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

    Nathanael Reply:

    Thanks! Yep, the run-through tracks are in there. Let’s get those built…

  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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    2010$ numbers are reasonable. YOE dollars depend extremely sensitively on predictions for future inflation, and those are EXTREMELY unreliable.

    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.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It depends on the university. I believe Columbia does everything in 4 semesters (I know this for a fact about the regular college, and I think it’s also the case for the engineering school), but if you take the honors sequence then it’s 2.

    In Singapore it’s 2 semesters.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Sigh. I wouldn’t know. I learned calc in high school, accelerated, and then majored in math in college, so I can’t really remember the arrangement of things prior to the junior level course, which I took freshman year.

    Speaking of which I have to get back to learning Calculus of Variations…

    Caelestor Reply:

    Yep, Columbia has Calcs I-IV. I prefer Honors Math, Calc I-IV and Linear Algebra in 2 semesters with an emphasis on proofs.

  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.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Must be nice for you then. I pay all those taxes as well, on top of my Income taxes.

    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?

    Nathanael Reply:

    You don’t understand money. when you can print money, you need to manage it entirely differently from if you can’t print it.

    Can you print money? Paul Glover can, but he’s a Keynesian. :-)

    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.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    I agree.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Depends exactly what the function of the military is, doesn’t it?

    The balance has changed towards guerrilla warfare due to recent tech changes.

  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…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You just described half the rail foamers on this site.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The population of the state will probably be declining due to massive droughts brought on by global warming, which is the one reason why one should be very careful about population projections. However, I suspect LA will find some way to hang on to what water is left….

    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.

    Matthew B Reply:

    You’re forgetting about widening.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be meaningful. Krugman doesn’t think much of it. He only pays attention to interest rates.

  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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Like you, Morris doesn’t know any economics either.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I think the correct phrase would be “doesn’t understand economics”, which you’d be wrong about. Thanks for playing.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Sure, and we know the limits. The optimal top rate, according to the last studies, is 90% for billionaires.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Notice that the current top rate for billionaires at the federal level is essentially 15%.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Optimal” == “Laffer curve” optimal, the rate where raising the rates lowers government income

    Jonathan Reply:

    I think that whooshed right over SR’s head.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No no no, if you raise rates the billionaires are gonna go down to the bank, withdraw all their money and stuff it in the mattress. The only way to get them to pay more taxes is to lower rates. By the time we eliminate them altogether the government will be awash in money.

    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?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Tax rates were a hell of a lot higher than that under Eisenhower.

    The old saying was “half for me, half for the government”. 50% rates.

    You grew up under much, much higher tax rates. The government especially needs to have high tax rates *on the rich* in order to be a decent government, and if you don’t like that, you can go to one of the little Arab sheikdoms, where they do it the other way.

    Of course, what’s happened lately is that the Republican Party has *raised taxes on poorer people* (which you are) and *lowered taxes on rich people* (like me). This was done by Reagan, and then done to an extreme degree by George W. Bush. To his utter discredit, Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the superrich, caving in to the House Republican Caucus.

    Conservatives are, fundamentally, brainwashed, and that makes them act stupid. They repeatedly vote to raise their own taxes while cutting taxes for rich people.

    I pay 0% federal, 6.85% state on my investment income. No payroll, unemployment insurance, social security, nothing! This is the way Republicans LIKE it. Democrats occasionally try to do something to fix it. (Not always.)

    Bluntly, when you vote Republican, you ARE fucking yourself with a sharp stick. Unless you’re one of the 1%.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Note that I’m not actually one of the superrich — they have to pay a whole 15% federal rate. Sometimes, when they don’t have enough interest-paid deductions.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Mitt Romney, for instance, is one of the actual superrich.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Free ride? As a rich person benefiting from the Bush tax cuts on capital gains, no, I pay very little in taxes. I benefit from the 0% bracket (look it up) and the 15% top rate.

    I think that’s obscene. You, however, with your occasional expressed support of Republicans, seem to think that it’s great that I get a free ride!

    Before Bush, I paid a lot in taxes. Though I still paid less than working stiffs (“chumps”, we call them, when they vote for Republicans), because there were *already* tax breaks for capital gains.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I benefit from the 0% bracket (look it up) and the 15% top rate.

    Lotto or Trust fund?

    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.)

    Sobering Reality Reply:

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

    Do you turn to monday morning quarterbacks for all of your answers or just those that are convenient?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Ah, so the official air accident investigators are “Monday-morning quarterbacks”?
    Do I have that right?

    (yes, I did peruse the French original but I quoted the BBC translation of the press briefing. Note that word, “briefing”).

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Maybe you should read a little:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14342877

    A statement from Air France rejected the BEA’s findings, saying that “nothing at this stage can allow the crew’s technical competence to be blamed” for the crash.

    Before you start swinging on the nuts of the BEA you should maybe consider the flaws in their investigative method. But you and your budies wouldn’t know anything about that becasue you’re too busy, well, being ignorant.

    Or maybe this will enlighten you:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12940060

    What were you saying about Air France?

    http://alphasite.airfrance.com/en/s01/

    Jonathan Reply:

    LOL. That’s called “denial”, not rejection. And Air France has legal reasons to claim so.

    Read the quotes I posted, you miserable excuse for a human being.

    Jonathan Reply:

    You really are a piece of work. Who’s to say this BBC article wasn’t written by (I quote you) “a college student”?

    And you are flatly, unmistakably wrong on the facts. The cockpit data recorders show very clearly that the two pilots, in a flight regime for which they were _not_ trained (despite your earlier bombast), over-corrected for the overspeed indicatoin. The plane rapidly climbed from 35,000 feet to 38,000 feet, where it stalled.

