touted as the nation’s first true HSR. But if the CHSRA’s plan is the model, we’re in trouble. Aside from ever-changing ridership projections, sub-par business plans and incomprehensive EIRs, the numbers don’t add up. The Authority puts the cost of building Phase One from Los Angeles to San Francisco at $43 billion, but independent studies say it could be anywhere from $65 to $80 billion, and some report the entire project could top $116 billion.

This is the first I’m seeing of the $116 billion number, which isn’t cited by McCarthy. The $65 to $80 billion cost projections come from HSR opponents. Of course, McCarthy ignores the fact that not building HSR could cost at least $100 billion. As to the ridership numbers, I am not surprised that McCarthy ignored the independent peer review that found the HSR numbers to be sound.

But those claims aren’t really what drive McCarthy. No, he’s just an old-fashioned Hooverite, more worried about debt than creating jobs and ending the recession:

Even taking the rosiest estimates, the money isn’t there. Our nation is $14.3 trillion in debt and California continues to battle massive deficits. The $9 billion in bonds voters approved in 2008 will add a $1 billion annual burden to the state over the next two decades, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. That means $1 billion less for higher education, parks, firefighting and other services. Furthermore, operating costs could top $1.5 billion annually — meaning if the already questionable ridership estimates don’t materialize, California would be on the hook for an annual subsidy.

The proper response to the national debt numbers is to shrug. Right now, the federal government should be running up deficits in order to fund infrastructure that puts people to work and ends the recession. The US government’s borrowing costs are at record lows, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

And what of California’s costs? The state cannot run a deficit. The state does have bond debt, but the total numbers are small – 4.5% of GDP as of 2010. More importantly, the money we borrow brings the state more money in return, in the form of jobs, economic activity, and tax revenue. The green dividend for Los Angeles alone could be $10 billion a year.

High speed rail is an investment in Kern County’s future. Kevin McCarthy appears to believe that the status quo is working just fine, even though Kern County has a 15.5% unemployment rate, and that any new investment designed to address that huge problem is somehow too risky. That should be no surprise, as McCarthy is the #3 ranking House Republican, and his party has done literally nothing to create jobs since they took the majority in the House this past January.

Even most people concerned about the impact of the project on Bakersfield High School still support high speed rail. Kern County wants it. Bakersfield wants it. McCarthy implicitly recognizes this, calling for a “freeze” rather than the death of the project outright. But McCarthy’s logic doesn’t add up. Bakersfield and Kern County should reject it and tell McCarthy to instead use his leadership role to bring more federal HSR money to California so this project can get built quickly.

  1. RisenMessiah
    Oct 3rd, 2011 at 22:15
    #1

    McCarthy: I’m working hard in D.C. on legislation that will go nowhere! By the way, did I mention that my bill won’t stop HSR construction in town?

    VBobier Reply:

    Actually I think the Perpetual motion machine might get invented first, before that happens and people have been trying and failing to invent one for decades…

  2. morris brown
    Oct 3rd, 2011 at 23:10
    #2

    Let me take on a few items on which Robert has written above

    Robert writes

    And what of California’s costs? The state cannot run a deficit. The state does have bond debt, but the total numbers are small – 4.5% of GDP as of 2010.”

    The proper metric should be the state budget and according to Lockyer present debt service consumes %7.8 of the budget. That’s a big number and it will be growing larger.

    link: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-30/california-s-debt-service-rises-to-7-8-of-budget-lockyer-says.html

    ———–

    Robert writes:

    ” “This is the first I’m seeing of the $116 billion number, which isn’t cited by McCarthy ”

    link: http://www.cc-hsr.org/assets/pdf/2011FRR.pdf

    Please note on page 3 (table labeled entire system (6 Cities) mid-September) — construction
    costs

    ————
    Robert Writes

    “This is false. HSR lines generally are built by government, but do not require operating subsidies. They pay for themselves, ”

    But they don’t pay for themselves:

    Read:

    http://www.cc-hsr.org/assets/pdf/bnote-10.pdf

    ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL’S FINANCIAL SHELL GAMES

    ———

    I disagree strongly with Robert’s assertion that “Kern Co. wants it — Bakersfield wants it.

