Two Tenths of One Percent

Feb 19th, 2012 | Posted by

The high range of cost estimates to build high speed rail between San Francisco and Anaheim is $98 billion over the next 22 years. There’s no doubt that $98 billion is a pretty big number.

But so is $1.9 trillion.

That’s the estimate for California’s Gross State Product – the state version of Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. That $1.9 trillion sum is about the same as Italy ($2 trillion) and not so much less than the United Kingdom ($2.2 trillion). If it were its own country, California would be the world’s 9th largest national economy.

So let’s consider $98 billion – again, the high end of the cost estimate for HSR – against California’s GDP. Over 22 years, California’s GDP would be $42 trillion, and that assumes it stays flat at 2010 levels, never once growing in absolute size or inflating to a higher value. In that scenario, $98 billion is just above two tenths of one percent of California’s GDP – specifically, 0.233333333%. The Transport Politic has a great visual representation of this comparison, using the lower end of the cost estimate spectrum ($74 billion):

Similarly, $4.45 billion per year is about two tenths of one percent of the state’s annual $1.9 trillion GDP.

To get a sense of the comparison, California’s per capita income as of 2010 was $51,914. Two tenths of one percent of that sum is about $138 per year, or 38 cents per day.

Of course, California is not yet an independent country. So the state would not and should not be expected to shoulder that entire $98 billion cost on its own. The annual GDP of the United States of America is $14 trillion. Over 22 years, again assuming no growth or inflation, that gets you to $308 trillion.

How much of that sum is $98 billion for high speed rail over 22 years? A whopping 0.0318181818%.

Let’s run our per capita income comparison again, this time using those national numbers. The per capital income of the United States of America is $48,147. Three hundredths of one percent of that sum is about $15.31 per year, or four cents per day.

It’s couch cushion money.

Yet you never see high speed rail costs described in these terms in the media. When they describe the cost of high speed rail they give the $98 billion figure out of context, without any comparison to the state’s or the nation’s 22-year GDP. In fact, they rarely ever explain that $98 billion is a 22-year figure itself. $4 billion a year sounds a lot more manageable than $98 billion all at once, which is the implication often given.

How would HSR coverage look if the number were given in context? “The California high speed rail project, which costs two tenths of one percent of the state’s overall economy…” And that’s the high end of the estimate. I’m sure it would change the media’s perception of the project dramatically.

But I won’t hold my breath. The media is much too wedded to the idea that infrastructure costs should be evaluated in a vacuum, without ever being compared to the cost of doing nothing, to the cost of alternatives, or to the overall economic productivity of the state and the nation. Instead they prefer to treat high speed rail like a high-end luxury vehicle on a dealership lot – sure, you might drive by and ogle it, you might even get out and kick the tires, but surely you wouldn’t actually buy it because of course you don’t need it.

If something cost me 38 cents per day, however, and promised to pay its own operating costs, maybe even generate a surplus for me, while saving me money on gas, cleaning my air, and reducing my exposure to global warming, I think I would be pretty fucking stupid not to purchase it.

  1. RubberToe
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 10:06
    #1

    A couple posts back there was this comment made by someone: “The memo that Richard posted has approximately $2B worth of work from Sylmar to San Diego. And, yes, the LAUS run-through tracks are part of it.”

    Can someone please point me to this.

    Thanks,
    RubberToe

    P.S. Gas just hit $4.25 at several Pasadena stations. Keep up the good work Robert. I am very encouraged to see some serious effort being made to get work going on either end of the HSR system too. The LAUS run through tracks will be a boon to Metrolink and Amtrak service.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Here’s a copy

  2. Robert Cruickshank
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 10:38
    #2

    I really hope I got my numbers right. I already had to redo this post once because I screwed up the numbers. Times like these, I wish I hadn’t flunked calculus.

    Clem Reply:

    The range is actually $98 to $117 B, YOE. That makes the “high range” for phase 1 a full $117B, and $98 B is the “low range”. And that’s not counting phase 2 to Sacramento and San Diego. Those are YOE (year-of-expenditure) dollars, accounting for future inflation.

    If you’re going to do everything in 2010$, then you can use 2010$ for HSR as well. That puts the cost of phase 1 HSR at $65.4 to $74.5 B, see page ES-7 of the draft business plan. That’s where TP’s number came from. It’s the high-end number in 2010$, apples-to-apples with 2010$ for GDP.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Times like these, I wish I hadn’t flunked calculus.

    Well, that explains a lot.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …but it’s 6th or 7th grade arithmetic…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Even more disturbing then.

    VBobier Reply:

    Not when I was in the 6th or 7th Grades, Calculus came later, I was told, Heck all they had was business math, No Algebra, that is I was kept out of Algebra, I later learned Basic programming(as I had a GED by then), which is roughly the same as both use variables I was told, of course it didn’t mean I could program any, but then I got only a B+.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    What are you talking about?

    VBobier Reply:

    Piss off.

    VBobier Reply:

    Ok now that I’ve calmed down, I had a left over thought from somewhere else. LAUSD taught no Algebra at the Junior High(7-9 grades) that I was Bussed to, Business Math was their euphemistic term for Remedial Math which one was assigned regardless of ones Grades from the previous school, which one should have learned in Grade 5 & 6, Even My Dad got Algebra in Junior High, But of course He went to a School in Culver City CA, Not in LAUSD’s excuse for a Jr High School, We had a lot of Black Students at Carnegie and yep gang members, Algebra just wasn’t taught at Carnegie Junior High.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    LAUSD taught no Algebra at the Junior High(7-9 grades)

    No wonder that school district is so F’d up.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But shifting decimals around is usually a year or two after they introduce you to fractions and decimals. If you are really lucky they teach you about logarithms which makes this whole shifting decimals around a lot clearer. You don’t need algebra to figure out what percentage of 100 billion is or 43 trillion. It’s
    100,000,000,000/43,000,000,000,000ths, lop off zeroes on either side of the division symbol and you get 1/430th. So without breaking out the calculator it’s going to be close to 1/500th which is the same as 2/1000ths. 2/1000ths is .002 which is .2% or two tenths of 1%.
    Figuring out what 2 tenths of one percent is, is a very valuable business skill…..

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It really doesn’t. I got some of my worst grades in college in calculus and other computational math classes. One question from my multivariate calc homework I still don’t know how to do.