    The aircraft then descended for over three minutes at a vertiical speed over 120mi/hr — over 10,000 feet/miin. The stall-warning sounded repeatedly, and continuously for over 54 sec.

    *BZZT*.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Your Omniscience,

    I realize that you know this already. But, for the record, I’d like to get it straight for the rest of us.

    In response to quoting Troadec, Director of the BEA (in another thread here), you are citing a BBC report into an air accident in the _Comoros islands_,
    where an allegedly poorly-maintained Yemenia airliner (Government-owned airline of Yemen) crashed? Where the _Yemeni_ authorities don’t buy the French reading of the flight recorders?
    When Yemenia aircraft had previously been described as “flying dustbins” by a French Cabinet Minster _before_ the crash?

    And you’re using that as an example of “political bias” in air accident investigation”, to invalidate a _French_ _Government_ BEA investigation of _Air France_ ?
    You’re arguing that BEA is politically biased, because BEA gave an apparently-honest assessment on a Yemenia crash, which the Yemenis object to !?!

    Words fail me, Your Omniscience.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Watch out man. Your ignorant fool meter is pegging.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Speaking of “miserable excuse for a human being”…

    You don’t’ even know how to fly an airplane, yet you sit here denigrating a dead person for actions you don’t’ understand in your quest to place blame for an incident you know nothing about.

    And yes, it is well known that the BEA has a political bias you ignorant piece of crap of a human being. Their entire investigation process is fraught will leaks to the press, misleading comments that get retracted (as was the case in this incident) and a focus on trying to charge people with a crime vs. looking for answers.

    Now go back to whatever hole you climbed out of and stop using Wikipedia as your source for everything. My God your are an ignorant human being.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    While we’re on the subject of saying what people “could” have done, a supposition by the way, you “could” have developed better reading and comprehension skills. You see, the article that you want to criticize me for saying “it was written by a college student”… WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN BY A COLLEGE STUDENT.

    Now go away troll.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    http://www.wranglernews.com/2012/02/18/update-metro-light-rail-benefits-surpass-expectations/

    Daniel Rasmussen, a graduate of Corona del Sol High School, is a communications major at Arizona State University.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Try Wyoming then. It’s completely landlocked, and *full* of insane reactionaries.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And it needs the population. Maybe if enough yahoos move there, it will actually have enough people to deserve its two Senators.

    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.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    I’m confused. Which one of the “clowns”/denizens of this fine board extol the virtues of all the great actions which utterly demolished California’s glorious hue?

    Would that be Governor Reagan’s ingenuous plan to disregard the state Constitution and charge tuition for the UC system?

    Or Howard Jarvis’s brilliant plan to institute feudal land tenure through Prop 13?

    Or maybe it was David Dreier’s infalliable plan to give China Most Favored Nation status and eliminate all our manufacturing jobs?

    Or could it be Pete Wilson’s magical idea to alienate 50% of the state’s future electorate by advocating for Prop 187 and making sure that Latinos in California along with its formerly blacklisted Jews and blockbusted blacks NEVER vote anything but Democrat.

    Or wait… could it have been Arnold Schwarzenegger’s peerless vision to establish any sort of meaningful oversight of the private sector?

    I mean, don’t tease us like that. Please… tell us which of the previous “clowns” is your favorite. I can’t wait to find out.

    Jonathan Reply:

    His Onmisicience may well reply that, since you’re not sufficiently omniscient to read his mind, then

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

    one wonders when His Omniscience grew up here. Presumably it was before Prop 13 made it impossible to adequately fund education (evil grin). Trans-generational taxes are, after all, what Republicans are up n arms against these days.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    @adirondaker: Typical liberal stereotyping twit who lives off of other people’s money. then complains when those who pay the bills don’t give enough. Then has the audacity to call them selfish.

    @Tom: Typical California liberal, so entrenched in the ruling political class that he can’t understand that without the actions of the individuals he mentions the state would be in far worse shape. Probably thinks Pelosi is good for America.

    @Jonathan: Ignorant ideologue troll, has never even bothered to try to have a conversation with, well, pretty much anyone. His first quip “You’re a liar” came when the status quo was challenged. Thinks it’s great to do things like spend $4 billion on a train station that should only cost a couple of billion. Probably thinks dictatorial rule would be a good thing while he calls conservatives fascists.

    I think that about covers it.

    Jonathan Reply:

    feeling on the defensive, Your Omnscience?

    You just make this shit up, don’t you? I said you were a “liar by your own standards”, because you ommited pertient details, and you’d just called someone else a liar, explicitly for doing the same thing.

    And as for me “think[ing] it’s great to do things like spend $4 billion on a train station that should only cost ta couple of billlion” . . … that is an outright lie, which you made up out of thin air
    Read what I’ve posted on Clem’s blog about the insane costs of CSHRA’s SJ-to-SF section.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Typical California liberal, so entrenched in the ruling political class that he can’t understand that without the actions of the individuals he mentions the state would be in far worse shape. Probably thinks Pelosi is good for America.

    What the hell does that mean? I understand that Prop 13 is still Gospel to older Californians and they won’t admit the monster they have created by taking authority away from the legislature and juicing the initiative system that gave us… oh wait… Prop 1a!!!

    But you think we would have been better off with Prop 187 INTACT? You still upset that Reagan signed the bill for amnesty or something?

    Not to mention the fact that you think that California manufacturing becoming more one-dimensional towards defense technology was good????? You think all those empty bases and closed plants are a sign of VICTORY?

    Or that it’s taken Jerry Brown less than half the time to fix the structural mess that Schwarzenegger never TOUCHED?

    You seem not to understand that the Democrats in California do so well not because everyone is a closet Marxist praying to the worker’s shrine ideologically, but that the GOP has offered the state as a whole NOTHING. When the demographics shifted against it, the Grand Ol’ Party cut and ran.

