TransForm Comes Out In Support of HSR Proposal

Jun 14th, 2012 | Posted by

The Oakland-based transit advocacy group TransForm didn’t support the previous version of the high speed rail project. But as a result of recent changes to the proposal, including the latest business plan, they now support the HSR project:

Building high-speed rail will give a much-needed shot in the arm to our economy by creating100,000 new jobs including many in the hard-hit Central Valley. In terms of meeting the state’s future transportation demands, building high-speed rail is considerably cheaper than the alternative – widening highways and expanding airports – and without the negative environmental and health consequences. High-speed rail will reinforce cities as the hubs of our economies, relieve congested roads, and help California meet greenhouse gas reduction goals. It will serve as a backbone of an interconnected, thriving California….

The previous plan received widespread, deserved criticism and indeed was not supported by TransForm. But the new revised 2012 business plan scaled back components of the project, reduces community impacts by narrowing the width of the corridor required in most urban areas, and brings the projected cost down to $68.4 billion.

The project is now designed to serve as the backbone of a statewide rail network, rather than an isolated system. It supports early upgrades to Caltrain and Metrolink as well as lines now used by Amtrak and ACE, allowing those systems go faster and attract more riders. Millions of Californians will benefit from these first investments by 2018. These upgrades will also serve to make those corridors more ready for full high-speed rail. It is a strong plan and sound blueprint for moving forward.

This is an important vote of confidence in the HSR project. And it comes from an organization that has shown itself willing to fight against rail projects it doesn’t like. TransForm led the recent effort to try and stop BART from building the Oakland Airport Connector, a rail project they felt was not a wise use of money.

I don’t agree with their approach to rail. I believe California needs to build as much rail as it can to as many places as it can in order to solve environmental, economic, and energy problems. TransForm is more willing to cede ground to people concerned about money, ridership, and community impact. I don’t think that’s a winning strategy for transit advocates, but I’m also not going to convince TransForm of that on my own.

More importantly, because their approach to rail projects is so different from that of many other rail advocates, it does make their endorsement of the HSR project more newsworthy. It shows that the California High Speed Rail Authority is able to address genuinely constructive criticism and win over people who want HSR but who had concerns about earlier versions of the plan. It also draws a sharper line between such critics and those who are actually opposed to high speed rail no matter the details but who say their concerns are with this specific project alone.

As the endgame approaches in the state legislature, it’s good to have organizations like TransForm on board.

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  1. Jerry
    Jun 14th, 2012 at 22:01
    #1

    The more support the better it is.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep, more is good and the less HSR critics I hear about the better.

    Michael G. Hurston Reply:

    I’d like to see some better improvements to transportation all around, though immediately in CA as I’m a resident in the state. But what do you think of the high speed rail alternatives, such as the BiModal Glideway project that seeks to build a hybrid car/rail system? It seems like these type of initiatives would be easier to get off the ground as they wouldn’t require as much restructuring as building a new rail line since you could use existing lanes on existing major freeways/highways.

    Can these initiatives work together hand in or hand or do they require exclusivity in their developments?

  2. Walter
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 00:20
    #2

    At this point, even former project opponents understand that the Valley IOS is not some cynical political ploy, but a sensible first step toward better transportation statewide. I, too, see this project as a crucial part of a larger effort to improve the way Californians get around, and it’s high time we got started.

  3. Paul Dyson
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 08:39
    #3

    “California needs to build as much rail as it can to as many places as it can” regardless of “money, ridership community impact” is how I read this from you Robert. Is that really what you think? Ridership doesn’t matter? Surely there must be some places where rail is not appropriate or will not be used sufficiently to justify it? The only people I know that think that way are the people paid by the mile to build it!

    It becomes clearer with every post that many of your supporters are not the slightest bit interested in economics, transportation production, the balance of trade, and on and on, you just love fast trains which somehow become a magic amulet which will transform our lives.

    Another big gap in the bay centric TransForm report, the San Fernando Valley. Where is the analysis from them or anyone else about how the southern end is supposed to work between now and at least 2029, if not later?

    Walter Reply:

    Here, I also disagree with Robert. There are good projects and bad projects. California HSR is badly needed and a sound investment for the state. On the other hand, XpressWest’s plans to expand to SLC and Denver have too little population over too great a distance and will probably never happen.

    The SFV gap needs to be closed. The good news is that the ~60 miles between Palmdale and Los Angeles are already used for passenger rail. When links to Vegas and the whole Central Valley are open, demand for improvement of that stretch will be loud and strong. While it currently takes about 1:45 to travel from LA to Palmdale, the tracks will be expanded and upgraded to ultimately allow HSR service in about half an hour.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Here, I also disagree with Robert. There are good projects and bad projects. California HSR is badly needed and a sound investment for the state. On the other hand, XpressWest’s plans to expand to SLC and Denver have too little population over too great a distance and will probably never happen.

    They are also entirely outside of the state of California, so beyond the reach of his remark. The Western HSR Alliance corridors partly within California are LA / Las Vegas and LA / Phoenix.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Robert is not proposing rail to Modoc National Forest, so I believe Paul Dyson’s caricature is incorrect.

    DingDong Reply:

    I don’t think it’s a caricature. It’s literally what Robert wrote. And it’s one of the oddest posts I’ve read on this blog. It sounds vaguely like highway builders half-a-century ago: more is always better. Except rail doesn’t have the political support to allow itself such profligacy.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    True.
    More isn’t always better.
    And to build CAHSR is probably enough for a start, always start with what has the best chances of success.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    What also becomes clearer with every post is the discrepancy between what is an acceptable solution is for you, and what you actually has been proposed:

    1) You keep talking about bridging the gap between Bakersfield and Palmdale as a priority, but RailPAC is heavily supportive of re-establishing the Coast Daylight. How exactly, would a San Joaquins train from LA to San Jose not cannibalize ridership on the Daylight, or vice versa?

