Governor Jerry Brown and The Little Engine That Could

Jan 24th, 2013 | Posted by

Governor Jerry Brown delivered his 11th State of the State address today in Sacramento, and it must have been his most triumphal speech yet. Brown’s first two terms as governor saw the state swing from crisis to crisis and had many asking if the California Dream was dead. Here in his third term, however, Brown has successfully pulled the state from its worst crisis yet. The state is on a very positive track, with a brighter future than probably any other state in the union, and Brown took the occasion to celebrate how “California has confounded its critics.”

Included in that triumph was a strong defense of the high speed rail project. You can see a clip of those remarks below, which includes an extemporaneous discussion of a beloved children’s book that the governor saw as a metaphor for the high speed rail project:

In Brown’s telling, the HSR project is “The Little Engine That Could” – working hard to get over the mountain. And after 30 years of working on the HSR project, it’s now over the mountain with construction beginning on its first segment later this year.

Brown’s Republican critics mocked this and kept pointing out that the HSR project isn’t fully funded – thanks to Republican opposition in Congress. But in California, Republicans are a fringe party that is no longer politically relevant. It’s a Democratic state with a Democratic governor who has his high speed rail triumph. And he’s going to continue fighting hard to get more funding and help get the project on a path to completion.

Significantly, Governor Brown also mentioned that he is beginning a study looking at how California can provide long-term transportation funding. This is an issue that is becoming increasingly important as existing funding sources fail to keep pace with maintenance, and as the demand for passenger rail continues to soar. Over the next two years transportation funding will become a greater issue, and hopefully a good proposal that emphasizes mass transit can make it to the ballot for November 2014.

The relevant section of Brown’s speech is excerpted below.

Transportation and High Speed Rail

In the years following World War II, California embarked on a vast program to build highway, bridges and roads.

Today, California’s highways are asked to accommodate more vehicle traffic than any other state in the nation. Most were constructed before we knew about climate change and the lethal effects of dirty air. We now expect more.

I have directed our Transportation Agency to review thoroughly our current priorities and explore long-term funding options.

Last year, you authorized another big project: High Speed Rail. Yes, it is bold but so is everything else about California.

Electrified trains are part of the future. China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.

The first phase will get us from Madera to Bakersfield. Then we will take it through the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale, constructing 30 miles of tunnels and bridges. The first rail line through those mountains was built in 1874 and its top speed over the crest is still 24 miles an hour. Then we will build another 33 miles of tunnels and bridges before we get the train to its destination at Union Station in the heart of Los Angeles.

It has taken great perseverance to get us this far. I signed the original high speed rail Authority in 1982—over 30 years ago. In 2013, we will finally break ground and start construction.

  1. joe
    Jan 24th, 2013 at 21:19

    Some lawmakers criticized Brown for over-simplifying his push for high-speed rail by evoking “The Little Engine That Could.”

    “That’s a children’s story, not a business plan or governing principle,” said Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine. “We need real solutions to California’s transportation issues, not really fast 19th-century technology.”

    A zinger and capitulation all in one pity comment.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    “19th-century” is a fair characterization, now that the project has been given over to Amtrak.

    joe Reply:

    Now that’s what we call a barb.

    Meanwhile Europe’s finest transportation professionals

    Amsterdam-to-Brussels high-speed rail halted

    It was supposed to be the perfect 21st-century link between two bustling European capitals. Instead, the new high-speed Fyra line connecting Amsterdam and Brussels turned into the missing link.

    One month after the maiden trip, the Italian-built trains have been taken out of service.

    Technical problems dogged the sleek new trains — which can go 155 mph — almost since the day they came into service Dec. 9. That has repeatedly caused delays between the Dutch and Belgian capitals instead of slashing more than an hour off the regular service the Fyra trains replaced.

    Now the Belgian state rail company NMBS has suspended its contract for three trains and given Italy’s AnsaldoBreda three months to make repairs or face legal action.

    The problems have touched a nerve in Belgium, where railroads are a source of national pride. Belgium ran the first train on the European continent in 1835.

    I blame Amtrak and PB.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    AnsaldoBreda is shit. Everyone knows this except perhaps the immediate family members of AnsaldoBreda’s top management.

    And Dutch infrastructure costs are some of the worst outside the Anglosphere. Those people spend $50 million a kilometer on HSR in flat land, and sink $400 million a kilometer (a factor-of-2 cost overrun) into a subway.

