When Will HSR Groundbreaking Begin? “Soon.”

Aug 5th, 2013 | Posted by

California High Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard has told a Fresno TV station that the long-anticipated groundbreaking for the first part of the high speed rail project will begin “soon”:

Groundbreaking on the first segment of California’s high speed rail project is still scheduled to take place this summer.

At a meeting in Sacramento, the director of the high speed rail authority said the contract for construction on the line from Madera County to Fresno will be signed within days….

Authority Director Dan Richards says things are about to happen.

“We’re really on the verge of breaking ground our organization is just about to sign the contract with the contractor,” said Richards. “Right now it’s logistical issues more than anything else.”

Sometime in the next few weeks, the high speed rail project will finally put some steel in the ground. It’s been a long time coming, depending on how you count – 5 years since the passage of Prop 1A, 17 years since the Authority was created in 1996, 30 years since the Legislature foolishly killed the state’s first high speed rail plan after Governor Jerry Brown left office.

Groundbreaking is more than just a milestone, and more than just the actual commencement of construction. It’s also important politically and for the future of high speed rail in California. Once construction begins the project becomes something tangible. It’s been a “real” project since 1996, and especially since the 2008 statewide vote authorizing bond sales. But for most people once something is actually being built, it becomes something that is real, that is actually happening. In turn, that tends to make complaints about the concept go away and gets more people invested in ensuring a project is brought to completion.

The start of construction won’t solve HSR’s problems in Congress, where Tea Party Republicans remain ideologically opposed to it even when (especially when?) it would benefit their constituents. But it can help solidify and expand support in California, and that may well be more important in the long run. For the sake of this country’s future, the Tea Party needs to lose power in Congress. It’s not just HSR that is suffering. But the longer they continue to control the House, the more important it will be for California HSR supporters to look at ways to complete the project that don’t require federal funding.

  1. Jerry
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 12:17

    We all have been waiting a long time for “soon”.

    Derek Reply:

    But they really mean it this time.

  2. synonymouse
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 13:09

    The cheerleaders are ignoring the major transit story of the day, which is the BART strike. Jerry will have to come up with some state tax money to buy off Amalgamated.

    The BART management model is a failure, but will surely be the template for JerryRail. Remember what happened to the NdeM, with its rock bottom wages.

    Jerry Reply:

    “syn” you are correct. But, what is the appropriate ‘template’ to use?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The unions will never allow a private operator if the infrastructure is State owned. The State will have to sell it off, if there is a willing buyer. The geriatric DogLeg is slow and expensive and Valley AmBART(Fresno Area Rapid Transit)is somewhat detoured and acts as a magnet for local pols demanding subsidized commute fares, anathema, if not a nagging distraction to for-profit operators.

    So we’re screwed. Four more comatose years of Moonbeam and hsr lurching along in the boonies.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t buy it.

    Metrolink (which owns tracks outright in LA County) had Veolia as its contractor for years until the Chatsworth crash. The unions just want the operator to hire their brethren at TWU or ATU . You make the strange assumption that no private entity will take that deal.

    However, my bet is that an entity like an airline is more than willing to “innovate” its business model that way. You never know, don’t rule out a supermarket company or some other firm (Marriott? Disney?) that will see the potential and run with it.

    Undoubtedly, the state will own the infrastructure, but that’s par for the course.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So now when it comes to managing BART a “private entity will take that deal”?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If BART had as much control over station design and development as HSR, and didn’t have to pay for its own, very expensive police force, and have the state do all the upkeep on the tracks, don’t count it out.

    VBobier Reply:

    Face it Syno, all locomotives are crewed by the BLE(the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers), it’s better than being at the mercy of a soul less corporation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The UTU is in there too:


    Reedman Reply:

    In other California transit news (just a reminder):

    pending the appearance of a signed contract, AC Transit (Alameda County, about half the daily ridership of BART) will go on strike Wednesday.

    Travis D Reply:

    Why are you so sure BART will be the template they use? Are there not many other rail transit systems in the state?

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART sits at the feet of Nancy and Jerry, Barbara and Di. It is the Burton machine’s special pet and has been since the inception.

    Everything about JerryRail is taking care of the unions and BART does that so well its unions(and management) have lost touch with reality.

    Arriba Fresno Area Rapid Transit.

