CARB Agrees to Use Some Cap-and-Trade Funds for HSR

Apr 25th, 2013 | Posted by

Today the California Air Resources Board voted to spend cap-and-trade revenues on high speed rail, among other uses:

The state Air Resources Board voted today to support the proposal from the state Finance Department to invest the first three years of revenue from the allowance auctions on carbon- reducing projects including high-speed rail, zero-emissions vehicles, low-income housing retrofits and urban forestry.

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed last year using as much as $500 million a year in revenue from the carbon sales to pay for a high-speed rail project linking the state’s largest cities. The air board has so far generated $138 million from its first two allowance auctions and will hold one more on May 16 for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

$500 million a year would be a big boost for high speed rail. Over 20 years, that’s $10 billion and would go a long way toward getting the full route built from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Of course, that assumes that the auctions generate more than $500 million per year. As the report noted, the total sum this fiscal year has been $138 million. But as the system gets under way, and as carbon emission allowances get reduced over time, the allowances will increase in value and generate more revenue.

This is one potential way that California can bypass DC and fanatic Congressional Republican opposition to rail funding. True, it won’t cover the remaining $50 billion or so that need to be found once you count Prop 1A and federal stimulus. But the only way to get to that sum is by adding money here and there where you can. This is a smart move by CARB and I hope Governor Jerry Brown continues to seek ways to fund this important project.

  1. morris brown
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 17:56
    #1

    At:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/138023416/BNSF-Letter-to-Authority-4-16-2013

    is an interesting letter from the BNSF indicating at the very least the the apparent cozy relationship with the Authority, may well not be so cozy after all.

    VBobier Reply:

    Sounds like a request for information to Me, nothing wrong with that, or even anything negative about it. So I don’t see the BNSF being against HSR, not your ally for that matter.

    Joe Reply:

    Hey, what do you think of the housing settlement in MP?
    1975 new residences, 1000 by this May.

    And the Stanford 500 el camino development… Sure is another big impact to MP near dowtown and those Medical offices sure do generate traffic.

    There is a way to cope with all that new auto traffic: caltrain and the HSR funds to improve service. since you haven’t been able to stop growth, why stop transit?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Morris

    The BNSF letter underscores PB-CHSRA’s ongoing identity crisis.

    First off it has to decide whether it was about LA and SF or the San Joaquin Valley. Verdict: Valley

    Then it had to decide whether it was hsr or commute. Verdict: commute

    Now it has to decide whether it is CAHSR or Amtrak. Verdict: ?

    That’s why BNSF is querulous, hesitant and noncomittal, because PB-CHSRA remains dazed and confused as to its mission. It lost sight of Prop 1A a long while back.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    BNSF’s potential beef is that it has to allow Amtrak to use its tracks for lower than the market rate. Depending on what is proposed, they have to deal with the fact that they lose revenue from the trains that are appended, or lose revenue from the additional traffic from “Amtrak” that they would bear.

    Keep in mind though, BNSF is owned by big Obama donor Warren Buffet. The request is in part an attempt by Amtrak to find out through BNSF if it has a chance being the concessionaire, if Amtrak service is going to be cut back…etc…etc.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Morris, that is the politest letter I’ve ever seen from a freight railroad to a passenger railroad.

    BNSF is simply asking for clarity (and it’s true, there’s been a lack of clarity lately).

    Contrast the nastygrams from UP.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Confirm, as discussed in recent meetings, that Design-Build will not be used as a project delivery method where CHSRA construction will impact BNSF property or customers

    That bit I’m reading as “your tame consultants aren’t building jack on our property without our approval”.

  2. BMF of San Diego
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 18:08
    #2

    Bypass Washington DC… no way. Those funds should be used to match Federal funds.

    Not all Federal funds are free. Some come with matching requirements.

    VBobier Reply:

    Tell Me, do you see a Repub controlled House sending out any funds to help competition to Big Oil get started? I don’t, I’m hoping in 2014 Democrats can turn CA bluer…

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    No no no…. you miss the point.

    The point I am making is to use the funds strategically. The Republican constipation will pass. And, when it does, Federal funds will be made available.

    A common Federal strategy is to provide a grant application process whereas applications are in-part scored/awarded based on the local matching funds being made available for project x y or z. Hence, the more local funds are fronted, the better an application will score well and recieve more Federal funds.

    If there are limited Federal funds being made available, and California is competing with another State or project, locally committed matching funds at greater proprtions make a project more appealing.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, but still Repubs are crafty, what I read is that they had forbid any funding of HSR through 2017, even if they lose and aren’t in power anymore.

    At least that’s $500 million a year, which could contribute to building track from Bakersfield to Palmdale at least, farther if there was other money for construction.

    To those anti-HSR types: Construction money is not a subsidy, it’s an investment in the future for yer children and grandchildren…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, match 1A. Then match federal funds. There is no situation in which California gets more money by not matching 1A first.

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    Yes there is.

    Matching 1A is on a 1-for-1 basis. With Federal, it is not unreasonable to match for less than a 1-for-1 basis… earning more than when matched versus 1A.

    Moreover, 1A can be matched with Federal.

    At the end of the day, it would appear that CHSRA will have more flexibility is use of funds; however, more CARB funds would be even better.

  3. John Nachtigall
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 18:42
    #3

    Talk about fiction. It is arguable that HSR will be a good investment, I think it is possible to make a case either way, but the idea that cap and trade will succeed is crazy

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/20/europes-cap-and-trade-program-is-in-trouble-can-it-be-fixed/

    Europe did it across the whole continent and it has been nothing but an abject failure when it comes to raising money. What makes you think that it has any chance of working in CA. Here are the possibilities

    1. It repeats the Europe experiment and the market crashes…no money
    2. It works as intended and the price of carbon goes up and businesses leave CA for any other state in the US that does not have to pay any tax

    Either way…no pot of money. By the time you split it 5-6 ways for the other pet projects HSR won’t get enough to pay for the planning that is 100 Million over budget.

    Get real

    Joe Reply:

    How many decades will this myth be repeated. There is no tax induced corporate exodous in ca.

    We continually innovate and lead. Our gdp will be produced with less energy. That is competitiveness.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    http://consumerist.com/2012/09/26/comcast-moves-1000-call-center-jobs-out-of-california-totally-doesnt-blame-state-government/

    Must be fantasy

    joe Reply:

    Oh No! I wanted my Son to work at a call center.

    Maybe he can bite the bullet and work in the high tech field.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22893667/mercury-news-editorial-san-joses-samsung-deal-good
    San Jose is providing $7 million in incentives for Samsung to build a research and development campus in North San Jose. It expects to gain more than three times that amount in revenue from various taxes as well as 2,000 good jobs,not counting short-term construction work. The state’s contribution was more substantial, including enterprise zone tax credits worth $37,440 per employee for five years.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Too easy

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2012/03/26/california-job-loss-recession-analysis.html

    or this one

    http://www.cmta.net/turning_california_around/employment_report.php

    I wonder why all those jobs are not coming back to CA??? Maybe it is better as a percentage…nope

    http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/02/02/brown-wrong-on-factory-job-loss-rate/

    Maybe it was just the recession…nope

    http://www.newgeography.com/content/002524-california%E2%80%99s-jobs-engine-broke-down-well-before-financial-crisis

    you have opinion…I have facts…let this argument go, you can’t win because the truth is that CAs economy is really not doing well and hasn’t for a long time

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, let’s all be like North Dakota. That’s an awesome economy right there.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No housing bust
    Low unemployment
    High growth

    It is an awesome economy right now, you are correct

    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, it’s fun having an oil boom. Just don’t stick around for the bust.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you mean like the dot com boom? or like the real estate boom? I must be thinking of some other state

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not quite. California was a rich state before those booms. North Dakota, in contrast, wasn’t. Not only is North Dakota’s new wealth based on taking from poorer states, but also in a generation’s time, Williston is likely to be the new Butte, Montana: a once-proud city that’s turned into a supernova remnant.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ John Nachtigall: Or like the numerous Gold/Silver rushes starting in 1849 that went bust when the mines played out…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    North Dakota is looting poorer states. It gets $1.47 in federal spending per dollar it pays in federal taxes – and this is from 2010, after the oil boom was well underway. High-unemployment Rhode Island gets $0.81. If North Dakota couldn’t loot Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, California, Texas, and others, it would not be able to brag about how much more growth and less unemployment it has than its benefactors.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s not the federal spending that is driving their economy…it is private money

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yeh, it would be a really happenin’ place if the Federal Government rolled up those nice wide interstates after it drained the nice wide reservoirs. And the REA financed electricity grid and telecom network. I suppose the people moving there for all the wonderful job opportunities could live in sod huts and dig their own privies. But not too close to the drinking water wells.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The private money comes from people getting federal dollars. There’s an infusion of $2-3 billion a year from the rest of the US to North Dakota. This means North Dakotans get spending money for local services that they wouldn’t be getting otherwise, which helps support all this private mining infrastructure. There’s only so much work a remote region without subsidies can have.

    Nathanael Reply:

    2 Senators per state. The emptiest, most costly states do form a coalition to get transfer payments from the biger, richer states. The bigger, richer states have other fish to fry and our Senators roll their eyes and go along with it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’d expect that Rhode Island would also get in on the action. Instead, it’s the biggest net donor in New England despite being poorer than Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

    joe Reply:

    You forgot an important conservative trope – California is going bankrupt. Right?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    CA is not going bankrupt…actually Jerry has done a great job of balancing the budget taking a mostly moderate path. He will regret, however, taking the easy way out on taxes and making the tax system even more progressive. He has acknowledged in the past it was too progressive already which is why revenue tanks so bad in the recessions and goes so high in the booms.

    This conservative thinks a more balanced system with more real estate and less income taxes would be much better long term.

