Jerry Brown Signs Law to Encourage HSR Cars to be Made in California

Sep 27th, 2012 | Posted by

Earlier this week Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 16, a bill by Fresno Assemblymember Henry Perea to encourage high speed train cars to be made in California.

Siemens Transportation Systems from Google Earth

“Simply put, these bills make it easier for people to do business in California,” Gov. Brown said in a news release.

Authored by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, Assembly Bill 16 sets a policy for the High-Speed Rail Authority to encourage the purchasing of rail cars and equipment that are manufactured in California for the state’s planned high-speed rail system.

Sacramento-based Siemens Rail Systems hopes to build the nation’s first high-speed rail cars in Sacramento.

“Siemens has seen first-hand the benefits of high speed rail for communities around the globe and is pleased that California is taking the lead in the United States,” Siemens spokesman Michael Krampe wrote in reaction to the signing of AB 16. “We stand ready to provide the best trains in the world for California once the project enters into the rolling stock procurement phase. Siemens will also work to assist the project with its offerings on infrastructure (signaling, electrification, building technologies, etc.) as the different phases of development deem appropriate.”

Siemens is obviously well positioned to land this business, given that they have the Sacramento facility, have bought land next door to allow expansion of the facility in order to make the HSR cars, and have experience around the world making these vehicles.

But they’re not the only ones in the hunt. Alstom has a facility at Mare Island that conducts Amtrak maintenance, but could easily be reconfigured or expanded to handle HSR production.

Other companies such as Hitachi, Kawasaki, Kinki Sharyo, and Hyundai that have built high speed trainsets could presumably build a California assembly plant without much trouble. For example, Kinki Sharyo has an assembly plant in Washington State to supply light rail vehicles to Sound Transit. With plenty of affordable industrial land in the Central Valley it would not be difficult for them to set up operations there.

Still, Siemens and Alstom are two of the global leaders in HSR manufacturing, and the fact that both already have facilities in California gives them a head start in competing to build HSR trainsets in the state. No matter who gets the contract, it may be California workers who win. And that’s as it should be.

  1. Brandon from San Diego
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 07:27
    #1

    Good for Siemens.

    However, at the end of the day, if a manufacturer is required to build cars in California, this will drive-up the cost. Any new manufacturer would be required to build a facility here. That creates new up-front costs. Reduced transport costs to deliver vehicles will provide a marginal savings.

    Further, it will take additional time to build a facility here for any other manufacturer. Imagine, 1-year for design, 1.5 years for construction, and another 6 months to get facility up and running. Worst case scenario is that it will take a new manufacturer 3 more years before they begin manufacturing cars.

    Siemens would appear to have the advantage because they already have a footprint in Sacramento; but at end of day, process doesn’t deliver cheaper cars, or, guarantee timely delivery.

    TomW Reply:

    I agree – but the good news is that most of the extra expenditure will end up in the Californian economy. If they have to build a new plant, they mostly employ local people and companies.

    Car design and facility construction can take place largely simultaneously. Siemens has built enough train types to know how much of its facility requirements are invariable (most, probably).

    Joey Reply:

    But, if you let the cars be built elsewhere, could the money that would otherwise have got into assuring that they were built here be put into the economy in more effective ways?

    jimsf Reply:

    No. If a company builds factory here, local people get employed to build it, then local people get hired to build the cars, then once here, the factory could continue employing californians to build high speed rail cars for other states etc, a sort of rail version of boeing for california. ( please try to control all the boeing lrv comments everyone thats not what Im talking about here)

    The state doesnt put up any money to get all these construction and manufucaturing jobs up front.

    The state might pay a higher cost per car in the end but the jobs, and tax revenue will make it worth it. We get jobs up front when we need them, and pay for the cars when the economy is doing well later on.

    jimsf Reply:

    Other wise we get nothing up front. And the savings that come later from car cost just evaporate into inflation or get eaten up by other stuff.

    Ask the people in the valley if theyd like a good paying manufacturing job.

    Joey Reply:

    Railcar construction isn’t the only thing that creates a good paying manufacturing job.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSCED6.pdf

    A new or expanding industry can have economic impacts beyond the jobs and income generated by the original project. Often community leaders do not have the time or expertise to obtain and decipher complex economic data to evaluate the benefits and costs of using tax dollars to encourage industry to locate or expand. A multiplier is a single number which summarizes the total economic benefits resulting from a change in the local economy.

    Using the average multiplier for manufacturing, which is 2.0, would overestimate the impact of the canned fruit and vegetable industry and under­ estimate the impact in the poultry processing industry. Using an industry specific multiplier provides more accurate estimates of economic impacts.

    I bet manufacturing HSR cars has an economic multiplier greater than poultry processing which is a multiplier of 2.0.

