Kings County Supervisors Reject All Proposed HSR Routes

Oct 12th, 2011 | Posted by

The Kings County Board of Supervisors apparently wants to vote themselves out of the 21st century:

After months of frustration dealing with plans proposed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, county supervisors said Tuesday they are ready to wash their hands of the whole project.

Board members said no high-speed rail route through Kings County would be acceptable while denouncing the Authority and its Fresno-to-Bakersfield environmental impact report.

“I think we should come out and oppose high-speed rail in Kings County, no matter what alignment they have,” said Supervisor Tony Barba during a discussion of the county’s official response to the EIR, which is due Thursday. He was applauded by a large crowd that nearly filled the Board of Supervisors’ chambers at the Kings County Government Center.

Hard to see what Kings County gains from this stance. The project isn’t going to stop even if Kings County supervisors maintain their opposition, and they won’t likely succeed in forcing the route into neighboring Tulare County if there’s no additional funds to pay for the more expensive alignment alongside Highway 99. Governor Jerry Brown, President Barack Obama, and the majority of California’s Congressional delegation continue to support both the project and the alignment, which is scheduled to break ground next year.

If Kings County did somehow get their way, then they would be ceding the massive economic benefits of the project to Tulare County. Visalia and not Hanford would get the new residents, new businesses, and new jobs that an HSR station brings. Visalia, not Hanford, would become the gateway for passenger rail travelers from Northern and Southern California to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Tulare County’s economy would become more diversified and with a stronger base, whereas Kings County would be mired in higher unemployment and based on agriculture. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with agriculture as an industry, it is not a solid basis for a low unemployment, high wage economy – especially as global warming screws with rainfall patterns.

Kings County has every reason to embrace HSR as part of its future. Instead they want to fight it, even though their approach offers little chance of success. It’s not clear what the Supervisors expect to win, or what their strategy even is. The HSR project is likely to continue moving forward anyway, perhaps without input from Kings County at all.

  1. Matthew F.
    Oct 12th, 2011 at 23:37
    #1

    Any route will upset someone – I figure this is just their way of abdicating responsibility.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yup ~ expressing a preference and then seeing that preference respected means the County Supervisors doing their job and wearing any negative response for doing so. Rejecting all routes is the same functionally as accepting all routes, but its accepting all routes while denying responsibility for what happens.

  2. synonymouse
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 00:07
    #2

    Your tax dollars go to the ball game:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/12/BA241LGVHF.DTL

    Jon Reply:

    What are the odds that the next SF BART line will be under Folsom?

  3. morris brown
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 00:14
    #3

    Up to 18 hurt in Amtrak collision in Oakland

    http://news.yahoo.com/18-hurt-amtrak-collision-oakland-063514617.html

    StevieB Reply:

    Train collision injuries make the news but automobile collisions are so frequent that people have become indifferent unless it is something like the the 164 car pileup on I-5 near Coalinga that killed 17 and injured 150 in 1991.

    Spokker Reply:

    And HSR would be much more advanced than Amtrak, which is regulated by a federal agency that would rather you try to survive a collision than avoid one entirely.

    swing hanger Reply:

    The thing about injuries and deaths in train accidents is their relative rarity. In the U.S. in 2009, people were dying in traffic accidents at a rate of close to 4 people per hour.

    Peter Reply:

    Ok, so, what can we learn from this? PTC should be mandatory. Given that HSR will likely use ERTMS, why is this relevant?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Crowded street trackage with wayside signals — the area around the Oakland station — is not the greatest thing in the world. I’m just guessing, but I expect plain-vanilla cab signals would have prevented this. (PTC includes cab signals.)

  4. JJJ
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 01:13
    #4

    As long as Kings County pays up for the portal device, all is good, although I believe passengers would lose wifi and cell service during that portion of their trip.

  5. D. P. Lubic
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 04:03
    #5

    I can think of only two reasons the King County supervisors would have problems with this, and California’s money situation isn’t one of them, simply because it’s not mentioned in the story:

    1. The CAHSRA has been rude and overbearing in the past, and they are frustrated at dealing with it. That speaks poorly about its prior management, perhaps its current one, but I still see it as hypocritical, because you wouldn’t likely find such a huge backlash against a road project.

    2. They’ve been listening to too many old people, or are older themselves. I personally think they are also technically ignorant, as noted yesterday about some town councilman who was worried about the breeze the trains would stir up from five miles away.

