New Business Plan Wins Fans at HSR Hearing

Mar 14th, 2012 | Posted by

The revised 2012 Business Plan is not yet finished or published, but already it is getting positive reviews – including at last night’s hearing in Mountain View. Senator Joe Simitian tried to set up a show trial to make the high speed rail project look bad in front of a NIMBY crowd. But supporters turned out in big numbers to hear California High Speed Rail Authority board president Dan Richard turn in a strong, credible defense of the project that appeared to neutralize many of the criticisms:

Promising “improvements” to the state’s controversial bullet train plan, the new head of the project told a Senate hearing in Silicon Valley on Tuesday he now believes building high-speed rail would cost less than the alarming estimate of nearly $100 billion.

“I believe the number’s coming down,” Dan Richard told a packed auditorium Tuesday night. “Obviously the $98 billion was sticker shock for a lot of people.”

Using existing tracks like Caltrain and speeding up the construction schedule would bring down the costs of the project, Richard said in defending the much-criticized plan that Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed him to revive. He also promised quicker upgrades to Bay Area and Los Angeles commuter lines that would share the track and upgrading the initial leg of track in the Central Valley.

Richard said the project’s first segment in the Central Valley — dismissed by some as a $6 billion “train to nowhere” — will be tweaked to offer more “immediate benefits,” but he offered no specifics.

He also vowed to spend some $750 million in state funds in the next few years to help electrify the Caltrain line and $1 billion for similar commuter rail upgrades in Southern California, laying the foundation for bullet trains in those regions. The state’s new plan will call for launching train service sooner by breaking the 520-mile line into “bite-sized” segments that can be built quicker. Previous estimates had delayed full service between San Francisco and Los Angeles to 2034.

A cheaper project with a shorter timeline. That’s hard to argue with. Simitian tried, but Richard’s strong performance combined with the fact that HSR supporters showed up in enough numbers meant that Simitian’s hopes that the hearing would help undermine the project were completely dashed.

Richard’s pledge of a lower total cost and for funding to help improve urban rail projects, including Caltrain electrification, went over quite well with many elected officials in the room and others in the audience. Even Simitian had a hard time challenging these statements.

The two remaining criticisms appear to be that the CHSRA hasn’t found all the funding to build from SF to LA, and that building in the Central Valley doesn’t make sense. But critics are beginning to lose those arguments too. Hardly any major transportation project begins construction with every dollar in hand. Insisting that they do will bring almost all major projects in the state to a halt. Further, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been clear that they support HSR funding, and if they win the 2012 elections many of the concerns about how to fund an initial operating segment will go away.

As to building in the Central Valley, the only way that’s a bad thing is if connecting SF to LA is not part of the plan. Of course, that’s the entire point of the project. Soaring gas prices and changing air travel trends make it a necessity that high speed intercity rail be built to connect the two largest metropolitan areas of the state, and the Central Valley is a natural route for that connection. Starting construction there makes perfect sense, along with interim upgrades to urban rail.

There’s no way to know yet exactly how the legislative vote on HSR funding will go. It’s money that voters have already approved, so in that sense legislators’ decision has been made for them. But last night could have only helped the cause of high speed rail. Simitian and Alan Lowenthal are going to have to find another angle of attack. I’m sure they’ll try, but so far they have failed to land a knockout punch.

  1. Drunk Engineer
    Mar 14th, 2012 at 21:50
    #1

    Richard said the project’s first segment in the Central Valley — dismissed by some as a $6 billion “train to nowhere” — will be tweaked to offer more “immediate benefits,” but he offered no specifics.

    In other words, he has a secret plan to end the war, um, I mean connect the IOS to somewhere.

    jimsf Reply:

    ISnt the central valley segment the ICS not the IOS? The IOS wasn’t going to exist until after the central valley ICS was connecting to something anyway.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are falling into the trap of “the Central Valley is Nowhere”. Fresno to Bakersfield is somewhere.

