Sacramento Bee Slams Valley Republican HSR Opposition

Dec 16th, 2012 | Posted by

Central Valley Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Jeff Denham have been leading a renewed attack in Congress on the California high speed rail project in recent weeks. McCarthy’s hometown paper, the Bakersfield Californian, has already editorialized that electeds should support HSR. Now they’re joined by the Sacramento Bee:

No place in California stands to reap the rewards of high-speed rail more than the San Joaquin Valley.

That is why the opposition of U.S. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is so puzzling….

As the site of the state’s only major north-south highways (Interstate 5 and Highway 99), some of the worst air quality in the nation, poverty and rapid loss of farmland to sprawling urban development, high-speed rail can improve quality of life in a number of ways.

Relieving traffic congestion on roads and at airports. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – including net zero emissions during construction. Providing better connections with the coastal economies. Focusing development around rail stations and existing communities, rather than sprawling into farmland….

McCarthy and Denham should stop Republicans in the nation’s capital from treating the San Joaquin Valley as “nowheresville” – though its eight counties are home to 4 million people, a population larger than half of the states in the nation.

Perhaps McCarthy and Denham believe that their seats are so safe that they need not fear voter backlash for their efforts to keep Valley unemployment high and deny their constituents a much needed major infrastructure project that can provide the basis for economic growth many decades into the future. Or maybe they just don’t care about the economic prospects for their constituents.

Either way, McCarthy and Denham are risking a backlash. In today’s California, Republicans are vulnerable in places they never expected to have to defend. McCarthy and Denham have sold out their constituents’ needs to the national far-right. That opens them up to a challenge, either from a Democrat or a more moderate Republican. For example, Fresno is full of Republicans who support high speed rail. Such Republicans exist elsewhere in the Valley as well, and a strong challenge from the center to McCarthy or Denham’s extremism could weaken either member of Congress.

It is significant that key institutions in the Central Valley are turning away from and rejecting McCarthy and Denham’s destructive approach to representing them in Congress.

  1. joe
    Dec 16th, 2012 at 18:42
    #1

    McCarthy’s *new* district is solid GOP.

    CA primaries send the top TWO primary finishers to the general election. It can be two GOP candidates.

    McCarthy is going to have to offer constituents something – transportation spending is very popular in 2012 polls. Watch for him to get the House GOP to push a Highway/Road alternative to HSR.

  2. Stephen Smith
    Dec 16th, 2012 at 19:13
    #2

    McCarthy and Denham should stop Republicans in the nation’s capital from treating the San Joaquin Valley as “nowheresville” – though its eight counties are home to 4 million people, a population larger than half of the states in the nation.

    And none of those states – or 24 of the next most populous ones – are getting HSR.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Except Delaware!

    Or Nevada!

    (Or Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island…)

    joe Reply:

    wisconson’s proposed hsr system between Brewtown and Madcity have comparable populations to bakersfield and fresno.

    Joey Reply:

    1) not really high speed 2) upgraded legacy track, not a dedicated alignment. True HSR in Wisconsin would require strong end anchors like Chicago-Minneapolis 3) will be usable for through service to other destinations. I suppose you could compare the San Joaquins running in the interim, but we’re talking about a completely different scale of infrastructure here. There’s nothing we can do about where construction will start now, but the CV segment is going to be pretty useless until we build one of the mountain crossings.

    joe Reply:

    The only true USA HSR system is in CA so there are no other states. Steve’s trolling.

    You harp on the CV being useless which is just hyperbole. I’ve yet to see an alternative that meets all the constraints.

    Paul Dyson – He argues it should be Bako to LA. Here’s how: The ARRA should have been skirted/broken/ignored and F.A.R. violated.

    Paul’s convinced LaHood/Brown/Pelosi/Obama can conspire to violate the Law. That’s how he fixes the problem – wishes it away.