    That’s why California is now a one party state, the other guys left. And judging by your comments, you seem eager to self-deport too….

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You think all those empty bases and closed plants are a sign of VICTORY?

    Yeah, last I checked bases close when politicians thumb their nose and plants close when environmental nut bags are allowed to run amuck.

    Or that it’s taken Jerry Brown less than half the time to fix the structural mess that Schwarzenegger never TOUCHED?

    You think things have been structurally fixed in this state? You really are oblivious to the world around you.

    This states finances are a house of cards. Wake the hell up.

    You seem not to understand that the Democrats in California do so well not because everyone is a closet Marxist praying to the worker’s shrine ideologically, but that the GOP has offered the state as a whole NOTHING. When the demographics shifted against it, the Grand Ol’ Party cut and ran.

    No one left, the massive crap holes that are LA ans SF just got bigger and political whores that lead them just promised more handouts. Nevermind the fine job of redisctricting over the last three decades that was done specifically to marginalize conservatives.

    You guys need to get out of the bubble. You’ve lost it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Tom

    In any other state, say Ohio, Schwarzenegger would be considered a moderate, centrist Democrat, which is really what he is.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The thing is that the GOP has self-destructed in CA, so the only way that the could win high office anymore is to run lefter than they would elsewhere. Not entirely sure why they fell apart in the 1990s, but they are just a joke nowadays (seriously, Meg Whitman?)

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    You can’t have government take a smaller and smaller share of GDP because of tax cuts and support the defense infrastructure we had in the Cold War. You may have heard of the term “starve the beast”…eventually that means that defense gets hit too (which about to happen on a grand, grand scale).

    As for Jerry…it’s not that he’s solved all the problems… it’s that he’s actually getting traction for reforms which Arnold thought he could achieve through personality and guile alone.

    Further, I could tell you more about state budgeting and finance than you would ever care to know. There’s no house of cards: what you have is a tax system that is too reliant on income tax and not reliant enough on user fees and severance taxes. California trades three down years for one flush year when Silicon Valley is full of IPOs. However, given that members of the Assembly are elected for only two years at a time… it’s an overreach of power to bind the hand of the electorate in year three or four but so too is it a lack of leadership.

    And—– Los Angeles County has experienced net outmigration for several years since 2003, myself included. And the people that leave are either young and unable to find work (and pay taxes), myself included, or older and cashing out on their house or other retirement to move somewhere more white, or cheaper… All your population growth in California now is natural increase and foreign immigration.

    Oh and your comment about redistricting is also completely unwarranted: Congressional GOPs wanted that map because their demographers can add and sought fewer, but safer seats, than more less safe ones in 2001. I mean, the GOP was rolling up the tents for a long time in California, it didn’t happen overnight….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In any other state, say Ohio, Schwarzenegger would be considered a moderate, centrist Democrat, which is really what he is.

    In any other state, after they stopped giggling, they would have picked someone who wasn’t a movie star.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Synon:

    That’s exactly it. Schwarzenegger is a Bloomberg Republican… a centrist in areas so heavily controlled by Democrats that they run outside “the machine” to avoid paying homage to the usual power brokers. Problem is, that hasn’t worked for Bloomberg or Ahnold because the “machines” are bigger than any person or institution.

    Really idealistic liberals have the same problem. Why do you think Warren Beatty and Alec Baldwin haven’t run yet?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    It’s a tradition in CA, Reagan after all. Besides, we did better than Minnesota with Jesse Ventura.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually, Jesse Ventura was a *damned* good governor.

    I should mention he got the Hiawatha Line light rail built, when the usual dilly-dallying, delaying, car-loving, shortsighted politicians were going to not do it.

    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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    No. You are 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.

    Nathanael Reply:

    You don’t have a fucking clue, do you, “Sobering Reality” (Drunken Unreality)? Do you get your news from the Wall Street Journal or Fox News or something? Because you don’t know what’s going on in Greece, let alone why it has nothing to do with what’s going on in California.

    I’m not going to tell you. Google it.

  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.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Not really. More like high finance….

    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:

    what do you mean by “stone geezer”?

    synonymouse Reply:

    doddering old dudes missing the testosterone to rumble with Barry Zoeller. The Crypt Keeper would put up a better fight for the interests of the people of California.

    Why does Jerry want detour so far to the East? Are the casino moguls slipping him “campaign contributions”? The way Sheldon Adelson is funding the Grinch.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Synon, pretty much no-one else here shares your obsession with the Tejon Ranch to the degree of remembering last-century news-anchors on local Bakersfield TV, who happened to later get a job with Tejon Ranch.

    Then again, I might be wrong.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You gotta have a figurehead to joust with. Otherwise it is just a faceless corp with a whole lot of land and a whole bunch of money.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    This is precisely the issue:

    The Chinese aren’t going to sell us stuff if we don’t finance it. CAHSR was a bit player, a showcase for their technology selling it to Brazilians, Australians etc. who are going to see their currency appreciate because of higher exports, especially for energy. They were willing to throw money around if it could get a good deal… for all the reasons this blog has documented…that’s no longer the case.

    Peter Reply:

    So far we’ve had a major Chinese HSR accident involving a signaling failure. I would not be surprised if, in the next couple of years, we also saw an accident involving catastrophic rolling stock failure or infrastructure failure (collapse of a viaduct or something similar) as well. Google “China trash bridge” if you’re unfamiliar with the problem.

