To Reject A Pipeline, Embrace High Speed Rail

Jan 19th, 2012 | Posted by

Yesterday the Obama Administration announced it was rejecting a proposal by TransCanada to build a pipeline to Texas to carry oil from the Alberta tar sands. The pipeline would enable Canada to sell the oil on the global market more easily, but it would help grow the environmentally ruinous extraction operations in Alberta. The Obama Administration may have given TransCanada an out by allowing them to reroute the pipeline and reapply, but that would push the timeline for approval out beyond the November 2012 election, which suits Obama just fine.

For many reasons, the pipeline is a terrible idea. The globe and the country need to get off of oil, and strip-mining northern Alberta for it won’t help us get there. What’s needed instead is building forms of transportation that enable us to use less oil, saving not only the environment and addressing the climate crisis but also saving money and creating jobs as well.

President Obama has pointed out before that high speed rail can help reduce dependence on oil, and that this is a beneficial thing for the country. Ironically, high speed rail is picking up steam (sorry for mixing my train metaphors) in Alberta itself, as the center-right Premier Alison Redford is embracing the concept. Of course, Redford supports the oil companies and tar sands production, but she also realizes that Alberta will have to plan for a day when the tar sands are tapped out.

Many Californians were active in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline project, and will continue to be active to ensure the project is not revived after the election. But it won’t help to simply block a pipeline. Canada will eventually find a way to get that oil to market as long as demand for oil exists. The only way to deal with the problem is to reduce oil demand.

And that’s where high speed rail comes in. To oppose the pipeline, as well as to push back on pressure to reopen the California coast to oil drilling, requires supporting high speed rail projects across America, including in California.

  1. Paulus Magnus
    Jan 19th, 2012 at 21:38

    HSR is going to do jack shit for reducing oil demand. Seriously, go crunch the damn numbers.

    All the rejection of Keystone XL means is just more traffic and profits for the freight railroads who are already carrying the oil, and more oil use as it is transported by less energy efficient diesel locomotives rather than pipelines.

    I for one, endorse reopening the coast to oil drilling and slapping a nice hefty severance tax on the oil so produced. But then again, unlike Robert, I like creating jobs in California.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Question: are oil pipelines actually more efficient than freight rail? I’ll look up references if you want, but I’ve read a study that tries to impute the emission-efficiency of freight that assigns pipelines much higher emissions than you’d think, because of leakages.

    Either way, freight rail is good enough as it is. 400 ton-mpg = burning 6 gallons of diesel to move a ton of oil from Alberta to Texas = burning about 1.7% of the product. Considering that the tar sands have an EROEI of about 9, they already burn 11% of the product, so to speak. So in terms of energy, it’s not going to do any worse.

    However, if this inconvenience means the tar sands companies will find it harder to ship oil, then it’s a good thing. I like the coastline where it is right now.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The numbers I’ve seen were more efficient, but I’ll admit that I haven’t gone indepth on it. Glancing at a thirty year old CBO paper in a quick googling, it’s possible that, if railroad efficiency has outpaced pipeline efficiency, they’ve become more fuel efficient than pipelines. More recent papers indicate that pipeline remains more efficient in terms of BTUs per ton-mile (about 300 for pipelines).

    ant6n Reply:

    What if the construction of the pipeline is factored in? How long would the pipeline actually operate?
    The railroads already exist.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    An important consideration: a pipeline can only handle liquid or gaseous products. (They have handled coal as a slurry, but that was a special purpose installation that’s no longer in service.) It doesn’t work too good for anything large or solid, like containers, newsprint, clothes, electronics, automobiles, or food, all of which also can and do travel by rail.

    People don’t work too well in it, either.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Yes they do.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Somebody somewhere at the oil companies has precise figures on how much it costs to transport oil by pipeline, they do it all over the world. And since they are shipping it by rail now they have precise figures on how much it costs to ship by rail. They wouldn’t be going through all this tsouris if it cost more.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Alon’s question wasn’t about the $ cost to the oil companies, but about the environmental costs. Oil companies won’t factor in any negative externalities when determining whether to pursue a project.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    HSR is going to do jack shit for reducing oil demand. Seriously, go crunch the damn numbers.