    He’s an old-school rail expert and has awesome ideas – also publicly mocked by the LaHood/DOT.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LaHood/DOT are the same wunderkinder bankrolling the OAC. Real transport gurus.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    What HSR is Delaware getting? Are you talking about that absurd report that PB wrote on behalf of Amtrak saying they need $151 billion to bring HSR to the Northeast Corridor? If that’s your definition of “getting,” then I hear West Hollywood is getting vactrain PRT. Both plans have the same amount of funding.

    joe Reply:

    CA passed Prop 1A and established a HSR Project Plan.

    The CA Plan has HSR starting in the CV.

    That’s why HSR is in the CV.

    For comparison purposes and to shame critics that call the CV nowhere, the CV has a population equal to the median population of our 50 States. Wisconsin, state wide, has just over 5 M.

    The 150 B proposal for HSR in the East is real – the GOP opposition to the President’s HSR plan argues the CA funding should be moved to start parts of that absurd project. That’s what the opposition to HSR is arguing.

    Peter Reply:

    And that $150 B proposal is before beginning more in-depth engineering.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As I recall, Mica objected to the cost of Amtrak’s Vision and also to its general management of NEC operations and proposed to privatize those operations precisely so that costs could be reduced.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Hilarity. I don’t think “privatization” has ever reduced costs anywhere since the looters started taking over our “private” industries in the mid-1980s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Stephen Smith

    Your antagonists are obsessing on constructing a gold-plated commute line between the megalopolises of Modesto and Bako. Why they would make this State priority #1 is beyond comprehension. Anything different from this – even if were to result in faster express rail service from Bako and Fresno to LA, SF, and Sac – is unacceptable and somehow would hurt the San Joaquin Valley’s feelings. The Valley folks they are “defending” are of course real estate developers and Fresno politicians, not farmers and ordinary locals.

    The CHSRA, sadly just like BART before it, has become a huge let-down.

    jimsf Reply:

    Or for chrissake syn stfu. Ive spent half my 48 years growing up and living in the valley as do my friends and family still… how long did you live there that you anything about “ordinary locals”?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    So you admit that you do not understand that many Western states can have comparably large urban areas while still being in the lower half population-wise at the state level.

    Or that the highest-speed rail in the US, Acela, goes through some of the smallest population states….

    It’s okay. Keep cribbing those SCNF America notes you have uncovered using the Freedom of Information Act. We need some entertainment over the next few months as nothing happens.

    JJJ Reply:

    Really? So explain the Acela stopping in the largest city in Rhode Island, Providence (178,042), or how about new Haven (129,779), or Trenton (84,913) and the biggest city in all of Delaware, Wilmington (70,851).

    Youd think theyd be proposing HSR stops in Clovis (97,218) or Madera (61,416) if thats the population needed.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Youd think theyd be proposing HSR stops in Clovis (97,218) or Madera (61,416) if thats the population needed.

    Wow, sophisticated analysis, comparing population sizes of cities proper. You should get a job with Cambridge Systemics.

    joe Reply:

    That’s a slam?

    The GAO and HSR Peer Review both independently commented on the state-of-the-art HSR Ridership Model.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In the universe inhabited by PB and Tutor-Saliba it is of no concern whether there are any riders so long as the checks continue to be cut.

    Brian Reply:

    Stephen, I am sorry to say I really respected your writing and opinion, past tense, before you jumped into this CA HSR discussion, throwing opinions not based on any fact.

    1) Fresno has a metro pop. of over 1 million; Bakersfield 840K; These compare favorably with New Haven’s at 860K
    2) State route 99 (and Fresno) has been the route since the late 90’s. Thomas Richards and his real estate had nothing to do with it.
    3) Both cities (and Merced) are getting downtown stations because that is the best place to put a station. Those decisions were make in 2008 or 2006. Long before the current leadership of the Authority or board. Other state laws regarding smart growth and global warming have strengthened the rational for city center stations since then.

    Can you point to ANY HSR network in the world that skips 1 million and near 1 million person metro areas on purpose to save 5 or so minutes of travel time?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I doubt Stephen would’ve made that outburst if JJJ had compared Providence and New Haven to Fresno and Bakersfield rather than to Clovis and Madera. Southern New England has town governance, without any unincorporated territory, which means central cities are way smaller than central cities of comparable-size metro areas in the rest of the US. Boston has a smaller city-proper population than El Paso.