    Peter Reply:

    Here’s even an example of a railway bridge built out of essentially trash. http://www.tuoitrenews.vn/cmlink/tuoitrenews/international/china-railway-officials-fired-for-fraud-over-trash-bridge-1.51356

    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?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I can tell you this is the air traffic demand in the state on the HSR route. It’s pretty small in comparison to what the CAHSRA forecasts which makes you wonder about how they got to a number nearly 4 times the existing actual demand for High Speed transportation in the state. I beleive they assuem that HSR will capture 100% of the air market (which they won’t), 100% of the rail market (which they won’t), plus enough vehicle traffic to reach the absurd number:

    Origin: Destination: Total 2011 Passengers:

    Bakersfield Los Angeles 381
    Bakersfield Sacramento 281
    Bakersfield San Diego 104
    Bakersfield San Francisco 3,888
    Bakersfield San Jose 36
    Burbank Fresno 40
    Burbank Modesto 141
    Burbank Oakland 350,247
    Burbank Sacramento 203,287
    Burbank San Francisco 38,063
    Burbank San Jose 195,562
    Fresno Burbank 40
    Fresno Los Angeles 17,836
    Fresno Ontario 106
    Fresno Orange County 292
    Fresno Sacramento 31
    Fresno San Diego 7,644
    Fresno San Francisco 2,007
    Long Beach Oakland 129,728
    Long Beach Sacramento 69,786
    Long Beach San Francisco 130,225
    Long Beach San Jose 5
    Los Angeles Bakersfield 381
    Los Angeles Fresno 17,836
    Los Angeles Merced 136
    Los Angeles Modesto 1,678
    Los Angeles Oakland 306,547
    Los Angeles Sacramento 217,492
    Los Angeles San Diego 13,885
    Los Angeles San Francisco 927,719
    Los Angeles San Jose 314,538
    Merced Los Angeles 136
    Merced San Diego 27
    Modesto Burbank 141
    Modesto Los Angeles 1,678
    Modesto Ontario 158
    Modesto Orange County 914
    Modesto San Diego 1,578
    Modesto San Francisco 912
    Oakland Burbank 350,247
    Oakland Long Beach 129,728
    Oakland Los Angeles 306,547
    Oakland Ontario 205,261
    Oakland Orange County 216,177
    Oakland San Diego 308,866
    Ontario Fresno 106
    Ontario Modesto 158
    Ontario Oakland 205,261
    Ontario Sacramento 209,249
    Ontario San Diego 4
    Ontario San Francisco 19,929
    Ontario San Jose 125,545
    Orange County Fresno 292
    Orange County Modesto 914
    Orange County Oakland 216,177
    Orange County Sacramento 200,219
    Orange County San Francisco 253,662
    Orange County San Jose 228,679
    Sacramento Bakersfield 281
    Sacramento Burbank 203,287
    Sacramento Fresno 31
    Sacramento Long Beach 69,786
    Sacramento Los Angeles 217,492
    Sacramento Ontario 209,249
    Sacramento Orange County 200,219
    Sacramento San Diego 292,555
    Sacramento San Francisco 1,955
    Sacramento San Jose 1,555
    San Diego Bakersfield 104
    San Diego Fresno 7,644
    San Diego Los Angeles 13,885
    San Diego Merced 27
    San Diego Modesto 1,578
    San Diego Oakland 308,866
    San Diego Ontario 4
    San Diego Sacramento 292,555
    San Diego San Francisco 520,248
    San Diego San Jose 288,087
    San Francisco Bakersfield 3,888
    San Francisco Burbank 38,063
    San Francisco Fresno 2,007
    San Francisco Long Beach 130,225
    San Francisco Los Angeles 927,719
    San Francisco Modesto 912
    San Francisco Ontario 19,929
    San Francisco Orange County 253,662
    San Francisco Sacramento 1,955
    San Francisco San Diego 520,248
    San Jose Bakersfield 36
    San Jose Burbank 195,562
    San Jose Long Beach 5
    San Jose Los Angeles 314,538
    San Jose Ontario 125,545
    San Jose Sacramento 1,555
    San Jose San Diego 288,087

    Total Annual Pax: 11,385,851

    (Apologies in advance if the formatting makes it hard to read, it’s an Excel table)

    Nathanael Reply:

    HSR will capture 50%-90% of the air market (more if it has airport connections, since most of the air market is connecting) 90% of the rail market — and perhaps 50% of the driving market (that one’s harder to tell). Plus it will actually induce new trips.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    LOL. Even more reason to worry. Since there is only one airport connection planned for the entire system.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Isn’t Burbank going to be workable as an airport connection in addition to SFO? That would be two.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    And connect to where? An HSR ticket to BUR will cost as much as if not more than your flight out of BUR.

    jimsf Reply:

    you have no idea what a ticket will cost. No one does. You don’t the know the price of anything 20 years from now.

    joe Reply:

    We have no idea which is why diversification is important.

    But we do know trends:
    1. High grade, low cost oil reserves are diminishing
    2. Less dense, more energy intensive fossil alternatives will, by the fact they take more energy to refine, will cost more per gallon.
    3. The oil market is global, US will compete and pay world market prices regardless of domestic or international sources.
    4. Europe pays about twice what we pay right now at the gas pump if anecdotal comparisons between family and math: converting liters to gallons. Internet tells me in Paris “The price, equivalent to $7.97 per US gallon, beat the previous record set in June 2008 of 1.4971 euros.”
    5. World demand continues to increase.
    6. US Youth diver’s license applications and car ownership are dropping.
    7. Public transportation use is increasing.
    8. Airline competitors such as Mega-bus intercity service & ridership is growing.
    9. HSR is flexible fuel.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    HSR may be flexible fuel but it is inflexible service.

    There are thousands and thousands of trip origins and destinations making millions and millions of trip possibilities. If what you say is true, we are doomed. The only people who will be traveling anywhere are those who live within walking distance of a train station and are headed to grandma’s house, who just happens to live within walking distance of a train station.

    Talk about a bunch of pessimists!