    Joey Reply:

    You bet based on what? A lot of the parts (and the raw materials used to create them) are going to be sourced elsewhere regardless of what requirements are put in place.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This is not a jibs program, this is a transport project. They are under an obligation to spend the least possible to build the network, not spread pork around under the mistaken assumption that there is some multiplier to dollars spent

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why should the rest of the country care if Federal tax dollars are spent in California or another state?

    VBobier Reply:

    Repugs don’t like money spent in Blue states I think, nor do they like any ideas that come from overseas…

    VBobier Reply:

    Except Austerity, among other negative ideas, unemployment they don’t mind and paying people properly, to them it means paying as little as possible and hiring as few people as possible.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Also, it should be emphasized that there is no level playing field. This is the way the game is played all over the world. This is the way France plays it. This is the way Japan and China play it. Same for Brazil and Spain. If we don’t have an industrial policy, we won’t have industry. Oops! Maybe that’s why we don’t have industry.

    The only difference is that the US is happy if foreign companies merely set up assembly plants here, and pay Americans to bolt things together. Most countries would want their own companies designing and building their systems, and maintaining their own technological capabilities.

    joe Reply:

    Brandon

    Complete the analysis and be specific.

    1) The US does not manufacture HSR cars so there isn’t an established industry in the US that manufactures HSR.

    2) You look at cost of purchase only and ignore the direct benefit and indirect economic benefits of having the facility in CA. What’s the tax income and benefit of getting people off unemployment? The multiplier for the facility is > 2.0.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is no multiplier. Stop spreading misconceptions. If there was a multiplier then economies with high unemployment and unemployment insurance would be growing…they are not. The government can’t spend $1 and get back $2.

    joe Reply:

    Grow a brain.

    Derek Reply:

    What’s the tax income and benefit of getting people off unemployment?

    How does having the HSR cars manufactured in California create more employment than having them manufactured out of state?

    joe Reply:

    China is out of State. Why don’t you understand the difference between a job in the US vs China or CA vs AL?

    Authored by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, Assembly Bill 16 sets a policy for the High-Speed Rail Authority to encourage the purchasing of rail cars and equipment that are manufactured in California for the state’s planned high-speed rail system.
    https://www.ftb.ca.gov/

    Derek Reply:

    I see. Californians are better than the Chinese and more worthy of jobs. U! S! A!

    joe Reply:

    I’m not a Martian. I’m a taxpaying Californian. My preference is have my tax dollars help provide jobs and build skill in CA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My preference is for all of the Americans who say these things to swap life history with Afghanis, Yemenis, and other residents of countries ravaged by US foreign policy.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    I don’t intent to do any analysis for you. The implication of requiring a manufacturing facility to be constructed in California for CAHSRA will mean higher upfront costs for them, and,that will certainly be passed on to the State and taxpayers. Yes, good for California that more of our money will remain in the State versus some place like else in the USA. That truly is good, but, let’s recognize that that comes at an added costs to us.

    And, let us also recognize that the turn-around time for delivering the first vehicles will take a bit longer because it takes up to 3 years to get a new manufacturing facility up and running.

    But, maybe there is a provision in the State legislation that enables a manufacturer to leverage some outside facilities to get the initial cars delivered in a timely manner.

    By the way, another car manufacturer may build a plant in California and Siemens may lose some of its advantage. Metro in LA is buying more cars for its systems and they might have language in their contract that brings a car manufacturer to California too. I believe A Japanese company won that contract not too long ago. Wasn’t it written about here?

    swing hanger Reply:

    re. the LA Metro contract, it was Kinki Sharyo.
    http://www.kinkisharyo.co.jp/eng/e_news/e_news120829.htm

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Sweet

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    That’s fine – cost is just one of the factors in building a good rail system that helps boost the economy, and it shouldn’t be the most important or the deciding factor.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Cost is not the most important factor? Is this a jobs program? Have we gone back in time to the Tennessee valley authority? Now you know why people don’t want to give you 70 billion dollars. Cost is the only factor other than quality of work and safety

    joe Reply:

    No cost is not the most important factor.
    CA would produce more total wealth for the State and taxpayers and at less economic cost when buying in state produced product. No other US State makes HSR trains. There is no US based economic center for HSR manufacturing – yet.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    IT IS NOT A JOBS PROJECT. It is a transportation project. The intent is not to “create wealth” for the state of California, the intent is to build a build HSR between cities. This should be done in the highest quality, safest, LEAST EXPENSIVE way possible because these are tax dollars.

    jimsf Reply:

    WRONG again. It is an investment. It is exactly designed to help our economy now and into the future. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE INVESTMENT. YES its transport, but why… because it is MOBILITY – moving people, moving products, moving water, moving information, etc etc that keeps our economy going. Its not transport just so that people can ride back and forth for no good reason. Its transport so that people – locals and tourists, can get around and spend money in the process. It will make things easier for travelers, thereby making it easier to do business as well.

