Republicans Claim XpressWest Loan Is Indefinitely Suspended

Jul 11th, 2013 | Posted by

Back in March two Congressional Republicans – Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – wrote to Ray LaHood hoping to block a federal loan for the XpressWest project to link Southern California and Southern Nevada with high speed rail.

Today Sessions and Ryan released a letter they wrote to the General Accounting Office in which they claim that the US Department of Transportation has decided to “indefinitely suspend review” of the loan application.

Ryan-Sessions Letter to GAO (July 11, 2013) – XpressWest

The letter was released publicly on the blog of the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank that opposes high speed rail projects. Heritage called the move “Ray H. LaHood’s eleventh-hour pardon of federal and California taxpayers” and celebrated the news:

HSR is one of the more expensive, subsidy-laden, and therefore unviable forms of public transportation. If it were as beneficial and feasible as lawmakers and city planners claimed, the private sector would have embraced it without dependence on costly, taxpayer-funded subsidies from Washington. Congress should abandon any notions of future funding for HSR and pronounce any such proposals from the Administration as dead on arrival.

The comment is full of typical right-wing ideology – anything that is expensive and subsidized is “unviable” (so what do they think about the extremely expensive and massively subsidized Interstate Highway System?) and a belief that the private sector is somehow able to step up and fund billions of dollars of infrastructure even though they typically never do any such thing. And the benefits of the system, including reduced carbon emissions and savings from lower oil consumption and not having to expand airports and freeways, are ignored.

So far, however, neither XpressWest nor the US Department of Transportation have offered any public comment on the claims made in the Sessions-Ryan letter. I doubt that Sessions and Ryan are lying, but there is likely more to this story than they or the Heritage Foundation are willing to share.

UPDATE: Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News confirms that the loan review has been suspended and says that XpressWest will “continue planning” the project.

  1. BMF from San Diego
    Jul 11th, 2013 at 20:46
    #1

    If the USDoT suspended review of the loan application for DesertExpress… I’m not surprised. To my knowledge, the Feds would have provided an exceedingly high unbalanced proportion of the capital cost for the project. It had very little local commitment.

    VBobier Reply:

    I would rather hear this from the Horses mouth(the DOT), than from the Horse ASS(Big Oils dirty mouth-piece the Heritage Foundation), as HSR will ‘lower oil consumption‘ and means less profits for big oil if HSR is allowed to take off in a Blue State that Big Oil can’t control.

    Until this comes out from the DOT itself, this is not official in any way shape or form, and since when does the Heritage Foundation speak for the DOT??

    Last I looked, NEVER…

  2. Clem
    Jul 11th, 2013 at 20:48
    #2

    And so the first domino falls. Perhaps we could now re-examine the Tejon Pass issue without constant blathering about Las Vegas.

    VBobier Reply:

    When you become GOD…

    Joey Reply:

    When capital cost becomes god, which it rapidly is…

    synonymouse Reply:

    But is the patronage machine capable of recognizing this in a timely manner? They are really old, rally, hidebound and really slow in the uptake.

    synonymouse Reply:

    really hidebound

    Peter Reply:

    They don’t have to recognize it quickly, extension beyond Bakersfield is probably YEARS away.

    VBobier Reply:

    Tejon is as about as likely to happen as a revote will, both cost money, so since I doubt you have enough, it’s put up or shut up.

    Joey Reply:

    I never asked for a revote. Do we have to have this conversation again?

    Clem Reply:

    As planned, HSR will never be built. The starter system from SF to LA is now 20% funded, and without a large private investment share, the remaining 80% is not likely to be cobbled together. For confirmation, look no further than the latest business plan. The really annoying thing about private investors, when they’re about to put billions on the table, is that they insist on “due diligence” which in this case means doing their own ridership and revenue analysis and engineering cost estimates. Those analyses will not have a political finger on the balance to bias the outcomes, regardless of what the CHSRA and its coterie of consultants may have produced for however many years and hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s right: none of their studies and impact reports matter one iota with that much money in play. Taxpayers are easy to fleece; investment banks, not so much.

    Financial sanity will ultimately prevail, or there won’t be a high-speed rail system. Simple as that. I don’t have to put up, shut up, or anything else. All I have to do is sit back, grab some pop corn, and watch it happen… Tejon, or the eventual implosion of the entire scheme.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    their own ridership and revenue analysis and engineering cost estimates.

    …yes and the ten million people making 20 million trips to or from Las Vegas and Southern California will be part of those analyses and estimates.

    Clem Reply:

    Quite so. Private capital must clearly be relishing the chance to fund a new rail link to Las Vegas! (meanwhile, back in reality…)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Reality and political agendas seem to go forth in different dimensions. It is almost like a demonstration of string theory.

    A slow-motion “implosion” is indeed a possibility. Kinda like an infrastructure filibuster. The for profit, tight ship, privately operated mindset and the public service welfare militant union patronage parochial payoff earmark mindset produce distinctly different versions and visions of hsr. This is your “filibuster”.

    But you can discern evolutionary pressures even on the government run side. The ongoing serious union discord, for instance, that you see at BART does not go unnoticed or without consequence. It is the primary reason driverless automatic operation will inevitably become much more common as management concludes why take a chance, why ask for trouble. Minimum number of platform employees.

    The patronage machine will miss the contributions from the unions but in a single party state the business interests are forced to payola those in power to secure consideration. The payoffs still flow.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There will be a high-speed rail system. It’s pretty damn obvious. LA and the Central Valley want a high-speed rail system connecting LA to the Central Valley. LA and the Central Valley have enough clout and enough money that they can get such a system.

    Will it be extended to the lunatics in the Bay Area? Perhaps not.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, and Tejon remains technically impractical.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Tejon remains technically impractical.”

    I guess that is why I-5 and 99 run thru Tehachapi.

    Clem Reply:

    Looking forward to your exposé.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Frankly my dear, L.A. doesn’t give a damn about the Central Valley. L.A. wants to be able to get around L.A. more effectively. Ask voters to choose between HSR and more transit in L.A. which do you think they will vote for?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Depends on the political structure in the LA area. Which voters are you asking?

    The ones in Palmdale?

    The way the LA area governments are currently structured, there’s a huge incentive to build to Palmdale, which is part of LA county, going through the San Fernando Valley, which is part of LA City. There’s a reason Metro keeps backing this.