    Joey Reply:

    They actually get useful infrastructure out of it though.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    So does the US. Second Avenue Subway, DTX, electrified Caltrain, CAHSR ICS, etc.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes but there’s also a reason why many of those projects have been pushed back in favor of BART to SFO/Silicon Valley etc (i.e. less useful infrastructure).

    Jonathan Reply:

    Alon, you should give us warnings! Do remember that “Caltrain Electrification” includes “CBOSS”.

    Joey: yes, MTC politics, and funding formuale. Right?

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t pretent do be knowledgable enough to know the causes of all of these things, but I haven’t seen anything good come out of MTC planning.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    CBOSS is a separate contract from the electrification, though – they get bundled together, but each can be done without the other, and Caltrain just happens to want both.

    Jonathan Reply:

    No, Alon. Caltrain’s current signalling won’t work reliably after electrification.
    (As best I understand it, they still have some “quaint” non-CTC track circuits)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Excellent engineering analysis there, “Jonathan”.

    So … in order to replace a few “quaint” track circuits (and remembering that 100% resignalling of a trivial little shuttle line like Caltrain’s, completely with new control and dispatching as well as in-cab systems. would cost at mostf $75m anywhere else on the planet) … the solution is to thrwo $250 million (and counting) at Bob Doty’s very very very very very very very very very very special consultant and contractor friends.

    Sounds like a deal. You clearly have a bright career as an American Transportation Planning Professionalism ahead of you. Go out there and score some moolah!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Alon: be fair. Ansaldo’s signalling has a perfectly good reputation. It’s Breda’s vehicles which have a terrible reputation. (I have no idea why Ansaldo agreed to merge with Breda. CEO-think.)

    Max Wyss Reply:

    AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS are both parts of Finmeccanica, a leading heavy industry conglomerate in Italy, which grew a lot by acquisition. The product range is about as broad as the one of Westinghouse or GE in the US.

    AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS are totally independent, and must not be mixed up.

    Ansaldo STS is a well-recognized leading manufacturer of signalling systems, IMHO in the same league as the signalling divisions of Siemens or Alstom.

    As we have seen, AnsaldoBreda is a different story. Their apparent business model is successful as long as the tenders are set up that price can beat quality and technical merit.

    About the Fyra issues, there seems to be in addition some issues with ice building under the vehicles, which are known, and operators should know how to handle it; in fact under certain circumstances, speed restrictions are instated (160 km/h instead of 250 km/h or so), because flying ice blocks can be really dangerous.

    Nick uk Reply:

    To say that the Netherlands is flat is mostly accurate but there are also many canals and motorways to cross as well as one or two rivers ! Due to environmental concerns there is also much tunnelling that was not required for engineering reasons such as the I believe 30 Kms green heart tunnel. In this regard there are parallels with the uk hs2 hsr the northern route of which is to be announced I believe next Monday 28th jan. the outcome of the judicial review into the London to Birmingham section has however not yet been made public by the court.

    joe Reply:

    “As we have seen, AnsaldoBreda is a different story. Their apparent business model is successful as long as the tenders are set up that price can beat quality and technical merit.”

    Remember the critics’ motto for CAHSR: Doable at 1/3 the price and ten times as nice.

    We are on path for the AnsaidoBereda business model.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    Promises like “1/3 the price and ten times as nice” are so much easier to make when you’re an armchair engineer than when you actually have to coalesce political will and put out bids for contract, aren’t they?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Paying proven serial fraudsters and technical incompetents with an extensive record of failure and of gaming government contract terms is exactly the PBQD=CHSRA model.


    Nick uk Reply:

    The Dutch problem is a train not infrastructure problem as this was ready well before the trains were !
    It is also worth noting that the true high speed Thales tgv sets have been up and running on Hsl zuid for some time now.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    HSL-Zuid (the infrastructure itself) was years late and massively over an astronomical budget.

    More Anglo-sphere than mitteleuropäische, as was the freight Betuweroute.

    The AnsaldoBreda trains (a comparatively small budget item, if a significant service delay cause) just make it look good in comparison.

    VBobier Reply:

    Automobiles were invented in the 19th Century and in Europe too….

    Joseph E Reply:

    Heck, even the airplane is basically late 19th century tech (1880-90’s), just like electric traction, bicycles, automobiles, the telephone, etc etc.

