State Senate Unanimously Passes Steinberg’s CEQA Reform Bill

May 30th, 2013 | Posted by

Yesterday the California Senate unanimously approved Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s bill to reform the California Environmental Quality Act, SB 731, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration and, hopefully, passage.

The 39-0 bipartisan vote on Senate Bill 731 was touted by the measure’s author, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, after Wednesday night’s session.

“We go into the Assembly with a lot of momentum,” Steinberg said.

Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, spoke in the support of the bill.

“I think everybody would agree that it’s not sweeping reform on one hand,” Berryhill said. “But on the other hand . . . it’s kind of the nature of this body that we incrementally move forward. And I think this bill does that.”

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/05/california-senate-unanimously-backs-changes-to-ceqa.html#storylink=cpy

The bill itself is a very strong bill that includes a lot of important provisions to help mass transit and passenger rail in California, including removing “aesthetics” from CEQA for residential and transit-oriented development. Concerns about aesthetics have nothing to do with environmental quality and it’s good that it will no longer be part of the law.

It’s a sort of anticlimactic vote given all the controversy and drama over CEQA reform in the last 9 months. That’s a testament to Steinberg’s hard work to forge consensus around some common sense ways to reduce carbon emissions and support important green projects without letting NIMBYs abuse CEQA to block them.

I don’t know how the bill will fare in the Assembly, but my guess is it will pass there too. The Senate was always going to be something of a harder fight.

  1. BMF of San Diego
    May 30th, 2013 at 18:58
    #1

    The State is charged with protecting the safety , health and welfare of its’ citizen’s.

    VBobier Reply:

    The “poor” nimbys aren’t going to like this, passed with a unanimous vote, interesting. Now on to the state assembly and then to Gov Browns signature.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is a well-written bill on the whole.

    Unfortunately, it appears that it still allows for spurious, bogus CEQA claims based on the claim that something will “reduce parking”, and appears to still allow for the spurious claim that “slower traffic” is an environmental problem (which can be solved by pouring more asphalt, of course!). That means another round of fixes will be needed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In other words, it doesn’t fix the problems with anti-traffic calming NIMBYs while making it easier to say “it’s a bypass, you’ve got to build bypasses.”

    Chevron.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Chevon, “Nathanael”, “VBobier” and Cruickshank vote aye. What could possibly go wrong?

    joe Reply:

    Chevon, is that the name of a singer? I think she’s on my iPod.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    doesn’t having a singer on your iPod make it difficult to press the buttons or plug in the charger?

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, no, it does eliminate the “OMG an elevated train line will ruin my view” stuff.

    While explicitly *retaining* all environmental objections based on “This will increase greenhouse gas emissions.”

    So it’s a good bill. It’s just not perfect.

  2. jimsf
    May 31st, 2013 at 09:27
    #2

    Hopefully this will clear the way for infrastructure projects without making it easier for private developers to have their way.

  3. synonymouse
    May 31st, 2013 at 11:38
    #3

    Jerry Brown has gone over to the dark side. He is a developer shill now. But like the other dinosaur bosses he will extinct soon.

    Here’s one who needs to demission right away. Oust Heminger, Ring the Bay stooge and longtime enemy of Caltrain:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_23362595/daniel-borenstein-bay-bridge-officials-dont-walk-transparency

  4. John Nachtigall
    May 31st, 2013 at 13:25
    #4

    Still late and getting later.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_23357569/california-high-speed-rail-faces-delays-high-stakes

    Shocked Face!!

    So a year and a half late…still no firm date in start…no shovels in the ground…have not bought the property…no defined route.

    Aren’t you supporters getting a little pissed off. If my pet project was being managed so badly I would be super pissed. At this rate the authority incompitence will get the project canceled even before Jerry leaves office

    synonymouse Reply:

    Expect nothing from the dumb-shit “what do we know about trains?” judiciary. Strictly a pass for anything Moonbeam wants for his legacy.

    Truly cool Loop de Loop:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLb_99f_JSE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    I am surprised the UP did not shoot it down.

    Alan Reply:

    With your obvious expertise in building 800-mile, high-speed railroads through mountains and urban areas, why don’t you jump right in and show them how it’s done? Or is it more fun just to sit back and complain?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Step 1. Hire professionals.
    Step 2. Implement.

    It’s not that hard, “Alan”.
    You just need the people doing the contracting to have even the most remote interest in public outcomes.

    Alan Reply:

    Whatever, “Richard”. Apparently, anyone who doesn’t see your grand vision, such as it is, doesn’t have “the remotest interest in public outcomes.”

    Yawn.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How about not starting by hiring the chief risk officer from the bay bridge debacle. It is one thing to hire people with no track record, but to hire somone with a poor record? So sad.

    And I think they just paid another 100 million to consultants that werer supposed to provide the expertise you refer to. How is that working out.

    As is pointed out ad nausea on this board there are plenty of people who build HSR, why not just copy them or better yet hire them.

    Honestly, since I am not a big fan of HSR Part of me is hoping they do get the 60 billion to build this. When they are over budget and have little to nothing to show for the money it will kill HSR in the US forever.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    As is pointed out ad nausea on this board there are plenty of people who build HSR, why not just copy them or better yet hire them.

    Uh, that’s what the State did.

    The most recent and applicable HSR project in the world, Taiwan High Speed Rail, hired this firm called Parsons Brinkerhoff to build it.

    Joey Reply:

    PB does good work when they have competent people overseeing their work and the threat of not getting any more government contracts when they do bad work (they have no such incentive here).

    synonymouse Reply:

    When you add in the very expensive and valuable works in the LA region and south my guess is more on the order of $100bil.

    The high volume urban trackage will be retained as commute ops and the rest divested. Not even on a par with the privatization of the NdeM as the DogLeg likely has no utility other than passenger. A private passenger operator would require heavy subsidy and I predict the State will be too broke hefting an enormous welfare load to pay for anything more than the minimal Amtrak level we have now. Mexico does not even have an Amtrak.

    The Deserted Xprss would serve as a bellweather of fiscal fiasco. Accordingly I kinda think it will get turned down once it dawns on them, lest is failure let the cat out of the bag too early.

    synonymouse Reply:

    its failure

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they don’t spend the money on consultants people like you then sit around and complain that they are getting enough advice. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    .,,,, if only Dagny Taggart were in charge….

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Alan

    Why did Moonbeam fire Van Ark, who genuinely had “obvious expertise in building 800-mile, high-speed railroads through mountains and urban areas”?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Van Ark quit because people like you don’t want to pay people with Van Ark’s talents, enough to keep them in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    say what?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    On this planet he quit for a better paying job. I don’t know what the news reports said on your planet. I don’t wear the a tin foil hat and can’t tune them in.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps he was thinking Hollis Mulwray.

    “You think you know what you’re dealing with here, Mr. [Douty], but believe me you don’t.”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Van Ark is currently “self-employed” and still lives in the Sacramento region.

    His undoing was not realizing that without the backing of Los Angeles County, he doesn’t have enough support to accomplish his goals. Tejon was what foreign investors wanted, but it wasn’t what LA’s power brokers did, and in the end, he thought the outcome would be different.

    It wasn’t and that’s okay, he moved on and if you notice under Morales, there’s far less sign of drama.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Last I heard he was headed to Hong Kong and a much better paying job.

    Clem Reply:

    Is the whole Tejon thing really why Van Ark was dumped? I know it’s fashionable to repeat it around here, and it has acquired the ring of truth, but is there even a shred of evidence?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Have not got a shred of insider gossip in re Van Ark.