    I am conservative, not stupid. They dont go hand in hand.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The problem of course is that if your tax system isn’t that cyclical, then you’re sticking the people with the tax bills when they can’t afford to pay them. A state with long-term fiscal responsibility should be able to bank the windfall revenue and use it to bridge low revenue in bad times, so that people who’ve lost their jobs don’t have to still pay taxes on sales and property or what not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When times are good the profits the company are making are due to the stellar management.
    When times are bad the company is losing money because of those awful workers. Why shouldn’t the workers still have to pay taxes. If they had been better workers the stellar management would still be making lots of money and they wouldn’t have lost their jobs.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Fine, you want to see where a ultra progressive tax system leads…Fance

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    France

    jimsf Reply:

    Id kill to live in France! how do i get in!

    jimsf Reply:

    Quelle horreur! all that good food, art, wine, fashion,short work weeks, excessive paid time off, nationwide high speed rail system, extensive local transit, thousands of years of history, national health care, grand cities, bucolic countryside, 2 coasts, alpine skiing, AND ALL THIS

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, France had a less progressive tax system than the US until last year. The top marginal rate in France was 41%, about the same as in the US under Bush when you count Medicare and state taxes. France had much higher taxes than the US on the middle class, though, because of the 20% sales tax. France only started doing progressive taxation this year as an austerity plan, raising income taxes on incomes above a million Euros a year to 75%. Let’s wait a couple years before pronouncing this policy a success or a failure.

    But at any rate, John, you’re confusing two issues: how progressive the system is on average, and how cyclical it is. Direct income taxes on the rich and means-tested welfare are both progressive and cyclical, but there are other ways of raising taxes. A flat income tax, a capped payroll tax, and a sales tax are all cyclical without being progressive; a wealth tax is progressive without being cyclical. Property taxes are usually not cyclical and can be as progressive as you’d like depending on exemptions and rates: if the taxes are higher on renters than on owners then they’re not progressive, if the marginal rates are bracketed based on property values like income tax rate brackets then they are progressive, etc.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Property taxes are usually not cyclical and can be as progressive as you’d like depending on exemptions and rates

    No they can’t. That’s why Prop 13 had to be passed, so Granny wouldn’t be forced out of her house by rising property taxes when she was 90. Or Union Pacific.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Both of you are overlooking the fact that the State General Fund is so heavily progressive because local taxation is not. Cities rely almost exclusively on sales tax revenue reserved by the Bradley Burns Act to pay for services. Counties and school districts, by extension, retain the property tax levies with the state pitching in through revenue sharing.

    John’s salient point is that if you make the rich pay all the taxes, in effect, the base becomes more volatile, not less.

    But there’s a strong argument to be made that the State should raise taxes even more to defray the amount of economic inequality and use that money to hire more government workers, who would in turn add to the middle class and pay taxes and support services.

    VBobier Reply:

    You could have fooled Me, I and others thought and do think that Cons are Stupid, even Gov Bobby Jindal of Louisiana says that Repubs are the party of STUPID!

    JB in PA Reply:

    We all have out weak spot for our personal favorite utopia. Richard is in love with perfect rail systems. Not sure what utopia Syn subscribes to.

    John Burrows Reply:

    your references are not current—-

    1. “bizjournals” ends Jan 2012
    2. “cmta” ends July 2011
    3. “calwatchdog” ends Feb 2012
    4. “new geography” (Wendell Cox) ends Nov 2011

    The “bizjournals” article shows that California private sector jobs decreased from 12,640,500 from Jan 2008 to 11,785,300 in Jan 2012. But what it doesn’t show is that from March 2012 to March 2013 California added 294,000 private sector jobs.

    And the article by Wendell Cox conveniently shows the effects of the dot com bust on California, but shows nothing after 2008.

    joe Reply:

    2008 to 2012 is a US recession and weak recovery, the net jobs in the US went down, unemployment is high in the US.

    Arguing CA lost jobs is an argument there is a net wash for the US, the total jobs should not go down nationally. CA loses and Texas wins.

    CA is part of a national recession, that’s not evidence jobs moved elsewhere.

    Derek Reply:

    California is where companies are born, and other states is where they go to die.

    joe Reply:

    Well done.

    and Comcast is competing with this CA firm
    http://goo.gl/maps/pTmrv

    Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 33 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is pioneering Internet television at http://www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I hate CrapCast and am itching to get away from them in the worst way. SF broadcasters could supplement Sutro with repeaters so the region could use rabbit ears but they won’t . So take away their frequencies and give them to cell companies. The guvmint and the machine will lose one of the means of propaganda.

    Now if Netflix would budget the money to put back together the cast of “Reaper” and make some episodes that would be excellent.

    We’ll see if Aereo gets squashed or not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah so you want the government to force broadcasters to supply you with free TV… Communist!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or give up their sweet spot frequencies, which the cell interests are pursuing as we post.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s the free market for ya. The cell companies are willing to spend more than the TV broadcasters.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I choose to just point at the scoreboard. 48 out of 51

    http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

    joe Reply:

    You wrote CA losing jobs due to high taxes. Now you point to this list – har har.

    SO N Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina are high tax states too.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually this list was to disprove the notion that the CA economy is healthy. The other links point to why (which is taxes)

    Nathanael Reply:

    The CA economy has problems due to Prop 13 (taxes too LOW), due to Prop 13 (too many FEES), and due to a housing bubble crashing.

    Income taxes are one of the things California has going FOR it, economically.

    Peter Reply:

    And California is obviously in its position due to its high taxes. Because unemployment obviously increased after the last election raising taxes.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Yes the European cap and trade system is a mess, as result of political failure, not policy failure.

    Nathanael Reply:

    John, FWIW if the price of carbon emissions crashes for any other reason than “we gave away too many permits” (which is what happened in Europe during the first couple of years), it’s because it turned out to be cheap to reduce carbon emissions. (It actually IS cheap to reduce carbon emissions.)

  4. JJJJ
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 18:47
    #4

    John, not all businesses can move. Nor do all businesses want to move. You really think the agricultural industry will abandon their crops and move to texas? Theyc ant. You think Hollywood is moving to Alabama any time soon? Do you think Silicon Valley will relocate to Mississippi?

    Low taxes do not mean business will come running. Highest taxes and rents in the country? NYC. Business capital of the country? NYC. I dont see Little Rock attracting any big companies, do you?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes, I think if cap and trade works (and chances are it won’t) energy intensive businesses will not continue to invest in CA when they can go to any other state.

    You mention NYC…how about Illinois. They had to exempt the big business like Boeing to keep them in town after they raised taxes. It is not a sudden exodus, it is gradual, a few jobs at a time, like this

    http://consumerist.com/2012/09/26/comcast-moves-1000-call-center-jobs-out-of-california-totally-doesnt-blame-state-government/

    But it ok, it won’t work in the first place and it will collapse just like Europe so good news, no huge extra cost to buisness

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Yes, I think if cap and trade works (and chances are it won’t) energy intensive businesses will not continue to invest in CA when they can go to any other state.

    For every $1 per metric ton of cap and trade, California’s electricity price will rise by three-hundredths of a cent.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Pick a theme. Either it raises prices to force people to change habits…or it does not do anything??? Which is it?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    California has extremely low levels of carbon emissions in its electricity was the point rather of that. The major effects will be on petroleum fuels, cement producers, and the like.

    joe Reply:

    What re you thinking? IL recently attracted Boeing HQ from Seattle so you are mistaken about IL.

    IL also landed a new rail manufacturing plant in Rochelle to make Amtrak train sets and these will all be complaint with CA’s stringent air quality standards.

    Comcast Call Center? What an embarrassment of an example.

    Morgan Hill, just north of my city, is losing some call Center jobs yet is growing with high tech workers and high density housing development along the Caltrain ROW.

    I hear they closed a fruit cannery in Cupertino.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    its simple…tax a lot companies threaten to leave… don’t tax and the companies stay

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RLT

    This is not advanced economics

    As for the “sizzling” california economy…

    http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

    48 out of 51, thank God for Illinois and Mississippi.

    jimsf Reply:

    No its not that simple. There is more to doing business than taxation.

    California’s economy is the 12th largest economy in the world (2012),[7] if the states of the U.S. were compared with other countries.[8][9] California ranks 12th among the 50 states in terms of GDP per capita.[10] As of 2010, the gross state product (GSP) is about $1.9 trillion, which is 13.06% of the United States gross domestic product

    There is a reason that california has such a large economy in spite of high taxes. You might say its because there are so many people here. Well, why is that? Why would 37 million people choose to make california home when there are at least 40 or more other states with not just lower taxes, but lower costs of living over all.

    california is a desirable place to live and work. It always has been and always will be because there is a high quality of life here.

    Some people only thing about money. money money money, but there are other reasons to be alive and to live and work in a place like california. And that is what you are missing.

    If you don’t like it here, then get out. There are virtually no limits to the lifestyle a person can live here, amazing microclimates, geography, food, arts, education, and social openess.

    If you can’t find you bliss here then the problem is probably you.

    anyone who leaves just because of taxation is not a person who really knows how to live in the first place.

    joe Reply:

    Morgan Hill is just north of Gilroy on Caltrain.
    But it wasn’t taxes, it’s labor. Comcast left for cheaper labor.

    Comcast call center in Morgan Hill will close Nov. 30

    http://www.sanbenitocountytoday.com/articles_from_gilroy/comcast-call-center-in-morgan-hill-will-close-nov/article_bf8fb0b5-91f1-53c4-9d12-298d22d434ef.html

    The jobs are being outsourced to Texas, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Minnesota, according to a call center employee who attended the meeting but asked to remain anonymous.

    “They didn’t admit this, but it’s all about getting cheaper labor. That’s why they’re doing this,” the man said.

    Comcast left Morgan Hill for cheaper labor.

    The per capita income in Morgan Hill in 2010 was $38,695, which is upper middle income relative to California, and wealthy relative to the rest of the US.
    - http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/morgan-hill/

    A call center in in a relatively wealthy city leaves town for low cost labor elsewhere. I can deal with that economic trade.