    Well of course it won’t if you send all your oil to China…duh.

    All the rejection of Keystone XL means is just more traffic and profits for the freight railroads who are already carrying the oil, and more oil use as it is transported by less energy efficient diesel locomotives rather than pipelines.

    No it means CNOOC and others will simply finance a pipeline through the Great White North from Prince Rupert to Churchill or something using icebreakers. Energy is a global commodity and if we won’t pay for it, someone else will….

  2. Maxi
    Jan 19th, 2012 at 21:48

    From earlier today: The California High Speed Rail featured on the Dylan Ratigan Show’s (MSNBC) Create ’30 Million Jobs’ in America Tour.

    State Senator Joe Simitian and Michael Setty from debate, although not much.

  3. Alon Levy
    Jan 19th, 2012 at 21:59

    Robert, what you’re saying about Alberta’s looking for HSR for its cities is neither here nor there. It’s good transportation, independently of energy policy. It may surprise you to learn that Edmonton was the first North American city to open greenfield light rail, and Calgary, also an early adopter, has built a large system that has one of the highest light rail ridership levels in North America, with the aid of downtown parking restrictions and TOD at rail-accessible locations. There isn’t the same transportation partisanship there that there is in many US cities (or in Toronto), and like many cities around the world, they think that transit is good local policy independently of environmental issues.

    Andy M. Reply:

    Isn’t Edmonton also the city that recently abandoned trolleybuses? Not that green then.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Edmonton is the city that has sprawl development patterns where it gets really cold. Their energy usage for heating will wipe out any savings from transit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s all a matter of insulation of buildings. Apartment buildings help a lot, but even single-family houses can be built with passive solar design and insulating materials. Edmonton is colder than Sweden (which has one of the lowest carbon emissions per capita in the developed world) and Toronto (which has European emission levels and about one half the Canadian average), but it’s a matter of degree more than kind.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Sad about the trolleybuses, but I do think Edmonton may also be the system that has its power contract with a wind farm.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I know Calgary powers the C-Train from wind power; do you know if Edmonton does the same?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    My mistake, was thinking of Calgary, and forgot there were two light rail systems in western Canada!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Two light rail systems, and one rapid transit system.

  4. Emma
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 01:09

    I find it funny how there was almost no right-wing media obstruction against a pipeline that goes through the whole country. But if you built a super highway or a high speed rail system in that same corridor, people would go nuts.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    No, the right-wind media would only complain about the railroad, because it would be “socialist,” it would “lose money” because Real Americans(tm) don’t ride trains, and that would make it a “boondoggle.”

    The pipeline and the highway, however, would feed each other–the pipeline delivers fuel for those cars, and the cars provide the money for the pipeline. That way Real Americans(tm) would continue to enjoy and expand their Freedom(tm)–and in the meantime, the oil biz, car biz, car insurance biz, road building biz, and general suburban sprawl biz can make more money.

    VBobier Reply:

    With wild animal life suffering the consequences of getting closer and closer to extinction in the process, as humans push into their vital living space.

  5. Sobering Reality
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:56

    I find it amusing people are spun up about a new pipeline when the current pipeline route structure looks like this:

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    If I recall correctly, there is no gasoline supply pipeline that crosses the Colorado River. This became a big issue in 2005 when the extension that served Arizona severed and caused a huge spike in prices because there was no way to import California gas except by truck. That pipeline map might also include natural gas and other commodities….

    But even if the map is accurate, (and it could be) the issue is more that extraction from the tar sands is pretty dirty.
    The pipeline only makes sense if you think oil (unlike Rupert Murdoch) is going to stay above $70 a barrel.

    Then there’s the fact that the Sand Hills in Nebraska are the watershed for the entire Missouri-Mississippi River and any BP-esque problem there (which we have seen in Alaska) could put industries that rely on the water in jeopardy.

    And, lest we forget, most of this oil is going to China. That’s the whole point of the project. They want access to the Gulf of Mexico because the widening of the Panama Canal makes it a lucrative point for distribution.