    One is inexcusable, simply because of the size and importance of the project and what the future looks like in a world of constrained oil supplies. The other sounds like a modern version of the anti-railroad sentiments of the 1840s.

    Neither reason reflects well on the supervisors’ thinking ability.

    Peter Reply:

    They haven’t been listening to old people, they’ve been listening to rich, powerful people/corporations. Like J.G. Boswell.

    Peter Reply:

    “I personally think they are also technically ignorant, as noted yesterday about some town councilman who was worried about the breeze the trains would stir up from five miles away.”

    That’s not “technically ignorant”, that’s ignorant of the basic laws of physics.

    afukuda77 Reply:

    Hi Guys,

    This is your local Kings County NIMBY. Let me give you a local, albeit NIMBY perspective:

    1. You are absolutely right that they have been rude and overbearing, and no it has not stopped. It has gotten worse. The Authority believes their mission is a savior to all and will be so beneficial that it won’t have any impacts at all. They forget that there will be impacts and that is what should be concentrated on.

    2. I think that the Authority is actually technically ignorant. Please take some time to read the EIR/EIS. I literally can go paragraphs into the document and find incorrect findings and a pure lack for addressing local impacts. They may know a few things about HSR (and I would not go as far as claiming them as experts because all their documents do is cite other countries work), but they know nothing about Kings County. Doesn’t it make sense that using your local agencies to relay the local impacts and concerns would be useful? Kings County reached out to the Authority in April to sit down and discuss the project and have our local planners work through the issues. It was a process called coordination, which would allow our concerns to be publicly vetted with the Authority. They denied this and told us everything would be addressed in the EIR/EIS. The County delivered a binder with concerns ahead of the EIR/EIS to provide information that would be hopefully addressed in the EIR/EIS (I have a copy of the binder). There is very little, and one could argue none, of the information addressed in the EIR/EIS.

    I think the City of Fresno is now going through the same motions. They see the large impacts that will be incurred and looking into the EIR/EIS there is nothing there to protect anyone.

    I think the public really needs to make sure they want to invest in this Authority. I am not talking about HSR, I am talking about the people and the process that will implement the HSR. The only way a project of this nature is carried out is through complete transparency, good planning, excellent public relations and a recognition that everyone counts, including those that will sacrifice the most for this project (landowners). This Authority has one goal: GET $3 BILLION and spend it. I think everyone should be put on notice that this Authority will get $3 billion and have to spend another $3 billion fixing the mistakes they find from going too fast.

    Jon Reply:

    I think that the Authority is actually technically ignorant… I literally can go paragraphs into the document and find incorrect findings and a pure lack for addressing local impacts.

    Please do so. Not making any judgment on whether you’re correct or not, but if you make a claim like that you need to back it up with examples of specific issues on specific pages of the EIR/EIS.

    afukuda77 Reply:

    So noted, and delivered to the CHSRA. I was only able to make it through Section 3 of Volume 1 and have approximately 60 pages of noted comments. Probably 1/3 of them of technical problems like missing schools, missed fire stations, a missed emergency helipad operation, missing dairy facilities on maps, wrong road names (and particulars like number of lanes, intersections and speed limits), missing homes. About 1/3 of it is deficiencies in CEQA/NEPA requirements and 1/3 lack of specifics to make legal determinations and lack of detail in mitigation measures.

    Example: The EIR/EIS fails to recognize that and document Lakeside school which is withing 1/2 mile from the alignment, and also misses a new Kings County Fire station that is within the footprint of one of the overpass structures and will need to be relocated.

    You might want to also look into what is occurring in Fresno. The local planning department is doing the work the Authority should have been doing for the last several years. Fresno Planning is reaching out to the community answering questions, building databases of information and trying to assess the true impacts and damages. If I were the Authority I would be embarrassed to hear the Fresno Planning department indicating they have had to dedicate staff to do outreach to local businesses to let them know the alignment is coming through their businesses. I once asked a Authority staff why they have not contacted any landowners that are “potentially” in the alignment and I was told “because we do not have to legally do it.” I simply responded by asking if there was a law that said they should not do it, and the answer was no. So it was a choice, what I call a professional practice choice.

    Peter Reply:

    So noted, and delivered to the CHSRA. I was only able to make it through Section 3 of Volume 1 and have approximately 60 pages of noted comments. Probably 1/3 of them of technical problems like missing schools, missed fire stations, a missed emergency helipad operation, missing dairy facilities on maps, wrong road names (and particulars like number of lanes, intersections and speed limits), missing homes.