    If LA County or LA City had different boundaries, you might see different political alignments. In fact, if there were sane political boundaries, I’d agree that LA would not be “looking north”. But the boundaries of LA City and LA County are biased massively towards the north, with the southern suburbs being in other counties. It changes the politics.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Clem: investment banks are remarkably easy to fleece. Other investment banks do it *all the time*.

    This is actually one of the major problems with the economy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Something about this does not ring right. It makes me reflect on the initial announcement from Van Ark that Tejon required a second chance. We remember how that turned out.

    I have to go with Frank Zappa’s observation about the universal pervasion of stupidity. I read today that Bashir Al Assad announced he was celebrating the apparent downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood. How can you tell your friends from enemies when they all suck and all hate each other.

    Clem Reply:

    What we have here is a project that collapsed out of sheer financial infeasibility, and it should give real pause to HSR supporters. Prop 1A and the stimulus are funding less than 1/5th of CA’s high-speed rail project, before cost overruns start to bite. To get the other 4/5ths, some level of financial reality is going to have to set in. Such as finding cheaper and better solutions.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    If XpressWest falls through then that would certainly help the cause of revisiting Tejon. Although the biggest obstacle there remains Metro’s insistence on going via Palmdale.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Could we go Tejon and completely upgrade Metrolink to Palmdale? I’m sure Palmdale residents would prefer getting to LA proper faster over quick trips to Bakersfield or Fresno.
    Still think Republicans are a bunch of a$$holes who wouldn’t support a HSR project if it cost $5 billion or $1..

    bixnix Reply:

    I can’t imagine that Metro has any inclination to push a Metrolink project so hard … there would be serious arm-twisting to get the other counties that are part of Metrolink to go along with that. Why spend billions on Palmdale when an LA subway will have ten times the ridership?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You may be right bixnix but for the wrong reason. The way Metrolink works, and why it is so dysfunctional, is that the counties control the money and fund projects on their own patches independently. There is no “Metrolink” money as such and no need for LACMTA to tap other counties’ treasure. If L.A. wants it they will fund it themselves, with a little help from the feds and Sac.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    That’s right. In the Metrolink system, local agencies are responsible for local projects. The main one that is happening right now is the Perris Valley Line, which is being carried out with federal funding by the RCTC: http://rctc.org/projects/rail-projects/perris-valley-line

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Close.

    The MTA still controls Metrolink both in practical and actual terms. The issue is the financial contribution and governance structure that the outlying counties use to turn the screws on Metro.

    Metrolink is designed to consume as little money as possible. This goes for station design, operations, and yes even grade separations and construction.

    DJ Reply:

    Say what you want about the merits of Tejon, but arguing for it to be revisited again demonstrates a lack of understanding of the project development process: it would delay the project another 3-5 years and cost millions of dollars to restudy with a slim chance of any change–they already did this once, and many engineers working very hard on this project determined it wasn’t any better. Disagree, sure, but this discussion is a couple years too late. Now it’s a question of how we can make the most out of what we’re stuck with.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What’s the cheaper and better solution to HSR for travel between Southern California and Nevada?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Define terms please. Cheaper for whom, the traveler or the taxpayer? Better in what way? I drive once a year leaving Burbank early on a Sunday morning and return late on a Thursday. No traffic problems except for the last 10 miles coming home. I have my vehicle when I get there and know my way around the back streets. I usually take a trip to Spring Mountain Ranch for a hike and/or the dam. Usually there are 3 of us, sometimes 4. Door to door in about 4 hours or a little more. Gasoline would have to be at least $10 per gallon to even make me consider an alternative.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What are the alternatives? How much capacity does the market need in 2020, 2030 and beyond? How do we satisfy the demand? How long is your four hour drive in 2030 if we don’t do anything at all?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    How long is the drive? If it gets too long, don’t go there, it’s optional travel.
    The capacity issue lasts for about 4 hours on a Friday going to and 4 hours on a Sunday coming from. How much do you want to invest in taking care of that?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah yes nobody goes there anymore it’s too crowded.

    How many hours does the problem last in 2030? How about in 2050? How do you ameliorate it? More highway? More airport? Hovercraft? Dirigibles?

    Clem Reply:

    Why is Las Vegas so important to you?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    More passengers means the system has a better chance of making money?

    Clem Reply:

    That’s quite obvious, but Las Vegas is not (by a long shot) the easiest place to get passengers. There are places that require fewer route-miles to be built, through pancake flat terrain, to metro areas significantly more populous than Las Vegas. The first that comes to mind is Sacramento, which has the additional redeeming quality of being in California (you know, the state where Prop 1A was passed?). Last time I mentioned this, you mumbled something about Stockton, clearly having missed the point that the Sacramento metro area (the state capital, not some random burg in the Central Valley) has more people than the Las Vegas metro area. So yeah, go where the people are, by all means.

    In any event, reaching Las Vegas will not be cheap. It requires spending an additional $5 billion to detour the SF-LA backbone via Palmdale, plus another $6 billion (at least!) to build a slowish 150 mph route from Victorville to LV, plus another billion or two to link Victorville to Palmdale. Supposing we had that “extra” $13 billion, which we most definitely don’t (we’re $50+ billion in the hole just for SF-LA), we would spend it on something else first. We would link SF to LA first, then extend to Sacramento, then extend to San Diego, and then maybe we could start talking about Las Vegas.

    To make a long story short: forget Las Vegas. Private investors will piss on the very idea. Oh, wait, they already did!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes I can see it now, people from Southern California flocking to the fine dining and entertainment in Sacramento. The tracks etc, assuming they get built, will be on someone else’s dime. The track fees from Palmdale to whereever will be income for the system. They pissed on the idea of investing in California’s system too.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    2.7 million air passengers LA to Sacramento, so a substantial market does exist.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There are about the same number of LA-Vegas air passengers – 3.5 million a year if I remember correctly.

    Clem Reply:

    The fact remains that from a bang-for-buck standpoint, serving Sacramento and San Diego is far more important than serving Las Vegas. So please, let’s drop the Vegas obsession until after SF – LA, Sac and SD are built.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The future of Las Vegas is not that secure. It has gone thru boom and bust cycles before and come back with a bang. But that was in the days when there was no material gambling competition. What provided Vegas with the extraordinary momentum was gambling revenues. There is nothing really special about its location.