    There weren’t many changes between 1900 and the Wright Brother’s first flight in 1903; I’m sure they could have done it in 1899 if they had gotten started a few years earlier.

    The 20th century has mainly been refining mechanical technologies invented in the 1800’s, except for electronics

    synonymouse Reply:

    and nuclear fission and fusion

    Nathanael Reply:

    Barely. The principles were discovered in the 19th century and the details were worked out in the ’40s.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Mass-energy equivalence is early-20th century.

    Nathanael Reply:

    In addition to the developments in electronics (which are actually stalling out, though there’s some things which will revive them which I have inside information on), the *current* area of massive technology development is biotechnology — genetic engineering is only the start.

    This is not going to affect transportation, though.

    Jonathan Reply:

    “stalling out”? ROTFL

    joe Reply:

    If you follow wikipedia, Automobiles are 18th century invention.
    Electric cars are late 19th century.
    Today’s batteries are refinements of 150 year old technologies.

    Attacking HSR for being 19th century is essentially capitulation – that’s good for a Fox News zinger.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They have to give the project over to Amtrak, as PB-CHSRA is in way over their head. The fact that an on-the-ropes burg like Palmdale has commandeered the entire project indicates how far it has stumbled off into the wilderness.

    They have to federalize the operating losses, to quash calls for privatization. Private interests would demand changes. Funny thing is that the Amtrak honchos might end up doing the same. Be careful what you wish for. Amtrak will have to find the money to maintain those forlorn stilts in the Tehachapis that only generate more red ink.

    Where’s the NdeM?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @ syn: takes you a long time for things to sink in…..Amtrak cannot take over this intrastate less than 750 mile route under present legislation, it has to be state funded.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Of course, they can. It is called changing laws – nothing to it. You have to give LaHood something to do.

    Conrail comes – Conrail goes. Legislators legislate according to the trend du jour.

    Where’s the NdeM?

    Nathanael Reply:

    We have one political party (the Republicans) intent on preventing Congress from doing anything except tax breaks for rich people and foreign wars. We have another political party (the Democrats) which is quite happy to let the Republicans run things even when the Republicans in the minority, as Harry Reid proved this week by retaining the filibuster.

    Therefore Congress ain’t gonna be changing any laws.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Au contraire, mon vieux.

    A snap – change a digit and slip in amongst some earmarks for Hollywood. No brainer – that’s what the crones are for.

    Travis D Reply:

    I take it we are supposed to build a state-wide Star Trek transporter system then?

    VBobier Reply:

    A “Star Trek transporter system” may violate the laws of physics & it’s doubtful it will ever be more than wishful thinking….

    swing hanger Reply:

    Anybody utters that tired line “railways are 19th century tech” might as well put on a “I’m a fucking moron” t-shirt.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You will have to pay Ed Lee royalties for that t-shirt motto, as SF Muni trademarked what it lives.

    VBobier Reply:

    And We have a winner, Syno showed up.

    Nick uk Reply:

    Like a wet t shirt but not as interesting lol

    Nick uk Reply:

    Railways are 19th century tech but hsr is definitely mid to late 20 century limited (sorry couldn’t resist)! And very 21st century by the number of hs lines added since 1999.

    Hopefully by the mid 2020’s to 2030’s California and the uk will have added to this total. And we might see some miles in australia hopefully also. i am not very optimistic about canada though as they cant even get any electrified main lines built despite huge amounts of cheap and mostly co 2 free electricity

    Those opposed to hsr are the ones still clinging to the last century IMHO.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I will make two predictions:

    1. A Democrat will represent Don Wagner’s Assembly district by 2023.
    2. Don Wagner’s constituents will flock to the bullet trains once they are available.

    As to his ignorant “19th century technology” quip, what else do you expect from a fringe political party?

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    “We need real solutions to California’s transportation issues, not really fast 19th-century technology.”

    I would not be surprised if he travels everywhere in his wheelchair, because walking is old and therefore undignified technology. It’s older than our species, and judging from when vertebrate walking limbs evolved, MUCH older — about 400 million years old.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Indeed, why walk when you have a car? If you can walk to the house next door, it means your living arrangements are too cramped, and/or there are sidewalks for criminals.

  2. Donk
    Jan 25th, 2013 at 09:27

    Why did Jerry Brown have to bring up the Little Engine the Could and open the project up to even more ridicule? This is like Mitt Romney bringing up Big Bird.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Moonbeam is well into his second childhood.