    As for your rest-of-world question, I’m sure Clem would throw it around and ask which HSR network goes at 350 km/h through a city-center station. (For the record, in either case it’s fine for California to be the first, depending on what the alternative is. But west-of-99 isn’t mad and people should stop pretending it is.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    “west-of-99 isn’t mad” at all. But you have to speculate why the ag interests, such as the Farm Bureau, have not been more forthcoming with full-blown alternatives to the CHSRA “Standard Model”.

    My gut tells me they have given up. They recognize the whole San Joaquin Valley is to be paved over and what was California agriculture will be replaced with commodities from places like Mexico and Brazil. No need to import braceros. What an environmental disaster, especially coupled with the second LA worthies such as Villa and Antonovich plan to sprawl in vicino Palmdale. Same scenario for Reid’s supersized Sin City, which will drain the entire Nevada aquifer.

    If you look at the quality of the “leadership” you will quickly conclude no help can be expected from any residual intelligence. No long range rational solutions here – only basal ones such as Mother Nature intervening with an iron fist.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    We’ve already discussed on this board that Antonovich and Villaraigosa have no possible motivation to want high desert sprawl. They’re politically pitted against each other (Villaraigosa wants resources devoted to rail serving the city proper, while Antonovich wants to avoid spending on urban rail in favor of spending that favors a more rural lifestyle, e.g. roads). Your pretending that there’s a conspiracy is either senile or disingenuous.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Balderdash

    Both Villa and Antonovich display an “idee fixe” pertaining to the Tehachapi DeTour which would seem to be inexplicable, practically voodoo. You’d think Tejon had the wrong fengshui.

    But the rationale is quite simple; they are pimping a population explosion in and around Palmdale, driving out the “desert rats” and replacing them with economically and socially desirable yuppies.

    RoundaboutRail will inherently be state-run, dominated by expensive house unions, and feature pretty much empty trains paralleling the Loop. Recall there is zero service there now. How else can Jerry’s successors make any case at all for the copious public service mode subsidies required to keep those empty trains rattling unless you add some local commute action. Ergo a helluva lot more souls living in the adjacent high desert region.

    Every Murican economic model – be it emanating from Keynes & Bloomberg or the Club for Growth – takes as a non-negotiable given unlimited population growth and urbanization ad infinitum and ad absurdum.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    seem to be inexplicable, practically voodoo.

    The Nancy Pelosi coven frowns on VooDoo. It interferes with the mind rays.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    “idée fixe” :-) Very appropriate coming from you, synonymouse.

    synonymouse Reply:

    See you have mastered the keyboard with proper French accentuation. I played with the options once but my IBM model M has a tendency to spontaneously change key locations, all on its own. I think it is y’s and z’s interchange, something like that. So I just let the accents lag. Not very academic of me, I admit.

    My attachment to the Tejon cause celebre is its multiple and telling set of pros over the competition’s numerous cons. Dumb-f**k economists of both left and right persuasion peddle the line that discretionary spending is not the deficit problem and does not need to be cut. Only entitlements. bullshit. Those receiving entitlements die off regularly and when the money runs short the pensions, etc. will just dwindle. Boondoggles bankrolled and fostered by run amok discretionary spending are immortal money pits. Maginot Lines, but differ in that they are never rebuffed and abandoned; the boondoggles just demand eternal maintenance. Certainly the freeways , but even BART. BART functions some, but how much money could be saved every year if it had been done better. Any of us could have planned it better. The Bay Area in particular suffers from discouragingly sub-optimal precisely because it is too rich. Too much money induces waste.