    Morgan Hill is a stop on Caltrain in South County and continues to infill and expand because it’s a commuter city for the high tech silicon valley. It’s feasible to work at Netflix in Los Gatos and live in Morgan Hill.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    let me guess Jim…you are in retirement.

    CA can’t be beat for climate. And in the past, CA had it all, great climate, great growth, great opportunity, that is why it attracted all the people. Now what keeps them is just inertia. I live in CA and I work in CA because this is where my job is, but they are slowly bleeding because the growth and opportunity is better in other states. If they would admit the problem they could solve it. It is not too late

    joe Reply:

    I live in CA and I work in CA because this is where my job is, but they are slowly bleeding because the growth and opportunity is better in other states. If they would admit the problem they could solve it. It is not too late.

    http://www.monster.com/

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    See ya.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m sure the workers paradise of Mississippi or South Dakota would be attractive.

    jimsf Reply:

    No John I am not in retirement. I have lived here since 1965, have worked here since 1980, will retire here in 2026 and die here in 2046 if all goes as planned. I have spent a year here and there living and working in other states/cities when their was supposedly more opportunity there, like Washintong, Nevada, and two stints in Texas. I have have seen most of the country both as a kid and as an adult touring with a traveling show. The conclusion, the vast majority of america is a sucky dump. You couldn’t pay me to live anywhere esle but cali.

    and there is no iniertia here. The bay area is booming, housing is recovering as it always does, and cali remains the best place to be for all the reasons I stated in the previous post.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I thought you lived in Colorado?

    Anyway, there’s this ratchet going on in the US: people move to a new-growth area, which is rich and new and has conservative politics; then the new-growth area matures and becomes more liberal (maybe more liberal people are moving in, maybe its poverty grows entrenched and leads to activism, maybe its infrastructure grows old and requires more visible maintenance); then people move to a newer-growth area. On the metro area level, this is suburbanization – Westchester was heavily right-wing in the 1960s and isn’t anymore. On the national level, this is the Sunbelt – first California, then South Florida, now Texas and Arizona and Georgia.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Heavily Republican in the 60s. Rockefeller Republicans would be center-left these days, if there were any left. Rockefeller Republicans have been wandering off to spend more time with their families since the 70s.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I was born and raised in Colorado including college. I live and work in CA

    jimsf Reply:

    see, even you left another state, a lower tax, more conservative state, to move here to the place where you don’t like the way things are done ( yet here you are )

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jim, don’t be annoying. I live in the US and Canada rather than in Sweden even though I think on the vast majority of issues Sweden does things better. The reason: in my particular line of work, most of the good jobs are in North America. For other people the reason may be social (family, social ties, hobbies, local subcultures), or legal (immigration barriers), or linguistic.

    John Burrows Reply:

    Actually 38 million—

    The US Dept of Commerce population estimate for California as of July 1st, 2012 was 38, 041,430—A 2.1 increase from the 2010 census. During that same period the population of the USA grew by 1.7%.

    According to Conservative Republican doctrine California is bleeding out, and it is absolutely impossible that the failed state of California, “America’s Greece”, “California is going down”, could actually grow faster than the rest of the country. And of course it is unthinkable that the California Economy could really take off over the next few years—But what if it does?

    VBobier Reply:

    I believe that Repub Doctrine is what used to be called “white flight” more than anything else and their not even close to being credible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Conservative Republicans have been predicting the imminent demise of California for as long as I can remember. The imminent demise of New York and Illinois too. They love to point at how awful Massachusetts is. Massachusetts, low divorce rates, low abortion rates, low infant death rates, low crime rates, low almost any social indicator except income which is high. It’s just awful.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politics can cause businesses, even “business capital”, to relocate. I adduce the transfer of the business capital of Canada from Montreal to Toronto when the former opted to go all separatiste et francophone.

    Jerry’s grasping for every farthing for a sketchy project that now suffers from majority opposition is drawing ridicule:

    http://live.wsj.com/video/opinion-californias-great-leap-forward/D31DF6C0-ABAA-470C-B182-70BD658F3310.html?mod=WSJ_article_outbrain&obref=obnetwork#!D31DF6C0-ABAA-470C-B182-70BD658F3310

    The video is sophomoric and sorely lack info but the WSJ’s disdain is still justified.

    Tony D Reply:

    All, just leave JN alone with his ridiculous world (and state) view..

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am sorry my facts hurt your feelings…I will try to be less honest in the future

    jimsf Reply:

    what facts?

    Why do 37 million (and growing) people make california home?

    synonymouse Reply:

    A lot of them are fleeing much worse conditions back home.

    jimsf Reply:

    http://www.syvphp.org/de-bunking-immigration-and-migration-myths-in-california-and-investing-in-the-future

    “The mythology of the tidal wave of immigration overwhelming California and its institutions is rampant in all forms of media and colors all debates about public policy. But, what are the real facts? Perhaps unvarnished census data can inform us?

    Last week, I attended a conference in Santa Barbara where the keynote speaker was demographer Dowell Myers. Dr. Myers is a professor at USC and holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from MIT and directs the USC Population Dynamics Research Group. What did Dr. Myers say census data shows us on the topic?

    1. The white population in California has not declined in California and has held steady at 15 million.

    2. The U.S. immigration rate has actually declined since 1990 and in California it has declined nearly 10%. This is due to the steady decline in population in Mexico where the birth rate has declined from 6.8 births to 2.4 births since 1960.

    3. Immigrants in California assimilate, are upwardly mobile, and are long settled in California. The average immigrant has lived in California for 20 years and 51% of Latinos are homeowners vs. 56% of all Californians.

    4. The majority of Californians are born in California.

    5. California is 5th in the nation in population remaining in the state at 65%. Native Californians are not leaving in droves.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Bloombergian spin-meistering. The corporate establishment want an ample influx of new slaves to keep wages down and do the “dirty, difficult, dangerous”.

    I haven’t driven in decades and walk a lot for a geezer. And I see who’s walking the streets along with me. And it ain’t the elite holed up in their enclaves impervious like Feinstein in her Presidio Hts. manse.

    Check out the 7-11 or Home Depot hiring line FOB.

    jimsf Reply:

    Now I remember where Ive seen you before

    Michael Reply:

    The Eurostars needed to navigate the UK system until HS1 was complete to St Pancras. Initially it ran “blended” all the way from the Chunnel to London Waterloo. It also needed to traverse the network to go from Waterloo to North Pole (really) where the maintenance center was. With the completion of HS1 and the relocation of the London terminal to St Pancras, it’s all European gauge now. The DB plans to start running ICE service to London soon directly from Germany.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “5. California is 5th in the nation in population remaining in the state at 65%. Native Californians are not leaving in droves.”

    The Urbanophile has a series of posts about that, in the Rust Belt. He explains that the local officials overhype the problem of brain drain, and in fact the secondary Midwestern metro areas have very little brain drain, but also very little brain gain. A place like New York or San Francisco has huge churn with many people coming in and many coming out. The net migration numbers are terrible for both NY/SF and the Midwestern Rust Belt, but in terms of population remaining in it’s different.

    jimsf Reply:

    syno uses his anecdotal experience to come to a conclusion that a different people are now “walking the streets” of california. Equally I would then have to use my anecdotal evidence which is that out of all the friends and family Ive had over the last 48 years, only 2 have left, so that tells me that “most californians are staying here” if I use synos methodology.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Re-read my posts because I never said population was declining. I said if cap and trade works (and it won’t) it will drive energy intensive businesses out of state.

    That morphed into a discussion about the CA economy. I proved with citations that the CA economy is one of the worst states in the US right now…somehow people thought that meant I said people re leaving in droves…I never said that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most businesses aren’t energy intensive.

    joe Reply:

    You posted a link to Comcast call center closing as an example.

    The closing, (reported by our local paper) was NOT due to CA taxes but Comcast seeking low wage workers out of state.

    The impacted city, morgan hill is relatively wealthy in the US due to high paying tech jobs.

    FAIL.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Did you read the article?…Comcast originally said it was due to taxes and regulations…then the Governor’s office called and then they changed their minds. Actually read the article. They moved because of taxes and the CA government made them change the story.

    Not Fail

    joe Reply:

    Comcast actually corrected the statement. The employee interviewed said, low wages.
    Call center jobs are FAIL.

    Samsung is expanding in San Jose, not Austin Texas. Why did you pretend that wasn’t a counter example – I even gave you a link?

    Probably mortified they’ll more call center jobs out of state.

  5. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 20:11
    #5

    With the various job comments here, this might be interesting:

    http://business.time.com/2013/04/11/how-made-in-the-usa-is-making-a-comeback/

    My own take on it is that this is a good thing, we need manufacturing capacity here for “independence-skill building” reasons, but one must also note that the job numbers aren’t going to be really huge, and those that get hired will have to be well-educated in technical fields. That won’t be much good to a lot of the people on the unemployment lines now.

  6. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 20:50
    #6

    Off topic, but I think this is rather important, something some of us remember, something some of us need to relearn:

    http://ivn.us/ars-politica/2013/04/25/the-moral-obligation-to-be-persuasive/

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    For the political junkies–why the Republican party is falling apart, and may go the way of the Whigs:

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/04/24/1916371/new-mexico-gop-official-calls-19-year-old-a-radical-bitch/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are circling the wagons. Around the drain.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s so weird to see Americans describe a party with a floor of about 47% of the electorate as “falling apart.” Even within the winner-take-all district system, which magnifies small differences between parties, the changes in seat numbers are small. The Dutch Christian Democrats managed to lose two thirds of their voters in the last two election cycles. That’s falling apart. Going down from 53% to 47% isn’t.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The death of Progressive Conservative Party in Canada is probably a better example. From majority government to only two seats in a single election.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is perfectly likely to happen to the Republican Party. Not this year, but in a few years.