    Excellent, this is exactly what the EIR process is there for.

    peninsula Reply:

    Its there to prove the California High Speed Rail Authority are a bunch of incompetent idiots?

    joe Reply:

    Possibly, if these candidate problems are valid. And if valid can the cause be traced to the HSR or county maps that are not updated.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That sounds like a case of King County failing to maintain its maps, doesn’t it?

    Sure sounds like it to me. But then I live in a county with an advanced GIS system with promptly updated maps.

    afukuda77 Reply:

    It is, unfortunately when you start with a completely deficient EIR/EIS, you ask yourself “if this is the level of detail that they are going to put into the initial phases, the construction is going to be a complete disaster.”

    A planner who was reviewing this document gave this a 2 out of 10 and another planner I talked to said she would hate to have her name even associated with the EIR/EIS.

    Peter Reply:

    That’s because it’s being planned as a Design-Build project. That doesn’t make the EIR deficient.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    So what you’re really saying is that it sucks by design. It’s an intentional f#$%-up.

    joe Reply:

    I would say the construction firm hasn’t been selected.

    Peter Reply:

    Strawman. You know that’s not what Design-Build means.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    If I were the Authority I would be embarrassed to hear the Fresno Planning department indicating they have had to dedicate staff to do outreach to local businesses to let them know the alignment is coming through their businesses. I once asked a Authority staff why they have not contacted any landowners that are “potentially” in the alignment and I was told “because we do not have to legally do it.” I simply responded by asking if there was a law that said they should not do it, and the answer was no. So it was a choice, what I call a professional practice choice.

    Wonderful, wonderful comment. When is this from, 1955?

    The Authority does not have the staff to do the level of outreach you claim. The contractor invariably does, but these people work on other projects and are not dedicated to HSR. The interesting thing though, is that you act like local governments have a problem with this. Actually, they don’t…they would much rather do things out of sight and at the table than being the menace taking away people’s land. They also much prefer handing out the contracts to do much of the utility realignment and other duties than letting the Authority be the one.

    There’s a symbiotic relationship here between the state, the Authority, special districts, counties, and cities that the NIMBYs seem either not to understand or acknowledge. Each wants to claim the most amount of credit and do the least amount of heavy lifting. Yet, each is wholly dependent on what the others do, and that is how you end up with what you describe….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Isn’t that coordination process the process that involved commitments that it would have been grossly irresponsible for the CA-HSRA to undertake?

    afukuda77 Reply:

    You mean answer question? Don’t know where that is illegal. Funny thing is the Authority was having staff to staff meetings with Bakersfield (and look what happened to them) and the City of Fresno.

    The only commitment I know of is that the Authority meet in public to discuss the project, receive questions and answer them (not necessarily at that moment but a later time would be sufficient). Kings County delivered a binder of questions to begin to analyze the impacts and the Authority refused to answer. The County also asked for a courtesy copy prior to public review (which is typical and a courtesy under responsible agency status, we do it all the time. We typically give local agencies like Counties and Cities an initial copy of our EIR’s for review and comment prior to public review.) and was denied.

    Actually if you look at the responsibilities of the FRA under NEPA they use the exact word “coordination” as a part of their responsibilities.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You say, “It was a process called coordination”, and make claims about what it would involve. When asked whether the process that goes under that label involves any binding commitments on the part of CA-HSRA, you hedge.

    So there’s this process called coordination. You claim its a perfectly reasonable thing for the CA-HSRA to engage in and does not tie their hands in any way (except possibly requiring more question answering staff than the Ledge in their infinite wisdom has provided to the authority). A link to a disinterested third party description of the nitty gritty details of that process, that can be used to verify or debunk your description, would increase the credibility of your claim

    Brian Reply:

    Because studying this project since 1996 is “going too fast.”

    You oppose any HSR but are attacking the authority because you see that attacking HSR directly won’t work. The “coordination” you mentioned is when Kings County asked to have the same VETO power over the project as the FRA and other Federal resource agencies. Of course the Authority refused to give a local County veto power over a joint state-federal project. This last action by Kings County shows why that was a good decision.

    The Authority does have a legally binding mission that is to build the project described in Prop 1a. The ballot measure passed mandates that the Authority make very effort to build phase one by 2020. Many are annoyed that the Prop 1a passed and find efforts to follow it “rude and overbearing” but is law now and the Authority is operating under it’s mandated mission.

    peninsula Reply:

    Building HSR no matter what is not the law. Period.