    He faces re-election in Nov 2012, obviously he isn’t writing such a strong anti-project piece like this if he doesn’t feel it will help his re-election effort.

    The November 2012 election is shaping up like HSR will be a major issue in the Central valley. The new 21st district is looking like a fight between Rubio(D) strongly in favor of the project and Valadao (R) strongly against.

    VBobier Reply:

    This will never pass the Senate, So go ahead make My millennium…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Of course, being a proven-dishonest person, you would disagree with Robert’s poll- and election-backed statement that Kern County and Bakersfield want HSR.

    Robert, can you ban Morris already? He does nothing but lie.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Though it’s fun that he’s invented a $116 billion dollar number. Now, when construction costs come in at half that, we get to call it “cheaper than expected”, right?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    But they don’t pay for themselves:

    But they do!

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    If the 2007 congressional figures are as wrong for other countries as they are concerning France then their data are totally worthless.
    – “the French Government appoints twelve of the eighteen Directors of both SNCF and RFF”.
    The SNCF board has 18 members, 7 of whom are appointed by the government.
    – The state grants SNCF $2-$3Billion annually for “tariff and public service contributions, concessionary fares and various other services”
    Its statute obliges SNCF to perform “missions de service public” which far exceed what is expected from a transit operator. For instance: free tickets for the military. Free tickets for state employees travelling on duty. 50-100% reduction for the “economically challenged”. Reductions for members of “numerous families” (25% per child, up to 75%). Reductions for the young and the elderly. Not to mention SNCF employees whose families have unlimited free passes.
    These legacy obligations cost billions and it is only right for the state to pay its share.
    SNCF is not the only company to have that sort of convention with the state. Private bus companies and local airlines also do, and nobody says they are subsidized. They just get paid for extra services they are asked to render.

  3. Derek
    Oct 3rd, 2011 at 23:39
    #3

    “A 2008 Amtrak study found that six of Europe’s passenger rail systems require a combined annual subsidy of $42 billion.”

    This statement doesn’t say anything about HSR, so it’s just a red herring.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s probably false for low-speed rail, too, unless Amtrak chose to compare itself with regional rail in Europe that’s operated under contract by the national railroad. Amtrak never counts on its books the losses of Metrolink, VRE, and other commuter services it operates under contract; it shouldn’t do the same in Europe.

  4. ericmarseille
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 00:55
    #4

    Totally OFF TOPIC but, I hope, informative :

    I came back yesterday from a trip in the Parisian region (Marseille-Paris and back, 480 miles)

    The good :

    – Took an IDTGV, so could book on internet and print the tickets myself
    – Only €100 for the entire trip, decided only two days before departing
    – Was able to upgrade to first class for €2 on the Marseille-Paris leg
    – Was able to change my ticket the day before I was supposed to leave for a €10 fee and did it all on internet too, including printing the new ticket
    – Still as fast and cool as ever
    – on the return leg, arguably in an off period, I was able to strech my legs as much as I wanted for 45 min, I was in a face-to-face configuration and the guy who was in front of me got out at Avignon and nobody took his place. Everybody staying in the car after Avignon either was alone on its two seats side or didn’t have someone in front of him in face-to-face configuration, smart seat management from SNCF
    – Los of seat and elbow room in first class (lateral seat configuration : 2+1 instead of 2+2 in second class) ; so much seat room in fact, that I felt a bit loose in my seat (and I’m 240lbs)
    – The croque-Monsieur at the snack car, still shockingly good (I mean, good, which is shocking given SNCF standards)

    The bad :

