Widening I-5 More Expensive Than HSR to Anaheim

Apr 7th, 2012 | Posted by

Today the Los Angeles Times reported that the revised draft business plan includes a shift back to the original plan – the high speed rail extension to Anaheim will not be part of the first phase of construction after all:

In a blow to Orange County’s hopes for a boost to business and tourism, the California bullet train project has dropped a link to Anaheim from its current, $68-billion plan.

The rail agency confirmed the shift Friday, marking a significant departure for the Bay Area-to-Southern California high-speed rail system that state voters approved in 2008.

Under newly revised plans, the first phase of the line would have its southern terminus near downtown Los Angeles rather than in Orange County.

Bullet train passengers would have to transfer to slower Metrolink or Amtrak trains in Los Angeles to reach Orange County’s largest city. Until now, officials had vowed that under the first phase, the bullet trains would whisk riders about 40 miles southeast of downtown to the Disneyland area.

Keep in mind that this is a Ralph Vartabedian-authored article, and therefore is deeply biased against the project. What the article doesn’t explain is that the inclusion of Anaheim in the first phase of construction was a change made prior to the 2008 vote on Proposition 1A. Originally the HSR project was to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles via the Central Valley, with extensions to Sacramento, Orange County, the Inland Empire and San Diego coming later. Anaheim’s inclusion in the first phase was nice, especially for this OC native, but I’m not surprised or saddened that it is being pushed out to a later date. Given the need to focus resources on getting the core of the system built from SF to LA, it makes sense to wait:

Electrifying and improving the Los Angeles to Orange County route would cost $6 billion and save only 10 minutes of travel time, said rail authority Chairman Dan Richard.

“Why would we do that, pay $600 million per minute?” he said in an interview Friday.

That cost – $6 billion for about 30 miles of track – is not cheap. And yet it’s less than the cost of widening a freeway.

Right now Los Angeles County is busy widening Interstate 5 in the Santa Fe Springs/Norwalk/La Mirada area. That stretch of the 5 hasn’t been widened since the freeway was originally built in the 1950s, and is a regular choke point for drivers. In 2008 LA County voters approved Measure R, which focused most of its money on rail but included a few billion for freeway projects, including widening that section of the 5. That project costs $1.6 billion for about 7 miles – or about $228 million per mile. HSR from LA to Anaheim – $6 billion over 30 miles – would cost about $206 million per mile.

Of course, HSR to Anaheim is not just cheaper because it costs less than widening freeways. It’s cheaper because it offers more people an affordable option to get around the region and the state without having to buy expensive gas and light it on fire. It helps contribute to the green dividend, putting more money in the local economy and into the state treasury. Passenger trains would cover their operating costs, whereas freeways don’t.

Eventually the tracks to Anaheim would be upgraded:

Don Sepulveda, executive officer of regional rail for the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, predicted that high-speed trains would eventually run between Los Angeles and Anaheim and share track with Amtrak and Metrolink. But electrification of the route, which is required for bullet trains, will not happen until after the system reaches Union Station.

“It is now a lower priority, but I believe it will eventually be electrified. It will not be a feeder line for high-speed rail,” he said.

Which is sensible and fine by me. While Ralph Vartabedian will want to spin this as another setback for the project, the reality is that it’s a shift in direction for how to improve rail in this state. By getting the SF-LA core finished, public support for extensions will spread. I’m all for the new approach – and remain confident that Orange County will get the high speed passenger rail service it needs and deserves.

  1. Alon Levy
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 15:18
    #1

    Why does it cost $228 million per mile to upgrade and electrify tracks? Are they going for catenary made of gold?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    It *may* refer to a long held plan to “triple track” the segment between LAUS and Fullerton. That’s always been a priority but funding has been elusive.

    It’s also an open question of if it’s needed once the Alameda Corridor East is complete because part of the problem is freight related.

    Also, there’s no real capital budget for Metrolink itself. Metro has to be the one to make the upgrades, and they are trying to pinch pennies for other projects….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Even then… what do they need to triple-track that costs so much – eminent domain downtown skyscrapers?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    As Robert said, “grade separations”: http://binged.it/HmtufC

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    This would be the same triple track which is fully funded and in the last segment of work with completion by the end of the year, yes?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    You got some authority on that, counsel?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Ta-da

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    This answers Alon’s question. Now the route is triple tracked with no additional grade separations….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So rather than fully grade separate it, it would probably be cheaper to electrify it and run on it below HSR speeds?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    You could electrify it down to Laguna Niguel for about $500-1,000 million. It’s just that people want super special rail.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    No, the issue is that a major beneficiary would also be B(uffet)NSF because they move a ton of freight through Fullerton, Corona and then over the Cajon Pass.

    Both BNSF and UP are already working on the Alameda Corridor East project, which would be a continuation of the grade separated railroad that goes from downtown LA to the Port. But it’s a convenient trump card in case that breaks down.

    Ultimately, there should be a grade separated track for HSR (even if the rest are not) because the LOSSAN route should be the way that you establish LA to Arizona traffic as well.

    Justin Walker Reply:

    The BNSF triple tracking project along the San Bernardino Sub is indeed underway. At this exact moment, there are two gaps between Soto and Fullerton Junction where there are still only two main tracks:

    -Serapis to Santa Fe Springs
    -Coyote Creek to Valley View

    By 2014, the triple tracking project will be complete with the exception of the Coyote Creek to Valley View segment. This segment includes the troublesome Rosecrans/Marquardt intersection and grade crossing. The CPUC has required this crossing to be grade separated before a third track can be constructed. There is no funding for this project in the near future and a 200-300 foot of double track will remain.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Thanks for the details. I knew this project wasn’t fully funded.

    VBobier Reply:

    It doesn’t Alon Levy, If You had read the story…

    Here I’ll give You a hand:

    In 2008 LA County voters approved Measure R, which focused most of its money on rail but included a few billion for freeway projects, including widening that section of the 5. That project costs $1.6 billion for about 7 miles – or about $228 million per mile. HSR from LA to Anaheim – $6 billion over 30 miles – would cost about $206 million per mile.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ugh, sorry. Yeah, $206 million. Same question. The cost isn’t off by 10%; it’s off by a factor of 10.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What I don’t follow in the original article is whether that’s (1) dedicated HSR corridor running above existing rail corridor in a viaduct (2) an existing rail corridor upgraded to 125mph standard with the HSR running on it in “Blended Operation”, or (3) ditto to 110mph.

    Seems like if its off the critical path part of the SF/LA, one day SF/LA/SD corridor, electrified and 79mph would be OK and electrified and 110mph would be fine.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    It’s grade crossings and separation from freight rail by way of a viaduct from LA to Norwalk (and then some more grade crossings) and a one mile tunnel. Top speeds would only be 90 miles per hour due to train interference (however, I suspect that they’ll ditch the 3tph in exchange for higher speeds).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And that was the original model only-HSR-corridor?

    It seems like there might be some value engineering that could be done there if the OC transport authorities were to sign onto an MOU.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    No, that’s the shared track proposal. Two dedicated passenger tracks with 3tph HSR, 1tph Amtrak, and 4 tph Metrolink OC and three BNSF with freight, Metrolink 91, and Amtrak long distance trains. Dedicated was two tracks for 5tph HSR and 4 BNSF for freight, Metrolink, and Amtrak. There are a couple miles more aerial with the shared track, but overall half a mile more is at grade.

    Personally, I’m annoyed with the sheer number of trains that get put in and it is a reason I favor LOSSAN HSR route, since it lets you get to eliminate Amtrak Surfliner as a separate subject. But do we really need 8tphpd between Anaheim and LA plus the additional capacity on 91 Line with BNSF? Certainly, because of future freight needs, we will eventually need a dedicated passenger ROW, so by all means do the necessary engineering work and ROW acquisition to put it into place later on, but in the meantime, do things cheap and expand service as much as possible.

    Hell, that six billion dollar price tag basically buys you most of LOSSAN HSR to Diego, though with a good deal of remaining single track. The most expensive bit of that is a majorly long tunnel in San Clemente (up to 11 miles, though there are additional tunnels) and for environmental and capacity reasons, you’d need to do the upgrades and tunnels anyhow.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Did the HSR efforts not consider LOSSAN because they anticipated strong opposition and significant difficulty to certifying an EIR to upgrade that corridor for several tph of HSR use?

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m not sure why LOSSAN funding and HSR funding were separated, but the original HSR analysis said that the LOSSAN would fill up double track with locals and leave no room for expresses. And they didn’t believe it could be more-than-double-tracked through the “sensitive” areas (which don’t include LA).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But do we really need 8tphpd between Anaheim and LA plus the additional capacity on 91 Line with BNSF?

    If you needed 8tph average per day, you’d need a peak capacity for more than 8tph.

    The thing about intercity demand peaks between metro areas of different sizes is that they are not balanced ~ peak demand will be for 8am to 9am arrivals LA metro, not 8am to 9am San Diego. And given the geographic spread of LA metro, its easy to see a benefit for spreading arrivals across the clockface, so 3tph peak morning inbound LA per alignment through metro LA is easy to see. Given two alignments, that would be 6tph peak hour, peak direction, so something more like a primary service day average of 2tph to 3tph each way.

    Emma Reply:

    Well as if $200 million per mile sound anymore reasonable. Who is building this? Prada? At that price tag, every viaduct better be an artwork and not that heartless, functional Brutalism that we see so often. This price tag makes me wonder if they shouldn’t “simply” build one big High speed Subway. That would at least solve the NIMBY problem because they can’t complain about something they don’t see.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You wish subways didn’t cause NIMBYism.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The horror. having a subway nearby. It might turn good ol’ BHHS into Stuyvesant or even Bronx Science

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ew. Stuy and Bronx Science do not have the pleasure of having an oil tower on school grounds.

    Plus, they have entrance exams. You don’t get in just by living in Beverly Hills – you have to be qualified.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The problem there is that no matter how elegant the urban rail viaducts may be, then there’ll be a major road thoroughfare overpass and that’ll just spoil the look.