    California is bound to host many more casinos in the coming decades. And once the novelty wears off the gambling business overall may tend to taper. Atlantic City casinos take in June was off 12% from the year before. If casino management tightens up its machines too much it will drive away players. There are a lot of naturally nicer “resorts” than Vegas and they need to remember it is the casino that is the cash cow.

    Sacramento and San Diego are a lot more important destinations than Sin City in eclipse.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Clem: political boundaries. Again. Nevada has two Senators. Therefore you can get money for a Nevada project which you can’t get for a California project.

    Do I advocate the abolition of the US Senate, to get rid of this nonsense? Of course I do.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And, furthermore, political weirdness is why CHSRA is specified to go from SF to LA. It would have been more natural to build Sacramento to LA first, and then worry about connecting the geographically-isolated San Francisco, but SF still has more clout than Sacramento within the state legislature.

    Everything is political.

    Joey Reply:

    For what it’s worth, the SF area has a lot more population and employment than the Sacramento area.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sac is practically an extension of the Bay Area now. It is closer to the Northbay than San Jose.

    Derek Reply:

    By far, the way that is the easiest and least burdensome on taxpayers is to convert existing lanes on the I-15 to express toll lanes. It would require very little new infrastructure, it would permanently eliminate traffic congestion, and it would provide a new source of revenue to maintain the I-15, relieving taxpayers of that burden.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How high does the toll have to be to “eliminate traffic congestion”? Can you raise it that high without the Federal government saying “no”?

    Derek Reply:

    The toll should be just high enough to eliminate traffic congestion, but no higher. The price should be determined in a similar way as an auction: allow everyone who wants to drive on the road at a certain time to bid on the limited road space. Then nobody would be overcharged, and the winning auction price, whatever it turned out to be, will have been necessary to solve the economic problem.

    One way to determine the price at a specific time slot of the week is by choosing a number, say 50 cents, and if it still results in traffic congestion, raise the price by 25 cents for the same time slot of the next week. If the road isn’t close to capacity, the price for that time slot must be reduced by 25 cents. Repeat as needed every week (or maybe every month) for each time slot until congestion is eliminated and the road is running close to capacity.

    As long as nobody’s being overcharged and the revenue stays in the same road, the Federal government shouldn’t have a problem.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the revenue stays in the same road

    So there’s no congestion on the tolled portions of I-95?

    Derek Reply:

    Not in the express toll lanes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’ve been stuck in awful congestion in the express lanes on the Garden State Parkway. Three hours for a 60 mile trip.

    Derek Reply:

    Those lanes aren’t really express lanes because they don’t have congestion pricing. The only thing “express” about them is that they are electronically tolled and so you don’t have to stop at toll booths.

    MarkB Reply:

    Derek, Derek, Derek… you get hard everytime you utter the phrase “toll lane” but you still don’t seem to understand IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CONVERT EXISTING INTERSTATE CAPACITY TO TOLL WITHOUT FIRST HAVING THE STATE RETURN EVERY DOLLAR THE FEDS CONTRIBUTED TO CREATING AND MAINTAINING THAT CAPACITY.

    As an aside: if all it took for a state to convert existing Interstate capacity to tolling was for that state to have Derek wave his Magic Wand, why hasn’t every Interstate already been converted? Don’t you think the states would love to get their hands on that toll revenue?

    The last time I pointed this out, your entire response was a pithy “You lie.” Yeah, put me in my place.

    Here’s someone in The Liberal Media also lying:

    Under current law, states are allowed to toll interstates if the roads had tolls before they became part of the national network, which is why so many states in the Northeast already charge tolls for driving on I-95. They also are allowed to put tolls on new roads that are not part of the Interstate Highway System. States can even add new carpool lanes to existing interstates, and charge money to use the faster lanes. But they generally cannot put tolls on previously toll-free interstate stretches built with federal money.

    Even the Transportation Secretary lies:

    So far, though, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been skeptical. “If a state or a governor or DOT wants to add capacity or two lanes on each side, we think that’s a good use of tolls, and we have supported that kind of approach,” he told a Rhode Island television station. “We don’t support the kind of approach, though, for roads that have already been built with taxpayer dollars then to be tolled.”

    There is a “pilot program” allowing three states to test tolls under some very strict conditions, but so far no states have been able to meet the conditions. There’s been talk of some new transpo bill that will make it easier to tell the truth, but given how dysfunctional Congress has been, I’d be surprised to see any bill at all.

    So, sure, never mind the the lying US Code, the lying Transportation Secretary, the lying Liberal Media: you alone know the truth. Convert every road to toll!! Congestion be gone!

    …I hope the markup worked. Without a preview function you never know…

    Derek Reply:

    Los Angeles converted the HOV lanes on the I-10 and I-110 to HOT lanes.

    MarkB Reply:

    Zing! Zow!

    You have not refuted anything I wrote. All you’ve done is prove my point by highlighting a pilot program. From the USDOT Website:

    Sections 1604 (b), the Express Lanes Demonstration program, and 1604 (c), the Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot program, are new programs providing tolling authority opportunities. The Express Lanes Demonstration program permits tolling authority for up to fifteen demonstration projects for existing HOV facilities or where toll capacity is added, and the Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot program authorizes up to three toll pilot facilities on the Interstate system for the purpose of constructing new Interstate highways.

    Pilot programs, demonstration projects with a limited number of slots and requiring consent from the DOT.

    C’mon, Derek, tell me: Was former Secretary LaHood wrong? Was he lying? Was the newspaper wrong? Was it lying? Is Section 1604 wrong when it talks about allowing only specific and limited instances of toll “demonstration” projects? Or just answer this: show me statutory authority by which the State of California could convert all existing general-use capacity on Highway 15 into toll roads.

    Derek Reply:

    I think you just want to argue.

    MarkB Reply:

    “Facts are stubborn things.”

    VBobier Reply:

    Tolling the i15 would be a burden to local residents who are largely poor and would be opposed as would businesses, as the surface streets out here are cracked and in need of serious repaving and there is no money for that county wide, but people would drive on those rotting roads and there would be no local money going to the toll trolls…

    Derek Reply:

    Tolling the i15 would be a burden to local residents who are largely poor…

    False.