    One of the effects of the winner-take-all system is that party-system shifts appear much, MUCH more sudden than in proportional representation systems. After a social shift fails to be represented by the political system — for decades on end — there will be a sudden, *extremely* dramatic upheaval.

    (This is why proportional representation systems are better. The sudden shifts generally lead to rioting and occasionally war.)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Also, Alon, 47% is far, far, far from a floor for Republican Party voting numbers. You’ll see.

    (Remember, this will NOT rebound to the benefit of the Democratic Party, which is becoming inextricably identified with “corporatism-lite”.)

    Eric Reply:

    Every party in the US, after they win an election, thinks that history is on their side and they are guaranteed to win all future elections. Perhaps it has something to the fact that while Obama (for example) only got 53% of the votes, he now controls 100% of the presidency…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …yeah the last bunch got 50.7 percent of the vote and claimed they had a mandate from the electorate to do all sorts of things…. after gaining the Presidency with 47.9 percent of the vote in the election before that. Which was also a mandate to do whatever they wanted.

    nslander Reply:

    More than three quarters of all Americans do not identify as Republican. http://www.people-press.org/2013/02/20/about-the-survey-59/ They will remain over-represented at the national level only but for the kabuki-two-party system, but they are approaching their all-time low as far as registration and demographic trends ensure it gets worse before it gets better. It’s not that difficult

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Your link doesn’t say what you think it says; it’s about unweighted sample sizes for demographic cross-tabs, not about party identification.

    In reality, a lot of Americans say they’re independent but then reliably vote one way or another. Others say they’re independent and actually are independent but have a consistent ideology (for self-described independents it’s socially-liberal-fiscally-conservative, i.e. the people who like Christie and Cuomo) and split based on whatever makes them feel more centrist.

    In overall national elections the results are always very close simply because in a two-party system, a party consistently on the right side of a 55-45 split will use its political capital to move closer to the views of its base while the part on the wrong side will moderate, and within a few election cycles the balance will be restored. It’s an artifact of how the system magnifies 55-45 differences. In a multi-party system where in the relevant support range for any party (say, up to 30%) each extra marginal percent gives approximately the same benefit, things are different and that’s when you get real meltdowns if people abandon a party in many different directions.

    nslander Reply:

    Not gonna skew. Page 34 of cross-tabs: http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/02-21-13%20Political%20Release.pdf
    That’s a steady downward trend of points in the last 10 years, and the lowest since Pew has been asking the question since 1987.

    But maybe you are right and it’s not statistically significant. Then there’s Gallup, the GOP poll of choice, http://www.gallup.com/poll/151943/record-high-americans-identify-independents.aspx 27%, the lowest since Gallup has been asking the question since 1987.

    But let’s forget the polls. Nationally, Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 Presidential elections, and the Nation fells into deep buyer’s remorse immediately after its sole relapse. Even within our 2 party constraints, the GOP is a regional party with minimal and decreasing national appeal outside the South. While more are registering independent, a larger percentage of those are avoiding the R brand than the D. If this weren’t a real concern, the GOP’s electoral strategy wouldn’t be so dependent on mass disenfranchisement.
    http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/election-2012-voting-laws-roundup
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/us/politics/waiting-times-to-vote-at-polls-draw-scrutiny.html?ref=politics&_r=1&
    http://www.wral.com/senate-bill-seeks-to-curb-college-vote/12298695/
    Their brand is crap.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Democrats have always been had more registered voters than Republicans. Traditionally this was because Dixiecrats retained their registration and kept voting Democratic in local elections while voting for national Republicans. Nowadays it’s the vagaries of independents.

    Losing 5 elections out of 6 means you’re averaging less than 50% support. In the last 4 elections, the GOP got 48, 51, 46, and 47 percent of the vote (I’m ignoring the previous 2 because of third parties). That means the median voter in the US is at the rightmost margin of the Democratic party. It’s very far from the implication that nobody supports the GOP: “their brand is crap,” “the nation fell into buyer’s remorse,” “falling apart.” Yes, there may be a shift in the party system comparable to the replacement of the Whigs by the GOP. Or maybe the GOP will recover the way the Democrats recovered from losing the last 5 elections out of the previous 6 in 1992. Either way we’re talking about small changes in popular opinion that are magnified by two-party majoritarianism.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Multipartyism worked out really well in 1980 and 2000. When the Republicans claimed sweeping mandates after they got less than 50 percent of the vote.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I thought it was stupid when Bush claimed a mandate after 2002, too.

    nslander Reply:

    Where did anybody even vaguely imply “nobody supports the GOP”?
    But I will stand my assertion their brand is indeed crap, which is why they are increasingly embracing voter supression. And the voters did not get GWB buyers’ remorse? I know you don’t believe that. Nobody does. I realize what you are trying to say, but I think your putting far too fine a point on it. Those small changes you identified should not be minimized as merely being magnified by the duopoly; those changes came DESPITE the duopoly. Consider who comprised the plurality vote in those 5 of 6 Presidential elections, then consider what percentages of the losing vote were attributable to the South and aging white men. At the National level I think its fair to call that “falling apart”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Alon, there are no “vagaries” to independents. I’m sure you’ve seen the studies which show that the vast majortiy of independents are either “left of the Democrats” or “right of the Republicans”.

    The Reoublican brand is dying. It’s losing support in every birth-year bracket, but more importantly it’s losing *massively* as you go to younger birth-year brackets. Again, you’ve probably seen the studies which show that most people’s political views are fixed around age 20. The Republicans are losing quite spectacularly in that age bracket, and are continuing to lose voters in older age brackets, which means they are doing something spectacularly unpopular.

    Now, this isn’t rebounding to the benefit of the Democrats, because, well, because they’ve been doing pretty terribly too.

    There’s going to be a party-system shift, guaranteed. Because of our crap first-past-the-post gerrymandered-districts electoral system it’s going to take a while, and will then happen quite suddenly. (This is just a mathematical artifact of the system).

    In a nearby Congressional district to me, there was an incumbent Republican. In addition to the Democratic candidate, there was a third-party candidate on an environmentalist platform. The third-party candidate got about 25% of the vote. Was the third-party candidate a “spoiler”?
    No. The Democrat got 51%. How close are we to a party-system shift? It could happen any year.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “a party consistently on the right side of a 55-45 split will use its political capital to move closer to the views of its base while the part on the wrong side will moderate, ”

    Except that’s not what’s happening. The Republicans are on the wrong side of the split and moving further to the wrong side. The Democrats are on the right side of the split *but mostly also moving to the wrong side*.

    This has happened before. Before the Civil War, both Democrats and Whigs moved to more and more pro-slavery positions. The Whigs moved faster, and collapsed. The Democrats moved slower, and broke into four factions. A complete upstart party won the Presidency.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …yes going the way of the Whigs would be better. Which is where they are headed.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    And for the steam fans: ATSF 3751 (4-8-4) to run from Los Angeles to San Bernadino, Saturday April 27, departure time LA 10:00AM; return San Bernadino to Los Angeles on Sunday, April 28, departure San Bernadino 3:00PM.

    http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2927759

    Wish I could see this baby.

  7. Ted Judah
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 21:13
    #7

    The AB 32 money is going to act as a backstop for the Prop 1A bonds. It’s not going to be “new” money in that regard.

    However, if Prop 1A can build Merced to Palmdale, then there is a workable solution using existing revenues streams: For Gilroy to Merced and Palmdale to Sylmar CalTrans will build a new freeway that has a HSR ROW down the middle. Then from Sylmar south and Gilroy north, the local transportation entities will be sued into finishing the project. Once the service is operational, then there’s enough operating revenue to expand the system outward.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What Prop 1A money…it is 1/2 gone and there is not even a shovel in the grounds…reread the post. HSR is best case 50 million short and worst case much more when the cost overruns hit? Prop 1A funds can’t even pay for a 1/3rd of the first IOS.

    And since when can you sue a government to spend money?

    Can i have some of whatever it is you are smoking…must be great stuff.

    PS. Operating funds wont break even best case for 20 years…and that is if the planner are right..if they are wrong…it never breaks even

    StevieB Reply:

    Funds to the Authority from operations will come from a fee paid by the concessionaire to operate the trains. The fees less maintenance cost will be used for system construction. What is your idea of operations breaking even?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Per the plan the ridership won’t reach break even until after the full blended system is built and add 5 years because that is how long it aditially takes and HSR system to reach a level ridership

    If ridership never rises to cover costs…that is my idea of not breaking even

    StevieB Reply:

    The concession fee will not be below the cost of electricity and maintenance. Ridership numbers determine the profit of the concessionaire who could be the Chinese. Are you worried the Chinese might take a loss?

    synonymouse Reply:

    There will be no concessionaire – they will try to deed it over to Amtrak and nationalize the operating losses.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Considering that Califonia sends more money to the Federal Government than it gets back from the Federal Government why is that a bad thing?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You may not need to add 5 years if parts of the system open before the blended plan.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not half gone, it’s one third gone. The other two thirds, matched by whatever source, get you to Sylmar if you use Tejon or a small number of billions short of Sylmar if you take the Palmdale detour.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    First IOS costs between 30-40 billion and you have no matching source which was the point of my original post. Cap and trade is going to be 15% of a small number in the few hundred million, not enough to matter

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Bako-Sylmar is $15 billion via Tehachapi; via Tejon it can probably be done on less than $12 billion.

  8. Emma
    Apr 25th, 2013 at 23:39
    #8

    I don’t know how I should feel about getting money from only one sources of tax funding. It should be equally spread to all sources of government revenue. Some of the cap & trade money should definitely go to other green projects and higher education.

    StevieB Reply:

    The cap-and-trade program is part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California. AB 32 requires California to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020, and to maintain and continue reductions beyond 2020. The implementing legislation specifies the general categories that are authorized to receive budget appropriations from the Fund created by auction of emission allowances.