    Alon has an excellent point that much of the expense is correcting (oh-so elegant looking) level crossings used to let roads be built to encroach on the already existing rail corridor, and that even splitting the cost evenly between roads and rail would be a bit biased to the benefit of the road budget.

    The balance of power could well be different in a decade’s time, and given that, and given that there’s no reason this can’t be sorted out in 2022 rather than 2012, sorting it out in 2022 has a lot in its favor.

    Emma Reply:

    that raises the question. If billions of the HSR budget is spent on roads, shouldn’t/couldn’t we allocate some of that Republican “Road funding” to building the underpasses?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I’m not sure how we would convince the highway construction lobby direct the Republicans to write the funding to allow more of the rail transit and intercity rail funding to be spent on the rail transit and intercity rail funding … having all of the road funding spent on roads and as much of the non-road funding as possible spent on roads and associated infrastructure seems like its exactly as they originally dictated the legislation.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “This price tag makes me wonder if they shouldn’t “simply” build one big High speed Subway.”

    The Spanish built the Sants-LaSangrera tunnel for approx. $65 mil. per mile, so add a few underground stations, 100% cost overhead to account for “unique American conditions” and it would still probably be cheaper.

  2. Useless
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 15:30
    #2

    I am pretty sure they were talking about dedicated HSR tracks to Anaheim. Electrification of Metrolink tracks can’t cost that much.

    Useless Reply:

    Or maybe it’s the grade separation that cost so much.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s probably the grade separation, yeah. Electrification of Metrolink isn’t that expensive – they studied it in the early 1990s and in inflation-adjusted dollars it’s, what, $8 million per mile? (Paulus will know better than me.)

    It’s not dedicated track. That option’s dead.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep, it’s the grade separations. That’s the same reason the I-5 widening costs as much as it does, given the need to widen 55-year old overpasses.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sigh. Electrify, put in quad gates if for some reason higher speeds than 90 mph are warranted, put in an overtake segment if required, and add stops so that the West Santa Ana Branch proposal can be put out of its misery. If traffic grows to the point that drivers have a problem with closed gates, then offer to elevate the track if the road budget contributes to it. It’s the same as with the Caltrain corridor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Electrify, delaying 40,000 fares a weekday while it’s being done. ( or close it down on weekends while it’s being done ). Those sleek electric trains flitting about speedily attract riders. So when you add a a grade separation you are delaying 45,000 fares. When you need to add another grade separation the people who don’t want it can point at the construction disruptions in the community the first grade separation caused and suddenly become greatly concerned about delaying 45,000 fares a day. Which throws it into court for a decade or so. How much extra does it cost to do construction around a system that carries 50,000 riders a day and can’t be shutdown over the weekend versus doing it while there are 40,000 riders on weekdays and can be shut down over the weekend? Sounds like a plan.
    …. how easy is it going to be to get Phase 2 of the Second Ave Subway done with the brouhaha Phase 1 is causing? I doubt Phase III will ever get build. Let ‘em crowd onto the Lex!

    swing hanger Reply:

    Step by step upgrades can be done. In the part of the world where I live, electrification, elevation, and tunneling under the existing right of way is done without any delays to the existing service, and that’s done with trains running at 3 minute headways. However, admittedly the American penchant for complaining and litigation can be difficult to address.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The LIRR does grade separations on a one-by-one basis, usually long after electrification. Part of the third track project involved separating the remaining grade crossings on the Main Line. The Babylon Line was grade-separated in the postwar era, after electrification.

    And Swing Hanger has already mentioned projects in Japan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Un huh. When is the MTA going to start construction of the Main Line project?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When it finds money. (Hell, that part of the project isn’t even controversial – it’s the triple-tracking that Floral Park thinks will make the cows go dry.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    At least there won’t be any eminent domain. The LIRR was savvy enough to buy enough ROW way back when and the MTA has jealously protected it.
    Yep, the people who bought cheap houses down by the tracks are pissed off.
    They’ll be the same ones pissed off when East Side Access opens and the increased schedule makes it much more difficult to cross the tracks. I hope the LIRR schedules it so that as soon as an eastbound clears the block a westbound enter the block followed by another eastbound. Keep the gates down for a few minutes at a time. At the very least schedule the trains that stop in Floral Park only for Penn Station. Then when they whine that they have to change for Grand Central or Brooklyn and have to stand the MTA can say “so sorry, we can run more trains, would clog the grade crossings too much”

    If the MTA was motivated to find the money they could. It’s difficult to get motivated when your hard work results in pissed off people. Much more satisfying to go find money for projects people are grateful for.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The Caltrain application to the FRA for its waiver to allow not-FRA-freight-compliant EMU’s included a slate of grade separations as part of the application.

    Clem Reply:

    No it did not. It included safety improvements to existing grade crossings.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    You do realize that both electrification and grade separation (the latter of which has several projects being done in OC currently) without major impact to riders, yes? Electrification work can even be done at night during normal maintenance periods.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You do realize that Orange County represents a fraction of Metrolink’s ridership and that Metroliknk and Caltrain roughly have the same ridership?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The OC Line represents a fraction of Metrolink’s ridership in the same sense that any system with multiple lines will have one line with a “fraction” of the total ridership. It’s about 20% of total ridership and the second busiest line. I would, additionally, expect there to be higher total ridership on Caltrain since there is less convenient freeway travel in the region and there has been commuter rail along the corridor for more than a century while Metrolink has only existed for twenty years. With all that said, what is your point? Lower total ridership does not mean that there cannot be severe impacts from track work, as has been the case before from double tracking and the like.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It much easier to schedule work on a line that hosts a handful of trains a day and curls up for a nice weekend long nap every week.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    60+ trains per weekday is hardly a handful.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And when the freight train is delayed 20 minutes because the construction crew had a snafu no one complains to Metrolink that they were late.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Do you have a point somewhere or are you just going to continue throwing out random statements?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No, I’m just following you lead.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Or we could just spend the damn money. This is a wealthy country and California is a wealthy state.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Net benefit of grade separations to rail users: $0, including externalities. Why spend money that doesn’t need to be spent and does not have any benefit?

    Peter Reply:

    It benefits pedestrians and drivers. And it benefits trains and their passengers by not having them hitting vehicles or pedestrians in grade crossings.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Pedestrians will manage to get on the tracks anyhow, I’m aware of a multiple pedestrian strike incident (2 killed, one injured) in a completely grade separated location actually by a Metrolink train. Vehicle strikes are rare, involve passenger fatalities even more rarely, and are preventable or better managed through means other than spending a hundred million dollars per crossing.

    Heck, just that alone is reason enough not to bother. DoT estimates about 6 million per life, rendering pretty much every grade crossing not worth it on that standard.

    joe Reply:

    Net benefit of grade separations to rail users: $0, including externalities.

    Heck, just that alone is reason enough not to bother. DoT estimates about 6 million per life, rendering pretty much every grade crossing not worth it on that standard

    Creepy value system.

    Nathanael Reply:

    On the other hand, people studying the level of loss of life at which people will pay for additional airline safety systems find rather larger numbers per life (you can look them up, but if I remember correctly it’s more like $600 million apiece).

    Weirdly people seem to care HOW they die, and prefer to die if they’re driving cars than if they’re riding in airplanes. The amount people will pay to prevent risks to life in the *home* is even *lower*. IT’s theorized to be about the pscyhological impression of control.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Not $0…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Glendale_train_crash

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Entirely preventable with alternative safety devices (at the very cheapest, a digital camera which sends an image to the engineer of the crossing, allowing him to determine whether the crossing is safe). A more elaborate version might use vehicle sensors, either electromagnetic or optical (got to be some civil use for Automatic Target Acquisition) and integrate with PTC by creating a “mini block” during periods when the crossing is supposed to be clear and sending commands as appropriate.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Assuming that the engineer is watching the controls and not his phone.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Net benefit of grade separations to rail users: $0, including externalities.

    Benefit to rail users is elimination of delays caused by collisions, like an hour or two every time Caltrain kills a pedestrian.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    So spend 15% of the money for it out of the rail budget, and the rest from the road budget.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Grade crossings do not prevent pedestrian strikes nor are there a sufficient number of strikes, vehicular or otherwise, to render it cost beneficial for rail to spend the money for separations.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Grade separations do eliminate some pedestrian strikes since the pedestrian doesn’t easily get onto the ROW when roads and rail are on different levels. It won’t eliminate suicides, but at least for Caltrain, too many pedestrians decide to hike on the railway for some reason, which is easily accessible where roads and sidewalks cross the grade.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    If done right, making it sufficiently inconvenient, they eliminate *most* suicides. There’s significant evidence that suicide is an impulse decision when promising opportunity seems to present itself. When it becomes a hassle many folks don’t end up doing it at all.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If people drive instead of taking the train, because its going slow through the grade crossings, how many of them die in automobile accidents over the service life of the elimination. I suspect that the expected lifetime is similar to similar civil structures, 100 years.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    If done right, making it sufficiently inconvenient, they eliminate *most* suicides. There’s significant evidence that suicide is an impulse decision when promising opportunity seems to present itself. When it becomes a hassle many folks don’t end up doing it at all.

    However, it is an insufficiently large number of prevented suicides to warrant the investment.

    If people drive instead of taking the train, because its going slow through the grade crossings, how many of them die in automobile accidents over the service life of the elimination. I suspect that the expected lifetime is similar to similar civil structures, 100 years.

    The train does not need to slow down for grade crossings.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Paulus, suicides typically delay a train 2+ hours. Calculate the time value of everyone on that and the following delayed trains; the loss of ridership due to schedule unreliability; the cost of delays to all the drivers at the crossings (an externality to the train service perhaps but not to the community); the low but non-zero chance of a train-car accident and the associated costs; the higher speeds possible on a grade-separated line and associated higher ridership and better utilization of trains and staff; and yes, for crying out loud, value the human life of the suicide victim at something — $1m is not a bad value for a life.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The train does not need to slow down for grade crossings.