    VBobier Reply:

    It’s apt, sure some won’t like it, but it works, so I’m not knocking it, unlike a few “Squares”.

    joe Reply:

    Romney’s Big Bird reference summarized for the voting public a widely unpopular cut in funding for a very popular Children’s TV show its signature character.

    Brown’s reference brought attention to the HSR project and the fact it’s been in the works for decades.

    He is clever enough to say something that gets the public thinking about HSR that fits in the his lean budget and reminds CA it’s not a new concept and is long overdue.

    John Burrows Reply:

    When it comes to California High Speed Rail, and for that matter all of California, Republican Doctrine has it that the sky is going to fall in. In other words they have a “Chicken Little” complex about our state.

    The sky here is not going to fall in anytime soon—In fact over the next few years California could do very well indeed. So well that if the Republicans really tank in 2014, Obama might want to have a discussion with Jerry Brown about the fine points of one party rule.

    The fact that California is not, in the words of Peggy Noonan, “going down” is a difficult concept for most Republicans to handle. The story of the Little Engine that Could will be easier for them to understand.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Who’s going to ridicule it? A fringe political party? Nobody cares what they think any more.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, that’s the flip side of one-party rule. A ruling party without serious opposition (and the GOP isn’t serious) has no incentives to govern well.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In time tho one-party rule becomes a parody of itself and indeed the butt of ridicule, a caricature, an easy imitation. Like John Wayne or Jack Nicholson in old age. Or like the PRI in Mexico. Moonbeam is getting there.

    With a monopoly on power in effect Lord Acton’s axiom will always kick in. Government by machine just becomes another variant of organized crime, albeit of the more white collar variety. Just fire or blackball those who do not go along with the program – no need to have them whacked.

    Most people will just go along and join up for the money and the protection. That’s why you cannot get rid of the Camorra or the Mafia. They’re part of the government.

  3. datacruncher
    Jan 25th, 2013 at 10:31

    The Hanford City Council voted Tuesday not to support the Hanford East nor the Hanford West alignments.

    Interestingly, the city staff report to the council says CHSRA staff will recommend Hanford West at the Feb 14 Authority Board meeting.
    That conflicts with statements by Hanford’s City Manager who said he thought Hanford East would be the recommendation. Hanford East would place a station near recent development proposed for Hanford (such as a Costco and other retail) as well as closer to the Visalia/Tulare area.

    JJJ Reply:

    Maybe its time they demand Hanford central….and a stop

    synonymouse Reply:

    Boonies Area Rapid Transit

    James in PA Reply:

    syn sometimes you are a broken record, record, record, record, CHHHHHHht

    synonymouse Reply:

    like “temporary” taxes, “police” operations in far-off, godforsaken countries, PB ridership projections.

    nobody_important Reply:

    He’s obviously has aspergers. I’m not trying to be offensive but it’s very clear.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I thought the shrinks officially pulled that diagnosis from the “index”?

    nobody_important Reply:

    No you’re thinking of something else.

    Peter Reply:

    No, it actually has been removed and been subsumed into “autism spectrum disorder”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When the DSM removes gender dysphoria from the list of disorders, I’ll take what it says seriously.

    Peter Reply:

    Good point. I was unaware they still saw that as a disorder.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Gender dysphoria is moderately neutral what do you suggest calling it?
    Removing it from the DSM implies that there are no people who have difficulties living with the plumbing they have. I imagine it would be rather disconcerting to have inappropriate plumbing.
    Gotta call it something, describe the symptoms and have protocols to deal with the problems it causes. And before things get sliced off never to be reattached you want to make sure you have identified that there is a problem that can be solved by slicing things off and not some other problem. The pharmacist is going to have a question or two. The surgeon is going to want to see paperwork before taking out scalpels. So is the insurance company. If it’s not in the manual there can’t be billing codes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’d believe that if the DSM 5 draft didn’t also say that people who are transgender or cross-dress are liars: “Such patients are not reliable historians, and they are typically not candid about their sexual urges and fantasies. The criteria have therefore been modified to lessen the dependence of diagnosis on patients’ self-reports regarding urges and fantasies.”