    Sobering Reality Reply:

    Perhaps, but it is in the middle of nowhere and dare I say, my dog refused to get out fo the car in Bakersfield once due to the stench.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    My bet is goalpost shifting by the Authority

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Paul we are not reliving Dome Cars..as much as worthless TRAC/PAC thinks they understand the future of this great Nation/state

  2. Clem
    Mar 14th, 2012 at 22:43
    #2

    The latest PB monthly reports show a relatively high spend rate is planned for design of San Jose – Merced in FY13. That screams IOS North, especially if a one-seat ride to SF is provided for from day one.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Isn’t that the single best way to get the Authority gutted and the project cancelled?

    jimsf Reply:

    why would that cancel the project?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because LA is 2.5 times as big as SF. An LA-Fresno IOS would be great, and allow for an all-rail connection (with a transfer, alas) from LA to Emeryville. A Bako-SJ IOS would charitably allow for a two-seat rail-bus ride from SF to LA. Good luck attracting people to that.

    jimsf Reply:

    but it wouldn’t cancel the project.

    An hsr ios from sf-sj-fno-bfd is still worthwhile in its own right.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Folks are getting to caught up on the populations of LA vs Bay Area re IOS possibilities. Seriously, if 300 passenger trains are packed on a regular basis, does it really matter if they’re serving a region of 7 million folks or 16 million? Some of you act as if every single citizen in the Southland is going to use HSR. Not advocating an IOS one way or the other, just making the point that going north to SF-SJ won’t be some kind of waste or get the project “cancelled.” Cancelled…really?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, it kind of does matter what size the region is. Of course not everyone in LA is going to use HSR, but neither will everyone in the Bay Area. The Bay Area has the better transit system, but LA has a relatively decent system if all you want is to go to Union Station, and the remaining difference in transit quality isn’t enough to trump the size issue or the “The current train connection is a bus” issue.

    joe Reply:

    IMHO, LA has a better overall public transit system.
    Diminishing returns with population – LA is bigger but both NorCal and SoCal are big enough.

    Transit Planner Reply:

    Pretty similar:

    LA (Metro+Metrolink) 1.4 million avg. weekday
    SF (BART+MUNI+Caltrain) 1.1 million avg. weekday

    Joseph E Reply:

    You forgot the LA area munis and OCTA. Orange County has 6 million trips a month (about 240,000 per week day?), and Long Beach and Santa Monica both have over 20 million riders a year (about 100,000 a day); there are over a dozen smaller bus operators in the region. Overall, per capita transit ridership is almost as high (or as low?) as in Northern California.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The transit mode share in the Bay Area is far higher. On the MSA level, it’s 15% in SF vs. 6% in LA. On the CSA level it should be more equal because the Bay Area is saddled with SJ and other sprawl; alas, the Census Factfinder doesn’t let me look this up without piecing different MSAs together.

    That said, the Bay Area transit system is centered around not-Transbay, and isn’t even all that CBD-centric, because of the presence of good urban transit. The LA system is centered around Union Station and Downtown LA and will become even more so when the Regional Connector is finished.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Diminishing, yes, but still positive. Think of it this way: the KTX gets very good ridership, but it’s not and never will be the Tokaido Shinkansen.

    Of course the Bay Area is big enough, and full-fat HSR from SoCal to the Bay Area will be successful. But if you connect just one of the two to the CV, things get murkier.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I don’t think they’re planning on having many initial riders on the IOS. But with SF to Bakersfield that huge population in the LA basin would be clamoring to be connected. I think the odds of being canceled at that point are much less than connecting LA first.

    jim Reply:

    The real risk to the project is that the IOS won’t attract enough riders for revenue to cover operating expenses. A money-losing IOS will get the project cancelled and the IOS closed down.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Depends on how it is spun and what operating expenses are. I could see them claiming it is “preview” service covering some amount of operating expenses. There’s really no issue as long as they don’t need a subsidy from the General fund. The operator will probably eat it as start-up costs to be recovered when full SF/LA service starts.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The current plan is explicitly dependent on having operating surpluses on the IOS and then using those surpluses to finance the extension of the system to full buildout.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I can’t imagine that given the costs. I could see operating surpluses from the full SF/LA build-out to finance extension to Sacramento and San Diego.