    Portland’s Tri-Met just experienced a patronage drop:

    http://progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/TriMet-fare-increase-service-cuts-blamed-for-3Q-ridership-slip–33693#

    The salient point here is that bloated union payrolls result in high fares and have a negative effect on business. Rail schemes do not automatically succeed every time in every respect. They can court serious trouble. In the case of RoundaboutRail(AmFART?)revenues will be further depressed by the gerrymandered route scheme and its slow travel times. The alignment controversy is of vastly greater import than has been grasped by Brown & Co. Why repeat another gross error like BART broad gauge or the SFO mediocrity or the Stubway? What foamers are for is to kick consultant ass.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Can you point to ANY HSR network in the world that skips 1 million and near 1 million person metro areas on purpose to save 5 or so minutes of travel time?

    You mean other than, oh, say, France’s, Germany’s, Japan’s, and Spain’s? (I’m sure I could add more, including “China’s”, but unlike uninformed dimwits I simply don’t say anything when I don’t have the facts. Not a bad policy.)

    Dimwit.

    Joey Reply:

    People seem to forget that there’s a way to serve cities without running express trains through them.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Then it should not have been pimped as hsr, but rather something like Fresno Area Rapid Transit.

    Joey Reply:

    With Fresno it seems like the best solution is to put the main HSL west of the city and build a station loop downtown. It has the population to justify this approach, and the geometry is such that the station loop would be pretty easy to align and build. It might not even represent a cost increase over the current plan, as you don’t have to worry about 12 miles of grade separations. The station loop would enter parallel to the freight spur just north of Divisadero St and exit along the BNSF alignment.

    Peter Reply:

    Bad acronym, syn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Some one noticed. Thank you.

    Joey Reply:

    Many people noticed. Just few felt like commenting.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    But is great acronym! One of syno’s finest moments!

    Edward Reply:

    Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    There actually was an Italian trolley line that had that acronym. Of course, it didn’t have the connotation it has in English. I do suspect that the increasing use of English in the world of business lead to the transit authority changing its name and acronym, though.

    J Baloun Reply:

    haven und gute fahrt

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Can you point to ANY HSR network in the world that skips 1 million and near 1 million person metro areas on purpose to save 5 or so minutes of travel time?

    I can point to one planned HSR “network” that will skip 2+ million in order to increase travel time by 5 minutes.

    joe Reply:

    On No’s It’s Teh Altamont!!

    Andy M Reply:

    Paris and Barcelona both have HS by-pass lines, but I guess that isn’t what you were looking for

    joe Reply:

    Help Richard.
    Which 1M sized German city is skipped by HSR?
    Is it Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or Colonge.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Have you been to Koln or Dusseldorf? It is like streetcar heaven.

    Where are the streetcars in Greater FresnoWorld? It is the car theft capital of the US. Aka theuy love their cars, especially when it is about 110 degrees outside, which is pretty regularly.

    No need to rip up backyards along 99 when you have I-5 handy. Two blinking express spurs and upgrade the San Joaquins. Plenty good enough. What are you going to do for Oakland?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Yeah, dimwit can’t back up his mouth

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Lyon, a 2.1 million city, is skipped by trains going from Paris to Marseille. Marseille, a 1.7 million city, has a stub-end terminal that is skipped by trains going from Paris to Toulon and Nice.

    Joey Reply:

    That’s because SNCF likes to run trains point-to-point with no intermediate stops.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Of course, HSR routes go to Lyon and Marseille.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The point being, the comparable proposal to the French system would be to BOTH run tracks through the downtowns AND run bypases. This is a politically senseless idea and Richard M. is simply showing that he hasn’t a clue.

    joe Reply:

    Richard knows – he’s discussed, compared and contrasted French and German approaches to HSR.

    In this case of the CV, he’s either very hasty and sloppy in his comments or intentionally dishonest. Given the HSR PB vendetta he holds. I can’t tell.

    joe Reply:

    So the Germans maintain control over Lyon? ANy examples in Germany – they have 4 cities > 1 M. He said there were and I’m a dimwit for not knowing. … Hmmm. Nothing?

    The web tells me Lyon’s rail lines are so congested and the outlying areas so car congested they built a rail bypass to reduce car traffic and avoid train bottlenecks. Does that have any resemblance to the argument floated to bypass Fresno? It has too many trains running now and too much car congestion in the greater Fresno metro area?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, Germany has way, way, way more cities > 1 million than the 4 you named. City proper != metro area. If we only care about city proper, then Fresno is actually a city of 500,000.