    Joseph E Reply:

    I got “C”s in Calculus, both semesters. They were my worst grades in 4 years of college. I should have taken the easier, bioscience options, instead of the math/engineering level calculus, but I had done well in math during High School. Calculus is just very different than other math up to that point.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Except that there are actually “3” semesters of Calculus in engineering programs.

    Well, technically it’s Analaytical Geometry and Calculus, at least in all Engineering programs I know of. I think you get the point.

  3. CA Resident
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 10:51
    #3

    I am very enthusiastic about HSR, and am dying to have SFLA built, but even for me this comparison is really, really disingenuous.

    Just because the entire measured value of the economy of CA adds up to X does not mean the state budget has X, or anything close to X. The proper comparison is between the total revenue of the state (taxes, etc.) and the cost of the project. This is the only reasonable starting point for such a calculation.

    It appears that FY2011 revenues are roughly 90 billion [1]. There are probably all sorts of adjustments you should make to that raw figure, but let’s be conservative and ONLY subtract the debt interest payments, which appear to be (roughly) 7 billion[2]. So, 83 billion x 20 = 1.66 Trillion.

    74.5 / 1660 = 4.4 percent.

    Look, I am 100% for this project, but the above comparison is just silliness.

    [1] http://contraryinvesting.com/sovereign-debt-trouble/us/california-tax-revenues-projected-to-disappoint-soft-depression-deepens-in-the-golden-state/

    [2] http://www.ocregister.com/articles/debt-320389-interest-state.html

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The state’s total revenue take is not a static or fixed number. It can be whatever the state legislature wants it to be.

    My point is that if California had to pay the entire cost of building HSR – which it won’t, but even if – there is plenty of economic capacity to do so.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    The state’s total revenue take is not a static or fixed number. It can be whatever the state legislature wants it to be.

    Okay. Uh. They going to print money? WTF?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    No, they pass a tax increase. Not that difficult a concept to comprehend.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Oh really? Unlimited then?

    VBobier Reply:

    pfft.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So what was your effective tax rate this year. Don’t care how much, just give us a percent.

    VBobier Reply:

    Income tax, Me? I pay sales tax, excise taxes and property taxes, My income is not taxable, therefore since I’m permanently disabled(not like I wanted to be disabled, it’s not fun and can be a royal pain), It’s 0% as It has been since 2003. I get Supplemental Security Income, I pay My 2 bills(DSL & Cell Phone, landlines are lousy out here, no replacement of copper phone lines by Verizon), My rent, utilities, as much food as I can afford, buy some gas for the car, GMAC car insurance $184.00 a Year spread over 10 months, Of course there’s always some left over which goes to what I need, whether to replace, repair something or buy something to Keep My mind occupied, as their isn’t much out here in the Desert, UHF TV reception might be Free, but it’s only 9 channels, soon their going digital I’ve been told, there is a 10th station out here, but since I don’t understand Spanish I tend not to watch that channel. Do I take drugs or Alcohol? Nope, I have enough problems to deal with without something like that, I don’t even smoke cigarettes and I’m 51 currently, My chances of being employed are zero as what I know could be done by someone in China that’s half My age. I don’t get any Food Stamps on SSI as no one does in CA if one gets SSI in CA, It’s a dispute between the USDA/SSA and the state of CA, nor do I get a rental voucher.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If Heritage ignores something, then it doesn’t exist. Therefore, sales taxes are not taxes. Neither are payroll taxes. Property taxes are taxes, but only if they’re on old property; if you’re not a Prop 13 whammy, then you’re not really paying taxes on your property.

    VBobier Reply:

    Only if there’s a 2/3rd majority that supports doing so.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Depends on the kind of tax. Some can be passed with a simple majority. But the point stands.

    CA Resident Reply:

    Yes, certainly revenue can increase or decrease as you suggest, but let’s take an absolutely ridiculous edge case, just for the sake of argument: taxes and fees (revenue) are doubled:

    So now HSR is 2.2% instead of 4.4%.

    The point is, your original comparison was disingenuous – irrelevant, even. Cost vs. state revenues is the proper comparison, and cost vs. GDP is meaningless. Again, I’m a HSR supporter – I’m on your team – but let’s not go off the rails here.

    joe Reply:

    But economists look at spending and debt relative to GDP, not annual revenues.

    And by not investing and allowing the economy to shrink, we increase the debt burden which is measured by the ratio of debt to GDP, not revenue.

    http://loyalopposition.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/file-under-paul-krugman-told-you-so/

    …the Times reports, the ratio of Portugal’s debt to its overall economy has been growing. It was 107 percent at the time of the bailout and is expected to reach 118 percent by next year, because its economy is shrinking. It contracted by 1.5 percent in 2011, and is expected to contract an additional 3 percent this year.

    The GDP is what we tax, as GDP rises so does our ability to increase tax which also rises relative to the size of the economy being taxed.

    Jonathan Reply:

    What? You mean the Confidence Fairy didn’t make everything wonderful after austerity?
    Even the UK Tories have figured that one out.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Are you drowning in personal debt or are you only this fast and lose when it’s not your money?

    Jonathan Reply:

    oh, so you *di* believe in the Confidence Fairy?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    What the hell does that even mean?

    Jonathan Reply:

    ROTFL

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Confidence Fairy and very likely the Gold Bug too.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Awwww… A Neo-Keyne. Such a shock on this site no less.

    Brsk Reply:

    Yes, who needs an economic theory backed up by a historical experience of success?

    Hint, if you are looking for actual data to verify your beliefs, then you are insufficiently sure of yourself. Therefore YOU ARE WRONG!!

    Be too self-assured to ever needs to look at facts or history; be condescending as hell; and You too can be a Slobbering (un)Reality!
    /Sarcasm

    Jonathan Reply:

    Neo-Keynsianism has very little to do with it.

    The simple fact is that the ECB continues to prescribe more, and more, and more austerity to Greece. And every quarter, the ECB announces projections of annual deficits. The ECB _always_ projects that the Greek economy will start growing 12 to 18 months after austerity, due to “confidence”. (The ECB projects positive growth about 6 months later, 18 to 24 monhts)
    But the growth has never happened. Never. Not once since 2009.

    Same goes for Cameron’s Tory government: they’ve had to ease off on their austerity and projected balanced-budget date, because their own austerity has pushed Britain deeper into recession.

    Doesn’t matter where the term “confidence fairy” comes from. The policy question is: will imposing austerity cause the economy to grow _without_ devaluing? So far, it hasn’t.

    Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, is called….. ?

    (NB, if you want to talk Keynsianism, the only problem with Obama’s stimulus is that it was too small. That was the consensus of economists at the time; and they were right. But if Obama hadn’t done it, if he’d gone for Hooverism and austerity, we’d be looking at a Depression, not a recession.)

    Jonathan Reply:

    Oh, and in case it isn’t obvious:
    the more you apply austerity, the smaller the economy gets, in the ~12-to-18 month timeframe.
    The smaller your economy, the worse your debt-to-GDP ratio (debt is constant; GDP is shrinking).

    And we can all see where _that_ leads.

    Yes, long-term and maybe even short-term, it helps to cut debt. But without either deflation, or Marshall-Plan-scale investment _at the same time_, austerity is like feeding yourself by cutting off limbs. “Debt Deflation”, anyone?

  4. Paulus Magnus
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 10:52
    #4

    And yet were one to argue for an increase in the USN’s shipbuilding budget along a similar rationale, that $20 billion per year is only 15 hundredths of a percent of GDP, you would condemn it for being a completely irrelevant figure of affordability and worth…

    Peter Reply:

    I wouldn’t argue against it. Especially building submarines. You stop building submarines for a while and you’re likely to lose the special skill set needed to create those perfect welds.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Yup, that happened with the Brits, we had to give them a tremendous degree of help with the Vanguards due to the loss of industrial skills. Loss of government shipyards and internal design for ships and airplanes is also a significant factor in the current increase in design and procurement costs and waste in the DoD.

    VBobier Reply:

    That’s cause skills aren’t always being passed to a new generation, much like family histories and such…

    Jonathan Reply:

    US Govermnent design expertise for ships, I’ll grant you. But when did the US Government have in-house design for aircraft?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Not as full in the design or skillet as BuNav was with ships, but BuAir did have a decent amount Certainly would have caught idiocies like the -35C’s tail hook being too short.

    Jonathan Reply:

    I was thinking the Bureau of Construction and Repair, predecessor of BuShips, and the Alaska-class.

    But, yes, the absence of that in-house technology savvy is one huge alarm-bell about CSHRA. (Or Caltrain or BART, for that matter.)
    They don’t have enough heads in-house to tell whether their contractors are doing a decent job or not.

    VBobier Reply:

    The Alaska Class? Are You talking about those nearly worthless cruisers with the 12″ guns? The so called Battle Cruisers or as the Navy called them Large Cruisers, Really just an upscaled Heavy Cruiser with 12″ Guns in 3 triple turrets, built for a threat that was never built by Japan, Germany’s Scarnhorst could have sank those ships with their 11″ Guns(3 triple turrets) & Scarnhorst was built to take 3 Twin 15″ Gun turrets like the Bismarck and Tirpitz had. But then Germany knew how to make some tough ships. The steel from the Alaska’s could instead have been used for a couple of the Montana class Battleships, which were enlarged and better armed and protected than the Iowas(4 triple 16″ gun turrets, instead of 3), but also slower at 28knot ships, Iowas could do 33knots.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Yes, those things. I mentioned them not because I thought they were great — though _Alaska_ did a damn fine job standing in for the _Graf Spee_ in the movie — but because one of Andrew Toppan’s telling arguments for calling them “cruisers” rather than battlecruisers is that they were designed by the bueary that did cruiser design.

    As you say, a scaled-up heavy Cruiser. I think they’d have just done fine against a _Deutschland_-class, which I IIRC was their design point. Enough topic-drift.

    joe Reply:

    Can I ride on these ships to LA or Seattle?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If there are correctly located military bases, then sure. Maybe local governments could help kick in money by condemning land to build new Navy bases.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Sure, if there’s a Tiger Cruise going that way.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    No, but when someone shows up off the coast of San Fracnisco to attack us and you go into hiding, you’ll be glad we have them.

    Peter Reply:

    These wouldn’t be built to protect our coasts from direct attack. What are you expecting, an amphibious landing? This isn’t World War 2.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The last time we were seriously threatened with naval invasion was in 1812 or so. Someone decides to attack us by sea, by the time they get back to their home port the smoldering glassy wasteland it had become will have stopped smoldering.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Consider the current mentality of the threat, then consider how stupid they might be in planing such an attack.

    Just saying.

    StevieB Reply:

    Exactly what threat to San Francisco do you foresee countering with a submarine?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I said Submarine?

    joe Reply:

    Someone gave you too much credit – We assumed the navel threat was somewhat credible and hidden and not a sitting duck.

    I think this is the threat SB is worried about…
    http://www.battleshipmovie.com/

    That actual defense was propeller plane based carrying anti-ship/sub torpedoes.
    The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s.

    The P-3 has an internal bomb bay under the front fuselage which can house conventional Mark 50 torpedoes or Mark 46 torpedoes and/or special (nuclear) weapons

    They flew out of here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moffett_Federal_Airfield
    At its peak in the 1990s, NAS Moffett Field was the U.S. Navy’s principal Pacific Fleet base for the P-3C operations.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    It’s Naval dumb ass. Nice try anyway.

    And no, you don’t undertsand the issue either.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pray tell enlighten us on the issue. Which country is going to stupid enough to bring them close enough to the shore, carry out a conventional attack and go home to the smoldering ruins of their home port? Wouldn’t it be much easier for the submarines to just launch their ICBMs from the middle of the ocean?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    If you have to ask, then you don’t understand the problem. Its also far less complex than launching an ICBM.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You seem to anxious to share your omniscience with us. Go right ahead.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Sobering Reality is not anxious to share his omniscience. he thinks anyone who has to ask doesn’t (can’t?)” understand the problem.

    joe Reply:

    There are ballistic missiles that can take out surface ships from long distances with little time for counter measures.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Wo knows what goes on in His Omniscience’s mind? When he writes “consider the current mentality of the threat”, who does he mean? North Korea? Al-Qaeda or other terrorists? Iranian commandos in a speedboat with a cruise-missile with an (as-yet hypothetical) Iranian nuclear warhead?? But as he says,

    If you have to ask, then you don’t understand the problem.

    so I suppose only his fellow Omniscientia are worth discussing it with… rather poiintless, if they’re omniscient.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe he’s afraid the Duchy of Grand Fenwick will attempt to invade

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

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If the Iranians have missiles, they don’t need to launch them from speedboats. Part of nuclear force projection is being able to launch ballistic missiles from the comfort of one’s home country. That’s why the defense community was scared that North Korea built missiles with enough range to hit parts of the US, independently of the scare over its developing nuclear weapons.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Alon: yes, I know. I’m trying to guess what’s going on in SR’s head. Iranian speedboats was meant to be somewhat satiric. But Iran only has MRBMs, not ICBMs, so it isn’t an implausble guess for SR’s chosen threat — which implicitly is of less-than-stable mind.