    With the goal of reduction of GHG the recommended priority investments for the First Three-Year Investment Plan are sustainable communities and clean transportation, energy efficiency and clean energy, and natural resources and waste diversion. High speed rail falls under the clean transportation category.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    AB 32 requires California to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020

    Going straight for the capillaries, eh?

    joe Reply:

    With a growing population, that emission target is an accomplishment. 29M in 1990 and 38 M now and projected to hit 42M by 2020. 42M with emissions equal to 29M.

    Maybe we pale compared to what others are doing.

    What’s Canada’s plan? Aside from developing the Albertan tar sands and a resource extraction based economy. And what’s with Vancouver being a top 10 city for time wasted in traffic.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t like being criticized by foreigners? Stop being a violent world empire. Some Americans know better and have joined in solidarity with Idle No More, but I guess that for you it’s too gauche and it’s much nicer to just say “we’re better than someone else, hooray!”. You’re reminding me of the pro-war idiots who, when questioned on how the FBI treats peace activists as terrorists, have no answer except “you can’t say that in Cuba, neener-neener.”

    And British Columbia itself is not the same as the assholes in Alberta who are running the federal government because of a shitty electoral system. The name of the power company here is BC Hydro, which should cue you in that it’s not a high-emissions area. Vancouver proper has about 5 tons of CO2 emissions per capita per year, which is one of the lowest in the developed world (cf. New York at 7, San Francisco at 11). On transportation emissions, Metro Vancouver is building a large rapid transit system and making sure to upzone near stations to raise ridership, to the point that SkyTrain has more ridership than BART; the rise in transit mode share in recent years has been higher in Metro Vancouver than in any in the US, Australia, or the rest of Canada.

    Vancouver also doesn’t have that much traffic congestion. It didn’t build freeways, so the auto boosters try to squint their eyes to prove it has lots of traffic, but on metrics like commute time and growth in commute time it’s doing well: commute times have actually decreased in recent years.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You most certainly can say, in Cuba, that the FBI treats activists as terrorists. I suspect that the official government propaganda outlets have said it more than once. Unless they have caught on that it’s bad propaganda to tell Cubans that the Americans tolerate activists. Or that it’s bad propaganda to tell Cubans that the FBI is open enough that Cuban propaganda outlets hear about the FBI treating activists poorly.

    Small metro areas have lower commute times partly because they are small. It’s hard to have an hour long commute in a metro area you can drive across, at rush hour, in 30 minutes. ( not that one can drive across metro Vancouver in 30 minutes )

    joe Reply:

    Don’t like being criticized by foreigners? Stop being a violent world empire.

    Vancouver also doesn’t have that much traffic congestion.

    You choose to live in a violent world empire for personal gain. I did not. So pocket your silver pieces and STFU.

    Vancouver traffic congestion deemed worst in Canada
    GPS maker says Vancouver congestion worse than in Toronto, Montreal or Calgary

    and

    Metro Vancouver traffic congestion 2nd worst in North America
    Makers of TomTom navigation device use data collected from real drivers
    CBC News
    Posted: Jan 8, 2013 2:14 PM PT
    Last Updated: Jan 8, 2013 9:10 PM PT

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much automobile congestion do people using SkyTrain experience?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Traffic on the train is stop and go. The vehicle has to stop every 1-1.5 kilometers, the horrors!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When I don’t live in the US, I don’t have a right to criticize because I’m not local. When I do live in the US, I don’t have a right to criticize either because I chose to live there or something.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I just realized that in the snark of the original comment, I forgot to mention that the UN goal is an 80% reduction from 1990 levels in the first world by 2050. Hence the “straight for the capillaries” comment.

    Though you’re still an asshole for not having any better response than “Canada’s no better, neener-neener.”

    jimsf Reply:

    when you say violent world empire it puts you in the kook category. I suppose the us should stop stepping in to help around the world and just let countries fend for themselves.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    For the most part we really don’t help and yes, other countries would be better off, in almost all cases, fending for themselves when it comes to military force.

    jimsf Reply:

    In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government allocated the following amounts for aid:
    Total economic and military assistance: $49.5 billion
    Total military assistance: $17.8 billion
    Total economic assistance: $31.7 billion

    I’m sure that the recipients of that aid would disagree with you.
    Further, in watching out for others, we are watching out for ourselves when it comes to security, health, and resources.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The military aid is almost entirely where we are currently engaged in combat operations (in 2009, more than half of it was for Afghanistan), with a few major bribes to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan (arguably combat ops place). Economic aid follows a similar pattern. Furthermore, we don’t watch out for others, merely our own interests and they had best pray that their interests are in our interest.

    Let’s not forget that the US has a long history of invading other nations or otherwise supporting brutal and violent regimes solely for its own gain.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, don’t forget the Iraq War. The US was spending more money on that than on economic aid between 2003 and about 2011.

    Second, coming from one of the countries receiving the most military and economic aid from the US, I have to tell you that the benefits mainly go to American corporations. Mostly the US is giving Israel money to buy single-sourced combat planes and such from US vendors. In the 1990s, when Israel wanted to sell some technology to China, the US flipped and forbade it from doing so, and Israel complied. More recently, when Israel started exploring offshore natural gas (and eventually found large reserves), the US pressured it to undertax the profits that the US companies would earn from this gas; Israel not only rejected proposals by the left to raise gas royalty taxes much, but is also providing military protection for the foreign companies on its own dime.

    The experience of getting foreign aid is much more positive in very poor countries, but the world’s poorest countries get most of their development aid from Europe and Japan. The US contributes a much smaller percentage of its GDP to least-developed-country foreign aid than most other rich countries.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s your right to believe what you will about America. We police the world and promote freedom so you have that option (you are welcome). But you are displaying your ignorance when you claim we are a violent world empire. As world empires go, the US is the least violent ever. Compare to any other historical empi in any period and the US does not even come close.

    Basically we came into our own after WWII. Immediately rebuild Europe, Japan, and all our enemies. Fought the communists (you think we are bad, look behind the iron curtain) and generally kept peace in the world since I.e. Pax Americana.

    I get that you don’t like world empires Alon, but be fair, America is the least bad option. You think China will be better…ask Tibet. Russia is still around…maybe you think Putnin is the model modern leader. EU…not a bad choice except they crashed the common currency in a short 14 years and they refuse to make the hard choices (both economic and military).

    We keep tryi to give up the policman role, but the world will not cooperate. For example, not
    W that Syria is using chemical weapons do you suggest we let them just slaughter the civilians or do we step in since we are the only ones with the military might to stop it? So until everyone can live in Star Trharmony

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Star Trek type harmony, it’s America or worse choices

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    promote freedom

    Tis a pity whenever those uppity ungrateful people we promote it to get quashed by regimes we back when they actually try to exercise some freedom.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, the US has killed more people outside its borders than any other country since the end of the postwar expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe. Yes, this means more than the USSR, purely because of numbers games (Vietnam killed more civilians than Afghanistan). Also more than China, which mainly killed Chinese people. To people outside the core of the first and second worlds, there was pretty much no difference.

    Second, there are alternatives to world empires. For example, the US could be promoting more international action by the UN instead of undermining the UN at every opportunity. World empires are bad at preventing ongoing massacres: the US needed to be dragged into Libya at the last moment, and most of the work there was done by France and the UK. Right now, even though Obama said chemical weapons in Syria were a red line, the US is still doing nothing in Syria. The local US client, Israel, is doing nothing either, even though it has a lot to gain from regime change in Syria, because it’s too afraid of Islamist takeovers and has gotten used to the Assad regime.

    Third, even Libya and Syria are at least in a region the US gives a crap about. In other regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa (Rwanda, DRC, Eritrea) and South/Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Burma today), forget about it. This despite the fact that in many African conflicts the combatants were so poorly trained and armed that the war would’ve ended instantly with even a small military intervention, which is exactly what happened when the UK intervened in Sierra Leone.

    Fourth, in the absolute monarchy era, some kings were better than others. The abolition of monarchy was still a good thing. You might as well oppose the French Revolution on the grounds that Louis XVI was better than other monarchs. Globally, hegemony is not a way to solve global problems, because the hegemon doesn’t care about what affects others. Hence, inaction on issues like extreme poverty, climate change, illiteracy, malnutrition, and war.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hence, inaction on issues like extreme poverty, climate change, illiteracy, malnutrition, and war.

    But the Republicans get taken seriously. So maybe inaction is better than some of the actions they would take.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Meh. The Republicans don’t really want there to be illiteracy, civil wars, and malnutrition in developing countries. They aren’t going to spend money on fixing those problems, but it’s not as if the Democrats have any better ideas. (Exception: birth control and the Global Gag Rule.) For example, the way USAID works is decades out of date, and many of its practices, like giving clothes and shoes to people for free, do more harm than good by dumping free goods in countries that need to develop their own industries.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why is it good for the Bangladeshis to sell cheap clothes to Americans and Europeans but bad for Sub Saharans?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s bad when Americans think they’re being charitable. Bangladesh sells cheap clothes to the US to get money. The US isn’t getting money out of giving clothes for free to countries with local garment industries; it’s giving those clothes out of a misguided belief that people in those countries need them.

    For the same reason, if instead of just producing clothes at regular Bangladeshi wages, Bangladesh decided to give clothes to the US for free, maybe as a way of encouraging textile exports, the US would respond by slapping tariffs on Bangladesh, and the WTO would back the US.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why is it good that Americans and Europeans no longer make the majority of their clothes freeing them up to do things like buy CDSes on their CDOs and not good for Sub Saharans who could be digging septic tanks and teaching each other how to use solar water pasteurizers? Sub Saharans can’t afford new clothing from local vendors or Bangladesh so they buy used clothing from Americans and Europeans. And not that running low cost garment factories is particularly good for Bangladesh or Sub Saharan Africa.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100679902

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well since we are going to play the “absolute” game

    1. Interesting that you said “outside our borders” because if you had not you knew the Russians and Chinese would have taken the prize with no sweat. True that Americans generally don’t kill our own. This is a meaningless statistic since America is the only country with the ability to kill a lot of people outside our own borders. No other country has the ability to actually invade, take over, and hold any other another country besides America (and yes I am including Europe).