    Bill Reply:

    What does BART have to do with this?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry, PB, Richard – they are all BART guys. Believe it; BART is their role model. And they would love to re-invent the wheel at their new orphan ARRA-IOS testtrack. Just like Bechtel days of old.

    Be happy PB is not specifying 5.5′ gauge and Caltrain has been allowed to survive thus far.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I need to add the “s” to Richards. Sorry about that.

  3. Roger Christensen
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 13:22

    Paging Judge Kinney. It’s August.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1A is counterfeit legislation – not worth the paper it is engraved on.

    VBobier Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry and company routinely ignore both the content and intent of Prop 1A. It is worthless.

    Travis D Reply:

    *rolls eyes*


  4. nobody_important
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 14:53

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Elon Musk is revealing his gadgetbahn around the same time as groundbreaking. He’s trying to get a whole bunch of idiots on his side against CAHSR at a very sensitive time.

    rtaylor352 Reply:

    If Elon Musk has a highly viable idea he needs to sell it. There are way too many questions I have about it and am not yet convinced it makes High Speed Rail Obsolete… I.e.

    Does it have to go in a straight line from start point to end point?
    Can it handle intermediate stations in the middle to embark/disembark (like a train)?
    Can it be built without tunneling?

    If it can do everything HSR can do but cheaper/faster, then by all means promote it. If not, then I don’t see how it’s all that different than air travel…

    rtaylor352 Reply:

    I’m also wondering why he’s not trying to build a prototype somewhere, like Disney World….

    “Hyperloop from Tomorrowland to EPCOT in 20 seconds!”

    synonymouse Reply:

    “trying to get a whole bunch of idiots on his side” – poor timing as PB has too much on its plate right now.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Founded in 1885 in New York City by William Barclay Parsons, among Parsons Brinckerhoff’s earliest projects was the original IRT line of the New York City subway, designed by Parsons and opened in 1904.[3] Parsons also designed the Cape Cod Canal, which opened in 1914 [4] and charted the course of a railway in China from Hankow (Wuhan) to Canton (Guangzhou), a line that is also still in use today.[5] In 1906, Henry M. Brinckerhoff, a highway engineer, brought his expertise in electric railways to the firm. He is known for his co-invention of the third rail.[6]

    The firm has worked on some of the most notable infrastructure projects of the 20th century, including: the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (1930);[7] the Scheldt Tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium (1933);[8] The Buzzards Bay Railwood Bridge on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1935);[9] The 1939 World’s Fair in New York City;[10] the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey (1957);[11] the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia (1957);[12] the Pell Bridge in Newport, Rhode Island (1969);[13] the I-95/Fort McHenry Tunnel (1980);[14] the H-3 Highway in Oahu, Hawaii (1997);[15] the Sabiya Power Station in Kuwait (2000)[16] and the rapid transit systems of San Francisco (1972);[17] Atlanta (1979);[18] Singapore (1987);[19] Taipei (1996);[20] and Caracas(1983).[21]

    Currently, the firm is involved in several major expansions of the public transportation system in the New York metropolitan area, including the extension of the 7 Subway Extension, the new Second Avenue Subway, and an extension of the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal,[22] (East Side Access) Other current and recent projects include: the Taiwan High Speed Rail Project;[23] the Bosphorus rail tunnel in Istanbul;[24] The Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C.;[25] an extension of the East London Line of the London Overground;[26] and the Medupi Power Station in South Africa

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, PB-Bechtel and BART Indian Broad Gauge – bonafide wunderkinder for the millennia. Right up there with Einstein, Heisenberg, Feynman.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    I K Brunel thought broad gauge was a smoother ride

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yup, broad gauge has really done a lot for Iberia.

    Travis D Reply:

    Interesting. I love that you ignore all the rest and zero in on that.

    It really does out you as a foamer though. Just a hate filled foamer.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I confess to foaming.

    @ D.P.

    the nec plus ultra of foaming. Rio Grande 463 got reboilered – how cool is that?


    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Steam is always cool, especially when it’s hot! (As in, operational!)

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The Marmaray Tunnel under the Bosphorus (London-Beijing) was just completed (see below)
    London Overground is completed around the City via Clapham Junction

    Alon Levy Reply:

    London-Beijing? No. Try Gebze to Halkalı. The tunnel is intended primarily for local passenger rail service rather than for through-freight, which will only get some off-peak slots.