  6. Brandon from San Diego
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 06:01

    I saw the pipeline stuff in the news a day or two ago. As I correctly expected, it got play here on this blog.

    However, it was not what I expected.

    I thought the post would feature jobs as the main point.

    I found it interesting that right-wing pipeline supporters decried the negative impact to jobs if the pipeline were not built. killing the project kills jobs.

    But, with regards to HSR and jobs, those right-wing supporters are absent.

    I believe he jobs numbers were relatively similar between the two projects.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    The difference is that private companies will finance and build the pipeline. Futhermore, the entire nation not just one state benefits from it’s construction.

    Matthew B Reply:

    A penny saved is a penny earned. The entire nation will benefit from California using less gas. The entire world will pay for the environmental damage from extracting, pumping, and consuming oil from Alberta’s tar sand.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I also read HSR will solve world hunger too.

    StevieB Reply:

    There is a correlation between energy efficiency and food production. Thanks for pointing out another interesting possible benefit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There is also a correlation between global warming and the number of pirates. So what?

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Question: how many jobs does the pipeline create vs cahsr?

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    The common denominator between the two is that proponents are decrying the lost opportunity to create jobs… if each respective project is forgone.

    I find it interesting that each project has supporters that is largely split by different ends of the politcal spectrum – Business/Republican backers supports the pipeline and People/Democrats support HSR.

    (Of course, HSR has opponents that are ‘people’ too; however, they are NIMBY’s)

  7. J. Wong
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 10:03

    OT, SF Bay Guardian on High-Speed Rail.

    They hint that Brown asked van Roelof to resign.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Moonbeam is the ultimate disappointment. He has rebranded himself as the Governor of Los Angeles.

    Firing Van Ark for offending the Chandlers – that’s classical Jerry.

    Crank up the spin machine to full bore – any of you heartless scrooges who vote against the welfare tax are taking away Tiny Tim’s operation.

    The San Joaquin Valley is really slow on the uptake, and they said LA was the land of the low-lying gene pool. The machine is going to divvy up Norcal’s water – just the minimum to the Bay Area and the rest to LA, mega-Cairo of the day after tomorrow. I don’t care how much money agribusiness has; they are totally ****ed over the long run. Lalaland’s political power is such that its bottomless thirst will be slaked at the farmers’ expense.

    Why don’t they just move the Capitol from Sac to the City of Fallen Angels.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    That’s completely not the conclusion I drew from the article. You have got to learn to eat something before you smoke your peyote…

    synonymouse Reply:

    You have to de-spin the article, which was just rehashing the machine’s press release.

    Look for keywords and phrases, like voter-rich.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    What I meant is that Jerry’s actually telling the Southern California interests the canal won’t happen by spinning it that he can do things without authorizing a new bond. He may genuinely want the Peripheral Canal to happen…but as time goes on I think the case for it is declining.

    StevieB Reply:

    The proponent state senator Leno comments are buried at the end of the article.

    Sen. Mark Leno, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, also expressed confidence that current efforts to derail high-speed rail won’t be successful.

    “What is the alternative if we don’t do this? California will grow by 10-20 million people in the next decade. There’s no way we could build enough freeways and airport expansions to handle that,” Leno told us. “I don’t think we have the option not to make this work.” Leno also said he was pleased to see top political leaders stepping up to defend the project: “I’m impressed by the governor’s steadfastness, as well as President Obama’s stand. Leadership from the top is important, particularly during difficult times like this.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    For horning in on the territory and rackets of the Tejon Familia “Frenchy” aka “Big Roelfie” Van Ark was order whacked by Don Raggio di Luna. Ratified by the Commission capo’d by Don BARTzini.

  8. Alan Kandel
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 10:29

    Robert is correct that high-speed rail lessens demand for oil, even if only slightly. But the tar sands oil is still going to be extracted from the ground and shipped. There is already a pipeline for the shipment of such tar sands to Oklahoma. There is interest in extending that pipeline to the gulf. Whether it happens or not is anyone’s guess.

