Governor Jerry Brown: Fund HSR Through Cap-and-Trade Fees

Jan 29th, 2012 | Posted by

Well this is some of the clever, innovative thinking that we expect from Governor Jerry Brown: on ABC7 in Los Angeles this morning, Gov. Brown proposed funding high speed rail through cap-and-trade fees. See the video below (HSR section begins at 3:00):

“Phase 1, I’m trying to redesign it in a way that in and of itself will be justified by the state investment,” Brown said. “We do have other sources of money: For example, cap-and-trade, which is this measure where you make people who produce greenhouse gasses pay certain fees – that will be a source of funding going forward for the high speed rail.”

Cap-and-trade is the name given to the system established by AB 32, passed in 2006 and supported by voters in 2010, to address carbon emissions and global warming. AB 32’s cap-and-trade fees go into effect later this year and that makes money available to help reduce carbon emissions. We know high speed rail will reduce carbon emissions – after all, transportation accounts for 39% of California’s carbon emissions, the largest of any kind of source. So on that basis alone it makes sense to use some cap-and-trade funds to help build high speed rail.

It could also help get tracks from the Central Valley to the coastal metropolis – the essential step to getting to an Initial Operating Segment and bringing private capital on board to help finish the entire route from SF to LA. Brown hinted at this possibility in the ABC7 interview, talking about using money to bring Metrolink up to Palmdale to help connect to a segment between Bakersfield and Palmdale. This may be what Dan Richard had in mind when he said last week that the urban areas would be included in the upcoming business plan revision.

This is the kind of thinking I’d like to see more of from the state legislature. Senators like Mark DeSaulnier, Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal ought to be figuring out how to make options like this work, rather than joining right-wingers to try and kill the high speed rail project. California should be a state where problems are solved, rather than used as excuses for giving up.

Brown also challenged claims that the project would cost $100 billion:

“It’s not going to be $100 billion,” the Democratic governor said on ABC 7’s Eyewitness Newsmakers program. “That’s way off….It’s going to be a lot cheaper than people are saying.”

I hope he’s right, even though I’m not as worked up about costs as others are.

Ultimately this interview shows how Governor Brown is key to the survival of California high speed rail, and how his refusal to embrace what he calls “defeatism” (as, sadly, Senators DeSaulnier, Simitian and Lowenthal appear to have done) about the state’s future is making a difference to the project at a time where it needs a strong champion.

  1. Paul Dyson
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 16:09
    #1

    Robert, you should be worked up about costs. The cheaper you can build it the quicker you get to phase 2. It’s good to see Governor Brown embracing RailPAC policy regarding the business plan. A spark of common sense finally. He seems to be hinting that the ARRA deadline will be missed and there is a new plan to go forward without it. Let’s hope so.

    Peter Reply:

    Personally, I think you’re reading too much into this. Dan Richard (Brown’s appointee, likely working closely with Brown’s staff) has stated as recently as a couple of days ago that construction will start in the CV. It’s a lot more likely that Brown wants the next construction phase to either connect to Palmdale or start in the Bay Area or Basin.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Although I can’t corroborate it, an earlier poster mentioned that the San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Commission voted on Friday to have Bakersfield to Palmdale be the focus of additional HSR funding. That closes the loop: BART wants Merced to Palmdale after which then we will slowly see it extended north and south.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    How is that any sort of change or surprise?

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    I think the change or surprise is that they’ve found a non-prop-1A funding, not that they’re going to change anything.

    Peter Reply:

    Now that my Caribbean internet has finally let me watch the video, I can confirm that Brown is not “embracing RailPAC policy.”

    From the interview – Brown: “We want the Metro Rail to come up to Palmdale and then we can bring the high speed rail down from Bakersfield” and “We can connect this thing up”

    He specifically states that the federal funds would go back to the Feds if they aren’t used, and that he doesn’t want that money to go back. For that and a number of other reasons he mentions, he wants construction to start on the selected ICS.

    VBobier Reply:

    On the bring Metro rail up to Palmdale, Maybe Brown wants Metro to lay some HSR compatible tracks, I mean sure if Metro has a line It may be too curvy for HSR to operate on nearer to 220Mph. that’s My take on this at any rate.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    If we want to build something, we can and should be able to find the money to build it. We’ve spent the last 30 years freaking out about costs and it’s produced only decay, decline, and depression.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Robert, I would say it’s actually been worse than the benign neglect you seem to suggest. Rather, we wasted all manner of resources on wars, ran up all kinds of debts to pay for them and for tax breaks that wound up costing money rather than invigorating the economy, and in the meantime let ourselves become even more vulnerable to oil and oil interests than we were before.

    This was and is in stark contrast to the experience of WW II, in which sacrifice was (mostly) shared to defeat two horrible enemies–and part of that sacrifice included making ourselves capable of standing on our own, with gasoline rationing (to preserve rubber) and a return to trains. That helped win the war as much, if not more, than any combat force of any size, and bought us time to expand the oil supply, build pipelines, and construct synthetic rubber plants, along with all the other things we did then.

    It stands in remarkable contrast that, so far, no one called forth to the public to help fight our current wars as was done then. It’s also notable that we have not really had a true victory since then as well.

    Another person once commented that wars are not fought with armies, but with nations. In WW II, we fought with the nation; since then, we have tried to get by only with the military.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We spent the past 30 years freaking out about how it might raise taxes on rich people. Cost hasn’t been a concern unless the money might trickle down to poor people.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The US spent the previous 60 years, from the 1910s to the 1970s, building roads no matter how high the cost was or how many urban neighborhoods had to be cleared. That’s the source of the decay: the government actively destroyed the cities, starting at the local level in New York and then expanding to the federal level nationwide.

  2. VBobier
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 16:41
    #2

    CA State Senators like Mark DeSaulnier, Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal ought to just join the Republican Party, but then they like consorting with knuckle draggers…

  3. Tom McNamara
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 16:42
    #3

    Robert…let’s not suggest funding HSR through cap ‘n trade. We don’t need the system to fail. Cap ‘n trade is the fantasy of Goldman Sachs and other that just want one more way to create arbitrage and speculation.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t have carbon emission limits: it just means that if an entity exceeds its target that it pays a fee to defray the cost. But it can’t trade them or do anything else.

    joe Reply:

    Tom

    Goldman Sachs and Cap and Trade are not equivalent. Unregulated markets are a problem , not cap and trade. Goldman Sachs didn’t invent the concept – it’s been around for long time.

    Cap and Trade lets a “polluter” who can clean up more cost effectively, choose to clean up beyond the cap and sell that pollution credit to another party. Your scenario with a soft cap and fees leaves no incentive to exceed that cap and reduce pollution. Makes no sense.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Cap and trade is currently used in Europe, and Goldman Sachs has nothing to do with it. It’s not a bad idea.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, It’s not a bad idea, It’s just a New idea & some people hate New ideas.

    Jo Reply:

    Instead of Cap & Trade fees, how about a carbon tax (as advocated by the The Economist magazine).

    VBobier Reply:

    And Who would a Carbon Tax hit? I’d rather see cap and trade.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Who would carbon tax hit? Everybody, and in direct proportion to the damage that they are causing to the welfare of their fellow human and non-human beings. Perfect. Problem solved.

    Saying one would “rather see cap and trade” (or “more research into the uncertainties”, or whatever) is just a way of saying “somebody else ought to pay.”

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’d much prefer a carbon tax. But cap-and-trade is already happening in California. If that generates money for HSR, fine by me.

    VBobier Reply:

    Ditto.

  4. jim
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 17:03
    #4

    If there’s non-Prop 1A money that Brown can bring to the table, then Sacramento should be part of the solution. An IOS between Sacramento and Bakersfield would cost a couple of billion dollars less than Merced-Palmdale. More importantly, it would reliably cost less. Mountain crossings are recipes for cost overruns. And an IOS between Sacramento and Bakersfield could be operated without subsidy with about 3 million riders/yr (about what Acela attracts while charging three times the projected fare structure). Sacramento-Fresno would cost a lot less — about $10B (of which near $6B is in hand) — and would operate without subsidy with 2.5 million riders.

    Sacramento is, in itself, large enough to create such ridership. It has internal transit to support that ridership. Plus the journey time along the Cap Corridor between Sacramento and Oakland/Emeryville is about the same as the journey time on the Antelope Valley Line between Palmdale and LAUS and the Cap Corridor runs in both directions. There are intermediate stations along the Cap Corridor what would generate HSR trips, too (think Berkeley-Merced).

    In retrospect, the Prop 1A restrictions hamper building HSR in California. They were written in under the assumption that the whole thing would be built at once. Under that assumption, they were harmless. But now that that assumption has been shown to be inoperative, they’re damaging.

    Jo Reply:

    Makes sense to me.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    As an added bonus, Sacramento-Bakersfield essentially ensures Altamont instead of Pacheco.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Fully agreed that the Prop 1A restrictions are a big obstacle to getting HSR done. They were demanded by Roy Ashburn in particular as his price of passing AB 3034. In my view those changes should not have been accepted. Prop 1 was already on the ballot.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bakersfield-LA, however, is the “killer app”. I think connecting to Sacramento simply isn’t going to bring in the ridership, without connections to LA — though I realize you disagree.

    Worse, once the rail system connects to Sacramento, the state legislators may say, “What, me worry? I have my rail system, sucks to be you!” and stop all funding for remaining segments. This is pretty much what has happened in DC; rail corridors which connect to *DC* get well funded even when everyone else is in trouble….

    Nathanael Reply:

    If heading to Sacramento helps, rather than hurts, the problem of heading to LA…. then I’m all for it, of course.

    VBobier Reply:

    Los Angeles County has the sheer Population, Sacramento has nothing comparable, Nor has the Peninsula, the CV gets close though.

    Jonathan Reply:

    @jim:

    Sac-Bakersfield is not elibible for Prop 1A funds, to the exact extent of where it diverges from implementing SF-LA service as the first priority.

    and none of it matters, until we get the mountain crossings where there’s not even the option of FRA-dinosaur rail, because until that’s done there’s no end-to-end connectivity, even WITH transfers.
    Cue SoCal governance MOU of a couple of weeks back.

  5. jimsf
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 18:23
    #5

    Paulus Magnus Reply:
    January 29th, 2012 at 6:05 pmAs an added bonus, Sacramento-Bakersfield essentially ensures Altamont instead of Pacheco

    No it doesn’t. It might push the ACE upgrades along. But it wouldn’t have any bearing on pacheco.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    By already building much of the track, Altamont is then clearly several billion dollars cheaper than Pacheco.

    Clem Reply:

    Not to mention much, much quicker from SF to Sac. So quick it would instantly make the capitol corridor obsolete, other than a once-an-hour diesel doodlebug.

    synonymouse Reply:

    As far as I can determine, altho Altamont is vastly superior in every respect, as demonstrated by caving to the Tejon Cartel on the Quantm alternative, the CHSRA has dug in and shut down. Abandon any hope of any rationalization. They will no doubt hire a stooge like Heminger to replace Van Ark.

    Flinty Jerry is just moonbeaming on auto-pilot. The patronage machine is counting on a strong voter veering to the left out of frustration with declining income and a shrinking middle class. So I guess we are going to see a steady run-up in government spending. Stilt-A-Rail is a juggernaut that will just keep on careening, one of those government programs “too big to fail”. Until it does.

    In France the process may roll out quite soon as Hollande promises big tax increases and big social spending. The Germans want a supra-governance to ride herd on EC member budgets but that is not going to happen. I don’t have a better prediction than volatility and unpredictability.

    Tony d. Reply:

    As long as there’s a station in SJ/SV, I’m down with Altamont/ACE.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Tony d
    Since the new 49ers Santa Clara stadium will be a traffic (green house gas) generator, perhaps they should pay for the NEW Great America Station used by ACE & Amtrak.

    wu ming Reply:

    except for the people on the I-80 corridor.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    You know, you’re going to have to face the fact that there are going to have to be some places (at least initially) that aren’t going to get HSR access.