    …as would businesses…

    Traffic congestion already burdens businesses. Flattening peak hour demand (which is what express toll lanes do) would help businesses by giving them a more constant stream of customers.

    …the surface streets out here are cracked and in need of serious repaving…

    The alternative to tolling, widening freeways, places a greater traffic burden on local streets, so then you have to widen those streets also, and then you’ll have even more pavement you can’t afford to repair. Therefore, express tolling is much, much more economical than the alternative.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Unfortunately, the tolled roads still encourage a lot of fossil fuel useage. I would rather see the HST and an option to use alternatives to coal and oil.

    Jim M

    Derek Reply:

    One nice thing about express tolling is that, with it in place, you can shut down traffic lanes without creating traffic congestion.

    jimsf Reply:

    Until chsra announces that it is interested in switching to tejon, there’s not much point in discussing it.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, but there are cheapskates here who don’t care and want to do so anyway, come hell or high water.

  3. Paul Druce
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 00:43
    #3

    Good.

  4. BeWise
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 01:11
    #4

    Something tells me this isn’t permanently dead. I get the feeling that it’ll suddenly be resurrected once the High Desert Corridor is approved (should HSR be included in the median). More or less, it seems that the project has gone on hiatus until the HDC breaks ground. But who knows, I could be completely wrong.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    My prediction is the HDC will first be built as a freeway with wide median, and eventually proceed as a Metrolink extension to Victorville. Hopefully, they will build it in such a way as to not preclude HSR in the future.

    Unlike some people on this board, I say if there is demand from the public to go from the LA metro area to Las Vegas, the government should enable this. I’m not going to choose where other people should be able to go easily, especially if it’s because of ideological reasons. Where we supply infrastructure should be demand driven, even if we don’t approve of the (perfectly legal) reasons for people’s travel.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed.

  5. swing hanger
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 01:13
    #5

    Better to end this soon, than have it drag out or possibly fail after construction begins, and thus deep-six any hopes for other HSR projects that are more viable.

  6. Emmanuel
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 03:12
    #6

    Maybe if we ever get over American exceptionalism and pride, we can start asking foreign governments to chip in. Let’s say Qatar for example. I can also see several European countries say Germany being ready to invest in high speed rail. Of course they would demand things such as that it is built meeting their standards weakening the power of the CHSRA to do whatever nonsense it wants to and much of the revenue would go straight to those foreign countries but at least we would have something to ride by the end of the decade at best and 2030 at worst. In contrast it looks like the current path plans to finish everything by 2050. I am including delays and other overruns of course. Waiting for DC to approve loans is wishful thinking and a big waste of time.

    Andy M Reply:

    I cannot right now think of any precedent (development aid apart) for the governemnt of one country financing a big project in another country. To accept this would be to finally admit the USA has become a third world country.

    swing hanger Reply:

    No foreign government is going to prudently invest their citizens’ wealth on a HSR system subject to the whims of U.S. politics dictated by election year cycles, and its peculiar attitude towards infrastructure, especially rail. A fully private system, with minimal intervention from meddlesome politicians and not subject to stupid “uniquely American” requirements, on the other hand, will attract investment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The only route that could possibly be consistent with “a fully private system” would be Tejon, I-5, Altamont, Dumbarton. Even thus it could be risky, but then so is living.

    That alignment taps the deep pockets termini, including the spurned Sac, and keeps the costs lowest across the San Joaquin Valley and the speeds highest. Meanwhile both Bako and Fresno can be accessed via spurs with travel times from those to the major destinations very expeditious.

    Unfortunately they are already dug in on the orphan ARRA-IOS. Sad mistake, in that they took Van Ark’s practical joke seriously, which reminds me in its obstinacy and precipitousness of the decision to go “iconic” with the WillieBridge. I have to confess I was seduced by the iconic notion, when a more mundane but bigger bridge(with reserved lanes for AC Transit buses)was the right way to proceed.

    VBobier Reply:

    BARF…

    TomA Reply:

    Qatar might. They are going to spend a fifth of a trillion dollars on the world cup.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    Where’s their ROI in building this piece of infrastructure? I’m sure they’re willing to burn a fifth of a trillion dollars on their own soil (with substantial infrastructure and publicity benefits), but it’s naive to think they’d spend money just for our benefit.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Well that’s what I meant when I said that they would only invest if it was built at their own terms. NIMBYs and local government obstruction can indeed scare them away. I mean it has already scared at least one government away. Our federal government. And that will only make it more difficult to make a case for private investment. If the government refuses to invest then who else would?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    GIVEN
    1. PBQD, Ron Tutor and friends want $100 billion dollars.
    AND
    2. XXX has $100 billion dollars.
    THEREFORE
    3. XXX should give PBQD, Ron Tutor and friends $100 billion dollars.

    The logic is unassailable.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Quite so.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “To accept this would be to finally admit the USA has become a third world country.”

    We should just admit this, and get on with trying to make things better. The health statistics don’t lie: the US is comparable to third world countries, not to developed countries.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so if the US is 3rd world…what is Haiti?

    And what health statistics imply that the US is comparable to 3rd world countires…I would love to see a citation.

  7. Paul Dyson
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 07:11
    #7

    The silence from the DoT is indeed odd. Under the TEA-21 legislation which created the RRIF program the DoT is supposed to make a determination on applications 90 days from receiving them. That 90 days is long past without a response. And if what Heritage and the GOP reps state is true, “indefinitely suspending review” by DoT is also unlawful, they should either approve or deny.

    The project was always fatally flawed. It was clear to me that the idea was to use fed money to start the project by building the cheap section first, and hoping that if CA started to build somehow the whole thing would be log rolled into giving access to where the people are at the west end. In other words, like the CA IOS it is an incomplete project with no hope of commercial success. CA needs to consider this very carefully, and build stuff with the money available that actually generates some passenger miles.

    Clem Reply:

    CA needs to consider this very carefully, and build stuff with the money available that actually generates some passenger miles

    That’s presumably why all the latest planning is for an IOS southern terminal at Palmdale, as revealed by regional consultant reports obtained by CARRD. That involves building the same number of route miles from Shafter (105 miles via Tehachapi Pass) as shooting directly to Sylmar (105 miles via Tejon Pass). Because as we all know, terminating in Palmdale would generate far more ridership than reaching the San Fernando Valley directly… or would it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is unfortunate we are stuck with Jerry Brown – I really think Schwarzie would have thought twice about firing Van Ark, who understood that “Borden to Corcoran” was a stunt, not the smartest way ahead.