    – Last-time tickets on the busiest part of the week-end can grow to up to €110 for a single trip
    – First-generation TGV first class atmosphere (dark grey, dark red, and black) was good for regular TGVs, but on the duplex, lower and less luminous it is sad and even creepy
    – On my first leg the TGV was so old that the first class car stank of old furniture textile, and even old, very old, cigarette odour ; the smells of the arguably refined perfumes that the first class passengers use in abundance, as a social status sign, all mixed, didn’t help either
    – Not only that, but for the first time of my life in a TGV, I was annoyed by the noise of the train itself (still on the first leg, first class), which, instead of a whirr comparable to a cat’s purring, was rather comparable to a vacuum cleaner noise ; still not as noisy as the dreaded Parisian RER, but, hey, it had to be a very, very old TGV
    – more than €6 for a croque-Monsieur, the rip-off goes on at the snack car
    – The Anglo-Saxon Lady (please note that she looked perfectly anonymous, and that she was not that kind who could carry a sign “Me yank” on their foreheads without it making any diffrence whatsoever, I mean, I thought she was French first) who, while we were between Marseille and Aix, when I was practically alone in my half of the car, went straight to me, looking at the seat number exactly as if I had took hers, paused here, still, for at least ten seconds, looking with insistence at my seat row, and who, when I politely asked her “Vous cherchez?”, which in french means literally “You are looking for?” but in fact is the most unobtrusive and polite way to say “Dear Ma’am, I see that you are looking at my seat row just as if it was all yours ; please tell me your seat number, and if you’re on my seat row I’ll get up and let you sit down, and if you believe my seat is yours we’ll compare our tickets and will settle this problem in a matter of seconds, not entirely excluding the possibility of course that you are dumb as a post but please be reassured I won’t let it show”, and who replied IN ENGLISH -how impolite!- “no, thank you”, JUST AS IF I HAD BEEN ASKING HER A SERVICE (the “thank you” part was clearly purely cosmetic), and with a face and body langage so contemptous that it would have left me flummoxed with anger only ten years ago ; (and then they come back to Ameringlandstralia and tell everybody how impolite and rude the French are!) ; please, anglo types, can’t you once and for all learn that very simple phrase : “excusez-moi, je ne parle pas français, parlez-vous anglais?” ; Please, pretty please! thank you!

    There guys, a few concrete details on HSR from time to time aren’t a waste of time, are they?

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Just in case : Marseille-Paris and back, 480 miles X 2!

    Max Wyss Reply:

    About the noise… I bet you were in the end car which does have a motorized bogie, and that you do hear, as opposed to the middle cars which have only indirect contact to the bogies…

    But your story of passengers shows that things have not changed for years…

    ericmarseille Reply:

    You’re right I was sitting in the end car ; really an annoying noise!

  5. Andy M.
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 01:17
    #5

    So this guy wants to delay construction by one year for further audits.

    Is he saying how much this delay will cost in terms of missed opportunities and benefits not delivered?

    VBobier Reply:

    He can’t do this as It die in the US Senate, of that I have no doubt.

    VBobier Reply:

    “It will die in the US Senate” is what I meant to say.

    Peter Reply:

    Not to mention the fact that we could lose the ARRA funding.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    then two years from now he can whine about how much the auditing is costing.

    Peter Reply:

    Two years from now he’ll be out of office.

    Bret Reply:

    not likely, Bakersfield and Kern County are a lot more conservative than you think. It’s unfortunate that this is even a “political” issue, because no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, HSR is a good idea for California. And while, like with many candidates, you may not agree with everything they do or say, sometimes you pick the lesser of two evils, and for a Conservative political base, they are going to vote Republican nearly every time. I, for one, may disagree with his stance on HSR, but I may identify more with other platforms that he represents than I would with a Democratic candidate’s overall stance on other issues. Let’s just hope he’s proven wrong on this issue.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Used to be “…will be reelected unless found in bed with a dead woman or a live boy” But even that doesn’t seem to bother them. ( See Senators Vitter and Craig )

  6. Ben
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 04:25
    #6

    Regarding the Koch brothers (the oligarchs that have spent at least tens of millions of dollars elected the corporate-shill tea party hacks), people should be asking Rep. McCarthy if he’ll return campaign donations/bribes from a company accused of violating our sanctions against Iran, a country absolutely determined to build nuclear weapons. So much for the tea party ‘patriots.’