    J. Wong Reply:

    My bad, you’re right. They expect the IOS to cover operating expenses and contribute to construction of the final sections into LA and SF per page 2-6 in the Draft 2012 Business Plan.. Of course, “contribute” does not mean fully fund.

    So how many passengers do they expect? And which would have more, IOS-S or IOS-N (note that IOS-N already has the San Joaquin’s, which we can assume will transfer over, but IOS-S only has the Bakersfield/LA bus service).

    Peter Reply:

    They are expecting the IOS to demonstrate ridership, which will attract private funding in order to complete Phase 1.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    @ J.Wong:

    If I’m reading it correctly, they are expecting 5.9 to 8.7 million passengers for IOS-North or 7.4 to 10.8 for IOS-South (Both in 2025).

    VBobier Reply:

    And that isn’t going to happen, the CV will be built 1st, along with improvements on the ends. The IOS will still be where it is.

    Peter Reply:

    The ICS is the only thing that has been decided. IOS-North or IOS-South is still up in the air.

    StevieB Reply:

    Leaving the Initial Operating Segment undetermined until after bond money is released by the state legislature may be best.

    Mike Reply:

    Absolutely!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Transfer where? They could run trains from LA to Emeryville, they do now for that matter.
    It would be California’s Royal Blue. Like terminating DC to NY Acela in Newark and letting everyone get on PATH. Or terminating the NY to DC Acela in New Carrolloton and letting everybody get on Metro…. or treminating the Boston-DC Acela in New Carrolton, because until there’s high speed tracks to San Francisco the trip to Emeryville is going to be slow. … and it’s not going to be stopping in Elizabeth, Plainfield or Wayne Junction….

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    You may have noticed that high speed trains run on electricity perhaps? And that absent overhead catenary, they don’t run terribly well? Either there is a transfer to conventional trains at the north end of IOS-S, or diesels are added to tow it in to complete the journey.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In far off exotic New Jersey they have diesel locomotives that can also run on overhead electrification, so no need to exchange engines or such.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    That’s fanfuckingtastic. Do they run at 220mph? No, they don’t, now do they?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And who says this cobbled together abortion of a trip from LA to SF has to travel at 220 MPH anywhere along the route. Unless you think they are going to rebuild the approaches to the Bay Bridge so teh Thruway bus can go 220 MPH.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    So it has only “insignificant” ridership as opposed to “completely insignificant”.

    jim Reply:

    The affordances from an IOS-N Bakersfield-San Jose or an IOS-S Sylmar-Merced are fairly similar.

    Assuming that under IOS-N selected HSR trains get to run through to SF on electrified Caltrain tracks, IOS-N affords a two-seat (but one of the seats is on a bus) 6-hour LA-SF trip. IOS-S affords a three-seat (all on trains) 6-hour LA-SF trip. The number of LA-SF trips under IOS-N is limited by the number of connecting buses scheduled. The number of LA-SF trips under IOS-S is limited by the number of Merced-Oakland runs Amtrak-California can negotiate with UP and BNSF. IOS-S affords a two-hour LA-Valley trip. IOS-N affords a two-hour SF-Valley trip. Both are good intra-Valley.

    The basic difference is that IOS-S affords a 5-hour three-seat LA-Sacramento and barely tolerable (seven- and eight-hour) three-seat trips between San Diego and Sacramento/SF. And IOS-S affords LA-Palmdale.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, IOS-S is a 4-seat trip the last leg being Amtrak Coach Bus from Emeryville to SF.

    jim Reply:

    I’m on the east coast. Emeryville is San Francisco.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then the PATH station in Newark is midtown Manhattan. And New Carrolltown MD is just like being in Union Station in DC.

    jim Reply:

    I don’t know about Newark, but New Carrollton is Washington (it’s even inside the Beltway). It’s not Union Station, but it’s the city (even if it’s in a different political jurisdiction).

    blankslate Reply:

    I’m in the Bay Area. It is not.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Because L.A. has a deal in place.

    Clem’s misreading the tea leaves. What the Authority has to do is pit the Bay Area against L.A. and by accelerating the availability of San Jose to Merced (or Bakersfield to Palmdale) that just keeps the picture less clear and increases the Authority’s leverage.