    But the timing of events adds up to some reasonably convincing circumstantial evidence.

    Tejon was certainly and unequivocally “fired”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s always convincing circumstantial evidence when you are paranoid.

    joe Reply:

    You forgot lawyers.
    There are some pretty weird people out there that will fight over the most trivial things no matter how professional and empathetic the contractor.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    more drivel

    Tony D Reply:

    Silly us! Every single infrastructure or public works project in our history has been accomplished without a hitch; no delays, no frivolous litigation, no cost overruns, everyone happy, etc. Our HSR project is the first one to EVER experience these kinds of problems, so we shouldn’t move forward and build. Lets spit on the masses to satisfy a few..

    Tony D Reply:

    BTW, Rosenberg is a piece of crap reporter who’s still acting as the mouthpiece for Peninsula NIMBYS. Always take what comes out of his rear with a grain of salt.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I commend the authority for trying to set a new standard in incompetence. The Big Dig set a high bar, but they are off to a good start with 2 years of delay before moving a single shovel of dirt.

    joe Reply:

    Troll troll troll your boat.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Some projects have overruns, some don’t. The responsible ways to deal with that are to talk in public about cost escalation risks, leave more alignment options open in case some become unfeasible without busting the budget, and study which practices are correlated with a higher risk of cost overruns and which are correlated with a lower risk.

    For an example of the second way, the advantage of Tehachapi over Tejon in the initial selection was that there were more possible alignments that satisfied requirements for minimum curve radius, maximum grade, and no tunneling under known fault lines. Tejon had only one such alignment, making it inherently riskier in case they discovered a new fault line or new environmental issues requiring more tunneling. As it happened Tehachapi had those issues busting all alignments, leading to a cost overrun of $4 billion, while Tejon did not, but the mistake here is in not switching to Tejon based on new information; the original decision to focus on Tehachapi, as well as the general idea of studying both, was sound.

    Joe Reply:

    Yes. With the stipulation that it will take millions to understand geophysical obstacles so switching incurs political risks such as impacts of uncertainity on property values and differences in local support or opposition which I think applies here.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bring Tejon to the level of analysis of Tehachapi and you’re perfectly likely to find that it’s infeasible.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Alon,

    The original study favoring Tehachapi was put together by consultant that Palmdale hired.

    Clem Reply:

    The technical studies were always just window dressing to justify what is fundamentally a political choice to open the Antelope Valley to massive development.

    Brian Reply:

    So how would you “solve” that problem Clem?

    How would you “fix” the facts that:
    – The majority of the democratic caucus is from the LA area
    – The political consensus in the area is for HSR to go through Palmdale
    – The follow on result of that in a democratic republic is that the Democratic-controlled state government has decided that Antelope Valley is where to go and worth the money.

    Or do you accept that this is how democracy works sometimes and support moving ahead anyway?

    Clem Reply:

    It’s only a “problem” if you believe technical facts are important and cost-benefit analysis (whose cost, whose benefit?) matters. If HSR is a development tool that can be built by the government at whatever cost it takes, then build it up to Redding and Weed for all I care. I’m off to buy some land in Los Banos…

    joe Reply:

    It’s only a “problem” if you believe technical facts are important and cost-benefit analysis (whose cost, whose benefit?) matters.

    Technical facts and cost-benefit analysis matter. Not exclusively.
    And cost-benefit is a trope for any one of a of value systems.

    What also matters is politics since we are not run by a cabal of engineers and if we were, life would suck.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “benefit” is a political decision. And costs can be heavily influenced by politics.

    joe Reply:

    The CEO of Exxon Lamented the poor cost benefit of protecting the climate (costs) over lifting people out of poverty with oil based development and growth (benefits).

    Exxon Mobil, once one of the staunchest critics of climate change research, has acknowledged under Tillerson’s leadership that human-made emissions have contributed to altering the planet’s climate. The company now supports taxing carbon emissions.

    Still, Tillerson said issues such as global poverty were more pressing than climate change, and billions of people without access to energy would benefit from oil and gas supplies.

    “They’d love to burn fossil fuels because their quality of life would rise immeasurably,” he said.

    “You’d save millions upon millions of lives by making fossil fuels available to parts of the world that don’t have it,” he added
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/27/exxon-climate-idINL2E8HRA8K20120627.

    See? The cost-benefit concludes we must continue to find and burn oil.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The cost-benefit calculations made by people who have an incentive to sandbag the numbers to lead to a particular outcome, sure.

    You know that the climate change deniers are all hacks by the way that they say so many contradictory things and yet never seem to fight each other. They say the world isn’t warming, or that it did but isn’t anymore, or that it is but it’s because of sunspots, or that it is but it’s China’s fault, or that it is but it’s actually good for the world, or that it is and it’s bad but the best solutions are to expand highways and fracking, or that it is and it’s bad but it’s too expensive to do anything about it. Ostensibly, those claims are as different from one another as they are from the scientific consensus on the subject. And yet the backers of those claims only ever criticize the scientific consensus.

    Mind you, many of the outfits pushing those denialist lines, often several lines at once, are highly schismatic about other things. Woe betide anyone who ventures to a libertarian forum and confuses the Kochs/Reason/Cato faction with the Pauls/Rockwell/Rothbard one. Reason was and still is anti-Ron Paul. They have no trouble arguing with each other about monetarism versus Austrian economics, or about whether inequality is a matter of rich people working harder under capitalism (the mainstream and Randian views) or of the government giving money to rich people (the Rothbardian view).

    But when it comes to wildly different denials of the scientific consensus about global warming, you will never see them argue with each other. For example, to my knowledge Cox and O’Toole have never criticized the Copenhagen Consensus. The Houston-area conservatives I know seem to easily shift from one view to the other – one day global warming isn’t happening or isn’t a big problem, the next day it is but fracking will save us all.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And yet the backers of those claims only ever criticize the scientific consensus.

    In the next breath many of them will tell you that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Fossils are a results of the Flood and Noah did take all the animals onto the Ark two by two. Anyway it’s doesn’t matter because Jesus is coming back on March 22nd 2018 at 4:31 in the afternoon.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Now I understand why you and I conflict joe. I am an engineer. So other than the logical data based decision making and attention to technical detail, why would life under engineer leadership suck?

    jimsf Reply:

    for the same reason life would suck if profit and finance were all that mattered. There is more to living than efficiency and the bottom line. There are other considerations and the compromises those considerations require frustrate engineers and profit seekers.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Speaking for myself, I normally don’t have too many problems with engineers; in fact, I have just a touch of engineering background myself (but had trouble with calculus, that’s a big part of the reason I’m not in that profession).

    In my opinion, though, a lot of the problems we have involve money, and its pursuit above all else. Our own bible warns us that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Note that money itself is not the root! It’s only a tool to be used, like anything else.

    If I have any beefs, it’s with politicians who too often are so cowardly they make me look like Audie Murphy, and with economists who, as Jim suggests, are only about “efficiency” as THEY define it, and profits. Both crowds can be very frustrating to engineers!

