SF Muni Seeks Prop 1A Funds for Central Subway

May 24th, 2012 | Posted by

San Francisco Muni’s Central Subway project is scheduled to begin tunneling next year, extending the T-Third light rail line north to Market and Chinatown under 4th Street and Stockton Street. It would serve the 4th and King station, and that why Muni is hoping they can tap into Prop 1A funds for the project, if 4th and King is used as a high speed rail station:

Muni’s hopes to use state Proposition 1A funding to fill that hole were quashed when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the expenditure last year. Prop. 1A allots state dollars to local transit projects providing connectivity to California’s still-mostly hypothetical high-speed rail system. Brown, however, denied Muni’s grant application because a direct connection between the rail system and the proposed Central Subway was notably absent in the California High Speed Rail Authority’s business plan.

Earlier this month, Muni appealed to the state once more, submitting a revised grant proposal in hopes of landing that $61 million. In doing so, Muni requests connectivity dollars — even if conventional definitions of connectivity aren’t precisely met. “So long as Fourth and King remains open as an interim or permanent HSR station,” the Muni proposal claims, the Central Subway will offer a direct connection.

Of course, the $61 million question is, will Fourth and King become a stop for high-speed trains? The California High Speed Rail Authority’s revised business plan states that high-speed trains on the Caltrain corridor will only serve the stop “if necessary.” Although the agency says that it does not expect to use the station, if demand or ridership increases by 2050, Fourth and King would serve as an overflow stop.

If Muni can’t convince Governor Brown that the Central Subway deserves Prop 1A funds, then Muni will have to borrow money for it. The debt service funds will then have to come out of Muni’s existing budget.

Governor Brown has in the past vetoed requests for the $950 million in Prop 1A funds marked for “connecting” rail service as part of his effort to instead promote the development of a statewide rail plan. Muni will have to make a convincing case to the governor that the Central Subway fits into that vision. They didn’t succeed in the past, and given that their current argument hinges on 4th and King, I’m not so sure they’ll succeed now.

  1. Roger Christensen
    May 24th, 2012 at 23:03
    #1

    The more welcome tunneling news today is Metro’s decision to tunnel under Beverly Hills High and certify the Purple Line all the way to the VA Hospital west of the 405. A 9 mile subway project with near the same price tag ($5.6B) as Bakersfield to Merced HSR.

    Donk Reply:

    And the great thing is that virtually everyone in LA County now seems to support this line except for Beverly Hills, for tunneling under BHHS, and Sup. Mike Antonovich, soon to be chair of the Metro board of directors. And nobody gives a crap what either Beverly Hills or Antonovich say.

    Its a great feeling after so many years of debate about this. You have to give credit to Villaraigosa for this. Hopefully Brown will have a similar legacy for HSR.

    joe Reply:

    Oil rigs are okay.
    http://www.thingstodoinlosangeles.com/urban-oil-wells-in-los-angeles/
    http://goo.gl/maps/Ofj2

    But the community’s objections to possibly explosive methane gas and other perceived dangers associated with tunneling under a high school were largely debunked.

    Peter Reply:

    Wasn’t methane gas just the most recent of the pulled-out-of-the-ass objections to tunneling? Weren’t they just recently bitching that the “vibrations” from trains running beneath the school would disrupt teaching?

    joe Reply:

    Yes, that’s what it appears – some measurable methane but the inferred risks were not grounded in fact. That other tunneling encountered higher concentrations than hat they anticipate for this project.

    VBobier Reply:

    IF BH doesn’t want the subway and BH were to prevail, the subway could probably skirt around BH to either the North or the South and BH would get nothing from It and I mean nothing, they’d be bypassed.

    Matthew B Reply:

    VBobier, it’s more complicated than that. It has to go under the school to avoid placing a station on top of a fault. BHSD claims that the fault isn’t active. Actual seismic professionals say it would be a very bad idea to put the station there. There’s an additional benefit of picking up a few thousand extra riders by placing the station in the center of LA’s second downtown instead of on its periphery next to a golf course. It’s a guessing game what BH’s real motives are.

    joe Reply:

    Usually pubic transportation objections are rooted in fear of attracting new/different/less desirable people.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And Beverly Hills would be exactly the sort of community which you’d *expect* to be afraid of the “less desirable”. If it weren’t that sort of community, it would have merged with the City of LA and the LAUSD long, long ago.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Of course, the funny thing is that such fears are completely unfounded. Subways to rich neighborhoods simply do not bring “less desirable” people into them; it’s never ever happened in history. If anything, subway stations make the rich neighborhoods more exclusive.

  2. Erik
    May 24th, 2012 at 23:48
    #2

    Is there a reason they couldn’t just reroute the tunnel adjacent to the new Transbay Terminal instead? Surely the marginally increased tunneling cost would be offset by the funding award..

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If its mostly a cut and cover tunnel under 4th St and Stockton Street, re-routing would be a tad difficult, since 4th Street and Stockton St would both be difficult to reroute to the TBT.