    Sez you. If it’s a FRA compliant Toonerville Trolley toddling along on class 3 track it doesn’t. IF it’s Class 6 and it takes a beating from the trucks and buses passing over it, the trains slow down when it goes out of alignment and slow down until a crew gets out there and fixes it.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Neal Shea: I was using DoT’s $6 million per life. Currently grade crossings are going for $80-100 million each if memory serves, requiring each to prevent 13+ fatalities in order to meet the cost benefit ratio. It simply isn’t there. 90% or more of current issues can be resolved with far cheaper means than separations.

    Sez you. If it’s a FRA compliant Toonerville Trolley toddling along on class 3 track it doesn’t. IF it’s Class 6 and it takes a beating from the trucks and buses passing over it, the trains slow down when it goes out of alignment and slow down until a crew gets out there and fixes it.

    Do you delight in the most pointless arguments ever? Is there some award for this on the internet that I’m unaware of? Yes, when the track alignment goes out, as with anywhere else, the trains slow. This is a pointless flag to raise unless you have evidence, in the form of a sufficiently authoritative study, that grade crossings are statistically prone to this, to a sufficiently high degree that it is in any way relevant.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Paulus: You ignored the 6 other kinds of value I listed besides just the value of the dead suicide victim. But South Palo Alto here is a suicide hotspot with a few a year. At this rate we could prevent 13+ suicides in less than 5 years. Even if it takes 10-20 years, what a good investment to save life.

    When they separate the directions of traffic on Hwy 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains, they will spend $10’s of millions on spots where only a small number of people have died (e.g. 1-2-3), but again you can also consider the value of all the motorists delayed if you are being strictly clinical about it.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Grade crossings are more prone to going out of alignment; look it up yourself, Paulus, this is old news. More importantly, they’re harder to FIX than other areas.

    Nowadays, they’re usually built far heavier than other track in order to compensate, though.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Grade crossing last a century or so.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Word.

    But as I suggested elsewhere, with OC the only major urban county on the route (including San Diego) NOT to sign onto one of the MOUs, advocating for this $6B suddenly feels like a much bigger lift.

    VBobier Reply:

    Alon Levy, there are areas like along Rosemead Blvd in Rosemead where the road goes under the tracks.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    So what? It’s still primarily (not only!) a benefit to road users.

    flowmotion Reply:

    > the need to widen 55-year old overpasses

    Plus ROW widening, significant eminent domain, rebuilding nearly all interchanges and frontage roads…

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Using CPI, it’s about 8.86 million per route-mile with the original study, though a later study was estimating $10 million. Both were basically “ALL THE RAILROADS!” for SoCal though, not just Metrolink. GO Transit’s review does make it seem as though they considered SCRRA’s study as being pessimistic about costs (incidentally, SCRRA also estimated higher maintenance costs for electrics compared to diesels; apparently this is based on Amtrak experience. Perhaps we have a rerun of the Milwaukee Road in Amtrak?)

    GO Transit review. I might take a trip up to LA and read through the original study.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Maintenance costs are really determined by the specific model, and SCRRA didn’t dig into that. IIRC, Amtrak got what is widely considered a dud order of electrics last time ’round, real maintenance hogs; the electrics before that were lower-maintenance than the diesels.

  3. David F
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 16:27
    #3

    “Why would we do that, pay $600 million per minute?”

    If the president of the rail authority is saying that, it doesn’t really inspire much confidence that Anaheim will be part of the plan in the second phase either.

    “The choice of Anaheim was politically driven,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense as a terminus.”

    I don’t really get that statement as a defense of the project. So we lied to Anaheim to get their backing for Prop 1A?

    flowmotion Reply:

    Because the original plan was a political boat-anchor, and we shouldn’t spend money just because a bunch of zero-information voters wanted the pie-in-the-sky?

    Those statements are actually quite reassuring. The authority seems to be now focusing on state transportation needs first, and political backslapping has taken a backburner.

    Hypothetically with unlimited funding, yes they’d build the Anaheim EL. However that funding doesn’t exist and never will exist. So the project leadership certainly should be forthright with their priorities.

    julietr Reply:

    I don’t see how it’s reassuring to leave out among the largest populations and job centers in California. For comparison, it’s roughly the size of San Diego. Focusing on state transportation needs calls for a terminus that ends somewhere in the OC region. Leaving this portion out is a glaring weakness.

    joe Reply:

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 10:30 pm | Updated: 2:51 pm, Thu Nov 17, 2011.
    http://www.voiceofoc.org/state/article_0e69577a-1014-11e1-b1e2-001cc4c002e0.html
    The Orange County Transportation Authority is considering sending state high-speed rail officials a memo urging them to “pull the plug” on the proposed $98-billion Anaheim-to-San Francisco project.

    The 17-member board will vote next month on the wording of a message it plans to deliver to the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority, which has overall authority to contract for construction of the rail system if the state Legislature and federal officials approve financing.

    OCTA plans and builds most Orange County highway and rail systems, using federal, state and local tax money. But it has no jurisdiction over the planned 520-mile high-speed rail project.

    But it was a Republican, former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, who spearheaded much of the local support for the project. Pringle also served on the OCTA board and chaired the High-Speed Rail Authority in 2009 and 2010.

    With Pringle gone, no one on the OCTA board spoke up for the rail system during Monday’s meeting.

    “The emperor has no clothes,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, one of the OCTA directors. “Sometimes with a deal, it’s good to tell someone ‘no.’ “</b?

    Message received.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yup, they pulled the plug, as requested.

    Once the HSR is running, they’ll want back in, and the “pull the plug” will be long forgotten.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Anyone in their right mind would pull the plug on a $98 billion dollar project.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yet if it were a Defense Department project, the main threat to it at $98b would be that it cost so little and so it might be used as a sacrificial lamb to protect the real big ticket projects.

    joe Reply:

    Paulus is the gift that keeps giving. Let’s put HSR in a context.

    F-35[A, B and C] is now a 1 Trillion dollar project. The “harrier” version of the F-35[B], is not so likely. “On 6 January 2011, [DoD head] Gates said that the 2012 budget would call for a two year pause in F-35B production during which the aircraft may be redesigned, or canceled if unsuccessful.

    F-22, awesome plane used in the Transformers movies, has never flow in combat – DoD is trying to figure out why pilots lose oxygen – flaw has resulted in some pilot deaths. US $66.7 billion. In service but out of production.

    The V-22 Ospery – 36 Blllion dollar project. “The V-22’s development budget was first planned for $2.5 billion in 1986, then increased to a projected $30 billion in 1988>/b>. On 28 September 2005, the Pentagon formally approved full-rate production for the V-22.”

    Oops my bad – 2.5 Billion is now 36 Billion.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Some of us treat DOD as an example to avoid rather than an example to emulate.

    Likewise, when faced with war crimes, some of us don’t cheerlead them on the grounds that Stalin was worse, but instead try to produce a government that’s different from that of the Soviet Union.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I am dubious about the shifting of the goalposts on raising the cost of providing the same transport capacity by air and road infrastructure from $100b to $150b, but even if the $98b represented the contractor lobby succeeded in raising the price to the equivalent to road and infrastructure capacity, HSR would still be a better deal than investment in the same transport capacity in road and air.

    A substantial difference between the HSR project and much DoD spending is that spending on the HSR project would make progress toward the goal of the project, while much DoD spending has the net effect of worsening national security.

    Indeed, focusing on the financial inefficiency of DoD projects plays a useful role in giving the appearance of engaging in oversight of the DoD without having to open the can of worms if the the effectiveness of of the programs in actually providing for national defense is investigated.

    So, for example, while a system of timed overtakes and a mix of two, three and four track sections from San Jose to San Francisco could support 3tph Local, 3tph Express, and
    either 3tph HSR out and up to 6tph HSR in, morning peak, or 3tph HSR in and up to 6tph HSR out, evening peak, so that an all four track system San Jose to San Francisco to provide for more capacity might be argued to be inefficient … it would, on the other hand, still allow the trains to get through, even if a cost inefficient way to get it done.

    On the other hand, it seems very much as if growing our Defense Industries to the size that they are, on the pretext of national defense, has led to a strong political lobby in support of reckless foreign military adventures, and those reckless foreign military adventures have clearly substantially undermined our national security.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The issue is that much of so-called transit, bike and ped spending in the US is actually road spending in disguise. For example, grade separations are primarily a road benefit, but they come out of the rail budget. Likewise, parking garages at train stations are built out of either local money or the state transit fund. For a more local example, one third of the MBTA’s debt is court-mandated Big Dig mitigations.

    With CAHSR, relatively little of the budget is road improvements – only the unnecessary grade separations south of LA, and perhaps on the Caltrain corridor. Some extra amount goes toward cementing agency turf boundaries in San Jose, though this is exactly the part that got de-scoped from the latest business plan. However, those bad sections are exactly what’s under discussion here. California is about to spend billions on road improvements and call it HSR funding for no good reason.

    joe Reply:

    Emulate? War crimes?!? Cheerlead?!

    You criticize HSR construction for being inefficient. Pointing out out-of-control projects that are funded by the US gov’t isn’t on par with a war crime, cheer leading the lesser of two evils or expecting HSR to emulate failure.

    It’s a context. Get over it.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You know, once Bay-to-Basin is running, we will be on different funding vehicles, Prop. 1A will be old history, as will its requirement to finish Phase 1 before starting on Phase 2. So then for whomever is putting together the next round of funding, extensions to the IE and toward Sac may be higher priorities than to OC.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Will Kempton, who (I think) is affiliated with Orange County, spoke at the Mountain View meeting. He was wearing the hat of the Peer Review Group. He seemed fairly positive at the meeting.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Dude, Will Kempton is the CEO of OCTA.

    However, he was also Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of Business Housing and Transportation.

    He’s a supporter, but obviously has to be politically circumspect.

    Justin Walker Reply:

    Correction: Kempton was Director of Caltrans.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Yes, I forgot. The Secretary of BTH under Schwarzenegger was Dale Bonner…..