    In that vein, here are some things to read, and maybe enjoy:

    http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/is-economics-a-form-of-brain-damage/

    http://www.donkeylicious.com/2013/05/first-you-get-money-then-you-get-power.html

    I have a cousin who likes this site, and as a result, I get it on my Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=603961402958208&set=a.456449604376056.98921.367116489976035&type=1&theater

    Also from Facebook:

    http://voice4america.com/masadluffy/2013/05/23/alex-jones-claims-tornado-weather-weapon-could-have-been-used-in-oklahoma.html#axzz2V1f2LQ3D

    From Facebook again, if it’s true, well, all I can say is “Whooee!!”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/31/tea-party-speaker-presents-proof-grover-norquist-is-a-secret-muslim-he-has-a-beard/

    Some of the comments that follow are a hoot. One wonders how many “secret Muslims” we had for presidents in the 19th century based on this characteristic. And then there’s the possibility that Saint Nicholas, a/k/a Santa Claus, is a Marxist, seeing how he just gives things to people without earning them, just because HE decides “who’s naughty and who’s nice!” Oh, and he has a beard, too!

    joe Reply:

    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can’t measure it.

    Just put different engineers in a room with a task and watch them.
    The EE and ME and CS and SE would NOT agree on the system under study let along agree on a unified decision model.

    One third would run off alone and try to solve the problem, the social ones would cluster into disciplines and complain why the failures are due to the other discipline engineers not doing their jobs correctly.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    All those things would happen joe, then they would find common ground and solve the problem. Happens every day for every complex problem/systems. Try putting a bunch of artists in that same room and see how far you get. I will give you a hint…nowhere. Salesmen, marketing, lawyers..same result..nothing. You think everyone agreed on how to make the first HSR system. All those engineers had to solve it, it wasn’t the guy who painted the logo on the side of the train.

    And life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness can be measured and improved. Also happens every day. The technology that engineers invent and improve helps them get better every day. Some is inherent (like a beautiful sunrise over a beach) but the airplane that got you to that beach and the job that paid you money to get there was thanks to technology. Technology (and therefore engineers) is the single biggest reason that humans lives have continuously improves since there were homosapians. What happens when technology stops improving….dark ages, plague, and disaster.

    Engineers turn chaos into order and thank God for it

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In that democracy, the Authority didn’t have the guts to say “Yeah, Tejon is faster and cheaper, but we’re still doing Tehachapi in order to help develop Antelope Valley.” Instead, it produced a study that sandbagged Tejon: it assumed the alignment had to swerve around Tejon Ranch even if it was more expensive than buying out the property. Instead of democratically deciding to go with development, they produced a shoddy study.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Politics has a place, but its place can’t be to devalue the use and importance of science. The politicization of science is a devastating result for society. When the science is real, no one believes it.

    joe Reply:

    HSR and the study isn’t science, not even close.

    It is a public infrastructure project with a core justification and funding grounded in Politics.

    And if anyone wants to publish a paper on the “sandbagging”, go ahead.

    I do recall criticism of the rider-ship model based on academic experts and critics pontificating about the. To date, that criticism is unfounded and no corrections issued. The HSR rider-ship model structure contains state of the art components and there is no evidence it is inferior to any other alternative.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Did you get your degree in Geology before you got your degree in Civil Engineering or after it?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Did you get your degree in geography before you got your degree in trolling or after it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Is that directed at me or the concern troll?

    joe Reply:

    Instead of democratically deciding to go with development, they produced a shoddy study.

    What? Put a referendum on the 2012 ballot about the results of a risk assessment and decide the right alignment?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, but they could have been honest about the benefits of Tejon and solicited comment from many different stakeholders (by which I mean everyone in the state, not just people in Palmdale) to see how they react to the tradeoff.

    Instead, California got another DAD.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Tejon is the third mountain crossing Los Angeles will need. Just like the third HSR line New England needs is Providence to Hartford. Or Tehachapi is Los Angeles’s Altamont. They want to build Tejon third if ever.

    joe Reply:

    How is commentary is suppressed?

    We even had the GAO audit and Issa’s committee. There are State and US reps. Is Denham not holding hearings?

    We have a project in a state with exemplary sunshine laws and somehow science is politicized and dissent silenced.

    Fact s Plamdale threatened to sue if the alignment moved. The alternative alignment isn’t lobbying.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The alternative alignment isn’t lobbying.

    “Faster, cheaper, and better” doesn’t have much of a constituency. “Who exactly would that benefit?”

    Joey Reply:

    Oh boy, the threat of lawsuit. This project hasn’t seen anything like that before. Maybe Chico should sue too to assert its fundamental rights.

    joe Reply:

    “Faster, cheaper, and better” doesn’t have much of a constituency. “Who exactly would that benefit?”

    “Faster, Cheaper and Better” is always followed by “Pick Two of the Three.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Tejon is the third mountain crossing Los Angeles will need. Just like the third HSR line New England needs is Providence to Hartford. Or Tehachapi is Los Angeles’s Altamont. They want to build Tejon third if ever.

    Fine, but they didn’t say that. They didn’t say “We’re doing Palmdale for the connectivity with Desert Xpress.” They invented a reason why Tejon was as expensive as Palmdale and barely saved any time. Instead of making the tradeoffs clear, they decided, announced, and defended.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Deserted Xprss decision is indicative. They may opt against it as too pr risky.

    I’m for it – laissez rouler le fiasco.

    joe Reply:

    they decided, announced, and defended.

    Has anyone demonstrated that changing the Alignment and Plan would NOT be used to attack the project in court and the prop 1A funding ?

    Is there more to construction than endlessly arguing over alignments and hypotheticals.

    The HSR project does NOT have to account for every hypothetical. Every project does have to stop planning and defend its decisions or be canceled. The HSR it isn’t paid to be accountable to every criticism from the global rail hobby committee and NIMBYs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Very soon you will see there are no more substantive court delays.

    Here’s the reality:

    “The HSR project does NOT have to account for” [anthing]. It just fabricates cover stories as it rolls along.

    The pace of the project is determined by the need of “the public works industry”, in Tutor’s words, milking it for every penny.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, it’s telling that even you don’t defend the content of the study. You’re not saying “the study was telling the truth about costs, travel times, and risks.” You’re effectively saying “the Authority lied but it’s okay because it’s in the service of the cause of getting the project completed.” Then again, California’s already elected leaders who’d openly admitted to lying.

    Is there anyone here who’s willing to go out and defend the content of the study?

    Clem Reply:

    No. I will be doing the opposite, and believe me it’s far worse than anybody expects… Stay tuned

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am anticipating but I don’t contemplate there are any findings out there that would shock me. Take that back, if it were documented that Caltrans tacitly wants the best Tejon route for a freeway that would be a surprise.

    The general area is burning right now. It’s nutty to think they can “wall” off this enclave for an exclusive resort – they’l need plenty of access to fight the inevitable fires.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They make the political decision to make Tejon look bad, the only people who notice are people who comment on blogs like this and a few other people. They made the political decision that Tehachapi is the choice to make because LA is never going to need three crossings and constrained the study. No one except people who comment on blogs like this one will notice and the few people outside of people who comment on blogs like this are even less likely to notice.

    They choose the strategy that would be used in some Utopian alternate universe they end up with Tejon because the people who think highways and airports we have now will be good enough in 2060 will jump on it and the people who think no one will ever ride trains will jump on it and the people who think no money needs to be spent anywhere on anything because they never go more than 5 miles from home will jump on it.

    … they made the political decision to make Altamont look bad because in the likely scenarios San Jose gets BART to Fremont and never anything else…. it’s very very hard to convince people who don’t live in San Jose and don’t go to San Jose that spending billions of dollars so the people who live in San Jose or want to go to San Jose get a one seat ride to San Jose instead of taking BART or Caltrain to an HSR station not in San Jose. It’s hard to convince people who are in San Jose or want to go to San Jose that it’s worth it.