    Second, if I’m reading this chart right, then there are trains that bypass Frankfurt and Hanover; Hanover is slightly larger than Fresno in terms of both city proper and metro area populations, and Frankfurt of course has a much larger metro area than both.

    None of this matters for California, mind you. California has a fairly linear population distribution, which means bypasses of the biggest cities are not necessary. It also has straight ROWs through Fresno and Bako. The specific problems of serving Fresno are noise emissions and grade separations; for Bakersfield, it’s the same, but also the Tejon/Tehachapis issue.

    joe Reply:

    I agree CA is linear as these cities developed along the train line. I also agree with your summary.

    Hanover:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanover#Rail

    Hanover is an ICE hub.
    “The city’s central station, Hannover Hauptbahnhof, is a hub of the German high-speed ICE network. It is the starting point of the Hanover-Würzburg high-speed rail line and also the central hub for the Hanover S-Bahn. It offers many international and national connections.”

    Richard was exaggerating.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And trains that don’t need to stop in Hanover don’t go through Hanover, but instead go around it.

    joe Reply:

    Which means HSR does not bypass Fresno.

    Brian Reply:

    Thanks for the insult Richard. Your statement is factually wrong though.

    No French HSR line skips a 1 million person metro area.
    The line the to Nantes goes through Le Mans
    The line to London detours via Lille.

    Actually to line to Lyon in 1982 connected Paris to a Lyon metro of ~1,000,000 people.

    Clem Reply:

    So why did they proceed to build a high-speed line around the east side of Lyon, if not for the sole purpose of avoiding Lyon?

    Eric M Reply:

    The Lyon bypass

    joe Reply:

    The French claim the bypass was due to congestion and a bottleneck.

    The project for building the Lyon bypass was developed as part of our wish to offer a new route that avoids the bottleneck of Lyon town centre, which is reaching saturation, and that helps promote railway traffic as an alternative to road transport in the area, which is also highly congested.

    Is Fresno rail line congestion ? If so we should also build a bypass.

    Clem Reply:

    The original question was as follows:

    Can you point to ANY HSR network in the world that skips 1 million and near 1 million person metro areas on purpose to save 5 or so minutes of travel time?

    I pointed to one particular HSR network (among others) that skips a 1.4 million person metro area for the purpose of saving a few minutes of travel time to points beyond. And before anybody quibbles about the meaning of the word “skipped”, it would be perfectly acceptable for high-speed train to use existing rail alignments to access downtown Fresno at lower speeds, just like they do it in Lyon. I’ve harped on this before, 220 mph express trains don’t belong anywhere in urban areas, and California would be the first worldwide to experiment with this new type of blight.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So the intial TGV line in France, the one that goes between Paris and Lyon, doesn’t go to Lyon?

    Jon Reply:

    A more instructive example would be Calais to Paris, which makes a ~30 mile and ~20 minute detour via Lille. This detour has proven to be such a non-issue that they are only just now considering building another more direct route via Amiens.

    Jon Reply:

    Incidentally, one of the motivations for building this new route was complaints from the citizens of Amiens that they have to drive ~30 miles to the ‘beetfield’ Haute-Picardie station to get on the TGV.

    Eric M Reply:

    It originally went through Lyon, but is has since outgrown it’s capacity.

    joe Reply:

    Clem – in the context of the CA HSR system, I don’t see people disagreeing with ‘bypasses” generic. I think the context was more narrowly focused. I agree with your compromise of local service and a bypass – it’s exactly like the highways that we built with business routes and bypasses.

    I understand and respect your opinion about speeds like 220 in town centers and the FRA noise calculator you implemented.

    I’d love to see HSR bypass Gilroy and run a line connecting into town with UP and HSR grade separation and car underpasses.