    I will be very surprised if the IOS doesn’t become Merced to Palmdale, with connecting service via ACE and Metrolink. I mean, if the Europeans figured out a way to divide up Africa in the 19th century and reap its spoils… then you have to figure that Metro, BART, OCTA, and other power players will eventually collude enough to strike a deal with the Authority.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Honestly, if they only connect to Palmdale, they might as well throw in the towel. It’s too far from LA, and the onward rail connection to LA is terrible because of all the curves and the grades.

    jim Reply:

    If they do build a Merced-Palmdale IOS, they’d better build a big garage at Palmdale and work some sort of contracts with car-rental companies to set up shop there, since they’ll be relying for customers on people driving between Palmdale and the LA Basin.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, that’s why I’m so skeptical about Merced-Palmdale as an IOS. It involves a long drive, in the peak direction. Practically nobody is going to take a train from Bako to Palmdale and get a car there – the in-vehicle travel time is barely any faster with HSR, there’s a transfer penalty, and the Antelope Valley Freeway is to my understanding more congested than the Grapevine, which carries little commuter traffic.

    Fresno-Palmdale is a better proposition for HSR, but only at the level of the Acela on NY-DC, and that’s without taking the transfer into account. If you want to know how many people are going to ride that, imagine what ridership Amtrak would have on NEC-South if Philadelphia didn’t exist, and people needed to drive an hour at the New York end from the station to the city.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Think about it a different way:

    When the line opens, the “operator” can buy a few lightweight Talgo trainsets and run them at high speed (for a Talgo) between Merced and Palmdale where they do not share the track with FRA compliant rolling stock. Then upon arriving there, it can slow down to FRA compliant speed to finish the journey.

    Not to be outdone, of course, the transit agencies in Northern and Southern California will instigate a lawsuit against the HSR corridor not being electrifed, and that will cause the operator to go out of business and require someone else to buy real deal rolling stock and then the state will be forced to finish the electrification under consent decree.

    But then that train can’t continue on into LA or SF, so mysteriously people will have to start to transfer onto commuter rail lines until the “upgrades” are complete in 20…..25 or so….

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    When the line opens, the “operator” can buy a few lightweight Talgo trainsets …

    US protectionist regulation ensures that is impossible.

    Expensive, poorly-performing, obsolete, and late: it’s the American Way.

    USA USA NUMBER ONE!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What you’re missing is that train speeds from Palmdale to LA would necessarily be very low, because of the curves. A tilting train (not just a Talgo – try ICE-TD, or even a tilting Talent) will help a bit, but superelevation has to be limited because it’s a steep line that carries freight, and it’s a single-track line so forget about any frequency. Then, because the rolling stock in question is medium-speed, you’d squander most of the advantage you’d gain from eliminating the transfer for Bakersfield-LA passengers, and all of it and much more for Fresno-LA. It’d be slower than driving.

    Even under a perfect regulatory environment, which the US isn’t, it won’t work.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Don’t miss that there will be some hefty portion of a billion dollars of upgrades to the line in the meantime. That’s one of the points of central valley + bookends:
    http://thesource.metro.net/2012/03/15/study-looks-at-ways-to-improve-metrolinks-antelope-valley-line/

    jimsf Reply:

    @matthew, the problem I see there is that none of whats listed is useable for hgigh speed rail and there is no electrificaton planned.

    Thats why i think the initial true electric high speed segment will be to the north because there will already be an electrified segment on caltrain, and with valley segment built, they only need to electrify from bfd to gilroy to connect with caltrain and you get your high speed all electric run from sf to bfd.

    jimsf Reply:

    …which is why the authority plans to spend money on the gilroy to merced portion next.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    All of the above criticism applies to Gilroy-to-Merced. There, higher speeds are in principle possible. In practice, the line is owned and used regularly by UP. SJ-Merced is a better proposition, of course. But so is Fresno-Sylmar.