    And I’m kicking myself for not mentioning the military forces of the Mouse that Roared; Adirondacker beat me to it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t guess – just remember that there are real-life bases for characters like Marlo Stanfield and the Greek.

    Jonathan Reply:

    i note that His Onmiscience has chosen not to share his “threat” with us.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Getting a bit off topic, but, my view has actually always been that if we are going to spend money on the military, naval spending is probably the best place to put it.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Probably not.

    VBobier Reply:

    I’ve never known of too many tanks that could go 1 on 1 with a Destroyer and a 5″ Gun, 5″ Gun wins, hands up or be blown to bits…

    At Normandy a Destroyer got into Knife fighting range with a German Pillbox, plunging fire the Pillbox could deal with, just not directed fire from a 5″ Gun, Pillbox silenced, this was done as most of the amphibian Sherman tanks sank on their way to the beach due to the ocean not being calm and all that sank this way are on the bottom off shore to this day.

    So the Navy gets My vote, My older Brother served in the US Navy for just over 20 years with Honor(Gold Stripes and Hash Marks, good Conduct He said, He never wore them, as I’d asked why, He just wanted to be one of the guys He said). He’s deceased now, skin cancer, then lung cancer and emphysema, then brain cancer.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I’m always amused when people who’ve never been in the military, and would likley never serve because of their political leanings, comment on what is most useful for the military. Always entertaining for sure.

    Jonathan Reply:

    So you don’t believe in civilian control and oversight of the military??

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Can I ask you something? What’s it like being a simpleton?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Can’t answer the question, hmm? You think only people who have been in the miilitaro, or would seve in the military, are capbale of commenting on what’s most useful for the military? All others simply amuse you? Did I get that right?

    So, do you beleive in civilian control and oversight of the mlitary, or not? Or do you only believe in it when done by ex-military members?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I think that your an antagonist that tries to oversimplify things to suit your needs. Therefore, your statement deserves no response.

    Jonathan Reply:

    It’s called a “follow-up question”, nitwit. Not an oversimplifcation, a question. A question to highlitht your puerile attitudes, but a question nonetheless. So. Do you beleive in civilian control and oversight of the military, yes or no?

    If you say “yes”, then you’re a hypocrite. if you say “no”, then your views are internally consistent, but you stand for a “state within a state”, if not outright military dictatorship.

    But you’re smart enough to see that, so you resort to ad-hominem attack and avoiding the question.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Its not that black and white. To put it entirely in the hands of civilians leads to very poor decisions about the military and a weak military. To put it entirely in the hands of ex military leads to massive expenditures on useless shit we never use.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I think that your an antagonist that tries to oversimplify things to suit your needs. Therefore, your statement deserves no response.

    If it needs no response why did you respond?

    To put it entirely in the hands of ex military leads to massive expenditures on useless shit we never use.

    If you were paying attention it’s the civilians, usually in Congress, that makes the military buy shot they never use.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I’m pretty sure he backed off the issue, so he got a response.

    You on the other hand weren’t part of the conversation to begin with.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t realize I needed your permission to make an observation.

    VBobier Reply:

    Lets see 4 people in My Family have served in the Military, One in the US Civil war in the Union Army, He was a Major General(a two star rank, I even have have a picture of Him, I think He was My Great Grandpa, Most likely He knew of and maybe even met Major General George Armstrong Custer once before 1865), My Dad in WWII in the US Army in Europe(’42-’46), My Brother in the US Navy during the Vietnam era and Myself, None was drafted all asked to serve. So I’d watch what you say, As You don’t know of whom You speak of. My family settled in Nebraska in 1850 after leaving Ireland cause of the potato famine, after being invited to Ireland after 1690 from France, I at least know of most of My family ancestry going back to 1770 for sure.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So what have you done?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Awe… That’s nice.

  5. MarkB
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 11:18
    #5

    You’re comparing apple to oranges. CAHSR is a state expense, not a GDP expense. If you were to compare HSR expenditures to estimated state expenditures over the same time, then it’d be a more apt comparison. By the same measure, the new Triumph Street Triple R I’m looking at just got a whole lot affordable: if I compare its roughly $10k cost not to my own budget but to the state’s output over the years I expect to own it, well, it’s infinitesimal! Sign me up!

    This harkens back to comparing $100b for HSR to $170b for comparable roads and airports when the basis of measurement for the two items was different (estimated HSR ridership for HSR vs. maximum theoretical near-24-hour HSR capacity for roads).

    joe Reply:

    Government budgets are not personal budgets – Paradox of thrift and all l that messy economic mumbo-jumbo.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The basis of measurement for the two items was not different. It was as follows: compute the cost of building full-fat HSR, in principle capable of very high capacity; then compute the cost of building equivalent capacity for roads and airports over the same time period.

    If you want to say that the cost saving from cutting capacity by 50% would be much larger for roads and airports than for HSR, which could use blended plans and shared tracks but still need to complete the big-ticket items, then be my guest. But it’s very different from what you’re saying. What you’re saying is that the comparison was apples and oranges; this other argument is that apples are unrealistic, so instead of comparing apples to apples, the HSRA should’ve compared oranges to oranges.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    But we don’t need that capacity, and that is the point where HSR goes wrong. You’ll never need to build roads and airports to support over 100 million passengers.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We don’t need the capacity on the roads either. Could have avoided the billion dollars they are spending to widen I-405 over the Sepulveda Pass by just having 10 percent of the people who use go into work at 3AM and 10 go into work at 4AM and 10 go in at 5AM etc. Plenty of capacity, no need to widen the road at all… Pick a airport expansion, I’m sure that could have been handled very easily by shifting flights to 2AM…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You need three runways in the state. One in Los Angeles, one in San Diego and one in San Francisco and any and all airport issues in the entire State are solved.