    One upside to the Deserted Xprss fiasco, if indeed it were properly denied a loan, is that it highlights the distinct possibility that the money might peter out mid-job. Jerry is so impaired and into his legacy he will forge ahead with the DogLog on fumes and the work will stop once he is out of office.

    VBobier Reply:

    Desert Xpress doesn’t have anything to do with Governor Brown, who will most likely whip any and all challengers, He beat Meg after She spent $100 million and His popularity is still very good, except among the Baggers

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary the politics are quite clear:

    Brown and Reid are joined at the hip. Of course it was Brown who had to ok whacking Van Ark, for merely having the temerity to authorize a backup plan.

    The current crowd heading up CHSRA are total political hacks. And not very astute politically at that, as the orphan ARRA-IOS has monumental debacle potential.

    VBobier Reply:

    Governor Brown will be reelected, there isn’t a bagger alive that could win in this state with Him running for a 4th term, He’s popular, baggers and their stupid SOB ideas aren’t…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Paul, haven’t you noticed that “unlawful” seems to be irrelevant at the federal level these days?

    The President claims the right to murder people with drones. This *and* the previous President have been holding people prisoner without trial for *years* in Guanatanamo Bay, which is blatantly unconstitutional. We recently found out that they’re flagrantly ignoring the Fourth Amendment in order to search all of our communications without any sort of particularized suspicion. And ignoring the First Amendment by slapping gag orders on people who reveal these crimes committed by the government.

    Why would you expect the federal government to pay any attention to little laws like a “90 days” restriction, when it’s violating things like the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments?

    Nathanael Reply:

    And don’t get me started on the War Powers clause of the Constitution, which has been violated by many many Presidents….

  8. John Nachtigall
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 08:06
    #8

    “a belief that the private sector is somehow able to step up and fund billions of dollars of infrastructure even though they typically never do any such thing. ”

    That is exactly what the XpressWest backers were trying to sell. This was a loan, not a grant, so they had to show an ability to pay it back, which they could not. I could understand your disapointment if it was a grant program, but since they had 0 chance of paying back the capital (under any interest or loan length combination) plus pay for operating costs, plus make a profit this was an easy decision.

    Simply put you dont loan money to someone (especially public funds) if they cant pay it back.

  9. Reedman
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 09:42
    #9

    A loan? Like the Solyndra loan?

  10. Bill
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 10:17
    #10

    Why does Paul Ryan get to have all the fun?

    VBobier Reply:

    Lyin Ryan is no fun, He likes austerity on the backs of the working poor and on the backs of Seniors and Disabled People, one can only hope that He’s ejected in 2014 from the House by the voters…

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Interesting, that’s the same policy that the Brit. Chancellor has got, wonder if they use the same think tank

    nick Reply:

    it’s called the no think tank

    Bill Reply:

    Ryan’s one of those politicians we’ll find out in a couple years was having group sex with men and taking bribes while he was in office.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Somebody sounds jealous.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    He’s nowhere near cool enough for group sex.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    His biggest thrill must have been helping to bring down the Madison-Milwaukee extension of the Milwaukee-Chicago service. I don’t see how anything he has done since can compare.

    The Madison-Milwaukee extension had many of the features transit planners like. The 3 hubs – Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago – are big destinations. All 3 are college towns and government centers. Madison has a growing high-tech economy. The extension would connect to a well-used existing network. The distance isn’t all that long, so speeds don’t need to be crazy, and the project could be completed in one phase. Being the first to undertake a project like this, Wisconsin could attract businesses doing engineering and building equipment. A lot of those jobs would have gone to people in Ryan’s district. For the future, there was possible extension to Minneapolis, putting Madison in the center of a midwest transit corridor.

    This was a big missed opportunity, and probably a lasting part of Paul Ryan’s legacy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What future extension? Madison is off the mainline; trains would have to either branch or reverse direction. In the steam era none of the Chicago-MSP express trains served Madison since it was too small and was in difficult geography.

    Andrew L-A Reply:

    How far off? It seems reasonably close to the route and is much larger than Rochester or Eau Claire, which seem to be the only other plausible stops between Milwaukee and MSP, unless the plan is strictly non-stop.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A few dozen kilometers from the Milwaukee line, farther from the other lines. There are lines that go directly to the city, the trains would just have to make a reverse move.

    As Joey says, for HSR the plan should be (and is, according to SNCF) to build a greenfield station near the airport, which is closer than any legacy rail mainline gets to the city.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s not off the mainline if you allow a greenfield station.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s perfectly straightforward to serve Madison, it’s just expensive. It’s actually easier to serve it from the west than from the east. “Back when”, the Chicago-MSP route which went via Madison was the one which went through Janesville, not the one which went through Milwaukee.

    If the Madison-Milwaukee 125 mph line had been built — and make no mistake, it was a difficult route which had to be constructed mostly from land bridges due to the nature of the soil — then Madison to Minneapolis is really not that hard; there are at least three good routes. My favored route is via Prarie du Chien, but apparently that’s unpopular due to the number of wildlife refuges and parks it goes through. The route north to Portage is direct enough too.

  11. Keith Saggers
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 15:07
    #11

    http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/index.php?/topic/53636-xpress-west/page-5

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Thanks for the link, I hope it is true.

    Jim

  12. nick
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 15:17
    #12

    better raise the gas tax or toll the interstates then as they are subsidized. the only time right wingers don’t like subsidy is when it is given to something that they don’t have a vested interest in. so big oil gets tax breaks so that’s ok and its ok to subsidize the roads (because that benefits big oil) but whatever you do don’t give subsidies or tax breaks to renewables or high speed rail etc. it is called hypocrisy.

    Similarly right wingers would rather spend massive amounts on so called defense then let their own less fortunate fellow citizens have healthcare. So spend money to kill foreign people but not to cure your own people. It is sickening.

    Reedman Reply:

    In the USA in 2010, mass transit accounted for 1% of our surface travel, but received 17% of the Highway Trust Fund (paid by gasoline taxes) disbursements.