    Peter Reply:

    What about the spend rate for Bakersfield-Palmdale and Palmdale-LAUS?

    jim Reply:

    Yeah, Clem’s misreading the tea leaves. It was clear from the original IOS briefing that staff prefers Merced-Sylmar to Bakersfield-San Jose, but Bakersfield-San Jose to Merced-Palmdale. Unfortunately, on currently projected costs, Merced-Palmdale is cheaper than Bakersfield-San Jose is cheaper than Merced-Sylmar. So which gets built is a function of what funds become available. If the Authority can afford it, it’ll build Merced-Sylmar. If it can’t afford that, but can afford Bakersfield-San Jose, it’ll build that. If all it can afford is Merced-Palmdale, that’ll be the choice. But they need to be positioned so that when the money becomes available, they can react.

    One other thing. The state of litigation will also affect the decision. If the NEPA-CEQA process is not complete for one of these choices (because a certain judge keeps finding an excuse to reject a Program EIR) then one of the other choices will be built by default.

    Peter Reply:

    Given that the Authority only got 54 comments or so on the latest revision to the Bay Area-CV Program EIR, I find it highly unlikely that the latest one will be rejected.

    jim Reply:

    Yeah, but I’d have said that last time.

  3. jimsf
    Mar 14th, 2012 at 22:46
    #3

    My guess is that with tbt on schedule and the electrification of caltrain on the front burner, and central valley ICS, theyll build pacheco and electrify the ics for SF-BFD high speed IOS.

    jimsf Reply:

    I also think it will include the wye and the hmf at castle.

    Peter Reply:

    No way will the HMF be built at Castle. It requires construction of a spur line through Merced. All the other HMF locations are right alongside the mainline.

    jimsf Reply:

    That doesn’t mean it won’t be chosen.

    jimsf Reply:

    The hmf will be a matter of politics so anything can happen.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, my guess is that the choice will be IOS-North. And the relative population differences would actually seem to make that the more likely choice. Do you really see LA saying “You didn’t connect us first! Cancel the project!” or more likely “You’re already connected; connect us as fast as you can now!”

    jimsf Reply:

    the latter of course. And again, with caltrain electrification fast tracked, at a point you will have the valley segment done and the caltrain segement done and electrified, so you could get to full electric high speed by doing valley pacheco caltrain, a lot sooner than you would get valley to lax electrified. Thus you could have a true hsr operating segment from at least 4th and king to bakersfield sooner than anything else, helping to tie northern and central california closer together and helping bring the valley into the bay areas dynamic economic fold.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Agree!

    J. Wong Reply:

    I really don’t think they’re planning on having many passengers on the IOS, but it will only be for a little while since they should be building the Bakersfield/LA segment at the same time as initial operations. They’ll probably get some significant chunk of the San Joaquin’s plus some current drivers plus some new passengers (likely tourists).

    Neil Shea Reply:

    It will cost a good bunch more money to electrify the CV line, add PTC and rolling stock, AND build Pacheco. To do that there will need to be horse trading with all the legislature votes in the Southland. And their price will be doing tracks over Tahachapis at the same time or before. Maybe the first true HSR ride goes from CV to TBT, but politics demands that the Palmdale track will exist by then.

  4. jimsf
    Mar 14th, 2012 at 23:12
    #4
  5. Responsible_Thought
    Mar 14th, 2012 at 23:14
    #5

    An excellent collection of quotes from HSR supporters speaking at the hearing can be found here:

    http://www.camajorityreport.com/index.php?module=articles&func=display&aid=4790&ptid=9

  6. jimsf
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 09:47
    #6

    to clarify when we say initial operating segment are we talking about the basic, running of a conventional train over a segment of high speed track, such as the ics in th valley, or by ios do we mean, a complete, electrified, high speed trainsets, revenue service with a chosen hsr operator?

    The reason I say ios north, is because Im using the latter definition and since caltrain electrification may be moving forward, and there are no plans to electrify metrolink and surfliner down south, an already electrified caltrain plus pacheco plus and easy to electrify bakersfield to los banos would be the fastest path to full electtric high speed operation. bfd to sf tbt.

    J. Wong Reply:

    IOS means a complete, electrified, high speed train-sets, revenue service with a chosen HSR operator. There are no plans to run conventional trains over any HSR ROW.