    VBobier Reply:

    That’s Nuts, 3 airports will never be enough as their at their limits now, San Diego and LAX can not expand, Who is going to provide the huge amounts of MONEY? YOU?? don’t make Me laugh and SF is no different, It all takes lots of money and the political will isn’t there, as it would be political suicide to try and expand an airport today, Jets are REALLY LOUD and People hate LOUD 24/7.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Okay then, better use of Oakland, San Jose and Ontario and move Lindbergh to Miramar in 2050 – commerical jets are far quieter than the fighters currently using it hence a no impact noise finding in the environmental. Problem solved. And while it takes a lot of money, there is a funding source.

    The point being, the airport capacity problem in this state is grossly overstated.

    Joseph E Reply:

    The central valley doesn’t need an airport? I though you were opposed to HSR. You want everyone in Sacramento and Fresno to drive to SFO if they want to fly to Oregon or Colorado or New Mexico?

    VBobier Reply:

    Of course He does, He’d rather have more concrete, gas prices are going up, as oil is not inexhaustible or endless in supply, It’s a finite resource as there are no more Extinct Dinosaurs and such.

    Peter Reply:

    My guess is he means the state only needs to build three more runways.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    The Central Valley doesn’t need more airports. There is ample capacity.

    Brsk Reply:

    Exactly, roads and airports are sized for peak period demand, often peak hour, many times the 15 minute peak.

    Anyone who blathers on about full trains 5 minutes apart 18 hours a day is either:
    – An ignoramus
    – A disingenuous liar, or
    – An ignorant disingenuous liar

    The $170 billion is a capacity comparison and roads and airports are built for peak period capacity.No one builds highways or airports to carry a maximum of 1/24th of average daily demand per hour. That would be insane.

    VBobier Reply:

    So the population is not growing? Liar. Tourists would be drawn to areas where today they merely fly over and HSR can do that, tourists spend money, that money creates a Demand for Jobs, People Supply the labor.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Went right over your head.

    VBobier Reply:

    Some people are Luddites & will never accept something different, their petty prejudices have them straight jacketed, like the idea that all humans have a common ancestor in Africa going back between 50,000 to 200,000 years ago. We have to rely on Foreign experts here & there as We don’t have the skills & knowledge to build all aspects of HSR, some parts of HSR, yes, but not all. So We need help & there’s nothing wrong with getting help when one needs it. If someone thinks that getting Help is wrong, I say their crazy, Humans are sociable animals, not plants…

    MarkB Reply:

    Theoretical HSR capacity is a meaningless metric if the system is never projected to reach that capacity in regular use. If you’re building a HSR system to move an estimated m million passengers a year at buildout (m millions being the estimated actual ridership), then what is the cost of alternative means of moving m millions in the absence of HSR? *That* is a valid question.

    A typical better German car is designed for sustained travel at 155 mph. What is the cost of rebuilding the Interstate system and all state highways to accommodate sustained 155 mph operation? Who cares? 155 mph is a meaningless metric, a theoretical speed that has no bearing on expected use in this country. As with HSR max throughput projections.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s Thanksgiving morning in 2050. The population of the state is fast approaching 50 million. The system has been fully built out to Sacramento, Las Vegas and maybe even Phoenix. How many trains an hour pass through Fresno? How much highway and airport do you have to build to meet that demand.
    I suppose you could build one track. Everyone going southbound gets on the train in morning and then 2 hours and 40 minutes later northbound trains start leaving Los Angeles. Gonna put a damper on demand.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I don’t know. HSR won’t be completed by then.

    Derek Reply:

    Actually, it would be quite easy to reach full capacity on the HSR. Simply stop building freeways. Taxpayers would save a LOT of money.

    VBobier Reply:

    I think California has pretty much already stopped building freeways/Interstates, only CA-58(Caltrans wants CA-58 to become a part of the I40, someday, once it’s all upgraded) and I think one other is being built or eventually built, but that’s in the High desert of CA and is a locally funded project.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Honestly, trying to estimate it by ridership is no better than trying to estimate it by capacity. In one way, it’s worse: ridership depends on how convenient the travel options are. If HSR is not built then there won’t be demand for an extra 60 million trips statewide, because those people would have to deal with driving (i.e. urban congestion, 7-hour trips) or flying (TSA, repeated queuing, cramped space). All good estimates of the trips on a new mode include induced demand rather than just demand diversion from competing modes. That’s why the correct thing to do is a cost-benefit analysis rather than an estimate of the cost of building equivalent capacity elsewhere that nobody will use.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    State expenditures, like state revenues, can be whatever the hell the legislature decides it to be. GDP is a more static figure and cannot be changed by fiat. So it struck me as a much better point of comparison.

    joe Reply:

    Krugman on debt.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/the-burden-of-debt/

    How, then, did America pay down its debt? Actually, it didn’t: federal debt rose from $219 billion in 1950 to $237 billion in 1960. But the economy grew, so the ratio of debt to GDP fell, and everything worked out fiscally.

    Which brings me to a question a number of people have raised: maybe we can pay the interest, but what about repaying the principal? Jim gets scary numbers about the debt burden by assuming that we’ll have to pay off the debt in 10 years. But why would we have to do that? Again, the lesson of the 1950s — or, if you like, the lesson of Belgium and Italy, which brought their debt-GDP ratios down from early 90s levels — is that you need to stabilize debt, not pay it off; economic growth will do the rest. In fact, I’d argue, all you really need to do is stabilize debt in real terms.
    ….
    So: in 2008, with revenues already depressed by the recession and housing bust, the federal government took in $2.5 trillion in revenues. If we assume 2.5% real growth* and 2% inflation, by 2019 that would rise to $4 trillion. So debt service costs due to the next decade’s deficits would be less than 6 percent of revenue under current law.

  6. joe
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 11:27
    #6

    The ratio of debt to GDP is quite popular with economic nobel laureates.

  7. JBaloun
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 13:33
    #7

    It would be interesting to see circles on the GDP chart for the cost of roads, primary education, universities, prisions, and even future interest payments on expected debts. Then there is fixing the delta levys etc.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The 2011-12 budget for California was $85.9 billion in terms of general fund spending – that’s not all state spending but it is a substantial chunk of it. And yet that’s still just 4% of the state’s annual GDP.

    General fund revenues for 2011-12 are projected at $88.5 billion. Which is also just 4% of GDP. Plenty of room for that to grow without negatively impacting the economy as well.

  8. morris brown
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 13:59
    #8

    I assume you flunked economics Robert, if you ever took the class, you certainly flunked reality.