    The whole point of investment, in railroads, in highways, in airports, in public transit, in water projects, like the tva and cetnral valley project, even the nation park system, is to create a dynamic society. Other we can all just sit here, grow gardens in the back yard and hand pump water from a well and be fat and happy.
    It most certainly is a jobs project in every way.

    like the guy said up there, grow a brain.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Tea Party types stay at home. If they were to leave they might rub elbows with one of “those” people however you want to define “those”. Much easier to stay at home and when you do have to go out,. use the car.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    nope, the point of government investment is to provide societal goods that can not be supported by private enterprise. They have an obligation to spend the least amount possible for a safe and quality product…not spend more for something that has less safety and quality. That is just crazy.

    And I have a brain, I am not letting my emotions override my common sense about making a huge capital investment in a plant that has never made what I am intending to buy.

    joe Reply:

    1. Tax expenditures that create jobs in CA and take people off unemployment and paychecks that allow them to buy goods and services produce tax revenue and cost savings. Responsible government measures the net impact and net cost.

    2 .You made up the safety argument out of whole cloth and accuse CA workers of being inferior and unable to make quality products. Plain prejudice and contempt.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. If this was a jobs project then your argument would be 100% correct…it is not so you are wrong. The point is to build a transportation system in the safest, most efficient, least expensive way possible.

    2. It is a well known and accepted FACT that new plants have startup issues. There is no way a plant that has created 0 HSR trains and cars can produce them with the same quality at the same price as a plant that is staffed with workers with experience and history. It is not prejudice against CA workers, it is common sense that you don’t buy more expensive capital equipment from a less qualified vendor.

    I thought you wanted this project to succeed? If it goes over budget it might not get all the money it needs to finish and if it does finish and there are safety and quality issues with the rolling stock it will be a failure also. If you want future HSR in the US then you better pull your head out and root for the lowest cost option that leads to quality and efficient systems.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    I’d agree that lowest cost is not the only factor. How about qualifications and proven track record for delivering a product.

  2. Peter
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 07:30
    #2

    Under Buy America rules, they have no say over where the winning bidder constructs the trains if they use federal funding to purchase the trains. This recently came up with BART’s new cars, where people were all upset that the trains weren’t being built in the Bay Area, let alone California.

    Also, we’re what, at least 10 years away from actually purchasing any HSR rolling stock.

    This is obviously an election year stunt, illegal under federal law, and completely irrelevant to the HSR discussion.

    joe Reply:

    Look, the law helps. A train manufacturer should consider setting up facilities in CA if they want CA business with CA taxpayer money. State funds belong to the State and it would be stupid to have a bidding war over tax cuts for train manufacturers.

    Al or MS could lure a company with tax exemptions and CA would be forced to pay a company to setup here.

    Recall our State has a multi-billion dollar fund to conduct stem cell research with facilities NOT built with any fed money. This basically encouraged researchers to setup here and not worry about another federal law that would shut them down eelsewhere.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not all a race to the bottom. Alstom has a plant in Upstate New York, and Kawasaki has one in Nebraska. What reason do they have to open a new plant in California?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So that when Nebraska declares war on California there won’t be a shortage of trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I want to say it’s preparations for Real America’s war on Unreal America, but I’m not sure which side Hornell counts as. Help?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hornell is a wide spot on a back road so it doesn’t really matter one way or the other.

    VBobier Reply:

    I’d rather stick with Farmer John Myself…

    joe Reply:

    Competitors want to be the first manufacturer to build US HSR cars for the first US HSR system. I see that as a fantastic incentive to establish a facility in CA.

    If NE or NY want that capability they should start building a HSR system like CA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why do trains have to be manufactured in the same legal jurisdiction they run in, anyway? In what way is this different from demanding that everyone use cellphones running operating systems that were developed in-state, surf the web using social media that was developed in-state, and run software that was developed in-state?

    joe Reply:

    Why do trains have to be manufactured in the same legal jurisdiction they run in, anyway?

    Because the people who pay the taxes to buy these trains and build the first true HSR public infrastructure also want to build HSr trains and help their fellow citizens get off unemployment and working again.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay. I move that Silicon Valley stop exporting software and technology and let all regions of the world buy software written by people they pay tax dollars (or yuan, or riyals, or pesos, or rubles) to.

    It would certainly help reduce housing prices in the Bay Area.

    joe Reply:

    I move that you try some consistency. CA is not demanding others stop competing, we ask that product made in CA have some consideration when we spend our tax dollars.

    And did you not think the rest of the world has been and still is competing with the SV?
    Or that US manufacturers havn’t setup facilities in other countries to build and sell product locally?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Individual companies all over the world are competing. Local governments are sometimes being stupid and subsidize this, to no avail. What is not happening is that countries ban the use of American software imports, with the exception of China, which is banning Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others partly as a sop to local corporations like Baidu and partly as censorship. And as I recall, the American response to China’s censorship is not “I understand that they want to help their own companies grow” but “China has no freedom.”