    The LAW is that bond funding can be obtained by a high speed rail plan that meets the very specific criteria set forth by Prop 1A. Lets just get that straight – Prop 1A is not a mandate to build HSR.

    Walter Reply:

    From the ballot description: “Provides for a bond issue of $9.95 billion to establish high-speed train service linking Southern California counties, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.” Yes, Prop 1A was about bonds. But the bonds were specifically approved to “establish high-speed train service.” How can you argue that actually building the train is optional?

    flowmotion Reply:

    1A may have been been a popular mandate to build HSR, but it’s not a legal mandate, nor a guarantee that a route can be selected and funding obtained.

    The legislature has also created numerous paper freeway routes all over the state. Most of them are never going to be built.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    including those that will sacrifice the most for this project (landowners).

    The landowners will be compensated for any takings. Just like they would be for comparable highway or airport takings. Comparable highway or airport takings would use more land.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Define “compensated”. Does it include compensating communities which are being disbanded and scattered?

    As far as airport takings using more land, that is laughable. Airports can cover far more city-city pairs than laying down the equivalent track. Which one is more desirable is up for debate, but you can’t say that a city-city pair of tracks has a smaller footprint than a runway.

    joe Reply:

    Does compensation include consideration of hysterical emotional arguments? No.

    For a community, what is taken is balanced by you know, having a HSR stop and all the accompanying economic benefits.

    Who wants to live next to the runway to prove your point that an airport has a smaller footprint?

    Hey, let’s expand the small airports in CA to allow jet access and cancel HSR. Palo Alto for instance has an airport. Let’s let the google guys fly their jets out of that airport. The can have the approach take them over Menlo Park.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Which communities are being disbanded and scattered? Are there thriving colonies tree houses in the almond groves of the Central Valley? Hidden communities of campers along the Caltrain ROW? The places where it’s going to parallel existing highways, it’s going to disrupt the bucolic charm of the bungalows in the median?….

    My back of the envelope calculations come up roughly 7000 acres for the whole system. Much of that is already in use as railroad, such as on the Peninsula or in Los Angeles. Los Angeles International airport takes up 3500 acres. So you can have an HSR system or two airports. Or you can add a lane in each direction along highways that mirror the route. But not both.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Infailingly polite and responsive costs, in staff time and recruitment of staff without other, sometimes more urgent, responsibilities, and so costs money in staffing costs. If y’all in California ~ or at least your legislature on your behalf ~ are trying to get the project up and running on the cheap, you can’t expect an unfailingly polite and responsive CA-HSRA as a result.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Damned if they do, damned if the don’t. If everybody is thrilled with their unfailingly polite and responsive staff the naysayers will then whine and complained about how overstaffed the authority is and how much it’s costing the state to be unfallingly polite and responsive. It’s the same thing with studies. If they study it to death the naysayers complain about how much the studies cost. If they do responsible studies the naysayers complain they haven’t studied it enough. If they somehow miraculously achieve some balance with that, it takes so long that yet another group of naysayers will challenge the studies because they are so old.

  6. D. P. Lubic
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 04:05
    #6

    Maybe somebody here can make some money at this. How about some costumes for the kids for Halloween? Can you imagine the spooks kids could give dressed as a high-speed train?

  7. Andre Peretti
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 04:59
    #7

    That’s another example showing the French model is totally inadequate for California.
    SNCF generally starts by planning a route going through the cheapest land it can find, often sharing ROW with existing freeways to save on EIR.
    This is followed by local press campaigns accusing the company of focusing on the bottom line and treating regions like flyover territory.
    Then follows the bargaining stage which can be summed up as: “how much of the additional cost are you ready to shoulder if we alter the route and build you a station?”
    The Californian situation is exactly the reverse, with communities ready to go to any lengths to keep HSR away. It’s like a doctor tryng to force patients to take medicine they think will do them more harm than good.

    VBobier Reply:

    Exactly.

    joe Reply:

    This is an IQ test. Not everyone scores over 100.

    Totally wiling to let HSR bypass towns and Kings County in particular – willing to let the HSR run nonstop from San Jose to SFO and bypass PAMPA. We get it, and we’ll minimize the impact of HSR on you all.