    No different from how DSM 1 viewed homosexuality as a disorder.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s an argument for changing the entry not removing it.
    There are going to be people who are very distressed by they plumbing. What do you suggest we call them?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They don’t mind the term “gender dysphoria”; they mind calling it a disorder. Recall that with homosexuality, DSM 1 said it was a disorder, DSM 2 said it was a disorder if the patient felt bad about it (which many GLB people do), DSM 3 dropped it, and DSM 4 now classifies homophobia as a disorder.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    I sure wish we could up/downvote things like on Reddit…

    VBobier Reply:

    Syno, You wouldn’t know Boonies from a hole in the ground….

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Boonies” don’t get “a hole in the ground”. Boondocks Area Rapid Transit is all on de rigueur hollow-core.

    Joey Reply:

    Have a look at the geometry sometime. There’s no way you’re getting an alignment suitable for express trains through downtown Hanford (even if that were a good idea). The only way to get a downtown station would be to reroute BNSF along the east or west bypass along with express trains and use the existing BNSF alignment through town for stopping trains only. The marginal cost of rerouting the freight tracks along an alignment that’s going to be built anyway is probably small, but the cost of refitting the existing route for HSR (even if the trains wouldn’t be going very fast) would be somewhat larger. And I have no idea whether BNSF would go for it or not.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I have looked at it on Google maps, and there is potentially room for an express alignment through downtown Hanford, if Hanford really really wanted it. However, the Hanford City Council *already rejected that* because it would involve closing roads, removing and relocating some buildings, etc.

    So Hanford has rejected all the options. This is because the Hanford City Council is stupid. This means Hanford gets no choice and the CHSRA gets to pick without paying any attention to Hanford. In contrast, if Hanford had preferred one choice over another, it might have gotten it.

    Hanford East is better because it’s closer to Visalia, which actually wants rail service.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, how would you negotiate the curves between 7th and Lacey and north of Grangeville. Recall that at full speed, we need a curve radius of several kilometers.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    by wiping out a lot of downtown, which is why Hanford doesn’t want it

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    The best alternative for Visalia at this point is to double-track the UP route, and operate a local service, at reduced speed, between Fresno and Bakersfield. I suppose the trains could still originate and terminate at SF and LA, and operate on the main system at full speed. The UP will have its price, of course, which I’d put at $1 Billion, if Illinois sets any precedent. Still, a statewide system that leaves out Visalia is no statewide system, and there’s little point in even stopping in Lemoore. Might as well fly through Lemoore at 200 mph and be done with it.

    Peter Reply:

    What about Santa Cruz? A statewide system that leaves out Santa Cruz is no statewide system, and there’s little point in even stopping in Gilroy. Might as well fly through Gilroy at 200 mph and be done with it.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    You really think it would be possible to run tracks to Santa Cruz that aren’t prohibitively expensive, slow, or both? Without upsetting the anti-development attitudes that seem to permeate Santa Cruz politics?

    Gilroy is for better or worse the only realistic place for the statewide system to connect to the Monterey Bay cities. But I’m sure a shuttle bus will spring into existence, or maybe even a light rail if the political will exists.

    Peter Reply:

    Dude, it was sarcasm; basically calling out Peter Baldo’s last two sentences as pure hyperbole.

    jimsf Reply:

    The freeway from Visalia to Hanford and Lemore has been recently completed and cuts the travel time from Visalia significantly, by about 10 minutes ( I drive this often) So while an east side station would be best, a west side station is only 15 minutes from Visalia (20 from downtown). So its not the end of the world.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Sounds like the stars have aligned around Hanford West. Straighter and four miles shorter we will at least pass through Kings County in less time.

  4. Derek
    Jan 25th, 2013 at 14:27

    Caltrans to unveil draft rail plan that incorporates California’s high-speed project

    The state rail plan will be the first planning document to fully integrate California’s planned high-speed rail system with existing and proposed conventional rail systems… Caltrans will make the draft plan available for public review starting Feb. 8 and will accept public comments online until March 11.

    It should be interesting!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Rather sad that the review period is so brief. And all written by consultants who don’t know Chino from Chico.

    joe Reply:

    I propose halting the HSR segment to Chico until this gap in expertise is filled.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    What about China Lake? No statewide system would be complete until….

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    Very few people know the difference about those 2 cities. Chico is a beautiful college town. And, the largest urban area in the country not connected to the nations freeway infrastructure.

    Chino is where The character Ryan Atwood came from in the tv drama The OC.