    Compromises get made. They made a different compromise than the one that would be made in a Utopian alternate universe.

    Clem Reply:

    Fun: read this in the voice of Arlo Guthrie, with guitar strumming the whole time, in the style of Alice’s Restaurant

    joe Reply:

    Benghazi!

    There is no definitive study of the alignments and never will be a definitive study unless one actually tunnels in all places and that never happens so critics are not grounded in solid fact.

    The authority is fully accountable and under intense scrutiny.

    The problem seems to be with the critics who find horrible, terrible transgressions lies and engineering malfeasance in the Billions yet no one to listen to them.

    Reps Denham, Issa and McCarthy and congressional oversight.
    The GAO which is required to log all complaints and had an open investigation…

    Joe thinks the alignments had to be decided since they are part of the project plan which had to be complete and certified prior to Prop1A funding and with pressing deadlines with ARRA money.

    Now why doesn’t the CAHSRA come clean with this study – why indeed. Why don’t they ? They did it to assess alignments, finished and are busy.

    Joe thinks they’ll revisit the project plan when schedule and budget allow – if they did it now the project would – IMHO – decertify the project and that’s incompetence 101.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it needs twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was. Gotta find someone who still makes 8×10 glossies.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The study isn’t hasty – it’s fraudulent. It wouldn’t have taken them any more time to produce a study that didn’t assume a Tejon alignment would have to swerve around Tejon Ranch. Most likely it’s actually easier to program a computer to find an optimal Tejon alignment without the “must avoid the ranch” constraint than with the constraint. This is not about doing work under a time constraint, but about legitimizing a previously decided alternative, much like Scalia’s order to stop counting the Florida ballots because it could cast a shadow of doubt on Bush’s legitimacy if the vote counters found that Gore got more votes in Florida. Some people are okay with the government’s lying when it’s for a good cause. Others aren’t.

    But I guess it’s all good because some hack who thinks birth control is a scandal can’t tell when a government agency engages in DAD and didn’t order hearings.

    Clem Reply:

    Nit: the property of interest is Tejon Mountain Village, to be built on a small portion of the much larger land holdings of the Tejon Ranch Company.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I suppose 15 years ago you wanted them to impeach Clinton because he lied.

    Fine in 2070 when your great granddaughter is graduating cum laude from UC Berkeley and you want to get there you can bid for a seat on the train that gets you there. Think Acela prices versus Regional prices. Because they were reallly realllllly honest in 2012 and the yahoos picked Tejon because they could never ever ever think of the day when the two tracks going north from LAUS would ever ever ever be at capacity. And it’s ten minutes faster than that obviously flawed other crossing would have been! I’ll be dead for 30 or 40 years in 2070 so I don’t care. But it gave you a warm fuzzy feeling in 2012.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    15 years ago I thought oral sex meant kissing. In school we joked about his infidelity but didn’t think it was removal grounds.

    That said, DAD is a lot worse than lying about sex because it reduces my trust in the government agency that engages in it. People can cheat on their spouses and be honest politicians and vice versa; Mitt Romney for example seems not to have any sex scandal. But when an agency produces a fraudulent study about alignments for political reasons, it raises questions about what other studies it’s produced are fraudulent.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not fraudulent. They specified parameters that guaranteed an outcome. They were rather open about that otherwise you wouldn’t be complaining. Which two of the three mountain crossing should they build?

    synonymouse Reply:

    They systematically under-vetted, glossed-over, sugar-coated Tehachapi. It was like the proverbial gift horse to the PB-CHSRA. It was given the superficial, flyover treatment, similar to Tejon, but with a different cant, a sophomoric a priori endorsement whereas Tejon had been dismissed before the study had even started.

    A more equitable treatment and handicap would have been to similarly “embargo” the best route at Tehachapi and then compare.

    Clem Reply:

    … You can get anything you want at Adirondacker’s restaurant! (excepting Tejon) …

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s actually no problems with the Tehachapi route; it seems to be just as good as it was always said to be….

    The point at which the prices started to escalate was when they realized that there were problems getting from Palmdale to the San Fernando Valley. You can decide for yourself whether the Palmdale connectivity is worth it; the study said outright “There is no political body in the area which supports Tejon, and there are dozens which support Palmdale”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Indulge me. Lengthy but captures the “Noir” essence of LaLa and says it all:

    Cross: What does it mean?
    Gittes: That you killed Hollis Mulwray – right here – in that pond. You drowned him, and you left these [the bifocals]. Coroner’s report shows Mulwray had saltwater in his lungs.
    Cross: Hollis was always fascinated by tidepools. You know what he used to say?…That’s where life begins. Sloughs, tidepools. When he first come out here, he figured if you dumped water into the desert sand and let it percolate down to the bedrock, it would stay there instead of evaporate the way it does in most reservoirs. You only lose 20% instead of 70 or 80. He made this city.
    Gittes: That’s what you were going to do in the valley.
    Cross: That’s what I am doing. If the bond issue passes Tuesday, there’ll be eight million dollars to build an aqueduct and reservoir. I’m doing it.
    Gittes: Gonna be a lot of irate citizens when they find out that they’re paying for water that they’re not gonna get.
    Cross: Oh, that’s all taken care of. You see, Mr. Gits. Either you bring the water to LA or you bring LA to the water.
    Gittes: How you gonna do that?
    Cross: By incorporating the valley into the city. Simple as that.
    Gittes: How much are you worth?
    Cross: I’ve no idea. How much do you want?
    Gittes: I just want to know what you’re worth. Over ten million?
    Cross: Oh my, yes!
    Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford?
    Cross: The future, Mr. Gits – the future! Now where’s the girl. I want the only daughter I’ve got left. As you found out, Evelyn was lost to me a long time ago.
    Gittes: Who do you blame for that – her?
    Cross: I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gits. Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time, the right place, they’re capable of anything.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    I am so bored with Chinatown LA Noir references. Used to revel in it like many others. But now it’s just tiresome.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Synonymouse is too cheap to rent “Ask the Dust” apparently.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No more allusions from me to LA noir.

    I don’t have time to read “Day of the Locusts” or Raymond Chandler with my ongoing self-taught Latin project.

    Besides those works are unrealistically nostalgic, reflecting a time when some one cared how LA and greater SoCal turned out. Now LA is Cairo and its fate is beyond cognitive human intervention – in the hands of the gods and/or Mother Nature.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Anytime you want help with Latin, I would be glad to help.

    Took four years of it in high school.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks for the offer.

    I’ve got four Victorian latin grammars, two dictionaries, and “501 latin verbs” and I use them all.

    Try “primi omnium” from the first page of the Petronius fragment. I get two possibilities:

    1. “foremost citizens of all citizens” – masculine plural nominative followed by masculine plural genitive.

    1 “of the first thing of all things” – neuter singular genitive followed by neuter plural genitive.

    This a challenge, especially Petronius whose characters are intentionally depicted as bloviators – their latin does not make any sense because they are being satirized. I am trying to avoid the professional translations just to see how much I can make out.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes with incomes in Southern California dropping and the population shrinking it’s gonna turn into Cairo any day now. Like how having electrified commuter rail turned Scarsdale and Cos Cob into slums.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Synonymouse- There’s a simpler translation: “First of all”

    Adirondacker- You are mixing the metaphors. Synonymouse is not invoking the avatar of BART Brutalism…he’s talking about the Late 80’s/early 90’s dystopian writing like “City of Quartz”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks – I had an inkling it might be something straightforward. So both nouns are in the neuter case – things.