    Peter Reply:

    I’m pretty sure wu ming isn’t complaining about not having an HSR station in Davis. He’s talking about having continuing rail service in general, given the number of people advocating replacing Capitol Corridor with HSR over Altamont to Sacramento.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    The Bay Area and the Sacramento Area are practically parts of the same region – the gap between the two is much smaller than the size of either. Sacramento and Stockton can be considered the far reaches of San Francisco Bay. This region will served by multiple rail routes. Aside from high speed train riders between Silicon Valley and Sacramento, most travelers in the region will be better served by buses and regional trains.

    I hope the high speed rail people will concentrate on serving the Northern California – Central Valley – Southern California market. That’s a big job by itself. No one train route or transportation mode is going to dominate the Bay Area – Sacramento region, and the high speed routes to the Central Valley start with a distance disadvantage. Oakland – Sacramento is 90 miles; the Altamont route is roughly twice that, and the Pacheco route three times.. The high speed trains might travel twice as fast, but they will need to travel twice as far, and will probably charge for the extra mileage on the expensive infrastructure.

    VBobier Reply:

    I suppose You can verify that one is quicker than the other? What proof do you offer to support that claim?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Do you just type random words?

    Here are some other random words for you:

    “California”
    “High Speed Rail Authority”
    “Bay Area to Central Valley”
    “Program EIR/EIS”
    “Volume 1″
    “Chapter 7″
    “Network & Alignment Alternatives Comparison”
    “travel time”

    I wonder what they could possibly mean? It’s some sort of enigma wrapped inside a conundrum sequestered inside a mystery in the bowels paradox disguised as a quandary cloaked by steganography of some sort. Good luck decoding their secret message. On the other hand, well, they do all seem a bit tiresomely brain-numbingly cryptic, don’t they? Best not to think too hard about them. Better to just splat out “Citation needed!” and chuff yourself up about how clever you are to be able to do so.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Nope. Altamont remains approximately as expensive than Pacheco because of the required Transbay Tunnel. Extra track in the CV makes little difference to the costs; Pacheco, it’s mountain crossings, Altamont, it’s cheaper mountain crossing plus very large tunnel.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    Transbay Tunnel isn’t required for Altamont, unless you actually meant Dumbarton crossing tunnel, which is definitely required.

    Peter Reply:

    Altamont could be achieved with a new Dumbarton rail bridge, but would likely require a tunnel through Fremont.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Line/tunnel to RWC/SF and line to Diridon/SJ, I’m down!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Extra track in the CV makes little difference to the costs

    So this IOS everybody worries about? It’s free! Hooray! cahsrblog.com arithmetic to the rescue!

    Jonathan Reply:

    Richard,
    time to learn about “limits” and “derivatives”. Small != zero; not necessarily even negligible.
    In point of fact, extra track on the flat in the Central Valley is cheap compared to…. well, let’s call it Stilt-A-Rail, shall we/ :-)

    Joey Reply:

    Nope, even with the tunnel the prices aren’t that different (see: Bay Area to Central Valley Program EIR)

  6. Beta Magellan
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 18:33
    #6

    Robert, the main CO2 advantage HSR has over air is lower emissions below a certain threshold of distance and speed, and that’s obviously very dependent on electricity source. The most detailed docs I’ve read about greenhouse gas emissions and HSR come from the UK (which has a dirtier energy mix—~60% fossil vs. ~60% nuclear+hydro+other renewables for CA—as well as a large number of passengers already riding slower, lower-emissions trains), so I can’t say anything specific here. However, since American greenhouse gas emissions are (a href=”http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html#transportation”>overwhelmingly from burning gasoline, not jet fuel, this means that CAHSR will be attacking a fairly narrow niche. With the caveat that I wasn’t able to find any hard, non-paywalled numbers in three minutes of Googling, I recall reading that intercity auto transportation’s contribution to transportation carbon dioxide emissions is fairly small, and intercity auto transportation tends to be more efficient due to higher average vehicle occupancy. So HSR is also going to be competing against automobiles that are, on average, being used more efficiently than they typically are on a morning commute.

    So, while HSR might provide some help with CO2 emissions, it’s ultimately going to be pretty marginal. If you’re going to use cap-and-trade revenues to further reduce CO2 emissions, then we should be investing in measures that eliminate the most carbon dioxide emissions per dollar.

    HSTSheldon Reply:

    Beta. Modern HSR has a CO2 advantage over air at all speeds and distances. HSR trains are at least two times more fuel efficient than the even most efficient aircraft. Even assuming 100% coal power, the fact that it is twice as efficient as a worst case means that the CO2 emissions are slightly lower. Use renewable power, natural gas, nuclear etc. and the greenhouse gas benefit is amplified. Unless you are referring to the report which disingeniously tried to conflate construction emissions with operating emissions.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    No, it was entirely based on the the increases in energy consumption that happen once you start running trains past 200 km/h. Even if I’m wrong about this (the citation I have for this is a dead-linked pdf), we shouldn’t be going for “slightly lower” carbon dioxide emissions. We should be heading for the greatest reduction per dollar, and I find it hard to believe that HSR is the best project California has for this.

    Howard Reply:

    Brown wants to use the Cap & Trade funds to build HSR in urban areas were the track improvements will also be used by commuter trains, like Metrolink from Palmdale through LA to Anaheim, and Caltrain from Gilroy through San Jose to San Francisco. Prop 1A and matching Federal money will be used for the interurban IOS from Merced through Bakersfield to Palmdale. The remaining segment between Gilroy and Merced could be paid for by private investors.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Can you cite this information, or is this just you opinion?

    Nathanael Reply:

    The HSR plan for LA North is already well-known, comprising a four-track grade-separated layout for HSR + Metrolink from LA Union Station through Sylmar. Electrification of Metrolink is absent from the plans for now, however.

    HSTSheldon Reply:

    My sources generally quote 3 times as efficient well to wheel at 300 km/hr with slower trains even exceeding this. Rail, especially non FRA dinosaur rail, is really an incredibly efficient mode. Slightly lower carbon emissions would result using a worst case scenario of 100% coal which is definitely not the case in California with it’s nat gas CC plants, wind, solar thermal, geothermal and rooftop solar. I am betting the improvement would be about a factor of 5. Let’s say 2.5 for the efficiency part and another 2 or so owing to the lower carbon intensity of California’s grid compared to the national average.

    joe Reply:

    Spending for greatest reduction in CO2 per public dollar is a horrible objective function for public investment.

    We are not slaves to a simple, single metric and should not ignore economic and public benefit .

    Furthermore cap and trade is supposed to allow the most efficient savings to occur and allow polluters to by that credit.

    You want to make freight more efficient, toll trucks and mandate X fraction of rail freight has to be electric. We do it for cars, and have low particulate pollution buses, now add freight trains to the reguirement. These are private utilities and should be financed privately, not with public tax money.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    CO2 emissions are a particularly bad argument for HSR

    joe Reply:

    But emissions are not a bad argument for HSR in addition to the other environmental and econoic benefits of HSR.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    There aren’t any. Flat out, the environmental arguments are bullshit and the economic benefits are not terribly large.

    Brian Reply:

    Citations needed …

    joe Reply:

    A STUDY OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND ISSUES CONCERNING HIGH SPEED RAIL (HSR)
    Yong Sang Lee
    Korea Railroad Research Institute and Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford
    Working paper N° 1020
    January 2007
    Transport Studies Unit
    Oxford University Centre for the Environment
    http://www.tsu.ox.ac.uk/

    joe Reply:

    Here’s some highlights from a study done at Oxford.

    3) Impact on external effects

    Table 20 shows that COkm²emissions per passenger kilometer by rail are significantly lower than road or short-haul air travel. Moreover the electronic train (HSR) is even lower than the average diesel train.
    Average COkm²emissions per passenger kilometer

    …..

    In the case of average external costs of transport, within the passenger transport sector, passenger cars reach 76 Euros. Railway costs amount to 22.9 Euros, which is 3.4 times lower than costs for the road sector. In the freight sector, the cost of trucks amount to 87.8 Euros per 1000 ton km, which is 4 times higher than the cost for railways.

    ….

    We calculate that the increase of rail passenger have given rise to decrease the external cost of transport between 1995 and 2003 in case of France and Germany. (See 22) France have diminished the 0.49 billion Euro and Germany lessened 0.56 billion Euro, respectively.

    Of course CO2 isn’t all, there is CO and particulate and NOx pollutants.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Seriously dude, you’re off by orders of magnitude from “something worth giving a damn about.”

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    But … but … but … it’s a train! Trains are good! Orders of magnitude are yucky! Choo-oooooooooo!

    joe Reply:

    From a man who plans train routes and station locations. Whoo Hoo!!!

    Matthew B Reply:

    Transportation is one of the largest sources of emissions in California, and is disproportionately higher than pretty much anywhere in the world. A connected transportation system enables high quality of life without a car, reducing emissions both from the construction and operation of private automobiles. You’re missing a multiplication factor on already 3.4 times for passengers and 4 times for freight. You can dismiss that, but it sounds like real savings to me.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Matthew, what you’re missing is that none of us thinks cars are green. If you go to my blog and look for posts tagged cars, you’ll see pointed rebuttals to the idea that electric cars are green and thus no reduction in car travel is necessary. All we are saying is that the amount of car travel reduction coming from HSR is small relative to the investment level. HSR has other merits.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The main problem with HSR is the embedded CO2 in the concrete production. Carbon-negative concrete exists now, but I suspect people won’t trust it for bridges and tunnels for some time. (sigh)

    The main problem with planting forests, your purported alternative, is that they won’t survive global warming. :-P We don’t understand the climate shifts yet.

    There are better choice than HSR for CO2 reduction (uh, build solar panels and shut down coal plants), but they may be less politically feasible. :-/

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    Funding HSR (at least at the federal level) has gotten pretty politically infeasible, too.

    We’re actually pretty good at stopping new coal construction, mainly because no one wants a giant, externality-spewing coal plant in their backyard—that sort of ground-level fighting has led to what Lester Brown’s called almost a “de facto moratorium” on new coal construction, though of course there’s the issue of closing old plants and what you replace it with. Although burning gas is an improvement, fracked gas’s lifecycle emissions are terrible as well. I think the best we can hope for is increased viability of solar and a leveling-off of demand for energy.

    Matthew B Reply:

    If we are comparing cars vs. trains that doesn’t really matter as there is massive embedded CO2 in a freeway as well. A rail line has the capacity of several freeway lanes, so you probably have less embedded carbon per person carried.

    joe Reply:

    Sadly, US forests are not a carbon sink, they are a long term carbon pool. Trees die and decompose, western forests soils are pretty carbon poor. They just don’t accumulate much C or we’d see it there when we dig holes. Trees offer many benefits besides CO2 sequestration. Focusing on CO2 alone misses the mark.

    If we compare CO2 for HSR construction then add road construction & road maintenance, count car manufacturing and tires, motor oil and runoff pollution. How many KG of carbon emissions does it take to mine & refine ores and then assemble 1 car per adult ? Ave age of a US car historically is 7-8 years.

    If the argument is reduce the greatest CO2 emission source then we need to stop soil decomposition in the upper latitudes. Warming and drying are releasing centuries of accumulated carbon too quickly for the biosphere to absorb (in addition to existing emissions) in long term sinks and pools.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Thank you. A lot of people wrongly think that planting trees everywhere is a solution to carbon emissions, where in reality old growth forests are carbon neutral, and the effect of tree cover on warming is only significant in low latitudes. Boreal forests are actually net heat sources because of their low albedo, and middle-latitude forests are about neutral or have a limited effect. But in tropical areas, forests are several degrees cooler than anything else.

    So, naturally, Brazil is paving over large chunks of rainforest for urban development between Belem and Brasilia, and Indonesia is dumping settlers all over its outlying islands who then clear the forests and replace them with farms. Progress!

    joe Reply:

    “Boreal forests are actually net heat sources because of their low albedo, and middle-latitude forests are about neutral or have a limited effect. But in tropical areas, forests are several degrees cooler than anything else.”