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-02/koch-brothers-flout-law-getting-richer-with-secret-iran-sales.html

  7. Ben
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 04:27
    #7

    And why aren’t people out there hammering Kevin McCarthy and the RepuB(P)licans every day for wanting to gut funding for Amtrak, transit, and high speed rail when gas is $4 per gallon. They must want Americans to suffer so ExxonMobil can beneft.

  8. Andre Peretti
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 04:27
    #8

    I’m not sure trying to convince opponents is really worth the effort. For instance, Mr Morris keeps repeating HSR is heavily subsidized in Europe although detailed financial results (in English) are on the web for everyone to consult. When people want something to be true, they are totally impervious to any data that might prove them wrong. Faith beats facts.
    Remember President Bush’s “TRUST ME” was enough to brush aside all inspection data proving WMDs didn’t exist. People believed what they wanted to believe.
    In the same way, accumulating facts and data proving HSR works will only convince the few that are already convinced. HSR opponents have it easier. Nobody will check their data because what they say is what people want to hear.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    +1

  9. Ben
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 04:41
    #9

    Robert, et al:

    The problem with this debate is using arguments about jobs and emissions is strong and compelling for people like us who already support this project, but again, one side is much more effective at rhetoric.

    The US spends over $300B every single year on foreign oil. This is money that could be spent here, creating US jobs. Is Kevin McCarthy and the other RepuB(P)licans not a terrorist-enabler to continue to give hundreds of billions of dollars every single year to petro-dictators in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia opposed to the US. Is he not more interested in creating jobs in Iran than Bakersfield and Visalia?

    And, again, he must not care too much about his constituents if he wants them to have no other transportation option other than paying $4 (or more) per gallon oil.

    This is the type of arguments that should be used against people like Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. They don’t care one bit about polar bears, emissions, or creating $15 per hour jobs.

    Ben Reply:

    And every time these teabaggers say it’s French or socialist to build high speed rail, ask them why they don’t like America and would rather give money to Putin or Hugo Chavez instead. The other side has no problem questioning our patriotism, we should be asking why they want to continue giving $300B every single year to countries hostile to the US.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    “The US spends over $300B every single year on foreign oil. This is money that could be spent here, creating US jobs. Is Kevin McCarthy and the other RepuB(P)licans not a terrorist-enabler to continue to give hundreds of billions of dollars every single year to petro-dictators in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia opposed to the US. Is he not more interested in creating jobs in Iran than Bakersfield and Visalia?

    “And, again, he must not care too much about his constituents if he wants them to have no other transportation option other than paying $4 (or more) per gallon oil.

    “This is the type of arguments that should be used against people like Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. They don’t care one bit about polar bears, emissions, or creating $15 per hour jobs.”–Ben

    Munitions for the fight from Canada:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/pump-logic-why-gas-prices-are-still-a-pain/article2186935/

    Some older but more entertaining American ammo:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385×476906

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    “The US spends over $300B every single year on foreign oil. This is money that could be spent here, creating US jobs

    Eh. Much of that stays within NAFTA (in 2010, 3,819 thousand barrels per day from Mexico and Canada, more than three times that imported from the Persian Gulf). More money Canada and Mexico have, the more trade they do with us, they more we export to them. It’s pretty much win-win. And HSR will have only marginal effects upon oil consumption. About 34,000 barrels per day, approximately equal to our oil imports from Peru.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I would be interested in McCarthy’s take on a barbebones hsr project, one much cheaper than the current Palmdale-San Jose centric version. The question is he, and other like-minded critics, opposed to any and all passenger rail spending?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The answer is yes. The Koch Brothers aren’t interested in wise spending. Their pseudo-scholarly shills at Reason were gung ho against Florida HSR, which had a chance of succeeding, but said nothing about Sunrail, a disaster to Florida’s taxpayers and an acknowledged subsidy hog. The more rail can be successful, the more they oppose it, because the example of a successful line could inspire other regions to build more.

    Ben Reply:

    I agree with Alon here. The RepuB(P)licans are opposed to any transportation investments that will reduce our consumption of oil and that will create jobs. Bicycle infrastructure is arguably the most cost-effective transportation investment we can make and the GO(B)P threatened to shut down the US Department of Transportation over funding for bicycle infrastructure.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Then McCarthy is opposed to the San Joaquins?