  8. James McDonald
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 05:25
    #8

    Do they even know the exact spot where the ceremonial golden shovel is going to dig first? Is this project going to start in Bordon, Fresno, Hanford or Corcoran? Also, is September 2012 the starting date for construction or has it definately been moved to December 2012.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Reports are that first contracts will be for work within the city of Fresno. So likely Fresno will be the site of any groundbreaking ceremonies.

  9. Max Wyss
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 06:43
    #9

    A few questions from the not-so-familiar with the situation:

    • Legal: Does the county have the power to block the project? Is there a current law which can overturn such blockage? In other words, what is this reject “worth”; how does it have to be put in context?

    • Technical/economical: If the high speed route bypasses the county, what would the effects be on the route? What would the effects be on the project?

    Peter Reply:

    I can’t comment on your second question, but as to the first:

    No, they can’t block the project by “rejecting” the routes. They can, however, sue to challenge the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Report. Note, you can’t STOP a project per se with a CEQA lawsuit, you can only delay it. If you “win”, you get the money you spent on the lawsuit back, and the responsible agency simply addresses whatever deficiencies may exist in the EIR and recertifies it. And then you can sue again. While a delay may end up killing some projects, I find that highly unlikely in this situation.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Thanks, Peter. So, in other words, the only ones getting something out of such a lawsuit would be the lawyers. Not the city, because it only gets back what it spent, and it actually might lose additional revenue which might come in because of the project.

    The next question would be, if the city loses the lawsuit, could it be made responsible for the damages caused by the delays because of the lawsuit?

    Peter Reply:

    Well, to be more precise, the only thing that can come out of the lawsuit is a better EIR. If there are deficiencies in it, they need to be addressed. Compliance with CEQA is not just a nicety, it’s an integral part of environmental protection in California.

    The only lawyers who will “get something out of such a lawsuit” will be on the plaintiff’s side (they’ll likely hire Gary Patton or some other anti-HSR hitman). The Authority will likely be represented by the AG’s office, so they get paid their salary no matter what.

    And no, the city will not be responsible for delay costs.

    Alan Reply:

    Not *directly*, of course. But the Governor and Legislature could certainly find ways to divert funding for other projects away from any city or county that fights the project…

    Andrew Reply:

    Yes, that is exactly what they should start talking out loud about, now.

    Andrew Reply:

    They can start by reconsidering state support of Kings Co’s irrigation water

  10. Peter Baldo
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 17:45
    #10

    How much extra does the highway 99 alignment cost? Obviously, Tulare County sees a benefit in having a HSR station. Kings County sees a large cost. The difference between Tulare’s perceived benefit, and King’s feared cost must be a few $ Billion. This few $ Billion is what it’s worth to reroute HSR to highway 99. Is this few $ Billion greater than the cost of rerouting HSR to parallel highway 99?

    Now that no route through Kings County is going to be “shovel ready” in our lifetimes, it might be good to revisit the decision to go that way in the first place.

    Joey Reply:

    It used to be that the BNSF alignment was a lot easier because BNSF was willing to share their ROW but UP was not. But recently I think the FRA defined some ridiculous separation requirements between freight and HSR tracks, which means there wouldn’t be much difference.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I am getting so tired of absurd FRA regulations.

    Peter Reply:

    I think you’re overestimating how much effect this “rejection” will have on the overall process. It simply means that there will most definitely be a CEQA lawsuit, which may delay things by a year or so, if at all.

  11. Nadia
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 17:47
    #11

    O/T: Richard Katz (former HSRA board member) discussing HSR now:

    http://www.planningreport.com/2011/10/11/richard-katz-high-speed-rail-s-moment-truth-legislators-should-step-back

    Audience Question: Richard, update us on the status of high speed rail, which I know has been an interest of yours: I keep reading that it’s dead in California, and if not it ought to be dead in California. What do you think?

    Richard Katz: I think anytime a project goes from $40 billion to $60 billion just based on a report, somebody ought to take a serious look at where it’s going and what’s going on. It’s an example of a couple of competing interests and something to watch that we all should be careful of in the future. Deadlines are there for a good reason: we want to get money on the street; we want it to be spent as quickly as possible; we want it to be working for people today. We saw this on the 405 in ‘Carmageddon’. The opposition to projects now has a new tool. They don’t have to take you to the court and win: they just have to delay you past the deadline for TIGER grants or any of the federal money. And the reason we wound up not fighting those couple of nutjobs on Mulholland who were giving us grief on the 405 was the $190 million to build that Howard Berman got out of DC. If it wasn’t shovels-in-the-ground by a certain date, we were going to lose all that money. So we couldn’t afford to take the time to fight and win a silly lawsuit. Thus, there’s a new tool now that obstructionists have in just delaying. (Not that they needed more tools). I think we’re going to get a lot of it done, but as David Gratz was saying earlier, it’s going to be in bits and pieces.