    Brian Reply:

    @ Clem
    You pointed out that CA HSR is doing the right thing.
    1st serve cities
    2nd build bypasses when traffic on the mainline gets too congested

    The Japanese have a long history of trains running express through cities. The fact that the trains don’t go 220 mph is because of the age of the system. The CA trains will also benefit from 40+ years of research and refinement on noise reductions.

    If anyone wants bypasses with station loops then a CEQA intervention is needed. So far every bypass and station loop proposal has been shot down in the CEQA alternative analysis process. Someone needs to find out why that is. Probably because you need to run two lines, both new and grade separated, instead of one with a short 4 track section at the station. Of course that configurations is much more expensive too.

  3. morris brown
    Dec 16th, 2012 at 21:59
    #3

    I repeat here what I sent to the Bee, regarding their editorial and it carrying of printing false information. One would think they can at least get the route right.

    ———
    Editor:

    RE: The Editorial “McCarthy’s bid to kill high-speed rail is baffling”

    If the paper’s editorial board really understood the project, then McCarthy’s position would not be baffling at all.

    Despite what your editorial claims, the construction is not building a 65 mile Merced to Fresno stretch of tracks. Indeed, the construction will start only 29 miles north of Fresno, not in Merced. The Authority keeps calling this a Merced to Fresno section but that is hardly the truth.

    The current funding will not include electrification, signaling systems and other components needed to make this a section of High Speed Rail track. All of that must come later, if additional funds become available.

    Yet no additional funds are on the horizon. The net result will be a set of orphaned tracks, which future generations will ponder why over $6 billion was spent to construct.

    Derek Reply:

    There’s really no practical reason to spend money on electrification now. It’s odd that you would suggest it.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah cause without being fed high voltage electricity, centenary would be vulnerable to metal thieves looking for metal to convert into money…

    Alan Reply:

    Don’t confuse Morris with facts.

    Eric M Reply:

    He is not interested in facts. His goal is to discredit anything posted here in favor of the CA HSR system, so that a passerby will see something negative. It’s the same campaign the anti-HSR group on the peninsula does with positive HSR articles on the web, by posting lots of negative comments and putting up anti-HSR banners in in the central valley to cause fear and uncertainty. The more people see the same negativity, the more they think it’s true. It’s human nature to zero in on the negative in the news.

  4. JJJ
    Dec 16th, 2012 at 22:17
    #4

    Throw Nunes in the pile.

    But be very clear, these people dont give a damn about the area they represent. Sign up to the mailers these folks send out…youll get spam about how global warming is fake (with pictures of snow in alaska!) how abortion is evil, how guns are important etc etc

    Essentially, GOP issues 101, none directly relevant to the valley.

    They dont care, theyre running as R, not as “your local rep in DC, standing up for local issues”

  5. wu ming
    Dec 17th, 2012 at 12:05
    #5

    it is fascinating to watch valley republicans, who for decades have played up the valley’s regional resentment of the coastal cities taxing the valley and not giving it much back in return, openly undermining the best public works project in the san joaquin since pat brown built the aquaduct. given the underlying demographic and political trends in the valley, i would not be surprised to see this used successfully against the CAGOP by the end of the decade. denham’s days are numbered, and even mccarthy and nunes will be looking over their shoulder by the time the HSAR is built.

    it takes a special kind of dumb to rail against public works in your own district. generally speaking, pork barrel waste is what you call public spending in the other guy’s district, not your own.

    wu ming Reply:

    and to clarify: the aquaduct was a bad deal for the sacramento valley and the delta and a bad idea generally, IMO; i was speaking to its benefits to the san joaquin half of the valley.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    right on Wu

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    it takes a special kind of dumb to rail against public works in your own district. generally speaking, pork barrel waste is what you call public spending in the other guy’s district, not your own.

    Keep in mind it is easier to represent a few large landowners than a bunch of smaller ones. Part of the opposition is probably because HSR is going to democratize the balance of power in the Valley and force many candidates to be responsive to a wider range of issues and fundraising than they do currently.

  6. Tom McNamara
    Dec 17th, 2012 at 21:56
    #6

    Can someone explain how this was missed?