    Protectionism is the opposite of competing. It’s an admission that you can’t compete and that your local corporations and transplant factories are so important (i.e. they pay enough bribes) they need rules banning competition from foreign imports.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Most of the money will be Federal dollars so even under your plan they could be built anywhere in the US and meet the “people who pay taxes” standard. Which is the wrong standard anyway because they should be built to the highest quality, safest, cheapest way possible. Not in CA just so we can wave the flag

    Peter Reply:

    Agreed.

    joe Reply:

    I’m glad you think HSR will mostly be built with Federal dollars. No more HSR-makes-the-State-go-bankrupt bullshit. Phew. We’re making progress.

    Joey Reply:

    Well it’s not like we’re getting any more state money.

    joe Reply:

    We don’t need it apparently.

    The cost to CA taxpayer is nearly 1/10 since the project’s mostly federal.

    The taxes workers and corporations pay while constructing this project will probably recover most of the CA share of cost. The added tax revenues of economic stimulus, and removing people off social services and into jobs while constructing the project could be 1/10 of the expenses.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    too bad that “1/10th” you are talking about is still too much for the CA budget…especially when we have to take money out of the general fund to pay the bonds and prop 30 goes down in flames in 5 weeks. Double Ouch!!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Northeast has been trying to build HSR for almost 50 years. It rarely get past the planning statge when the yokels from places like California pull the funding. When it does get past the planning stages it doesn’t get fully funded.

    jonathan Reply:

    Ooh arr, pull the other one, it’s got bells on!
    I’ll grant you *40* years. That gets us back to the E60, a total flop. Even if it met its design speed of 120 Mi/hr, it would;ve only just qualified as HSR. Its actual top speed of 90 mi/hr was a flop.And the service top speed, 80 mi/hr (Amtrak limited them to 80 mi/hr because of derailments) .. they’re a fuck-up.

    And that was the _last_ US-designed modern (electric) passenger loco.
    You can try to claim the license-built Rc4 was HSR, or even the ALP-44s; but that isn’t even worth a laugh.
    .

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 was passed and signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in … wait for it… in 1965. We were going to be flitting back and forth between New York City and Washington DC in two hours or less when the second generation of Metroliners came out.
    The E60s were built because the yokels didn’t want to spend the money for Metroliner IIs. Some of the E60s had steam generators on them so the steam heated railroad cars the non-Metroliner passengers were using could have heat in the winter.

    joe Reply:

    The Northeast states should tax themselves and build this overdue rail system and not let depend on the yokels from California. BTW, our system is not fully funded but we have a plan and started first.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We had a plan in 1965 and only a few parts of it were done.
    Places like California have been sucking tax money out of the Northeast since the income tax was implemented. If the Northeast can tax themselves for HSR why shouldn’t California?

    joe Reply:

    1 .CA puts more into the Fed system than we remove as a State – you have beef with MT MS and AL and etc. Not CA.
    2. We are taxing ourselves. Prop 1A is paid with tax dollars out of the general fund.
    3. And recently a few hundred billion went to bail out firms that do finance on Wall St, NYC NY.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    4. the other 90% of the funds will come from the Feds (according to the plan)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    California puts more in now. How much was it putting in when the Federal government built Hooover dam? Or when I-5 was started and Californians were drinking down great big rivers of defense spending? If you want to play who puts in more the plant should be in New Jersey.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, recently California has been moving toward tax-neutrality due to the recession. In 2009, it got 92 cents in federal spending per federal tax dollar. The Northeast for the most part stayed where it was in the mid-2000s – New York is at ~77, Jersey is in the 50s, etc.

    joe Reply:

    We’re in an severe economic slump and still a net contributor. Still.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Rhode Island has the same unemployment as California, is overall a poorer state, and gets 77 cents on the dollar.

    TomW Reply:

    They may have no *say*, but nothing stops California including something in the next budget that provides tax incentives for in-state rail vehicle construction.

  3. joe
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 07:30
    #3

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/maker-japans-bullet-train-chosen-us-cars-17337603#.UGRgbbQdJy4

    The company that makes Japan’s bullet train cars has been selected to manufacture a fleet of next generation passenger cars for Amtrak rail corridors in the Midwest and California.

    Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and California are teaming up to buy the 130 bi-level cars for $352 million from a joint venture by Nippon-Sharyo and Sumitomo Corp. of America.

    Transportation authorities in Illinois and California said Wednesday that the cars will be produced at a plant operated by Nippon-Sharyo’s U.S. subsidiary in Rochelle, Ill., pending an audit to verify that the cars and components will be produced and assembled in the United States.

    Talgo, in Milwaukee, does not make bi-level cars.