    Ben Reply:

    Considering he’s the #3 RepuB(P)lican in the House and the his party is absolutely hostile to intercity passenger rail, I think it’s a safe assumption that he is no supporter of this route.

    “Existing passenger rail service faces deep cuts of its own. Amtrak’s capital budget (new rolling stock, new lines, equipment, etc.) is cut by $24 million (from $922 million to $898 million; down from $1 billion in 2010), but the operations budget is where Amtrak takes a big hit, going from $563 million to $227 million. On top of that, an important policy change will prevent Amtrak from using any of their operating funds on state-supported lines — lines where a state has partnered with Amtrak to increase passenger rail service and ridership. To put that change in perspective, in 2010 9 million rides were taken on state-supported routes.”

    http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/09/08/house-gops-2012-transportation-budget-deep-cuts-especially-for-livability/

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Any HSR project that threatens to be successful has to be killed. The success of Paris-Lyon launched HSR all over Europe.
    30 years ago, France had 26 big oil refineries. It now has only 12. That’s the sort of catastrophe the Koch brothers want to spare the US.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Some more:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_N3EkhyohE&feature=related

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    And a bit more (Yikes! And Hillary is in on it, too!!):

    http://getenergysmartnow.com/2011/10/04/republican-establishment-love-oil-more-than-they-hate-hillary/

  10. morris brown
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 12:48
    #10

    New business plan is delayed until at least November.

    http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/10/california-high-speed-rail-authority-to-delay-business-plan-release.html

    October 4, 2011
    High-Speed Rail Authority to delay business plan release

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority will delay until at least Nov. 1 the release of updated financial projections for the embattled project, saying new board members need more time to review the plan.

    “The California High-Speed Rail Authority has put together an extensive business plan that comprehensively addresses the future of this project,” rail board Chairman Tom Umberg said in a release this morning. “At the same time, we have new appointees to the Board who weren’t able to be a part of its development. This postponement will provide them the necessary time to participate.”

    The authority, facing criticism about he project’s management and cost, planned to release a business plan in mid-October. It said the delay will not affect the project’s schedule.

    Gov. Jerry Brown this summer appointed former bank executive Michael Rossi and former Brown adviser Dan Richard to the rail board. Brown said he was seeking to help the authority “get their act together.”

    “I look forward to having these extra two weeks to delve into the business plan – which numbers in the hundreds of pages – and take a close look at the funding, ridership and implementation information it presents,” Richard said in a release. “Governor Brown, the Legislature and all Californians will be well-served by a plan that lays the foundation for the future of this sorely needed transportation option.”

    Categories: High-Speed Rail

    ——–
    The budget for the Authority for the 2sd half of this fiscal year was tied to the plan being delivered by Oct 14th. Interesting.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s a two week delay to give the new board members a chance to read the damn thing. What’s the big deal?

    Peter Reply:

    “Interesting.”

    Right. The Legislature is sure to kill the project because the Authority delayed the release of the plan by two weeks past the deadline.

    morris brown Reply:

    The excuse given is lame and hardly the true reason. The Governor has stepped into the fray, and he is giving input to the plan; that is the real reason for the delay.

    The next Board meeting is set for Nov 3rd. Surely the business plan will be the focal point of that meeting.

    This is another case of the public be damned; We will get at best 2 days to review the plan and make comments before that meeting.

    Ken Orsi has a new article out titled:

    For High-Speed Rail, It Looks Like the End of the Line

    http://foxandhoundsdaily.com/blog/ken-orski/9486-for-high-speed-rail-it-looks-like-end-line

    The supporters here will just love reading this one.

    morris

    Peter Reply:

    “The Governor has stepped into the fray, and he is giving input to the plan; that is the real reason for the delay.”

    Anything to back up that claim?

    About Ken Orsi’s article, all it does is rehash conservative talking points about HSR in general, and repeats BS claims and reports on CA’s system. Again, is there anything NEW in this article?