    ——-

    Wendell Cox, “Transit Policy in an Era of the Shrinking Federal Dollar,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2763, January 31, 2013, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/transit-policy-in-an-era-of-the-shrinking-federal-dollar.

    nick Reply:

    1% of surface travel by what ? passenger miles ? Still doesn’t change the fact that there isn’t enough revenue from road users to cover the cost of building and maintaining the roads so therefore the roads are subsidized by the general taxpayer. And to be honest what do you expect from Wendell Cox and the Heritage Foundation ? Impartiality ? No vested interests and right wing propaganda.

    I think they made a typo. It says that they were formed in 1973 but reading through their doctrine I think they meant 1773 ! The most worrying part is that they actually believe what they are saying ! Frightening

    Nathanael Reply:

    In the USA in 2010, 90% of roadways accounted for less than 1% of our surface travel, but received an absolutely unbelievably large amount of money.

    Of course, when you point THIS out to right-wing road warriors, they switch to saying “But we need those rural roads!” Fine, and we need the mass transit, too. The percentage argument is bogus.

  13. Donk
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 21:28
    #13

    This is great news. This would have doomed HSR in the US.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I dunno about that. Ridership would have been high enough to entice more investors into the marketplace.

  14. Travis D
    Jul 12th, 2013 at 21:44
    #14

    I still think going the Tejon route would kill the project. Too much time has been spent on the current route and starting over from scratch on all the complex engineering would take so much more time it would be the death nail.

    Maybe Tejon is the better route but we are past that point. But you can’t go back in time. We can only work from where we are now.

    So let’s work to make the current route the best it can be.

    Joey Reply:

    How long does it take to go through the EIR process and detailed engineering? How many years are we away from building anything south of Bakersfield?

    Clem Reply:

    One thing is sure, the statewide program EIR would have to be re-opened. It was certified in 2005, well before HSR was on everyone’s radar. I concede that it would be quite the can of worms…

    Peter Reply:

    I’m not convinced the statewide EIR would have to be reopened. They could simply prepare a Supplemental Programmatic EIR comparing Tejon to Tehachapi. No need to reopen the entire can of worms.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    I call baloney. No need to reopen the whole statewide EIR. Although if that happens to be the case, I suggest we start designing this from scratch and this time hire people to do so who have an IQ above 80.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suggest it is all politics, just as with the firing of Van Ark.

    If the DogLeg ends up half built after Jerry Brown is gone from office and the next administration loses interest in it what benefit is that to Antonovich and his real estate developer friends?

    They might be willing to cut a deal that secures substantial rail upgrades LA to Palmdale while permitting a significantly cheaper Tejon crossing. The question remains do the stakeholders have enough energy and motivation to concoct a new “fix” to replace the old one that now appears very sketchy and problematical. I just dunno if the senescent patronage machine is up to the task. It just might peter out – “indefinitely suspended” seems to be the operative term.

  15. Keith Saggers
    Jul 13th, 2013 at 04:28
    #15

    XpressWest

    re:“indefinitely suspend review” of the loan application.

    “indefinitely” seems to have been added by lying Ryan

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    That would not surprise me.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Keith Saggers and Robert:

    The article below, has a quote from XpressWest saying “indefinitely” on the suspension of the review.

    morris

    ———-

    TRANSPORTION: Victorville-to-Vegas rail project stalls

    http://www.pe.com/local-news/transportation-headlines/20130712-transportion-victorville-to-vegas-rail-project-stalls.ece

    An application for a federal loan to fund a high-speed rail line from Victorville to Las Vegas has been suspended indefinitely, the project’s developer confirmed Friday.

    XpressWest released a written statement saying that it remains hopeful despite the suspension of its $5.5 billion government loan application.

    “While the loan process for XpressWest has been suspended, it is our understanding the project is still being reviewed,” the statement said. “We believe high speed rail in the western United States is both feasible and desired.”

    The developer said its next move is to “await further information and direction from the (Obama) Administration” and that it has “always known that a project of this magnitude would undergo painstaking and diligent review.”

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Right on

  16. trentbridge
    Jul 13th, 2013 at 10:50
    #16

    Myth #14 On public transportation projects : Ridership estimates are “always exaggerated..”.

    From Build Expo website (Board Meeting 7.11.2013)

    • Expo Line is close to reaching the 27,000 daily riders projected for 2020:
     April 2012 Opening to La Cienega – 11,000 weekday riders
     June 2012 Opening to Culver City – 18,000 weekday riders
     May 2013 – 26,663 weekday riders

    So seven years to find another 337 riders..

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Sadly, I’m not aware of a single transit project in the SF Bay Area any time in the last 30+ years that has come close to meeting, let alone blowing out, advertised ridership “projections”.

    Not to go all “stilt-a-rail” Synonymouse on you, but with PBQD=CHSRA you really are looking at state-wide BART and Muni “light” rail quality of rent-seeking, design, cost estimation, state/federal funding fraud, and ridership fraud.

    The people who brought you all the unquestionable, historically verifiable failures in this part of the world are the exact same people behind CHSR. It would be wonderful if that weren’t the case, but it isn’t.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think the folks at WMATA or MARTA might beg to disagree. Sure, BART and Miami’s Metrorail never reached the sort of unbelievable expectations placed on them, but there’s good reason for that.

    Unlike DC, the majority of job centers in the Bay Area didn’t stay in a central business district, that also conveniently had one employer that subsidized that travel.

    You are making the mistake that 3rd generation US public transit system organized around cheaper light rail can really be compared to 2nd generation systems (BART, MARTA, WMATA) that chose the most expensive technology possible. 1st generation systems (NY’s subway) never had that problem because the cities reached terminal density before cars could influence urban plans.

    PBQD isn’t dumb, they know if the ridership isn’t there, it’s politically impossible to get anything greenlighted.

    That doesn’t mean that given the sort of OTHER factors that influence public policy after costs that are less easy to count (like air pollution) that BART wasn’t the right decision anyway. It’s just how the game is played.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The ridership is not there, but they are still hell bent for leather in blowing a fortune on San Joaquin Valley AmBART.

    LA basin public transit demand and potential was always substantial but the highway lobby insisted on 100% market share for internal combustion. And the transit consultants – the PB equivalents of the era – signed on enthusiastically to diesel bustitution. But universal auto ownership and usage was the ultimate objective. Buses merely an interim.