    I don’t think they are going to move to IL – and would shut down that facility. 2/2011 the speculation was the compoany woul move – the Amtrak contract suggests otherwise. Re-capping the stupidity of redirecting funds (LAO’s suggestion).

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-10/business/ct-biz-0210-high-speed-rail-talgo-20110210_1_high-speed-rail-talgo-high-speed-passenger-trains

    In 2009, Wisconsin officials reached a $47 million purchase agreement with Talgo to assemble high-speed passenger trains at a Milwaukee plant. The trains were to be used on Amtrak’s Hiawatha route between Chicago and Milwaukee and on a planned extension to Madison, Wis., and continuing northwest to Minneapolis.

    But the November 2010 election swept Republican Scott Walker into the Wisconsin governor’s office. Walker campaigned to kill the previous governor’s plans for a 110-mph train, calling it a waste of taxpayer money and coming at a time when limited resources are urgently needed to repair roads and bridges.

    He asked federal officials for permission to redirect $810 million in economic stimulus grants awarded to Wisconsin’s high-speed rail program to the state’s highways instead.

    Jo Reply:

    Many countries have trains from various manufacturers: Spain for instance uses trains from Siemens, Talgo, CAF, and I think Alstom. They use 200+ mph trains on longer routes, and 125 – 150 mph trains on shorter routes. California, eventually at least, may do it this way. In other words, more than one manufacturer may eventually be involved.

  4. James in PA
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 07:32
    #4

    The aerial view of the Siemens plant looks like a computer. In this case the ‘data’ (workers) loads into the ‘RAM’ (parking lot) and the ‘program’ (factory production and management) runs during the day. Kind of a fractal.

    Woody Reply:

    :-)

  5. Peter
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 07:43
    #5

    Does the Siemens plant actually “build” the trains, or do they just assemble parts shipped in from elsewhere?

    Mike Reply:

    It’s difficult to draw a clear line between “build” vs “assemble” in contemporary manufacturing practices; look anywhere at the manufacturing process for any complex item and it’s going to rely on an extensive network of suppliers that feed partially finished components into a finishing, assembly, and testing process. So with that proviso, this Siemens plant isn’t just snapping together a “train kit” that comes in a box from overseas; they do as much on-site design, construction, complex assembly, finishing, and inspection and testing as you’d find in a comparable Siemens factory in Germany. Which puts it in a totally different class from the Alstom “plant” in Vallejo, which is basically just a barn with a few dozen workers and their tools.

    But as for AB 16, read the text. It’s a joke and won’t do anything other than to let Henry Perea trumpet his “leadership” to “create” California “jobs.” One the one hand, it codifies the obvious: the state would *like* to have HSR cars built in the state; on the other hand, it does nothing to counter the federal prohibition on promoting own-state manufacturing.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They currently build light rail vehicles from the bogies up, it’s a real factory, not a screwdriver shop.

  6. John Nachtigall
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 08:08
    #6

    Why would I want the 1st trains and car sets out of a plant? That is like beta testing version X.0 of any software.

    I want trains out of a long running plant with a proven record

    1. It will be cheaper because the capital cost is spread among you and other past builds.
    2. The actual assemblers and engineers have made one before, there is no substitute for experience which leads to quality
    3. Line startup issue have been resolved which affect quality

    This may be the only HSR train and cars built for US use in the next 20 years, it make 0 sense to build a plant just for this. Bad for cost, Bad for quality, Bad engineering.

    Peter Reply:

    It happens all the time in rail manufacturing. Look at Nippon Sharyo and Sumitomo in Illinois. They only knew of one order, Metra, when they decided to set up shop in Illinois. And now they’re building trains for Metra, SMART, VRE, and Metrolinx, as well as bilevels for a number of Amtrak corridor routes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How many HSR lines are in the hopper for the next 30 years. CA..Acela…???

    joe Reply:

    He answered your questions and you keep coming back with more.
    Let me help you.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/09/26/jerry-brown-tells-californians-they-can-eat-high-speed-rail/
    Jerry Brown Tells Californians They Can ‘Eat High Speed Rail’
    by
    Thomas Del Beccaro, Chairman of the California Republican Party. He is Publisher of PoliticalVanguard.com, author of The New Conservative Paradigm and frequent talk radio commentator.

    So, to a degree that even Marie Antoinette could not fathom, it looks like Brown would rather have Californians eat high-speed rail.

    Awful, just awful essay from the Chairman of the California Republican Party. It’s game over in CA.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    none of those examples are HSR. There is some capacity and history of building trains and cars in the US. There is even some modern lightrail/passenger train capacity. There is 0 HSR and to build it up is insane considering it is better/cheaper/faster to buy from existing plants OUS (outside the US) and there is no strategic need to build the capability in the US because there is

    1. no reason to believe we cant continue to buy from OUS in the future and
    2. There is no demand int he future beyond 2 projects

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not at all; the competitiveness issue is very real. But Romney is not effective in getting at the issue because he is so unattractive a candidate, a cold, calculating, heartless Bain hit man with zero connect to the average joe.