    The second part of your question: “should it be dead?” You know, it’s going to die on its own, the rate that it’s going. The problem is Brown realized this late because he took the view at the beginning that this was Arnold’s train: he fought for it; he wanted it. Someday someone will be able to explain to me why the President of the United States thinks this is his “Go to the Moon” project à la Kennedy because it’s nothing like that. But he’s holding onto it like it is, the way it is.

    The train right now has got to step up and answer the critics. This whole thing about the ridership numbers, this whole thing about the business plan: you’ve got to fix it yourself first. If any of you guys here in any of your companies are willing to invest $20 billion dollars in the train based on what you know today, I’d much rather talk to you about the $9 billion I need for the MTA because it’s a better bet. So the fact that they keep dodging that because of what the ERR is based on is a problem. You’ve got to straighten up your own house. It’s not like the private sector is not going to run their own numbers, and that could be really embarrassing. The escalation of costs is frightening, and I still question some of the ridership numbers. That doesn’t make this a bad idea, but you’ve just got to be straight up about it. They want to build a station in Sun Valley off the 5. (For the life of me I cannot figure out why). Somebody saw it as a redevelopment spur, if you will. And they say, “we need a parking garage for 12,000 cars,” which I think is the size of one of the Disney parking lots. I thought about Sun Valley, which I used to represent: if you had every car that drives into that structure for a year, or maybe two, your total may not be 12,000. That comes from the ridership numbers.

    It’s been frustrating to spend two years on the authority, to have those hearings all over the state about where to build the first segment, and to have the feds come in and say, “thanks, appreciate it.” And they did it because there’s enthusiastic support for it in the Valley, unlike the peninsula or the South Bay cities and parts of Southern California. It’s the only truly high-speed part that they’re building. And it’ll be easier to clear environmental and get something in the ground by next September.

    What I think Jerry Brown realized was that although Arnold had promoted high-speed rail, saying, “those are Arnold’s appointments” is not convincing. If they’re not in the ground turning dirt by September, Jerry has to write a three-and-a-half billion-dollar check and give it back to the feds. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to do that. So they’re in this dilemma: how do you fix it? There’s no time-out that you can take to fix it, which is what they need. They need a time-out that allows them to reorganize. They need to sit down with the legislature and say, “here’s where we’re going.” And the legislature has to get off their backs and give them breathing room. And I think they also have to send a message that any of these bills that Alan Lowenthal and others are running that suggest that high-speed rail ought to be part of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, or Caltrans, or something like that, is just nuts and will kill private investment. Who’s going to put 20 billion of private money in high-speed rail if it’s a subsidiary of Caltrans?

    They have got a lot of problems. Jerry has, however, made some good appointments. I think Matt Toledo, the publisher of the L.A. Business Journal who took my slot, is good. I was disappointed that Jerry put a Northern California person on when Curt Pringle resigned because that cost us one more southern vote on that, and that does play a role. Tom Umberg’s trying to do a good job as chair; he’s as straight as they come. And it’s a thankless job at this point.

    Eric M Reply:

    Everyone cries foul until they hear an opinion or stance they like

  12. D. P. Lubic
    Oct 13th, 2011 at 20:48
    #12

    In other news, a new bridge is being built for Caltrain in San Francisco:

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/prdailynews/news.asp?id=28420

    Another bridge is being cleaned up and repainted in Ventura:

    http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/oct/11/ventura-approves-deal-to-clean-up-railroad-over/

    Trains are dangerous:

    http://photos.nola.com/photogallery/2011/10/car_hit_by_train_in_city_park_2.html

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Continuing in other news, and continuing in the tradition of combining entertainment and education by creator Walt Disney, we have a proposal for a high-speed rail demonstration line at the Animal Kingdom portion of Walt Disney World in Florida, dated April 1, 2011:

    http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/04/01/disneys-nextgen-project-to-include-conversion-of-wildlife-express-train-to-high-speed-rail/

    :-)

    The “Conservatives” would hate this–young kids, kindergarten age, being indoctrinated to ride HSR at the Spoorweg Musuem in the Netherlands:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGRq4Qjv3uA&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=rY1mQkE6CWk

    :-)

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