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    So then you do admit the fares from the Authority for HSR were bogus.

    One thing that is understood. Even with higher fuel costs, the cost of flying continues to decline in real dollars:

    http://web.mit.edu/TicketTax/

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    SFO, Burbank, Ontario, and San Diego would be four airport connections, not one (and John Wayne is a brief and simple bus connection from Irvine).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Palmdale for the low low cost cattle car carriers. I can see the ads now, advertising LA-NY for Ryanair’s flights from Palmdale to Stewart or Allentown. They’d get a twofer if they flew to Allentown, NY or Philadelphia on the same plane…

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Palmdale will never have a low cost carrier. There isn’t enough demand and the passenger looking for that kind of fare isn’t going to tack on an HSR cost.

    Try to keep your thoughts rooted in some sort of reality.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can get on the airline provided bus just like Ryanair does in Europe.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Like I said, try to keep your thoughts rooted in reality. Airlines might like low cost airports, but they don’t like them in the sticks.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Ontario is going to be the only true airport connection. The rest will have a convoluted conection process of tranferign from the train to another transportation mode to the terminal. San Fracnisco is an APM and San Diego will be a bus. You’re not going to bypass Ontario in favor of Burbank either.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    San Diego is talking about building a new train station with direct air connection and I fail to see how an APM from train to terminal is more convoluted than APM between air terminals. Or are you suggesting that a number of airports no longer possess true connections between flights? And Ontario and Burbank are two entirely different phases of the project, there is no bypassing involved.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    San Diego is talking about building a new train station with direct air connection

    That died under it’s $7 billion price tag two years ago. Last read was its a train station and a bus to the terminal and possibly an APM later, although I don’t know how you tunnel under a runway that was built on fill from the bay. You mess that up and it’s literally over.

    I fail to see how an APM from train to terminal is more convoluted than APM between air terminals

    An APM between terminals is typically post security and you’re usually not dragging all your bags with you. Good for the 55% of business travelers, not so much for the other 45% with checked bags.

    And Ontario and Burbank are two entirely different phases of the project, there is no bypassing involved.

    The primary catchment for these two markets is between San Diego and Burbank. You’re not going to get people to come from Bakersfield to Burbank or Ontario to catch a flight thats already offered at Fresno, a market that will grow substantially in the next decade. Same for areas north of Fresno. They’ll head to Fresno or north to Sacramento or the Bay Area where there are better choices. If it went to LAX it would be a different story.

    Fresno (2012 markets):

    Dallas/Fort Worth
    Denver
    Guadalajara
    Las Vegas
    Los Angeles
    Phoenix
    Portland
    Salt Lake City
    San Diego
    San Francisco
    Seattle/Tacoma

    Burbank:

    Dallas/Fort Worth
    Denver
    Las Vegas
    New York/Kennedy
    Oakland
    Phoenix
    Portland
    Sacramento
    Salt Lake City
    San Francisco
    San Jose
    Seattle/Tacoma

    Ontario:

    Atlanta
    Chicago/Midway
    Dallas/Fort Worth
    Denver
    Guadalajara
    Houston/Bush
    Las Vegas
    Oakland
    Phoenix
    Portland
    Sacramento
    Salt Lake City
    San Francisco
    San Jose
    Seattle/Tacoma

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    If there was existing demand such that additional capacity and ultralow fares would induce trips, they airlines would be flying 375 seat cattle call 777’s all day from SFO to LAX with $29 fares.

    Jonathan Reply:

    You’re innumerate. Either that, or the $29 dollar fares are on Sunday mornings booked 9 months in advance.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You should really try reading sometime.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    Maybe if fares are free to riders and taxpayers pay 100%. Otherwise you’re delusional.

  18. Henry Porter
    Feb 22nd, 2012 at 20:07
    #18

    There are 37.7 million Californians.  At 4 trips per day (average for Americans) Californians take 55 billion trips per year.  Even it CAHSR could attract their outrageous estimate of 117 million trips per year, that’s still only 0.2 percent.

    If it was successful in capturing all 11.4 million present high speed passengers cited by Sobering Reality, it would be a mere 0.02 percent (one in 4,830 trips).

    Realistically, it would probably carry around one trip in 10,000.

    You guys can’t put enough lipstick on this pig!

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    55 billion trips up and down the state each year?

    Don’t think so.

  19. jimsf
    Feb 22nd, 2012 at 20:41
    #19

    the est. I see is 77-117 per year – after full build out. YOu are using todays numbers.
    The bottom line is 100 million pax per year works out to 274k per day. 100k fewer pax than bart gets on an average day. and bart gets 350k per day out of bay area pool of under 7 million.

    hsr could easily get 274k per day out of a pool of 40-50 million.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    Comparing one daily commuter trip per 20 persons (BART) to one daily long distance intercity trip per 150-180 persons (HSR) is a meaningless comparison.  That would be like saying, since 25% of Californians visit a state park once a year in 2012, 10% of Californians can be expected fly to Paris annually in 2022.