    Matt in SF Reply:

    But…but…but…Ken Orski has been “involved” in the field of transportation for 30 years, so as a guy who apparently once took a cab 30 years ago (?), we should all care what he thinks.

    The other website where his article was cross-posted was basically just an amalgamation of articles about how public transportation is bad and fossil fuels are good for us.

    joe Reply:

    My speculation: The Governor *is* engaged, he wants his appointed experts to contribute and the Plan is going to be advocated and defended at the highest level of CA on down.

    RisenMessiah Reply:

    The Governor has stepped into the fray, and he is giving input to the plan; that is the real reason for the delay.

    Shouldn’t you be happy about this Morris? I mean, this is the same Governor who pooched the state’s last attempt at HSR from L.A. to San Diego. Are you worried he might actually get it right this time or something?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Morris, I know you have “reservations” about rail, but as I asked the other day, I do not recall your mentioning any alternatives to this, nor any ideas you have to address some of the problems we have with the status quo.

    I do not recall you mentioning what your ideas are on the peak oil question, I do not recall your ideas on how to get us off the oil import problem and everything that is related to it such as oil wars, I do not recall you mentioning what your ideas are on highway and air traffic congestion and capacity problems, I do not recall your ideas on improving travel safety, and I do not recall seeing anything by you on alternative solutions to these problems that would justify cancelling this project and, by implication, by providing any alternative to public transportation in general.

    Do you have any ideas on addressing these questions? If you do, I would like to hear them, as would a lot of other people here.

    I’ve said this before, I don’t claim we rail supporters are perfect, I won’t claim that HSR is a cure-all for the things I’ve mentioned, I certainly can’t claim the consultants are necessarily performing as well as they should based on comments by Clem, Alon, and others, but I do see that we are trying to make things a little better, and HSR is part of what we think we need. If you don’t think this is a good project, fine–but tell us what your approaches to these questions would be. You owe it not just to us, but as much as anybody, perhaps more than anybody, you owe it to yourself.

    Come on, you must have something to say. . .

  11. peninsula
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 19:21
    #11

    What’s the big deal?

    From August CHSRA board meeting materials:

    “The Authority intends to request the investment of bond proceeds from (AB3034) the Safe, Reliable High- Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century (the Bond Act) for development of the first phase of the system. This will commence with the initial construction section (the ICS) in the Central Valley, as previously approved by the Board.

    Within the Bond Act provisions, Streets and Highways Code section 2704.08, subsection (c) establishes requirements for the Authority to submit a Funding Plan prior to making a request for appropriation of bond proceeds for certain purposes. The Funding Plan must be submitted to the Director of Finance, the Authority’s Peer Review Group, as well as the policy committees with jurisdiction over transportation matters and the fiscal committees of both houses of the Legislature.

    The Funding Plan is scheduled to be submitted by October 10, 2011, 90 days prior to release of the Governor’s Budget for fiscal year 2012-13. Therefore, the Authority will need to approve the Funding Plan at its early October meeting.”

    (Per AB3034 the funding plan must be submitted by authority NO LATER THAN 90 DAYS prior to submission of appropriation request to Legislature and the Governor.)

    Did CHSRA just miss their window for bond appropriation in 2012-13 budget year?

    joe Reply:

    Let’s look at the language of AB3034:
    http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_3001-3050/ab_3034_bill_20080826_chaptered.html

    2704.08. (a) Proceeds of bonds described in paragraph (1) of
    subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall not be used for more than 50
    percent of the total cost of construction of each corridor or usable
    segment thereof of the high-speed train system, except for bond
    proceeds used for the purposes of subdivision (g).
    (b) Not more than 10 percent of the proceeds of bonds described in
    paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall be used
    for environmental studies, planning, and preliminary engineering
    activities.
    (c) (1) No later than 90 days prior to the submittal to the
    Legislature and the Governor of the initial request for appropriation
    of proceeds of bonds authorized by this chapter for any eligible
    capital costs on each corridor, or usable segment thereof, identified
    in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04, other than costs described in
    subdivision (g), the authority shall have approved and submitted to
    the Director of Finance, the peer review group established pursuant
    to Section 185035 of the Public Utilities Code, and the policy
    committees with jurisdiction over transportation matters and the
    fiscal committees in both houses of the Legislature, a detailed
    funding plan for that corridor or a usable segment thereof.