    2. No, there are not alternative to world empires. Basically when there are 2 equally matched countries history has shown that they fight a world war until 1 wins (economic or military) and the other looses. But the more interesting point here is that you imply that the UN should intervene but the US should not?? What is that logic, so if a UN peacekeeper kills it is ok but if a US Marine does it is bad? PS. Who do you think staffs UN peacekeeper forces when they are actually under fire. Hint, the country name starts with “A” and ends with “emerica”. UK and France could not have sustained anything in Libya without the US. They ran out of bombs in the first week and they had 0 surveillance. And you should be happy about Syria, that is what you want…no intervention by the US.

    3. Again…I thought you did not want a world empire so you should be happy when the US does not intervene. I wish you were consistent.

    4. There is always going to be a superpower, there has been since civilization started (think Alexander the Great) and it extends through the Romans (now there was a violent world empire) into today. I am not arguing it is good or bad, I am arguing that since it has to happen the US has been the most benevolent one in history.

    But really I just don’t get what you want. You argue for intervention in Africa but against intervention in Afghanistan which was clearly a terrorist state that attacked and killed civilians. It is not like the US was bombing Afghanistan before 9/11, we actually helped them fight the Soviets. You want the US to fight poverty and climate change and war but you dont want us to intervene and throw our weight around.

    We have had this discussion before Alon, I get you don’t like America, that is fine, but I fail to understand why you can’t even admit to all the good things the country has provided the world. The technology, the freedom, the economy. You claim to care about the Bangladesh workers but without the evil Wal-Mart they would not make any wages at all and it is not America that forces their country to be corrupt, we enforce laws to try and prevent it even though we have no sovereignty over that country.

    There are many examples of the US fighting (both military and otherwise) corrupt dictatorships and freeing people. YOu may not agree with how it happened, but Iraq’s citizens are better off today then under a dictator that would routinely kill thousands at a time.

    Americans have given more charity and money to other countries with no strings attached than any other country. We are still the number 1 per-capita charity givers in the world by a large large margin. And it is private money, not government money. Those people get nothing in return, it is not about buying influence.

    Americans have rebuilt and refurbished more countries and land than any other country ever. Name any other country that would have re-built Germany and Japan after the war and then forgiven the debt. Again with Korea…Again with Iraq…Now with Afganistan. In WWI Britain and France did not do it. Even now with Germany and the PIGGS they wont grant the money, they just keep them on loans and let them dig the hole deeper. They sunk the entire economy of Cyprus (as messed up as it was) over a mere 10 billion.

    Think what you like Alon, but the facts are that the world is a better place with the US in charge than it is with any other country. One last example, who cares more about climate change, the US or China. You may not think we move fast enough or hard enough but in the end America is trying to help everyone, not just ourselves.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sub-Saharans can in fact afford new clothing from local vendors. They buy it all the time. It’s not hard to manufacture textiles for the masses – the US started doing it in 1793, the UK even earlier.

    Re the factory collapse, there are about zero Bangladeshis who want Bangladesh to stop exporting things. There are protests right now calling for safety laws like not locking factory doors. Basically, same thing Americans were asking for after Triangle Shirtwaist.

    The Bangladeshis need the export revenues to be able to afford septic tanks and solar water pasteurizers. Same is true of Sub-Saharans. Richer countries don’t, because they went through their garment export phase a long time ago and used the revenue to build infrastructure that lets them manufacture airplanes.

    Joey Reply:

    There are many examples of the US fighting (both military and otherwise) corrupt dictatorships and freeing people.

    And a comparable number of examples of the U.S. propping up dictatorships and turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.

    Name any other country that would have re-built Germany and Japan after the war and then forgiven the debt.

    The saying goes, if you want a huge economic stimulus, loose a war to the United States.

    On the subject of charity, might it be a better strategy to invest in infrastructure in third world countries rather than directly give them things like food and clothes?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I’ve been reading this exchange, and a couple of thoughts occurred to me.

    One is that both Alon and John are right. The US has been the most benevolent “world empire,” and it has also become the most resented in recent times.

    What’s most interesting is what has been the source of both the benevolence and the corruption. In my opinion, the benevolence came after fighting and winning against forces that can only be considered pure darkness (Hitler and Nazism, Japanese imperialism), and standing as a bulwark against another darkness (Communism under Stalin). (I have to wonder how we wound up with world leaders who were such madmen in Hitler and Stalin.) It’s interesting to note that despite the threats these governments became, we entered the fights rather reluctantly. Granted, there is evidence suggesting FDR realized what trouble Hitler could become, and attempted to provoke a German fight as an excuse to go against Germany, but the spark came from what was then the empire of Japan.

    We have become our own form of darkness, however. We seem to have developed something of a hair trigger for fighting in recent decades–and the origin of the hair trigger seems not to be of “national interest,” but of large corporate interest. How else does one explain the fighting of oil wars, the whole aggravation against OPEC from the 1970s to today, while we have done nothing to reduce our vulnerability to oil shocks (such as building both improved regional rail service and HSR), and indeed have fought against such actions? How else does one explain the willingness to intervene in the Middle East but not in the sub-Sahara? The difference is there is no oil in the sub-Sahara, indeed no corporate profit there at all. Hence, no action.

    I’ll also remind us that corporations have always been some source of tension in other parts of the world, as in the case of rubber plantations, sugar plantations, and the like. More and more, I’m becoming convinced the corporate model for business organization leaves much to be desired.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the subject of charity, might it be a better strategy to invest in infrastructure in third world countries rather than directly give them things like food and clothes?

    When people need money, the best strategy is to give them money. That’s the advice given to people in the wake of e.g. the Haiti earthquake – give money rather than your old clothes or your unskilled labor, which Haiti has in abundance.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    The comments about letting a country invest in its infrastructure reminds me of a couple of stories about railroads in Africa and Asia.

    A railway in Asia was offered money to improve its railroad system with new locomotives. I believe this may have been an American foreign aid grant from the late 1950s or early 1960s. It had been supposed that the grant would have gone for new diesel units, presumably to be built in the USA. Unfortunately, the railroad’s management was still steam-minded at the time; I don’t know the details, but a logical reason could be that the grant didn’t include product support or training the road’s mechanics for the new power. In any event, the order wound up going to Great Britain, which still had a factory capable of building steam locomotives.

    There are stories of at least two countries in Africa in which the government was enticed to buy diesel locomotives, but then the railroads in question ran into problems when it came time to buy parts to keep the diesels running. Fortunately, the railroads in question had not scrapped their steam locomotives, nor the shop facilities, so for them it was not a huge job to overhaul the steam roster and put it back to work. That’s one advantage of steam–with a proper machine shop, it’s repairable locally, something that isn’t always possible with certain parts in internal combustion engines and some of the electrical gear in a diesel-electric unit.

    I’m certain the railroad managements in question weren’t too happy with the customer service angle later, either.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    China kept steam locomotives into the 1980s, since at Chinese wages at the time, the higher labor requirements of steam power weren’t an issue. But nowadays the entire world’s dieselized, so even in Africa people get diesels.

    By the way, what you say about product support is a huge issue in developing countries. Often, aid projects assume a constant supply of professional expertise, and end up increasing those countries’ dependence. As an example, William Easterly brings up a project to install free open-source software in poor countries, avoiding the licensing fees; it sounds like a good idea, but open-source software requires a lot of tech support that isn’t locally available, which Easterly contrasts with closed-source free things on the net like Hotmail and Gmail, which anyone with a net connection can use.

    Tying this back to the issue of global governance, that’s what happens when the people giving the aid don’t have to listen to the people getting it. If they think it’s charity, they’ll give what they think the poor need, not what the poor think the poor need. And even domestically within the US, middle-class people have outdated views of what poverty is like (poor people in the first world have cellphones, often even smartphones, because those are cheap compared to rent, not because they’re lazy); on a global level, they mostly have no idea.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    which Easterly contrasts with closed-source free things on the net like Hotmail and Gmail, which anyone with a net connection can use.

    And what low tech non support using device do you use to access your Hotmail where there’s no support for Open Office?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Open Office is actually one of the easiest things to use for a non-techie, unlike most Linux variants.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve needed tech support for my BlackBerry once, and that tech support was “restart it and try again.”

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Steam gone in China by the 1980s? Whoa, there’s still some there now! Not on the main line, and not as much even in secondary service as just a few years ago, and what’s around may not last too much longer, but there’s still some there!

    China in 2011; my personal favorite in the playlist below is the last one, taken in the repair shop and titled “Zen and the Art of SY Steam Locomotive Maintenance:”

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL89FF219A253581E6

    And it’s not just China; some industrial steamers are still puffing around in Bosnia of all places. What’s amazing is that this is all still regular service steam for freight work, not some tourist or heritage road:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL278C2ED3235A8AA4

    Back to China–just last December, mind you:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLX3CN4-sw0zOW18T1WCNePgeDucvSDxxv

    We’ll close out with a coal mine railroad that runs both steam and electric power, at a huge open-pit mine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1s6cVlLBJE

    If I had the money, I wouldn’t mind getting about three to six of those SY class engines from China, and rebuilding them to replicate a like number of Virginian Railway class MB 2-8-2s, which these machines resemble. I’d put them to work on tourist trains in West Virginia, of course!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Open Office is actually one of the easiest things to use for a non-techie, unlike most Linux variants.

    Open Office and it’s fork Libre Office are cross platform and the people running it on Windows, OSX etc would be surprised to learn that they are using Linux. Now if you happen to be running Firefox or Opera on your Android phone to access Google Docs you are using Linux.

    joe Reply:

    You prefer Sweden but for the work, personal gain, you choose to work in the US and Canada. You criticize the US for it’s economic policies yet you insist in profiting off these violet policies.

    You are Complicit.