    The whole sentence is:

    “Pace vestra liceat dixisse, primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis.”

    Which I interpret as:

    “With your indulgence let it be said first of all you lost eloquence” These guys think they are smart but are more like the Stooges or the Marx Bros. in antiquity.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A more accurate translation of that sentence is:

    “If I might be so bold, you were among the first to undermine that argument.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Aha and very good – “eloquentiam perdidistis” must be idiomatic. Who knew? This is a lot harder than I expected. The Romance languages are so much easier and resemble each other so much Latin must have fallen apart very early.

    Unfortunately the Romans thought papyrus was cool, but it does not last very well at all.

  5. joe
    May 31st, 2013 at 17:32
    #5

    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/20130601_Amtrak_gets__185M_for_Hudson_River_tunnels.html
    Amtrak will get $185 million in federal funds to advance work on new Hudson River rail tunnels.

    The box will serve two new flood-resistant “Gateway” tunnels designed to provide additional rail service between New Jersey and Penn Station in New York. The Gateway project, including the tunnels, is slated to cost $15 billion and be completed by 2025.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pity the governor of New Jersey in a fit of Tea Party fervor, canceled the project that would have cost less than 12 billion, been finished in 2017 and had more capacity.

    Joe Reply:

    I bad firgetten that dumb decision. Well, he is certainly changing the tune now.

    They do not have all the funding identified which is okay by me but for we citizens in CA it is a sign of doom and reason to stop OMG.

    Wonder what if anything was said in court today. The lawsuit is on – like donkey kong.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If the Feds believed that why would they not agree to cover any cost overruns…I know, becaus it was going to end up costing more than 12 billion…take longer than 2017…and generally be a boondoggle. He made the right call

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The FTA – the Federal Transit Adminstration – the Federal goverment in other words – was estimating between 9.8 billion and 12 billion with their projection being on the lower end of that. He pissed away 8 billion dollars of other people’s money so that he could say he was going to reallocate it to roads which he wasn’t able to do. And if he had even slightly competent advisors they would have told him the money wouldn’t be reallocated to roads. He pissed away being able to cut between 5 and 20 minutes of commutes into Manhattan in 2017. And pissed away being able to switch people from buses to trains freeing up capacity for people who have no other choice than the bus. All so he could say he wasn’t spending money. That will be spent anyway. At the moment on something that will cost more, take longer to build and have less capacity.

  6. joe
    May 31st, 2013 at 19:21
    #6

    http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/05/31/lawsuit-argues-high-speed-rail-authority-breaking-promises-to-voters/

    Deputy Attorney General Michele Inan, representing the rail authority, said Proposition 1A’s requirements apply only to assurances the agency had to give the Legislature, not voters…..
    “The Legislature assessed that it was deficient. The Legislature looked at it and said, we would like more, but this is what we’ve got and it made its decision. Those are political decisions that I can’t comment on,” she said.

    Looks like the State’s argument is going to emphasize the separation of powers and force the judge to wade into politics and manage what is the Executive (CAHSRA) and Legislature’s job.

    I think it’s a good tactic. Judges often give officials wide latitude in exercising their authority.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No tactic required – the dissidents don’t stand a chance. They might as well be in a court in Putin’s Russia. Rubberstampers connected to the machine.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So they have not even started building yet and they are already admitting they don’t meet prop1a. So all the promises and assurance mean nothing. So in addition to being incompetent they are liars

    joe Reply:

    It even gets worse.
    <“There is no requirement for 100% precision between the intended use of bond proceeds and the proposed uses,” she said of case law. “The language of those cases is about substantial compliance and significant differences. … In this case, the bond act is not about a funding plan, it’s about constructing a high-speed rail system.”

    Case law. pfft! I got your case law right here Ms. D. A. It’s next to my copy of The 2nd Amendment !
    rat-tat-tat-tat-tat!!!

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, beyond liars. Gangsters who write their own laws as they go along.

    joe Reply:

    They’ll follow the Law, which is why they’re in a court room debunking pedantic arguments about the interpretation and implementation of Prop1A.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They make up the law as they go along to take care of the patronage machine’s needs and wants.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is just a matter of time before they jettison term limits so the oligarchs can remain in power for life.

    Putin is leading the way.

    joe Reply:

    Maybe a family of Pols – like the Bush & Sons, or Romney & Jr.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The oligarchy loves terms limits. Just as the legislator is learning how and who they manipulate they get termed out.

    It’s Republican nanny statism. It’s almost alway Republicans who push for it. Mostly because the oligarchs have a fresh set of legislators to deceive. But if the people want the incumbent out of office they have the ballot to remove him or her. Recall elections in some jurisdictions.

    It also violates my right to vote for whoever I choose. If someone who is termed out wanted to wage a write-in campaign, they can’t because they can’t serve for a third term.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That does not make any sense to me; why would a Putin want term limits.

    If your argument is sound why have they not slapped a term limit on Congressional Representatives. In California they are elevated for life like the Pope.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would the oligarchs in Russia want to get rid of Putin? He does what they want.
    To change the rules for election of Federal officials you have to get all of the US to agree. Things aren’t as dysfuntional in the rest of the country as they are in California so when some Republican rears up on his hind legs and starts to call for term limits the rational people ask him politely to stfu.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Putin loves term limits!

    That way he can made Mededev “Premier” and step back to be the shadowy “power behind the throne”.

    With term limits, the real winners are shadowy backroom “advisors” who quickly move in on any elected official.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, and it’s progressive Democrats Giuliani and Bloomberg who tried (and in Bloomberg’s case succeeded) in getting rid of term limits for New York mayors.

    Republicans wanted term limits to get rid of Democrats who had been in Congress since the Jurassic Period and were more personally popular in their districts than the rest of the party. If I remember correctly the entire idea was declared unconstitutional. At any rate nobody cares anymore; it was an issue specific to the political alignments of the 1990s.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republicans have been all for it since FDR was elected to a third term. And then in 1960 they couldn’t renominate Eisenhower. Pity. Nixon could have been encouraged to go take on a nice sinecure at some obscure branch of UC. Instead the people who wet their pants when some whispered “Communist!” were able to take control of the party. They are the same people today, it’s just that they wet their pants when someone whispers “jihadist”. They could be whispering “sisters of charity” and they’d wet their pants. I’m sure it’s going to come back to bite the people in New York City who repealed it. Being a rich wall street banker is rather passe these days. So is being a prosecutor with his sphincter clenched so tight he passes diamonds.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Nixon of 1960 was very liberal. He was to Kennedy’s left on some foreign policy issues, and had supported civil rights in the 1950s even before LBJ flip-flopped on the issue to get non-racist Democrats to vote for him. It’s only after 1964 that Nixon flip-flopped himself and welcomed the racists to the Republican Party. It was never about anti-communism by then, it was just the realignment of the Northern moderates switching to the Democrats and the racists switching to the GOP.