    2) You mention that TransForm’s plan is “Bay Centric” and doesn’t address the San Fernando Valley. My question is what do you honestly think is going to happen with Metrolink services if they aren’t electrified before then? As I recall PRIIA is going to force more costs for state-supported services over to California. If that’s the case, how would programs like Rail2Rail and such alleviate costs for commuter rail services?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Tom:
    1. Your point is only valid if you believe that the only market is between the end points. On the contrary, the Coast Daylight, which incidentally uses existing tracks and rolling stock and is a low cost add on, will serve Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, King City or one of those Salinas Valley communities, Salinas and Gilroy. Add up those populations in a free moment. In addition there are those that will take the train as a travel experience. As far as I am concerned it is a stand alone service providing mobility to the coastal communities and a tourist option on one of the most scenic rides in the country. What that has to do with the High Speed Rail debate I find hard to figure out.

    2. Muddled thinking here I think. PRIIA applies to the state supported Amtrak services, not Metrolink. There are no plans to electrify Metrolink and even should that happen the line from Palmdale to Sylmar is antiquated and totally inappropriate for HSR service. Thus you will need a new line, and to pretend otherwise, and to pretend that HSR is somehow cheaper by avoiding that cost, is self delusion or blatant deception, take your pick. As for Rail to Rail, I have no idea what your point is. There is major confusion in this country, partly driven by archaic and no longer relevant definitions of commuter and intercity rail that drive misallocation of investments and mismanagement of resources, particularly in the LOSSAN corridor. But that’s a story for a whole new blog I think.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Seriously?

    –> How does the Daylight pencil out if the majority of travelers aren’t going from San Jose to L.A.? Right now, the Surfliner does gangbusters up to Santa Barbara and then retains a smaller contingent of people travelling to San Luis Obispo County. What I think you aren’t grasping is that for people who live in SLO, driving is always faster than taking the train because of the track’s alignment along the Cuesta Grade to the north and passing along the ocean (instead of heading inland like US 101) to the south. Thus, about the only way you can get demand at the bookends enough to subsidize the whole service is by having high speed links in LA or SJ to get other passengers from remote corners of the state to choose the Daylight over driving. This is exactly why I think the Sunset Limited should be extended to San Francisco because those trains could service the SJ to SLO link with minimal additional time or cost.

    –> PRIIA is exactly what is driving the HSR business plan: Because each of the state’s three Amtrak services are financially viable, the Feds don’t want to subsidize them. Sacramento, however, is not interested in losing money on the proposition. So you overlay one service with HSR (the San Joaquin) and phase it out, and you turn the other two over to local transit operators in Northern and Southern California respectively. In the end, both MTC/BART/CalTrain and Metro/Metrolink/LOSSAN are still gambling that they can use HSR dollars to electrify commuter routes before the train ever reaches the station (pun intended). But if that doesn’t work…well….

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Tom McNamara:

    Just to be clear, until CHSR runs between the Bay Area and the Central Valley, I think that the San Joaquin’s will still exist in its current FRA format.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Seriously..Yes, driving is faster, it’s faster than any of the existing corridors other than peak traffic periods, but they still carry a lot of people who cannot or prefer not to drive. And the Surfliner, extended to SF as the Daylight, would carry more if it ran through rather than as a bus connection. The only difference between extending a Surfliner and extending the Sunset is the Sunset is still tri-weekly and would be harder to run on time, having come all the way from New Orleans. And why haul sleeping cars all that distance on a day train? “High speed links from remote corners of the state”? How can a remote corner of the state justify a high speed link?

    The states three Amtrak services are not financially viable at present, they are subsidized to the tune of about $100 million a year, including the connecting buses. The plan to dump them on to local agencies will likely hit a brick wall when these agencies find they have no operating funds to keep them running. A lot of people are playing bluff here. CHSRA is playing bluff with the feds, building a stranded asset in the hope they can force the feds into funding making it useful some day, and the state and the local agencies are playing poker over who pays for the intercity corridors. In the meanwhile the NEC states still get their services subsidized by the feds because they are “interstate”. Time to abolish Rhode island, Delaware etc. in the interests of efficiency! They can keep their old postal addresses, just combine them and give CA the spare seats in the senate.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The update to a weekly is also supposed to be a conversion to a through sleeper service from Chicago along the Texas Eagle route with a cross platform transfer to a corridor service San Antonia / New Orleans.

    “The states three Amtrak services are not financially viable at present, they are subsidized to the tune of about $100 million a year, including the connecting buses.”
    On the basis of running on a subsidy = financially unsustainable, neither the car driving nor flying connecting Northern and Southern California are financially sustainable.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That should read upgrade to daily

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Just to be clear, until CHSR runs between the Bay Area and the Central Valley, I think that the San Joaquin’s will still exist in its current FRA format.

    The plan to dump them on to local agencies will likely hit a brick wall when these agencies find they have no operating funds to keep them running. A lot of people are playing bluff here. CHSRA is playing bluff with the feds, building a stranded asset in the hope they can force the feds into funding making it useful some day, and the state and the local agencies are playing poker over who pays for the intercity corridors.

    Is there an echo in here?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    In case you could not find the time, the total population of cities with stations or proposed stations along the Daylight route is in round numbers one million, from Simi Valley to Gilroy inclusive.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Right…but what is the percentage of those who will be on the Coast Daylight for more than half of the train’s service? Salinas to Paso Robles traffic isn’t going to be the money-maker….

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Agree with the second statement, don’t much care about the first as long as in total enough tickets are sold to provide a decent farebox recovery. Obviously longer journeys pay higher fares. On the other hand if you can sell the same seat two or three times over the length of the trip that’s good money too. It’s a multi purpose train, mobility for cities on the route, tourist option, relaxing journey for those with time on their hands….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    So you oppose operationally profitable HSR service, but support money-losing Amtrak service?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In the meanwhile the NEC states still get their services subsidized by the feds because they are “interstate”

    Acela makes money and the Regionals break even in some years.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    On some version of an operating cost basis, certainly ~ however, one should state on what basis something “makes money” when it doesn’t make money on a full financial cost vs full financial revenue basis.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many roads “make money”? How many airports? How many drivers calculate maintenance costs when they figure out how much it costs to drive somewhere? How many drivers have a clue what depreciation is?

