HSR Is Good for the Economy – and Good for the Budget

Jul 1st, 2012 | Posted by

Daniel Krause, executive director of Californians For High Speed Rail, has a great op-ed in the Ventura County Star today titled High speed rail will bolster economy, budget. It makes a series of excellent points as to why the legislature should fund the project:

Extreme austerity in Europe is proving to be a flawed strategy, plunging much of the continent back into deep recession. Cutting investments to critical infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail, here at home, will only make our budget problems worse. We need to shake ourselves out of the downward economic spiral of divestment and cutting by boldly moving forward with a project that will inject billions directly into our economy.

Because of the economic stimulus that the project will create, it will have significant benefits for the state budget:

The early investments in high-speed rail, both in the Central Valley and at the urban bookends, will pump more than $8 billion into California’s economy, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Over the next few years, at a time when we must kick our economy back into gear, the increased tax revenues generated from these jobs will more than offset debt servicing costs.

Some may argue that the HSR bond funds would come at the expense of other state budget priorities. That’s a right-wing argument, ignoring the economic and the budget benefits of the project for the state. Krause adds another reason why this would be misleading:

Additionally, the state plans to direct underutilized truck weight fees, which statutorily must be used for transportation projects, to pay the interest on HSR bonds. These small but extremely important details debunk the high-speed rail versus school kids myth.

That’s a key detail and one that the State Senate needs to understand as it votes on releasing the voter-approved bonds. The whole op-ed is worth reading and especially worth sharing as the all-important HSR vote looms on the days to come.

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  1. J. Wong
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 21:23
    #1

    It was always a red herring that support for HSR was at the expense of funding for education. Cancel HSR and not one penny more would be available for education.

  2. peninsula
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 21:24
    #2

    UCLA study says otherwise. Lets see Krause-UCLA… Krause-UCLA…. who’s more credible…

    http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2012/06/22/burn-new-ucla-study-concludes-california-high-speed-rail-offers-no-net-economic-benefits-simply-moving-jobs-around/

    Derek Reply:

    Moving jobs from other states and countries to California sounds like a pretty good deal.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Point. At least if you live in California!

    Walter Reply:

    The very first paragraph refers to the “CHRSL Authority.” I’m gonna go with Krause.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah and I’ve never heard of a “CHRSL Authority”, I’ve heard of the CHSRA which is the official acronym, but this other one? Not a chance…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Tbe UC!A study doesn’t look very promising in that contest: it is taking the case of nineteen sixty four Japan, a period of high employment, to look for classical Keynesian employment multipliers, even though those are conditions when classical Keynesian employment multipliers are weakest and the impact of infrasture investment is on productivity. From their abstract, it doesn’t sound promising as far as having a credible model on the productivty side, since their argument is not “we found evidence there was no benefit”, but rather, “our model did not detect evidence of a benefit”.

    As with any academic economic model, its necessary to dig into their assumptions to tell for sure whether there is anything there or whether its more neoclassical utilitarian BS that assumes its conclusions into its original assumptions. After all, why do you think so many prominent economists missed the private debt financial crisis in two thousand and eight, and it was “nobody” economists who called it? Only “nobody” economists were actually looking ~ the big name economists assumed from the outset that private balance sheets did not matter.

    So I’ll dig into the assumptions of this modelling, but it doesn’t look promising.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Peninsula shot down! Must be feeling pretty low right now for throwing out that UCLA nonsense…

    peninsula Reply:

    Shot down? Where? All I see is a bunch of non arguments to the content of the UCLA study, none of which have either a valid logic, or even a coherent attempt. Hint – contrary to popular belief on this blog, simply yelling “DEBUNK” is not equivalent to actually coming up with a logical argument. Frankly, my money for intellectually sound points would be with UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Stanford (the other two universities who are regularly quote unquote “DEBUNKED” on this train foamer forum.

    spokker Reply:

    All I see are claims the study might be flawed, and that they’ll let us know once they get around to reading it.

  3. morris brown
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 21:24
    #3

    I guess Robert just doesn’t want to acknowledge reality.

    The recent UCLA report, a part of which was reported in the LA Times is an example.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ucla-forecast-20120620,0,7283654.story


    The forecast also cast doubt on the possible economic impact of the proposed high-speed rail project that would run from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority has contended the project would create 100,000 construction jobs and an additional 450,000 jobs in the broader state economy over the next 25 years.

    To substantiate that, the UCLA economists looked to Japan, where high-speed rail has been in place for decades. They concluded that although development sprang up around new rail lines, much of the activity simply moved from other places.

    “There may be good reasons to invest in [high-speed rail] but the economic argument, the jobs argument, does not seem to stand on very solid ground,” the report said.

    Tony D. Reply:

    See above comments so that you and peninsula can enjoy the same crow…

  4. D. P. Lubic
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 21:33
    #4

    Many of the comments following that editorial are quite negative, and often insulting to supporters as well, but the positive ones have some interesting points:

    calocan writes:
    in response to gtbkidding:

    “‘There are so many holes in the logic of this piece, starting with the headline. The rail will no longer be ‘hi-speed.’

    “‘The costs are escalating rapidly. Many predict the true build-out will cost over $200B. That’s OK because it will infuse $8B into California’s economy. Big whoop!’

    “‘Finally, Mr. Krause, I must remind you that every Democrat idea requires the same response from reasonable people: THERE IS NO MONEY.’

    ‘”Many predict the true build-out will cost over $200B”‘

    “You criticize accuracy and yet drop a number like “$200B” without siting [citing] any source, and it happens that no credible source has ever come up with that number.

    “High speed rail turns an operational profit all over the world (http://reasonrail.blogspot.com/2011/0…), and Mr. Krause is absolutely correct in his assertion that the tax benefits are significant.

    “Don’t forget that our transportation system is broken and sucks huge amounts of income out of people’s pockets. Electric trains, both regional and local, are the most efficient way to move people around a large populated area, and thus have a low per-capita cost compared to any other mode of motorized transportation.”

    thund3rbox writes:

    “Saddened by all the negative comments towards high speed rail. As a resident of Southern California with personal and business interests in Northern California, I whole heartedly look forward to high speed rail as an alternative to the nightmare that air travel has become. HSR will have a positive transformative effect for the state. I wish more people would come to this realization.”

    franklin411 writes:
    in response to smragan:

    “‘Oh the fatal conceit of central planners that think high speed rail will improve our fiscal picture and the state economy. Where do they think the money comes from to subsidize this boondoggle? Does it grow on trees? Nope. We rob Peter (taxpayer or charge cost to the credit card) to pay Paul (mostly unions). We pick the pocket of other peoples money to pay for these sacred cows.’