    In order to believe one out of every 150-180 people will pay to ride HSR every day, you first have to believe that many people will take such a long distance trip every day, all to a destination served by the train, PLUS you have to believe 100% of them will choose the train over faster (planes) and cheaper (cars and probably planes) alternatives.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Except for the fact that 50 million annual passengers is only 136,986 passengers a day and this isn’t a commuter train to replace BART. BART ridership isn’t even relevant. Its like saying HSR will solve your local traffic problem during rush hour.

    jimsf Reply:

    Except that hsr will essentially be bart for the state. And the state will rival todays NEC (49 million pop)
    The genius ( yes I said it) of the ca hsr is that it route as planned makes it so versatile. So many people will have access and trips will be so quick, that californians will be able to use hsr to travel from city to city, region to region, as easily as bay areans, casually hop on to bart to zip about the bay.

    so yes I believe that getting 274k rides a day out of a 50 million pop. is realistic. especially when you consider that most trips are round trips. So you really only need 137k people per day to make round trips. and that is very doable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But but they would have to get out of their He-man red blooded Real American(tm) cars to do that.

    jimsf Reply:

    itll be ok. the state future population won’t be made up of RealAmerican(tm) folks anyway. The new people and the young people will gravitate towards transit more easily. The leftover RealAmerican(tm) folks will all have moved to Idaho with Sobering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He strikes me more as rural Alabama type. And it snows in Idaho, Californians don’t do snow.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    There you go again. Stereotyping.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well snow in Idaho is stereotypical is it not?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    He strikes me more as rural Alabama type

    You strike me as an ignorant douche bag, actually I think that’s obvious to everyone with that post.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I hear rural Alabama is lovely, especially this time of year. What’s wrong with rural Alabama?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Yeah, I think everyone got your point.

    joe Reply:

    Idaho bigots I saw in North ID were CA transplants. Hayden Lake for example.

    It snows in N ID, not every where, but the dirty little secret is, it’s not that cold.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Idaho bigots

    Grow up man.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    For you to get that number, this will have to be the most successful HSR project in the world in terms of capturign passengers from other transportation modes. Do you even understand that? You will never get that number and it won’t be BART for the state, unless you’re refereing to it’s bloated costs and lack of overall utility.

    joe Reply:

    HSR is a floor wax and dessert topping.

    It connects SF to LA within a time constraint .AND. does this while it services the populations in-between the two end points.

    FYI: CARRD thinks HSR will NOT get ridership and one major reason is the CV is too poor and uneducated to generate ridership. aka a train to no where. Sorry JimSF.

    http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Ridership-peer-review-letter-v1.1.pdf

    Second, a better approach would be to directly incorporate socio-economic data that differentiates Central Valley cities from others in California. Travel demand in general and high speed rail travel demand in particular are closely linked to income levels, educational attainment and certain types of employment. While the peer review group has focused on the importance of income, we would suggest using additional measures as the differences between regions are stark. Many of these metrics are analyzed in detail in this sobering report: http://www.measureofamerica.org/california/
    We have included a number of data points below.

    1. Income and educational attainment levels 3. Renfe(theSpanishHSRoperator)indicated in a June 2011 presentation to CHSRA that 68% of their customers are college educated. The SP survey collected educational data.
    2. Local economy data. We have both unemployment statistics and a breakdown of employment by the types of industries that have an affinity for high speed rail. These illustrate the large differences in California’s regional economies.

    I disagree with CARRD.

    HSR will reduce the travel time from Fresno to Palo Alto to one hour. Currently a car trips include driving a busy segment on a 2 lane road (152). How can HSR not improve the socio-economic conditions of the CV given this transportation bottle neck.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They ain’t gonna be poor forever.

    joe Reply:

    CARRD members think they will be poor forever and therefore not worth the infrastructure investments.

    Circular thinking but circular thinking that props up the home values in areas where is legacy infrastructure – and as long as High Speed Rail uses a Responsible Design aka the HSR infrastructure doesn’t degrade CARRD community ambiance and home prices.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But the thing is clean quiet fast electric trains on a nearby grade separated right of way increase property values. Unless you think electric trains are going to breed the slums of Cos Cob or the dystopian nightmare of Hartsdale.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Picking on CARRD again – why don’t you pick on those with the assets, the friends in high places, and the lawyers take you on?

    “clean quiet fast electric trains on a nearby grade separated right of way increase property values.” The Tejon Ranch Co. totally and utterly repudiates that claim.

    The cheerleaders need to quit carping about small homeowner “nimbys” unless they are willing to go after the filthy rich friends of Jerry, Antonio, and Nancy with the same ferocity. Otherwise sheer hypocrisy.

    joe Reply:

    The massive build CAHSRA proposed would be intrusive to a small corridor along the ROW BUT PAMPA residents could easily afford to trench the system. Berkeley paid to put BART underground.

    I could see why PA doesn’t want a station given the car centric design currently floated BUT the ROW is trench-able

    BTW, no one is picking on CARRD. They have every right to represent their self-interests and argue how much more relevant they are than the CV citizens – socio-economic and all. It’s democracy in action.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah yes California exceptionalism. It won’t work the way it has, all over the world, in California.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Be fair. The naysayers are arguing _American_ Exceptionalism. They are rooted in a beleif that Americna’s wont ride HSR anywhere in the USA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They argue that Real Americans(tm) won’t ride HSR, or for that matter, trains. I guess all the people riding Amtrak aren’t Real Americans(tm). I know the ones on Acela aren’t, flitting between New York, which is very very Unreal America and that cesspit of Unreal Americana, Washington DC.

    Jonathan Reply:

    I wouldn’t know, I’m not an American.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    You’ll never capture that many passengers.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    But given how many passengers Japan’s high speed rail captures. with a population base of around three times of Cailfornia… you could get awful close.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    We’re not Japan. We’re not even Europe.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    “We suck, and we will always suck. Give up.”

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    That’s the lamest argument yet.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Soooo…. why did you make it then?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I beleive you’re the one that said:

    “We suck, and we will always suck. Give up.”

    News flash: Not having HSR does not mean your country sucks.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Sobering Reality:

    The use of quotes by Miles, in this context, indicates that he was paraphrasing your own arguments on this forum both in this thread and in general. It would seem that you are unable to recognize your own stance when presented in this manner, so I’ve taken the liberty of adding some extra words for clarification:

    We (USA, California) suck (at building rail-based transit) and we will always suck (at building rail-based transit). (We should) Give up (at attempting to build anything that smells of ‘high speed’ rail)

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Oh waiut, this is what you wanted to say:

    “Prove we can have real fast choo choo’s too! Spend with reckess abandon! Be damed the cost! To hell with solving real traffic problems! We must have high speed rail!”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What are the real traffic problems?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Really? Jesus.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s been my experience that Jesus rarely if ever causes traffic problems.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    HSR ridership in Japan is about 2.72 times population. If you apply that to California at 37.7 million, you get 102 million riders….