    Clem Reply:

    The TBM access shaft is already being dug on 4th Street where it crosses under I-80. It’s way too late to change the Central Subway, the design is already cast in concrete.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There’s an “If” there ~ since it actually is a deep boring tunnel, the cut and cover answer is more relevant to the generic “why doesn’t this tunnel that runs underneath streets just divert over here.”

    Jon Reply:

    The most sensible way of serving Transbay by metro rail is on a Geary subway line with stations at Van Ness & Geary, the south side of Union Square, then cross Market and east under Mission to a Transbay station at 1st & Mission.

    If this was a Muni subway it would have a short non-revenue connection to the central subway at Stockton for bringing trains into service (already designed into the CS plans) and would surface west of Gough to continue on the surface of Geary. If Muni were smart they’d be prioritizing this over the CS, or at least have it designed and ready as phase two.

    If this was a BART line it would (should) be underground the whole way, and continue east under Mission to a second Transbay tube. If BART were smart they’d be prioritizing this over the Warm Springs/San Jose, Livermore and Antioch extensions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Such a line could conceivably cross the deep Stockton CS on top and cross Market at the mezzamine level at 3rd, Market & Kearny. You are getting pretty close to fill to cross Market around Montgomery in a deep tunnel.

    A second separate tunnel under Pacific Heights from Geary and Gough to the Marina is also a possibility. One place for the tunnel to emerge would Fillmore north of Chestnut. Or you could come up in the Presidio around Richardson.

    As always screw BART bastard broad gauge.

    Jon Reply:

    Heh, you hate BART too much. Put my two suggestions above to the general public and 99% of commuters will take reliable broad gauge BART over unreliable standard gauge Muni any day.

    The advantage of the Muni solution is that it would (should) be less than half the cost of the BART solution, and the ROW west of Gough is already being prepared for Geary BRT.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Remember BART enjoys what amounts to a fortune in funding and does not have to deal with the grubby realities of surface operation, or any interoperation.

    BART’s primacy is a one argument for an hsr totally self-contained. LA to SFO via Tejon, I-5, Altamont, Dumbarton.

    And once again how much extra are we paying for BART’s new Bombeercans?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    $2.2 million per unit, which is 10% more than New York is paying for the R179s. Yes, I was shocked it was that little, too.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Maybe Bombardier is counting on some change orders.

    Peter Reply:

    Given that it’s a design-build contract, wouldn’t most of the risk for increases be passed to Bombardier?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bombardier has very competitive pricing. I believe they’ve designed their production lines to allow for a lot of customer-driven variation in size and shape with little effort on their part. A 10% premium probably gives them a pretty good margin to cover any trouble.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Full disclosure: I own Bombardier stock. Siemens too.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    For the Prop1a money available, an aerobus installation would seem more in the price range than a light rail subway.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If its a deep boring tunnel under 4th Street and Stockton Street, then the route is likely chosen to avoid building foundations, and those same buildings would likely be a tad difficult to relocate to open up a route to the TBT.

    flowmotion Reply:

    The goal of the Central Subway is to serve tourist destinations (ballpark, union square, chinatown), not improving connectivity or transit speeds.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And, therefore, obviously doesn’t fracking qualify for the fracking funds.

    They probably actually know that, but if they hadn’t of asked, when they went to borrow the money, there would have been, “why borrow, you can just use ‘your’ Prop1a funds!”. So to cross that option off, they have to ask and be turned down.

    California Taxpayer Reply:

    Hopefully there wold eventually be an underground passage from the tbt to moscone station via mocsone center. Theres alreaday an entire underground world down there.Its a block and a half from tbt at 2nd, to east entrance of moscone on 3rd and the muni station will be on the west side of moscone at 4th

    joe Reply:

    Like this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COEX_Convention_%26_Exhibition_Center

    I stayed here a few weeks and walked indoors/underground (had a choice of tunnel or above ground hallways) to the hotel, the convention center for work. Also had COEX Mall and subway. Indoor walk from the hotel to convention area was 20 minute walk. Totally enclosed. Subway access.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The goal of the Central Subway is to serve tourist destinations (ballpark, union square, chinatown), not improving connectivity or transit speeds.

    The goal if the Central Subway is purely to enrich the sleazebag pork-swillers designing and building it, with a few crumbs for the sundry astroturf hangers-on to whom they kick back a few million here and there to grease the way.

    It will decrease transit speeds and increase transit operating costs, forever.

    There is not a single public benefit associated with this scam.

    Nice work, PB!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard, unfortunately you are correct.

    The money would have been better spent on the N, undergounding on Duboce and extending the Sunset Tunnel to the west side of UC Hospital on Parnassus.

    flowmotion Reply:

    On that point we agree. (Although the subway should be extended to 10th and Judah, if not further.)