    I understand the albedo arguments and have been there myself a few times looking around but – and it’s not the final word – am skeptical the net impact of the boreal ecosystem. I see it as stabilizing the extremes. Albedo in the winter and transpiration in the summer.

    Black spruce absorbs sunlight and emits sensible heat but it also shades the soil and keeps it from warming and protects the carbon rich peat soils. Dense spruce stands can create a localized permafrost.

    So the net effect isn’t clear cut as simply albedo and color. But I agree that tree planting while important isn’t a long term sink – unless we harvest and bury the wood.

    I’ve been to Brazil and saw the slash and burn and regrowth in the amazon. The concern there is the loss of nutrients during a burn and soil degradation from the sun. It’s ruined for good.

    BTW Buses, massive buses and crazy fast – that’s how they get around where I was, not regional rail or cars but regional buses speeding on crappy roads.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I understand the albedo arguments and have been there myself a few times looking around but – and it’s not the final word – am skeptical the net impact of the boreal ecosystem

    That’s very interested to know. I’ll inform the IPCC at once.

    joe Reply:

    Sigh.

    A good, reasoned argument for Albedo warming is here and yet there is this qualification:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111019171740.htm

    “On a global scale, warming caused by increased carbon dioxide still trumps everything else,” said Beverly Law, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. “On a smaller or local scale, however, changes in albedo can be fairly important, especially in areas with significant amounts of snow, such as high latitudes or higher elevations.”

    I agree with this conclusion but it’s a localized.

    So the question is would reducing the Boreal forest cool temperatures. Again, I’m skeptical the answer is yes. I think not given the NET impact.

    Here is one explanation.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/regional/index.php?idp=49

    In its fourth assessment, the IPCC concluded that for increases in global average temperature exceeding 1.5–2.5°C, forests globally face the risk of major transformations. Boreal forest is likely to be especially affected, because of its sensitivity to warming and the high rates of projected warming in high northern latitudes. Based on a review of recent scientific knowledge
    on boreal forest and climate change, the AirClim report confirms this and outlines in some detail which transformations can be expected under different climate scenarios. While doing so, the report debunks a number of myths or misconceptions about the interaction between climate change and boreal forests. The idea that old-growth forests are carbon neutral is one such misconception, and the notion of forest management as a cure for the climate threat is another. There are more.

    The boreal forests, one of the largest carbon stocks on earth, will not be able to respond to global warming by migrating northwards. Massive forest dieback, causing runaway warming, is a more likely scenario.

    ….

    Vegetation modelling studies generally project that the boreal forest will respond to
    warming by migrating northwards along with the shift of climate zones. What is generally
    overlooked is that climate models project the potential distribution of species and plant communities under different climatic conditions, not current conditions.
    In reality, a wholesale
    redistribution of forest zones further north is not likely to happen, at least as far as primary,
    unmanaged forests are concerned. One obvious reason for this is that even with warming of just 2°C, climate zones will shift northwards at a rate of five kilometres per year, which exceeds
    the recorded migration responses of trees by a factor of ten.

    I’m skeptical and the cooling is correctly hedged as a localized phenomena.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Give Brazil 20 more years of the growth it’s seen under Lula and we’ll see if they keep riding the bus. Bear in mind that Curitiba, the great success story of pedestrian scale and urbanism and public transit, has if I remember correctly 340 cars per 1,000 people, which for a middle-income city is really high. It’s about the same as Kuala Lumpur (the Los Angeles of Asia), and way higher than Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Paris, and other places where people take public transportation for reasons other than poverty.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    A lot of people wrongly think that planting trees everywhere is a solution to carbon emissions …

    “Thinking” is charitable term.

    There are serious arguments to be made for planetary-scale biochar carbon sequestration, but they’re not the ones “a lot of people” are “thinking”.

    joe Reply:

    Electric rail is flexible.The potential for solar and alternative as well as pollution mitigation at a power plant far exceed the value in an instantaneous calculation of electric watt/CO2 in 2012.

    I know a packed prius is pretty efficient but sitting in traffic is wasteful and should factor in the calculations congestion -as well as external costs which are higher for air and auto.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    1. Most automobile use (and sitting in automobiles) is for urban transport, not intercity transport. If you want to cut into transportation CO2 emissions, start there.

    2. Much of the projected growth in highway congestion’s coming from freight, not personal automobiles.

    I’m saying the same thing (with less clarity) as Paulus’s link—there might be some benefit, but in the grand scheme of things it’s small and, per-dollar, there are much, much better ways to reduce CO2 consumption.

    joe Reply:

    We can start with relevancy, the state lacks a inter city transportation system. We can start there with HSR which is relevant to that problem AND continue to improve urban areas because the state has multiple projects in place.

    CA also mandated more alternative fuel auto’s. Another solution that doesn’t demand cutting HSR or building out rail.

    I have no interest in paying UP to fix or expand their rail lines, beyond the hundreds of millions we already spend and forgo in taxes for US rail.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    If those alternative fuels are biofuels, fracking-sourced natural gas or hydrogen they aren’t necessarily helping either.

    I don’t have any issue with California funding an HSR system—it’s a great idea (or it would be if it weren’t a contractor-controlled process)—but it’s one than can stand without having to exaggerate its environmental benefits. And diverting cap-and-trade money to it—money that could be funding more substantial CO2-reduction initiatives—makes me angry, especially since CAHSR’s budget problems stem more from poor project planning and over-design than anything else.

    joe Reply:

    We already subsidize grain production in the US which is why farms can’t afford to feed the grain they grow at cost to cattle. Feed grain is cheaper on the subsidized market than to be grown at cost. Same subsidy holds for for biofuels, a costly and energy intensive way to produce fuel. Yes in the green revolution it takes fuel to produce food and we are maxed on on the land we can farm so we use energy and fertilizer to increase yields.

    Cap and trade money is not diverted, it is not earmarked to any specific project so that it is diverted.

    CAHSR budget problems are non-existant. They have no cost overrun, no budget. It’s all on paper and estimates. Nothing is real yet, not one bid is over estimate. It’s likely given the conservative Plan, the bids will, like road bids, come in low.

    VBobier Reply:

    Cost overruns usually show up with extremely low bidders, they’ll underbid everyone else to get the contract and then like for the Military, Oopsie It’s costing US more to do this, We need more money…

    joe Reply:

    Critics contend HSR is engineered to be expensive.

    IMHO, bids will come in lower as they are in road construction in this recession. Critics will claim it’s all fake an done th emargins.

    One critic claims HSR is double the price than it would if he ran the zoo.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Bids, should they be issued, for some civils may well come in at 15% lower than staff estimates.

    The problem is that the system costs 100% more than any comparable non-US or any justifiable Californian project.

    “Order-of-magnitude check in aisle three, please,” as they say.

    VBobier Reply:

    Of course they will, all I’m saying is the CHSRA shouldn’t accept a low ball bid without an agreement that says that the winning bidder must pay for any & all cost overruns out of their own pocket & not the out of the State of CA’s pocket.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Of course they will, all I’m saying is the CHSRA shouldn’t accept a low ball bid without an agreement that says that the winning bidder must pay for any & all cost overruns …

    Litigation should always be a higher priority than project delivery, after all.

    The correct solution is to not award contracts to organizations with long records of fraud in the first place. Like, oh, just for an example off the top of my head, just for a random example, say, the CHSRA’s lead consultant.

    If failure is actively rewarded, there is only one direction things head, and adding hundreds of millions of legal fees on top only makes things head that way faster.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ Richard: I agree We should not award contracts to those with long records of Fraud, If one can prove It. California by Its very geology can be expensive to build in & the HSR route from Bako will have to cross the Garlock Fault which shoves land westward, while land to the south goes eastward, plus there is the infamous San Andreas Fault which runs approximately North to South. Some areas are subject to liquefaction during an earthquakes, so one has to take that into account when building, you also want to avoid areas that were ancient landslides, there are probably more problems this state suffers from, but then Geology was just a hobby for Me in My teens when I was a Scout. Of course supporting the Governors idea on how to make the CHSRA accountable will help I’d think, being independent and isolated is just so wrong, fixing what Arnold left us is what Governor Jerry Brown wants.

    Mike Reply:

    Of course they will, all I’m saying is the CHSRA shouldn’t accept a low ball bid without an agreement that says that the winning bidder must pay for any & all cost overruns out of their own pocket & not the out of the State of CA’s pocket.

    This, of course, is the intent behind the Design-Build method, which the Authority says that it will use. But even with Design Build, the Authority still needs to ensure that it is scrupulous in doing the things for which it is responsible (e.g., perhaps, geotechnical analysis; utility mapping), otherwise it can still end up being responsible for scope and cost increases.

    Jonathan Reply:

    @VBobier:

    re your reply to Richard: you should understand that in Richard’s lexicon, “fraud” means “billing outrageous charges on a contract which allows outrageous charges”. As he notes, the key to succeeding in that realm is setting the scope of the “solution”, and thus the contract.

    While this is an execrable public outcome, it doesn’t legally constitute fraud.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I know a packed prius is pretty efficient but sitting in traffic is wasteful and should factor in the calculations congestion -as well as external costs which are higher for air and auto.

    I have never seen a packed prius. Not once. Plenty of single drivers in them though.

    Just saying…

  7. jimsf
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 19:21
    #7

    Paulus Magnus Reply:
    January 29th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    By already building much of the track, Altamont is then clearly several billion dollars cheaper than Pacheco.

    [Reply]

    Clem Reply:
    January 29th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Not to mention much, much quicker from SF to Sac. So quick it would instantly make the capitol corridor obsolete, other than a once-an-hour diesel doodlebug

    you guys are dreamin. Its not going to happen that way.

    Youwill get pacheco plus ccjpa plus altamont overlay. Thats what it is. not too mention we arent getting sac prior to sf. and sf means sj and sj means pahceco and its all been settled anyway.

    but then what fun to occasionaly rekindle the epic pacheco altamont wars.
    honestly I wish people would just relax and accept the reality of how things get done. No one is going to change anything ok. So quit trying.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    You will get ccjpa plus altamont overlay.

    Something I don’t get is why so-called HSR supporters promote an antiquated Amtrak service as a good idea. You realize how contradictory that is, right?

    jimsf Reply:

    Im not promoting amtrak service over hsr. I dont understand the lack of willingness, nationwide in this country, of americans to think beyond rigid ideology. Its maddening.

    let me explain it yet again.

    services such as cap corridor and ace aren’t obsolete. They serve a different purpose. And they are no different than other commuter and regional rail used all over the US. They are going away.

    Even if you had hsr via altamont. It still wouldn’t serve all the station areas that ace and ccjpa servce. Its beyond me how people can think so narrowly as to only consider that sac-sf tsf-la and la-sd are the only travel markets in the state.

    Please. hello.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    services such as cap corridor and ace aren’t obsolete.

    Oh, my. Let me guess, you work for Amtrak? Or perhaps a time traveler from the 1940s?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    He does work for Amtrak actually. Granted, that shouldn’t be an excuse since I’m currently waiting on a call back from Amtrak HR at the moment (beats the heck out of my current job).

    jimsf Reply:

    The fact that I work for amtrak has nothing whatsoever to do with my position. as an employee aI will be the first to tell you ( as would many of my co workers) that I am not a big fan of how amtrak does things.

    My point is that things are what they are. You have local constituencies involved. You have local funding structure involved. you have infrastructure into which millions of dollars has been poured.

    What Im telling is this. Ace will be expanded and upgrade to serve its corridor and constituency, cap corridor will be be expanded and upgraded to serve its constiuency.
    and hsr will we be built as planned per the players involved (san jose sf etc)

    nothing is going to change any of that least of all people on this blog and their armchair quarterbacking.

    joe Reply:

    Example A: One source of opposition to HSR in the CV is fear it will impact existing Amtrak service and stations.

    I bet cap corridor users would be major opponents of a HSR replacement that ran between SF/OAK and SAC via Altamont.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    I bet cap corridor users would be major opponents of a HSR replacement that ran between SF/OAK and SAC via Altamont.