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Good for Japan.

    Brian Reply:

    The French do and they have an inefficient star shaped network. CA has its cities lined up along the RR lines that created them.

    Please argue how CA is so different from the twelve countries with successful HSR systems that everything will be opposite-world here.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Please argue how CA is so different from the twelve countries with successful HSR systems that everything will be opposite-world here.

    Way more tea-baggin’ goin on?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Please argue how CA is so different from the twelve countries with successful HSR systems that everything will be opposite-world here.

    Have you even looked at the forecast? Depending on who you talk to its either 4 times or 7 times the current air travel on the routes. That doesn’t jive.

    Jonathan Reply:

    I suspect you’re only counting O/D travel, is that right?
    For the sake of “full disclosure” — the absence of which you personally and repeatedly call “a lie: — what happens if you count *all* air travel? Not farfetched.

    You’re compeent at typing keywords into web-searches and citing (irrelevant, if not wholly contradictlry to your point) web-pages. Go look up airline/HSR code-shares in Europe.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    No, its onboards dipshit.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Well, thank you for your factual, polite, and non-ad-hominem response. (Not.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That doesn’t jive.

    Yes, it actually does. Whatever air traffic was between Seoul and Busan before the KTX opened, it was less than one quarter the current KTX traffic. Or LGV Sud-Est traffic vs. the Paris-Lyon air shuttle.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Madrid-Barcelona – only a 37% capture. More appropriate comparison.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Before HSR: 4,856,964
    CY 2011: 3,040,576

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Yes, and? That’s not incompatible with HSR holding 45% of the total market; simply that since HSR airlines have lost 37% of their passengers.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Interestingly, I’m going to go on a limb here and say both Alon and SR are right; HSR may have only taken 37% in this case, but if its traffic is along the lines of what Alon has for the other routes, then not all the traffic it has came from air (and that may apply to the other routes as well).

    How much of the traffic on KTX was by highway before there was LTX? How much was on LGV Sud-Est that was on the French road system?

    And in a parallel vein, how much of this traffic is between or among intermediate stops that the air service didn’t serve at all? How much of this traffic is travel that didn’t exist at all–in other words, induced travel? Add that up, and a huge jump in passenger count might not be so unreasonable.

    Alternately, how big an economic hit would the region served by the Northeast Corridor take if there were no through services offered by Amtrak? How much extra traffic congestion would result in this case (admittedly unique in America)? How many trips now made by train wouldn’t be made at all because the hassles and/or expense wouldn’t make it worthwhile? How much would that really cost?

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    By the way, I’ll miss our conversations. Some ass hats pissed me off a bit today.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    I don’t think I’ll be here much longer.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yeah yeah yeah, last time you promised to leave you started posting more.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Wasn’t talking to you.

    Jonathan Reply:

    I will miss your factual contributions.

    Regrefully, your departure may be a nett win for the blog.

    I’m still waiting for you to justify your claim that the BEA i–including the buerau’s findings, announced by Troadec– s nothing but “monday-morning quaterbacks”.

    I’m still aiwaiting an on-point response to the *fact* that your description of AF 447 was *factually incorrect*, on several counts. To wit, neither of the two co-pliots on duty in the cockpit had been trained on high-altitude stall or recovery procedures; the proximate cause of the accident was that the co–pilot in commnand grossly over-corrected for a (false) overspeed indication, which occured at a non-“coffin edge” altitude; that the BEA described the flight as “salvageable”.

    Oh, and that your citation of the accident in the Caramoan Islands actually pointed to the *very opposite* conclusion to the one you claimed.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Don’t confuse contributing factor with probable cause.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Not a substantive response. Still havent’ seen one (but might honestly have missed one).

    When is Troadec going to call you to get the Straight Scoop?

    Fact: the pitot-tuves had been known to have problems. Replacement of those pitot-tubes was at the airline’s discretion.

    Fact: the crew in the cockpit of AF 447 gave a wrong response to the excessive-airspeed caused by the (assumed) iced-up pitot tube.

    Fact AF 447 contuined in a stal for *three and a half minutes*. Altitude information during that time was absolutely correct. Control-surface response was absolutely correct

    Fact: the *factss* as ascertained by the BEA, are irreconcilable with your expressed opinion.

    Fact: you have offered *nothing* in support of your expressed opinion, except ad-hominem attacks and more appeals to your own expressed opinion and expertise.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Fact: the pitot-tubes had been known to have problems. Replacement of those pitot-tubes was at the airline’s discretion.

    What does that have to do with the crew? This is also the probable cause.

    Fact: the crew in the cockpit of AF 447 gave a wrong response to the excessive-airspeed caused by the (assumed) iced-up pitot tube.

    Considering everyone is dead, no one actually knows what happened. Its supposition.

    Fact AF 447 contuined in a stal for *three and a half minutes*. Altitude information during that time was absolutely correct.

    All that means is they knew how much time they had before they would die. There were multiple, more critical systems that also failed to give proper readings.

    Control-surface response was absolutely correct

    Which tells you what? The flight envelope protection was working? Big deal.

    Fact: the *facts* as ascertained by the BEA, are irreconcilable with your expressed opinion.

    You get that when someone uses the term “could” do something it is an “opinion” or what “could” have occurred it is not “fact”.