  4. Andrew
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 18:24
    #4

    Upgrading the track between Los Angeles and Orange County would be a huge boon to commuters between the two areas, if frequent commuter train service were available for a reasonable price. This trip can take up to 2 hours in rush hour due to traffic congestion (yikes!).

    Sadly, to get the HSR project built, it needs to be built in phases.

    Matthew B Reply:

    No worries, they’re upgrading the tracks independently of CAHSR. The existence of a major intercity rail hub at LAUS will only provide motivation to improve service to capture passengers transferring to other destinations statewide.

  5. Andrew
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 19:41
    #5

    [Different Andrew from #4]

    Meanwhile, they should further reduce the Phase I budget by cutting out the Transbay Terminal in SF and using the existing Caltrain terminal instead. It’s silly to spend $3b to take the train a few more blocks, especially considering that the so-called “Transbay Terminal” location is not in fact on BART and actually RULES OUT a transbay extension of HSR (building foundations are in the way). There’s also the fact that the Caltrain terminal location will have great connections to downtown via the Embarcadero and the Central Subway, and the fact that the SF hsr terminus should be located in an area with more room for TOD.

    Apply the $3b in savings as a down payment toward a new Transbay Tube from the Caltrain terminal to 5th and Mandela in Oakland, as part of an SF-Vallejo-Sacramento connection in Phase II or III. The tube would set us back a chilling $10b or so but would also get us a BART relief line, which has to be built eventually anyway (thus solving the cross-bay transport bottleneck for the next 60-80 years). It’s all explained right here – click on the lines and placemarks.

    Yes, I’m a magic-marker-toting fantasy-map amateur, but indulge me for a second, in exchange for always patiently checking out everybody’s off-topic rants and links.

    Andrew Reply:

    link test

    test

    Andrew Reply:

    Sorry, use this one:

    link

    jimsf Reply:

    while I like your proposal, leaving out transbay is not an option. Still, with that southern crossing, ( new tube for bart and hsr) hsr some northbound hsr trains from the peninsula can run through via 4th and king and continue to eastbay, some can continue to transbay. Southbound from transbay trains can go either direction at 4th – south to san jose or east to the new tube.

    jimsf Reply:

    like this

    Andrew Reply:

    Makes me want to be Emperor for a day and rescind whatever law that says we have waste billions building a few blocks of tunnels to reach a dead-end station in the old part of town with no room for growth, and that doesn’t connect with BART, Muni metro, ferries, Embarcadero light rail, or the Central Subway. They sure picked themselves a winning spot there!

    4th and King would have direct exchanges with all those things, except Muni metro, to which it would connect via BART at Church and Market.

    Your map is a good suggestion, but it underscores the irony of the “Transbay” name, i.e., take the train bound for Transbay if you don’t want to cross the bay; take the other train if you do. Maybe if they legally transferred the “Transbay terminal” name to 4th and King, which could actually live up to the name, they could kill that pointless project at Mission and Fremont!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Indeed, AFAIU, that’s when RM turned cranky about Caltrain. Bunch of fracking property developers using the mythical Express HSR train station as a cover story ended up, despite their expectations to the contrary, having to actually sort out a real HSR train station.

    Jerry Reply:

    Maybe: Transbay North and Transbay South

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Transbay Terminal and TransBay Through.

    Then SF-TBT is the “HSR Terminal” station, but most HSR trains don’t terminate, so they use Transbay Through instead. Caltrain locals run to TB-Terminal, Caltrain expresses run to
    TB-Through and terminate (in that map) at Vacaville.

    Andrew Reply:

    Nice.

    In my dreams I had some extra LA-SF and SF-LA trains each day that don’t take the loop route, since you don’t need as many trains to hit Sacramento as you need for SF. I also had several commuter trains a day in each direction adding commuter capacity for hsr in the Bay Area. A few coming down from Vacaville in the morning as far as SFO, spending the day there, then taking folks back after work and spending the night in Vacaville. Hollister-SF on the other end, with the trains spending the day at 4th and King, if there’s room, or going over to a yard in Richmond or someplace, if there’s not. Come to think of it, there’s a great spot for a rail yard at Mission and Fremont.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed, TransBay Through is what we really need….

    Of course the entire area plan will have to be reconsidered in light of global warming. I should probably visit the Embarcadero before the Greenland Ice Sheet breaks up and floods it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A smallish dam from Coney Island to Sandy Hook and another one across Long Island sound takes care of Metro New York, an even smaller one across the Golden Gate keeps the Embarcadero dry and Oakland, Sacrament, Stockton ( there’s tide in Stockton )….

    Peter Reply:

    Andrew, you should pick your own separate name (unless you were the first Andrew to post, of course).

    Jon Reply:

    Will someone please tell me why it’s not feasible to build the tailtracks from the earlier Transbay plan (now de-scoped but presumably still technically feasible) and then head east under Folsom or Harrison to get to the bay? The stock answer from the usual suspects is ‘201 Mission’ but the tailtracks planned by TJPB are already past that obstacle.

    Peter Reply:

    The most recent plans have Caltrain using the northernmost platform at TBT, not the southernmost. The tail tracks only “worked” because the Caltrain platform is meant to be shorter than the HSR platforms.

    Jon Reply:

    That actually makes sense. Thanks.

  6. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 21:26
    #6

    Off topic, but something of an invitation to tell some other people what you think–how to combine transit oriented development and heritage railway preservation:

    http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33120&sid=d68a74381356dd568edfa00f0a015264

  7. Neil Shea
    Apr 7th, 2012 at 22:44
    #7

    Doesn’t this seem like some modicum of politics since OC did not sign on to the MOU? I would think if they would play ball on the MOU and verbal support for the HSR ‘package’ (ICS + Bookends) Dan Richard could change his tune.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Honestly, it looks like a bit of idiot reporterage. It’s going “Oh, Anaheim’s not on the IOS” and conflating it with the full system. Anaheim’s still part of the Phase 1 build.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Like I said, it’s a Vartabedian article, “idiot reporterage” is practically his middle name.

    David F Reply:

    Anaheim already supports the project. It doesn’t make sense that Dan Richard would want to perpetuate the harmful belief that the rail line is only for usage for Angelenos and San Franciscans.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Anaheim’s a perfectly nice city but when the OCTA and OC county supervisors are not supportive of electrification there may be no one to partner with. On the Caltrain corridor local/regional govt is putting up half the $$ for the electrification/PTC project.

    joe Reply:

    Right on.

    OCTA and OC County Supervisors and Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point wants to repeal HSR.

    With limited funds, far better to find workable solutions with willing partners and leave OC alone until they come around. I could see scenarios where OC, OCTA or their state/fed Reps undermine the project. DOn’t give them the chance.

    Donk Reply:

    Agreed. Screw OC.

    Matthew B Reply:

    OCTA isn’t the best transit agency in Southern California, but ultimately it will be good for us all if we can cost effectively connect Orange County to the HSR network. LAUS to SF via the central valley should definitely be the first priority, though. Don’t make this about political retribution when in reality it’s about providing a useful rail service to as many people and destinations as possible.

    joe Reply:

    Political retribution?

    I’d love to see HSR extended – cost and all – to the $200M Anaheim transit facility but I’d like the county to be a willing partner, not an opponent.

    We live in a representative democracy and if the county doesn’t want HSR and we have limited funding – CA should spend where the risk of opposition and Votes of No-Confidence are minimal.

    The OCTA doesn’t want HSR extended to Anaheim. OC State Reps want to repeal HSR. The citizens of OC have to decide what is in their economic interests.

    It’s love and consequences – a simple parenting strategy.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Joe, do you understand the difference between “Do not want” and “Please come back when you don’t have a shitty plan”? The latter is what OCTA’s no confidence vote was about (and I’ll point out that the reps against HSR are all where there isn’t any planned HSR service anyhow, not to mention the fact that the Bay Area has plenty of opponents).

    And yes, CAHSRA’s original plan for LA-Anaheim and their $98 billion Phase 1 plan were shitty and needed to be taken back to the drawing board.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, OC can wait until Term Limits kick in.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    On the Caltrain corridor local/regional govt is putting up half the $$ for the electrification/PTC project.

    Local govt. is putting up only $180 million (out of a 1.5 billion total project cost).

    joe Reply:

    $180 million is far better than a vote of no-confidence which is what the trash-talking OCTA thought would help send a message to CAHSRA.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    That was my guess as well. OC didn’t want to play along and the Authority reasonably said “fine, screw you, we’ll put our money in places in SoCal that want it.”

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    …or put another way….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTc3zcnIZOw

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It could well be that the budget for some form of upgraded corridor to Anaheim is in there somewhere between the full Phase 1 low cost and full Phase 1 high cost numbers.

    But it does follow from “Blended Corridors” and “Blended Operations” that you’d need to agree to sort out the details of blended operations in order to expect to be penciled into the baseline corridor ~ especially when you are a snippable coda to the route.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The $68B is still a very big number, as is expected reliance on the feds for up to $40B of that. I could imagine some well meaning, pragmatic decision makers really concerned about total costs. Accordingly if I were part of authority leadership, I would try to throw overboard any excess costs that could possibly, arguably be excluded from at least Bay to Basin, and ideally even from declaring success on Phase 1.

    I want this transportation option very much but it still is a heckuva lot of money. I suspect there are other opportunities for cost savings and for private sector participation (e.g. if we can span Bakersfield to SFV, I’d expect an operator could front the $3B+ for trains, electrification and PTC). I definitely want to get started with the ICS, and I hope the bookends plan will give us the votes we need in the legislature. But funding Bkfld-SFV is going to be a big lift.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Excluding costs from the Bay to Basin wouldn’t bring the $68b down any, unless they are clipped entirely rather than just shifted to Phase 1. Indeed, shifting them to later would push the $68b up, since its YOE accounting, so postponing spending until after the project has started generating revenue would officially count against the project in the headline budget cost.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I’m wondering if there requirement to finish Phase 1 before beginning on Phase 2 is codified elsewhere than Prop. 1A. I could imagine good cost/benefit rationale for beginning on IE and even Sac before trying to upgrade the LAUS-OC line. In other words, move the goal posts and declare success with just blended service to ARTIC (e.g. use a diesel locomotive for that segment).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Bear in mind the ballot language here. This is 2704.04.b.