    Likewise, the Twin Peaks subway should be extended to Sloat. The closer Metro gets to a ‘closed system’ the better it will operate.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Richard Mlynarik, what would you prefer? Please point to some operating examples of designs that you like.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Loren Petrich,

    1. “No Right Turn” sign at Third and Market. (Buys the entire putative transit time “benefit” of the $2 billion Central Subway scam, at a cost of ~$1000.)
    2. Stockton Street configured as WIDE-sidewalk | bus | truck | bus | WIDE-sidewalk. (Buys several hundred times more benefit. Central “truck” lane is to parking and unloading delivery trucks for Stockton Street businesses.)
    3. That’s it. 30/45 problem entirely solved.

    Thanks for asking! Glad to be of service!

    joe Reply:

    I agree about re-drawing on road surfaces before construction – not so confident the problem is solved, but I don’t have your Purple Crayon.

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

  3. Richard Mlynarik
    May 25th, 2012 at 01:10
    #3

    The Central Subway (the very worst “transit” capital project in the country, an unmitigated black hole of waste and rank corruption that will increase Muni costs for decades to come, while degrading service): well, only one guess who could be behind such a catastrophe, right?

    It’s being brought to you by the exact same people who are bringing us BART to the San José Flea Market and HSR to Los Banos.

    World Class, PB! World Class.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Whoever came up with the phrase “fracking funds” deserves a Pulitzer or the like. Very creative.

    Clearly the machine hacks are going cannibal zombie on each other. San Francisco wants to eat Palmdale’s brain. Way beyond fracking.

    There is not much of a purpose to the final mutation of the Suxway other than to appease the ego of Rose Pak. As far as I can grasp the only future buildout that is relatively straightforward would be to proceed in deep tunnel down Stockton Street to north of Bay Street. You are pretty far north to turn west toward the Marina and Columbus Avenue has just got to be a geologic mess. Remember from Bay St. north is all fill.

    But what we may be witnessing is the final chapter of Muni as a separate entity. BART is coming out of the closet on ramming broad gauge down Geary. Hong Kong here we come.

    Geary is the first and biggest of Muni’s corridors – for Amalgamated to steal that business from TWU 250A tells all about the future.

    Peter Reply:

    I guess you missed the Battlestar Galactica reference.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Totally – I tried to watch the “new” Battlestar Galactica on Netflix but it seemed too much of a plot rehash of the old one and I lost interest.

    I was under the impression Antonovich was the power behind Tehachapi.

    Peter Reply:

    It might be a plot rehash, but it actually has acting in it, and no slapstick. This song sums up the differences.

    Peter Reply:

    Let me rephrase, it has no cheese factor. I’m not sure if the old Battlestar had slapstick, but it DEFINITELY had cheese.

    synonymouse Reply:

    After the humanoid Cylon girl snuffs the baby in the crib and then the Baldur angle I though not much new or complex here. So I bailed for the Stargates. Stargate Universe is very good.

    Matthew B Reply:

    Wow Synonymous, first thing I agree with you. I also enjoyed Stargate Universe.

    I think it would be hilarious to get you and Richard in a room together to bitch about PB. That would be an epic echo chamber :-)

    Peter Reply:

    Stargate has really crappy acting, imho. I can’t stand poor acting. Battlestar, on the other hand, has award-winning non-scifi actors, so they have skills. With the notable exception of Grace Park.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Robert Carlyle is quite good.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Remake Battlestar Galactica suffers from being a pretentious, po-faced show with no sense of humor. I found it unwatchable.

    I watched all of the Stargate shows prior to Universe; they were consistently fun and clever and the acting was good. I bailed at Universe; the prior shows had gotten repetitive by that point and Universe was not looking promising.

    What I really watch is Doctor Who, of course…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The new BSG is watchable (well, the first 2 seasons are, and the less said about the finale, the better). It’s just not that great. We see a military dictatorship from the POV of the military dictators, who are of course almost always right, and when they’re not, they fix themselves. The social-problem-of-the-week episodes in seasons 2-3 are just there to remind you how many interesting stories BSG just doesn’t show you. It’s frustrating. (Still better than Game of Thrones, which doesn’t even try to tease you with normal people stories.)

    The sad thing is that there are lots of people who think that it’s better than Firefly.

    Peter Reply:

    BSG should have ended when they found the “original” Earth. The Geiger counter scene and
    Roslin’s one-word line of “Earth” would have been the perfect ending.

    flowmotion Reply:

    > BART is coming out of the closet on ramming broad gauge down Geary.

    Hopefully! The last thing SF needs is more unreliable Muni Metro lines and more incompetent Muni doofuses running them. Perhaps BART will also realize its longstanding dream of taking over the Twin Peaks subway as well.

    BART me harder, at least the trains run on time.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry, couldn’t disagree more. IMHO there is a special concentric circle of hell reserved for Billy Ray Stokes and the Bechtels.

    But for something upbeat here’s a link from the Altamont site to a you tube clip which is SF ca. 1940. The date is controversial as there is some stuff that is probably post-war. The Roar of the Four on Market Street moves along surprisingly fast. And there is a short footage with what appears to be an O’Farrell, Jones and Hyde Sts. cable car on Pine Street. There is a sign that reads Cable Car Coming. They might as well have said “dead cable car running” because the City had already converted the rest of Pine Street to one-way with only that 2-block section remaining two-way. Here you see a phenomenon that continues to this day – moving autos gets total priority and transit gets the shaft.