  7. morris brown
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 11:11
    #7

    Diane Harkey’s Lemon bill AB-1455 gaining a lot of local support:

    Note this press release:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Gino Folchi
    March 15, 2012 949.347.7301

    Local Governments Getting on Board to Support Harkey’s Lemon Law

    SACRAMENTO – Joining with the Orange County Board of Supervisors and other local jurisdictions, the Orange City Council has voted unanimously to support AB 1455, the High Speed Rail Lemon Law, authored by Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) to repeal $9 billion in available state debt funding for the project. As cities and counties learn more about the project’s bleak financial picture and enormous potential cost to their own governments, they are taking a second look at what constitutes a legitimate use of taxpayer dollars.

    “In spite of the huge tax-payer funded marketing budget for this complex project, the people and their elected officials are searching for the facts and discovering that they were sold a lemon. Already cash strapped and weary of the wasteful financial decisions being made in Sacramento, local governments are now learning they will have to pay a share of the project – even if it never serves their constituents. I encourage everyone to review the facts, not the spin, and send a message to Sacramento to halt this ill-conceived, costly and unnecessary project,” Harkey stated.

    AB 1455 is gathering statewide support. Already Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, Orange, Kings County, Shasta County, and Orange County are “on board” and the bill is being reviewed by other county and local governments statewide. AB 1455, the High Speed Rail Lemon Law, will be appearing on several more county and city council agendas over the next few weeks.

    “We are working overtime to get the message out. Three years ago, I and a few residents in the Palo Alto/Peninsula area stood alone questioning the feasibility of this project. With the benefit of time and increasing legislative review and press exposure, more and more Californians are supporting our effort to discontinue funding. We will continue to build a statewide coalition to bring attention to the misinformation and true cost of a project that could double our state’s debt, and carve up productive farmland in the Central Valley,” Harkey stated.

    Local governments are not the only skeptics of the $117 billion first phase of a project, originally sold to the voters at 1/3 of the cost and requiring “no state operating subsidy.” A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California has confirmed that 53 % of likely voters oppose the project, and the more they know the less they like. This polling echoes the December 2011 Field Poll in which voters would reject the original high-speed rail bond by a two to one margin. In addition, 85% of voters that returned a survey in Assemblywoman Harkey’s district would repeal the bond.

    ###

    Joe Reply:

    High speed rail is genocide, right? She did make that unfortunate comparison.
    Do you think she’s anything but a gadfly?
    There is a segment of the population that loves her kind of political talk. A vocal minority.

    VBobier Reply:

    It will be vetoed by Governor Brown, If AB1455 somehow passes the legislature. Then I’d love to see them try & override His veto, but that’s not gonna happen.

    Zeppo Reply:

    Where does the $117 billion number come from? Just curious…

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    98 billion is the lowball estimate, 117 is the high-ball estimate.

    Zeppo Reply:

    What I meant was more “Which page of the draft business plan is this on?”

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Already Rancho Santa Margarita

    Other highlights of the city council: Banning sexual offenders from city parks. Of which there are none. The ordinance is unenforceable in HOA parks, all of whom have said they’re not going to do it.

    To be fair though, they’ve gotten In-N-Out to finally come in and there’s a new luxury movie theater opening up.

    Also, for the rail fans among us, RSM was studied as a potential route for a coastal HSR alignment and later for a general rerouting of LOSSAN traffic around San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente (via the 241 corridor).

  8. Ben
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:31
    #8

    Secretary LaHood gave a strong defense of investments in high speed rail at today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. His remarks on high speed rail start around minute 80.

    http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/

    jimsf Reply:

    where is the video?

    Ben Reply:

    Enjoy:

    http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/webcasts.cfm?method=webcasts.view&id=17205173-10e6-47ac-b392-cdbf28101702

    jimsf Reply:

    thanks!

    Jack Reply:

    Wow! Remember when he was nominated and we were all worried about his position on HSR. Secondly; I’m absolutely sick about Collins comments. She said straight out she would prefer to spend the rail money on highways…

    Love Lahood’s response; the future is in HSR; highways are built out, it’s time to invest in the future. Awesome!

  9. Jack
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:31
    #9

    You can tell the “trial” didn’t go as planned by Morris suddenly changing the subject to Harkey’s bill. Which has absolutely Zero chance of passing.