    Hell, you can make a much better case by comparing what California voters are supposed to put up in term of California dollars. Since the Feds or Chinese or private investors (funny that thus far only the Feds have been stupid enough to get sucked in for about 3.5 billion, are going to pay for everything over the $9 billion, you should be comparing to the US GDP ($14.6 trillion in 2010), not California’s 1.9 trillion (2010).

    This is about the third or 4th time you have tried to justify the outrageous cost by using GDP, rather than revenues.

    Go back to school and learn some economics.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Post of the week.

    Spokker Reply:

    Guys, the world GDP is like $63 trillion and HSRA is .0003021032130219301293% of that! It’s a steal!

    Spokker Reply:

    Lop off that A at the end of “HSRA” :)

    VBobier Reply:

    Luddite.

    MarkB Reply:

    Wow. I agree with morris about something. Just…wow.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Again: revenues are flexible. They are whatever Congress wants them to be. It strikes me as pointless to measure HSR spending against revenues because those revenues can always rise in order to offset that HSR spending. But GDP cannot be increased by fiat in the same way.

    Conservatives routinely argue that revenues are fixed and cannot be changed, as if it’s the financial equivalent of the Sierra snowpack. But they’re not. If the government wants more revenue, it just passes a law and gets it. Simple. Easy. Done.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Revenues may be flexible, but to say they are whatever Congress wants them to be implies that it is unlimited. You’re pretty much wrong there.

    VBobier Reply:

    Revenues aren’t as you know fixed Robert, Conservatives just like to pay nothing or very little, something for nothing, the ultimate thieves really or the Ultimate Welfare I should say as they want essentially a FREE ride or as close as they can get to that, when they know dammed well that they can afford it.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You know, our effective Federal Tax rate this year was 16.2% and State was another 10.1%. This doesn’t include unemployment insurance, social security etc which was sucked up another 4.25%.

    If the government can’t function after taking over 30% of our income from us in direct taxes, then they can go fuck themselves. You don’t get to ask for more either. I’ve paid more than my fair share.

    Got it?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Free ride? I’ll bet you don’t even pay taxes.

    joe Reply:

    Oh snap.

    Boeing paid 0.00 in corporate taxes.
    Exxon-mobile projects to pay 0.00 in corporate taxes.
    Delta Airlines projects to pay 0.00 in 2011 corporate taxes.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    What did you pay?

    Oh snap.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    He’s not a corporation.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Doesn’t appear this discussion was limited to corporations.

    joe Reply:

    Dr. Paul Krugman reminds us that validated economic policy is clear. In times of high unemployment and low interests rates – times like now – printing money is NOT inflationary. Spending is not inflationary and debt to GDP goes down as the economy recovers even if debt alone goes up. The GDP increases faster. The debt ratio improves.

    In fact government borrowing and investment in stuff like infrastructure is how one gets out of this economic downward spiral. Cutting spending and capping debt is how you create deflation.

  9. Derek
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 15:06
    #9

    In other news, Phoenix’s light rail line completed three years ago for $1.4 billion has brought a $4 billion economic boost to one city alone: http://www.wranglernews.com/2012/02/18/update-metro-light-rail-benefits-surpass-expectations/

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Well, when this college student who wrote the article offers up something to substantiate the $4 billion boost, you let us know.

    Derek Reply:

    Ask Onnie Skekerjian,Tempe council woman and chair of the Council Committee on Technology, Economic and Community Development. She’s the one who made the claim.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Right, because council persons are who I’d go to for Economic studies.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Even the Republican who admits she voted against the light rail?
    I bet SR didn’t even read the cited article. Shows how much “Reality” he can actually handle.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Confronted with a report, SR offers nothing but ad-hominem.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You’re hardly worth a response.

    MarkB Reply:

    If I had a nickel for every one of SR’s comments did NOT include an ad hominem, a snide dismissal, an insult, some other form of denigration, or an overall air of superiority, well, I’d be flat broke.

    On the other hand, if I had a nickel for every time SR made a thoughtful contribution to the discussion and made it in a positive way, well, uh, I’d still be flat broke.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Pot, kettle and Black.

    MarkB Reply:

    So it seems you’re not disagreeing with my assessment of your comments.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So it seems you think this should be a one way street. Foamers can say what they want, but the rest of us should sit in a corner.

    Good luck with that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You forgot to ask His Omniscience if you may. Disagree, assess, have the temerity to type things…

    Sobering Reality Reply:
    February 20th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    You on the other hand weren’t part of the conversation to begin with.

    Jonathan Reply:

    * Has His Omniscience actully _read_ the cited article?
    * If He has, did He read it _before_ his ad-hominem dismissal?
    * is there any evidence that the article was, as claimed, written by “a college student?” (As if that makes any difference, as long as the reporter reports accurately and fairly.

    Anyone want to take bets?

    i wonder when the BEA, and Troadec, Air France, and the world press, are going to ask His Omniscience for the straight scoop?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But he already shared his Omniscience with us, it was mechanical failure.

    Sobering Reality Reply:
    February 19th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    AF 447 went down for due to a mechanical failure. It was not avoidable.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Yes, I know. I’m wondering when he’s going to let Troadec in on the Truth.
    (See my earlier quote from Troadec et. al’s BEA press briefing.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes light rail does work, especially if you ensure the routes tap adequate markets to justify the additional capital improvements. Ergo trolley buses on Noriega, streetcars on Geary.

    But what light rail hereabouts? SMART is blinking subsidized freight and Bugatti doodlebugs that can only serve half a corridor. All due to a clique of political insiders monopolizing planning.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    “doodelbug” seems to mean a pre-WWII (meaning, pre-FRA-strength-requirement) passenger car, fitted with an internal combustion engine. SMART’s DMUs are *not* doodlebugs. Being built by Nippon Sharyo, they’re certainly not Bugattis.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The doodlebug – the last gasp before abandonment of passenger service.

    SMART could have bought San Diego’s Siemens lrv’s , that went instead to Argentina.

    The timeline is too long for me to be around to see this thing play out. But Marin is shortly putting out their bus operation to bid – I guess adios to GGT. Anyone’s guess where SMART will get its subsidy. I understand the bus ridership is continuing to fall, according to my neighbor who does bus maintenance at GGT.

    I have to guess nanny Moonbeam is sandbagging the RoPo casino, a sorely needed potential magnet destination for SMART.