    Spokker Reply:

    “How many drivers have a clue what depreciation is?”

    Only the ones who never buy a new car.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Used cars depreciate too.

    Spokker Reply:

    No shit.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The fact that motorists receive massive operating and capital subsidies does not modify the fact that the Acela and NEC Regionals receive capital subsidy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Explain to us why we should care that Amtrak gets capital subsidies
    The NEC carries enough passengers every weekday that they could fill a lane on I-95 during most of the day. And lane during weekend peaks. Adding a lane to I-95 between Boston and DC would cost a bit of money. I suppose you could put them all on planes but the delays would propagate out across the country, worse than they do now. Just how much would it cost to add ten planes an hour at peak in metro New York?

    Spokker Reply:

    All they are doing is clarifying what it means for the Acela to be profitable. The most important problem are the regulations that cause Acela to be more expensive than it needs to be.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Saying that the economic benefit of the Acela justifies the subsidy several times over is quite reasonable. Claiming it makes money because it generates an operating surplus, when that operating surplus only partly defrays its capital costs is, by contrast, misleading. The Acela does not “make money” in the most commonly understood meanings of the phrase.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    IF you are gonna ask how much money Acela makes I wanna know how much money I-80 makes. I wanna know how much the Delaware Turnpike makes. It makes money hand over fist. I wanna know how much money Newark Airport makes. I wanna know how much money Newark “loses” because the Port Authority ( like most airports ) is tax exempt and pays Newark a small fraction of what it would pay in property taxes. You go down the rabbit hole of “but it doesn’t break even on capital costs” lots and lots and lots of things don’t.
    …. how much money do the tolls on the street in front of your house make?

    Spokker Reply:

    adirondacker, we should know all those things and more.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    IF you are gonna ask how much money Acela makes I wanna know how much money I-80 makes.

    Subsidized, the whole lot.

    I didn’t “ask how much the Acela makes”, I pointed out that in the regular senses of the phrase, it doesn’t make money. So resting the case for the Acela on the money that it makes is building an argument on a foundation of sand. There may be no alternative to that for those advocating more funding of new highway construction, which often cannot be justified at all without relying on smoke and mirrors, but there is no need to rest the case for the Acela on a flimsy financial benefit argument that doesn’t hold water, when the case for the Acela in terms of full economic cost/benefit is quite solid.

    Even toll-roads that “make money” only do so courtesy of not having to cover their direct third party costs, and even then only do so courtesy of hidden and cross subsidies to their network of feeder highways and streets and, critically, subsidized and mandated parking at both ends of the journey.

    VBobier Reply:

    Just like adirondacker12800, I’d like to know to know all about I80 too, down to the penny if possible, I’ll bet it’s possibly a huge money waster, probably more money goes into it every year…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak says it makes money, Just like the Greyhound buses ( and the local commuter buses in New Jersey ) plying I-80 “make money”. Just like when the stars, Moon and the Sun are aligned correctly airlines make money. Or like Worldwide Widgets makes money getting things delivered and shipping product on I-80.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Acela “makes money” because maintenance costs are hidden in the capital account, hardly GAAP accounting. It pretty much destroys the track it is running on. By Amtrak’s admission the NEC takes 95% of Amtrak’s capital budget, much of which is used for what anyone else would call maintenance, i.e. an operating cost.

    Spokker Reply:

    “It pretty much destroys the track it is running on.”

    FRA?

    Spokker Reply:

    More specifically, “bank vault on wheels.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    All those LIRR, NJTransit, SEPTA and MARC trains flitting about pay Amtrak to use their tracks.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Not terribly much though, only one agency pays actual cost if I remember right.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Really? Looking at operating costs per train-mile suggests the maintenance costs are actually included in the operating budget. The NEC and the Amtrak-owned stretch in Michigan are unusually expensive otherwise.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Related to that,the figures from the Japanese railway companies also indicate that NEC is including maintenance.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Bringing the NEC up to a state of good repair would indeed be regular maintenance if Congress had originally funded bringing the NEC up to a state of good repair as notionally promised when Amtrak was formed, or as originally proposed when HSR in the 90′s was successfully quarantined into the Northeast Corridor and then partially strangled to result in the Acela.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well, deferred maintenance is still maintenance, and I’m trying not to complain about your long and convoluted sentence. It would be better if the NEC were to be separated from the rest of Amtrak. It would also help if an independent arbiter set the access charges for the commuter agencies, then we would know what the actual costs are and what parts of Amtrak make and lose money.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But deferred maintenance on a used asset on acquisition is a hidden capital cost, not an operating cost. Bringing it up to a state of good repair once it has been allowed to fall out of a state of good repair is not regular operating maintenance.

    jim Reply:

    But deferred maintenance on a used asset on acquisition is a hidden capital cost, not an operating cost.

    True, but then it needs to be amortized under GAAP.

    It’s not clear to me that anyone can say whether or not the Acela is GAAP-profitable (in the sense that were it operated by a separate company and Amtrak were contracted to provide the services that it does at cost, that company would be profitable under GAAP). We simply don’t know how much of the depreciation that Amtrak writes off each year is attributable to Acela. We don’t know how much of interest that Amtrak pays each year is attributable to Acela. We don’t know how much of the capitalized deferred maintenance should be attributed to Acela.

    One could, I think, defensibly guess that these charges could well be less than Acela’s operating surplus, at least in a good year. In which case one could claim Acela GAAP-profitable.

    If it is, it’s because of the high fares that Amtrak charges (and that customers pay!) on the Acela as a premium service. The last time I looked, the average fare on the Acela was north of $160. By comparison, the average fare on the Surfliner at the same time was $25.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    True, but then it needs to be amortized under GAAP.

    Which is something we could approximately account for, as a program to finally bring the NEC up to a state of good repair is available.