    A pretty good argument could have been made for saving the O’Farrell line instead of the Cal Cable, which deadended at Presidio, covering just a part of the natural route. But the O’Farrel line ran parallel to the Powell St. routes a few block to the west. It did not have a chance because of the one way street plan – Pine, Jones, and O’Farrell, all three.

    Transit has always been very political in San Francisco. Charlie Smallwood told me the story that when New York Macy’s acquired the SF Macy’s in 1952 they sent execs out who when they the cable cars in O’Farrell ST. in front of their newly-acquired store gave a hard thumbs-down. On the other hand the Swigs wanted to preserve the Cable Cable cars running in front of the Fairmont.

    Jack Woods, who went on to become Muni Manager, did the engineering of the chopping and consolidation of the two cable cars systems in 1954-56. Sad task but pretty much necessary for the survival of what we have today.

    Plus ca change also applies to inefficiencies in parallel but segregated systems. Four tracks on Market in 1940 but not at all optimized. Obviously the B Geary should have been on the outside tracks. Similar argument applies in our time to the 4 tracks on the Peninsula.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cable Cable should read Cal Cable.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh, the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3mM67BCvtc&feature=youtu.be

    flowmotion Reply:

    Yep, it’s always been a very political thing. How many times was the Geary subway voted down? At least twice. And then when the public finally supported it in the 1990s, they received Willie Brown’s T-Turd line instead. (It’s slower than the bus, and there’s been zero ‘renewal’ south of 20th.)

    Which just underlines the point that Muni can’t be trusted, and only BART can do the job right.

    Matthew Reply:

    Because BART is known for its stalwart promotion of walkable urban places?

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    BART’s board members are directly elected in their respective districts. To a great extent, they do what the people want. In the far-flung regions, people park ‘n this, or park ‘n that all day. As regards transit, they want to park ‘n ride.

    flowmotion Reply:

    I guess Geary Boulevard is ‘walkable’ in the sense you can walk away from it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pedestrian overpasses are probably the only way to keep Geary Boulevard crossers from gettinfg run over. Not pretty but I don’t think there is another way. The hit and runs are just going to get worse.

    Where is the Geary BRT planning to run – in the middle or one the sides?

    Fuel must be a small part of Muni’s costs – the plan to wire more routes seems to be stalled.

    The experiment with the O&K overhead seems to have relatively unsuccessful. The switches and crossings do slow down the trolley coaches.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Pedestrian overpasses are about the most pedestrian-hostile solution there exists, short of not letting pedestrians cross at all. If cars are dangerous to pedestrians, maybe they should slow down the cars instead of removing pedestrians from the street. After all, humans were there first.

    Peter Reply:

    Geary BRT is supposed to be center-running with dedicated lanes. The way it should be.

    The way Sunnyvale decided not to go. Looks like Sunnyvale is opening itself up to a CEQA lawsuit for failing to study a VERY reasonable alternative.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am not a big fan of pedestrian overpasses but the situation on Geary is abominable. California yuppies are out of control with their driving, distracted or not. Having stops in the median is just going to make the body count worse. You’ll just have to cut down the number of stops and make the ramps leisurely. Of course if there is no support the planners and the city fathers will wait for the inevitable outcry when little old ladies get thrown 50 feet or dragged.

    Of course the BRT could fail and the merchants and locals could demand a return to curb loading.

    A trolley bus subway is another alternative but not so efficient.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Market Street Railway opposition to any and every Muni move was very effective after 1917 or so. It was in that year that O’Shaugnessy’s ballot measure to build out the J thru the Bernal Cut failed. It took almost 70 years to redress that mistake.

    Significantly the Market Street Railway was purchased and one by 1946 when the infamous bond issue passed that resulted in the decimation of the street car system. Of course the city fathers lied about their intentions. The loss of the Mission Street lines was particularly unfortunate. One of the reasons they were able to get the purchase past the city voters in 1944 is that so many residents were off to the war and unable to vote.

    Geary remains a tough nut to crack to this day. Urban Removal flattened big chunks of the Western Addition and the creation of the Boulevard turned Geary into a major artery, jammed with autos. Some kind of pedestrian separation is going to be needed for safety. Subway-surface light rail is the logical way to proceed but I would favor trolley coaches in the interim and straightaway.

    Bodacious broad gauge BART to the Beach guarantees instant Hong Kong highrise anthill for the Richmond. Instant tenements.

    synonymouse Reply:

    one should read gone.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Tenements like the ones on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or Michigan Ave in Chicago or …

    Peter Reply:

    More recently the slums of Downtown Vancouver near Skytrain.