    Andy M Reply:

    And I guess the train ferry is being discontinued. So no good news for long-distance freight.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Re: London Overground‘s Clapham Junction service
    In service as of 9 Dec 2012
    Project page – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/15401.aspx
    Service description – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/modesoftransport/londonrail/15360.aspx

    Ted K. Reply:

    More :

    Now you can get all the way round London on the overground as £76m final piece of track completes circle

    The £76m line – running 16 trains an hour – will reduce journey times
    Around 12.3m passengers a year are expected to use the new link
    From Clapham Junction, it will now take 28 minutes to Canada Water and 35 minutes to Shoreditch
    But a trip on the orbital section cannot be taken uninterrupted


    Links and promo video – http://londonist.com/2012/11/video-the-london-overground-extension-to-clapham-junction.php

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    If you’re interested in rail freight between China and Europe, it goes via Kazakhstan and Russia.

    London Overground is just a rebranding and upgrade of existing suburban lines,

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Thanks for the info
    Interest is passenger HSR Europe-Asia via Turkey

    Jerry Reply:

    Yes. But can you take a one seat train ride from Athens to Istanbul?

    VBobier Reply:

    That sounds like the Marmaray project

    Marmaray is a rail transport project in Istanbul. It consists of the construction of an undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait as well as the modernization of suburban rail lines along the Sea of Marmara from Halkalı on the European side to Gebze on the Asian side. The procurement of new rolling stock for suburban passenger traffic is also part of the project. Construction started in 2004, with an initial target opening date of April 2009. After multiple delays, the projected opening date (as of March 2013) is October 29, 2013.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Marmaray Project is a local project like BART under the bay connecting San Francisco to Oakland.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not quite, it’s meant to also carry long-distance freight in the off-peak. But you’re right that it’s meant to be mainly about local passenger rail.

    VBobier Reply:

    I think this October 2013 one can take a one seat train ride from Athens to Istanbul, at least according to the International Rail Journal.

    TURKISH Prime Minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally launched test operation of the Marmaray link between the Asian and European sides of Istanbul on August 5, when he took the driver’s seat for a historic first trip beneath the Bosphorus.

    The journey through the 13.3km tunnel between Üsküdar on the Asian side and Sirkeci on the European side took just six minutes, and marks a milestone in the Lira 9.2bn ($US 4.8bn) project. The tunnel is world’s deepest immersed tube tunnel, constructed at depths of up to 60m below sea level.

    The line will be inaugurated on October 29, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, and shuttle services will initially operate between Kazilicesme and Üsküdar until the rest of the project is completed. The line will ultimately run for 76.3km from Halkali in the west to Gebze in the east, reducing the journey time from 1h 45min (by train and ferry) to 1h 4min.

    The Marmaray line is expected to carry 1.5 million passengers per day by 2015.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Both Athens and the center of Istanbul are on the European side.

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    Greece currently has no international passenger rail services at all, because of severe cutbacks imposed as part of the government’s austerity policies.

    Robert Reply:

    The guy that came the closest (per an Elon tweet) to what the Hyperloop design would look like has posted a much more elaborate and detailed description of how the construction would be done. He is convinced that it would indeed be 1/10 the cost of HSR. Have a look at his proposal. If I read it correctly, there would be NO tunneling. Not sure if that is possible. Those more familiar wit the Altamont ROW may know for sure. If it is as cheap to build as he suggests, then going the longer way around would be feasible given the high operating speed…



    Joey Reply:

    The 100% above-ground Shanghai Maglev was built for $43.6m/km, already far above Musk’s proposed budget. Increase the speed by 100% and put it in an evacuated tube (sewer pipes aren’t going to cut it) and you aren’t going to decrease the cost much…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It is impossible to build this zero-tunnel with even semi-reasonable standards for vertical curve radius. A vactrain can climb any grade, but it will take it tens of kilometers to change grade.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Alon’s remarks about horizontal and vertical curves made me think of this:


    A thought: The cars that run through this tube will have to have some sort of suspension or guidance system to keep them from rolling around in the tube. Can you imagine a car taking to spinning around in the tube, like a rifle bullet going down the barrel?