    Different values for the share of its capital grant funding recouped from operating surpluses will be obtained, depending on how joint infrastructure costs are allocated, but it’ll take quite the
    cost shifting to squeeze the Acela share of capital grants on works completed under the capital value of the operating surpluses to date.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak estimates that 2/3rd of the money they have spent on the NEC was supplied by the states.
    Except for California and Illinois most of the country doesn’t want people along the NEC asking hard questions about where the Federal government spends it’s money.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Do you have any reference to the claim that the Acela destroys the tracks it runs on? Its axle load is actually marginally lower than that of other electric locos in the US – 22 t vs. 23-24. The axle load of the diesel locos is more than 30. Its operating speed is marginally higher than that of the Regional and not much higher than that of the electrified commuter trains on the same route.

    Reedman Reply:

    The Sunset Limited should be extended from New Orleans to Jacksonville before extending it to
    San Francisco. In 2004 (pre-Katrina, when it still ran east of New Orleans), 41% of the revenue
    for the Sunset Limited was from the segment between Orlando and New Orleans.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    This is exactly why I think the Sunset Limited should be extended to San Francisco because those trains could service the SJ to SLO link with minimal additional time or cost.

    There is still the capital cost of the upgrades to provide the capacity for a second Coast service in the day. And when the southbound Daylight is delayed into LA, as it would seem likely to be, it threatens to delay the Sunset / Texas Eagle, which would then threaten its cross platform connection with the Houston / NOLA corridor service (once the service is upgraded to daily with the PRIIA Section210 changes in service structure).

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Amtrak isn’t upgrading the Sunset, Eagle, or any other related services; in fact they have deliberately taken it off the table for several years.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Union Pacific was demanding extortionate amounts of money which Amtrak didn’t have, so Amtrak agreed not to talk about daily Sunset services until 2014, in exchange for Union Pacific allowing for the restoration of a more reasonable schedule to the triweekly Sunset.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    I don’t think anyone arriving at 4:30am in LAX is going to agree with the idea of it being a more reasonable schedule.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Sleeping car passengers can stay in their cabins until almost 7am… and how is that different than a red-eye flight to the East Coast?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    And coach passengers are kicked off.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The context here is Paul Dyson’s hypothetical extension of the Sunset Ltd up the coast, which has to follow an upgrade to daily service being brought back onto the table. And if/when it is, it’ll be the plan they have on the shelf, to convert the New Orleans / San Antonio section into a long corridor transferring with the Texas Eagle / western Sunset Ltd at San Antonio, which makes more effective use of sleeper cars.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I didn’t suggest sending the Sunset to San Francisco, that was Tom McN. I shall have to complain about being misrepresented!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “I shall have to complain about being misrepresented” is a complaint in its own right, of course.

    And well you should, I lost track of which box was which discussant. Tom McNamara suggests you or a group you are in with wants a free standing Coast Daylight? Would that be two sets, San Diego to Sacramento?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Edit:

    The context here is Tom McNamara’s hypothetical extension of the Sunset Ltd up the coast, which has to follow an upgrade to daily service being brought back onto the table. And if/when it is, it’ll be the plan they have on the shelf, to convert the New Orleans / San Antonio section into a long corridor transferring with the Texas Eagle / western Sunset Ltd at San Antonio, which makes more effective use of sleeper cars.

    jim Reply:

    To clarify: the organization with which Paul Dyson is associated, RailPAC, has urged the extension of the Zephyr southward to Los Angeles (via San Jose and Santa Barbara), rather than the extension of the Sunset northwards to San Francisco (via Santa Barbara and San Jose).

    Either proposal would face strong opposition from UP.

    (Oh, and the Coast Daylight would run between LAUS and San Francisco — the Coast Line and Caltrain tracks. UP opposes that, too, at least as far as the Coast Line is concerned.)

    Reality Check Reply:

    There really are bad projects. They carry huge, but difficult-to-quantify, opportunity costs for unfunded and/or better projects both now and in the future, needlessly tarnishing public opinion regarding the ability of rail projects to offer solid, meaningful and cost-effective (both capital and operating) solutions to our transportation problems.

    Clem Reply:

    And bad projects are routinely built because in our free-wheeling capitalist society, profit (not social benefit) is king, and the name of the game is to transfer vast sums of public wealth into private pockets. Government agencies who oversee these things are purposely kept in a skeletal and anemic state (Exhibit A: CHSRA). If something good is built, it is more often than not by sheer accident.

    Reality Check Reply:

    And so we get what we’ve seen with HSRA, allowing anti-tax/infrastructure/government/NIMBY types (correctly) point out that they’re out of control and suffer from inadequate oversight, insufficient meaningful public outreach and involvement, etc. … And if they weren’t skeletal and anemic the same folks would scream even louder that they were extravagantly overstaffed/bloated agencies with outrageous payrolls/benefits, etc. at the expense of babies/schools/mothers/existing piss-poor infrastructure, etc.

    joe Reply:

    A kobayashi maru predicament.

    I like adding skill and oversight in Gov’t and want the CAHSR and Caltrans reworked into a org where rail is a peer.

    I don’t understand what “bad” projects are … the Big Dig? The Big Tunnel in Chicago?
    What about Dams that we now understand the full impact of their construction and lifespan?

    Recall how the 1930′s investments in bridges and work projects were wasteful and bad. Bringing power to the Tennessee river valley were bad investments. Too few people, too poor, too stupid.

    Today for profit corporations build schools and billion+ dollar embassy in Iraq and we continue with the V-22 – a Mil project Dick Cheney opposed because of cost and performance problems but was unable to kill.

    So when I see folks obsess over the 3rd order value of transportation projects I see people trained to expect so little that conventional rail in small increments is all we should expect.

    Obviously this entire comment is code for dumping billions on PB and putting Concorde jets in our national parks.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Big Dig was definitely bad. Increased pollution, massive debt which was then thrown at the MBTA, and it wasn’t even built right.

    The invasion of Iraq, if you want a really big bad project.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I guess I’m saying I agree with you. The California High Speed Rail Project is plenty good enough. There are some genuinely bad projects out there and it’s nothing like them.