    Even the most die-hard Amtrak foamer wouldn’t mind replacing the crapitol corridor with HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And miss all that street running in Oakland? Nah.

    jimsf Reply:

    except the the majority of cc users aren’t traveling from sac to sf. The rest of the riders arent going to give up service so that sac riders can get to sf 30 minutes faster.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    None of them are traveling to San Francisco ( unless getting off the train in Oakland and getting on a bus is “to San Francisco” just like getting off the train in Oakland and getting on a ferry was “going to San Francisco”)

    jimsf Reply:

    That has nothing to do with it. As usual you dont want to bother with reality. The fact is that these types are services are in use all over the Us and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Do you think that commuter and regional railroads are just going to shut down? or are they all going to become hsr lines? who would pay for that?

    The reason these railroads are what they are is because they are cheaper and easier to start up than investing in entirely new electrified lines. No local agencies have that kind of money too spend so something is better than nothing . thats just a political reality right?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    As usual you dont want to bother with reality. The fact is that these types are services are in use all over the Us and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Do you think that commuter and regional railroads are just going to shut down?

    Yeah, but you don’t need HSR to meet that need.

    That’s the reality you want to ignore.

    jimsf Reply:

    hello that was my point

    Joey Reply:

    If the intermediate markets are so important than why not just keep the current service and let people who want to get between the endpoints have service that is (a) faster (b) not slaved to Amtrak’s 19th century railroading practices and (c) whose punctuality isn’t dependent on UP

    jimsf Reply:

    thats fine with me. quite frankly I don’t care how this all turns out. But what Im telling you is that pacheco is going to happen. I see no point whatsoever for rehashing this. its tired. please find something to workthwhile and productive to argue.. this is boring.

  8. jimsf
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 19:30
    #8

    not mention. ccjpa is a regional rail system. its main purpose is not sac-sf. so regardless of where hsr goes (and it will go via pacheco) hsr is irrelevent to ccjpa with the exception of feeding people into hsr at one end or the other (sj or sac) ccjpa serves city pairs along its route that have nothing to do with sac-sf trips

    Clem Reply:

    That’s why I gave you the hourly doodlebug. And no I’m not at all worried… What makes HSR go is money, not dreams. The former is in limited supply, although you may indulge in the latter to your heart’s content.

    jimsf Reply:

    so you are suggesting an increase in ccjpa service to hourly trains ( which would be a nice improvement over the current sked)

    Joey Reply:

    Good luck getting UP to agree to that.

    jimsf Reply:

    UP and CCJPA have a good working relationship and just such improvments are being planned already

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    I see you’re getting relationship advice from Sheriff Mirkarimi.

    jimsf Reply:

    With Gene at the helm, Capitol
    Corridor’s service grew by leaps and
    bounds. “Ten years ago, our revenue
    and ridership was struggling, as was the
    relationship with our host railroad,
    Union Pacific (UPRR),” Gene said.
    When Gene was hired in 1999, the
    CCJPA Board gave him two goals:
    increase the ridership and revenue; and
    build a stronger relationship with UPRR.
    “By 2002, we had more than doubled
    ridership and train frequency,” Gene
    remembered. “The second mission took
    a little longer. However, today, the
    working relationship between the
    CCJPA and UPRR is described by
    many in the industry as ‘the nation’s best
    partnership’ between a private railroad
    and a public passenger rail service
    provider. Our on-time performance,
    now the most on-time of any Amtrak
    operated service in the country, is
    testament to that partnership

    Joey Reply:

    That says nothing about how UP would respond to increased service. And that says nothing of increase speeds, which would kill capacity pretty quickly.

    Mike Reply:

    Capitol corridor is already using all of the slots that it “bought” from UP back in the day, and UP is on record as saying that they are keeping 100% of remaining capacity for themselves.

    Joey Reply:

    Which only emphasizes my point.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yes, he is suggesting the increase in service.

    blankslate Reply:

    “ccjpa is a regional rail system. its main purpose is not sac-sf.”

    It is not even a purpose that it serves particularly well. Generally when I take trips from Sac->SF I spend about half the time getting from Sac to the Bay Area (~90% of the distance), the second half getting from the East Bay to the place I’m actually getting to in SF (~10% of the distance).

    This is what makes it all the more astounding that the current plan has phases 1, 2, and 3, after who knows how many 100s of $billions and decades, without offering a single improvement to Sac-SF train service.

  9. synonymouse
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 19:39
    #9

    If Jerry really wants “to redesign it[hsr] in a way that in and of itself will be justified by the state investment” order the CHSRA directors to put the Quantm alignment right the **** thru the Tejon Ranch right back on the front burner.

  10. Tony d.
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 19:51
    #10

    By the way, how much funding would these fees generate for HSR? Any idea?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    About one billion annually for the state, half of which is to be used in environmental stuff.

    Tony d. Reply:

    So maybe up to $500 million annually for HSR? being conservative perhaps $200-300 million? Interesting.

  11. jimsf
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 20:16
    #11

    why not repay the construction costs by just adding a “facilities charge” to the cost of each ticket sold. Everyone from the airlines to the phone and cable companies has these charges/fees/taxes whathaveyou, attached to the cost of each purchase to finance their infrastructures. right now a plane ticket has an airport trust fund fee, a homeland security fee, and a facilites fee on each ticket and if you change planes you can pay these fees multiple times I think. So just add a 10 percent fee on each ticket sold to help finance the debt and fund phase two.

    joe Reply:

    Prop1A says we CANNOT use fares to payback the bonds. Bonds are paid back by the general fund.

    That aside, I think full cost recovery for HSR and free roads for cars and trucks would put rail at a disadvantage nor do I like full cost recovery for both roads and rail. These are regressive taxes.

    I suspect that airport and car rental fees are taxes disguised as fees. Given the monopoly air has on travel between cities, the fees don’t put air at a disadvantage. In a HSR world, they’d demand equity.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Proposition 1A also says that revenues in excess of needed for O&M are to be deposited in the general fund.

    StevieB Reply:

    Do you mean this paragraph?

    Revenues of the authority, generated by operations of the high-speed train system above and beyond operating and maintenance costs and financing obligations, including, but not limited to, support of revenue bonds, as determined by the authority, shall be used for construction, expansion, improvement, replacement, and rehabilitation of the high-speed train system.

    Clem Reply:

    Order-of-magnitude check in aisle three, please

  12. Alon Levy
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 20:29
    #12

    How high do they expect the carbon fee to be? Because unless it’s deep into the three figures per ton of CO2, it’s not actually going to do much.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    “It forecast the price of carbon would rise from about $13 per metric ton in 2012 to $75 per ton in 2020.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-california-carbon-report-idUSTRE71G3GY20110217

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    Diggins slightly deeper, there’s a floor price of $10/metric ton that goes up by 5% a year, so in a worst-case scenario you’ll be seeing $15/metric ton in 2020.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That is really low. $75 per ton of carbon means $20 per ton of CO2, which is in line with the foot-dragging European countries. But Switzerland’s carbon tax is in the 30s, and Sweden’s is above 100. South Korea is intending to pass a €25/t-CO2 tax, and that’s a country whose entire economy is based on heavy industrial exports.

  13. jimsf
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 21:08
    #13

    joe Reply:January 29th, 2012 at 8:46 pm
    Prop1A says we CANNOT use fares to payback the bonds. Bonds are paid back by the general fund

    But it wouldn’t be using the actual fare, it would be a fee in addition to the fare. seems legal enough?

    (sorry for the new threads but the “reply” does not work on this computer for some reason)

  14. peninsula
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 23:09
    #14

    Huffpost says…

    Quick Poll
    Would you vote for the No Train Please Act?
    Yes — the project is doomed. 73.6%
    No — I want a quick way to get down to LA! 26.4%

    Nathanael Reply:

    Usual meaningless Internet poll — let me guess, it was right after a stupid train-bashing article, so a completely self-selected readership? Yep.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It could’ve been Freeped.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Except that’s its on Huff Post which has a liberal readership.

    joe Reply:

    It’s 100% AOL owned and operated and no longer “Liberal”.

    VBobier Reply:

    It’s true, I just Googled It, the story is Here, at least It’s not FAUX News…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    What does that have to do with readership?

    Answer: Nothing.

    VBobier Reply:

    Then We are in agreement on this.

    jimsf Reply:

    what lame way to phrase the question. Are people really that stupid.

    Its like asking “would you rather
    a: eat raw brocolli and get green stuff stuck in your teeth or
    b: eat delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookies full of magic powers under a rainbow surrounded by kittens and bunnies while winning the lotto

    Reality Check Reply:

    So here’s the text of the “No Train Please Act“:

    SECTION 1. Title

    This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “No Train Please Act.”

    SECTION 2. Elimination of the California High Speed Rail Authority

    Article I, Section 32 is added to the California Constitution, to read:

    SEC. 32. (a) The California High Speed Rail Authority is hereby deauthorized and eliminated, effective immediately upon this section’s effective date.

    (b) No high speed rail shall be paid for by the State of California except by referendum of the people specifically altering this Article I, Section 32 of the California Constitution.

  15. JJJ
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 23:12
    #15

    Everyone wants the Bakersfield-Palmdale section first.

    What I dont get is why readers of this blog still dont understand the reason that cant happen.

    The engineering is complicated and isnt ready yet. Its that simple. So you start with what is ready, and is necessary anyway.

    Its really not that hard, but people keep missing that point and I dont get why.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Hopefullly Bakersfield-Palmdale will be ready as the second segment. Hopefully so will Palmdale-LA.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, They have to be done like that, in that order, worry about pushing North when the trains are rolling North…

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    HSR also needs a nice flat long stretch to test and commission trains.

    blankslate Reply:

    No, it doesn’t. HSR has been in operation around the world for 50 years. We do not need a “test track,” and if we did we could use any of 1000s of miles of track already in existence. This is a terrible excuse for a poor routing decision.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yep the trains are gonna come off the RORO ship in the Port of Oakland or Los Angeles, they are gonna take the keys and start running revenue generating passenger service the next day…..

    blankslate Reply:

    OK you win, they need to test out the trains. So build Bako-Palmdale, you would have at least 20 miles before hitting any mountains outside Bakersfield and that would provide ample space to test your trains on a long flat stretch (btw if the trains are going to run through mountainous territory, don’t they also need to test them on mountains?) I find the “test track” argument tiring as I do not see how the Train to Nowhere is any more suitable for that purpose than any other potential starting point.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Yep the trains are gonna come off the RORO ship in the Port of Oakland or Los Angeles, they are gonna take the keys and start running revenue generating passenger service the next day…..

    What a combination of hilarity, insight, expertise, engineering savvy, and wit.

    And novelty, novelty, novelty.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes, they can verify that the little “you are going 300 KPH an hour” lamp lights on the 200 KPH track in

    Joey Reply:

    There is no reason to buy 300 km/h trains until you have 300 km/h track to run them on.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed.

    VBobier Reply:

    If their to be certified as working as intended, We certainly do need a test track, the ICS won’t be a test track, not until It’s been completed after 2013 and transformed into the IOS.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Completion of the ICS is 2017; I expect construction of other segments will likely be started before then as well as electrification and signaling on the ICS. Testing will begin before completion of any IOS.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Is the CASHR trying to reinvent the wheel with regards to the engineering challenges faced? Do other countries start with rural routes to nowhere to test their new trains?

    Peter Reply:

    No, but it takes longer to complete engineering studies through mountains than through fields.

    blankslate Reply:

    It is also far more useful.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No, but it takes longer to complete engineering studies through mountains than through fields.

    “Longer” depends on when you decide not to start.

    Joey Reply:

    The current state of the EIRs is more a function of the Authority deciding to prioritize the CV than anything else.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Is the CASHR trying to reinvent the wheel with regards to the engineering challenges faced?

    Yes.

    Do other countries start with rural routes to nowhere to test their new trains?

    No.

    Jonathan Reply:

    But only because other countries have rail _networks_ on which both non-HSR and HSR can run, together. Take those away, and yes, in fact most countries _do_ start with tracks well outside large metropolises. It’s just that the other countries don’t have FRA dinosaurs which are incompatible with HSR (or inded any modern trainsets)

    joe Reply:

    Jonathan; Wikipedia tells me the first Japanese HSR system was horribly over budget (factor of 2) and used a test track in Odawara – I assume Odawara isn’t in the middle of nowhere because Richard Mlynarik is an Oracle.