    Joey Reply:

    Individual opt-outs aren’t going to change much. It’s probably more effective to try and change policies, however ineffective that is.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Domestic policies. On a lot of the foreign policy crap the US does, Sweden is complicit, just ask Julian Assange. The one big global policy difference between the two countries is their approach to CO2 emissions, and I make sure to arrange my lifestyle in a way that minimizes the emissions that I have control over.

    You are an asshole and a moron.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to move to Vancouver. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you pursue an advanced degree. Wanna cut your carbon emissions no one is stopping you from taking up subsistence farming in Africa.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, I could also commit suicide and not emit any carbon. Progress!

    joe Reply:

    Or you could get off your high horse.

    and support an oil extraction tax in CA.

    CMED Cleared for Circulation – Signature Gathering Begins

    The California Modernization and Economic Development Act (CMED) places a 9.5% tax on the oil and gasthat’s extracted from California, and would bring in over $2 billion of new revenue to the state. $1.2 billionwould be allocated in four equal parts towards K-12, California Community Colleges, California StateUniversity and the University of California. Another $400 million would be used to provide businesses withsubsidies for switching to cleaner, cheaper forms of energy. The remaining $300 million will be allocated to county governments for infrastructure repair, public works projects, and funding public services

    505,000 signatures in 150 days.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sure. It’s not going to have any noticeable effect on carbon emissions, but it’s funding things that California’s long underfunded.

    Andrew Reply:

    joe, there is nothing hypocritical about criticizing the status quo (or in Alon’s case, a country where one has studied or worked) while also relying on it. To say there is, is like saying “You can’t criticize our over-reliance on cars because you drove one to this meeting”, or “You can’t criticize this blog, because you use it to publicize your opinions”, etc. People have to be allowed to make use of what is available while also trying to move things forward. By the way, it’s also OK for Paul Ryan to criticize social security or student loans or whatever, while also having benefited from those programs himself. People who see these things as hypocritical are just confused.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well, I could also commit suicide and not emit any carbon.

    Only if they bury you at the bottom of a subduction zone and even that is somewhat temporary.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The carbon in my body is already in the biosphere. It’s a closed system – same reason why human breathing contributes zero net CO2. Burying at the bottom of a subduction zone means net removal of carbon from the atmosphere, just like digging up dead organisms’ carbon and burning it means net addition of carbon to the atmosphere.

    joe Reply:

    Same holds for people as for trees and soil carbon.

    Carbon Dioxide is a green house gas and reflects long-wave back to the earth, Carbon Alon does not. When carbon Alon decomposes into CO2, his carbon is in a radiatively active state.

    joe Reply:

    Joe, there is nothing hypocritical about criticizing the status quo (or in Alon’s case, a country where one has studied or worked) while also relying on it.

    Andrew, Yes, you are right.

    It is hypocritical to be a part of our economic system and pretend you are not part of the system or complicit. If I am part of a “violent empire”, so is he.

    Those who disagree with the policies are upset, they acknowledge they are participants when they pay taxes.

    Civil disobedience.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau#Civil_Disobedience_and_the_Walden_years:_1845.E2.80.931849

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, you’re the one who made it personal. I was criticizing government response to climate change and all you could muster up in response was these stupid responses. It’s as if you have no humanity in you – no sense that you are separate from a flag or a state. I see it a lot in Israelis, but Americans don’t do it when other Americans criticize the US in a mainstream manner.

    And even the Thoreau reference is stupid. Thoreau didn’t bring down slavery. People who did pay taxes did: Lincoln, Douglass, Beecher Stowe, Sumner. In your own universe everyone who eats is complicit and this way you can keep advocating widening highways, keeping coal plants in operation, and restricting development in dense cities and not feel like you’re killing people with your activism.

    Jon Reply:

    Alon is absolutely correct here. Your home is where your friends and family are, which may or may not be in the same country in which you were born. The correct response to ‘why don’t you go live in Sweden if you care so much’ is, fuck you, this is my home and I’m staying here. I will try and change things as best as I can but I’m not responsible for what the government does in my name. If this makes me complicit in the system then so are you, so you don’t get to judge me.

    joe Reply:

    Home is where the heart is. To verify, just close your eyes and click your heels. you’ll go there.

    Where you CHOOSE to live and work are personal choices. If you choose to move to another country then it’s really a choice. If you move to a country is a violent empire and economic imperialist then I propose you are complicit.

    When you make these economic choices and chastise others for the same choices it’s called hypocrisy.

    Deal with it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    How long until you start repeating the usual tirades about Al Gore?

    Jon Reply:

    “When you make these economic choices and chastise others for the same choices it’s called hypocrisy.”

    Except I don’t. I have never chastised anyone for living in America or anywhere else.

    “If you move to a country is a violent empire and economic imperialist then I propose you are complicit.”

    You chose to live in America just as much as I did. Either neither of us are complicit, or both of us are.

    joe Reply:

    Don’t like being criticized by foreigners? Stop being a violent world empire.

    Don’t fall off that high horse guys.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m on a high horse? Dude, you’re the one who tells people who aren’t from the US to go back to peasantry or whatever. You’re the one who, in response to a jab at California’s climate policy, shifts the discussion to “Harper is worse” (true) and “Vancouver has traffic congestion” (not really true, or relevant to climate change, on which issue BC is far better than any US state).

    joe Reply:

    I just asked about Albertan tar sands – the extraction of that Canadian resource is going to slam the planet. NASA’s Hansen says exploiting that specific resource will be game over for the climate.

    Criticize HSR and CA transit. Vancouver has worse traffic than the Bay Area #2 in N America. The data are measured by GPS, not personal impressions. Idling cars pollute.

    So harp on the US’s empire. It must feel good to live in a nation where the standard of living is subsidized by resource extraction and low defense spending is a by product of a close US alliance.

    I’m sure you dim the lights and all. Just recognize where you were and are.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Cars pollute, idling or not. Vancouver did not build freeways within city limits, so the local pro-car trolls think that It Must Have Traffic. If it really had big traffic problems, not only would commutes be longer (its commute length is short and the number of cars entering the city is decreasing), but also the congestion would show up on the TTI indices. Instead, they’re developing their own indices, on the same principle that leads poor-hating megalomaniacs like Bloomberg and Sarkozy to develop their own indices for poverty.

    But let’s compare Vancouver and the Bay Area. Vancouver has a 21% metro area transit mode share, up from 14.5% in 1996. The Bay Area, lumping SF with SJ, is at about 12% and has no upward trend. Vancouver has built dense residential and retail development around SkyTrain stations; outer BART stations tend to be parking lots. BC Hydro gets 87% of its power from hydro power and the rest from gas; California gets 41% of its power from gas, 9% from coal, and only half from nuclear, hydro, solar, etc. I don’t know the metro area-wide numbers, but Vancouver proper emits 5 t-CO2 per capita, while SF emits 11.

    Canada’s low defense spending comes from recognizing that there is nothing it can do to counter the threat the US poses to individual Canadians and from Chretien’s having told Bush to pound sand about Iraq.

    JOE Reply:

    But let’s compare Vancouver and the Bay Area. Vancouver has a 21% metro area transit mode share, up from 14.5% in 1996. The Bay Area, lumping SF with SJ, is at about 12% and has no upward trend.

    I apologize for not taking that comment at face value since your still denying Vancouver status as a congested city.

    Three Canadian cities rank among the worst urban centres in North America for traffic congestion, according to an annual report.

    GPS maker TomTom released the results of its annual congestion index report Thursday, identifying traffic hot spots across North America.

    According to the report, Vancouver tops the list of most congested city in Canada with a population more than 800,000, and second in North America, slightly behind Los Angeles.

    Travel times in Vancouver are 33 per cent longer than when traffic is light and 68 per cent longer during the evening commute, according to the report.

    The 10 most congested North American cities ranked overall:

    Los Angeles (33%)
    Vancouver (32%)
    Honolulu (30%)
    San Francisco (29%)
    Seattle (26%)
    Toronto (25%)
    San Jose (25%)
    Washington (25%)
    New Orleans (25%)
    Montreal (25%)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I apologize for not taking that comment at face value since your still denying Vancouver status as a congested city.

    Places without congestion aren’t usually called cities.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The same report calls Phoenix a low-congestion city. Do you think looking more like Phoenix makes a city produce less CO2 emissions? Or are you just trying to evade the fact that in your rush to dismiss everything I say you ended up trying to attack the environmental record of the greenest city in North America?

    Incidentally, the correlation between this report and the TTI, which measures total amount of wasted time and gas per driver (rather than the ratio of peak to non-peak travel time), isn’t that strong. There’s some correlation coming from the fact that large cities are more congested by any measure, but it’s not perfect and the TTI measures what affects the average driver.

    jimsf Reply:

    The problem arises when someone sits around in some other country and tries to tell someone else what to do. I mean you have a right to be critical of the us, but you can’t expect to show up on a us blog with an anti america rant, and make friends. So don’t be shocked when your criticisms don’t go over well.

    As a californian I would never tell another state or county what they should or shouldn’t do. Its none of my business. If texas wants to be a shithole, more power to them. I lived there, their way of life didn’t suit me so I came home. If france wants to tell women they cant wear things over their faces, that is none of my business, they have every right to do so. If a country, the us, or any other country, wants to put rules and regulations on immigration, they, as a sovereign nation have a right to do so. And so on.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    <em.The same report calls Phoenix a low-congestion city.

    It’s difficult to have congestion in a sea of low rise buildings with 6 lane wide boulevards every mile. No it’s not a low carbon solution.

    Looking at one parameter doesn’t give you a good view. The worst congestion in New York is in the southern end of Manhattan. It also has the lowest commute times. I can’t find numbers but it probably has the lowest carbon footprint too. Looking at how much longer it takes to drive to work in Vancouver than it would off hours doesn’t tell you much about how long it takes to use Skytrain to get to work versus getting there on Skytrain off hours. In Manhattan average commute times increase as you look farther north. Where automobile congestion is less.