    Clem Reply:

    Barrel roll over the Tehachapis, pulling negative 1 G over the pass.

  5. Emmanuel
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 17:55

    Wasn’t the groundbreaking supposed to be summer last year? Holding my breath. I wish they could have broken ground on more track such as Fresno-Bakersfield but oh well.

    Now that XpressWest is dead, can we at least go from Sylmar straight to Bakersfield saving us miles of track and thus money and construction time?

    Clem Reply:

    But is XpressWest sufficiently dead?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am probably the only one in the house who regrets the passing of Deserted Xprss because it would have surely come in short order to such a pathetic but truly enjoyable demise. Watching the politicians(Harry & Jerry in particular)trying to cover their keesters as it proceeds from boondoggle to debacle pure pleasure.

    I don’t consider the expression “like rats deserting a sinking ship” at all fair to rodent kind, who after make up some 51% of all mammalian species.

    synonymouse Reply:

    after all

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think it is. With Antonovich no longer Chairman of the MTA, it apparently lost the necessary momentum.

    However, the “X Train” now can launch and establish the “floor” for rail demand between LA and Las Vegas. With that information, DX can reconstitute its business plan.

    In addition, I think the uncertainty over Palmdale and Tejon didn’t help. IOS South is looking more and more vulnerable.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Just as the orphan ARRA-IOS will establish the floor for the rail demand of Fresno Area Rapid Transit.

  6. 202_cyclist
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 18:36

    The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) is under construction. Here are some photos my friend who lives in Anaheim took.



    Emmanuel Reply:

    This is going to be interesting considering this and the Transbay Terminal will be completed long before we build rails to them. I hope they are designed to serve other functions in the meantime.

    I am also fascinated by the apparent price tags. While ARTIC is projected to cost around $178.8 million, the good Transbay Terminal is $4.185 billion. I couldn’t tell from the websites whether those numbers are true. Another thing I noticed from the website is that they provide nice renderings but don’t really show the areas that really matter. I can’t help but wonder how it went from

    This (Two Halls close to the station. Station covered):

    to this (station further away, but the bridge is covered):

    And now this (station is even further away and the bridge isn’t covered):

    You tell me which one would have been smarter…

    Yes, that’s a big beautiful hall but the train stops outside the hall which makes me scratch my head wondering how the actual station looks like and why the hall is so far away. There are no close up renderings of that… All I see are ramps and 4 elevators.

    The inside of the hall doesn’t look too good for people with disabilities at least:

    My guess is that the escalators are somewhere in the back behind the stairs. The staircase should have been wider. I like it but I can’t help that something is missing. Something that actually points to where the trains will be. Of course all of this could be subject to change and actually work. But one more thing: How will the sun affect the closed building design? Looks like a big greenhouse to me. I can’t help but think Anaheim could have spent that money better.

    synonymouse Reply:

    edifice complex

    VBobier Reply:

    More BS, Syno…

    Joey Reply:

    No, I think he has a point here. A common theme in a lot of these new transportation hubs (ARTIC, Transbay, LAUS Master Plan, Fulton/WTC in New York) seems to be to build something impressive looking rather than to actually improve passenger access and make the station more usable.

    MarkB Reply:

    Edifice complex, indeed. Make travelers walk more, not less. Put the hall further from the trains, not closer. Require lots of elevation changes. Make it impressive, not functional. Spend more, not less.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s also on the wrong side of the freeway, with a concrete drainage channel (which once might have been called a river) on the other side. It’s really as far from the TOD opportunities as they could have gotten. Shame too. There are already a few multi-story apartment complexes and office buildings on the other side, and with proper reuse of the Angels Stadium parking lots, that area could actually become somewhat walkable and transit friendly. But instead they are moving the station away from all that, to a place which has no hope.

    Matthew B. Reply:

    I completely agree. The biggest problem with this station is the location. It should be surrounded by development opportunities and places to walk, but instead it’s wedged next to the freeway.

    Matt Reply:

    Artic will serve Metrolink, Amtrak, and OCTA busses and eventually the Orange County Streetcar if that materializes. It is not just for HSR.

  7. nslander
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 20:21

    How do I filter the recidivist hack cynics who pollute this board? Robert: how much?

    nobody_important Reply:

    Yes! Someone should write a browser addon that turns all of their posts into nothing but “hurr durr deprity derp herp durr”

    Fake Irishman Reply:

    Really, that’s pretty much all their posts say now, anyway….