    “‘Lazy thinking Democrats have no clue how the economy works and no clue that high speed rail must be subsidized forever. High Speed Rail is fundamentally unsustainable. A giant black hole.”

    “I agree that we have transportation systems in California that, for all practical purposes, will be subsidized forever. Unfortunately, they’re called ‘freeways.'”

    franklin411 writes:
    in response to thund3rbox:

    “‘Saddened by all the negative comments towards high speed rail. As a resident of Southern California with personal and business interests in Northern California, I whole heartedly look forward to high speed rail as an alternative to the nightmare that air travel has become. HSR will have a positive transformative effect for the state. I wish more people would come to this realization.’

    “Don’t be saddened. Almost all of the negative posters aren’t even from California. Look at their posting history, and you’ll see that they’re just paid shills for various right-wing think-tanks.”

    That last one is particularly interesting. Can anyone comment upon it?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Newspaper comments are simply proof that universal suffrage is a horrible idea.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Comments by public officials and agency heads are proof that the alternative is even worse.

    VBobier Reply:

    Especially when the comments are spoken by buffoons that say mean, bigoted and empty headed…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Democracy is the worst system except for those others which have been tried. (Winston Churchill, I think.)

    Universal suffrage has one key feature which is that it gives a solution to the succession problem. I

    n autocracies, the initial dictator is often quite competent, but the skills which it requires to become the *second* dictator are sycophancy and court politics, and that usually, believe it or not, generates worse rulers than elections.

    Systems with limited suffrage end up being controlled by the people who control who gets to vote, and that ends up rewarding backstabbing and fraud, which again manages to actually generate worse rulers than elections….

  5. morris brown
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 22:59
    #5

    KCBS-TV had Phil Matier do an interview with Senator DeSaulnier. You can view at:

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/07/01/high-speed-rail-legislature/

    The vote he says will come Tuesday or Friday.

    Alan Reply:

    Why should anyone take you seriously when you consistently get the name of the TV station wrong? Senility creeping in?

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Alan

    In the Bay area CBS-tv views on KPIX. CBS tv in other areas is telecast from other outlets.
    I use KCBS-TV as a generic…. if you don’t like that …. too bad…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    KCBS_TV is a television station in Los Angeles. WCBS-TV is a television station in New York.
    KNBC-TV is a television station in Los Angeles. WNBC-TV is a television station in New York.
    KABC-TV is a television station in Los Angeles. WNBC-TV is a television station in New York.

    Jerry Reply:

    All radio and TV stations west of the Misssissippi start with K and east of Misissippi they start with W. Reminds me of Groucho asking a contestant to name a car that starts with ‘P’. He then went on to say the contestant was wrong, that no car starts with P, they all start with gas. That was before hybrids of course.

    VBobier Reply:

    Asdirondacker12800 said KCBS TV is in Los Angeles, not in Frisco…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You use call letters as a generic? Do you do the same with other proper names? Do you use “Utah” as a generic for “some Rocky Mountain State”, as in, “Colorado Springs, Utah, is threatened by wildfires.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I use Jersey as a generic for “some place west of New York.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why would you use a small island off the coast of France as a generic term for someplace west of New York?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because when it conquered New Amsterdam, Britain named the western parts of the colony after it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Are Santa Fe and Albuquerque in Mexico? Nashua is in Hampshire? How about Concord and Manchester? Manhattan is in York?

    They conquered New Amsterdam twice. The first time they called it the Province of New Jersey. After the second conquest they called the eastern part the Province of East Jersey and the western part the Province of West Jersey.

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

    You can still see the line in maps of New Jersey that show municipal borders.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The number of mistakes I know serious researchers have made in published papers (including me, but also people who are tenured at good institutions and definitely do high-quality research) is way too high for me to care about a mistake in a station’s call letters. Sorry.

  6. Neil Shea
    Jul 1st, 2012 at 23:46
    #6

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/High-speed-rail-Bay-Area-legislators-support-key-3677809.php

    When California’s high-speed rail plan comes up for the big vote this week in Sacramento, there will be a lot more at stake for the Bay Area than just bullet trains to Los Angeles.

    In a move some see as an attempt to round up badly needed “yes” votes for the project, Gov. Jerry Brown and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, are insisting on an “all or nothing” vote on both the $68 billion rail line and millions of dollars for local “connectivity” projects.

    In the Bay Area, those connections include:
    — $140 million for new BART cars
    — $105 million to modernize Caltrain.
    — $61 million for San Francisco’s Central Subway.
    — $46.5 million to improve the tracks on the Capital Corridor commute line between Oakland and San Jose.

    High-speed rail needs 21 votes in the state Senate to get the green light to start spending voter-approved bonds in a major way.

    So far, however, insiders say it’s falling short by at least six votes.

    All of which make the votes of the Bay Area’s Sens. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, and Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, more critical.

    Both Simitian and DeSaulnier are skeptical of the current plan, especially the idea that the first phase of construction will be the 130-mile “train to nowhere” stretch in the Central Valley.

    Instead, the senators want the first round of money to be spent building up high-speed rail in the Bay Area and L.A., then move into the valley.

    How will the “all or nothing” deal affect their vote?

    “I’m a ‘no’ on all or nothing,” DeSaulnier said.

    As for Simitian: “I’m voting for what’s best for the whole state,” he said. “Local considerations will be part of that, but I can’t let them drive my decision on a project of this magnitude.”

    peninsula Reply:

    Funny thing is – all those things can (and should) be funded entirely without involvement of High Speed Rail. The local transportation authorities can just as easily apply for federal aid, local transportation funding, or even request funding from local voters – on their own, if those projects have merit.

    And what do new Bart cars and Capital Corridor track improvements between Oakland and SJ have to do with CAHSR anyway? Not a damn thing.

    In other words, a transparent, weak, bullying, threat. I can just see the spittle flying from his mouth as he shouts these threats through the halls as people turn their backs and walk away from him. What Brown is doing is throwing a big temper tantrum, like a child threatening to hold his breath until he gets what he wants. He’s a lunatic. A bully. And a moron.

    Just wait until his idiotic tax bill doesn’t pass.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Peninsula, are you aware that all manner of transit projects over the years–improved bus service, light rail, heavy rail, new commuter lines, Amtrak, and so on–have had the same criticisms, often if not usually from the same sources, as the critics of this high-speed project? I should know, I’ve faced them myself and lost.

    Some people say an oil-business conspiracy against transit doesn’t exist, but it was proven in court (National City Lines case). It may not exist in that state today, but an anti-transit lobbying effort from that quarter is certainly still around.