    Peter Reply:

    Seriously? THAT is what you expect to follow in SF after BART goes down Geary? Because, you know, that’s what BART’s other subway sections has produced…

    synonymouse Reply:

    We already had some similar to the ones that were imploded in St. Louis. One notorious one in the Western Addition – not far away – was known as the Pink Palace. Gone now. Crimehole onn steroids. Still around in Hunters Point. There already exists a lot of pressure to tear down the current quite nice and substantial houses in the Richmond and replace them with housing blocks. Subway stations would make it worse. Subway-surface is adequate. Muni and the TWU would take a big hit on loadings.

    Peter Reply:

    I don’t care.

    Where are the tenements that BART has produced? Because that’s what you’re claiming BART will create.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Obviously BART does not build the apartment blocks.

    BART will deny everything but the reality is that at least BART stations in the City are quite clummy and probably are contributing to the blight – Civic Center and 16th and Mission. They are hosti8le spaces with a no-mans-land ambiance.

    Peter Reply:

    Except when they do build them they don’t look anything as monolithic as you seem to claim they will.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The one in Kowloon or St. Louis weren’t on a subway line.

    Jonathan Reply:

    at least the trains run on time…. Ah, you mean BART is the Mussolini of urban transit systems. That’s be harsh even if it came from Synon or RM!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …thing is Il Duce didn’t make the trains run on time…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah, just like Republicans don’t always cut taxes and don’t every balance Federal budgets … Il Duce was famous for making the trains run on time, which must have been a simpler thing to accomplish than actually making them run on time.

    Wdobner Reply:

    Why does the choice have to be between BART or MUNI? If we’re gonna go slinging billions around on a new subway under Geary then why not open it up to all options and explore the first phase of a service for a new Transbay Tube? IMHO Yonah Freemark had a good idea a few years back to build the Geary Subway as a commuter rail line using European rolling stock. The Geary portion could be built before the new Transbay Tube and connected to the Caltrain/HSR tracks with servicing done at Caltrain’s facilities for now.

    It’s unfortunate they’ve chosen to make Transbay Terminal difficult at best for inclusion in a new Transbay tunnel because the terminal design would really seem to work best as a through-running station with HSR trains laying up and being serviced in Oakland. Still, it might be worthwhile looking into the possibility of extending Caltrain service beyond Transbay to Jack London Square, thereby leaving Transbay’s terminal pit entirely to the HSTs.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “…to appease the ego of Rose Pak. ”

    Well, that certainly does seem like something the Central Stubway will do, so mission accomplished? For once I think Syn has it closer to right — Richard M’s paranoid contractor-blaming is not plausible.

  4. Donk
    May 25th, 2012 at 07:19
    #4

    We already threw $400M to TBT, why would the state pony up more money now for downtown SF before getting everything else figured out?

    And I thought Brown and CHSRA decided in their new business plan to put all of the $950M connectivity funds to actual non-high speed track that could temporarily be used to complete the line, like the segment from Palmdale-LA.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Note that the allocation of the $950m to systems is set by formula. There are allocations to the three Amtrak California corridors (Surfliner, San Joaquin, Capital Corridor) totaling $190m, and $760m allocated by formula to ACE, LA County MTC, San Diego County’s NCD, Caltrain, Sacramento Regional Transit District, the San Diego Trolley, BART, MUNI, Santa Clara County VTA, and Metrolink.

    The question is what projects in each system are funded. Muni is trying to divert its funding from making improvements for services connecting to the HSR to fill in a budget gap in the 4th street light rail subway ~ which seems like the kind of not-connected-to-HSR use of the funds that got the CTC slate of projects vetoed twice already.

    Peter Reply:

    Wasn’t this formula set up independently of Prop 1A? As in, there is nothing preventing a change or even outright removal of the formula, is there?

    rick rong Reply:

    The formula is in section 2704.095, part of Prop 1A.

    Peter Reply:

    Curses, foiled again.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The formula is:

    (3) Eighty percent (seven hundred sixty million dollars ($760,000,000)) of the amount authorized by this section shall be allocated upon appropriation as set forth in this section to eligible recipients, except intercity rail, as described in subdivision (c) based upon a percentage amount calculated to incorporate all of the following:
    (A) One-third of the eligible recipient’s percentage share of statewide track miles.
    (B) One-third of the eligible recipient’s percentage share of statewide annual vehicle miles.
    (C) One-third of the eligible recipient’s percentage share of statewide annual passenger trips

    So an unweighted average of shares of trackage, vehicle miles, and passenger trips. That’s why they can expect to get a substantial amount of work done on the Metrolink system.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    That’s right.

    The formula was set up to deliver hundreds of millions to the big two of BART and Metrolink (the usual Californian north/south division of spoils, with a few crumbs thrown at others) in order to buy off potential sources of opposition to Prop 1A.

    The one-third formula business was made up after the fact to arrive at the pre-determined payoffs for the top two charity cases.

    joe Reply:

    “(the usual Californian north/south division of spoils, with a few crumbs thrown at others)”

    How corrupt.