    Presidential term limits were an informal arrangement going back to Washington. FDR ran for additional terms, in accordance with the law but against tradition, so some of the process hawks got pissed. It wasn’t just about partisanship – they specifically exempted Truman from the 22nd Amendment so that he could run for a third term if he wanted (and if his approval rate in 1952 rose back above zero).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nixon was a McCarthyite. It has been forgotten that the purge of McCarthy had mostly to do with his personal problems and demons than his political movement, which continued for many years thereafter.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If Eisenhower had been reelected in 1960 he could have signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the racists would have curled up into the Dixecrats and withered away by 1968 or 1970. The Nelson Rockefellers of the party would have taken over instead of the Barry Goldwaters.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Maybe, maybe not. The racists wouldn’t have gone away; they would’ve picked one party and the party would’ve had to accommodate them. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. The GOP would’ve become the Rockefeller party and the Democrats would’ve reverted to what they were around 1900: a coalition of the urban working class, rural voters, and Southern racists.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They would have reelected President Nixon in 1968. Who would have had four years of living down Ike signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Southern Strategy doesn’t work so well.

  7. joe
    May 31st, 2013 at 19:35
    #7

    A great example of how the CAHSRA will defend against pedantic interpretations of Prop 1A and resulting attacks on the project. This deals with certification.

    Flashman said it was unrealistic for the agency to certify something in advance when unforeseen circumstances might intervene. “That can be a promise, but it can’t be a certification,” he said.
    Inan countered that the certification was intended to assure legislators that no section would be built unless the rail authority first had the needed environmental approvals. But the judge followed up on the distinction as he pressed Inan on whether Prop. 1A was, in fact, being fulfilled. “The language in the statute is past tense; the certification is in future tense,” Kenny said. “So by its very nature, satisfaction can’t have occurred.”
    “There is not a precise match between the certification made and the certification requirement,” Inan allowed. “However, there is certainly substantial compliance if you consider the purpose of that certification” to assure that no construction would take place before the environmental clearances were in hand.
    “There is no requirement for 100% precision between the intended use of bond proceeds and the proposed uses,” she said of case law. “The language of those cases is about substantial compliance and significant differences. … In this case, the bond act is not about a funding plan, it’s about constructing a high-speed rail system.”

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/05/31/3322024_p2/judge-weighs-arguments-for-against.html#storylink=cpy

    synonymouse Reply:

    “pedantic interpretations of Prop 1A”?

    As Dylan would say: “Just come on out and scream it.” We owe our cushy jobs to Moonbeam – all hail Moonbeam and his legacy. Case dismissed.

  8. synonymouse
    Jun 1st, 2013 at 10:56
    #8

    Jitney goes after TWU 250A’s lunch:

    http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2013/05/30/leap-transit-offers-private-shuttle-service-along-muni-route/

    In times past jitneys were the bane of the United Railroads, later the Market Street Railway, and Muni.

    Curiously this route is precisely the one I recommended for the Stubway(3rd & Kearney, then under the Broadway Tunnel and deep bore to Fillmore and Lombard)rather than 4th & Stockton deadending in North Beach. So stupid but then so SF de nos jours.

    joe Reply:

    You recommended the MUNI30X? That’s all this is. And did you also recommend they loiter at public MUNI stops during the peak commute?

    [1] Leap Transit, which launched May 13, is a private shuttle service that mimics Muni’s 30X Marina Express line,

    “We do use the Muni stops, but we try to stop for less than 30 seconds and will yield to Muni,” he said. “We look forward to working with the community to be unobtrusive and have it be an asset to the city.”

    A 2011 study from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority showed private commuter buses used by companies like Google and Apple tend to idle at Muni stops for around three to six minutes during peak commute hours.

    Rich people deserve to loiter at MUNI stops.

  9. synonymouse
    Jun 1st, 2013 at 12:41
    #9

    Rich people are paying for TWU 250A’s lucrative contract so I guess they can write their own ticket.

    You really like the Stubway route?

  10. Keith Saggers
    Jun 1st, 2013 at 15:46
    #10

    There are some media who have decided they are against High Speed Rail in California.
    Including, but not limited to:CBS, Sacramento and Mercury News, San Jose.Can anyone explain this and suggest remedies?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Puh-leez

    Have you ever heard the expression when it come time for election endorsements you find out who owns the newspaper?

    Media pander to their demographic – otherwise they will shed viewers, listeners, readers. Most people in California are now opposed to the CAHSR scheme and have become very incredulous, suspicious and leery of all the bs and flack surrounding it. Now with millions of dollars of concentrated propaganda you might bring around again but that is what it would take if another voter were to occur. Meantime the editorial stance will be Moonbeam running dog.

    Joe Reply:

    Rosebud.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    More Nurse Ratched withholding his meds.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Wake up – the public is viewing the CAHSR with the same skepticsm that grows every time there is a new “glitch” with the Bayconic Bridge. State guvmint projects gone awry and astray.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://baybridgecelebration.com/

    Joey Reply:

    How many years have we been waiting for that damned (100% politically motivated) signature span while the rest of the bridge sat finished and unused?

  11. Keith Saggers
    Jun 2nd, 2013 at 05:03
    #11
  12. Keith Saggers
    Jun 2nd, 2013 at 06:43
    #12

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/metrolink-orders-emd-passenger-locomotives.html

    jimsf Reply:

    nice

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Nice, maybe. Still a diesel, and tier 4 is not especially clean nor is it yet a proven technology. I’d be interested to see the performance specs, especially acceleration. Who cares that it can go 125mph in Metrolink service? What we need is something that at least approaches electric train performance.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Metrolink has some information in their December agenda I believe, but it’s fairly useless since it assumes a 10 car train.

    wdobner Reply:

    Why would you want a diesel locomotive with the performance of an electric? It would be a profligate fuel guzzler, and likely quite maintenance intensive. If you want the performance of an electic then electrify and buy electrics. The Bay Area has used the CHSRA to get the commuter rail improvements they want, yet Southern California’s efforts at integrating with the project have been minimal at best. By all rights we should be seeing proposals for LA-Lancaster and even LA-Bakersfield fast commuter services in the mold of the UK’s Javelin on their HS1.

    swing hanger Reply:

    That 20 or 30 years from now (is that the service life of these units?) a major world city like LA would still depend on push-pull diesel trains to carry its commuters is something worth pondering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are assuming that there will be no ridership growth in the next 20 to 30 years and they will never need to buy anything more. And that in the next 20 to 30 years they couldn’t palm off their 15 year old stuff to some other agency. Like the Comarrows California bought before they were turned into reefs

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    How about a CNG hybrid?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    That 20 or 30 years from now … a city like LA would still depend on push-pull diesel trains to carry its commuters is something worth pondering.

    People were pondering that about about LA and about SF (and about Boston and about Toronto and …) 20 to 30 years ago also.

    But that’s nothing. Welcome to a completely doomed planet.

    How about a CNG hybrid?

    Exactly what problem do you believe such a thing would be solving?

    How about a unicorn for that matter.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    8 axle powered for vastly improved acceleration.
    Lower emissions.
    Interim until we put up wires.
    Of course if we are completely doomed we’ll bring back steam to enjoy our declining years…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    No, no steam. Basically any diesel is significantly better than even the most advanced steam.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Out of curiosity would your CNG hybrid be clean enough to operate in a 6 mile tunnel without gassing the crew and passengers?

    Stalling has happened with diesels – I dunno about your CNG-powered unit.

    But I suspect the class ones will resort to almost any alternative to having to hang any wire.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    6 mile tunnel where?

    Derek Reply:

    Even diesel would be clean enough to operate in a 15.23 mile tunnel.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    That’s for automobiles, which are just a wee bit different.