    (b) (1) Nine billion dollars ($9,000,000,000) of the proceeds of bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter, as well as federal funds and other revenues made available to the authority, to the extent consistent with federal and other fund source conditions, shall be used for planning and eligible capital costs, as defined in subdivision (c), for the segment of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station. Once construction of the San Francisco-Los Angeles segment is fully funded, all remaining funds described in this subdivision shall be used for planning and eligible capital costs, as defined in subdivision (c), for the following additional
    high-speed train segments without preference to order:
    (A) Oakland-San Jose.
    (B) Sacramento-Merced.
    (C) Los Angeles-Inland Empire.
    (D) Inland Empire-San Diego.
    (E) Los Angeles-Irvine.

    (2) Revenues generated by operations above and beyond operating and maintenance costs shall be used to fund construction of the high-speed train system.

    Since (b.1) and (b.2) are clauses of the same part (b), it may be argued that the “as well as federal funds and other revenues made available to the authority, to the extent consistent with federal and other fund source conditions,”, applies to the part (2) revenues. Whether or not it is, it makes sense to complete SF to LA anyway, and the only reason to try to weasel out of it would be if you wanted to terminate somewhere other than SF-TBT.

    But the Prop1a “mandatory” Phase 1 is SF/LA Union Station. The leg to Anahaim (LAUS/Irvine) is at an equal priority level in the ballot language as San Jose / Oakland.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    In other words, the lawyer for the side who wanted revenue bonds locked to the LA/SF segment would argue that “this subdivision” refers to (b), and that the language in (b1) includes by reference the revenues described in (b2), and the lawyer for the side who wanted revenue bonds freed to be used to fund construction of any part of the high speed train system that the government wanted to go ahead would argue that “this subdivision” is (b.1) in order to explicitly exclude “the other subdivision” of (b.2) …
    … and some judge would say which one is right. While I’ve recall seeing an argument that the first is right, I have no clue what the relevant precedents are for California and whether they are definitive or just suggestive, so damnedifiknow.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    So it appears clear that Riverside and Sac can get built before Anaheim, while by contrast SF TTC and LAUS are well protected by law. Here is a handy link to the current statutory law: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/SHC/1/d3/20/2

    Notes:
    1. 2704.04 (b)(2) excludes Anaheim/OC from the definition of Phase 1.
    2. 2704.04 (b)(3) allows the Authority, with legislature Budget approval, to spend money on any of the listed corridors including Riverside, San Diego or Sac, as long as it “would not have an adverse impact on the construction of Phase 1″.
    3. 2704.04 (b)(5) does not restrict the use of revenues from the system or revenue bonds to any particular route
    4. This money will almost certainly be used up before Phase is is fully done, and new state bonds or funding sources will come with new laws that will reflect the priorities of the coalitions that pass them, and do not need to prioritize OC above other regions (e.g. if Democrats pass those future measures they may listen if LA prefers to build eastward, and OC Republicans can watch from the sidelines).

    So it seems that the Authority is on solid legal ground to tell Orange County to jump in a lake. Since they are building their fancy ARTIC station there, some factions (especially Anaheim and tourism-related) may want to encourage the OCTA and county commissioners to play ball with the Authoirty.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The question would be whether

    shall be used for construction, expansion, improvement, replacement, and rehabilitation of the high-speed train system

    … signifies “in any way that the Authority sees fit”, or signifies, “as construction and expansion are defined above”.

    I aint no damn lawyer, so for an issue that relies on fine parsing of legal phrasing, I wait until its been tested in court, and declared by a judge to be one way or the other. The judgement of the AG office would be fine by me as a preliminary, but it’ll be tested in court one way or the other, since there’ll be NIMBY’s and, as the project proceeds, a growing number of, “no, build it here FIRST” YIMBY’s who’ll be happy to pounce on fine parsing of legal statements with an eye to the outcome that they want.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And its prudent that downtown SF to LA Union Station be well protected by law, even though its inconvenient that SF-TBT is the northern hook for that despite the Transbay authority shafting the city of SF by paying lip service to the charge from the voters of SF to design the TBT as the HSR terminus, rather than taking that part of their enabling local proposition seriously.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Nick Shea

    Wrong! All Wrong!

    Please read the correct version of Prop 1A / AB-3034 as printed below

    Senator Yee of SF got inserted into Prop 1A the language that Phase 1, SF to LA to Anaheim must be built before other Phases / routes cold be funded and constructed.

    The new Richard proposal to cut off Anaheim from Phase 1 is absolutely illegal.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Who has standing to sue on that? OCTA?

    thatbruce Reply:

    1. 2704.04 (b)(2) excludes Anaheim/OC from the definition of Phase 1.

    The link you supplied reads:

    (2)As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.

    ‘Anaheim’ is very definitely in phase 1, although ARTIC is not.

    ( For the full text of AB3034 in one page, try leginfo )

    jimsf Reply:

    san jose oakland.? cool. so do they plan to have it wye from san jose and run north up both sides of the bay. that would be really good.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    This law allows funds to be spent building a segment from San Jose to Oakland, but of course the Authority has no plans to do so.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And the funds (other than possibly operating revenue funding) governed by Prop1a will run out before then.

    morris brown Reply:

    @BruceMcF

    I don’t what version of AB-3034 you are printing here, but the final chapterd version, the verson voted upon and passed by the voters reads differently:

    ————–
    Article 2. High-Speed Passenger Train Financing Program

    2704.04. (a) It is the intent of the Legislature by enacting this
    chapter and of the people of California by approving the bond
    measure pursuant to this chapter to initiate the construction of a
    high-speed train system that connects the San Francisco Transbay
    Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim, and links the
    state’s major population centers, including Sacramento, the San
    Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, the Inland
    Empire, Orange County, and San Diego consistent with the authority’s
    certified environmental impact reports of November 2005 and July 9,
    2008.
    (b) (1) Net proceeds received from the sale of nine billion
    dollars ($9,000,000,000) principal amount of bonds authorized
    pursuant to this chapter, upon appropriation by the Legislature in
    the annual Budget Act, shall be used for (A) planning and engineering
    for the high-speed train system and (B) capital costs, as described
    in subdivision (c).


    (2) As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the
    high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train
    system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union
    Station and Anaheim.

    (3) Upon a finding by the authority that expenditure of bond
    proceeds for capital costs in corridors other than the corridor
    described in paragraph (2) would advance the construction of the
    system, would be consistent with the criteria described in
    subdivision (f) of Section 2704.08, and would not have an adverse
    impact on the construction of Phase 1 of the high-speed train
    project, the authority may request funding for capital costs, and the
    Legislature may appropriate funds described in paragraph (1) in the
    annual Budget Act, to be expended for any of the following high-speed
    train corridors:
    (A) Sacramento to Stockton to Fresno.
    (B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.
    (C) Oakland to San Jose.
    (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station.
    (E) Los Angeles Union Station to Riverside to San Diego.
    (F) Los Angeles Union Station to Anaheim to Irvine.
    (G) Merced to Stockton to Oakland and San Francisco via the
    Altamont Corridor.
    (4) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the authority’s
    determination and selection of the alignment from the Central Valley
    to the San Francisco Bay Area and its certification of the
    environmental impact report.
    (5) Revenues of the authority, generated by operations of the
    high-speed train system above and beyond operating and maintenance
    costs and financing obligations, including, but not limited to,
    support of revenue bonds, as determined by the authority, shall be
    used for construction, expansion, improvement, replacement, and
    rehabilitation of the high-speed train system.
    (c) Capital costs payable or reimbursable from proceeds of bonds
    described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) include, with respect
    to the high-speed train system or any portion thereof, all activities
    necessary for acquisition of interests in real property and
    rights-of-way and improvement thereof; acquisition and construction
    of tracks, structures, power systems, and stations; acquisition of
    rolling stock and related equipment; mitigation of any direct or
    indirect environmental impacts of activities authorized by this
    chapter; relocation assistance for displaced property owners and
    occupants; other related capital facilities and equipment; and such
    other purposes related to the foregoing, for the procurement thereof,
    and for the financing or refinancing thereof, as may be set forth in
    a statute hereafter enacted. The method of acquisition of any of the
    foregoing may also be set forth in a statute hereafter enacted.
    (d) Proceeds of bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter shall
    not be used for any operating or maintenance costs of trains or
    facilities.
    (e) The State Auditor shall perform periodic audits of the
    authority’s use of proceeds of bonds authorized pursuant to this
    chapter for consistency with the requirements of this chapter.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Bruce McF was using language as it existed in 2002.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Rick Rong:

    Thaks for finding his version. I looked through all the versions in 2008 that led up to the final version and could not find what he printed here.

    Anaheim really has the legal right to insist that Phase 1 be completed to their city, just as SF has the right to instist that Phase 1 include the TBT. Its all in the law.

    However, the CHSRA doesn’t care about what Prop 1a / AB-3034 says; they consider the funds has been approved by the voters and how they use the funding is their business and nobobdy elses, and this includes just ignoring any requirements on how the funds shall be used that esist in law.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, they appear to have the right to insist on a “HSR corridor”. They do not, of course have any legal right to insist on the version of the HSR corridor that costs $6b … and they certainly can not both insist on an HSR corridor while insisting that the HSR project be shut down. They couldn’t, for example, both have a policy of refusing to seek a MOU with the California HSR Authority and sue the CHSRA that Anaheim is left incompleted while work proceeds to Sacramento or San Diego.

    If they change their mind by 2028, it iseems like they could sue to have any unexpended Prop1a funds be directed to completing some form of HSR corridor to Anaheim first, before starting on the Inland Empire / San Diego or Merced / Sacramento. Of course, as pointed out, there’d be non unexpended bond funds, so that hinges on whether clause (b.2) binds clause (b.5).