    StevieB Reply:

    Draft Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Investment Plan: Fiscal Years 2013-14 through 2015-16

    Emma Reply:

    Oh. Well, then it makes all the sense in the world to use the funds for high speed rail. Thanks for the information.

    Nathanael Reply:

    So the legislative intent was to target environmentally disadvantaged communities with the money — and the most disadvantaged communities are a string running right down the Central Valley. Yeah, if that was the legislative intent, then the HSR line is clearly the thing to spend the money on.

    shorebreeze Reply:

    This is an excellent use of cap-and-trade revenues. They ought to go into projects that are directly related to reducing fossil fuel consumption — to wit, substituting transportation modes that use CO2 for those that use less, or none at all; assistance to homeowners and landlords to install solar power; and so on. Much as I see higher education funding as a laudable goal, it does not, in general, speak to reducing CO2 emissions. High speed rail involves replacement of energy-intensive transportation that depends on CO2 emissions with transportation that uses 70 to 80 percent less energy per passenger-mile and has the capability of being run entirely from zero-emissions sources. You don’t get much better than that.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Strictly speaking, cap-and-trade should go to the people hurt by climate change. If not, it should just go to general revenue, independently of the (laudable and justifiable) spending on avoiding climate change.

    But that goes again to the conflation of the two claims on HSR. Yes, HSR reduces emissions a bit and that’s enough to make it worthwhile, but no, it’s not a meaningful reduction in emissions relative to the total volume of emissions.

    kd5mdk Reply:

    The idea that any government program has specific revenues dedicated to it is evidence of a gap in people’s trust in government. In real terms, revenue is revenue and it doesn’t matter how it was raised as far as what programs it goes to. We set our priorities when the budget is made and decide how much each line is worth to us. The idea that “cap & trade money” is different from “income tax money” or “sales tax money” or anything else is just people showing they don’t trust the budget process their elected legislators go through.*

    *There may be good reasons for people to feel this way, but it’s a silly state of affairs overall.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This particular lack of trust dates back thousands of years, however. “Dedicated taxes” are not a new thing.

  9. Derek
    Apr 26th, 2013 at 13:19
    #9

    High-speed rail to begin making offers on property, by abc30.com

    jimsf Reply:

    where will the first shovel of dirt turn? madera or fresno?

  10. Roger Christensen
    Apr 26th, 2013 at 14:56
    #10

    It was my impression that one of the first projects is the extension of the downtown Fresno St. Underpass. This would correspond with the Channel 30 story about property bids already happening in the downtown area.

  11. Tony D.
    Apr 26th, 2013 at 16:16
    #11

    Back to the topic at hand: combine the Cap N Trade revenue with potential tax revenue from exploiting Monterey Shale, and we’ll be well on our way at getting this system built WITHOUT Washington’s help.

    joe Reply:

    Like this proposed ballot initiative for a 9.5% tax?

    http://www.calitics.com/diary/14996/campaign-for-oil-and-gas-extraction-tax-begins-signature-gathering
    Campaign for Oil and Gas Extraction Tax Begins Signature Gathering
    by: ksings
    Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:15:56 AM PDT

    A proposed ballot initiative that would enact a tax on oil and gas extracted from California will be granted summary and title by the Office of the Attorney General today. Californians for Responsible Economic Development, the group behind the measure, now has 150 days to collect 505,000 signatures if they wish to qualify it for the 2014 ballot.

  12. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 27th, 2013 at 06:45
    #12
  13. morris brown
    Apr 27th, 2013 at 09:24
    #13

    I find it extremely interesting that Robert wrote a section in this blog on Jan 15 2013

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2013/01/building-a-good-hsr-system-requires-looking-beyond-costs-alone/

    Building a Good HSR System Requires Looking Beyond Costs Alone

    which essentially endorsed the concept of making sure the technical abilities of the bidders received a lot of consideration and that price alone was not satisfactory for winning by itself.

    With the un-announced rules changes,

    (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl_MIrJFIy4 a 1 minute video explaining the original rules )

    which would have eliminated the Perini group from being considered further, I am wondering how he feels about this rule change, initiated by Morales and approved for the Board by Chair Richard.

    joe Reply:

    I find this lawsuit settlement extremely interesting … I believe 1975 new units total must be built and ~1000 location approved by May. It unravels 20 years of hard work by MP NIMBYs with little time to plan.

    http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=13407

    With a May deadline right around the corner, Menlo Park has released the environmental and financial impact analyses for the upcoming housing plan update.

    The long-overdue update is part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought last year by three nonprofits over Menlo Park’s lack of compliance with state housing law.

    During this update cycle, the city needed to find sites where zoning changes could allow about 900 new housing units to be built, with 454 units dedicated to affordable housing. Menlo Park held numerous community workshops and study sessions to whittle the initial list of 25 sites down to five:

    ….

    To get a jump on the next update cycle, Menlo Park is also considering implementing new programs to encourage construction of 300 granny units and an additional 118 units on existing housing sites with excess space for infill development, according to the staff report.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed. Perhaps Menlo Park should think about providing some transportation for those people, too…

  14. Andrew
    Apr 28th, 2013 at 10:09
    #14

    Tejon Ranch, meet Aylesbury Park Golf Club:
    http://moreintelligentlife.com/blog/anonymous/high-speed

    synonymouse Reply:

    It has been suggested that super-wealthy buying lots in the area of the Tejon alignment are at issue as well as the proposed golf course. But the land holdings are so large it would seem relocation would be a simple matter. You would think they would want the elite enclave to be more remote from I-5

    I am anxiously awaiting to see the results of Clem’s promise of shall-we-say “guerrilla engineers” working up the ideal Tejon alternative under PB and Tejon Ranch Co. radar and feet.

    BrianR Reply:

    so is the UK’s HS2 being built to the same loading gauge used in continental europe? If so it would seem sort of ironic as the Eurostar was built according to the more restrictive UK loading gauge.

    Michael Reply:

    Posted originally in wrong location. Oops…

    The Eurostars needed to navigate the UK system until HS1 was complete to St Pancras. Initially it ran “blended” all the way from the Chunnel to London Waterloo. It also needed to traverse the network to go from Waterloo to North Pole (really) where the maintenance center was. With the completion of HS1 and the relocation of the London terminal to St Pancras, it’s all European gauge now. The DB plans to start running ICE service to London soon directly from Germany.

    nick Reply:

    the siemens trains to be used by DB and eurostar are delayed passing german certification so arent even running there yet. latest date for eurostar looks like 2015. the eurostar e320 sets are 400 metres long and the DB sets 2 x 200 metres which incidentally is the same set up expected to be used on hs2. The idea is that DB trains would split in brussels from the uk to serve germany and the netherlands. THis means that the chunnel safety case would have to be amended which seems may be likely. The Eurostar sets would not have this problem although an emergency spilt might be required.

    Another problem is that UK Immigration is not happy with on-train passport checks so these will require either customs facilities or checks when entering the uk as is the case at airports. In the case of the new through south of france eurostar service as there arent any customs facilities everyone has to leave the trains at lille and then reembark or catch another service after immigration checks.

    nick Reply:

    HS2 itself will be to european (dirty word in the uk at the moment !) loading gauge but there will be two sets of trains – hsr only and classic compatibleto allow through runiing to locations not served by hs lines – blended in other words !.

    BrianR Reply:

    how would they use the same platforms if differing car body widths per the two different loading gauges? Would the classic compatible cars have sill extensions that pop out just prior to the doors opening (like SF Muni’s Breda cars)?

  15. jimsf
    Apr 28th, 2013 at 12:01
    #15

    interesting off topic but RT in sac is working toward improvements on the up line instead of the wp line, because the wp line is not in keeping with sac county growth planning

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jim, that’s not what this document means:

    This is RT saying that in order to compliment an express version of the Altamont Corridor Express to Merced using the UP’s line that they are going to stop serving Sacramento with the San Joaquins and instead use a bus bridge.

    Another possibility is this means the Capitol Corridor will get extended to Merced too via the UP line.

    jimsf Reply:

    I didnt see anything about a bus bridge but I was just wondering where the WP line is. Isnt the UP line the one currently used between sac and stockton ace? Was hsr planning to use the wp line ( hwerever that is) and then rt wants them to use up instead?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    In the near-term, improvements and expenditures will be focused on the UPRR mainline, and dedicated feeder bus services between the San Joaquins and Sacramento; not on the WP line as initially proposed.

    The WP (I think) is roughly parallel to 21st Street in Sacramento. The UP line is further east by Sacramento State.

    Also, there is no service on ACE to Sacramento currently.

    jimsf Reply:

    so the plan for hsr then is to use the up line between stockton and sac, which makes sense since the approach to the sac hsr station is better via up.

    jimsf Reply:

    speaking of ACE… passenger survey shows that amenities (food/bev etc) beat out frequency, wifi, speed, security, and on time performance, as a priority for what passengers want.

    jimsf Reply:

    ace passenger survey results

    Joey Reply:

    Is it really surprising that the few people who are actually willing to ride a slow, infrequent train are the ones who don’t care about speed or frequency? ACE today is nothing but a niche market. If you want to grow it’s mode share then things like speed, frequency, and OTP matter.

    Andrew Reply:

    Both Sacramento and Stockton should have direct HSR service to SF, SFO and the rest of the Bay Area. Adding a 6-mile connector between Martinez and Carquinez would enable terrific links between the North Bay counties and Cent/Socal, via Vallejo:
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205242278980764848338.0004cee1ca9342ce961c8&msa=0&ll=37.448697,-121.294556&spn=2.455101,4.938354

    This would also offer a much faster route to SF and SFO than ACE for everyone from Merced to Manteca.

  16. jimsf
    Apr 28th, 2013 at 12:22
    #16

    This is the clearest, descriptionof the project I have found. Very straightforward.

  17. Keith Saggers
    Apr 29th, 2013 at 15:16
    #17

    Thanks Jim

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