    http://www.dof.ca.gov/fisa/bag/process.htm

    Preface
    The budget process for California defies a simple concise definition. It is a process rather than a product. It is not the development of the Governor’s Budget, the Legislature’s enactment of a budget nor the executive branch’s administration of the budget. Rather, it is the combination of all of these phases with all the ramifications and influences of political interactions, relationships with federal and local governments, public input, natural events, legal issues, the economy, initiatives and legislation, etc.

    Budget Development
    The State Constitution requires that the Governor submit a budget to the Legislature by January 10. It provides for a balanced budget in that, if the proposed expenditures for the budget year exceed estimated revenues, the Governor is required to recommend the sources for the additional funding.


    Budget Enactment
    By constitutional requirement, the Governor’s Budget must be accompanied by a Budget Bill itemizing recommended expenditures which shall be introduced in each house of the Legislature. The Constitution also requires that the Legislature pass the bill by June 15.

    So no.

    I don’t see the requirement that the CAHSRA to submit a request 90 days prior to the GOV’S January 10th budget request.

    peninsula Reply:

    So the constitution requires that the governor has to submit a detailed budget, accompanied by a budget bill itemizing expenditures on January 10th

    and the CHSRA has to submit their request 90 days prior to Jan 10, per AB3034.

    That would be Oct 10.

    How again do you not see the requirement?

  12. joe
    Oct 4th, 2011 at 20:13
    #12

    Wisconsin Remorse over losing HSR funding.

    Think back one year.

    We were debating the fine details of a new high-speed rail station in downtown Madison. We had the wonderful luxury of a vigorous debate about whether the station really should be downtown (as Governor Doyle and I advocated) or on the near east side at First Street (as people who were wrong about this advocated). We also had a regional transit authority in place, and the only debate was about when exactly to hold a referendum on the sales tax that would have paid for dramatic improvements in bus service, if not commuter rail and (dare I speak its name?) streetcars (“trolleys” to all you radio hosts out there).

    But then Tom Barrett lost an election, and for a moment in November and December, we thought killing high speed rail in Wisconsin and giving $810 million back to the federal government so that it could be spent for the same development and same jobs someplace else would be the worst thing that the new Governor Scott Walker could do to us.

    He quickly topped that.

    So, let’s remind ourselves. Scott Walker threw away maybe 10,000 jobs, a new industry base with Talgo building trains in Milwaukee where jobs are really needed, $810 million of our tax money that will now go for the same purpose in other states, transit options that could compete with the dreaded airline industry as well as foreign-oil dependent auto travel, and a transit mode that is attractive not just to older people who can’t or shouldn’t drive anymore but young people whose ideas and entrepreneurial spirit are necessary to create jobs.

    We can only hope that someday we’ll have a governor who knows how to open up Wisconsin for business.

    Jerry Brown won. ARRA funding is in place. CAHSRA ridership model passes peer review. Plan is due Nov 2011.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Other comments:

    http://gas2.org/2011/05/27/gop-rejects-high-speed-rail-voters-reject-gop/

  13. Alon Levy
    Oct 5th, 2011 at 00:55
    #13

    Here is the fraudulent Amtrak report that McCarthy references. It doesn’t cite sources for anything, which makes it so much harder to nail down the exact fraud, but the numbers just don’t match up any reasonable interpretation (e.g., one that doesn’t conflate intercity trains with regional trains). Anyway, remember the names of the people who prepared the report, and make sure to discount any future document that bears their names – you never know what lies it might contain.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And here is the Ped Obs post on the subject, in its full tl;dr glory.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    “Here is the fraudulent Amtrak report that McCarthy references”
    How dare you call it fraudulent? It would contradict the motto in the document’s heading:
    “SALVA VERITATE” (with truth intact).

Comments are closed.