    Thought it seems likely they’d change their tune earlier than that ~ perhaps when the Burbank / LA Union Station is being built, they’ll lobby for a better value engineered extension to Anaheim at that time.

    joe Reply:

    Anaheim can insist on HSR but the OCTA controls the money they toyed with a No-Confidence vote in Nov 2011.

    http://voiceofoc.org/state/article_0e69577a-1014-11e1-b1e2-001cc4c002e0.html
    “The emperor has no clothes,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, one of the OCTA directors. “Sometimes with a deal, it’s good to tell someone ‘no.’ “

    “Even though a no-confidence vote would have no legal effect on the rail authority, OCTA board members said such a vote coming from the transportation agency in California’s third largest county would carry impact.”

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, to ge set up to sue in 2028 for Anaheim, they’d probably want to first show a good faith effort to get the corridor built. And if they do that, its likely something will in fact be sorted out, so no likely basis for a suit there, either.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It was some wiki somewhere.

    In any event, its the same legal issue, whether “construction and expansion” in (5) means as the Authority sees fit, or as specified previously in part (b). The constrained argument would be that if Clause (5) was intended to be interpreted independently of of Clause (2), it would be in a seperate part, not as one of several clauses to part (b). The unconstrained argument would be that if it was intended to be governed by Clause (2), it would have cross-referenced.

    IANDL, so I dunno, but I’ve seen lots of people in transport projects over the decades confidently state that the legal language allows them to do something, and then when its tested in court it turns out that their hands are tied more tightly than they hoped. I don’t have the faintest idea what the precedents are in California case law, so damned if I know whether the claim that revenue funding is constrained was a clear eyed, impartial interpretation by someone familiar with the field, or, eg, a hack angling for NIMBY business.

    Nathanael Reply:

    What is absolutely clear is that the Authority is not required to finish anything. The restrictions in Prop 1A are all of the form “You have to finish this BEFORE you can start this”. So perhaps Anaheim has to get done before Sacramento, but they don’t even have to think about it while working on Sylmar-Bakersfield.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Certainly, as I’ve noted below, under the Business Plan timeline, the lawsuit that morris is salivating for comes into the frame in the late 2020’s. And by that time, there’s no reason why there won’t be a rail corridor between LA Union Station and Anaheim perfectly well suited for HSR trains to run through.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Money could be saved by building the wretched Roundabout to single track with double at strategic locations. Tehachapi is a white elephant in any case and one train per hour in each direction should be adequate for the passenger traffic that will actually materialize.

    Remember there is zero service on this corridor now and this has been the case for the past 40 or so years, Where is the demand?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Mouse, I didn’t really know how you felt about that. In case there are others who are not aware, would you mind posting it at least once a day? That way we can all start to stand with you to right this terrible injustice.

    Matthew B Reply:

    By Synonymouse’s argument, we shouldn’t build HSR because there has been no HSR service for over 40 years. In fact, there’s been no HSR service on this route for over 400 years! I guess it wouldn’t work here, or France, Japan, Spain, Germany, etc.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What if they built a train and nobody came.

    Until they let some ride free, like Muni.

    Get ready for that 20% sales tax and $20 bridge tolls.

    Hey, Amalgamated TO’s to run the CHSRA:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/06/BAJ317F7FM.DTL

    Peter Reply:

    20% sales tax (actually a VAT) works just fine in Germany…

    Peter Reply:

    Sorry, 19% VAT. The economy will surely collapse when they raise it to 20%, though, I’ll admit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But you just gotta love that 15 minutes of break for every 5 minutes worked.

    The serious point is that the extraordinarily expensive Roundabout will be very underutilized.

    So, when it will take decades to take full advantage of all that capacity, there are two clear choices:

    Either build out the optimum alignment(turns out to be cheaper – how nice)

    Or, cut your losses and build the Detour mostly to single track, like the Loop.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Elizabeth and Morris

    I suggest you throw out the single track idea the next time you testify at one of the Board meetings. It might really set them off. Brown and Richards have to know the Roundabout is going to cost a fortune, will not meet the 2 hour 42 minutes proviso, and will be way underutilized. It has to be a touchy subject, especially after their craven capitulation to the Tejon Co. and firing Van ARk over it.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Hi Mouse, I’m glad you’re taking my suggestion of being sure to post about the ‘Roundabout’ every day to be sure that everyone knows where you stand. Maybe you could link to a video of the Yes song.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What level of train frequency do you envision for the Roundabout such that the trains will be full enough to break even on operating costs and maintenance?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Well, the Madrid / Barcelona line takes the kind of roundabout that you complain about to go to Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona (.png), they run 4 trains per hour at the break of curfew at 6am, then 3tph the next hour, then 2tph, then 1tph through mid-day, then 2tph between 3pm and 7pm, and then 1tph til curfew.

    Something along those lines, maybe add another train when the Sacramento corridor opens.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Your roundabout looks more like Tejon than Tehachapi. If the dogleg were that trivial there would be no complaint.

    I assume that line is double track so that would 4tph each direction?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Metro LA is twice the size of Metro Madrid and SF-Oakland ( not including the glorious San Jose metropolitan area ) is a bit larger than Metro Barcelona. I would suspect ridership would be a bit higher LA-SF since there’s more people to go visit. Roughly twice? Zaragosa is smaller than San Jose, Fresno or Bakersfield. Double the ridership is conceivable….

    Metro Sacramento is roughly half the size of metro Barcelona and LA is twice the size of Madrid. So while there will be less people in Sacramento wanting to go anywhere there are twice as many people in LA to visit. Roughly the same as Madrid-Barcelona?

    Add service to Las Vegas and the express from Sacramento to LA can serve people who want to go to LA and the local to Las Vegas can serve people who want to go to Fresno and Bakersfield. When they get off, the people in Fresno and Bakersfield who want to go to Las Vegas can get on.

    The Fresno-Bakersfield section is going to busy…..

    jimsf Reply:

    and omg! speaking of roundabouts… why, it was absolutely shocking how many detours the freeways made between merced and la and palm springs and la. I mean I wasted at least 15 to 30 minutes on freeways that skewed too and fro, hither an yon, instead going in a straight line. Not to mention all the clogged up choke points where cars were on and off ramping in cities and towns that had nothing to do with where I was going. Those freeways should have been built in a straight line, and without any ramps to serve places that don’t interest me. I mean really, no one goes to Rialto after all, its in the middle of nowhere!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @syntho-mouse ~ its double track HSR between the cities ~ obviously the trains run in “blended operations” in the cities themselves.

    They even generate an operating surplus being operated by union labor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    run in “blended operations” in the cities themselves.

    Not in Japan and Spain.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You’re quite right ~ with the Spanish conventional rail not relying on standard gauge, the Spanish blended operations will rather be shared HSR and freight on the LGV Perpignan–Figueres ~ the blended operations with urban passenger rail are France and Italy (and perhaps Germany?), not France and Spain. The Italians of course opted for a bypass and local system, which some have criticized for increasing the cost of their system ~ others lay the blame to the “particular institutions” involved in civil engineering construction in Italy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Single track would suffice for 1 train per hour in each direction.

    How many tracks to Deserted Xpress?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Germany is fully blended, too. ICE trains share tracks with the Regionalbahn on the Berlin Stadtbahn, running right next to the S-Bahn trains, which are high-platform and have their own tracks.

    As for single-tracking, it’s a bad idea for HSR, because you’d need high-speed turnouts at every passing segment.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Syntho-mouse, you run along and whip up the arrival and departures and passing section ~ but do remember that capacities have to be for maximum usage, not for average usage, and not for minimum usage ~ out of the three, you settled on minimum per hour usage of the Madrid / Barcelona line, when you were aiming at maximum usage per hour. Also, given the cost of reconstructing the infrastructure, be sure to include excess capacity … so you work out your 6tph each way single track system and submit it to CARRD.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There’s nothing wrong with initially building to lower capacity than 6 tph. If they expect 6 tph in the future, then they should of course build in such a way that makes later expansion easy, but the capacity doesn’t have to exist right at the beginning.

    For an example that’s unfortunately not on anyone’s drawing board, take HSR compatibility with the MBTA and MARC. If the MBTA modernizes and electrifies, operations, 4 tph each of full-fat HSR, Providence Line trains, and Stoughton Line trains can be accommodated on the existing two tracks with only one additional four-tracking segment, either from Route 128 to Readville or around Sharon (either would work, the former leveraging existing four-tracking at Attleboro). This does not preclude any future expansion of service, which would require extending four-tracking to longer segments but allow 6 tph without quadrupling the Canton Viaduct.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It depends heavily on where you are building. Building 160mph and 220mph corridors for a maximum capacity of 1 train per hour, as synonomouse has just proposed, there is indeed something wrong with that. Tunneling and constricting capacity to 1 train per hour … there’s something wrong with that one as well.

    When the infrastructure is built, the fact that synomouse was not inclined to imagine that it would be of any use, because a failure of imagination makes it easier to stick to his guns … is not going to prevent other people from coming up with uses for the infrastructure.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you have a lot of tunneling, such that single-tracking initially could save money, then it’s not out of the question. The Lötschberg Base Tunnel is single-tracked. Of course everything leading into it is double-tracked, and the schedule is set in such a way that it allows way more than 1 tph; above ground, the savings from single-tracking are small. By the same token, the Swiss proposal for CAHSR involves single-track tunnels through Altamont Pass and through Dumbarton, later to be expanded to two tracks.

    It depends on how much money you have initially, how the schedule is set up, etc. It’s always cheaper to build double track than to build a single track and later expand, but with tunnels, the difference is much smaller than above ground, because long tunnels are usually twin bores. Twin bores can even be split between two different contractors, one for each bore; this is done in current Spanish HSR construction.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The single track approach could also be applied to Tejon, as a last resort. At Tehachapi why bust the budget on what will always remain a secondary route. Had the Santa Fe taken up the Tejon route in the Gilded Age it would have been built out but by 1920 auto, bus, truck, airplane competition had broken the railways’ monopoly on surface transport. In 1920 they would have needed govefrnment help; after their experience with the USRA they were probably skittish about government involvement and besides the GOP would not support it then any more than now.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think it can be applied to Tejon so easily. Because Tejon would be a combination of tunnels and viaducts, the savings from single-tracking are reduced, and the cost of doing everything twice is increased.