    Derek Reply:

    7.79 miles then.

    wdobner Reply:

    The Cascade Tunnel’s length requires a significant amount of time between trains to fully ventilate the bore. It would not be practical for a tunnel seeing intensive passenger service.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s because the Cascade Tunnel’s on a grade.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe Tehachapi has a 6 mile tunnel and Tejon two. A massive ventilation system would gratuitously add on costs that catenary would simply obviate.

    I don’t know about what pollutants CNG would emit but they still might stall.

    Lack of oxygen might be a problem in the tunnel. I am not sure precisely what happened in 1999 when the UP brought in the 844 and 3985 and, I believe, a 6000 centennial class diesel and a long consist of passenger cars. to Sacramento Railfair 99, but this is what I read. The story was(in a Railroad Magazine article I wish I could reference)that the diesel stalled in a tunnel in the Sierras and they had to open up the steam locomotives. I am pretty sure I am remembering this correctly(as I thought it incredible at the time)the cab temperature went up to 180 degrees and luckily the crew had oxygen equipment.

    Steve Lee was reported as commenting now he knew why the SP developed the cab forward locomotive.

    http://wjhudson.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/steam-over-donner/

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    These locos are for interim Metrolink service, in Cairo. Not interested in Tehachapi tunnels, new or old, which may or may not be built. Syn, it helps if you follow the thread. Longest is Santa Su at about 7500ft.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LARy PCC’s did go to either Cairo or Alexandria. Right at home.

    Clem Reply:

    Tehachapi dogleg has a 7-mile tunnel, but it is south of Palmdale crossing under the San Gabriels. This is the longest, but there are many others.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I don’t know about the story–don’t remember it at all, unfortunately–but “lack of oxygen” might not have been the reason for the diesel to “stall,” otherwise the crew would have been in even worse trouble. More likely the diesel overheated and automatically cut back to “idle,” producing no power. This would be because most diesels have air inlets for the radiators on the upper parts of their hoods, and the air they take in for cooling in a tunnel is also filled with exhaust gas, which is hot. This was enough of a problem with just diesels that the Southern Pacific and EMD developed a special unit called a “tunnel motor” with low air inlets for the radiators.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_SD45T-2

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_SD40T-2

    Of course, with two steam engines, you also have all that exhaust mixed with hot steam. . .

    Problems with smoke in tunnels weren’t limited to the SP. Southern Railway had a division its crews called “The Rat Hole” for all its tunnels, and when its engine crews suited up, they looked like railroaders from Mars:

    http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c330/Barndad/smokehood.jpg

    Air supply was actually from the brake system. Pee-yew, some choice, smoke or compressor grease!

    The same road attempted working with special ductwork to help out, too:

    http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c330/Barndad/WimbleDuctMikado.jpg

    Scroll down for an article on SR and its smoke efforts from 1941:

    http://cs.trains.com/ctr/f/3/p/35270/452735.aspx

    jonathan Reply:

    That’s a _road_ tunnel, Derek. Now go back to reading your Ayn Rand whilst the numerates and adults continue their discussion.

    Or better yet, go take a trip through the Otira tunnel, standing outside on the generator car.

    Joey Reply:

    32t/axel is nice indeed, though at least not heavier than the current fleet.

    jonathan Reply:

    EMD is outsourcing the body design to Vossloh(!) When was the last time EMD built successful high-speed passenger bogies? Sounds suspiciously reminiscent of the the E60C fiasco.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I assume Vossloh will also provide the bogies. They can base them on the ones used on this:
    http://www.vossloh-rail-vehicles.com/media/downloads/pdfs/flyer/Vossloh_EURO3000_us.pdf

    jonathan Reply:

    You’re kidding, right? Those are 22-tonne axle-load bogies, not ~32-tonne axle load.
    The IGBTs and motors would have to handle about 50% more, power, too. (4,00hp is about 3.5MW, versus ~2.4MW for the Vossloh.

    swing hanger Reply:

    No I’m not kidding. I assume that they have the engineering chops to build bogies for the axle loads. They do_build_locomotives after all.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Oh, yeah, and E60 was a General Electric product.

    jonathan Reply:

    Of course it was! I originally wrote “GE E60″ but must’ve trimmed it while proof-reading.
    My point is the same; a vendor with freight-only experience and institutional memory, trying to build a fast passenger loco, can yield trouble.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, so you _are_ kidding.

    higher axle loads mean higher loading on the bogies. Handling higher loading means more mass. handling yaw and hunting at high speed is non-trivial even with lower axloe loads. Just because a company can build 22-tonne bogies rated at “up to” 200 km/hr, doesn’t mean they can put together off-the-peg 33-tone bogies that run at 200 km/hr. (Has anyone bought a Euro 3000 AC rated for 200 km/hr? The only purchase I know of is Israel Railways).

    Seriously, read what Vossloh says themselves, about the investment in developing a new medium-weight (16 to 17 tonne axle-load) diesel. They put it off until they had a solid market. It’s far more than a cut-and-paste.

  13. morris brown
    Jun 2nd, 2013 at 21:28
    #13

    The winning quality bid from Tutor / Perini

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/145370251/Quality-Bid

  14. D. P. Lubic
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:48
    #14

    Came across this, and thought it might be of interest here–history of the British 125 train, and its help in reviving British Rail:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyjH9rWOcSM

  15. Keith Saggers
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:13
    #15

    http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/secretary-lahood-announces-nearly-745-million-rail-funding-major-upgrades-construction

    morris brown Reply:

    Mr. Saggers… This article is dated August 2011…

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    morris brown

    I appreciate your point, however I was not aware of this information although I am sure some of our east coast posters where.

  16. synonymouse
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:42
    #16

    “sun kink” is a suggested cause:

    http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/06/03/3051096/train-cars-skip-trackin-denair.html

    I like the comments. Anyone for 220mph at 115 degrees?

    I’ll stick with 160mph overall.

    swing hanger Reply:

    These are used on high speed rail lines- problem solved:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breather_switch

    synonymouse Reply:

    Damn, now why didn’t the BNSF think of that?

    swing hanger Reply:

    It’s probably cheaper to let them derail and pay the damages.

  17. blankslate
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:55
    #17

    OT: Elon Musk’s “Mad Genius” HSR idea:
    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/06/elon-musks-mad-genius-idea-reinvent-long-distance-travel/5772/

    I’m not sure what about this qualifies as “genius.” Does it take a “genius” to draw a crude line on a map? This idea is significantly less interesting than the nationwide HSR map that was featured on this blog a few months ago. Lastly, I have been scratching my head trying to figure out how it would be preferable to spend several hours traveling from NYC to LA in an underground tube rather than flying. Oh well.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    All tech entrepreneurs are definitionally geniuses who can do no wrong and are much smarter than people who’ve spent decades working on the technology the geniuses think they’re reinventing.

  18. Reality Check
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 12:20
    #18

    Dutch may dump crappy Ansaldo Breda-built Fyra HSR trains

    Published Monday, June 3, 2013, by the Financial Times

    Dutch high speed rail projects hits the buffers

    By Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam

    The Dutch government is considering abandoning a high speed rail service between Amsterdam and Brussels after months of unsuccessful efforts to fix the project’s malfunctioning trains.

    The director of the Netherlands’ national passenger rail company said on Monday he would resign amid a fiasco that has tarred the company and the government. Bert Meerstadt, the director of the Nationale Spoorwegen or NS, said he would step down in October.

    He made the announcement shortly before arriving in The Hague for negotiations with the government over whether to scrap the service, known as Fyra.

    The company has invested more than €180m to buy Fyra’s trains, while the government spent €6.4bn to build the high-speed rail line they run on.