    Google Jesse Haugh – the nemesis of the PE.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I think the folks at WMATA or MARTA might beg to disagree.

    Simply fascinating. Thank you for your contribution.

    Now, just how is the record of the “folks” at WMATA or MARTA in the SF Bay Area and with hundred billion dollar projects fully controlled by PBQD? There must be some connection, right, otherwise you wouldn’t have just started free-association typing, right?

    3rd generation US public transit system organized around cheaper light rail

    You’re delusional. We have “cheaper light rail” right here SF. Over $100 million/mile on wide surface streets a decade ago, over $1000 billion/mile in tunnel today. Both carry/will carry fewer riders than the bus line they duplicate.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    My comment was about ridership.

    I understand your monomaniacal fascination with PB and Bay Area transit, Richard.

    Note: what I call first general systems are those (NY, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia) built before WWII. Second generation are those that are grade separated, but built after (BART, WWMATA, MARTA…etc). The 3rd generation stuff is usually light rail that is not full separated but worlds cheaper to build. But it’s also slower, and has smaller capacity usually.

    As for your other comment, apparently you know about as much about effective governance as Jean Jacques Rosseau.

    Eric Reply:

    “We have “cheaper light rail” right here SF. Over $100 million/mile on wide surface streets a decade ago, over $1000 billion/mile in tunnel today.”

    10 times cheaper kind of proves his point, doesn’t it?

    Joey Reply:

    When you are building surface LRT for what other countries (Spain) are building subways for, it’s worth questioning exactly what you mean by “cheaper.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    “PBQD isn’t dumb…”

    Lenny Bruce sending up Oral Roberts in “Religions Incorporated” routine ca 1957:

    “I’m dumb. I don’t know how much a whole lot of 9’s are. But I got some men on my staff who do.

    Yeah, I’m. dumb. I got 3 Lincoln Continentals – that’s how goddam dumb I am!”

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    BART carries nearly 400,000 riders a day. That’s a huge success by any stretch of the imagination.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    BART carries about the same number of people as SkyTrain. That’s not a success, not given the metro areas’ comparative sizes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Let’s compare the compensation packages of BART and SkyTrain platform employees.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What SkyTrain platform employees?

    synonymouse Reply:

    It’s driverless?

    Joey Reply:

    Fully automated and I think most of the stations are unmanned. jimsf would throw a fit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Does SkyTrain feature wc’s in its stations?

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t know. To be clear, SkyTrain isn’t completely uncrewed. There are customer service and security staff on duty at all times, though I don’t know exactly where they are.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The major stations have some employees roaming the stations – no fixed station agent booths. The rest are completely unmanned, or alternatively have invisible employees, I can’t tell.

    There are no bathrooms at any of the stations I’ve used.

    The average operating costs of SkyTrain, per revenue-km and revenue-hour, are lower than on any US rail network, usually by a large margin (it’s about one third as much as New York).

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Don’t be silly, Moscow subway carries 12 million passengers per day. How many stations, how many miles of track?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    There are 15 tunnel boring machines working in Moscow as of April 2013 with 24 planned by the end of 2013.wikiepedia

    Joey Reply:

    SkyTrain is 68.6 km with 47 stations in a metro area of 2.3 million. BART is 167 km with 44 stations in a metro area of 4.1 m (excluding Marin county).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, the Moscow Metro carries 7 million passengers per day. Second, Moscow is bigger. And third, Moscow developed around the subway – the Soviet planners built subway lines and new housing projects, while their policy of ignoring consumer goods suppressed car ownership. Vancouver is a postwar North American city that began to develop around cars, changed its mind, stopped building freeways into the city, and has spent the last 30 years building a transit system from scratch.

    Not going to say Vancouver is better than Moscow, but by North American standards it’s done impressive things.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    These goalposts are so light and so easy to move! And history is bunk!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Yes, look how they include Colma ridership as part of the SFO/Millbrae extension ridership, even though Colma opened 7 years prior to the SFO/Millbrae extension. When it was apparent that SFO was a dog, they moved the goalposts and threw Colma ridership in there as part of the SFO extension.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    During the EIR ridership projections Colma was not considered as part of the SFO extension. The total ridership projections for BART with the SFO extension were 85,000 including Colma and 98,100 including Colma and Daly City.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Where are the 68,000-70,000 people that are supposed to be riding the BART extension to SFO/Millbrae?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Jeff, they missing bodies are awaiting rail service in Las Vegas, which, as astute readers of informed commentary will know, is part of California, in the same way as Milpitas lies on the route from Fremont (near Seattle) to Redwood City (slightly north of Cabo San Lucas.)

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Or they could be waiting for BART to San Jose and fail to materialize on that one too.

    Sadly, VTA is on the same course as San Mateo/Samtrans, BART-delusions of grandeur… Once built and operating, BART will bring VTA to near bankruptcy.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Sadly, I’m not aware of a single transit project in the SF Bay Area any time in the last 30+ years that has come close to meeting, let alone blowing out, advertised ridership “projections”

    BART Ridership current 400,000 per day. Projected ridership 500,000 per day. CBS 4/26/13

    Nathanael Reply:

    Richard, the difference is that there are actually LA people, and Sacramento people, and even someone from Fresno and someone from San Diego, involved in CHSRA.

    It’s not a pure San Fransicso Bay Area fail-fest. The other places do not do what San Francisco does. Something went extra-specially wrong with SF political culture, as Joe Esterhazi spent a long time documenting.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Something went extra-specially wrong with SF political culture,”

    And I thought I did not get out much.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    The transit dysfunctional Bay Area loves these huge, costly, inefficient, transit projects, rah, rah, rah, BART to San Jose, BART to Livermore, Tracy, Stockton, Sacramento, Yosemite… Then you have those advocating BART further down the peninsula. Only in the Bay Area do we have this bat shit insane idea to replace a working, underutilized, conventional rail system with an ultra expensive, custom designed rail system that may give us mundane service compared to an upgraded, electrified Caltrain service. How much sense does it make to advocate replacing a rail service that carries passengers an average of 23 miles with a rail service that carries passengers an average of 13 miles?

    I suppose that WMATA Metrorail should replace VRE and MARC commuter rail?