    I forget whether the intention was to do Tejon twin-bore or single-bore, too.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I was thinking, perhaps in an anticipatory way, of a single bore much more substantial tunnel that would skirt the Tejon Ranch enough to shut them up. Closer to a base tunnel but only one. The idea would be to enable some pretty decent speeds which would free up capacity.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Skirting the Tejon Ranch is how PB could get away with portraying Tejon as circuitous and risky and barely any faster than the Tehachapis. Just go through, buy the necessary land, and build a line that’s actually straight.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Skirting” was a terrible choice of wording. I meant tunnel under the Ranch so they have no complaint.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I meant tunnel under the Ranch so they have no complaint.

    Routing away from Tejon via Palmdale? Two+ billion dollars of extra public expense, to appease a sprawl disaster with a private market capitalization of less than a quarter of that.

    Tunnelling under Tejon Ranch? Easily an extra several hundred million dollars of public expense, comparable to the private market capitalization of the sprawl disaster coroporation.

    Tunnelling under Millbrae on the Caltrain line? $1.9 billion in public expense, in order to preserve a fantasy local development project worth under $10 million. Only Caltrain’s World Class consultants (PBQD’s hand picked sub-consultants) could possibly step up and do something ten times (or more!) stupid than even CHSRA’s World Class consultant PBQD.

    But on the other hand, routing all HS trains via Los Banos and The Capital of Silicon Valley in order to line the CHSRA’s lead consultant’s and friends’ pockets with many billions of pure BART pork? A pure downside play, with not even a token $10 million upside. OK, PBQD outdoes even the Milbrae scam, by a factor of five. We have a winner in the public fraud sweepstakes! Tune in for further late entries …

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals on the job!

  8. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 8th, 2012 at 20:33
    #8

    Off topic, but definitely of interest to some readers here–work progressing on the reconstruction of the Lackawanna Cut-Off. Service projected to start on about a third of the line around 2014. The second phase, to continue to Scranton, Pa., has no date for completion (I’m speculating that the agencies involved are waiting for money). Some stations will have large parking lots, perhaps befitting the rural nature of much of the line, and, interestingly for a heritage road like this, all station platforms will be high-level. Proposed trains are to be locomotive hauled, with dual power locomotives.

    http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33122

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lackawanna_Cutoff#New_Jersey_Transit_proposal

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Headlines form the current edition of Destination:Freedom (National Corridors Initiative newsletter):

    Will The California High-Speed Rail Project REALLY Be Built?

    MBTA To Go Solar

    Public Transit Holds Key To America’s Hidden Energy Reserve

    DMU’s For Long Island Railroad

    Long-Term Drop In How Much People Drive, Youth Desire More Transportation Options

    The last one has a bad link to a PIRG study; a working link to PIRG transportation articles is here:

    http://uspirg.org/topics/transportation

    General D:F link for this edition here:

    http://www.nationalcorridors.org/df3/df04092012.shtml

    Peter Reply:

    The LIRR’s DMU plan has identified funding now, too.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No electrification? Oh well…

    Nathanael Reply:

    The DMUs are planned is for the far-off-east ends of Long Island, which are not only relatively low-ridership areas, but are also going to be the first to sink under the waves as sea level rises. I wouldn’t put too much money into those far-off sections either.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Slowest moving project EVER!

    I’ve followed this and a lot of the problems are long fights over who should be ASKING for the money to reconstruct the DL&W’s New Jersey Cut-Off. The moment the tracks cross the Jersey Water Gap, Scranton and the related counties will pounce and start service to Scranton; but NJT is responsible for the connection to the border and has been taking its sweet time about it.

    It’s not even clear that the PA counties are allowed to spend money in Jersey or be the lead agency requesting that money be spent in Jersey; anyway, all the ‘local gossip’ I’ve read indicates that NJ-PA political fights have slowed this project down a lot.

    Finally NJT decided to build the first section of it (which does involve the only tunnel) and promptly got entangled in environmental lawsuits. I’m glad to hear that this is progressing again.

    Nathanael Reply:

    FWIW, I have a long-term personal interest in this one.

    The Lackawanna Cutoff proposal is the first step in the only plausible plan to get service from New York City to the Southern Tier of New York — so I am personally interested in it. The group working to get passenger trains back to Binghamton did a study and concluded that the only viable passenger route from there to NYC was via Scranton and the Cutoff. (The other route would go into Metro-North’s Port Jervis Line, but it’s just too slow.) The trackage from Binghamton to Scranton is in excellent condition, very straight and fast, and not overcrowded, and the Binghamton station is even intact and usable.

    At that point Syracuse-Cortland-Binghamton service, which has been intermittently suggested, would actually make sense. (Cortland’s station is also still intact, and that line is not busy.) And then I’d be only half an hour from a train station instead of an hour. :-)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Slowest moving project EVER!

    Ground breaking for East Side Access was in 1969.
    Ground breaking for the Second Ave Subway was in 1972, forty years after it was first seriously proposed. 88, 89 years is a bit slower than whatever they do on the Cutoff, after all it opened in 1911 and had passenger trains running on it until 1970.

    Nathanael Reply:

    BTW, the reasons for high-level are: New Jersey Transit is basically standardized on a high-floor fleet of cars; and they want to run trains into Penn Station New York. NJT is converting all its low-level stations to high-level as they renovate them, except in cases where they can’t figure out how (Hoboken Terminal comes to mind, where the canopies are low and it’s a historic landmark).

    It makes sense, though. The whole Northeast is slowly going high-level. Even the suggested far-future Syracuse-Cortland-Binghamton-Scranton route would already have a high-level platform on it (Syracuse).

  9. Neil Shea
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 07:51
    #9

    OT but I think the Business Plan would be improved by more clearly stating the number of trips between NorCal and SoCal by air, auto and train today and in future years, and what share of those trips HSR is expected to capture (they could even reference a chart of air trips by airport pair). That would help put the ridership models in context. Did anyone see those #’s? Certainly if we expect HSR to take half or more of the current air trips that matches the experience in many other locations.

    Along those lines, if it wouldn’t be too costly it would be interesting if they would give rough ridership estimates for a San Joaquin that connects Palmdale to Oakland and Sac, and runs an hour faster than today. If we have 1m passengers/year with the current line ending in Bakersfield, one could easily imagine 3-5m passengers in 2020 with faster service that goes right into Metro LA. This too would help stakeholders picture the HSR ridership assumptions.

    Robert – I don’t have the raw data handy but this might be a topic meriting broader discussion.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    They don’t break it down NoCal/SoCal, but give the total inter-regional trips in 2000 on 5-11: 500m, with 20m by air and 4m by existing rail.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The FAA has the info for you already actually. Innovative Approaches to Addressing Aviation Capacity Issues in Coastal Mega-regions

  10. StevieB
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 10:17
    #10

    The right of way from LAUS to Anaheim is not wide enough for two more high speed rail tracks at grade. The choices to build separate track are to use eminent domain to widen the right of way which is not politically possible or build a viaduct the entire length of the corridor which is prohibitively expensive. That leaves high speed rail sharing tracks to Anaheim with Metrorail at the same speed. Electrifying the corridor for high speed rail trains traveling at the same speed as current Metrorail diesel trains is not a priority.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The current plan is for sharing the tracks with Metrolink and traveling at the same speed actually, it’s just on separated passenger only tracks (which are mostly at grade).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Given the distance, the first priority in getting a fast transit is getting a clear run through at 79mph. Then if they are separated passenger only tracks, upgrading to 110mph would likely be fairly cheap, though a bit of analysis would be required to decide whether the time savings would be worth the cost.

    But if its worth it, it would probably be on the basis of some benefit for the Metrolink service, whether increasing service frequency with the same rolling stock or improved recovery from service delays, so there’s a case for the local rail system upgrading that corridor for its benefit and HSR running through at whatever speed the local rail system has upgraded the corridor to.

    Indeed, given a national infrastructure bank, there’s no reason to expect that work would still need to be done by the time that there is an HSR service up and running and running into LA Union Station.

  11. Ed C.
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 14:02
    #11

    The I-5 segment through SF Springs to the 605 is overdue to be widened. I drive it almost all the time and it is a major constriction of traffic.

    Most times, though, Metrolink service is frequent enough through the I-5 corridor, so I pass by the I-5 traffic through the train car windows when I don’t drive the I-5 on most days.

    The widening of the I-5 through this segment is already underway. But this should have been done years ago, when materials were cheaper.

  12. Reedman
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 14:11
    #12

    In case you haven’t seen the latest reporting about the source of the CAHSR ridership estimates:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-conflict-20120409,0,3760900.story

    Jack Reply:

    Wow, someone who has experience in creating ridership estimates leaves and starts consulting on ridership estimates. We’ve gone from real CAHSR Board Member and PR Firm conflicts to a man has lunch with his old friend….

    Reaching much?

    Also, Nadia got another jab in, just when you thought CAARD was reduced to irrelevancy…

    Peter Reply:

    Manufactured controversies are the best controversies because the parties that manufactured them can point to the fact that their opponents deny the existence of a problem as proof of the controversy’s existence.

  13. Donk
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 16:33
    #13

    So now the OC Register sees the need for the project? These guys are bipolar.

    BTW, interesting point that OC lost a major advocate in Curt Pringle. If he was still around, this would never have happened.