    If that oil is going to get shipped anyway, personally I would much rather see it shipped by rail in unit tank car trains pulled by electric locomotives whose power supply is via overhead electrical wire (catenary). The Black Mesa and Lake Powell (BM&LP) railroad in the U.S. southwest is used to ship coal from mine to power plant using electric locomotives. The same sort of thing could be created for shipping the tar sands oil from origin to destination. The difference here is that if just such an electrified railway is built, after the supply of tar sands oil runs out, the railroad could still be used for freight transport and possibly for the transport of passengers as well. It could be built to high-speed standards for future use.

    That the nation’s population is expected to reach 400 million by 2050, growth continuing beyond that point, building an electrified railroad for the oil transport may make sense. In the case of pipeline transport, when the oil taps out, then what? For a railroad transporting such oil, once depleted this would not necessarily spell the end for a pike engaged in such operations. Population being an important consideration for the success of a passenger rail line serving such, it is quite conceivable towns could spring up around the railroad as was the case when railroads first criss-crossed this nation. Maybe I’m way off base here. But the whole notion may not be as far-fetched as it may appear at first blush. Is anyone seriously considering this as a viable substitute to the proposed pipeline? If not, why not? Does anyone even know?

    joe Reply:

    Jeeze Alan – if it’s going to be shipped let’s do it in the USA by energy intensive rail.

    Of course the downsize of such energy intensive fuel is more, more and more pollution per BTU used by the consumer and we’re getting close to a tipping point with the green house gases.

    Climate projections are not good for the interior USA so that heartland will probably be hotter, dry and not so nice.

    I for one want to see when the subtropic diseases move into the soon to be subtropical SE USA. It will happen. Malaria is coming.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Malaria and yellow fever used to be endemic in the Southeast.

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    I have no way of knowing whether or not you considered that a pipeline poses serious environmental harm, should the pipeline rupture regardless of whether or not the contents of that pipeline is traversing a sensitive aquifer or not. A railroad could as well do likewise in a derailment. But a spill from a derailment would seem far less negatively impacting than if a pipeline were to rupture. That, I’m sure you’re aware of. Also on the downside an electrified railroad may be way more expensive to build and may be more energy intensive than a pipeline, but on the other hand, a railroad may be the more preferable of the two transport modes, and may have broader support among a larger number of people if that option is even proposed.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I for one want to see when the subtropic diseases move into the soon to be subtropical SE USA. It will happen. Malaria is coming.

    There’s a shot for that. You’ll get over it and your paranoia eventually (no shot for the paranoia though).

  9. morris brown
    Jan 20th, 2012 at 17:29

    Here is Gov. Brown’s position in a picture

    Sobering Reality Reply:


  10. Keith Saggers
    Jan 21st, 2012 at 16:41

    Europe’s largest construction project has unveiled the first of eight, 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will construct the new Crossrail tunnels under central London.
    The 140 metre long, fully assembled tunnel boring machine (TBM) is currently undergoing factory testing. The machine will shortly be dismantled and shipped to London where it will be re-assembled at Westbourne Park ahead of tunnelling commencing from Royal Oak in March.

    To construct the 21km of twin-bore tunnel required for Crossrail, eight tunnel boring machines will be required and will undertake ten individual tunnel drives to construct the 6.2m diameter tunnels. At 140 metres, each TBM would just fit just inside the boundaries of a cricket oval.

    The TBMs will bore the tunnelled section of the 118 kilometre rail line that will link Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. When completed, Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people within 45 minutes journey of London and reduce cross London journey times.

    The TBMs will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week stopping only for scheduled maintenance.

    As the TBMs advance forward, precast concrete segments will be built in rings behind the TBMs. Construction of the concrete segment factory for the western running tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon is now complete at Old Oak Common. The plant will begin manufacturing over 70,000 segments for the western tunnels from January.