    Matthew B. Reply:

    I’m actually shocked at their commitment to posting the same thing every single day, several times a day. How to they have the time and endurance?

    nslander Reply:

    Self-prescribed pharmacological regimen? They add nothing.

    Donk Reply:

    I’m the most shocked that people keep on responding to their comments.

    Bill Reply:

    Nobody, do you watch South Park? herp derpity derr sounds very South Park-ish; I like it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Let me Google that for you

  8. John Nachtigall
    Aug 5th, 2013 at 21:26

    Once again, it is not the tea party holding back this project. The CA legislature has all the power and votes it needs to pass the bonds needed for construction at any time. 2/3rds majority in both houses and a governor that could not be more supportive.

    The tea party is not holding back this project. There is no reason to use federal money in the 1st place. It is 100% contained in CA borders and there is no planned link to interstate transit.

    Look in the mirror, it’s not the tea party holding you back, it’s the Dems who claim to support HSR but don’t actually translate that into support. At least the GOP is honest.

    morris brown Reply:

    You seem to be under a miss conception that all that is needed for a bond offering is that the State Legislature with a 2/3 vote approves. The 2/3 vote only authorizes the placing of the bond offering onto a State ballot which must then be approved or turned down by the voters.

    Furthermore, at the present time, there is no 2/3 vote majority in both State houses to even get a bond offering to the ballot. Because of vacancies being filled by Assembly members going to the Sate Senate, the 2/3 Demo controlled majority does no exist in the State Assembly.

    There was an analysis of this at:


    Come the next session in January, Democrats should go into the year with full super-majority complements of 28 State Senators and 55 Assemblymembers. But for the rest of this session, Democrats will barely have a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and will not have it at all in the Assembly.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You need a 2/3 majority to do either. They can raise taxes without a ballot vote


    And they have the 2/3 majority to do itall year and did not pull the trigger. Ask yourself why? Because they don’t believe.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    I think your jumping the gun a bit. There is enough money to get started, let the public see something on the ground and then next year look at tax and fee combos.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Keith: What will we let the public “see on the ground?” Will they be content with that and ask for more or will there be a collective “WTF?” That is what supporters such as myself have been afraid of for the last few years. How do you persuade people to tax themselves to pay for more of this based on what has been delivered thus far and what will be delivered in this first phase?

    Travis D Reply:

    Why would they go “WTF?”?

    They will see a modern railroad bed threaded through the heart of Fresno in much the same way they will eventually see it elsewhere. Is that not a good demonstration of what they want to build?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    PB will show them how Modern Railroad Bedding is done.

    Clem Reply:

    Like this (ground broken in 1996)

    Michael Reply:

    I went there on vacation in 2010. For those besides Clem (who already knows this), the initial section of this NBS line was built in conjunction with a new autobahn, where the two run parallel. The autobahn was done by the time I got there in 2010, including some very long tunnels.

    YESONHSR Reply:

    Richard…You need to find somewhere else to dork rant on..goof ball

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They will see that 9 billion got them a stranded track with no electricity…oh yeah, they are going to love that

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Travis D: A strip of bulldozed ground with some fill and maybe a geo membrane may get you excited but to the average taxpayer , already doubtful about this project, will ask the obvious $9 billion question: Where are the trains? Fair question is not it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Another very fair question is where is California going to get the money to subsidize JerryRail? This will be the biggest problem over the long term.

    Look at BART and AC Transit, who are in the process of awarding large raises to their unions. The pro bono public management model has proven extremely weak and ineffectual in dealing with payroll costs and usually defers maintenance as a result. See Muni. For instance, will AC have to resort to cutting service and raising fares to to pay off Amalgamated? Ditto for BART, which already has equipment procurement issues worsened by proprietary tech. Maybe BART needs to take a page out of RENFE’s book and start standardizing.

    California has a huge welfare budget, which will only get more onerous with time. Same for education and police budgets. Who do you think is going to win out in the subsidy wars when there are highway and air alternatives to CAHSR that are not going away?