  10. synonymouse
    Feb 19th, 2012 at 23:09
    #10

    High speed rail is a real estate developer’s scam. Zero to do with the environment, everything to do with promoting population growth.

    http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/powerful-land-owners-pose-obstacle-rail-14764

    How stupid I was to vote for this mierda.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You truly were stupid if you believed that even the very best possible LA-SF alignment (which is a couple hundred miles off PBQD=CHSRA’s) could be assembled without extensive property acquisition. Get real.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep property is not inexpensive anymore as it isn’t being made in CA, just in Hawaii.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, I freely admit I am stupid. The only defense I can present for myself is having been immersed in California happy clappy pollyannaism for the last 45 years. For all its entrenched problems Italy is better off than California – its people have been beatened into a hard realism factoring in ubiquitous corruption. Leibniz doesn’t play here – we live in the worst of all possible worlds.

    They could saved a fortune and avoided extensive property acquisition if they had used the I-5 ROW in the Valley. That would have agreed with what was supposed to be the core, tacit mission of the hsr – to provide a new greener high speed alternative to LA-SF flights. The idea was to improve the lifestyle of the same cities, and of the same size. The reason why they are acting out Baron Haussmann right up the heart of 99 is because they want to inflate and create more slums.

    But of course that means the route is relegated to the back side of town. You know, trailer trash meth-holes. Been down so long hsr looks like up to me, the Palmdale mantra.

    In truth the CHSRA is just another freeway on rails. And in truth Moonbeam and Mega-Mega are virtual soulmates – the only substantive differerence is the teachers and prison guards union hold Jerry’s markers. And in reality the CHSRA is the infrastructure accompaniment to the Peripheral Canal and the Keystone Pipeline.

    The same people and interests – the Zoellers of the world – support all 3 with the same gusto. Just don’t lay any rails anywhere close to THEIR golf course.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Honestly, I can’t wait of retirement at this point. Leave this dripping bag of a state behind. One day these foamers will wake up and have to face the reality of their stupidity. It will be a fun to watch.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    I’d be curious to know if you have ever lived outside of California.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Lets see… Colorado, Utah, Montana, Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well have it. Why wait when Texas Beckons!

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Nah… Too hot and humid for my taste.

    You might like it though. Low cost of living and all.

    jimsf Reply:

    I can’t wait for you to pack up your crap and get out either. It can’t happen soon enough. Nut case bad attitude assholes like you are what’s ruining this state. PAkc up your crap and get out. You don’t deserve to live someplace as nice as Californian because you don’t know how good you have it. go wallow in some two bit shthole of a state where you belong.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Don’t you have some tickets to sell?

    jimsf Reply:

    No not today. I’m off. had a lovely time with my boyfriend Pismo/Avila, enjoying what you’ll never find in any other state. I see the ever lovely Houston coast in your future. Enjoy.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So why are you sitting here on the internet then?

    What a fail.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I see the ever lovely Houston coast in your future.

    Not much of a beach person. Sorry.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    For the most part, this state is a shithole by the way. Wasn’t that way when I was growing up here, but it’s certainly gone that way.

    nslander Reply:

    Well, I guess your work here is done. Run along now.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Clearly you clowns aren’t done destroying the State.

    nslander Reply:

    And clearly our salvation is more “Angry White Guy, AM Talk Radio Melodrama Theater”.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Nope.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bitter angry straight rich old white guy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry – messed up. Should have said: don’t lay any rails close to OUR golf course – even in a tunnel.

  11. neville snark
    Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:15
    #11

    Syn, Sobering, Richard etc.; you misread the speech-act. Robert said:

    “So let’s consider $98 billion – again, the high end of the cost estimate for HSR – against California’s GDP. ”

    That is all; to compare the one with the other, thus making us realize that the one is minuscule compared with the other. There are no fallacies. No propositions of economics are denied and none asserted.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    This whole project is a fallacy.

  12. swing hanger
    Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:43
    #12

    Heavens, a lot of hostility here, and the days just started…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Well, when people play Monday morning quarterback with dead people or claim that the government should be able to tax people more than they already do it’s not going to go well.

    StevieB Reply:

    Governor Browns tax increase measures are likely to pass next election.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Once the machine has the 2/3 legislative lock they won’t no stinking elections. Welcome to Berserkeley.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Add need to no stinking elections

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    At which point California will finally implode on it’s own stupidity.

    People will ultimately follow a path toward self-destruction. It’s when that self-destruction occurs that they reverse direction. It will be painful at first, but rest assured, the correction will be swift and completely disturbing to the left which currently has a stranglehold on this state.

    Don’t buy it? Ask Greece. Those assholes are now complaining because they might lose a requirement of 6-months notice on being fired.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, totally. The only reason Sweden is not in the news more than Greece is that it secretly turned into a Nordic North Korea ten years ago to prop up all that socialism there.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    LOL.

  13. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 20th, 2012 at 11:14
    #13

    A bit off topic, but in line with some things brought up in the past–another illustration of the generational change. I wouldn’t have used the tag line of “World’s Worst Elected Official,” though; too many variables to judge, not to mention too many candidates!

    http://grist.org/list/worlds-worst-elected-official-makes-the-case-for-sprawl/

    The original essay:

    http://www.oakgov.com/exec/brooks/sprawl.html

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    And a bit of news on some of the competition–auto industry guardedly optimistic, claiming pent-up demand after scrapping rate exceeding new car sales for three years; against this, and not mentioned, the lower rate of new drivers among the driving age population:

    http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2012/01/why-2012-could-be-the-year-of-the-us-auto-industry.html

    https://www.polk.com/company/news/polk_issues_global_automotive_forecast_for_2012_77.7_million_in_new_vehicle

  14. synonymouse
    Feb 20th, 2012 at 20:11
    #14

    San Diego editorial opposing watering down Prop 1A travel time provisos:

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/19/tp-bullet-train-no-semantic-antics-please/

    No doubt Quentin Kopp would concur. But if you want save a precious half hour you have to take Mr. Zoeller to eminent domain. Wake up, Jerry, if you really want hsr, prove it. You have to demand Tejon, not wandering defeated around the Tehachapis.

    StevieB Reply:

    Much speculation on what the newest plan but no hard facts. We will have to wait until the authority is ready to provide facts and then some are certain to be surprised.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ring the Bay and terminate hsr at Iconic Galactic – BART coup? Admittedly longshot.