    We have Central Valley with a HSR segment construction and then Nor and So Cal splitting a big pot – what about Middle Earth ? Nothing for the Shire or connecting it to Sacramento!

    And Sacramento – it never see’s a dime of CA taxpayer money – always neglected.

    And to use project money to buy off public opposition – that’s terrible. We should spend that money without any accountability.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Evidence, Richard?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Evidence? I rest my case.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Metrolink can certainly use the money. Effectively.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Here is division of cash http://www.catc.ca.gov/programs/HSR/HSR_Formulashare_Attachment_I_121709.pdf

    It mostly goes to BART

    There are updates on what people are asking for in the latest CTC staff memo
    http://www.catc.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/2012Agenda/2012_05_May/Tab23_4.13_revised.pdf

    Of the money going for connectivity, it is hard to see a lot of connectivity except the LA regional connector project. We have $107 million for CBOSS (not compatible with hSR signaling), $150 million for new BART cars, $40 million to double track between Merced and Le Grand, a segment that is not supposed to be used any more once ICS is finished.

    In fact, the only real change post biz plan is the $60 million or so that VTA and BART are now “donating” to Caltrain for CBOSS.

    Jonathan Reply:

    “donating” to CBOSS? “Pissing away” would be more accurate.

    Look at the delivery-on-time record of the system on which CBOSS will be based, ITCS used for Amtrak in Michigan. Unbeleivably bad.
    .
    Look at the technical competence of the ITCS contractors: abysmal. Anyone who still has to learn the hard way that they need SNMP counters (read; event/packet/whatever counters, readable by all industry-standard network management tools) in their network nodes, should be fired for cause.
    Whoever gave them the contract should be fired for cause too.

    And CalTrain wants to build bespoke (custom, one-off) special functionality — keeping crossing-gates open in front of trains stopped at stations, for the stations right on top of crossing-gates — on top of I of ITCS? Why is CHSRA giving them money for this farce? Why is _anyone_ giving them money?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As we all know, Microsoft and Apple are both assholes. As everyone who’d read Usenet knows, Linux people are also assholes, and GNU/Unix systems are highly suspect as each distro has a large fraction of the technical posters hating it.

    So, I move that the HSRA develop an operating system, with kernel, from scratch. No need to be locked in to one vendor or one online support community. This system should govern all train control, booking, internal accounting and salary, design, etc.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why can’t the ERTMS system handle open gates in front of a train stopping at a station?

    Nathanael Reply:

    So CBOSS is now going to be based on ITCS?

    Well, that’s actually an improvement; previously it was supposed to be brand new.

    ITCS took forever to install, but (a) it’s done now, and (b) relatively speaking, it didn’t cost Amtrak that much (I assume they set their contract up properly so that cost escalation was the contractor’s responsibility; Amtrak never has internal money to waste, and I believe this was funded from internal money).

    Given that it’s done now, Caltrain could feasibly install a now-off-the-shelf ITCS system in the time it would take to DESIGN “CBOSS”.

    Alon — Linux people are known to be assholes because they’re technically demanding and unwilling to compromise politically. In other words, they’re the sort of assholes Richard M. would like to have running things. ;-)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    So CBOSS is now going to be based on ITCS?

    No.

    In other words, they’re the sort of assholes Richard M. would like to have running things.

    No.

    ;-)

    “Why do you enjoy beating your wife? … Having said that … Just kidding! :-) What you can’t take a joke? ;-!”

    Nathanael Reply:

    Richard M, you are absolutely the stereotype of a “Linux asshole”, to a T. It’s sad that you don’t realize that.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “So CBOSS is now going to be based on ITCS?”

    “No.”

    Well, that’s a disappointment.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Nathanael:

    So CBOSS is now going to be based on ITCS?

    Its supposed to be interoperable with Union Pacific, not requiring Union Pacific to install any new equipment to operate on the Caltrain corridor. (“supposed to be” since what CBOSS is, and when it is, depends upon successful performance of the CBOSS contract by whatever low bidder they are lucky enough to get.)

    joe Reply:

    The stereo types were amusing.

    The right answer is BSD, I would suggest the FreeBSD, Net (embedded) or or possibly OpenBSD variant.

    The adopting community can see/modify the source and the license is far less restrictive than GNU. and the developers are not a$$h0les.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Can we get someone here to support vi?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It mostly goes to BART

    Its not like any of this is any surprise ~ this was done when writing Prop1a and allocating the $950m to connecting conventional rail. Allocating based on current ridership would favor some systems, allocating based on track miles would favor some systems, allocating based on passenger miles would favor some systems, allocating based on trips would favor some systems, allocating based on service area population would favor some systems.