    Government approval came in December 1958, and construction of the first segment of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka started in April 1959. The cost of constructing the Shinkansen was at first estimated at nearly 200 billion yen, which was raised in the form of a government loan, railway bonds and a low-interest loan of US$80 million from the World Bank. Initial cost estimates, however, had been deliberately understated and the actual figures were nearly double at about 400 billion yen. As the budget shortfall became clear in 1963, Sogo resigned to take responsibility.[8]

    A test facility for rolling stock, now part of the line, opened in Odawara in 1962.

    Alon! Know anything about 1962 Japan?

    Joey Reply:

    We can draw a parallel because just like in 2012, high-speed rail was a well-developed and well-understood technology in 1962.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Conventional wisdom in 1962 was the the Pennsylvania Railroad and Japan National Railways weren’t going to be able to regularly have trains go 125 MPH. Conventional wisdom was that anything over 100 MPH was too difficult. It’s why all the science, technology and mechanical magazines were filled with articles about maglev trains and hover trains and monorails….

    Brian Reply:

    I would also suspect other countries with HSR have a stronger central government making it easier to build the lines in existing urban and suburban areas without having the whole construction process tied up for years making individual concessions to every single city along the line.

    The opposition on the peninsula from communities like Palo Alto is part of the reason for the Central Valley IOS. I remember a time when the so-called “bookend approach” was the original plan. I find it ironic the same people on the peninsula bitching about HSR along the Caltrain ROW they think of as their own personal “backyards” immediately started complaining about the “train to nowhere” once that was announced.

    The other factor that may doom HSR in the US is our excessive timidity in addressing property rights issues. Whatever happened to eminent domain? Maybe starting lines in the “middle of nowhere” is a sort of necessary American adaptation to the conventional methods used throughout the rest of the world. Without strong central planning and transportation agencies you don’t always have the luxury of building the lines when and where they are needed the most. That’s probably something people in Europe or Asia would find harder to understand if critiquing American HSR proposals.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    France and Japan both have very NIMBY-prone processes, much more so than the US, which could ram freeways through cities and demolish thousands of buildings with minimal oversight

    Alon Levy Reply:

    .

    Peter Reply:

    Germany has equally powerful NIMBY organizations. You should see some of the ads used to argue against new high speed lines in Germany…

    Andy M. Reply:

    “I would also suspect other countries with HSR have a stronger central government making it easier to build the lines in existing urban and suburban areas without having the whole construction process tied up for years making individual concessions to every single city along the line.”

    France side-stepped the problem and in many cases used existing rights of way in city areas and only built to speed outside. Germany did something similar. Now that they are trying to build a HSR into the middle of Stuttgart they are getting huge protests against that (admittedly that project has many flaws and the protests are justified, and should not be interpreted as being anti HSR). Spain and Japan chose a different track gauge to their conventional system and hence had to build everything from scratch including city approaches. The first line into Madrid actually used the right of way of a disused older line and so there wasn’t much scope for nimbyism there. The more recent lines into Madrid and Barcelona etc did however involve a lot of costly tunneling.

    One more argument against the bookend approach and for building in the CV?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Stuttgart held a referendum and they voted to build it. From Wikipedia: On November 27th 2011, a referendum was held to decide whether the state of Baden-Württemberg should cease funding for the project. 58.8 percent of the votes cast were against such a withdrawal (and thus in favor of the project.)

    VBobier Reply:

    The Bako-Palmdale EIR isn’t done yet, so sorry, but the CV EIR is only in need of a few tweaks, so It will be the CV that’s built first as that’s where the DOT funding is aimed at.

  16. Emma
    Jan 29th, 2012 at 23:54
    #16

    Even if we assume $1 billion in profit from HSR. At a $100 billion (2010 dollars) price tag, this won’t pay off for a whole century. Unless we build some kind of miracle system that is so perfectly designed that it won’t need upgrades until 2133, this project will never pay off. At least not in its current form.

    There is an alternative HSR plan:
    -Endpoints first.
    -Get the hell out of the Central Valley.
    -Stop this above and below-grade nonsense to appease every NIMBY between SJ and SD.
    -Planning and construction should be done by EXPERIENCED state companies.

    Right now all I see is an authority on defense trying to save the little mess they created instead of embracing a rational, affordable new plan.

    Paul H. Reply:

    No Central Valley, no high-speed rail. The math isn’t hard on this one.

    jim Reply:

    Well, Tolmach’s I-5 non-stop between Tracy and the San Fernando Valley would fulfil “Get the hell out of the Central Valley.”

    And presumably there’s some sort of Coast Line option (not, of course, at 350 km/h, and with no hope of meeting 2:38) between Metrolink to Ventura and Caltrain to Gilroy, though I doubt Emma was thinking of that

    datacruncher Reply:

    @jim – “Well, Tolmach’s I-5 non-stop between Tracy and the San Fernando Valley would fulfil “Get the hell out of the Central Valley.””

    Instead of getting out, Tolmach technically wants even MORE rail services running in the CV. He calls for parallel rail lines in the CV, not just rail on I-5. He said the state should pay to operate Merced/Fresno/Visalia/Hanford/etc. via hourly or more frequent, upgraded speed San Joaquins rather than just add about 20-25 miles to serve them using LA-Bay Area HSR.

    VBobier Reply:

    Some people are just too dense, they must have heads made up of or filled up with New York Schist…

    synonymouse Reply:

    “The math isn’t hard on this one.” The raison d’etre of Stilt-A-Rail is to waste money. Sticker shock is of no concern. For the patronage machine laws are the only real things; money is irreal, like pixie dust. You can see this magical thinking in Jerry’s moonbeaming about cap and trade taxing schemes.

    BART is the operative model. You make up for egregious design flaws by legislating out competition. Very large operating and maintenance subsidies are required so you make using BART the only option. Ditto for the Palmdale Flyer. There are lots of ways to eliminate competition from airlines and private automobiles. Raise taxes, fees, tolls; impose a bunch of nannie bans and expenses; don’t build any highway capacity. Gotta raise monies to pay those 2 months of TWU annual leave and 200k compensation packages. When you think Jerry, think Hugo.

    DingDong Reply:

    Why are you assuming $100 billion 2011 dollars? The $98 billion number is YOE dollars.

  17. joemelendrez
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 05:51
    #17

    That Cap N Trade to pay for public transportation is a great idea. We’re all suffering from gasoline exhaust and it is only right that we use it as a tax source to build a cleaner society for future generations here in California.

  18. Loren Petrich
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 06:12
    #18

    Bringing Metrolink up to Palmdale? Metrolink already goes, there, though it takes 1h 30m hours from downtown LA.

    Is Gov. Brown suggesting shifting the Initial Construction Segment southward to become Fresno – Palmdale? Or making the Initial Operating Segment something like Gilroy – Palmdale? That would be halfway between the most recent business plan’s San Jose – Bakersfield and Merced – LA. I’ll call it IOS Intermediate. Here goes:
    San Francisco – Gilroy (Caltrain): 1h 50m
    San Jose – Gilroy (Caltrain); 50m
    Gilroy – Palmdale: 1h 35m
    Palmdale – Los Angeles (Metrolink): 1h 30m
    San Jose – Palmdale (total): 2h 25m
    San Francisco – Los Angeles (total): 4h 55m

    IOS North:
    San Francisco – San Jose (Caltrain): 1h
    San Jose – Bakersfield: 1h 21m
    Bakersfield – Sylmar (bus): 1h 50m
    Bakersfield – Los Angeles (bus): 2h 15m
    San Jose – Sylmar (total): 3h 10m
    San Francisco – Los Angeles (total): 4h 35m

    IOS South:
    San Francisco – Merced (bus): 2h 35m
    San Jose – Merced (bus): 2h 20m
    Merced – Sylmar: 1h 32m
    Sylmar – Los Angeles (Metrolink): 30m
    San Jose – Sylmar (total): 3h 50m
    San Francisco – Los Angeles (total): 4h 35m

    Bay-to-Basin:
    San Francisco – San Jose (Caltrain): 1h
    San Jose – Sylmar: 2h 1m
    Sylmar – Los Angeles (Metrolink): 30m
    San Francisco – Los Angeles (total): 3h 30m

    Jon Reply:

    Nice summary. I strongly suspect ‘IOS Intermediate’ is the new plan for the next step, given the phrase “we can connect this thing up”. Also I suspect we will be looking at transfers at Gilroy and Palmdale rather than one-seat rides- there is not enough long term benefit to justify electrifying Palmdale to Symlar and Gilroy to San Jose.

    Less than 5 hours for the 400 miles of SF to LA is not high speed rail but it approaches the overall performance of the Acela, or the East Coast and West Coast mainlines in the UK. Question is if Metrolink and Caltrain can move enough passengers from Gilroy and Palmdale to SF and LA in order to keep up with the numbers of HSR passengers arriving at those stations.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Thanx.

    We could also call the proposal “IOS Central”. As to the Metrolink and Caltrain lines at the ends, there could be problem with the track owner. Union Pacific owns both of them, and UP might not be very willing to sacrifice much more track capacity.

    I checked on single vs. double tracking, and much of SJ – Gilroy and most of Sylmar – Palmdale are single-track.

    The Caltrain line is double- and quadruple-tracked from SF to SJ, and double-tracked from SJ to Monterey Hwy. and Coyote Creek Trail. After a long single-track stretch, it doubles in Morgan Hill, then becomes single again at Monterey Hwy. and E Middle Ave. It becomes multiple at a yard in downtown Gilroy.

    The Metrolink line is double-tracked from downtown LA to Burbank, where it gets single-tracked at I-5 and N Buena Vista St. It continues single-tracked the rest of the way, with double-tracked stretches here and there. Sun Valley: San Fernando Rd. between Penrose St. and Sheldon Rd., Sylmar: SF Rd. between Roxford St. and Balboa Blvd. Newhall: Pine St. tunnel portal to Railroad Ave. and 12th St., Santa Clarita: Railroad Ave. and Drayton St. to Soledad Canyon Rd., Canyon Country: Canyon Park Blvd. and Jakes Rd. to English Ivy Ln., Mint Canyon: Land Station Rd., Polsa Rosa Ranch, Vincent Grade / Acton, Palmdale itself.

    joe Reply:

    The Caltrain line is double- and quadruple-tracked from SF to SJ, and double-tracked from SJ to Monterey Hwy. and Coyote Creek Trail. After a long single-track stretch, it doubles in Morgan Hill, then becomes single again at Monterey Hwy. and E Middle Ave. It becomes multiple at a yard in downtown Gilroy.

    There was a time that Caltrain could have bought that track from UP.

    Maybe they can run trains back and forth on the short track – add some passing track and improve the tracks for speed and improve or close crossings which are stone age in some places.

    If you take them at their word – I do not – then the plan is to electrify to Gilroy. Maybe.

    My guess is short term thinking Caltrain would like to stop at San Jose but that cut would cost Caltrain Santa Clara VTA funds – cutting 6 stations would force the VTA to add buses and remove justification for their current contribution to run cash strapped Caltrain. Maybe a dedicated fund would give the Caltrain board the courage to cut the service at San Jose and risk VTA pullback.

    Howard Reply:

    Monterey County wants to extend Caltrain to Salinas with stops in Watonville and Castroville (Monterey would run light rail to the Castroville station). There has been talk of having Capitol Corridor extend south of San Jose to Salinas.

    Jonathan Reply:

    @joe, Loren: Caltrain already owns the right-of-way between SF and San Jose. It’s only south to Gilroy where UP owns the ROW. When did PJPB have the opportunity to buy that ROW?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Caltrain already owns the right-of-way between SF and San Jose.

    Details here.
    Caltrain’s ownership “>extends to CP Lick (MP 51.4).

    When did PJPB have the opportunity to buy that ROW?

    Early 1990s.