    Brian Reply:

    What not? Looking at existing HSR systems plenty carry over 4 times the air traffic that was there 10 years before operation began. 2040 != 2010 when CA is growing.

  20. jimsf
    Feb 22nd, 2012 at 20:59
    #20

    Also keep in mind that its much cheaper and easier to add capacity to a rail system like this to meet future demand, than it is to incread capacity at airports or freeway lanes.
    Once the core infrastructure is built, increasing capacity is as easy as
    adding cars to trains, going from single level to bi level equip, increasing headways, all cheaper easeir and more flexible than building freeway lanes and runways.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    I could double the capacity of the average freeway and end congestion as we know it — tomorrow — just by doubling the average auto occupancy from around 1.3 to 2.6.

    …AND IT WOULDN’T COST $100 BILLION!

    When you measure the capacity of freeways in passengers per unit time, instead of vehicles per unit time, there is not a freeway in California that is operating at capacity. Congested? Yes. At capacity? No.

    Why don’t people carpool/vanpool more? The only rational conclusion is that the economic incentive just isn’t there yet. Freeway travel is still too cheap (in spite of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth we hear to the contrary).

    Andy M. Reply:

    Carpooling requires people to synchronise their schedules. That may be easy if they are working on the same shift, but nowadays not that many people work shifts but most have office jobs requiring greater flexibility.

    However, if you are going to tayloring your working schedule to somebody else’s commuting times, it is but a small step to drop the car altogether and use public transit. Carpooling is in my opinion a halfway step that sacrifices the freedoms of driving without really delivering the strengths of public transit, which include a lower and well defined cost, a clear contractual partner rather than wooly goodwill, spacious and airy vehicles and no need to commit to a particular time in advance.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    The only reason transit cost is lower is because other people are paying so much of your cost. If you had to pay the real cost, you’d flock to your cars (the real spacious and airy vehicle).

    Brian Reply:

    Dirty little secret. If we jacked up the gas tax enough to even fund maintenance of the existing highways, people would flood to HSR the day it opened.

    Of course nobody would say that in Sac or DC. Because it would expose all the politicians that have purposefully letting our infrastructure deteriorate for 30 years to keep taxes low and stick the following generations in the process.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    Filthy secret: If politicians would just stop stealing gas tax revenue and pissing it away on empty buses, there would be no NEED to “jack up” the gas tax.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Watch it bro. Your going to get called a hick, bigot or neo-con soon for speaking the truth. Standard fare around here.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Henry, it’s true, your gas taxes only pay about half the cost of the road system. For the country as a whole, to truly say it was paid for entirely by user fees would require kicking up the price of gasoline at least 50 cents per gallon, and that’s just based on cash flow. Add in deferred maintenance and compromised designs due to budget constraints, and the shortfall is probably around a dollar a gallon–and gasoline just hit $4.00 ($3.99) here today. And I haven’t even gotten to controversial things like externalities.

    I’ve posted on this subject enough before that I am a bit ashamed to have to do it again (and I’ll admit to being a little lazy, too), but if you want the numbers, write to this space, and I’ll put them up again.

    Henry Porter Reply:

    You should have been ashamed to post that crap the first time.

    You want to post numbers? Look these up and post them.

    First, take the billions of highway taxes that are pissed away each year on transit and allocate them to highways. Money was never siphoned off transit fares for roads; the one way flow of subsidies should stop.

    Take the remaining highway maintenance shortfall and divided it by the number of gallons of gas sold per year. It’s such a high denominator (as you anti highway wackos are so fond of repeating) that the result will be small.

    Now, do the same for transit. Take the total cost — after removing all subsidies — and divide it by the number of passengers and recover all of those costs from those who incur them…you know…like for cars and drivers. Do that, my delusional friend, and you will see a shift back to highways in one week that will make you liberal head spin.

    Why? Because there is a huge disparity in the true cost per paying beneficiary between roads and transit.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I’ll bring up those numbers later (I don’t have the time, I have to go to work), but I am going to tell you three things.

    One, unit cost–which is what you’re bringing up–is an important number, but it’s not necessarily the only one you want to use, and it’s not necessarily the most important one. I’ll explain that logic later. Cost recovery ratios are another important number, and are usually a good deal higher for rail transit than about anything else, far higher than roads–and that includes Amtrak’s intercity service.

    Secondly, where the hell do you get off with that “liberal” talk? You don’t know me, you’ve never met me, you don’t know my life or much about me. Do I use drugs or drink? Do I cheat on my wife? Do I beat my wife? Am I on welfare? Am I on disability? Do I patronize skin movies or adult entertainment? Am I pro-choice, or as others would say, pro-abortion? Do I like modern “rap” music with its coarse language?

    The answer to all of those is “no.” In fact, I’m a pretty big square, always have been.

    Now, tell us a little about yourself. I’m particularly interested to know what you do for a living (or used to do, if you’re retired); sometimes that explains an outlook. As for myself, I’m an auditor for a state unemployment agency (accounting background), and had ideas about going into mechanical engineering , but had trouble with a subject called calculus.

    What answers do you have? We do like to know sometimes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Money was never siphoned off transit fares for roads

    Actually, it was, in the 1920s. Railroads had (and still have) to pay property taxes, which then went to build roads, while roads themselves were and still are exempt. Interurbans were made to pay for grade-separating roads. Streetcar networks were taxed for street maintenance out of proportion to how much road wear they generated – e.g. the Denver system was taxed 25% on one-way streets and 50% on two-way streets; buses were never so taxed even though they cause immense road wear, giving transit companies an incentive to switch.

    Add to the mix a large program of federal and state spending on roads, and the result was what you’d predict: car ownership soared, and the regional railroads shut down one by one. By the postwar period all that was left was money-losing commuter trains in very large cities, and long-distance premium trains.

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