    Cal Poly has a naming problem too. In SoCal, people assume the Pomona campus. In fact CBS and Fox get it wrong every year when listing top 25 college baseball programs, including “Cal Poly Pomona” but, the Pomona campus doesn’t even play D1 baseball.

    There is only one “Cal Poly” and it is in San Luis Obispo. Which is served by the Coast Starlight and is the northern terminus of the LOSSAN corridor. The other campus is “Cal Poly Pomona”, which is a good school too, but not “THE” “Cal Poly”.

    joe Reply:


    Any one who doesn’t know Chico fails. Chico State is legendary. Parteee!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not everyone cares much for college baseball. I might as well say that everyone in the Northeast should know about Chelmsford, MA because that’s where Intercon is.

    jimsf Reply:

    With the state integrating hsr into the rail plan ( as it should be) they can rework a comprehensive network including teh regional trains and the thruway bus services. what we get is a lot of flexibility to use the investments that have already been made in the state rail system.
    I have always said this is the best way.
    It should be taken further to allow statewide through ticketing using a single ticketing platform.
    The best routing options for any trip should include all modes.

    A trip from Ukiah to Los Angeles booked on the website should show all the options / fastest and cheapest, as well as departure times.

    Ukiah to Los angeles would show
    1. UKH(thruwaybus) to MTZ(ccjpatrain)to SJC(thruwaybus)to SLO(surflinertrain)toLAX $49coach

    2.UKH(thruwaybus)toMTZ(sjqtrain)toMCD(hsrtrain)to LAX $99coach $129business $189first

    3UKH(thruwaybus)toMTZ(ccjpatrain)to SJC(hsrtrain)to LAX $99 $129business $189first

    and so forth so from a single site passengers can book their preferred routing and pricing.

    joe Reply:

    What’s the significance of the review period duration 2/8 to 3/11?

    “Caltrans will make the draft plan available for public review starting Feb. 8 and will accept public comments online until March 11.”

    Since the HSR route is a few years off, I think not that much. Also, the plan belongs to the State. It can be changed.

  5. synonymouse
    Jan 25th, 2013 at 19:19

    SF Chron supports study of “possible changes to California’s high-speed rail plan”.

    The editorial staff has not thought so far ahead as BART Ring the Bay. For the moment.

    Tony D. Reply:

    No where in that article does it say there will be “study” for possible changes to CHSR (read it again carefully). Sorry to burst your bubble.

    synonymouse Reply:


    But what it does clearly imply is that if demo-ing I-280 requires changes to the CHSRA plan then so be it.

    Eventually they’ll re-discover Ring the Bay.

    StevieB Reply:

    The editorial makes it seem as if the plans calls for not building a station at 4th and King but this is not the case.

    a recent city memo that suggests terminating Interstate 280 before it stretches into those neighborhoods and asking Caltrain to find a new home for its train yard at Fourth and King streets.

    What is suggested is that the north west triangle of land in the yard could be developed if trains were not stored in the area. The memo says that the land would be more valuable if developed as residential instead of commercial and that replacing I-280 with a boulevard would make the area more desirable as residential. The corner area is further complicated because of plans to place the CAHSR spur leading to Transbay in a tunnel bypassing 4th and King there.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The motive behind Lee’s scheme is adding very large amounts of value to the property tax rolls. The most effective means of maximizing this increased value is to free up the most land for redevelopment. Getting rid of rail entirely accomplishes this objective.

    Two salient points:

    The TBT Tunnel is expensive and fraught with technical difficulties and has a long history of defunding. BART-MTC has always opposed it. The proposed Dogpatch tunneling antes up the cost.

    If it is built but shorn of existing station and other storage trackage there will not be much room for a combined Caltrain-CHSRA operation. Caltrain would win out.

    In any event if BART Ring the Bay resurfaces it will have to be shortly. On the other hand this plan has “legs”. It has San Francisco officialdom on board who are willing to tear down a freeway that was built relatively recently and go up against the highway lobby. Hsr via Pacheco may be bottled up in the Capital of Silicon Valley.

    Jonathan Reply:

    adding value to proerty tax rolls??
    now, if we could ust repeal Pro 13… ;)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fun fact to know:

    The Caltrain station site in SF is owned by Willie Brown’s very very very very special friends at Catellus.

    Caltrain only has an operating easement, and no rights above the rails.

    Guess who makes out when (as it ought to)?

    (Hint: not the public.)

  6. jimsf
    Jan 26th, 2013 at 10:38
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