    If they’d paid money for this albatross it would be dragging Caltrain operating and capital finances down even more than the purely political Gilroy service loser does today.

    Some things are nicer to imagine owning than being saddled with. Or perhaps would have been nicer for somebody else (State of California?) to own and lend to you if you should ever really need it. Now excuse me while I spend my daily four hours looking after the pony I got for Christmas.

    Jonathan Reply:

    A quick read-through of that scan says that SP offered half -ownership — trackage rights — from Lick to Gilroy. The same sort of deal deal that has UP saying they exclusively own Track #1 between Diridon and Lick (or Edenvale, or whatever it’s called now). I didn’t see anything offering PJPB full ownership of the ROW to Gilroy. Did I miss it?

    Tony d. Reply:

    Per the SJ Mercurynews’ Gary Richards a few weeks back (aka Mr. Roadshow) Santa Clara County may consider asking voters in a few years to make the BART 1/2 cent sales tax of 2006 permanent, as it is currently scheduled to sunset in 2036. This permanent extension would fund the remainder of the BART to SJ extension from Berryessa to Diridon/Santa Clara. Perhaps some funding could go towards Caltrain improvements as well..we shall see.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ring the Bay is more of a fait accompli than the Tehachapi Detour.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Thanx for clarifying the track-ownership issue. Does anyone know of any official documents that state what trackage the various transit authorities own outright? I don’t like non-primary sources, because they end up playing “telephone”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    BNSF has good maps, which sometimes do a good job telling you who owns what. Their problem is that they tend to not distinguish between track that BNSF owns outright and track that BNSF has sufficient trackage rights over, like the former Western Pacific.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Buried somewhere on the FRA’s site is a really really slow interactive map.

    joe Reply:

    The Caltrain times to Gilroy include local stops.

    An express train would eliminate 5 stops between San Jose and Gilroy. Add some minor but important grade separations and fixing track, the time savings would 10+ minutes with the current system.

    I disagree that electrifying to Gilroy isn’t worth the effort. Simplifying Caltrain by eliminating diesel service and consolidating to electric service would save on maintenance costs. Adding track for passing and electrifying would improve performance and allow Caltrain to shuttle one seat to SF from Gilroy. Otherwise Caltrain has to operate two systems or transfer at San Jose to electrified Caltrain.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    You’re right about that. It’s 34 miles by road between the SJ and Gilroy stations, which suggests a possible travel time like 30 – 40 minutes.

    Looking at the Los Angeles / Metrolink end, it’s 1 hour between Sylmar and San Fernando, with only 1 intermediate stop: Santa Clarita. It’s about 43 mi by road, and the track is rather twisty. So it will be hard to improve upon that time.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Otherwise Caltrain has to operate two systems or transfer at San Jose to electrified Caltrain.

    The horror. The horror.

    joe Reply:

    That Mlynarik approved design would require three trains and two transfers, one transfer in Gilroy and the second transfer in San Jose, to reach San Fransisco.

    Wheeee!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Joe. Please. Stick to what you know about. Such as, uhh … you’ll need to get back to me on that one.

    Anyway. Whatever it might be, it certainly doesn’t include accurate reportage of I think or have written or said.

    joe Reply:

    You posted a picture of a BART transfer with a mocking tag, “the horror the horror” in response to my concern about three transfers between SF and LA.

    Your approval of the transfer is both reasonable and defensible interpretatio.

    In the absence of sincerity, and despite your protest, there still isn’t any alternative explanation offered.

    As I wrote:

    I disagree that electrifying to Gilroy isn’t worth the effort. Simplifying Caltrain by eliminating diesel service and consolidating to electric service would save on maintenance costs. Adding track for passing and electrifying would improve performance and allow Caltrain to shuttle one seat to SF from Gilroy. Otherwise Caltrain has to operate two systems or transfer at San Jose to electrified Caltrain.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Loren,

    I think you are half-right. I anticipate that what will ultimate get put into service first is a Merced to Palmdale segment that transfers to Metrolink and ACE. (ACE will reroute extra trains from Antioch to Merced via Stockton.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I suspect the people who want to get someplace other than Fremont and San Jose will be using San Joaquins.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I got yer IOS South” right here.

    In glowing 1982-style fax resolution pixel-vision!

    And no doubt coming within a month or two to a criminally incompetent Olde Tyme Railroading Agency in Northern California: a billion of your tax dollars for “capacity” and “grade crossings” into the pockets of the same people who brought you such hits as San Bruno and CBOSS.

    Politically balanced fiscal and technical black holes for both halves of the state. Business as usual. FRA Commuter Railroading 4 EVA!

    jim Reply:

    That’s an interesting document.

    Three observations:

    1. There’s a disconnect between the rhetoric of the covering memo (“Blended Approach”) and the specific work in the attachment, which defines an Amtrakesque connecting service at Sylmar to LA and SD.

    2. We may have been discussing a Merced-Palmdale IOS, but the CHSRA staff haven’t. In all their discussions, they’ve been assuming Merced-Sylmar. There’s no work defined here north of Sylmar.

    3. The work defined here through 2020 would absorb about a quarter of the expected revenues from cap and trade between now and 2020.

    Peter Reply:

    No, the Authority has discussed a Merced-Palmdale IOS as one of the “IOS-South” options.

    Jon Reply:

    Yes, very interesting, and largely confirming that the IOS plan is Merced to Palmdale with a timed transfer to Metrolink. Looks like they want to improve capacity and speed on Symlar – LA and LA – Anaheim (plus a few other lines) using $950m in connecting transit funds and $1b in straight Prop A funds. Quad gates would mean a line speed of 110mph, I think.

    There is no electrification in the plan so I doubt a one-seat ride is on the cards right now- they have clearly decided that mixing HSR trains with FRA dinotrains is a bigger headache than it’s worth. ‘Blended’ can mean different things to different people. Will be interesting to see if they take the same approach up north.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Jim,

    Interesting isn’t the half of it.

    Don’t know how Richard got a hold of this smoking gun, but it pretty much tells us all we need to know:

    1) MTC and Metro have a deal. That’s why OCTA and other parties are pissed off.

    2) Metro must have presumed the $950 million in Prop 1A money because MTC exchanged it for some sort of federal funding that Metro won’t compete for any more.

    3) Apparently, the deal also hints that Bay to Basin would give both entities an excuse to expand their heavy rail (BART to Diridon, Metro Red Line to Sylmar) to connect passengers.

    4) Apparently Metro knows that Palmdale to Sylmar is going to require upgrading Metrolink track…lest it request its upgrades.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    I know that BART wants to build to Diridon, but I’ve never heard of the Red Line building out to Sylmar. Do you have any sources that claim that?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Loren, behold:

    http://laist.com/2010/03/19/study_concludes_a_busway_for_van_nu.php

    Not that I am a supporter. I’d rather see the Red Line connect to HSR and Metrolink in beautiful downtown Burbank (give me some props Paul Dyson!!!).

    I think we are better off with a Santa Clarita Station that can serve Ventura County more directly. Over time, I expect to see Metrolink switch from the Chatsworth route to the 126 and let the Alameda Corridor people use it instead to get cargo from Port Hueneme.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Thanx for finding it. The Red Line to Sylmar seems like a bit of a long shot, however.

    John Reply:

    http://laist.com/2010/03/19/study_concludes_a_busway_for_van_nu.php

    The recommendations come out of a study seeking solutions to improve north-south transit corridors in the Valley along the Reseda, Sepulveda, Van Nuys and Lankershim/San Fernando arteries–all connect to the Orange Line–in three phases. Phase 1 includes signal re-timing, lane restriping and bus stop relocations as well as the already-in-servce 902 line. Phase II entails capital improvements like roadway widening and transit enhancements at bus stops. Phase III would be long-term improvements such as constructing a five-mile median busway between Burbank Boulevard and Plummer Street and extending the Metro Red Line from its current terminus in the NoHo Arts District to Sylmar.”

  19. Peter
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 10:00
    #19

    Bakersfield-Palmdale Supplemental AA Report now posted under February 2012 Board Meeting Materials.

    Jon Reply:

    Nothing terribly exciting here- clearly the engineers have been told to reduce costs by reducing the amount of elevated structures, and that’s what they’ve done. Very similar to how the Central Valley was value-engineered.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Looks like up to 20 fewer miles of elevated structures on Bakersfield to Palmdale depending on the final alternative choices.

    Peter Reply:

    New Alternative T3 looks to be preferable for pretty much all categories except for affected acres of habitat for endangered species and number of endangered species affected.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Very similar to how the Central Valley was value-engineered.

    Indeed.

    “Engineering” at the single digit percentage level without considering the fundamental mistakes that resulted in three-digit percentage cost explosions.

    Hooray for us! We squeezed 17¢ out!

    jim Reply:

    Quick scan suggests that the engineers were told to come back with an alternative that would come in under $6B. T3 looks as though that’s what it would do, at the expense of greater environmental impact and a 3.3% grade for eight miles in the Tehachapis.

    Guess that the ICS will be Bakersfield-Palmdale.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yay!

    I have to admit that it seems to be moving at a glacial pace, but it looks like we’re actually moving forward toward a implementable system.

    jim Reply:

    Does anyone know if an FRA-compliant dual-mode locomotive can handle a 3.3% grade?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “3.3% grade for eight miles in the Tehachapis”? heh, heh, heh

    And all this to bend over for the Tejon Cartel, the biggest NIMBY’s in the Golden State. After this disgusting performance I don’t expect to hear any more criticism of PAMPA.

    Tejon is too good for hsr – get back to the trailer trash ghetto of Palmdale. transport apartheid.

    Jerry Brown – biggest phoney of all the limousine liberals.

    Tim Reply:

    Isn’t there only one dual mode FRA locomotive in the world… The NJT Bombardier ALP-45DP? I remember reading somewhere that they can handle 3 % grades if I recall correctly.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s third rail ones in use by Amtrak, Metro North and the LIRR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The MBTA’s major investment study for the North-South Rail Link, which assumes 3% grade, says that the MBTA would have to switch to electric operation. In addition, the ruling grade planned for ARC, which was supposed to use the ALP-45DP, was not higher than the legacy 2.2% ruling grade in the North River Tunnels; I forget whether it was lower, and if so then by how much.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The under-construction (and on-time and on-budget and far below Californian costs and infinitely above Californian “design”) Zürich Cross City Line (DML, Zürich Löwenstrasse, Letzigrabenbrücke, Weinbergtunnel) features 3.7 percent grades in the dive into the new underground (under-station, under-river!) station and 4.0 percent on a new overbridge (some idea here) above the ZH HB throat and over a road overcrossing.

    Only EMU, not locomotive-hauled, trains are to be scheduled to operate through it.

    William Reply:

    If you are referring to OCS + Diesel, then yes, ALP-45DP are the first ones in operation.

    P32AC-DM operating in New York are Third-Rail + Diesel.

    Clem Reply:

    Yes, the ALP-45DP can handle that provided you put two of them on a consist. It’s only a matter of starting tractive effort and power-to-weight, and nothing to do with this or that locomotive.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Great, what you’re saying is that the IOS would need helper engines, or else have to drag 260 tons of locomotive to carry perhaps 400 tons of passenger coaches.

    Clem Reply:

    The passenger per ton ratio is not much worse than a single-deck TGV.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If the coaches’ interior were arranged like that of the single-deck TGV, it would be much worse.

    For the record, the Talgo AVRIL weighs 525 kg per seat, and an eight-car N700-I weighs 574 kg per seat.

    Peter Reply:

    So, two regular Amtrak California diesels could also handle hauling a trainset up the 3.3% grade?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    They probably could; I am subject to correction, but if my sources are right, the Raton Pass line of the former Santa Fe is 3.5%, and Amtrak runs up and down that line every day.

    http://www.rrsignals.net/Atsf/NewMexico/Raton.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQUUkSm1jUw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aiV2p2RcfU

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Classic era Santa Fe footage, with a shot of steam on Raton at 3:45:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC3Q-L_HgM4

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks for the link, D.P. I was looking for one of the 1940 class with nickel steel boilers. They must have fetched a good price at scrap since not one survived. Interesting link there to some footage of a PRR T-1 slipping like hell. I had always heard from the relatives in Altoona that the T-1’s were notorious for that.