    Clem Reply:

    Right. Only “socialist” countries like Switzerland and Spain are capable of delivering cost-effective infrastructure. We’re forever doomed to spend more on less, because, ya know, capitalism is unmatched for efficient and optimal allocation of resources. Or so they taught me… gotta go, they’re calling my seating area to board, XOXOCO2!!

  4. Paul Dyson
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 09:09
    #4

    “Ultimately” can be a long time. What is the real plan, and expectations for market penetration based on that plan, for this missing link between somewhere in the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley and LAUS and points south? We are talking about the second largest city in the USA and the largest single market for the HSR system. The so-called business plan is extraordinarily vague on this point, and yet seems to think that these pre full build services will generate an operating profit to finance expansion. Lot’s of assumptions!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The Business Plan relies on ridership modeling based on people catching buses and and people driving themselves to the station. Which is the kind of thing we have a substantial data baseline for in the US: that side of the ridership modeling does not entail the “projection beyond the edge of our database” uncertainties that affect the HSR leg of the trip.

    But there is substantial headroom there above the modeled ridership, since the baseline Bay to Basin cannot assume a clearance to run the train through to LA Union Station, which seems a better than 50:50 prospect.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    But how can you write a business plan and model ridership if you don’t know where your terminus will be? Sylmar? Burbank Airport? Burbank downtown? Very different dynamics at each of them. The San Fernando Valley is about 20 miles long and 10 wide. That’s a big target zone!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, exactly, the San Fernando Valley is only 20 miles long and 10 miles wide, and a HSR catchment is normally substantially larger than that, with the majority of the ridership coming by bus or car from outside of the SFV itself.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Coming by car? Very sustainable!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So, now you are complaining that the ridership modelling is not predicated on a complete local transport mode shift away from cars in the coming decade?

    It’d be nice if that mode shift happened, but unprofessional to base the ridership modeling on wishful thinking, as you seem to be asking for.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No, I never complain…
    I’m wondering aloud what sort of environmental benefits this investment brings if its no different to Burbank Airport where most people arrive by car. And I find it hard to believe that the modelling has any level of accuracy given that the terminus may be for example at Sylmar, or at Burbank, or even North Hollywood, each with very different levels of access and public transportation.

    No, I’m just trying to point a few shortcomings in this wonderful business plan. The public, the taxpayers of this state and country, have invested billions in the Los Angeles subway and light rail lines, yet for the next 20 years the plan of the CHSRA does not include linking with them, nor does it provide direct access to anything but the northeast area of the Los Angeles region, its largest single market by a significant factor. Now if you were an energetic business person determined to make a success of a venture such as this, would you not hussle and bustle and elbow your way into the biggest market in your franchise at the earliest opportunity? Would you really be content with Merced and Bakersfield?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well, they won’t be flying, that would be one sort of environmental benefit.

    They will be hustling and bustling to get there. Twenty years is a long time. I don’t have any doubt that funding will come from the Fed’s at some point in that time frame.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You mean you don’t expect the private sector to rush in? I seem to remember that was the expectation back in the heady days of 2008, when 4 legs were good and 2 were bad.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    To operate it, or to finance the construction of the corridor?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Airplanes have a disproportionately bad impact on global warming because they dump their CO2 directly into the upper atmosphere. And of course, long-distance car driving generates massive amounts of CO2.

    So yeah, having people drive locally to catch the long-distance train is an improvement.

    Futhermore, if people are only driving locally, it makes it a lot easier for them to switch to electric cars.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And I find it hard to believe that the modelling has any level of accuracy given that the terminus may be for example at Sylmar, or at Burbank, or even North Hollywood, each with very different levels of access and public transportation.

    So, this is argument from incredulity?

    Are you actually claiming that it would make a difference of more than 5% to 10% either way to the ridership? Because it has to be substantially higher than a (+/-10%) variation to affect the build/no-build decision.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Isn’t being at the nexus of the Los Angeles area’s mass transit system what makes LAX so successful as a an airport?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Certainly. It is the fact that all LA light rail lines and all LA heavy rail services converge at LAX that makes it a successful access/egress location for intercity transport services.

    At least, if the precise location within the San Fernando Valley of a IOS terminus has the double digit percentage impacts on IOS ridership that Paul Dyson appears to be claiming.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Guys, passengers care about egress time a lot more than you think. Airports force a lot of last-20-miles driving or taxi taking; that’s partly how HSR gets more ridership than the air corridors it replaces.

    http://thinkmetric.com/pubs/lastmile.pdf

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Guys, passengers care about egress time a lot more than you think. Airports force a lot of last-20-miles driving or taxi taking; that’s partly how HSR gets more ridership than the air corridors it replaces.

    It’s not even that really. Getting off a plane takes forever, even without baggage. I can hop off a train and a minute later be driving home. A plane? I’ll be lucky to be off the plane itself in three minutes, never mind out of the airport.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    yet for the next 20 years the plan of the CHSRA does not include linking with them

    Yes, which is why the baseline model is biased to underestimate ridership, since in reality, the odds are substantially better than 50:50 that if California does proceed with the project that the HSR Initial Operating Service will include LA-Union Station.

    The complaint that the baseline model does not extend to LA – Union Station is one of those wonderful damned if you do, damned if you don’t complaints.

    After all, if the baseline model did include LA Union Station, then the fact that there is no waiver to operate on the existing corridor means that the IOS faces a regulatory risk. And if it doesn’t, complain that the IOS relies on linking up to a range of LA Basin transit systems via shuttle bus transfers.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    As I said, I don’t complain. I’m merely pointing out that for all of my money they are spending they still don’t reach Los Angeles for 20 years. What sort of business driven enterprise would do that? Or perhaps they are relying on another entity to build the link for them so that they can pretend the project is cheaper than it really is. Now that would be a shock…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Business-driven enterprises would never do anything socially useful, Mr. Dyson. Don’t you understand capitalism? It’s even worse nowadays; Henry Ford at least could think further than 3 months ahead, and most business-driven enterprises can’t do that any more.

    So what sort of business-driven enterprise would engage in a project which wouldn’t finish for more than 20 years? One with a long time horizon. The East India Company would have.