    I suppose the CTA ‘EL’ should replace the METRA rail system?

    I suppose the NYC subway should replace the LIRR, Metro-North, PATH, and NJ Transit?

    In the real world areas of the country the rail systems *complement* each other rather than compete against each other.

    BART’s main focus should be to improve the core system to be the best it can be and NOT empire building with grandiose extension plans. Extensions lead to more wear and tear on the system. The additional ridership from extensions will create more burdens on an already crowded core system.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    In the real world areas of the country the rail systems *complement* each other rather than compete against each other.

    The Bay Area is a unique situation because you can’t have a diesel powered train in the transbay tube. The fact that you don’t need the tube to access the City from the Peninsula is the reason that Cal Train survived.

    But overlaying that technical reality is that formerly white and Republican San Mateo and Santa Clara County wanted no part of this “mass transit project”.

    Meanwhile, in your other examples, you conveniently leave out that the “L” barely leaves Chicago proper and certainly not Cook County. The NY Subway as you might notice, is all within City limits, and suburban and (Republican) Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties only have commuter rail.

    DC, on the other hand, has no streetcar or similar mass transit option, only Metrorail. And while you can connect from VRE and MARC to WMATA, it’s not that convenient.

    But again, let’s not bring up the fact that California’s urban planning design has always been different. Move along please.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Cook County is more than half of Chicago’s metro area, and New York City proper is more than a third of its. San Francisco is 11% of its metro area population.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ trentbridge

    The LA rail projects amount to a restitution of the subverted and torpedoed PE. tried, true, tested. About as good a bet as one could imagine.

    The DogLeg parallels a 19th century freight rail line which only sees passengers when the UP detours the Coast Starlight from the coastal route. The State has not even had enough interest to approach UP-BNSF about even one lousy train a day each way.

    Once again the Cheerleaders need to demonstrate their faith and petition Jerry Brown to move I-5 to Tehachapi.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The LA rail projects amount to a restitution of the subverted and torpedoed PE. tried, true, tested. About as good a bet as one could imagine.

    Nice revisionist history there.

    The Pacific Electric cars were Henry Huntington’s 19th century version of BART, encouraging lucrative suburban development. Their ridership paled compared to the Yellow Cars, or LARY, the Los Angeles City Railway. There are no, repeat, no Metro rail lines that parallel LARY except for the Purple Line.

    The reason ridership has been so strong in Southern California is that the demographic profile of the region has changed to where now most people living there are first or second generation immigrants from denser regions of Latin America and Asia NOT Chevy-driving defense contractors.

    By contrast, the Northern California equivalent (e.g. Apple, HP, Adobe, etc.) are still going strong even using immigrant labor. But because they pay just a tad more than Walmart, those workers don’t surrender their cars as easily. But the time is coming…..

  17. Paul Dyson
    Jul 13th, 2013 at 13:01
    #17

    Interesting that the DoT has informed XpressWest about the “suspension” but not made a public announcement. As I have verified, under TEA-21 the DoT is acting unlawfully. They should either award the loan or deny the application, there is no grey area, no provision for an extension.

    synonymouse Reply:

    One would assume Reid is scrambling.

    They need to build it out right away – we need a thoroughgoing failure to deflate the hype.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Of course we may not have all the facts. Perhaps the indefinite suspension actually was requested by XpressWest when they realised that a denial was inevitable. Better fire off a few FOIA requests. Of course given their track record one has to wonder how long it will take DoT to respond to those!

  18. San Diego
    Jul 13th, 2013 at 17:28
    #18

    43,600 is the Exposition Line Phase 1 projected ridership. See the FEIR/FEIS Chptr 2 page 2.4-7. The exact language from the FEIR/FEIS is, “Ridership forecasts estimate
    there would be approximately 43,600 daily riders in the Year 2020.”

    Do a google search for “Exposition Line Phase 1 EIR” and you will find an html page at Los Angeles Metro for the table of Contents. Open up Chapter 2 and scroll to page 2.4-7. See bottom of page.

    Should be noted that the figure is relevant to the build-out year, 2020. Not today. And, ridership does not appear overnight. It builds rapidly in first 1-3 years and then flattens to typical annual increases.

  19. John Burrows
    Jul 14th, 2013 at 01:52
    #19

    About as far away from XpressWest as you can get—

    Ridership on the Beijing-Shanghai high speed rail line for the second year of operation (ending June 30) was 74.4 million, an increase of 40% over the 53.3 million who rode the line in its first year of operation.

    When it comes to high speed rail detractors, I doubt if any of the usual suspects, such as the Reason Foundation, are going to to be talking about high speed trains from Beijing to Shanghai any time soon.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …this incidentally makes it the third busiest HSR in the world, after the Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen. It’s almost certainly at least the second busiest measured in passenger-km, possibly even the busiest.

  20. datacruncher
    Jul 14th, 2013 at 10:28
    #20

    Valadao’s opposition to high-speed rail starts at his Kings County dairy
    By Tim Sheehan — The Fresno Bee

    Republican House members up and down the San Joaquin Valley are squarely opposed to California’s high-speed rail project, for which construction could begin this summer.

    But while the issue is largely one of political philosophy for other GOP representatives, it hits much closer to home for Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, whose family’s Valadao Dairy owns property that stands to be affected by either of two high-speed routes being studied in Kings County.
    ……………………
    Three Valadao Dairy parcels sit directly along one of the routes through Kings County — a line that skirts west of Hanford and generally follows the BNSF Railway freight tracks between Hanford and Corcoran. Those parcels amount to about 509 acres and have a combined assessed value of more than $1.8 million, according to a database on the Kings County Assessor’s Office website.

    The largest of those parcels, at just over 402 acres and $1.14 million in value, also would be affected by a new road overpass associated with an east-of-Hanford bypass.

    More in the full article at:
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/07/13/3386679/valadaos-opposition-to-high-speed.html

  21. Keith Saggers
    Jul 14th, 2013 at 14:30
    #21

    Republican House members up and down the San Joaquin Valley are squarely opposed to California’s high-speed rail project, for which construction could begin this summer.

    How many reps. are in “up and down the San Joaquin Valley”?

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    About six. Anti HSR Repubs headed by McCarthy, Nunes, Denham, Valadeo, Radonovich. Major valley Dem booster is Costa.

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