    Others would also say there isn’t a generational bias, either. Take my word for it, it’s there, and others have mentioned it as well, and it’s even been studied. Robert has said those studies have spooked the auto and auto insurance businesses. Do you think they want to see this thing built?

    Someone else sees a parallel between an “individual mandate” for health insurance and an “individual mandate” (“drive alone”) for transportation:

    http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2012/07/individual-mandates-for-transportation.html

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What do they have to do with it? They applied for HSR connectivity bond funds. Its not Gov. Brown who claimed they are related, its the local authorities who applied for the funds.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The bond measure is written in a way that the connectivity / local funds are completely separate from the HSR funds. There is obviously a question about whether this was a good idea, but the new attempts to tie them together are all Brown. This is hardball politics – there isn’t even a policy justification as most of the money is still for projects that have nothing to do with HSR or are even counterproductive.

    Joe Reply:

    Counterproductive to what?
    He is doing his job which is forcing individual interests to work together.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Counterproductive compared to not funding the far-worse-than-useless Central Subway (another outright PBQD fraud) and the far-worse-than-useless Caltrain CBOSS scam (systematic fraud on about ten different levels), for example.

    Hell, randomly give the money to homeless people on the street — at least there’s a chance that some of them are deserving and might do something useful with it: that would be far better for the world than gifting it to lying rent-seeking bid-rigging welfare queen contractors who will saddle the public with disasters that have hugely negative value with huge ongoing costs.

    VBobier Reply:

    Right Wing dribble… Pure Garbage, should be hauled off as such…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If the State Senate decides to postpone or kill the California HSR system, what is there for the connecting systems to connect to?

    Spokker Reply:

    People.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The purpose of that $900m is to connect people to the HSR system. If it was a $900m bond authorization to just spend on local transport, there was no need to include it in Prop1a, nor to specify that it was for projects supporting connectivity with the HSR system.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The purpose of that $900m was to buy off opposition from contractor mafiosi (and the local elected officials and agency staffers who do whatever their paid to do on their behalf) who wanted a guaranteed piece of the action and who had lucrative capital projects that were underfunded.

    Shovelling a tens or or couple hundred million at an agency allows it to shuffle other cash around and fund truly egregious pork-swilling contractor-profiting totally HSR-unrelated scams while back-filling their budget with Somebody Else’s Money (ie CHSRA’s, ie California taxpayers’)

    Practically none all of the “connecting transit” pork in 1A has anything to “connecting to the HSR system.” It’s about connecting corrupt mafia government contracting organizations with public cash.

    Exhibits 1 and 2: PBQD’s Central Subway in SF and PBQD’s San José Flea Market BART extension (which got reallocated hundreds of millions of BART railcar funds in the usual corrupt agency dance of shifting money around to ensure that the guys pulling the strings get what’s their due.)

    The $900m of “connecting” pork in Prop 1A was simply and wholly a scam to get state taxpayers to pay for a Christmas Tree set of far-worse-than-dubious local transit capital projects that the locals, state and federals were turning their noses up at.

    VBobier Reply:

    Right Wing dribble…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, a defeat for both tax initiatives would be very positive. It would help to bring Hugo Brown back to earth.

    VBobier Reply:

    And If Browns initiative passes? It will help the state of CA, cuts don’t help anyone, as Austerity is a failure… I like Browns idea of copying what Wyoming did(If I have the right state), the created a Bank of Wyoming to borrow from during recessions/depressions and to deposit extra money in good times, but then It would lend to CA at 0% interest as it would be Government owned, not private that costs taxpayers money.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Brilliant, that is exactly what Spain, Greece and Italy did. Have the banks buy the debt and it has worked great for them….let’s do that plan

    VBobier Reply:

    Spain’s banks loaned out money for Spains Housing Bubble HSR had nothing to do with their troubles, HSR in Italy also had nothing to do with Italys problems, Greece well I’m not sure they even have HSR, it’s an Apples to Orange to Grapes comparison here, nothing is even related to each other, outside of victims of the recession brought on by Wall Street & greed.

    Wyomings Bank charges no interest to the state of Wyoming since Banks can make money up out of thin air these days since most money is now electronic and so there is no inflation, that’s why 0% interest is good for the taxpayer, as there is no interest on money that is borrowed, so I fail to see why that’s a bad thing for the taxpayers, of course for the rich scofflaws who hate government this is something they would hate ass it would make them nothing. The US Government should also do this, instead of adding to the National debt @ 1.8% interest, then debts can shrink when times are good and eventually be paid off without raising taxes on anybody.

    VBobier Reply:

    Oh and on Spain, Greece and Italy, they don’t have control over monetary policy like the US does, Brussels in Belgium does, that’s the EU, so the comparison Yer trying to make does not work.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wow…your list of incorrect statements is so long for such a short post.

    Wyoming can’t print their own money…just like Greece, Italy, and Spain now that they are Euro. And they can’t make money out of air…they borrow it from the federal reserve at the current rate..you know, the rate that makes the news every time they change it…I think it is .25 or .5% right now…hence why everyone is complaining about the loose money policy and low interest rates.

    And the US can not borrow money at 0% although the rates they borrow at are historic lows and since they are below the rate of inflation they are essentially free

    As for the euro crisis….while it started for a variety of reasons….the current problem is that no one except the domestic banks will buy sovereign debt from Spain, Italy, and Greece. They then use that collateral to borrow money from the EU fed to then buy more debt. Suddenly someone asked if this loop was a good idea and everyone started to say no. So now their rates are 7% which is super high in the current rate environment (but ironically also historically low compared to say the 70’s where the rate was well over 10% in good credit countries). So in short…it is apples to apples…banks buying sovereign debt to only get more money from the sovereign in a bad long term call if the sovereign debt gets too high.

    And before you say it…the US could just print 14 trillion dollars and pay off the debt….devaluing the currency and causing massive inflation. When Argentina or Mexico does it it causes a minor ripple…if the US every did it it would take down the world economy and make the current recession look like a walk in the park

    For the record…I don’t think that is going to happen

    Alon Levy Reply:

    California used to get 79 cents in federal spending per dollar it paid in federal taxes. As of 2009 it’s up to 92 cents. Michigan used to get something like 90; by 2009, it was at $1.20. Florida went from about $1.00 to $1.20. Because the US is a country, it has huge transfers from rich to poor regions; the EU doesn’t. This is why Greece is in crisis and Florida isn’t.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Very true. That is why the fiscal union (otherwise known as the US dollar) works and when 1 state gets in trouble it does not spread.