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/politics/2012/12/06/11426/house-transportation-chief-tells-la-build-light-ra/

    At a hearing on high speed rail, Republican Congressman John Mica of Florida wanted to get something off his chest about a slower version of rail. He asked El Segundo Democrat Janice Hahn to deliver a message to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: get light rail all the way to the airport – or else.

    Hahn agreed, saying “the thought that people stop a mile short, try to get on a shuttle and get to the airport is the reason people aren’t taking public transportation.”

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I saw that and very nearly wrote about it, then got sidetracked onto something else. But I thought it was really quite fascinating. Metro would be quite happy to build that rail connection if someone would help get them the money to do so. If only John Mica knew someone in a position to do that…

    StevieB Reply:

    I believe the biggest obstacle to rail to LAX is the airport itself. It seems to be a jurisdiction conflict over planning.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    City owns the airport, and the Mayor of LA controls the most number of votes on Metro’s Board….

    StevieB Reply:

    The Green Line extension that would provide a Metro connector to the airport is expected to be finished in 2028. Metro Board Wants to Get Rail to LAX By the End of Decade.

    Why? Because Metro can’t begin its draft environmental study of the project until Los Angeles World Airports, a city agency, completes a specific plan amendment that would include transportation improvements,

    StevieB Reply:

    Executive Director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) since her appointment by Mayor Villaraigosa in 2007 is Gina Marie Lindsey. She says the airport is mired in CEQA.

    One is that Metro was fortunate enough to get Measure R, which expedited their ability to do definitive planning. At the airport we have been lagging on that front because of our specific plan amendment process. The draft EIR has us basically in a programmatic level of development definition until we get CEQA approval. That hopefully will be by June of next year.

    Their plans for the mile between the Green Line and the terminals involves buses.

    So our draft EIR has a general concept of the airport putting an inter-modal transportation facility (ITF) right around 96th and Lot C, and examines the option of a consolidated rental car facility on Manchester Square. But again, we’re talking bubbles here, so it should not be seen as very precise.

    The airport would connect the ITF to the terminals by building a dedicated, grade-separated bus-way that could eventually become some sort of automated people mover when airport traffic demand grows.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Sigh. Draft (insert acronym) which leads to (insert acronym) approval, which leads to another process, which then leads to another draft, etc.- it’s like a bad dream. Then when its finally built, it’s still to another remote site which requires another transfer. Why can’t they just build the damn thing to the terminals, with a straight shot up an escalator to the check in counters, like they do in the rest of the world??

    Matthew B. Reply:

    “The airport would connect the ITF to the terminals by building a dedicated, grade-separated bus-way that could eventually become some sort of automated people mover when airport traffic demand grows.”

    I like this line. Clearly there’s not yet enough “airport traffic demand” at the third busiest airport in the US and 6th busiest airport in the world. Let’s wait a while longer until demand increases enough to justify better infrastructure.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Put Kopp on the case.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Wow, that does sound like deliberate sabotage from LAWA. Run the train line to the front of the terminals, guys. Nobody wants stupid diesel buses.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Metro would be quite happy to build that rail connection if someone would help get them the money to do so. If only John Mica knew someone in a position to do that…”

    Like John Mica, you mean. The snark is strong here.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Green Line to LAX- not the best of rail connections, but I suppose better than nothing.

    Michael Reply:

    A station in the middle of LAX’s terminals would be a long walk to everywhere. If LAX gets going on a peoplemover or establishes a really good temporary connection between the light rail and the stop for the buses that circulate the terminals, it’s a better way to serve all the terminals with a minimum of walking. LAX is too big to walk between terminals from one side to the other, and an underground stop in the middle of the terminals would be a long connection to every terminal.

  7. John Burrows
    Dec 17th, 2012 at 22:19
    #7

    McCarthy won his seat with 74% of the vote from his district; about 6 points higher than any of other surviving Republicans. Denham’s vote was around 54%. If the 2012 elections are any indication, then Denham may have a lot to worry about from any high speed rail backlash—McCarthy probably not. In fact, the way things are going in California, McCarthy could end up as the last Republican standing.

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