    However, nobody who understands the meaning of the word “mostly” would say that the money “mostly” goes to BART. BART has the biggest slice, but not over 50%, as claimed. Roughly:

    33% BART
    16% SoCAl RRA
    15% LACouny MTA
    8% MUNI
    7% San Diego MTS
    5% Caltrain
    4% Sacramento RTD
    3% Santa Clara VTA
    2% North Coast TD
    2% ACE

    The list linked above from the CTS represents agency requests, and clearly except for items like the agreed allocation of the Caltrain electrification program, the agencies requested what they most want. Except for the Caltrain electrification program and the Metrolink regionaq

    BruceMcF Reply:

    … regional connector, its not clear which, if any, of the others will be approved.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Are you talking about the LACMTA Regional Connector, i.e. the light rail tunnel between the Blue/Expo Lines and the Gold Line that so happens to have the lowest projected cost per projected rider of any rail project in the US today?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its the LA County MTA project listed on the link to the CTA memo that Elizabeth provides above as “Regional Connector Transit Corridor”. When I go to LACMTA, under that title I get the Union Station / Little Tokyo / LA Center / Bunker Hill project, so, yes, I presuming that the LACMTA is talking about that one when they say “Regional Connector Transit Corridor.”

    Since it adds four new stations connecting directly to LA Union Station is at one end, its standing as connecting to HSR is awfully strong.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The LACMTA requested exactly the right projects, all connecting to Union Station, and will presumably get them. I’m not clear on what Metrolink requested, though I’d like to know — all of Metrolink connects to Union Station too, so their projects should qualify.

    In contrast, the Bay Area requests verge on the implausible; it seems like they’re not really trying to connect to HSR. As for Sacramento and San Diego, they have the problem that they don’t know where the HSR station is going to be in their towns, so they don’t know how to connect.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Metrolink is the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, with $123m. They asked for $35m for PTC funding and $52m for repairs and rehabilitation funding in 2010 (which was vetoed en masse) ~ they are asking for the same PTC funding, and don’t have the balance of their request in for 2012.

    Sacramento has been going through the process of developing their intermodal facility, and that’s highly likely to be the HSR station ~ but not certain.

    The Bay Area requests are a mix of little to do with connecting to HSR and very much to do with connecting to HSR but the part of the Caltrain electrification project that transit bloggers don’t like. But like it or not (or so frustrated by it that you rave at the edge of lunacy, as with Richard), its part of the Caltrain Electrification deal, so its not something where transit bloggers are going to have much leverage at this point.

    Peter Reply:

    Haven’t two governors in a row vetoed allocating Prop 1A money for CBOSS?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Two governors in a row vetoed all of the CTC projects, on grounds of not being integrated with the HSR system. Now Caltrain has lodged CBOSS into a MOU with HSR on the electrification of the Caltrain corridor project, which in turn is integrated into the overall revised 2012 Business Plan.

    I’m actually expecting that much of the balance of the Metrolink application for funds, when it arrives, will be for work on Metrolink’s side of the bookends.

    Peter Reply:

    IIRC, though, CBOSS is never referred to by name in the MTC-HSR MOU.

  5. Billy
    May 25th, 2012 at 09:53
    #5

    I don’t know about the central subway idea. Seems like a bit of a waste to me. Aren’t there already buses and streetcars going from that area towards Chinatown? It’s an easy walk from Market to Chintown anyways if you take the streetcar to Market and Powell from the Caltrain station. Is that why Jerry doesn’t want to give them the money? They really should allocate more of the funds to get BART to SJ. Or build a rail line to SJ Airport from downtown SJ. That’s where they could use a subway or something better than the current option of Caltrain and a shuttle, which can take an hour sometimes.

    Ben Pease Reply:

    As I’ve said from time to time, MUNI planners should have made Phase 1 of the subway (or surface extension) go to North Beach, and possibly also Fishermans Wharf/Van Ness and Bay (2nd tunnel under Russian Hill) so it clearly extends beyond walking distance from Market Street even for able-bodied walkers. And goes more places it’s impossible to park and serves all the tourist/local needs in Northeast SF from the day it opens. Rather than saying we’ll think about it after 2016 when we turn the tunneling machines off.
    (Essentially it would be like the old streetcar lines that ended at amusement parks, except it would serve THREE amusement parks rather than just 1).

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Where little subway cars travel halfway to the stars.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hey, they could have connected the N to the 7 line’s route thru GG Park.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The N already connects to the 7 at Queensboro Plaza and again at Times Square.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thirdly, an extended tunnel to Aquatic Park. Van Ness would bolster Gerry Cauthen’c call to make the Suxway compatible with trolley coach as well. You could put the 30 in it. Be tough to get tracks back on Chestnut.

  6. Paulus Magnus
    May 25th, 2012 at 10:10
    #6

    No no no no, hell no.

  7. Reality Check
    May 25th, 2012 at 10:59
    #7

    115k high-speed rail ties deemed no good

    ILLINOIS — Approximately 115,000 concrete ties installed in the last two seasons of high-speed rail construction must be replaced after failing to meet standards for long-term durability, Union Pacific and state officials said Thursday.

    A little more than 492,000 ties were installed in 2010 and 2011 on the St. Louis-Chicago corridor, according to state figures.

    “During the 2010, 2011 construction seasons, certain concrete railroad ties installed in the corridor were failing a laboratory test predictive of durability,” Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said in an email Thursday.