    LV Rail demonstrated that public and private ventures do not mix. CAHSR as AmBART will prove a fiscal failure and end up privatized, ergo, divested. Who is going to want to buy a doglegged commute op? Except the scrapper.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Let’s just admit it. They are cowards. There has never been a better time to get more funding for HSR and to pass other legislation that would save the state money over the long time such as single payer health care. But, no. I can guarantee you they will miss this opportunity. Governor Brown already has an attitude that we shouldn’t rush things just because there’s an opportunity. In the end, Democrats are like Republicans.

    What we need is a third party like in Vermont. The Progressive party only got a couple of seats in the state legislature. But it was enough to keep ambitious plans such as their single payer health plan alive. I think there would be a lot of cities actually voting for a third party if it was organized.

    synonymouse Reply:

    hint: in their heart of hearts they know the PB-CHSRA scheme is a stinker.

    morris brown Reply:

    One would think that responders here would realize that SB-1029 which barely passed
    the State Senate with one vote, last year, despite the huge majority of Democrats, reflects that plenty of Democrat legislators are not happy with the project. A majority of California voters feel likewise.

    Travis D Reply:

    The scheme is fine. The only one’s that question it are deluded haters.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really…deluded haters? Then why only a 1 vote pass? Why no bond issues?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I like recidivist hack cynic better. I can live with that. Pretty much describes everybody in the Legislature, of both parties.

    Van Ark or Richard – who is the recidivist hack?

    YESONHSR Reply:

    Shut up you 2 faced Koch sucker John … please we want that 600Billion from the OIL freedom war.Thats are share for war ..so fat white Reps can have a baby-semi truck

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I’m not fat….I’m big boned. :-)

  9. Keith Saggers
    Aug 6th, 2013 at 05:01
  10. morris brown
    Aug 6th, 2013 at 14:37


    GOP lawmakers seek audit of high-speed rail land

    Published: August 6, 2013

    By JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. Two Republican lawmakers are calling on the state auditor to review the high-speed rail authority’s moves to buy up land in the Central Valley for the $68 billion rail project.

    Assemblymen Jim Patterson of Fresno and Frank Bigelow of O’Neals submitted a request Tuesday to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee seeking an investigation into the appraisal process and the role of private contractors in the proposed land purchases. Both Patterson and Bigelow represent communities in the Central Valley.

    The rail authority has approval to acquire or seize 356 parcels for the first 30-mile leg of the rail system, from Madera to Fresno. It has already begun making offers to landowners in the Central Valley.

    Chief executive Jeff Morales has said the authority is following the standard land acquisition process used by state transportation department.

    StevieB Reply:

    A desperate and almost certainly futile effort to halt construction by California Republicans. What do you expect to come of this review?

    Travis D Reply:

    It will amount to nothing. It will however cement themselves as in love with a California that is a useless pile of irrelevancy.

    synonymouse Reply:


    Morris, I don’t think any of this line of litigation will get anywhere – the contractors always prevail over grassroots types. It is all about the money. Now when the contractors sue each other or an agency things can get dicey. Richard and Morales’ nonsense about how they are going to stop change orders will get nowhere either. Tutor will simply claim contingency and see you in court. And Prop 1A is the quintessential paper tiger – the Valley farmers are screwed.

    The most effective strategic retreat for the opponents and dissidents is to encourage wretched excess on the part of PB and its camp followers. As if that were hard to do. An absolute fiscal washout like a Deserted Xprss in liquidation really needs to go down.

    The Cheerleaders really are juggling chainsaws in creating a big version of BART with its failed management and militant unions spoiled rotten. Jerry loses no matter whether he buys them off with a juicy raise or slaps them down. My guess is he will take them aside and inform them the Burton patronage machine aka the California Democratic Party is so powerful and so dominant they have access now to enough business payola they don’t need labor any more if push comes to shove. So behave yourself Amalgamated-TWU. But it will fall on deaf ears IMHO. I expect a lot of discontent all around and what you can anticipate with JerryRail down the dogleg.

    YESONHSR Reply:

    Morris..can you please move to Palm Springs???

    VBobier Reply:

    Send syno along with Morris, they can both be low desert rats… A new RAT pack…

    synonymouse Reply:

    you paying? I’d prefer El Cajon.

    And go easy on the rodents, who are always evolving. Naked mole rats have two ways of killing cancers before they start and live 30 years; relative to the typical rodent’s life that would be about 1000 year life span for a primate.