    But my points above stand…especially that you don’t want to sell all your debt to domestic banks

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And before you say it…the US could just print 14 trillion dollars and pay off the debt….devaluing the currency and causing massive inflation.

    What does “paying off the debt” have to do with anything?

    The federal government creates money when they spend. The choice then is whether to leave that money in circulation, remove it via taxes, or remove it via selling treasury securities. Under depresed economic conditions, there is no particular need to remove that money from circulation.
    Additional purchasing power under the current depressed economic conditions will not create demand-pull inflation, since businesses will produce more goods and services in response to the increase in effective demand, so it will be more money chasing more goods.

    Certainly $14T in additional purchasing power all at once would be inflationary, but that giving a hypothetical “it will cause inflation” policy that would fill the current half trillion to trillion dollar gap between production and full employment 14 to 28 times over. Using a hypothetical that is so far above the recessionary gap is just a roundabout way of admitting that additional purchasing under the current depressed economic conditions will not create inflation, since the hypothetical involves first sufficient spending to eliminate the current depressed economic conditions and then, for some unspecified reason, continuing to create purchasing power long after the economy has reached full employment.

    States have to borrow money if they have a deficit, since they are not a money creating economic sovereign. That’s what has got Greece and Spain and Italy and Portugal and Ireland in trouble, and what is dragging Germany into recession as they trash the rest of the Eurozone economies that constitute a substantial part of the “export” markets.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wow Bruce….that is quite a position. If I read that right you are advocating just printing the money in bad times because the inflation/reduciton in dollar value will be small compared to what you gain. I would say it is a radical position, but you share that opinion with the current President.

    As I am sure you recall he advocated and oversaw a 750 billion package that purported to do just what you said. One problem…it did not work. Unemployment got markedly worse (remember the whole unemployment wont go above 8% statement…opps). GDP growth has been the worst in any recover ever. Housing market is still a mess. We added 5+% to the debt and got nothing for it.

    In addition the Fed continues to pump money into the economy with practically 0% loans and QE (QE2, QE3?, etc.) and it is still annemic.

    In short, I understand the theory, but in practice it did not work. A tax cut would have worked better (and has worked better in the past). Politically unpopular with the Dems…but historically much more effective then counting on the “multiplier” which works in theory and not in practice.

    P.S. Plenty of countires (Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, etc.) have printed money to pay debts and goose the economies in the past and they have all caused massive devaluation of the currency and inflation. Which results in huge pain for the people of the country (because now your savings are worth a faction of what they used ot be worth). It is perhaps the worst economic “medicine” that a country can impose on the populace as a whole…much worst than taxes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Countries that did more stimulus recovered better; countries that did more austerity did worse. See e.g. here.

    And Argentina’s per capita GDP growth going back to 2000 – i.e. just before the crisis – has actually been very high. Devaluation of the currency is exactly what’s needed when you’ve had an inflow of capital that’s currently reversing itself. That’s not the US’s situation, but it is the situation of the European periphery, and so far the only country that’s done any of that, Iceland, is the one that’s recovered best. Funny how that works.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A tax cut would have worked better (and has worked better in the past).

    You have a cite for that?

    VBobier Reply:

    Why print money to do this? Printing Money and minting coins is nearly obsolete today. Banks generate money inside their computers as a matter of practice as the economy is no longer a cash economy, making more money available electronically does not make inflation, as what’s a few more digits? the US Government by merging the Treasury & the FED could do this at ZERO Interest saving Government and the taxpayer uncountable sums…

    It is time, to transform the FED into a true Central Bank like in Canada and/or Europe, then the US Government could borrow what is needed to maintain spending or to increase spending during a recession or a depression & at 0% interest to the taxpayer without fears of making inflation happen since Banks today in other countries can in their computers create money out of nothing. We would need a constitutional amendment to authorize one as when George Washington was the 1st President of the US under the US Constitution, He signed the First Bank of the US into law(a private Bank), My idea is a Government Owned Central Bank as those elsewhere in the world are, like in Canada or Europe.

    Essentially what this would do is merge the US Treasury Department with the FED, then the US could pay down the Debt & retire any deficit with ease and at almost or no cost to the Taxpayer. The US Treasury Department has the power to create money in the Bureau of Printing & Engraving where money is printed/minted, the FED has Monetary Policy & such.

    Here’s the links for any reading:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Bank_of_the_United_States
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bank_of_the_United_States
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_bank_of_the_united_states (FED, Privately Owned, Government Supervised)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_the_Treasury
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Engraving_and_Printing

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Alon

    Argentina did come back, it was a sucess. If you ignore the runaway inflation, riots, and economic collapse from 1999-2001. I choose not to ignore that. Here is the wiki link…I like the section on riots and inflation. 10.4% inflation in 1 month is very impressive on any scale.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_economic_crisis_(1999%E2%80%932002)

    Adirondacker12800

    here you go, it is a WSJ article so i left the google reference so you can get through the paywall

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CGMQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB122757149157954723.html&ei=FnTzT7abC4uk8ASop9DdBg&usg=AFQjCNFbCMJ2huWC4WwhvxoHgHnGQS1FUQ&sig2=NLTo-ymbMjVHw5IC9hD5sw

    VBobier

    When I say print money, obviously it is actually mostly computer funds…so point taken. I still disagree with your point, there is no free lunch. If you “create” a bunch of dollars it causes inflation and devalues the currency. The more you create, the worse the problem. You can’t just “create” money with no side effect. If that was true then Argentina et al would not have gone into riots. (see wiki link above)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Argentina actually grew faster per capita in the 2000s than in the 1990s. Even if you go back to 1999 and not 2000.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/argentina/gdp_per_capita_%28ppp%29.html

    Argentina needs to develop. Inflation coming from a one-time devaluation is not a big deal. The alternative is deflation over many years, which means tons of unemployed people. There are tradeoffs; do you really think that Argentina, which over the last 10-12 years has been Latin America’s fastest-growing economy, made the wrong choice?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    What Argentina needs, clearly, is more of the last round of stuff that was so very good for capitalism: a US-lead coup, political assassinations, a dictatorship, and death squads.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    here you go, it is a WSJ article so i left the google reference so you can get through the paywall

    The editorials in the WSJ, a definite source of unbiased opinion.

    Hmmm giving people a rebate on their income taxes, which is effectively a tax cut, didn’t do anything. Hmmm.
    Spending a few hundred billion a year in extra defense spending doesn’t have any stimulus effect at all and doesn’t count as “debt” or “deficit increase” either does it?