    StevieB Reply:

    The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is a career in the law awaiting you.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Can you achieve 2 hours and 42 minutes from LA to SF without Tejon? I mean value engineered Tehachapi will be slower and if you go back to all-out at Tehachapi to reduce the transit time of the mountain crossing you will be adding billions, which just makes Tejon look even better in comparison. lose-lose

    Other smarter souls no doubt have a better idea of what $5.00/gal fuel will do to bids, but I cannot imagine the effect will be positive. Could be the CHSRA is considering that $6bil may not be enough to construct anything worthwhile in the Valley, so just redirect the dough to the bookends and let the flak fly down in Fresno.

  15. Useless
    Feb 21st, 2012 at 08:46
    #15

    It is not just California having money trouble. China’s Railway Ministry has run out of money and China’s HSR construction is coming to a grinding halt.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9095729/Chinas-high-speed-rail-project-runs-out-of-steam.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    That would appear to render it unlikely Chinese money will be forthcoming to bankroll Palmdale BART.

    Perhaps there is still some hope here for rationalization. Seeing as how is leaving Van Ark could be direct and firm in presenting the alternatives to the CHSRA Board of Directors, ignoring pressure from Moonbeam and Richard. With value engineering there is no way the Prop 1A time requirements can be met, perhaps even with the much faster Tejon. Since they refuse to engineer out the optimal Tejon alignment, the figures are unreliable. All we will have in the way of somewhat researched projections will be for Tehachapi.

    There will be a scandal if they try to scrap the time requirements of Prop 1A. For certain slower travel times will undo the original patronage and profitability projections.

    The even greater issue of democratic political principle is why even bother to read the voters’ pamphlet when the enabling language can simply be erased and/or morphed later w/o voter approval. One is signing off on carte blanche. The legal language might as well be written on toilet paper.

    Van Ark should present the Board of Directors with a brutally candid and detailed explanation of the numerous and serious negative consequences of slowing down travel times and the great damage to the hsr project that will invariably be caused by backtracking and capitulating on Tejon.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Actually, you got it backward.

    The chances the Chinese were going to fund CAHSR died with Schwarzenegger. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Beijing gets more aggressive in selling its technology to countries that can float their own debt.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    haha, China selling “its” technology… :/

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I’ll pass on the Chinese Copy thing.

    Peter Reply:

    The chance of China selling “its” technology died a double-death: Toxic stolen IP from Siemens, Bombardier, and Kawasaki (?), plus highly publicized accident involving two “Chinese” trains and the political fallout showing deep corruption throughout every level of HSR design and construction there.

    The end.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Peter

    But is it the end!!??

    see:

    http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2012-02/17/content_14629222.htm

    vanArk…

    “I see no problem with it. In fact, the state of California is quite interested in hearing what the Chinese would like to do in making high speed rail a reality in California,” he says.

    Speaking from Sacramento, van Ark’s comments appear to signal a change in attitude to the prospect of Chinese and other overseas country investment in major domestic infrastructure assets.

    and…

    There have been concerns in China about the exportability of its technology following the July high-speed train accident in Zhejiang province.

    “I can tell you clearly today I have no hesitation in buying German technology and the Germans had a very big accident more than 10 years ago (the Eschede train disaster in 1998). Time repairs a lot of these things,” he says.

    Van Ark says that when over the next three or five years, the rail project might be looking for technological input or external financing from China there could be much more confidence in what they have to offer.

    “By then the Chinese should have gone through many millions of kilometers of successful operation and that is what builds up that reliability again,” he says.

    finally

    “The governor (Jerry Brown, who succeeded Schwarzenegger) is still hopeful I will stay on and guide the project further. There are discussions going on at the moment,” he says.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Yes. Except if memory serves, the Chiniese did _not_ acquire rights to resell Velaro technology outside China. (I don’t recall the details with other HSR vendors.)

    No doubt the Chinese will claim that they “reverse engineered” everything and that their domestically-produced trainsets don’t infringe on anyone’s intellectual property. That may fly within China, but it’s likely to be very, very different with .. oh, lets say OECD nations.

    synonymouse Reply:

    For the Chinese to dump money into Stilt-A-Rail they would have to get something out of it and that is not easy to identify. Maybe sell their stuff or take the heat off the trade imbalance? Improbable. Beside it looks like they have run out of construction funding themselves and they are having problems selling high priced tickets. But I am sure they consider the straight scoop on profitability a state secret. In a one party dictatorship whatever they say is going to be spun as much or more as anything coming from the CHSRA.

    As to Van Ark it would appear he is reduced to the role of seeing eye dog for Brown and Richard, blinded and possessed by Barry Zoeller. An exorcism could not help them at this point. The whole damn CHSRA seems to be infected with Oldsheimers – look at who fixed it – Kopp, Diridon and now Moonbeam – all stone geezers. Schwarzie was more “procreative”.

    Jonathan Reply:

    China may be heading toward recession. New car sales dropped 24% in 2011 over the year before.
    Electricity sales — a good proxy for overall economic activity — are down, too. At least, according to online journalists.

  16. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 21st, 2012 at 10:30
    #16

    Off topic but related: More comments on gas prices and the economy, with some interesting links within the article:

    http://bonddad.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-decline-in-gasoline-demand-doesnt.html

    From one of the links:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-12-07/mass-transit-ridership/51720984/1

    Well, Time finally is seeing what we’ve been seeing for years:

    http://moneyland.time.com/2011/12/08/fewer-teenagers-have-drivers-licenses-because-of-gas-prices-and-the-internet/

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Commentary from the Nine Shift site:

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/weblog/2012/02/gas-prices-americans-in-deep-water.html#comments

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/weblog/2012/02/prediction-high-gas-prices-to-further-light-rail-ridership-records.html#comments

    The last one is just for fun:

    http://nineshift.typepad.com/weblog/2012/02/no-smell-of-gasoline.html#comments

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    A little more fun, this time for fans of historic electric railroad action, movie clips of rod-drive electrics on the Norfolk & Western and the Virginian Railway, ca. 1928, originally linked from Railway Preservation News, and coming to there in turn from the Norfolk & Western Historical Society’s e-mail list and Critical Past Film Archives:

    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 … teel-train

    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 … w-material

    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 … road-track

    Enjoy.

  17. Henry Porter
    Feb 21st, 2012 at 19:24
    #17

    Interesting. How ’bout, tomorrow, you draw us a picture of the number of trips the train would carry compared to the number of trips Californians take, statewide? Or passenger trips? Or whatever?

Comment pages
Comments are closed.