    Chris Dulake, Crossrail’s Chief Engineer said: “Crossrail tunnelling will get underway in March 2012 when the first of eight tunnel boring machines will begin burrowing below the streets of London. Work is continuing across the Crossrail route to prepare for construction of the major new rail tunnels. The new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy has welcomed its first students and will train at least 3,500 people with the skills required to work below ground while the first of the tunnel segment manufacturing plants will shortly commence full operations

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    In December 2008 an article in The Economist noted the increasing political popularity of high-speed rail in Britain as a solution to transport congestion, and as an alternative to unpopular schemes such as road-tolls and runway expansion, but concluded that its future would depend on it being commercially viable. In November 2010, Philip Hammond rejected this idea, stating that government support for HS2 did not require it to be financially viable:

    “If we used financial accounting we would never have any public spending, we would build nothing … Financial accounting would strike a dagger through the whole case for public sector investment.”

    Philip Hammond, Conservative Member of Parliament
    former Secretary of State for Transport
    from Wikipedia

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Really. Wikipedia?

    Come on man.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “DIA? Really?

    Come on man.

    DIA finally replaced Stapleton on February 28, 1995, 16 months behind schedule and at a cost of $4.8 billion,[29] nearly $2 billion over budget.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then there was all that fun with the baggage handling system. . . . PRT at it’s finest!

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You mean United’s baggage system that United desigend and installed? The rest of the bagage systems at the airport work fine, of course, that doesn’t sell headlines.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    More links:

    Page 3 in particular.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So what? It can handle as many passengers as the CAHSR project. Furthermore, it was built with 30 year bonds that have been repaid through its users over the last 17 years.

    Let me know whan CAHSR will even come close to doing the same. Because I don’t see a finance plan like that for HSR other than to cover it’s operating expenses.

    Jonathan Reply:

    @Sobering Reality: Whats the matter, little boy? Can’t cope with actual articles in The Economist – -hardlly a left-wing publication — or quotes from a Tory minister?

    Yes, Sobering Reality, the Tories are funding HS2. Tory ministers have said, correctly, that if Government followed financial accounting, they’d never build anything — including roads.
    In other words, Britain’s Conservative government made a decision to invest in high-speed rail using the same criteria they’d use to decide whether or not to invest in roads.

    But Sobering Reality can’t cope with a real-world, non-subsidised, private rail operators running on a Government-funded rail line. That’s BAD, because it’s subsided and couldn’t happen in the US. Where private trucking firms run on subsidized roads, and airlines run on subsidised infrastructure.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The less said about cost-effectiveness in Britain, the better.

    Jonathan Reply:

    It’s not so much the cost-effectiveness, as the John Major-era racket which lets private companies make profit from highly-used lines, and leaves the Government picking up the tab for the rest — when the private companies go bankgrupt, *someone* has to keep the service going.

    blah blah blah networks are a natural monopoly blah blah blah…

    That said; cost per km for HS2 compares not badly with PB’s proposal.

    The point remains: Sobering Reality’s claims are complete-and-utter garbage.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Just a few facts from the GAO report on DIA (you know, the stuff you claim is “complete and utter garbage”:

    “About 65 percent of DIA’s revenues are collected from the airlines for space
    rental and landing fees. The remaining 35 percent of revenues come from
    concessions, passenger facility charges (PFCs),1 interest income, and other

    “Senior bonds comprise about $3.5 billion of DIA’s total
    $3.8 billion bond debt. DIA’s revenue bonds were issued under the 1984
    General Bond Ordinance, which promises bondholders that the rate
    maintenance covenant will be honored in setting billing rates for airlines.”

    On what the funding and forecast meant to the project:

    “DIA’s ability to generate sufficient revenues to cover its operating costs and
    –>debt service requirements<– ultimately depends upon the number of
    passengers that choose to use the airport. Passenger volume dictates
    airline demand for space at DIA and is directly linked to the financial
    success or failure of DIA concessions.

    On what revenue is expected to cover:

    “Debt service requirements and operations and maintenance are DIA’s two
    major cost components. Debt service costs are expected to remain
    relatively stable over the next 30 years. Operating costs are expected to
    rise with inflation over that time frame.”