    The uniparty welfare state will prove eventually a failed state, like Mexico, the Machine’s template.

    Romney’s argument that half of the electorate has to vote for Barack because he is their boss, their paymaster is correct. You cannot vote to cut off your paycheck. You do not even have to have an election because the outcome is already decided. You might as well elevate Moonbeam to maximum leader for life, like the Pope or the Supremes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Many of the people who do not pay income tax are too young to vote. Unless you are suggesting that we convert kindergartens into sweatshops so they have an income tax bill. Many of the people who do not pay income tax are too old to work. Unless you are suggesting we have Granny go down to the kindergarten and crack the whip over those lazy 5 year olds.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    It happens all the time in rail manufacturing.

    Nothing like being forced by swindlers to buy equipment that is 15 to 40 years out of date, costs two to five times as much as anybody else pays and has reliability down in the shitter.

    Because … USA USA USA NUMBER ONE.

    Why aren’t we allowed to have nice things?

    jonathan Reply:

    Richard, “Your ideas are intriuging to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”.

    you seem to be asserting that any railway vehicles made in the USA are 15-to-40 years out o date.
    While I think your 40 years is _generous_ for anything in the AREMA manual, I defy you to explain how, for example, a Siemens ACS-64 is “15 to 40 years out of date”.

    You can’t fucking do it, because it isn’t fucking true. The ACS-64 straddles the boundary between the late-model EuroSprinters, and the Vectron. Siemens Vectron was announced at Innotrans 2010, so that _at most_ 2 years “out of date”.from _now_, never mind when the order was placed.
    “Pathetic little wanker” does not do you justice.

    Oh, and do noteL/b> that FRA-compliance and concomitant weight has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the technology.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Whats the MTBF for an MTA M7 car? How much did they cost compared to other cars?

    trentbridge Reply:

    You may be correct – in the short run. De Gaulle insisted that France retain an aerospace industry even though France could buy cheaper planes from Boeing, Lockheed, or Douglas. There would be no Airbus Industries today if the French had decided to go with proven, well-designed aircraft from the United States. BOAC – (British National Airline) continued to buy new Boeing aircraft and spurned all European aircraft – with the result today that there are no commercial aircraft built in the UK. ( Airbus has a couple of plants in th UK that make wings and other components. )

    Was De Gaulle right? Should California seek local-sourced experience building passenger rail equipment? Or concentrate on other technology? We gave up on autos except for a few fringe operations.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That was a heart warming story…except for 2 incontinent facts,

    1. Airbus never made money, they we’re subsidized by the government.
    2. Now that the EU governments are broke, they are merging with BAE (a British company that make money and leads the world in land based war systems) to keep them afloat.

    So I would say the British approach was the right one.

    And as for this specific situation it is a no brainer. Apple will make more and better paying jobs just adding the 3-5 thousand engineers they need for their new maps app.

    VBobier Reply:

    Considering how the EU set up their money, Countries printed/minted money locally and the Central bank of the EU managed it as the Federal Reserve would do here, disaster waiting to happen… The EU system needs to be reformed along US lines, but that may never happen, so you have one currency acting like 13 or so different currencies…

    thatbruce Reply:

    @John Nachtigall:

    1. Boeing and Airbus exist today because of government subsidies at multiple points in their history. The old joke of ‘How do you get a small fortune in the airplane business’ has the punchline ‘By starting with a large fortune’ because of the drastic ups and downs all aircraft manufacturing companies have had when the government subsidies/contracts that they depend on vanish.

    2. EADS (Airbus’ parent company) and BAE are considering merging, something that their predecessor companies had considered back in the ’90s, ’80s etc. EADS showed a loss in 2009, but profit in 2010, 2011 and the first half of 2012, so if as you insinuate, EADS is leaking money due to EU government subsidies drying up, they’re starting merger talks with BAE well before any such subsidies run out.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. the “subsidies” that Boeing supposedly receives (according to the WTO) are government contracts and tax breaks for building plants. To be fair the tax breaks can be considered subsidies but the contracts are not. EADS on the other hand gets cash injections from all 4 main governments to keep jobs going in their countries. the profit they make is dependent on those payments. They don’t really make money.

    2. EADS has not lost the government subsidies yet, but the writing is on the wall that Spain, the UK, and France can’t afford to have a “pet” airplane company that makes them feel better about their technology when it can’t compete head to head.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @John Nachtigall:

    If Boeing was completely innocent of receiving subsidies from the US government, then the US would have had no need to withdraw from the 1992 US-EU Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft ( That’s the gentleman’s agreement that limited the amount and type of subsidy that either side (US or EU) could put into their aircraft manufacture, put into place after both sides recognized that questionable government subsidies had occurred and would continue to occur ).