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/anaheim-348259-rail-line.html

    Spokker Reply:

    Nothing in that article suggests that the OC Register sees a need for the project.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    As always, the comments are interesting. Some of the more notable examples:

    “Why doesn’t Orange County focus on improving the existing Metrolink service? The system should have more frequent trains and operate 24 hours a day. Not everyone works 9-5 Monday thru Friday. It is a joke in its current state. Look no further than San Diego to see a regional rail system that works.”–Rick Moree

    “That’s because most of the opposition is coming from OC & San Diego the home of conservatism although the times they are a changin’.”–Mike Tomkins

    “That is a good answer yes I went to a meeting with our state assembly dian Harkey she is a very one sided lady ,she was knocking Arnold and jerry brown and just bragging how she flys back in forth to our ca state capital to work for the people ha ha what a joke if you are a republican she is on your side,,air head..dian H..”–Dusty W O’tero

    “Instead of “strongly advocating” for the project, why doesn’t Disney make a meaningful monetary contribution? The public should not have to spend 100 billion dollars so that Disneyland can more effectively funnel people through its gates.”–Michael Baker

    “High speed rail is going to happen whether the OC Register and a few ignorant naysayers like it or not.”–Eric Cooper

    “The OC Board of supervisors basically screwed OC over. This is what happens when you put up a fight and say “we don’t want it in OC!” which is beyond stupid. Even if it is a tax burden, the state is still going to build it, but we reject having a terminus in OC on principle? So OC isn’t included. Lame.”–Julie Trevino

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Then there was this rambling thing, by GardeningCrewGardeningCrewcom:

    Here is a question to all OCR readers? Has anyone seen a beautiful, garden like OASIS project in the state of California, pertaining to TRAINS, FREEWAYS, AIRPORTS, ETC. Answer is simple, nothing…….Transportation is arm pit ugly or rectum bowels smelly.

    Only part of the story being told. Most of this is more abuse by the system in place to aid certain politicians and create jobs for unions. Story does not tell about the collected data from Urban Planners, doing 24/7 studies along the train routes. Residents know that freeways, train routes, etc, will only aid in dividing counties and cities even deeper, creating more negative ‘hoods and devalue property values.

    Existing property owners adjacent to the routes will loose property value and have accelerated wear and tear on dwellings, degrade the infrastructure even great and to existing neighborhoods.

    Story does not tell, the data from the fallout from friable debris in to the environment and horticulture. Train fallout does not stop at the tracks, but will be felt miles away from the tracks.

    Property owners have all been hit by the shenanigans surrounding ghost like projects from airports, trains, freeways, etc, as anything the state becomes involved in, creates more abuse from politicians and BK’S the system.

    Don’t let politicians massage the system to their benefits. Keep government from being property owners, as the state is in a mess today.

    Lets build gardens, more parks, rest stops, campgrounds, greenbelts easements and create makings for improved and better atmosphere…….

    Does this guy–I assume it’s a guy–hate infrastructure, or is he trying to get a contract for greenery, otherwise known as money?

    Wonder what he would think of a really beautiful heritage road, like the narrow gauge lines in Colorado, or the standard and narrow gauge lines in Alaska?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Almost everything’s simple if you don’t have to think about the details… (personally I’d like free kittens for all and no more war or violence)

    [Anyway, for non-local travel, rail is by far the least horrible in terms of environmental / "unpleasantness" / "beauty" impact, so... naturally this guy will be a rail supporter once he calms down and stops hyperventilating.... er, right?]

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Free kittens? That’s easy. Those beautiful little creatures have a breeding rate that approaches that of rabbits. The tough part is the vet bills and the food bill. I should know, I’ve got five cats, have had three since they were little. Food? You wouldn’t think something that small would eat that much, but they do, and what goes in one end comes out the other, and I say, it’s more than what went in!

    Free medical care for cats, including flea treatments, would be enough for me!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, I meant free platonic kittens: disease-free, never puke up hairballs, and don’t even need a litterbox…

    VBobier Reply:

    I adopted My cat for $10.00, named Her Grace and brought Her home, I buy dry and canned cat food(Science Diet[dry] & Friskies[canned]), as to litter I buy Worlds Best flushable corn based cat litter for use with My Littermaid automated Mega litterbox, which has an extra 8oz of weight applied to the rake which makes the rake work correctly without hanging and the rake needs no lubrication as a result, I spend about $20-$30 a month on My cat(food and litter only), She weighed 9.5lbs when I brought Her home, now She weighs about 12-15lbs and is longer and a bit taller now, Oh and She can jump 4′ straight up, but then each of Her paws are as wide as two human fingers. And She follows Me everywhere and She’s an indoor cat only, She never goes outside and yes supposedly She is fixed or whatever.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    She has you well trained.
    “Dogs have owners, cats have staff”

    VBobier Reply:

    this cat is smart enough to open some cabinet doors, enough to where I put some baby locks in, to protect Her from what could be harmful and to keep Her from being annoying when I go to bed.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    And Donk thinks I’m crazy with off-topic stuff. . .

    But not really. . .we have a strong tradition of cats in railroading, in particular one sleepy-eyed kitten from the Virginias:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chessie_(railroad_mascot)

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/ff/Chessie.jpg

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    This one’s for V.—

    http://www.facebook.com/AndMyCat

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dgiUvWideg

    How the devil someone came up with this much material on something this silly is a mystery to me.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=monorail+cat&oq=monorail&aq=1&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_nf=1&gs_l=youtube.1.1.0l10.22743.24340.0.27488.8.8.0.1.1.0.177.864.1j6.7.0.

    swing hanger Reply:

    A cat even saved a railroad:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WVPwJIoPWk&feature=related

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is really a stretch to find much beauty in BART. Definitely another world from the Rio Grande narrow gauge, D.P.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    synonymouse, you’d rage against BART if it were composed of nothing but flowers and butterflies…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Amalgamated T.O.’s would file a discrimination grievance, claiming they were allergic to the flowers.

    And they had better not be non-native butterflies – the nannies would have a fit.

    VBobier Reply:

    I think He’s allergic to one and hates the other, which is which, I have no idea.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He hates everything except PCC cars and I-5.

    VBobier Reply:

    Not really all that surprising, too bad We don’t have a pic of Syntho-Mouse for a Dart board, Hey what do Ya know, He’s in the web dictionary…

    Clem Reply:

    Synonymouse is the spice of this blog. He is a contrarian’s contrarian, tying even the savviest contrarians into knots. He runs circles around y’all, and through Palmdale no less!

  14. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 18:17
    #14

    Off topic, but on what is likely an item of continued interest–commentary on the Florida East Coast proposal, by Randall “The Fool” O’Toole:

    http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=6355#documentContent

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Going further afield, but no doubt of interest to the political junkies here, are parallel comments by Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama on taxes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRuWMoEWE1E&feature=youtu.be

  15. morris brown
    Apr 9th, 2012 at 21:55
    #15

    LA Times: Congressional panel launches probe of California’s high-speed rail project

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-rail-probe-20120410,0,4494270.story

    The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants to look into possible conflicts of interest and how backers plan to spend billions in federal funds.

    A congressional committee has launched a wide-ranging examination of the California high-speed rail project, including possible conflicts of interest and how the agency overseeing it plans to spend billions of dollars in federal assistance.

    The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), notified the California High-Speed Authority about the review Monday and ordered the agency to preserve its documents and records of past communications.

    Committee members say they want to ensure that tax dollars are being spent appropriately and check for possible conflicts of interest involving rail officials and contractors. They also plan to determine whether a large government commitment to the bullet train would siphon federal tax dollars away from other important transportation projects.

    “California high-speed rail was sold to voters as a grand vision for tomorrow but in practice appears to be no different than countless other pork-barrel projects — driven more by political interests and consultant spending than valid cost-benefit analysis,” Issa said. “Before more taxpayer money is sent to the rail authority, questions must be answered about mismanagement, conflicts of interest, route selection, ridership and other risks.”

    Isn’t this interesting. So now we have the GAO and ths committee also looking hard at the HSR project.

    Clem Reply:

    Route selection? This should be juicy. The shredders at PB must be running all night.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pity they aren’t as tenacious when it comes to defense contractors or even highway contractors.

    VBobier Reply:

    If ISSA can’t find what He wants, He’ll probably try and invent or distort something to suit His narrow minded ends and preconceived beliefs…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They’re very juicy. Are you kidding? Every once in a while Congress gets pissed about a Pentagon procurement decision that didn’t go its way, demands a rebid, and delays things further.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Issa is one Republican who is really, really hard to like. But if he can hold his knee-jerk deference for the wealthy in check, and if his is truly a strict constructionist, it is just possible that the Tejon Ranch Co’s unilateral embargo on hsr in and around the Grapevine corridor(which I deem unconstitional)might just rub him the wrong way. No matter how flush and connected the Chandlers are.

    Jerry Reply:

    Will his committee have only men testify?

    DavidM Reply:

    It was widely thought that when the GOP took the House in 2010 that we would see a replay of the Clinton-era witch hunts, but so far all of their investigations (except for maybe the Mexico gun-running) have been duds.

    VBobier Reply:

    That’s cause the guys doing the investigations are themselves DUDs, cruddy ones at that too.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    two reasons why they haven’t. If they investigate the Obama admin, relentlessly when the Democrats retake the House in the 2012 elections the Democrats can relentlessly investigate the Bush Admin. They couldn’t say much of anything. And if they relentlessly investigate the Obama admin. that he is a anti-colonial Kenyan socialist out to take away your car and make you live in a Manhattan apartment building while getting your healthcare screened by a death panel isn’t quite as scary.
    Anyway they are too busy proposing legislation that has no hope of being passed like eliminating Medicare, cutting taxes on rich people to zero and drilling for oil in your backyard, literally in your backyard.

    VBobier Reply:

    This is the 2nd time the Repugnicans have tried this stunt as shown Here(Bullet train funds in GOP sights), but then Repugs don’t like Good Government, they just like Weak Government that can’t help the economy or threaten corporats fat profits.

  16. jimsf
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 09:55
    #16

    Ho hum. all this speculative chatter. When is something concrete going to happen. Please break ground now.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    After the legislature gives their stamp of approval for starting work on the ICS, then they’ve got to start selling bonds and then get work started.

    Hence fussing about whether Anaheim gets added in 2028 or 2032, in hopes that some votes can be shaken loose by drumming up a phony controversy.

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