  11. morris brown
    Aug 7th, 2013 at 12:14

    A copy of the letter sent by Assemblymen Patterson and Bigelow requesting an audit of the Land Acquisition activities of the CHSRA can be viewed at:


    Interesting to note, here again the Authority, as represented by Morales, promising information to the State Assembly committee (“in a few days”) and failing to deliver (almost 6 months later).

    StevieB Reply:

    More interesting is the report from the previous article you cited.

    The audit committee is dominated by Democratic lawmakers, most of whom support the high-speed rail project. Even if the audit is approved, it would likely take many months to complete, pushing the results past the start of construction.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/06/3087563/gop-lawmakers-seek-audit-of-high.html#storylink=cpy

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Got to love the hypocrisy of Patterson et al who have watched the Valley being paved over for years, suddenly its valuable agricultural land.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They are playing standard politics. Most of the electorate remains enthusiastic about highway improvements, unless they are trying something in your face atrocious. In ubergreen Marin Barbara Boxer has for decades managed to earmark monies for adding lane after lane to 101. The eco locals love it.

    And SMART is mostly unpopular in Marin because it is so incidental and peripheral. Everything has to be found out the hard way.

    Resident Reply:

    Point 8 in the request for Audit…

    8. The Authority is sponsoring AB 481 (Lowenthal), which will enable it to generate revenuefrom the sale or lease of acquired land that is not needed for high-speed rail purposes. Howmuch “nonoperating” land does the Authority project it will acquire? Is this projectionreasonable and necessary? For what purposes does the Authority plan to lease this land, andhow much revenue does it expect to generate?

    So the authority has now resorted to blatant stealing. Stealing land they don’t need at firesale eminent domain prices, and selling it back later at a profit. How cute. Whether you’re in favor of high speed rail or not, I can not BELIEVE that anyone can support this kind of thievery and destruction of rights. You might support high speed rail by any means possible – well what’s next? Whose money, land or other rights, for what purpose, is next? Its all fun and games until someone pokes YOUR eye out.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Its the same way that Caltrans operates with ROW for freeway projects.

    This is a list of property Caltrans has purchased and will now resell in the next month:

    And here is some info about Caltrans’ program renting/leasing properties it has purchased but not using for projects yet:

    synonymouse Reply:

    Let’s see them try it on the Tejon Ranch Co.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And so unnecessary since we already own the I-5 ROW.

    Michael Reply:

    If there is a parcel where only a 100′ wide strip is needed for the train but the Authority needs to purchase the whole parcel, they can then make some use of the un-needed property. Or they might need to buy land where they’re building an aerial structure. They can then lease the land under the aerial for parking, or whatever. Resident, same thing that Caltrans has done forever.

  12. synonymouse
    Aug 7th, 2013 at 13:26

    Shortly the judge in Kopp’s litigation, for want of a better title, will effectively neuter Prop 1A and it will be all systems go for DogLegRail.

    Some pundits are already remarking the typical 5 year economic recovery period is about up and a return to downturn or languor is imminent. Once the demand for replacing wornout autos is satiated I suspect the economy will stall and places like LA will face a severe standoff with their unions and pensions, health plans, etc.

    If the Republs have half a brain they’ll harass Moonbeam next year by nominating someone like Dwayne “the Rock” to run against him. Shake up the geriatrics of the Burton machine.

    Relations between coastal California and the San Joaquin Valley will grow even bitterer as the money dries up, taxes are jacked, Jerry’s Peripheral Tunnel will go nuclear confrontational; and more businesses leave, especially from the Center.

    CAHSR has bete noire potential.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    perhaps syn, sacrificial lamb potential.

  13. Reedman
    Aug 7th, 2013 at 15:34

    In today’s other railroad news:


    Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 proceedings on Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Bangor, Maine. Its Canadian counterpart, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Canada Co., meanwhile, filed for protection from creditors in Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal.

    The bankruptcy filings come after the MM&A train—five locomotives and 72 cars said to be carrying crude oil—derailed on July 6, setting off several massive blasts and devastating the small town of Lac-Mégantic.

    The railway, whose U.S. operations are based in Hermon, Maine, is a subsidiary of Rail World Inc., a Rosemont, Ill., company led by railway veteran Edward A. Burkhardt.

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