    Yes, we don’t have businesses which can think long-term any more, but that’s not an argument. We SHOULD have businesses which think long-term. And governments should think long term.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    None, because business driven organizations are driven by the profit motive, not by the public benefit of the infrastructure investment.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    BTW, this is amusing:

    As I said, I don’t complain.

    Followed immediately by (2) from the definition of “complain”:

    com·plaint/kəmˈplānt/
    Noun: (1) A statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable. (2) A reason for dissatisfaction.

    I’m merely pointing out that for all of my money they are spending they still don’t reach Los Angeles for 20 years. What sort of business driven enterprise would do that?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Don’t get too excited. The access component of the model is totally broken so the Bay to Basin is fairly close to Bay to LA union station (but slower).

    The model has a perverse result where people prefer spending time driving to a station rather than being on a train.

    In addition there are no penalties for transfers (besides the actual 15 minutes for changing) for the connections to the 2-3 hour buses that most of the riders are assumed to be taking to Merced, not to mention the fact that many riders are presumed to spend more time on a bus than on the train, but that the bus is still treated like a short local bus instead of a core part of the journey.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The destination-side catchment area is tiny. Why else make an effort to extend HSR downtown?

    As a result, the destination of the IOS will be LAUS. If they say it’s going to be a random spot in the Valley, it’s still actually going to be LAUS, on electrified trackage, with a waiver.

  5. BruceMcF
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 09:12
    #5

    “It shows that the California High Speed Rail Authority is able to address genuinely constructive criticism and win over people who want HSR but who had concerns about earlier versions of the plan.”

    Given the display regarding abilities to respond to constructive criticism under Judge Kopp, I’d phrase that as “has made substantial progress in its ability to address genuinely constructive criticism”

    morris brown Reply:

    @ BruceMcF

    You really write this

    “It shows that the California High Speed Rail Authority is able to address genuinely constructive criticism and win over people who want HSR but who had concerns about earlier versions of the plan.”

    and expect anyone to take you seriously. My word!

    The CHSRA as shown over the last 4 years that the California voters who approved Prop 1A with a %52.5 margin now want it killed by at least a %60 margin. II find it pretty hard to imagine how the CHSRA could have done an even worse job of oversight and planning than what they have accomplished.

    Peter Reply:

    Read the rest of his comment, not just what he quoted from the original post.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, I did really copy and paste that quote verbatim from the original post it was taken from.

    In the circles that you run in, is it considered non-serious for quote to be quoted verbatim? That is, you only consider it as a ‘serious’ quote if it misrepresents what it is quoting from?

    Nathanael Reply:

    You’re referring to the dishonest push poll, aren’t you, Morris?

    In your circles, perhaps it’s only “serious” to lie and misrepresent, and it’s not “serious” to be honest.

    Emma Reply:

    “It shows that the California High Speed Rail Authority is able to address genuinely constructive criticism and win over people who want HSR but who had concerns about earlier versions of the plan.”

    That must be a joke. If it wasn’t for Jerry Brown punching some sense into this authority, CHSRA would still probably try to explain to us why their ridiculous $100 billion plan is the only viable option.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah, following up on that quote from the post that this comment thread is attached to, one might even remark:

    Given the display regarding abilities to respond to constructive criticism under Judge Kopp, I’d phrase that as “has made substantial progress in its ability to address genuinely constructive criticism”

    synonymouse Reply:

    The $100bil mega STilt-A-Rail was necessitated by trying to retain the Roundabout and still make the time proviso.

    Since the basal purpose of the CHSRA is to funnel public monies to their friends if they get the go-ahead to build out the detoured routing the costs will start to drift back up again towards the pre-value engineered figure, even with recessionary under-bidding. Under the Machine the operative rule is whatever you can get away with.

  6. nick
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 10:29
    #6

    I could understand the criticism of hs2 if there were only small numbers of people travelling between say LA and san francisco by car or plane. I could also undestand it if oil werent close to $100 even in a recession. What are the alternatives to high speed rail ? Is it a good idea to merely keep with the status quo and build more roads and runways and perpetuate the costs of using mainly fossil based fuel. Do nothing to reduce pollution or reduce the slaughter on the roads.

    There isnt anything that has been changed enough from 2008 to prevent the economic crash happening again. apart from all the ludicrously risky financial transactions what precipitated this was the huge increase in oil prices. What we seem to be suggesting is that if we keep using more oil and go back to encouraging loans or lines of credit that this will get us out of our economic woes. it will likely do the opposite.

    I find it strange that morris can suggest that no-one will take robert seriously. Transform didnt support HSR originally. The plan was changed and now transform does support hsr. the only conclusion is that the authority made changes for exactly the same reason robert has outlined – they listened ! I suspect it is Morris who wont be taken seriously.

    Some people are so against hsr that no matter what is changed they will be against it. CHSRA is criticized when they keep to their original plan and then criticized by the same people when they change the plan !

    As far as 1A is concerned you are surely not only making a mockery of democracy but also ensuring that nothing gets done if you want to have another vote every time the situation changes. this is a recipe for paralysis.

    Eric M Reply:

    Case in point, look at Morris Browns’ post directly above yours. His blinders are on so tight, that he fails to read the whole comment from BruceMcF (which is only TWO SENTENCES!!) and immediately posts and irreverent response. Unreal!!

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Morris has a lot on his plate these days…he’s still trying to decipher Prop 98 funding levels….

    VBobier Reply:

    Failing? More like ignoring what Morris doesn’t want to go after…

  7. Drunk Engineer
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 10:50
    #7

    Transform didnt support HSR originally.

    Yes, they did. Just as they endorsed BART-Warm Springs. Just as they supported Prop 1B (the $20 billion mega-bond for highways). OAC is the only time I know of where they actually opposed a stupid project.