    Put Republicans in charge and they spend like drunken sailors and cut taxes at the same time. It’s what got us to where we are today. booming economy, low inflation and low unemployment.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Alon

    These last 10 years of growth had a price. You keep ignoring the 3 years of pure hell they had to pay up front. Wiping out the countries wealth and creating a depression (not to mention the riots and such) does set you up quite well for growth in the future. Did they do the right thing? Only if they break the cycle of a lot of Latin American countries and don’t do it every 10-15 years. Brazil broke the cycle…we will see if Argentina does it.

    Oh and yes yes…the US is the great evil and every government that fails was due to US intervention (or non-intervention). We are evil…that is until you need us because a hurricane just ashes your country then we need your aircraft carrier to pull up and bail us out. Whatever

    Adirondackter

    I didn’t realize that only peer reviewed articles count. Your turn now….tell me how wildly successful the Obama Stimulous was. Because even Obama has admitted it didn’t work as well as they thought. The Bush recovery worked….the Obama recovery has not…just a fact

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Two words: Clinton Adminstration. Relatively low taxes, relatively low unemployment, declining poverty rates, low interest rates. Serious discussions about what would happen to the markets when the Federal Debt disappears in 2011 or 2012. It was awful.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, you’re still punting on the fact that Argentina’s done well even counting the crisis years. It’s actually grown better than Brazil. Yeah, it’s done even better if you start from 2002. Duh. But its peak-to-peak growth is still quite good. It’s not Chinese growth, but it’s still a marked improvement; in the 20 (or for that matter 100) years before the crisis, Argentina’s GDP per capita grew more slowly than the US’s. Turns out having people in charge who don’t think “Weimar Germany survived the Great Depression, but did not survive hyperinflation” (more or less direct quote from Fareed Zakaria) and don’t listen to everything the Very Serious People say works.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I agree the Clinton Presidency was not bad….but he had a GOP congress (remember contract with America?). Helped him pass welfare reform which the liberals predicted as disaster and turned out to work great. I am glad we can agree on something

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much of it did they enact? Shutting down the government is very very effective

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_of_1995_and_1996

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    all of it…because you can’t pass a law without congress. Clinton did not just “will” the laws into effect

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Wow Bruce….that is quite a position. If I read that right you are advocating just printing the money in bad times because the inflation/reduciton in dollar value will be small compared to what you gain. I would say it is a radical position, but you share that opinion with the current President.

    Why would you say it is a radical position? And why would you say that the President shares it? He’s the leader of the Hedge Fund wing of the Democratic party, so of course he does not follow anything so strongly to the benefit of the productive sector of the economy and so much to the detriment of the FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sector) sector that recently threatened to burn the economy down. He supports deficit hysteria, as do the Republicans, though of course its a more calm, cool, collected version of deficit hysteria.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why print money to do this? Printing Money and minting coins is nearly obsolete today.

    When people say “printing money” they are either (1) ignorant about how things work or (2) using it as a shorthand for the accounting relationship where the Treasury issues securities and the Fed ends up holding those securities, which creates reserves in the system. The reserves can be withdrawn to circulate as cash, but most are leveraged by banks into substantially more total money supply.

    The actual printing of money is tap issue: it is done by the Treasury in response to the need of the Federal Reserve Bank to meet the cash needs of member banks that have valid reserves on account. The value of cash to a commercial bank is that a member bank can deposit it with its Federal Reserve bank and be credited with reserves as a result.

    Whether or not the Treasury can issue securities to the Fed directly and be credited directly with reserves, or whether the Treasury has to sell the securities at auction, and then the Fed buys the securities to defend its target cash rate, is not a major difference, though of course the finance sector has a strong preference for the latter, which generates transaction incomes. The ability to acquire those treasury securities directly requires nothing more than an act of Congress: indeed, during WWII, the Fed did just that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can buy Treasuries from the Treasury.

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

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/

    Spokker Reply:

    California couldn’t even pass a tobacco tax, even though it was thought back in March that it would pass at least 60-40.

    Even with Brown’s tax increase there are massive cuts. Healthy families gone, which even Republicans thought was a bad idea. The same March poll showed healthy support for the plan, but anything can change. The governor is so arrogant that his budget assumes it will pass.

    If an anti-tax revolt sweeps over California, it wouldn’t be the first time. I think that if the HSR money is allocated by the legislature, Brown’s tax plan faces an even more uphill battle. Californians will raise taxes until the cows come home, but they will become skittish if they do not think the money is being spent properly.

    VBobier Reply:

    Money poured in, so it was hardly a fair fight, Big Tobacco bought enough ad space on TV to get their message across.

    Spokker Reply:

    Big tobacco will always spend money to fight such measures and tobacco taxes have passed before.

    Mike Reply:

    High-speed rail needs 21 votes in the state Senate to get the green light to start spending voter-approved bonds in a major way. So far, however, insiders say it’s falling short by at least six votes.

    This seems to be saying that there’s only 15 Yes votes (6 short of the needed 21), but I don’t believe that. There’s 25 Dems; there CAN’T be 10 of them who are prepared to vote No. It must be that Matier meant that there are 6 No votes out of 25 Dems. Which means 19 Yes votes. Which means one more Yes vote and we get to a 20-20 tie and Gavin gets to cast the tie-breaking vote. Though Steinberg probably wants to get to a solid 21 and not bring in the Lite Gov.

    Aside from Desaulnier, Lowenthal, and Simitian, who might these other 6 be?

    Tony d. Reply:

    I think you’re right.

    Donk Reply:

    Is there anyone who knows what is actually going on? If this is right, then everyone completely dropped the ball on their coverage of this.

    DavidM Reply:

    Correa is another one. Matier and Ross write a political gossip column, I wouldn’t assume their information is heavily researched.

    VBobier Reply:

    Here’s a whole bunch of CA state Senators offices in Sacramento, their all Dems, those that aren’t on here I’ve already emailed My opinion on HSR.

    (916) 651-4040 Vargas
    (916) 651-4034 Correa
    (916) 651-4028 Lieu
    (916) 651-4025 Wright
    (916) 651-4024 Hernandez
    (916) 651-4023 Pavley
    (916) 651-4022 Leon
    (916) 651-4021 Liu
    (916) 651-4020 Padilla
    (916) 651-4016 Rubio
    (916) 651-4010 Corbett
    (916) 651-4009 Hancock
    (916) 651-4005 Wolk
    (916) 651-4002 Evans

    BruceMcF Reply:

    This may well be a garbled repetition of the suggestion already in print that at least six Democratic Senators are not yet on board. That would put it two or more votes short, not six or more votes short.

    VBobier Reply:

    I’d go for the tie anyway, bring in Gavin, may as well have Him there.