    Eventually the WTO will issue another ruling in this ongoing case, but until then, it’s just rumours.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I doubt the first batch of cars will be produced at the hypothetical plant. Likely they will be built at an established facility, either in another state or abroad, where staff cumulative knowhow and long established procedures will ensure good build quality. Only once staff at the new facility are brought up to snuff on manufacturing skills and any equipment bugs fixed, therefore ensuring good quality control, will rolling stock start rolling out of the CA plant. At least this is how most new rolling stock is introduced with Kawasaki Rail and Nippon Sharyo.

    Joey Reply:

    I wouldn’t be so sure

  7. Reedman
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 10:33
    #7

    The Bay Bridge uses Chinese steel through-out because the price of US steel is uncompetitive. Caltrans sent 200 people to China to watch/audit the manufacturing.
    Don’t miss the last line in this article:

    http://americawhatwentwrong.org/story/american-steal-how-us-steelworkers-lost-china/

  8. Michael
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 14:38
    #8

    Siemens has built light rail vehicles in Sacramento for years. You’ve probably ridden on one. High speed trainsets shouldn’t be that much of a jump.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/siemens-to-expand-us-manufacturing-facility-to-meet-high-speed-rail-needs-84697547.html

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fascinating. So if Siemens’ Sacramento plant were producing good products — as opposed to being, say, a sheltered workshop for special needs cases — then they’d be exporting them all around the world, right? Because trams are constantly ordered all around the world.

    Right?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Siemens’ main light rail manufacturing plant is (I think) the former Düwag plant in Uerdingen in Germany. Düwag was the leading streetcar/light rail manufacturer in Europe, but it got sold to Siemens in 1999. There was a good cooperation before, as Siemens provided the electrical equipment for many Düwag products.

    I think the Sacramento site was set up to meet “Buy america” requirements. On the other hand, it does make sense to build a site in the continent where the vehicles are actually sold. In the earlier days, most of the engineering was done in Germany, but I don’t know how much Sacramento does nowadays.

    I am sure that vehicles built in Sacramento would be exported to wherever vehicles of those specifications are needed. On the other hand, Siemens still has a bit of a stigma because of the Combino debacle.

    Speculation: If Siemens would get the order for CAHSR trains, they most likely would be based on existing (Velaro) designs; maybe something based on the Velaro RUS platform, but with standard gauge trucks… But then, we don’t know what would be state of the art when the vehicles will be ordered…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The one order in the US I know of that had no restrictions on imports, the R62 order for the New York subway, was imported from Japan. The trains were manufactured in Kobe and shipped to the US.

    Likewise, in the R160 order, which unlike the R62 did get some federal funding and so was subject to Buy American, Alstom manufactured the bodyshells in Brazil.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Reading between the line in Wikipedia Bombardier got the contract for the R62As because Kawasaki couldn’t do it cheaper than Bombardier could do it in Quebec and Vermont. Kawasaki has since opened a plant in exotic far off Yonkers to supply the North American market.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The R62A was federally funded, so it was subject to Buy American. There was a Congressional hearing about why the MTA picked Bombardier (which was compliant with the law but was still Canadian) over Budd.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    What about the Stadlerrail’s GTW? They were completely built in Switzerland and then shipped to the customers. Photographs of test runs in Switzrland do definitely exist…

    Peter Reply:

    That’s one of the reasons why SMART didn’t buy Stadlers, they weren’t Buy America-compliant.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The main reason is LTK Engineering Services, who just happen to be Caltrain’s rolling stock consultant and Caltrain’s world class “blended” operations consultant as well — not only just so happened to write the SMART specifications that sandbagged all non-FRA equipment and shifted extraordinary and unnecessary regulatory and infrastructure costs and risks onto non-FRA bidders, but, in an amazing coincidence, just so happened to end up being the people would would get the contract do design specifications for Special American Needs Unique FRA DMUs.

    Normal, customer-friendly, efficient, non-US-specific equipment = less rent-seeking overhead pork for non-competitive, unqualified, unprofessional bottom feeders.

    You know exactly where this is going with Caltrain’s “competitive” bidding for PTC and rolling stock.

  9. Peter
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 15:36
    #9

    Uggh, CBOSS advances.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Made in AMURRRRRRRRRRRRICA!

    Robert will be happy. Because neither cost nor reliability matter.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Just to be clear, the over $40 million to “design” this outright, blatant, no-questions-about-it, rent-seeking CBOSS fraud is on the order of the cost anybody else in the world would pay for procure and install a run-of-the-mill signalling system for a simple little 50 mile long shuttle line with nearly zero traffic.

    USA USA USA NUMBER ONE.