    The train is coming Morris; It’s coming for your SOUL!

    synonymouse Reply:

    The devil(PB?)is coming for Morris’ “SOUL”?

    That’s rich. The consultant-contractor-labor complex, as with the patronage machine, could care less about souls. They covet money, your money, all of it.

  10. Paul Dyson
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 14:47
    #10

    Ah, the way we live now…..an unfinished unpublished plan getting positive reviews. Spending $6 billion to build track with no trains to run on it, no wires to string, “a perfect plan”. IOS daydreams that will attract few riders but huge subsidies. Shall I fly this weekend to the Bay? Or should I take a bus/slow train to (fill in the blank) and ride a fast train to (fill in another blank) to catch another slow train. Easy decision, that one.
    These ideas that folks on this blog bandy about involve huge investments with no foreseeable return for at least a decade, and even then do not provide solutions to the everyday needs of most people.
    Gas prices are rising, so is electricity. So is automobile fuel efficiency. Where is the plan to provide power when HSR is built? Is it judicious to plan to operate at 220mph when that doubles the electricity cost to save 30+/- minutes? Do we want green or a ground level Concord?

    Jack Reply:

    I’m sure there were people like you when they were planning the interstate system. We didn’t listen then and we won’t listen now thank god.

    nslander Reply:

    Yeah, they mostly sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher at this point.

    blankslate Reply:

    If we had listened when they were planning the interstate system, our cities would be far the better for it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They could have attained some very high speeds on the I-5 corridor but in the urban areas they have insisted on there will be opposition. Especially if the noise level=3XBART. flatted wheels, no resiliency, corrugated rails and hollow core stilts. Should raise quite a din.

    On the the Valued Tehachapi Roundabout nothing like 220mph.

  11. Neville Snark
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 16:01
    #11
  12. jimsf
    Mar 15th, 2012 at 17:39
    #12

    ok simmer down with the IOS fretting. An initial operating segment is not the same thing as “phase one” Its phase one, that will fund phase two, not the ios. We can run service on an initial segment from say, bfd to sf via the valley ics via pacheco and up the electrifed caltrain line to 4th. but that isn’t a complete phase one. it would just operate while the last segment of phase one is completed from say bfd to la, then the full phase one would go into revenue servce sf to la, and that operating surplus is what would then begin funding phase two – merced to sac. etc

    ICS is not IOS and IOS is not “phase one”

    jimsf Reply:

    oh, and I haven’t heard of any plans to electrify metrolink at all which leads me to the question… what happens to metrolink palmdale-laus once hsr is completed. does it stick to its current diesel train on existing track? Or are there plans to do make the palmdale line operate like caltrain with compatible EMUs in a blended system? they’ll have to keep metrolink palmdale line because hsr will skip most of the metrolink stops- but in what form?

    joe Reply:

    Hey – electrification could have been completed sometime after 2010.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1992-02-13/local/me-3067_1_freight-rail-service
    Rail Service Electrification Could Cost $4.6 Billion
    February 13, 1992|JEFFREY A. PERLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER
    Electrifying 806 miles of Southern California’s current and planned commuter and freight rail service to reduce harmful diesel emissions will cost $4.6 billion, may boost consumers’ monthly electric bills and could take 18 years, according to a new study.

    Of the $4.6-billion cost of electrification, $2.75 billion should come from freight haulers, the report said. Electrification would not be cost-effective without participation by the freight companies, the report concluded.

    The remaining $1.85 billion, the commuter railroad’s share, could be paid in any number of ways, the report said, including a surcharge on electric bills.

    That idea was dismissed as “ridiculous” by Dana W. Reed.

    “The thought of billing the utility ratepayer $4 billion to fix . . . little more than 5% of the total (air pollution) problem is totally unacceptable,” ‘ said Reed, the Orange County Transportation Authority representative on the Southern California Regional Rail Authority board.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Here is the current status of planning for upgrades from LA to Palmdale: http://thesource.metro.net/2012/03/15/study-looks-at-ways-to-improve-metrolinks-antelope-valley-line/

Comments are closed.