    Clem Reply:

    No. One ALP-45DP is nearly twice as powerful as an Amtrak California diesel. You need lots of power to get up 3.5% grades, and electric trains have lots of power.

    Jonathan Reply:

    BZZZZT.
    Nope. Under the wires, maybe. But when burning diesel, the F59PHi gets 3,200hp, and the ALP-45DP with dual Caterpillar diesels gets 3,500 to 3,800 bph. And the context here is clearly _diesel_ propulsion.

    Those numbers may be mixing alternator SHP and horespower at the wheels.
    Dratted Americans don’t seem good at making the distinction clear. To be fair, that may be a reflection of having so little electrificatoin that diesel-to-electrified comparison is rarely an issue.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, the context is electric operation, in the Bakersfield-Palmdale high-speed segment.

    Peter Reply:

    No, my question was specifically about whether “regular” diesels could climb a 3.3% grade while pulling an Amtrak California trainset. Apparently, they can and do, just not very quickly.

    I was wondering whether a diesel-only operation could be used in order to get things going, offering one-seat rides between the Bay Area and LAUS.

    Only issue I can think of now is that the tunnels wouldn’t be designed for diesels. What would have to happen to run diesels through the Tehachapi tunnels?

    jim Reply:

    No, the tunnels won’t be designed for diesels. There’s special ventilation requirements if diesels are going to be permitted.

    Clem Reply:

    I don’t know how else the ALP-45DP would have come up in this discussion other than under a wire.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The whole point of an ALP-45 is that there doesn’t have to be a wire. The places without wires are going to be the nice flat parts in the Central Valley or the slow twisty parts approaching Los Angeles or Oakland…

    Clem Reply:

    Exactly. It’s not a crazy way to run a partially-built railroad. A fleet of 40 of these would cost what, a fifth of one billion? That’s chump change in HSR-bucks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    40? Ya gonna be running a train every ten minutes?
    NJTranist and AMT are paying around 11 million a pop, so half a billion in nice round numbers.

    Clem Reply:

    Remember, they have to run in pairs. So it’s really 20.

    jim Reply:

    NJT is paying $78.8M for its 10 locomotive option order. The $11M per included initial engineering. Someone else piggybacking on the NJT/AMT contract would presumably pay $8M per. A fleet of 40 would run a third of a billion.

    Peter Reply:

    So, how much would electrifying Bakersfield-Palmdale cost? To be followed by electrifying the ICS.

    Unless the Authority finds some way to get the DOT/FRA to permit a switch to Bakersfield-Palmdale. I was very doubtful about that option, but it seems more and more likely the more I think about it.

    jim Reply:

    how much would electrifying Bakersfield-Palmdale cost?

    We don’t know. The Business Plan said that constructing it, including electrifying and signaling, would run somewhere between $7.5B and $7.7B. It’s clear that the new options in the Supplementary AA will come in lower. We don’t know how much. Because the tunnels would be built for electric trains, there wouldn’t be the option (as there is for the ICS) of just building and tracking, so that if there’s no further investment Amtrak could run their regular trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The unit cost of electrifying is, what, $2 million per kilometer?

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    Alon: At least at French costs…

    jim Reply:

    It’ll cost more in the mountains. The standard unit costs (whether French or US) assume there’s a grid nearby that the substations can hook into.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    It goes real slow with the hammer down,
    The Kentucky fried train endorsed by a clown.

    Top of the line in utility sports,
    Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts.

    24 yards long, four yards wide
    131 tonnes of American pride!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’d never get through the North River Tunnels if it was 4 yards wide.
    Getting through the North River Tunnels or the Mount Royal Tunnel is the reason for those silly pantographs…..
    I dunno about real slow, 125 MPH is quite respectable for a commuter locomotive.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not respectable to have a locomotive on commuter trains. The time penalty of a stop is too high, even with the wide stop spacing on NJT.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many commuter EMUs can go 125 on the express from Trenton using 25Hz, turn around and become the local to Dover using 60Hz. In 1985 when they were reelectrifying the Morris and Essex.
    Pity they haven’t gotten around to upgrading tracks 1 and 4 to 135 like they keep promising to do.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    EMUs can be multi-current. The Arrow IIIs can run under both kinds of voltage used on NJT – they go from New York to Long Branch under 11 kV and then under 25 kV. The M8s can run under multiple voltages, though I’m not sure that 11 kV 25 Hz is one of them. High-speed EMUs can be multi-current as well, because of incompatible voltages in Europe: the ICE 3 can run under both German 15 kV and standard 25 kV, with some versions also running under 3 kV in Belgium and 1.5 kV in the Netherlands.

    On another note, do they ever say what upgrading tracks in 10 mph increments entails? Or do they just put out a press release saying “We need $X to run at 135 mph on these tracks”?

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Does the need to buy and operate special engines on all trains for the foreseeable future get factored into the alternatives analysis, against the admittedly huge one-time savings in construction cost?

    jim Reply:

    It’s not all trains for the foreseeable future. It’s if after Bakersfield-Palmdale is built, there’s no further HSR construction and the residuals get used for Amtrak-California conventional operation.

    William Reply:

    Or we can follow British’s example, except with wider loading-gauges:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitachi_Super_Express

    Basically EMUs with either electric power-heads equipped with pantographs, or diesel power-heads generating electricity for the traction-motors, or a combination of both (one electric and one diesel)

  20. morris brown
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 12:05
    #20

    Assembly woman Diane Harkey responds to Gov. Brown’s ridiculous assertion that funding will be achieved with Cap and Trade revenues and that the project will “cost much less”

    Boy dies she have this right.

    Link:

    http://us.mc1800.mail.yahoo.com/mc/welcome?.partner=sbc&.gx=1&.tm=1327953676&.rand=dqd6i67hje153#_pg=showMessage&sMid=0&&filterBy=&.rand=883832989&midIndex=0&mid=1_56931_AE4Iw0MAALdMTyb1KAUVPWMDv%2Bo&f=1&fromId=Gino.Folchi@asm.ca.gov&m=1_56931_AE4Iw0MAALdMTyb1KAUVPWMDv%2Bo,1_55800_AEgIw0MAAI7JTybxuQW%2F1CmiXJg,1_54631_AEYIw0MAAFmhTybu7ASTOh1A70M,1_53477_AE4Iw0MAAIbHTybuTgdA2HAbxIA,1_52403_AEUIw0MAAMqnTybr7ALYg3t4tLY,1_51219_AFAIw0MAARoFTybqqgKtSjTQQdQ,&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&hash=a676ca2d24a2c55ce37d8ada94addae7&.jsrand=12632

    J. Wong Reply:

    Of course, your link doesn’t work @morris for those who don’t have a Yahoo! account, which is probably par for the course for Harkey’s arguments.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It probably only works if you log on with Morris’s account…..

    joe Reply:

    Wing-nut

    Diane Harkey pointed to California’s high speed rail project as an example of unnecessary spending. She also objected to it being built through farmland.

    “This is cultural genocide, and we can’t tolerate that,” she said.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The wing-nut is Jerry Brown, Chandler tool, excuse me, fastener.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Here’s a link to her PR on her Assembly web-site: http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/73/?p=article&sid=217&id=250499

    She doesn’t actually refute Brown’s statement that the estimates are “way off” at all (or even seem to address it).

    I happen to agree with Brown: The business plan estimate is extremely conservative in its cost estimates (which you think conservatives would agree with). And also note that the $98b estimate is in YOE dollars. Its only $68b in today’s dollars. I fully expect the bids for the ICS to come in under plan, hopefully by a lot.

  21. octc
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 15:29
    #21

    Has anyone looked at other rail systems to copy? Why can’t the system follow interstate 5 where rights of way exist? Central Valley Towns don’t need a high speed rail system they need ACELA? It works great in eastern corridors. Leave the truly high speed for major cities linkage.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ octc

    You are going to give the foamers a “conniption”.

    Joey Reply:

    It is highly desirable to have HSR 100% separate from freight. Even ignoring that, the current legacy lines through the cities are nowhere close to being able to support any meaningful level of passenger service. Upgrading them for any speed would essentially mean rebuilding them anyway.

  22. morris brown
    Jan 30th, 2012 at 22:25
    #22

    Senate LaMalfa introduced a bill to have a re-vote on High Speed Rail.

    http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/california-bill-seeks-new-vote-on-high-speed-rail

    I don’t expect it to pass and in any case Brown would veto.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Very assertive article on BART new car acquisition but with the customary factual error:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/new-bart-cars-spark-outrage_n_1242360.html

    It lists BART gauge as 5′ and claims BART’s proprietary eccentricities are primarily to purposely drive up costs. I guess SP and Bechtel are too much ancient history to recall.

    IMHO $3mil per car is kinda cheap. After Jerry’s union handlers and minority contractors dive into the pool I would anticipate change order add-ons to jack up the price.

    Meantime, the Bay Bridge, which afaik saw its estimated cost go from $1bil to $5bil, will take 7 years to tear down the old structure:

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/transportation/2012/01/bay-bridge-demolition-last-longer-first-projected

    Do you think you could peddle 8 miles of 3.3% gradient to the class ones? And how tunnel that was not supposed to exist. I thought the Detour was sold as a walk in the park. I’ll bet the Detour’s cost-benefit ratio would rank down there lower than MTC’s hatchet-job comparative evaluation of the TBT Tunnel.

    I assume Clem or Tolmach, etc. will provide us with the gruesome details, especially with a mileage and travel time comparison of the two alternatives. I’ll confess; it is too depressing for me to investigate myself.

    Jerry should be ashamed of himself. The Chandlers say “boo!” and he runs off scared to the hills, the Tehachapi hills.

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    Two of the bidders for the BART contract, Hyundai Rotem and Bombardier, have built 1676mm trains for the Delhi Metro, so that’s one of BART’s “proprietary eccentricities” solved…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Alstom has previously built cars for BART.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    IMHO $3mil per car is kinda cheap.

    Only on your planet. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just replaced their fleet of PATH cars. $499,000,000 for 340 cars. Just under a million and half a piece.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My planet is Bechtelia.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    $3 million per car? Jesus Christ! Luxury.

    Try $5.128 million per run-of-the-mill, unsophisticated, boring, metro car.

    Includes $306,601 per car for “BART Project Management”. Mmmmmmm…….
    And of course — of course! — $296,349 per car for “Consulting Services”. Because American Transportation Consultants are always the best. And cheapest. And delivery the best solutions. A bargain! Double their hourly rate. No, triple it!
    And $136,221 “escalation” and $35,950 “miscellaneous expenses” (that’s a lot of hookers and coke) because, well, just because.

    Should we see what other people pay for such un-exotic standard-tech assembly-produced things, shall we? Shall we? Nah … let’s not bother. Because America is Different and Better! Screw them, they can keep their freedom-hating low-cost pansy trains.

    To to repeat that number, since it is so extra-terrestrial in magnitude: we’re talking over FIVE MILLION OF YOUR EARTH DOLLARS to buy a single metro car. USA, USA, USA!

    synonymouse Reply:

    And they still cannot afford to paint them. Cheapskates.

    thatbruce Reply:

    The demolition of the Bay Bridge will go much faster if someone seriously suggests putting trains on it again ;)

    Jonathan Reply:

    No rational person gives a damn whether US Class 1 railroads are interested in a high-speed rail line with 3.5% grades, or not. If it’s built properly, it won’t be overbuilt to handle FRA dinosaurs in any case.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh yeah, the State will give a damn when the ticketholders aren’t forthcoming, operating and maintenance costs are way over anticipated, the TWU wants to go on strike for 12 weeks of annual leave, and the privatization auction does not attract a single bidder.

    I suggest the airlines may have a change of attitude if and when CAHSR is run by Caltrans as a state function, with a very expensive union(like the TWU) and at a very substantial subsidy. Like BART the Caltrans will want to beef up the passenger count by eliminating all the competition. That, would be of course the commercial airlines. They will come to view government run hsr as a nationalization threat, not just a competitor.