    Everybody in any way connected with CBOSS deserves to …

    jonathan Reply:

    Richard,

    you seem to lack some basic high-school-level (at best) vocabulary. The word “fraud” has a specific meaning. In what way is CBOSS a “CBOSS fraud”? Please explain how CBOSS constitutes a fraud.
    Note that comparative pricing for off-the-shelf signalling, versus CBOSS, does not amount to fraud.
    You have to show that the CBOSS contract is actually fraudulent.

    Bet you a dinner with RMS that you cannot.

    jonathan Reply:

    Everybody in any way connected with CBOSS deserves to …

    Deserves to learn how to count to ten? How to solve a differential equatoin?
    Deserves to sit and wait for the _entire_ elapsed time for intelligent life to arise from arts graduates?
    (Okay, I stole that last one from Douglas Adams)

    joe Reply:

    How to solve a differential equatoin?

    and spell differential equation.

    Actually differential equations are not the problem. They need to use formal methods to verify their early in designs and protocols.

    joe Reply:

    GAO has a site for reporting Fraud. Anonymously if you fear Nancy Pelois’s mind rays will melt your bran.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Your obsession with telling people to go to the GAO is in the same category of repetitive as Derek’s quoting the same study about congestion over and over no matter how people respond.

    joe Reply:

    When the GAO investigation into CA HSR is reported closed, I’ll stop.

    Our GAO investigates HSR for waste, for inefficiency and for management practices, It’s quite relevant to remind critics claiming fraud that they can comment where it matters. When the investigation reports it’s findings, the critics will have had their opportunity.

    I look forward to the report. I’ll obsessively refer to it. You might want to prepare yourself.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, this is why I’m comparing you to Derek. There must have been 5 different threads in which people (mostly me but also others) explained to you how stupid this idea is. You ignore everything and post the same remarks over and over. Stop it. The GAO investigates what the GAO thinks is fraud and waste, which has an incidental relationship with what fraud and waste actually are. Federal bureaucrats are not going to start saying that there’s waste when the waste in question is about the existence of those federal bureaucrats themselves, not to mention multiple aspects of American business culture.

    For what it’s worth, there are people who make noises in the right direction, but those tend to be people who are involved in actually running things, and not just packaging complaints about fraud and abuse in formats that can be understood by the average House Republican. The FRA has been making some right-direction comments about crashworthiness, and the new head of New York’s MTA is suggesting various reforms that look like Organisation vor Beton. But so far, nothing from the watchdogs. The Amtrak OIG still publishes inane reports that focus on stupid things like food service, while lying through its teeth that European intercity trains lose money. I think the GAO made similar comments in the past, but there’s approximately 0% chance I could find them.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Both parties have been promising to eliminate waste fraud and abuse for as long as I can remember. You would think they had ferreted most of it out by now.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s Congress. The opposite of progress.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Richard and others. If you want to vomit, see KCBS coverage on the CalTrain CBOSS grant:

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/caltrain-receives-first-chunk-of-ca-high-speed-rail-bond-money/

    and be sure to listen to the short audio clip from the press conference. He we have Jerry Hill, who obviously understands nothing about CBOSS (or for that matter anything about capacity etc.), telling us this is the most wonderful event he can imagine.

    Hill is running to replace Simitian, and will no doubt, unfortunately, win the State Senate seat. His opponent is no better, so what does it matter.

  10. D. P. Lubic
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 22:45
    #10

    Off topic, but worthy of sharing–the “coolest” transit ad ever, according to Transit Sleuth, or the goofiest transit ad ever, sez me:

    http://transitsleuth.com/2012/09/27/the-coolest-transit-advertisement-ever-evah/

  11. D. P. Lubic
    Sep 27th, 2012 at 22:57
    #11

    Another off-topic but worthy of a look item, material on a film in production, “The Burden,” which touches on energy independence and “green” energy from a military perspective. If the trailer is any indication, it’s highly recommended. I just hope the filmmakers will touch upon the domestic demand angle, and include rail as part of what we will need in dealing with this problem.

    http://getenergysmartnow.com/2012/09/27/military-seeks-to-end-the-burden-and-create-opportunities/

    http://theburdenfilm.com/

    http://www.operationfree.net/sb1409/

  12. Ben
    Sep 28th, 2012 at 07:30
    #12

    The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a field hearing yesterday about the ownership of Ontario airport and the significant decline in passenger traffic and flights at that airport. Reps. Baca (D-CA), Calvert (R-CA), and Gary Miller (R-CA) testified at this hearing. Lucy Dunn, the CEO of the Orange County Business Council noted that construction has begun on the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC).

    Rep. Miller noted the previous Maglev proposal to connect Anaheim with Ontario, continuing to Las Vegas, and he said he was disappointed to see this plan cancelled. Lucy Dunn responded that with the construction of ARTIC, there may still be a good rail connection to Ontario.

    Here is the link for the hearing: http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=1738

Comments are closed.