  7. Spokker
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 00:01
    #7

    Ugh, my testicles got all twisted up today. Guess I’m for universal health care now. My ball sac has betrayed me.

  8. Spokker
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 00:01
    #8

    Brown’s budget does not bode well for the club scene. Th California Gurls cannot support his tax increase.

  9. John Nachtigall
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 07:50
    #9

    I was going to write how “stimulous” funds never give the economic kick that is predicted, but then something that Daniel wrote struck me. To quote the last sentence of the article

    “That vision remains, and contrary to what many are saying, the economic case for high-speed rail is actually more important than ever. Let’s start to realize that vision.”

    Except that is the problem. This project will not realize that vision.

    The original vision (which seems so long ago) was for a true EU or Japan style high speed train that connected all the major cities in CA. Dedicated tracks running trains at 220 mph yeilding operating times that were competative with air travel and superior to car travel. That vision included a state/federal/private partnership to fund the vision.

    So what is the current project?

    All cities…nope, not in the current plan
    Dedicated tracks….nope, not in the current plan
    Travel times….most likely less than promised
    Federal funding….nothing past the first 3.3 billion, and now that it has become political over the republicans dead bodies
    Private Money…..none promised or sought at the moment

    The problem here is not the tea party as is often demonized on this board, they have been consistent throught the whole project. No the biggest enemy to HSR are the “supporters”. In order to build the system they agreed to a series of compromises (blended approach, train routing, questionable use on money on commuter systems, etc.). Every step of the way each of those decision seemed like a reasonable compromise just to get it started…and that became the overiding logic.

    “If we can just get it started….”

    the federal money will come
    the state will see how useful it is and fund it
    private money will see it is profitable and buy in
    people will rise up and demand more

    So compromise became the watchword. All cities….not enough money….lets just do SF to LA and figure out the rest later. No dedicated tracks…no problem…just get it started. Travel times too slow….well the law technicalls says we only have to do it once…just get it started, we will worry about compliance after it is built. Using money on the “bookends”….not the original vision, but just get it started, we will find the money later.

    So now that the whole vision is compromised down to an improvement in commuter systems. Now that we risk losing what fed money we have because of a compromised vision. Now everyone is wondering why the plan is losing support. Because the supporters stopped being leaders and replaced that with compromise and politics.

    And the kicker, if this is “built” in 10 years what will you have….nothing beyond what you have today except for some better commuter lines and a new freight track in the CV. Will that inspire anyone….no it will not. If this compromised vision of HSR goes forward it will kill further HSR in the US because everyone will point to it as an example of how HSR could not in CA so it can’t work anywhere.

    I am not a supporter of HSR in general, but if you are a supporter of HSR…how can you support this current vision?

    J. Wong Reply:

    The current vision is to both start construction in the CV and upgrades at the bookends especially the Caltrain ROW up the Peninsula. That is what most supporters of HSR support. I can’t think of anyone who supports Simitan’s vision of construction at the bookends with no plan for further construction.

    jimsf Reply:

    constructing the high speed mainline down the valley and upgrading the bookends get us very close to a full network, with the next round of funding to complete the bakersfield to sylmar section, and the pacheco section. with 220 in the valley and 125 on the bookends the travel times will be correct.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The current vision is dedicated high speed tracks to all major cities, but *built a few at a time*.

    You know. Like every single HSR system ever built.

    So stop making up shit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, Tokaido opened in one phase.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Making up shit….not hardly

    The original plan included Sacramento, San Diego, Oakland, and Anaheim. Where are those cities in the current plan. No where. But set that aside…the senators don’t even want to link SF and LA.

    Don’t get mad at me for the failures of the supporters of HSR. If it makes you feel better I think Brown will round up the votes….if only to get the fed money. But it shows what a piss poor vision the current plan is that even the dems hesitate to vote for it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The current plan includes Sac, SD, Anaheim, etc., when there’s money for them. Because there’s not even enough money for LA-SF, they’re doing the subset of LA-SF that is the longest (and no, it’s not the most cost-effective; that’d be starting from LA and going as far north toward Bakersfield as there’s money for).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You’d have to include a uncertainty penalty on that partial segment for the substantial delay to the completion date, since there never was any ARRA or regular FRA budget money for a corridor with no independent utility, … since as far north toward Bakersfield “as there’s money for” along either the Tejon or Tehachapi pass would get partway there and stop.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    My opinions on this–we have a combination of factors at work. One is the mistakes made by CAHSRA, as discussed here, which largely seem to come from a combination of too much trust and authority given to a prime subcontractor, and to a perceived arrogance. We also have an anti-rail propaganda effort from the pro-car, pro-oil, pro-road crowd, we have a strong generational-cultural disagreement in this that is entirely FUD and shortsightedness, and we have what are, in my opinion, very poor leaders in the political field who do not really lead (persuade), but follow the way the wind blows, and at the same time are technically incompetent and don’t have the sense to listen to some who are (and I’ve had that experience, too).

    As to compromises, well, how many of those have been forced upon the CAHSRA and the project? We have FUD generated by year-of-expenditure estimating requirements, we have an initial operating segment in the middle of “nowhere” that is mandated by the Feds, and resulted partially because the shortsighted old fogies on the north end put up enough noise to prevent the work being done at that end that may well have been a better choice, we have other decisions based on the idea of getting something useful if the construction has to be held up because outside money may not be available (and a resulting “lowest common denominator” effect means Amtrak compatibility), and we have had all sorts of decisions and FUD on the prospect that the money will not be available (but that money is amply available for roads).

    While we’re at it, let’s also consider that lack of justifiable FUD about our oil dependency, which is driven by our current transportation arrangements.

    In short, to get anything at all means we have had to compromise, and the compromises did not come from us, but were forced upon us. I don’t think you could deny that and still be honest.

  10. Derek
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 09:19
    #10

    Who told you it won’t have dedicated tracks?

    The project won’t be open for private investment until FY2015. It’s in the business plan. You should read it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s called the blended approach for a reason…..because on the so called bookends the tracks are shared with regular rail…that is how they got the cost down from 98 mil to 68 mil. At least that is what I read in the Buisness plan.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But that’s only in urban areas where speeds would be limited anyway, and the track sharing is predominantly with commuter trains, which can (and on the Peninsula sort of kind of partially will) be modernized to be compatible with intercity trains on the same tracks.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So it is dedicated lines…except where it isn’t. That’s ok….just another compromise.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Great, then by this standard the TGV has no dedicated tracks either – it shares tracks in the last few kilometers into each urban stations (used to be 30 km until they opened the Interconnexion Est).