  8. Peninsula Rail 2010
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 10:59
    #8

    TransForm didn’t just support the piss-poor original HSR plan; they actively stumped for it at Railvolution and other venues. TransForm is very much part of the transit-industrial-complex. They can be bought quite cheaply despite generous funding from the Hewlett Foundation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART: we don’t need no stinking buses:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/15/MNU91P2AME.DTL

    Douchetown sucks:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/15/BA0Q1P17U2.DTL

  9. Reality Check
    Jun 15th, 2012 at 16:36
    #9

    More depressing news about the fine state of US rail transit industry:

    Metro-North Monitors Watched Websites Not Trains, Audit Finds

    MTA executive Sherry Herrington may have skirted ethics regs by getting gal pal a plum job, state audit says

    20 MTA workers rake in more than $100K in OT while fare hikes keep coming

    Spokker Reply:

    Reading that first link.

    “Metro-North staff was supposed to take six train trips each day and work an eight-hour shift, though auditors found they averaged only four rides daily, DiNapoli said. Four members of the unit were paid more than $170,000 each year for work that may not have been done, he said.”

    HOW DO I GET THIS JOB???

    Seriously though, what’s the problem? Is it hard to fire people? Hard to do oversight? Why wouldn’t supervisors pop in every now and then and see if everybody is doing their job, and if they aren’t, fire them.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Look at the headlines, the supervisors are on the take, too. Good times, man.

    Spokker Reply:

    What about the CEO? Why doesn’t he pop his head in from time to time?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Which CEO? The CEO of Metro-North is probably in on it. The CEO of the MTA… well, the last one, Walder, was fired for trying to fix some of this crap.

    It’s even worse at LIRR, by the way.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The root of the problem is really in the politicos of New York. Both the state legislators who (under)fund the MTA and the people they appoint to the MTA board are mostly self-dealing crooks themselves, so they don’t see a problem with this sort of behavior.

    Look up the NY State Legislature (“most corrupt in the US”) and you’ll begin to see where the root of the problem lies in NY.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I should make it clear that there are honest, honorable members of the NYS legislature; they just have very little power; they’re “backbenchers”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    NYS legislature is the home of “empty seat voting”, if that starts to give you a clue.

    joe Reply:

    Rank Word Frequency
    1 metro 23
    2 union 18
    3 white 17
    4 workers 12
    4 records 12
    4 jobs 12
    5 supervisor 11
    6 percent 9
    7 employees 8
    7 Hispanic 8
    7 management 8

    Spokker Reply:

    ?

    joe Reply:

    The article in the Washington Times – I looked at word frequency.

    Spokker Reply:

    And?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Pretty serious problems there in DC, if true. Btw, the Washington Times is Moonie owned.

    joe Reply:

    I felt the article focused on race and not rail.

    What if we put a article on bank fraud and cronyism into a word cloud – would we see race and gender ?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    White people have no race and men have no gender.

    Spokker Reply:

    It focused on transit agency dysfunction and mismanagement, which is what the other articles were about as well. Part of that dysfunction and mismanagement had to do with promoting or protecting inept employees in the name of diversity.

    This receives very little mainstream coverage because it is an uncomfortable topic for the American people, so it’s hard to figure out how prevalent this is at other transit agencies.

    joe Reply:

    Since the banking industry failed and is predominately run by white males, I would like to see some mainstream coverage of an uncomfortable topic. Clearly they are promoting similar looking employees who also happen to come from a small set of professional schools.

    I’m not defending the corruption in the Washington Times article, just asking why race matters and then it doesn’t.

    Spokker Reply:

    Pointing out that certain industries, organizations and ideologies are predominantly white are plenty mainstream.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-candy-crowley-common-perception-of-gop-is-white-guys-who-want-to-protect-big-oil/

    http://money.cnn.com/technology/newme_incubator/

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/11/technology/diversity_accelerators/index.htm

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/study-sees-wall-street-pay-tilted-toward-white-men/

    In fact, pointing out whiteness as a negative thing is well accepted. At any given time, there are usually too many white people doing any given thing. Diversity doesn’t just mean a diverse mix of peoples and cultures in an organization. Diversity is often simply satisfied simply by being disproportionately black or Hispanic or whatever. In other words, diversity is not white. All-white is not okay (and perhaps it is not if we are talking about a company diverse region). Neither is all-black or all-Hispanic, then, if we are going to play the diversity game.

    Both of us should try to get on TV with our respective grievances. You find an organization and claim that there is discrimination against blacks by whites. I’ll try to get on TV with my feeling that the WMATA is a predominantly black organization that discriminates against whites. We’ll see who gets further.

    No, criticizing whiteness is not an uncomfortable topic for the American people. And pointing out, “White people do it too.” is not a valid justification for when non-whites do it.

    Spokker Reply:

    “Pointing out that certain industries, organizations and ideologies are predominantly white are plenty mainstream. ”

    is plenty mainstream, rather.

    Spokker Reply:

    By the way, my post is illegal in Britain.

    Spokker Reply:

    To add, your assertion about the financial system is fundamentally flawed. We are all complicit, black and white, in the collapse of the financial system. Banks gave out loans they could afford afford to make. People took out mortgages they could not afford to pay. Even those who can afford to pay the monthly payment are encouraged to walk away through strategic defaults. Politicians removed barriers to home ownership out of some idealistic notion that everybody should own a home as part of the American dream.

    The idea that it was this privileged and connected class that was pulling the puppet strings of the economy is absurd and borders on tinfoil nonsense. And it gets dangerously close to what some groups claim, that it was a certain people pulling those strings.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “We are all complicit” is a fine, Obama-administration-esque way to excuse control fraud on the part of people running financial institutions and the three decades long process of so-called
    “financial deregulation” by politicians and financial regulators that removed the firewalls that at one time would have prevented the control fraud from leading to a massive financial system collapse.

    People pursuing their own self-interest in being able to take advantage of their customers does not require any grand illuminati conspiracy to organize, so the capture of the regulators by the industry it is regulating requires no grand illuninati conspiracy theory. And once you allow investment banking to be engaged in by corporations, there is no requirement of any conspiracy theory to explain widespread control fraud ~ in that case, those successfully engaging in control fraud possess a competitive advantage, which leads to the spread of the control fraud by hook or by crook.