    But the drekkies are so dumb they probably would not interchange with the UP at Mojave so that the San Francisco Chief could be reinstated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Chief

    synonymouse Reply:

    “drekkie scheme” is more polite – sorry

  23. morris brown
    Jan 31st, 2012 at 03:01
    #23

    The campaign for passage of Prop 1A in Nov 2008, promised time and time again that California voters would face new taxes and that the $9.95 billion bond measure would be all the funds that the voters would have to put up to build the project.

    Now we see a complete reversal of that promise with Brown’s saying “we can use Cap and Trade revenues to help fund the project.” Surely nobody is going to argue that Cap and Trade is not a new Tax are they?

    And then, of course, Cap and Trade is not now operative; The Governor’s promise of such funding is just like the CHSRA telling us that 1/3 of the project costs would be come from private equity. Nobody believe that now either do they?

    Peter Reply:

    The campaign for passage of Prop 1A in Nov 2008, promised time and time again that California voters would face new taxes and that the $9.95 billion bond measure would be all the funds that the voters would have to put up to build the project.

    Things have changed (Global recession, China’s HSR “technology” is toxic stolen IP, Japan’s tsunami and nuclear disaster, Europe’s financial meltdown coming to a slow boil). If we still need or want HSR, we need to step up to the plate even more. I’m cool with that.

    And then, of course, Cap and Trade is not now operative;

    Well, some people look further into the future than their own nose. Cap and Trade goes into effect later this year.

    Surely nobody is going to argue that Cap and Trade is not a new Tax are they?

    AB32 was passed in 2006, two years prior to AB3034, so no, it’s not a “new tax”.

  24. D. P. Lubic
    Jan 31st, 2012 at 03:56
    #24

    More on Murdoch and what he has done to news service:

    http://getenergysmartnow.com/2012/01/30/the-murdoch-energy-lie-that-went-around-the-world/

    What is wrong with that man? And what is wrong with us? If I tried telling such whoppers, I’d be in jail by now.

    Responsible_Thought Reply:

    Anything like what CA HSR NIMBYists are trying to do to HSR? Same stuff, really.

  25. Paulus Magnus
    Jan 31st, 2012 at 10:31
    #25

    An idle thought: should oil prices result in a major decrease in travel between NorCal and SoCal absent HSR, might that lead to increased regionalism and perhaps a breakup? Not that that is a bad thing, just a thought (apparently first motor routes over Grapevine were for largely similar reasons).

    synonymouse Reply:

    CHSRA pandering to the Tejon Cartel is just another example of how LA has achieved domination over the rest of the Golden State. Jerry Brown is the de facto Governor of Los Angeles.

    The next step will be to build the Peripheral Canal to ship all of Norcal water to the City of Fallen Angels. You will be able to see the inevitability of this scheme when thru a blitzkrieg of propanganda the patronage machine will sell its tax increase. And of course every effort will be made to prevent a re-vote on Prop 1A.

    LA has the sheer political muscle to quash any move to break up the state. Once it has sucked Norcal dry it will turn its attention to the Pacific Northwest for more water.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Your theory is great, except that unlike the 1970s and 80s when L.A.’s political muscle was nationally dominant, now about the only place that it can throw its weight around is Sacramento.

    Although it’s true that there is a strong contingent that wants more building in Southern California, the long term trends suggest otherwise, in fact, even contraction. If the state were smart, it would set a goal to split the population of the state as evenly as possible between north and south.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A population contraction runs counter to cheerleader doctrine, therefore heresy.

    Before Moonbeam plunges forward with the execrable Detour, puh-leez a cost-benefit analysis by international railroad heavy-hitters. This cowardly dumbdown is an in your face turkey, but you would not believe a thumbs-down from stateside run of the mill rr people like the UP. No wonder Van Ark is gone – whoever was competent would want to be associated with this unadulterated piece of s**t wandering about in the boonies?

    In poor taste, admittedly, but this Detour crap is such a smoking pile of manure I have to henceforth christen the Palmdale-Tehachapi foamers “Drekkies”. Here’s hoping someone hasn’t used it elsewhere already.

    Peter Reply:

    Can’t even get the spelling of your insult right…

    Jonathan Reply:

    can’t get the semantics right, either! The major foamer here is Synon.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Supposed to mimic “Trekkies” Can’t have everything.

    Tejon foamer and proud of it.

    Peter Reply:

    I got that you were trying to mimic “Trekkies”. But “Trekkies” has the advantage that “Trek” does not have a “c” in it. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were trying to use something other than “Dreck”, but unless you’ve added Icelandic to your repertoire (in which case you would be calling us “Drinkers”), you got it wrong.

    Also, manure is not “Dreck”. Manure is “Mist”. Although I doubt that you wanted to make the insult be “Misties”.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    IIRC, the only states that have been split up were Massachusetts (Maine was split off as part of the Missouri Compromise, though they’d wanted separation since the early 1800s at the earliest) and Virginia (West Virginia didn’t want to be part of the Confederacy). Even though both splits came from local dissatisfaction with the state government, the only reason they happened was because of larger, country-wide events. Since any split would probably need federal approval, partitioning California would probably only happen if it helped resolve some sort of national political goal—otherwise, I don’t see why such a split would be approved.

    Furthermore, even if NorCal and SoCal become somewhat less interlinked economically, I have a hard time seeing the overall political attitudes of the San Francisco and Los Angeles diverging—the main political split in California would remain between big metropolitan and rural areas plus small cities—most recent partition proposals have been more coastal vs. inland (plus San Diego) than anything else.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Vermont, from New York or New Hampshire depending on your point of view.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Mississippi and Alabama were a combined territory. And Texas originally consisted of chunks of today’s Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, before being reduced to its present size when it got statehood.

    Jonathan Reply:

    well, actiually, Texas was part of Mexico, until US settlers went there in droves and “rebelled”.

    Was it you who opined that the real reason Southern states had state-wide textbook standards was so their textbooks wouldn’t say that the reason for the Civil War was slavery? May be true, but it’s not the only reason Texas has textbook standards, and state standards on state history for teachers. :)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, it was me. Caveat emptor: I got this bit of history from a Fordham Institute paper on textbook standards, which, writing to what seems to be a conservative Northern audience, attacks both the patriotic correctness standards of the South and the political correctness standards of California (e.g. characters in stories have to have an even gender balance, children can’t be enjoying unhealthy food). The claim is that textbook adoption standards lower performance locally, and also hurt schools nationally by forcing very bland textbooks.

  26. Reality Check
    Jan 31st, 2012 at 11:55
    #26

    House Republicans to unveil transportation bill

    House Republicans will present a long-awaited plan to fund the nation’s transportation system on Tuesday, a proposal that would shift more decision-making authority to state governments, dramatically reduce the time spent on environmental reviews and encourage private companies to expand the highway system by building toll roads.

    […]

    Among the controversial issues addressed in the bill is that of truck weight. It would allow the maximum weight of trucks to increase from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 and their length to grow by five feet. Safety advocates and the rail industry are ready to lobby against that change.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Maybe the Tejon Cartel wants to peddle the Quantm alignment to a toll road builder.

    StevieB Reply:

    The House Republican transportation bill contains too many provisions that are loathed by the Democratic Senate. Politico says the transportation bill throws a bone to GOP base

    House Republicans on Tuesday introduced a giant new surface transportation bill loaded with goodies for the GOP base.
    No earmarks, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, cutting Amtrak’s budget, forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and ending mandatory spending on bicycle and pedestrian paths — what’s a diehard Republican not to like?

    We are in for another partisan ideological fight from the do nothing congress.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The M6 Toll UK

    Designed to alleviate increasing congestion on the M6 motorway, the M6 Toll officially opened in December 2003.

    The country’s first pay-as-you-go motorway, the M6 Toll is a 27 mile stretch of three-lane road running between Junction 4 at the NEC and Junction 11A at Wolverhampton of the M6.

    The Toll was designed for travellers to bypass some of the most congested areas of the M6 throughout the West Midlands.

    However government figures reveal that weekday use of the Toll is down year-on-year, with a drop of 10.6% from September 2006 to the same month in 2007.

    Meanwhile, weekday use of the M6 currently doubles its designed capacity. Around 148,900 vehicles used the motorway on a weekday basis in March 2007; the M6 is only designed to carry 72,000 weekday vehicles
    BBC

    The M6 goes around Birmingham, HS2’s first leg.

  27. datacruncher
    Jan 31st, 2012 at 13:42
    #27

    Visalia Calls For Highway 99 High-Speed Rail Route
    “Officials with the city of Visalia would like the state to reconsider the preferred high-speed rail route connecting Fresno to Bakersfield that — as of now — plows through Kings County.

    Instead of running into a buzz saw of opposition in Kings County — where officials today hosted a press conference highlighting their frustrations with the project — a Visalia city council task force is asking the California High Speed Rail Authority’s new chairperson to take a second look at a Highway 99 alignment.
    ……
    The letter suggests the rail authority “re-initiate” efforts with the Union Pacific railroad to share its rail corridor. Union Pacific has voiced concerns the project could impact its freight operations. The letter also states that the city of Visalia owns land near the Highway 99/Union Pacific corridor, south of Highway 198, that could be used for a portion of the rail alignment or as a site for a South Valley station.”
    http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11286:visalia-calls-for-highway-99-high-speed-rail-route&catid=30:transportation&Itemid=136

    jimsf Reply:

    I was just in Visalia. ( I now travel the 99 from mcd-vis weekly as my partner lives there) Now that I live out here I can say a couple of things for sure. The air is REALLY BAD. I’ve had to start using an inhaler. The air is so bad you can practically feel it and taste it when you breathe. I’m moving out of here asap. Also, there are lots of people out here. Its definitely not “nowhere.” Sure its dreadful and ugly as fuck, but it is a vital part of the state. Also, the 99, is not as straight as people think it is ( for those who would advocate using the 99 median etc) its absolutely not usable. Ive become all too familiar with every nook and cranny. The amount of dips, rises, sharp curves, and the huge numbers of obstacles would make it impossible to use without taking large amounts of business properties along the row. That said, UP from fno-vis would be great because the UP runs right past the visalia freeway interchange and its a perfect location for a station. The problem is, if UP says no, what can you do. And you still have the issues of transitioning back to the BNSF row south of hnf for the approach to BFD.
    Quite frankly the people of kings and tulare county though are just a bunch of rightwing redneck homophobic assholes who celebrate gay teen suicide. So fuck them and their station. I say they don’t deserve one. nor do they deserve the economic benefits hsr will bring. Let them wallow in their own doing and reap what they’ve sewn.

    JJJ Reply:

    You buy UP, force them to agree to everything, fire the idiot executives, and in 20 years, sell back UP to the private sector at a profit.

    jimsf Reply:

    Now why didn’t I think of that. Here, let me just get my checkbook… I’ll give Warren a jingle and see if he wants to go halfsies!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    55 billion give or take a few million as of today’s closing.

    jimsf Reply:

    (note to self – stop at quickie mart and pick up mega quikpik)

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, If Kings and Tulare want to be that way, then fine, bypass both Counties, run track through with No stops in their Counties, As to the 99, like most highways It’s too curvy for for HSR or even for Amtrak-California probably. And yes straightening the 99 would be really expensive and most likely not worth the cost.

    jim Reply:

    The problem is the Prop 1A restrictions. There have to be two stations in the ICS. The current ICS has Fresno and HVT, which are less than 30 miles apart, with 50-60 miles of tail tracks. But this complies with Prop 1A.

    I’m fairly sure no-one really wants to build the HVT station.

    jimsf Reply:

    If they could find some savings and squeeze in merced to bakersfield instead that would be much better.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They probably can, if they want, squeeze in Fresno to Bakersfield; this involves cutting bits north of Fresno and using them to fund a station in Bakersfield, which the ICS almost but doesn’t quite reach.

    Peter Reply:

    Wouldn’t be enough, Bakersfield is probably going to be as expensive or even more expensive than the Diridon elevated extravaganza. Got a couple extra billion laying around?

Comments are closed.