    If the Dutch decide to cancel Fyra, the cost to the state budget, including loss of expected revenues from the service, would run to hundreds of millions of euros at least.

    “It was supposed to be the flagship of the Dutch and Belgian railways, but it has turned into an utter debacle,” Roel Berghuis, head of the labour union FNV Railways, told Dutch television.

    Fyra was launched as a Dutch-Belgian project to increase maximum speeds on trains between Brussels and Amsterdam from 160 kilometres an hour to 250. But Belgian railway authorities pulled out on Friday after an independent review of the trains, built by Italian firm Ansaldo Breda, concluded they had severe mechanical and software deficiencies.

    Fyra service began in December but was suspended after a month because of repeated problems with the trains, which suffered damage during icy weather and often became stranded between stations due to software problems. The review found rusting axles, unprotected electrical cables and fire damage from overheating batteries.

    The Netherlands has received nine of the trains, at a cost of €21m per train, and has six more on order. The Belgians cancelled their order of three trains, and will try to get AnsaldoBreda to return an advance payment of €37m.

    Dutch media have reported that the NS prefers to scrap the project as well, but an NS spokesman said only that the subject was under discussion in a meeting on Monday between Mr Meerstadt and Wilma Mansveld, the deputy minister of infrastructure.

    With that meeting under way, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, finance minister, said he wanted to be informed of the “risks, options, and financial and legal consequences” before approving any decision. The ministry of finance is the sole shareholder of NS.

    “He doesn’t want to wait until he gets a proposal, and then check it off with his signature and say fine,” said Geertje Janssen, a ministry spokeswoman.

    The finance ministry’s concerns reflect the government’s need for revenues in order to help pay off its investment in the high-speed railway line. The line was upgraded between 2000-2009 in a public-private partnership deal with two private companies, ProRail and Infraspeed, in order to integrate the Netherlands into the European high-speed rail network used by France’s Thalys trains. The Thalys will continue to run on that line but its capacity is limited.

    The Dutch state pays ProRail and Infraspeed about €10m per month to operate the line, which it expects to regain through payments from train companies that use the line, said Rob Goverde, a railway expert at Delft Technical University. The NS won the contract to operate Fyra in 2001 by offering to pay the state €167m per year, a bid considered far too high by independent experts, and which was sharply reduced last year when the Fyra appeared at risk of bankruptcy.

    If the service is cancelled entirely, or replaced by slower trains as is being discussed, the government may be stuck paying the most of the high-speed line’s bill for years.

    “You’ve got a connection here that can accommodate high-speed trains,” Mr Goverde said. “If you end up driving only regular trains on it, that’s just throwing money away.”

    Joey Reply:

    Why Ansaldo Breda still gets any contracts is beyond me.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Same reason Parsons-Brinkerhoff and Tutor-Saliba do.

    Joey Reply:

    Well yes, but in places other than here, PB is usually forced to do good work because there will be consequences if they don’t. AB doesn’t seem to be held to any particular standard anywhere.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is Bombardier-Ansaldo Breda in the lead for Deserted Xprss, NEC neo-proto-quasi Acela, and California’s mutant iteration for the DogLeg. PB-Tutor-Bombardier – so MTC and BARTastic.

    Joey Reply:

    You could try staying on topic for once.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You mean the thread that consists of 24/7 PB worship:

    Joey Reply:

    The question I was posing was why does AB get so much leeway overseas when other companies (like PB) don’t? Nothing you’ve said has contributed toward answering that question.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I watch the news from Napoli pretty much every nite on TGR Campania. The Camorra is everywhere. You know how it works. You asked the question – the answer is not very savory or politically correct. Sorry.

    AFAIK Breda ghq is Napoli.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You forgot the Nancy Pelosi mind ray covens, black helicopters and Jerry and Willie Brown bacchanalia

    Alon Levy Reply:

    AnsaldoBreda seems to do a good job designing and providing rolling stock for driverless metros in Copenhagen and Milan.

    Joey Reply:

    How do their maintenance costs compare to comparable products from other companies?

    Clem Reply:

    AnsaldoBreda: the Tutor Perini of the rails.

    jonathan Reply:

    Clem, come on. When did Tutor-Perini ever have to give the client’s money back?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ansaldo has an excellent reputation as a signalling manufacturer.

    Breda, the other division, makes really terrible trains.

    Nathanael Reply:

    …which just goes to show that institutional culture is WAY more complicated than some of the simpletons on here think it is.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Ansaldo STS is an independent company, simpleton.

    Brian Reply:

    Both are partially or fully owned and controlled by the Finmeccanica conglomerate.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finmeccanica
    Try to spend 60 seconds on wikipedia before spouting off insults with your keyboard.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    … and just the other day, SNCB decided to cancel their part of the Fyra deal with Ansaldo-Breda…

    jonathan Reply:

    Yes, and they’re trying to get their money back.

  19. Roger Christensen
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 14:34
    #19

    Amended agenda just posted.
    Fresno-Bakersfield route item pulled.
    Again.

  20. joe
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 20:00
    #20

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_23379271/mercury-news-editorial-high-speed-rail-projects-safety
    The Mercurynews Editorial board is worried about safety.

    The discussion of finances leads to talk of safety.

    These concerns come from reports that contractor Tutor Perini was selected for the first 29 miles of rail construction because it’s the lowest of the five bidders (at $985 million), even though its proposal earned the lowest technical scores for safety and design. The High-Speed Rail Authority shifted its priorities to emphasize low cost, vaulting Sylmar-based Tutor Perini over two European firms.

    Not that taxpayers should complain about efforts to contain costs. But there must be no scrimping on safety and quality for a 220-mph train. If the state has to sacrifice quality to make the bullet train affordable, that’s another sign it’s unaffordable.

    A Readers comment:

    The Tudor Perini contract is to grade the right of way, build an overpass and underpass. These are common construction jobs that do not require more expensive foreign European contractors. All of the firms bidding on the contract can easily perform the necessary tasks. Concerns about the safety of construction of any of the firms bidding are ridiculous.

    Another reader is all keen on using safety to attack the HSR proejct:

    If safety is what it taxes to can this bankrupting boondoggle, so be it. Anything that stop this abysmal waste of money is a positive development.

    Cue CARRD.

  21. joe
    Jun 3rd, 2013 at 20:10
    #21

    http://www.sddt.com/Commentary/article.cfm?Commentary_ID=109&SourceCode=20130531tzb&_t=Toll+roads+lanes+sound+warning+for+high+speed+rail#.Ua1Y8RXAORs

    Toll roads, lanes sound warning for high speed rail
    By Thomas D. Elias
    Friday, May 31, 2013

    The warning for high speed rail is that traffic volume declined by about half on some segments when that lane started charging tolls.

    Why is that a warning for the bullet train? Because fares are now projected at or slightly above the level of airline prices for the same Los Angeles-San Francisco run. A car carrying more than one person between the same points will have a far lower per capita expense. And the experience of toll roads and lanes indicates that when prices for a transportation option rise too far above parallel options, the cost factor can drive usage down.

    Eric Reply:

    Sounds more like a good sign for HSR. All you have to do is put a small toll on the freeways and everyone will switch to HSR (or planes, but their cost is similar to HSR).

    Derek Reply:

    And then without traffic congestion, you won’t need to widen the freeway to eliminate traffic congestion.

    But then without traffic congestion, you’ll have one less argument for HSR.

    Peter Reply:

    That is a very lame argument.

Comments are closed.