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The whole route between SF and San Jose is shared. We are not talking about sharing the track in a station…we are talking about 100% shared track between the 2nd and 3rd biggest cities in the whole route.

    Joey Reply:

    Separate infrastructure in low-speed areas is just an excuse to build more than is necessary, give no thought to transfers, and design schedules poorly.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not 100%. With all the overtake segments, it’s 67%.

    Besides, why does it matter that this is, ZOMG, a segment between two cities? On the contrary, it means there’s a slowdown at the end, slightly reducing the speed difference.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    It should be 100% shared in the corridor. (“The corridor” meaning the unavoidable shared section of track: Redwood City to San Francisco.)

    The limitless bullshit devised by PB and Caltrain is the worst of all possible worlds: separate track and separate stations for HS use only within a “shared” corridor, while HS completely fucks up everything for the more numerous and far more heavily used and more useful regional and local Caltrain services.

    If you’d wanted to devise the stupidest and most expensive and least useful and most intrusive scheme, you couldn’t possibly do worse than what they’re planning. They’re wrong — technically wrong, economically wrong, socially wrong, politically wrong — at every single step. Not a single correct decision has been made. Not one.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    separate track and separate stations for HS use only within a “shared” corridor,

    That makes them both more BART like and everybody knows that BART is the apex of railroad design.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It matters because it prevents it from being “high speed” Remember the objective…High Speed Rail. If you can only average 90 mph you are actually “moderate speed rail” because HSR has an actual definition. Even the lest stringent one is 110 mph which they still don’t hit.

    Question: Do you want to build high speed rail or moderate speed rail?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The system is not being built to connect one city in the Bay area to another and one city in the LA Basin to another ~ its being built to connect the different regions in the state to each other.

    If can only only average 90mph you are actually “moderate speed rail”

    The relevant binding criterion for the SF/SJ section to be declared completed is 30min maximum non-stop service speed. The 110mph tier, the “emerging HSR”, would normally be an average speed below 90mph, so the 30min SF-TBT to SJ will not be met until the grade separations to allow 125mph maximum speeds are made.

    It certainly can be operational as a 110mph corridor, which gets back to the blended SF-LA service being operational before it is completed, while the IOS and Bay to Basin both are planned to be completed before they are operational.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    To add to what Bruce said, the trains are still planned to go at 220 mph in the CV. No, they won’t go 220 everywhere. Nor should they. For one, when you’re boarding or alighting, they’re going at 0; once you accept that, sometimes it’s an acceptable tradeoff to reduce speed near station areas if it saves money.

    Also, I don’t think Bruce made it clear, but the 90/110 definitions are for top speed, not average speed. But with various blended slowdowns LA-SF is still easily 3:15 and this would be an average speed of 133 mph. Again, one segment can be slower, but that’s not surprising. The Shinkansen is slow between Tokyo and Yokohama, even on dedicated tracks; it doesn’t make it not HSR.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Bruce and Alon

    We can argue this forever, but I have a serious question. You both obviously are rational and strong supporters of HSR. Do you really support this. Ompromised vision of your dream? I understand there has to be some compromise in any big plan but really….they are taking your dream and ruining it. Do you really think this is the best you can do?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not only do I still support it, but also I supported a blended plan back in 2009, as a possible compromise with rising Peninsula NIMBYism regarding four-tracking. I can try to dig up comments from then and emails I wrote. For the purposes of starter service, the most important thing to do is to get from LA to SF, on one train, preferably with all construction HSR future-proof (that is, no long segments constructed to 110 mph diesel standards). This means doing it HSR part of the way and electrified legacy the other part, which has the added benefit of showcasing to passengers what the difference between high speed and low speed is, creating more political will to finish the system if the partially opened line is successful. This is what Bay to Basin entails. At the time, we still thought there was going to be money to do all of that now.

    VBobier Reply:

    So what? that’s the way It was done in France, HSR wasn’t hurt there, the only reason HSR in Japan is separate from other Passenger Rail is cause of the gauge between the rails, HSR is standard gauge, but in Japan standard is largely narrow gauge cause of the mountainous terrain in Japan.

  11. Donk
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 13:06
    #11

    Maybe if I write an op-ed in the Victorville Daily Press, that will be the straw that broke the camel’s back that will convince DeSaliner and Simitian to vote for HSR. All of these arguments on both sides have gotten stale. Nobody is gong to convince anyone of anything anymore. It’s all in the politicians hands now. Hopefully we voted for the right people.

    DavidM Reply:

    In Schwarzenegger’s day, we got backroom deals from 5 people. Now there is a little more transparency and a lot more kabuki.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’ve come to believe in elected dictatorships; we wouldn’t be screwing around with this crap if we actually had one.

    Hell, without the 2/3 crap the bonds would already have passed the State Senate in CA.

    The dictator should not be allowed to are to repeal civil rights and civil liberties regulations, and should not be allowed to change or restrict elections or intimidate voters (so there needs to be some kind of independent Election Protection Authority with its own army).

    But apart from that, I think people should elect a Governor or President and that person should just *run things* until ousted by recall or election. Why? First, *because most voters act like this is how it works already*. And second, because that way when people elect someone really terrible, they will actually *see* the consequences of doing so, rather than watch the terrible choices be blockaded by multiple veto points; for instance, people are way too blase about electing Republicans because the Republicans have been stymied in their lunatic agenda. When a disaster gets elected, people need to *see* the disaster.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Elected dictatorships? Like, what, Britain? No, thanks. I’d rather not use a system that lets right-wing assholes win with 40% of the vote just because the center-left splits its vote between two parties, twice in 30 years.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You mean like in 2000 and 1912?

    The proper solution, of course, is to get rid of the election bit. Put Windsor or Bourbon in charge.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In 2000 it was close. I’m thinking more Britain 1983, Canada 2011, and possibly even Britain 2010 (the LibDems might have gone with the Tories anyway, but a Lab-Lib coalition would’ve been a solid alternative).

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is a place that does this already….it is called Illinois….the dems have been running it for years despite the corruption. It is starting to catch up to them however.

    VBobier Reply:

    I should call My friend in Victorville, He owns a TV station, He can reach more people than a mere paper…

  12. DanielSong39
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 16:37
    #12

    If they tried building a true high speed line in the areas that were likely to get the highest usage (e.g. Union Station -> Anaheim -> Irvine -> Oceanside -> San Diego, following the Pacific Surfliner route), I think I would be more inclined to support the project. Then move on to Gilroy -> San Jose -> San Francisco. If those two lines are successful I think you’ll get more people to buy into the project.

    Central Valley lines will not get nearly as much usage and will drive people away from supporting high speed rail.