    “Debt Service Requirements”

    Debt service payments constitute over 60 percent of DIA’s estimated annual costs. DIA’s bonds are scheduled to be paid off in relatively equal
    installments over the next 30 years. After a bond sale in June 1995, DIA had
    bonds payable of about $3.8 billion. DIA’s June 22, 1995, estimates included
    two future bond sales to finance capital improvements. The first of these
    sales, held on November 15, 1995, after the end of our review, yielded
    $107,585,000 in bond principal. The second sale was scheduled for
    January 1, 1997, for $40,835,000 in bond principal.”

    Here ends the discussion.

    thatbruce Reply:

    The slight sour note in this nearly 16-yr-old document is that more recent (2010) reports show a decline in the repayment rate of DIA’s debt obligations, in main part due to the recession and other troubles from 2007 onwards. There have also been additional bond series issued to repay previous bonds.

    DIA is still above water, and with the establishment of hub airports a long time in the making, not likely to lose any of its revenue sources anytime soon.

    Here ends the discussion.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    The slight sour note in this nearly 16-yr-old document is that more recent (2010) reports show a decline in the repayment rate of DIA’s debt obligations, in main part due to the recession and other troubles from 2007 onwards. There have also been additional bond series issued to repay previous bonds.

    DIA is still above water, and with the establishment of hub airports a long time in the making, not likely to lose any of its revenue sources anytime soon.


    Yet they aren’t going to taxpayers to keep up are they sparky?

    Hubs airports long time in the making? It was established as a hub before it even opened.

    thatbruce Reply:

    To use one of your quotes, Let me put it to you in simpler terms, maybe this time you’ll get it. ( Incidentally, I tend to use the HTML italics <i> and </> to indicate quotes from others, others use <quote> … </quote> to enclose them. It looks nicer, imo, than a series of asterisks )

    No hub airports are being planned that would take traffic away from Denver. That means that Denver Airport’s Revenues aren’t going to decline due to another airport taking them away.

    Hubs airports long time in the making? It was established as a hub before it even opened.

    Yes, it was established as a hub airport way back in the ’70s and ’80s, when plans were first made to replace the then existing hub airport, Stapleton, with what is now the Denver International Airport (opened 1995). That would make it a ‘long time in the making’.

    Airlines just don’t wake up one morning and decide to shift their hub operations. Any such decision, as well you should know, takes months/years of negotiation/planning with the alternative airports, ensuring that there is sufficient capacity to handle operation as a ‘hub’ airport.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    The slight sour note in this nearly 16-yr-old document is that more recent (2010) reports show a decline in the repayment rate of DIA’s debt…

    Not quite. They cleaned up thier debt in preparation to issue bonds for $500 million in expansion.

    Starts on page 20:

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    “The Airport System issued bonds in the amount of $171,360,000 and $340,135,000 in 2010 and 2009, respectively, in
    order to refund debt and fund capital projects
    . Net bond proceeds of $110,995,192 ($171,360,000 plus original issue
    premium of $14,592,502; less underwriters discount of $974,087; less cash proceeds to the Airport of $1,638,822; less
    payment to purchase and retire certain 2008A-3 and 2008A-4 Bonds of $72,344,401) and $121,731,559 for 2010 and
    2009, respectively, were deposited immediately in an irrevocable trust for the defeasance of outstanding revenue bond
    principal, payment of a redemption premium and accrued interest amounts. Original issue premiums on bonds of
    $14,592,502 and $3,617,601 were realized on the issuance of bonds in 2010 and 2009, respectively.”

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    More on the funding of Denver, and the baggage problems due to Uniteds lease requirements:

    In 1988, the federal government began funding DIA through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. As of September 1, 1994, FAA planned to spend $685 million from the Trust Fund; $472.8 million has already been transferred to DIA. Moneys for DIA have come from two major Trust Fund accounts–the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Facilities and Equipment (F&E).