    Peter Reply:

    Ouch. At least they were under warranty.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    ATK had the same problem on the NEC a few years ago and DB between Berlin and Hamburg before that. I guess they don’t make concrete like they used to…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and the MBTA and NJTransit if I remember correctly and probably others. This ain’t rocket science, it’s concrete, something that has well over a century of engineering experience.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You’re off, as usual, by orders of magnitude.

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

    And materials science is hard. Production of consistent industrial products is hard. Concrete technology is constantly advancing. Railway sleepers and fasteners are deceptively non-simple structures and experience non-simple forces over their lives. Quality control is hard.

    Screwing around with software or posting reality-estranged blog comments on the other hand …

    Jonathan Reply:

    Getting _oood_ software is _very hard_. Making concrete is like building computer hardware: you formulate the “usual case”. Sotware is all about dealing with exceptional cases, which is why it’s so complexe. As someone who worked on the screwup of XEmacs should know that.

    Concrete has _huge_ textbooks describing which industry-standard mix to use for what purpose, for a given tonnage, and given reinforcement, and so on. That’s what (some) engineers do.
    (others build higher and airier cathedrals, until the cathedrals fall down during construction. Then someone engineers a flying buttress).

    I recall Richard (RMS) complaining about some nasty visual effect from running XEmacs. The XEmacs team responded: Aha! So you _do_ run XEmacs. Richard Stallman replied: No, I read the code. (I heard it from Richard Stallman, so I’ll have to take his version.)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fascinating.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Romans are more than a century ago. The Romans didn’t have technicians in laboratories conducting reproducible tests on concrete.
    Someone somewhere defined specifications for concrete ties. Manufacturing them should be easily reproducible. Someone somewhere should have been conducting tests to verify that it was being reproduced. Apparently something went wrong somewhere. That’s not rocket science, it’s something thats done all over the world everyday in many different manufacturing contexts.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Precisely. Botching the concrete for rail sleepers (ties), is no different than botching the concrete for dams. Or skyscrapers. Jimmy Hoffa would have understood that ;) ;) ;)

    joe Reply:

    J

    Since the knowledge to make concrete was lost and rediscovered, I would disagree that we have had thousands of years of experience.

    Happy Columbus Day.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Jonathan’s claim was

    … has well over a century of engineering experience …

    RM’s contradiction was a link to a wikipedia article on Roman concrete production, which is either relevant, or its not. If irrelevant, then contradiction doesn’t matter. If its relevant, it reinforces Jonathan’s claim, so its not a contradiction.

    It appears that RM is just scratching an emotional need to contradict in public, so as long as the emotional need is satisfied, the fact that the “gotcha” doesn’t actually contradict the point that Jonathan was making would seem to be beside the point.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The MBTA’s NEC ties are fine, but the concrete sleepers it put in on the Old Colony Lines aren’t. They had to shut down the lines for a while to replace them with wooden ties.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’ve been trying to figure out what this epidemic of bad concrete sleepers is due to. Is it one manufacturer? A contaminated supply of limestone or portland cement? What?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The laws of physics work differently north of the Rio Grande and south of the 49th parallel.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Or maybe it’s the laws of liability for defective products that work differently.

    This country seems to have developed a business culture which venerates scamming, rather than of quality work. It’s sick and it’s a large part of what’s wrong with our country today.

    Jonathan Reply:

    But the Illiiois sleepers are NOT high speed!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Depends on which legal or casual definitions you use. If its the same sleepers used for 125mph, that’s your “High Speed Rail – Regional”, there. If its for a pointless internet pissing contest on which train goes the fastest, probably not.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Utter nonsense. 200 km/hr is _NOT_ high speed, not in this century. Not unless you think the USA needs a “special” definition of “high speed” — exactly _sensuo_ “Special Olympics”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The UIC defines high speed as anything over 200 KPH on legacy corridors. Google says 200 kilometer is 124.274238 miles, so 125 is over that.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Oh, so it’s “_Legacy_ Hgh speed”. Like i said, “Special” high speed.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Pure semantic quibbling, arguing over what arbitrary labels to attach to facts, when the facts themselves are not in dispute. Lots of terms have different legal or technical details to their meanings in different parts of the world. The legal definitions in the US are over 125mph for “HSR – Express” and 110mph to 125mph for “HSR – Regional”. Corridors that were HSR under the 1990′s HSR legislation but not in the new terminology are grandfathered in as “emerging HSR”, which is to say, not quite HSR yet, but could possibly be upgraded to HSR someday.

    The current project is the “prelude to HSR” category, what I’ve been calling “Rapid Rail”, but the full build out includes HSR-Regional sections of corridor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It doesn’t matter what the legal definitions are. The standards for high-speed rail require a special rail profile, ballast, ties, etc., which are usually different from standards that work up to 160 or 200 km/h. The question is whether these ties are intended to be usable at high speed or only at medium speed. (No, I don’t know the answer.)

Comments are closed.