    Spokker Reply:

    I don’t deny bad behavior on the part of lenders. I can provide to you literature reviews I’ve written that detail all of the bad behavior. But let’s not pretend all those consenting adults who felt entitled to the mystic “American Dream” failed to do their homework. Those who submitted no documentation, got adjustable rate mortgages, bought in the boonies and got screwed by $4/gallon gas got what they deserved.

    We could have easily gone in and purchased a home, and we’d be in the same situation. But you know what, rented instead and put money away. We researched the real estate market and prepared for the day when we would own a home. Halfway there, Bruce.

    Spokker Reply:

    There should really be an edit button. I’m practically dyslexic and it shows.

    Spokker Reply:

    My girlfriend is starting to turn to the dark side of conservatism as well. I’ll tell you how it happened. She’s an attorney and her first real job out of college was doing bankruptcy work. Maybe I’ll get her on here to give you all the details, but she became very bitter over how coddled homeowners are.

    Suffice to say, she doesn’t work there anymore and got a better job.

    She also hates how she’s making all this money and now she has to take care of everyone, both in her personal life and in society. Once she got a good year of seeing those taxes being taken out of her paycheck, and seeing the tax revenues do very little good, it turned her, haha. That’s often how it happens.

    She’ll soon be a former California liberal *evilly rubs hands together*

    Spokker Reply:

    She remarked to me the other day, exasperated, “Why am I even working so hard?”

    God I love it.

    joe Reply:

    The idea that it was this privileged and connected class that was pulling the puppet strings of the economy is absurd and borders on tinfoil nonsense. And it gets dangerously close to what some groups claim, that it was a certain people pulling those strings.

    It’s so simple.

    The financial industry consolidated, and made an asset bubble due to weak regulations. It eventually popped. They financial institutions had the government buy their financial products tied to bubble assets at face value, essentially insuring them from any loss and transferring their risk to us.

    I didn’t have anyone send me a check when my home’s value went down. Some folks got a check when my home’s value went down and the investment products tied to my home’s value sunk in value.

    This week JPMorgan’s CEO (who is on the NY Fed) had his ass kissed by the US Senate. He insisted the 1/2 trillion loaned to the banking industry was not necessary. I am told to suck it up and expect a social security cut – maybe work until I’m 70.

    There’s no conspiracy – it is being done in front of your face.

    Spokker Reply:

    When you buy a starter home, wish to flip a home, or your life plan is predicated on your home always going up in value, you expose yourself to risk. You are now a player who is playing the game and you risk bubbles. This wasn’t the first bubble ever and it won’t be the last.

    Government and industry isn’t solely responsible for bubbles. People who get excited about bubbles are responsible. That’s government, politicians, lenders, borrowers, rich assholes and poor assholes (who want to become rich assholes).

    I may be low IQ, but here’s my philosophy for buying a house. If I can’t imagine myself being carried out of that house by the coroner, I don’t buy it. So if I buy a house and it loses 20% of its value with the rest of the country, so what? That’s my home, not my portfolio. I’m not stupid enough to go for ARM shenanigans and I can put together a budget. There are people who can actually make the payments who feel entitled to stop paying just because they are underwater. I want to live under the sea!

    My actual investments? Mutual funds. Bonds. A stock here and there. Not my home. Never my home.

    Spokker Reply:

    The next big bust is student loans. Stay tuned.

    joe Reply:

    Spokker; Agree. Interviews with recent grads, I see larger & less affordable student loan debt – it’s going to privative and draw more profiteering.

    Meanwhile:
    “… the path of a full-blown crisis would start in Greece, quickly move to the rest of Europe and then hit the U.S. Stocks and oil would plunge, the euro would sink against the U.S. dollar, and big banks would suffer losses on complex trades.”
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/06/15/national/a000014D91.DTL#ixzz1y1FCax00

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Government and industry isn’t solely responsible for bubbles. People who get excited about bubbles are responsible.

    This is the trick: divert the question from what can be done to prevent the damage into pointless finger pointing. The finance industry and their leased politicians in the Senate and House
    invested a good half century into financial deregulation in order to be able to take advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of their customers. Many of those same regulations were part of the firewalls that kept commercial banking a staid, boring business and prevented the financial crises that will always occur from time to time in our system from cratering the economy as a whole.

    And so those who invested millions, over the years, to divert billions into their pockets as income, including market research into how best to con a gullible public into playing along, and those that they successfully duped, are all “equally at fault”.

    The key issue isn’t who’s at fault, its how to correct the systemic flaws that allowed the first round of damage to be done, and how to prevent its future recurrence. And the answer that involves changing human nature so that people are no longer susceptible to believing that bubbles represent real growth in wealth is baking up the wrong tree, even though the same people who invested so much in gutting financial system regulation are surely setting that forward as a red herring to distract from the answer of restoring the barriers between merchant banking and commercial banking, and de-corporatising merchant banking.

    As far as student loans: it may have to wait its turn. Since we kicked the can down the road for so much of the systemic problems that underlay the property bubble, we may have to ride out one or more aftershocks from the property bubble collapse first.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Walder was not fired; he quit to take a job at the MTR for three times the salary.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Agreed, I want that job too. Heck, I’d do it for half that salary.

    joe Reply:

    Not me since this is probably going to involve criminal charges and they will prosecute agressively. Even a modest defnese would bankrupt the family so I’d cop a plea.

    Me?

    I’d rather make half of Jon Corzine’s salary and promise to still lose 1.6 Billion in customer “funds”.

    I do NOT have the confidence to replace James “Jamie” Dimon, the current chairman, president, and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, and NY Fed Reserve. He goofed on over 2 Billion in speculative losses and for punishment wore Presidential Cuff i Congress while the US Senate oversight committee apologised to him.

  10. California Taxpayer
    Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:22
    #10

    o/t from sacramento new light rail opens

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Also off topic, but appropriate for today, is this thread from Railway Preservation News:

    http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33455

    [For those unfamiliar with them, the EBT (East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Co.) and the Strasburg Rail Road are heritage steam roads in Pennsylvania.]

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