    Spokker Reply:

    If they had gone with the LOSSAN route, the train would eventually fall into the ocean. I exaggerate, but unstable bluffs make construction on this route difficult, or so goes the official lore.

    Also, I’m fine with battling NIMBYs when the project is good and feasible, but stringing up catenary wire in places like San Clemente is a non-starter. If you think Peninsula NIMBYs are bad…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Tunneling away from the bluffs is already planned.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Fresno begs to differ. Central Valley lines will get usage.

    The Pacific Surfliner route is already being upgraded but *cannot* be made true high speed without spectacular amounts of money to tunnel four tracks with underground stations for most of the length, or to demolish extremely expensive houses next to the beach in very rich cities. This is why the proposal is for the LA-San Diego high-speed tracks to run inland. Does nobody read the reports? They’re on the CHSRA website

    DanielSong39 Reply:

    Central Valley may get some usage but not nearly as much as Los Angeles to San Diego via Irvine and Oceanside.

    The whole premise of this article is that you have to spend money in order to achieve economic development. This route is guaranteed to get high usage and will achieve the highest level of economic development. And there is no need to fall into the ocean or intentionally crash into houses – just find a feasible way to get from LA to San Diego while going through Anaheim, Irvine, and Oceanside. There has to be more than way to connect the dots. There are already several studies that are exploring possible routes.

    If this proves too challenging with current technology then build Palmdale to Los Angeles or Gilroy to San Jose first. All of these are heavily used commuter lines and should attract riders immediately.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Gilroy to SJ is not a heavily used commuter line at all, due to the US 101 widening.

    The issue with what you’re saying about LOSSAN is that routes should be compatible with future intercity construction. So in LA’s case, this means building up to Palmdale (or, better yet, toward Bakersfield), which de facto means building almost all the way because of high construction costs. Since they need to electrify and connect to LAUS to get anything they should do it now – might as well run commuter trains on it until HSR opens – but that’s a rounding error compared to the cost of all the tunnels.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Gilroy to SJ was not a heavily used commuter line at all, even without the US 101 widening.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You only need quad tracks with underground stations if you want to do the idiotic “Fully separated as fast as possible” plan that the Authority was pushing. 125mph viaduct and other upgrades from LA to Anaheim as currently planned, fix the occasional curve, electrify, tunnel San Juan, San Clemente, Del Mar, and Miramar as currently required anyhow and that will put you in 90 minute LA-SD territory.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Meh, going through Ontario gets San Diegans to Ontario faster. Someday gets them to Palm Springs faster. Means they leverage LA-Riverside for LA-Palm Springs and someday LA-Phoenix. Someday far far in the future it means the people in San Diego who want to go to Las Vegas or Bakersfield and points north can use the tunnels under the Cajon Pass instead of detouring through LA.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    LA and OC are far more important destinations however.

  13. Michael Mahoney
    Jul 2nd, 2012 at 17:29
    #13

    This plan cannibalizes the HSR money and uses the funds for projects — some of them worthwhile, some of them silly — that have nothing to do with HSR, with the possible exception of Caltrain electrification. And Sir Robert is galloping back and forth, waving his lance, ready to lead the troops into battle to support this. And all the troops are falling into line. You guys never fail to amaze me.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA County is cannibalizing HSR money and using it for fund a BART to Palmdale.

    Tony D. Reply:

    I don’t agree with all of your comments, but I’ll give you props for one thing: you sure are funny!

    Nathanael Reply:

    This plan uses most of the HSR money for actual HSR in the Central Valley and throws a minority of it as political favors to win support. This happens — what’s your problem with that? If there weren’t problematic HSR-deniers in various districts, the plan would likely put all the money into HSR.

    Tony D. Reply:

    You take a close second at providing us with humor…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What are you talking about? Robert opposed the Plan B idea to redistribute money to the NEC the LA Basin and the Bay Area.

    jonathan Reply:

    You crossed out the wrodng option. The Bay Area State Senators may be able to fool themselves that they can direct the money elswhere than the US DOT stipulated; but they haven’t fooled anyone else.
    TRy to redirect the Federal money to SF and LA, and the Feds *will* take it away. Leaving us with no Prop 1A expenditures at all, as there’s no matching funds, as required by Prop 1A.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep, the DOT money still belongs to the DOT, they have strings attached and can pull the money back anytime CA goes in Beach of what is essentially a Contract. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    VBobier Reply:

    That should be: Breach of what is essentially a Contract.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, I know. (Check what the latest post on my blog is.)

    My general practice with strikethroughs is to cross out the cynical and probably correct option and leave in the official, euphemistic one.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Are you referring to the $900m in “connectivity” funds, allocated by formula to various passenger rail operations across the state?

    BART really wants to use that connectivity money to buy new railcars, which is only related to HSR connectivity in the vaguest of ways ~ that is, many of the cars will occasionally run more or less in the vicinity of a corridor used by the HSR services.

    So if BART really is as all-powerful as syntho-mouse says, we will see it in operation sometime this week.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART is indeed very powerful but it will take its marching orders from MTC, which has always taken care of it very faithfully and handsomely.

    Ring the Bay is still a longshot but an hsr crapout is also still possible.

    Meantime Plan B looks ok to me. You guys keep worrying about big oil and the highway lobby but I think the Tejon Ranch Co. is the CHSRA’s biggest and most powerful enemy. Consider how smart was the Southern Pacific management in the mid-sixties. Unlike everybody else they recognized how enormously politically powerful BART was destined to become and the SP exercised the nuclear option thru their shills at Bechtel – broad gauge. It certainly kept BART away from any serious appropriation of SP trackage.

    Similarly the Tejon Ranch Co. knows hsr will eventually prevail and it will come after the Chandlers property with eminent domain. If they can kill it now it will be dead for at least another decade. More time to erect lots of physical barriers at Lebec. Remember the low-income high-rise housing block LA erected right at the mouth of the PE Hollywood Hills Tunnel? Sheer perverse genius and so totally LA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m glad you think Plan B – faster service between New York City and Washington DC is a good thing for California. It’s means your elected representatives can spend more time in Manhattan fund raising.

  14. Paul B
    Jul 5th, 2012 at 12:34
    #14

    enough already with the Tea Party BS. If Alan Lowenthal is a “Tea Party Democrat,” then Jerry Brown is Pete Wilson, or George Dukemejian.

    Lowenthal’s record on labor issues and as a real progressive is far more credible than Gov. Brown or 2/3 of the Democrats in the state legislature. He has voiced legitimate criticism of the HSRA and the current plan. That doesn’t make him a right winger by any stretch of the imagination.

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