    The majority of the federal funding, $461.4 million, for DIA comes from the AIP. Not all of this amount has been transferred to DIA. As of September 1, 1994, about $302.5 million had been transferred–$132.1 million under a letter of intent and $170.4 million in other AIP grants.\1 The remainder will be distributed by the end of 1999. The AIP moneys have been used at DIA for such things as land acquisition, the construction of runways, taxiways, and aprons, and installation of a rail passenger transportation system. Federal funds will not be used to fund the automated baggage system. In 1990, FAA gave DIA a letter of intent for $351 million;\2 however, this was significantly reduced because the airport system imposed a passenger facility charge in January 1992. By law, a portion of certain AIP moneys must be turned back if airports impose a passenger facility charge.

    In addition to the AIP moneys received under the letter of intent, DIA received $170.4 million in other AIP moneys. Most of this amount–$150.2 million–was granted prior to the 1990 letter of intent. In fiscal years 1992 and 1993, DIA also received separate AIP grants (not under the letter of intent) totaling $20.2 million to procure incursion lighting, conduct a light rail study, and begin work on a sixth runway. DIA expects to receive an additional $50 million in AIP funds to complete the sixth runway. An FAA official told us, however, that FAA has not yet formally committed this amount. On September 22, 1994, congressional appropriators approved an amendment to the 1995 Department of Transportation Appropriations bill to prohibit the planning, engineering, design, and construction of a sixth runway at DIA unless the runway is needed to improve safety or performance.

    DIA will receive about $223.6 million of F&E moneys through 2000. Since 1989, the Congress has appropriated $170.3 million in F&E funds for DIA.\3 This money has been used for new air traffic control facilities; equipment such as an airport surveillance radar system, instrument landing systems, approach lights, weather sensors, and navigational aids; and transition operations from Stapleton International Airport (SIA) to DIA.

    On who was responsible for the baggage system:

    Speed has been considered crucial to the commercial success of the New Denver
    Airport, which the owners have marketed to the airlines as a highly efficient platform for
    hubbing operations because of its multiple parallel runways and prospective ability to
    turn around aircraft flights very rapidly. United Airlines, the dominant airline at Denver, insisted on a rapid baggage handling system before signing its lease with Denver (Flynn,

  11. synonymouse
    Jan 22nd, 2012 at 15:03

    Why Warren Buffett is a phoney and Jerry’s tax increase won’t work:

    California’s financial picture is about on a par with the big PIIG’s. This project needs to be rationalized, which is clearly what Van Ark was trying to accomplish when he was summarily canned. Shame on Moonbeam.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Having recently taken a look at Fox News (which I never really did until recently), and actually being shocked at how bad its reporting can be (and this comes from knowing something about the subject matter), I would be hesitant to cite it as a source of accuracy and authority. That includes the opinions and conclusions drawn in this editorial.

    This isn’t to say Buffett is necessarily right, at least not 100%, but I don’t believe anything that Fox has to say–not having seen examples, in multiple instances, of things it got wrong.

    VBobier Reply:

    If You believe FAUX News Syno, then Yer the sucker PT Barnum mentioned.

  12. D. P. Lubic
    Jan 22nd, 2012 at 15:41

    In a lighter vein, here is something as off topic as can be, but enjoyable enough to want to share anyway. . .a couple of short films on steam locomotives, one old, one new:

    The first, a Canadian film from 1959, “End of the Line,” about the end of the steam era in Canada; nice movie, but how I wish they had gotten the sounds right (steam sound is not properly synchronized, and the Alco diesels have a dubbed-in GM locomotive sound); also of note is how rail enthusiasts then dressed better, with hats and ties, and the condensed firing-up sequence of a Canadian National 4-8-4:

    Favorite quotes from “End of the Line:”

    “We’ve just got to put up with the change, that’s all.” This is from a railroad employee, who sees what his railroad and he needed to do, but he didn’t sound too enthusiastic about it.

    “We had a special era, one good century of locomotives. . .” Reminds me that I live in the wrong time. . .

    “The Diesel is like a sardine can to me.” How many of us thought that, and think it still?

    Also for fun, note that not just the steam locomotives smoke. . .

    For something more contemporary, a new film on the recent overhaul of New Hope & Ivyland No. 40. What’s interesting about this is that you get the tiniest glimpse of what it is like–and the dedication required–to keep these old pots running:

    Have fun.

Comments are closed.