Amtrak Sets Ridership Record in 2013

Oct 14th, 2013 | Posted by

Amtrak today announced that fiscal year 2013, which ended on September 30, saw record ridership for the railroad:

Amtrak carried a record 31.6 million passengers in fiscal-year 2013, which marked the railroad’s 10th ridership record in the past 11 fiscal years.

During FY2013, which ended Sept. 30, Amtrak’s state-supported corridor services logged a new record of 15.4 million riders. In addition, the national intercity passenger railroad’s long distance routes combined for the best ridership in 20 years at 4.8 million passengers, Amtrak officials announced today.

Amtrak California routes saw ridership growth from 2012, except for Capitol Corridor (not sure what the story is there):

Pacific Surfliner: Up 2.5%
Capitol Corridor: Down 2.6%
San Joaquin: Up 6.6%

These three routes represent the #2, #3, and #5 busiest routes in the Amtrak system. Californians keep on proving that they will ride passenger trains if given the option.

  1. James M in Irvine, CA
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 10:06
    #1

    A problem with the CC is the remodeling of the Sacramento station, from what I have read. The walk is a lot longer because of redevelopment.

    Jim

    blankslate Reply:

    From personal experience as a longtime CC rider, the inconvenience of boarding/alighting at Sacramento has contributed to my decision of “ahh screw it I’ll just drive” on more than one recent occasion.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    An example of how the little, relatively inexpensive details matter as much as the big ticket items.

  2. John Burrows
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 10:24
    #2

    If all goes fairly well the first 100 plus miles of high speed rail track in the San Joaquin Valley will be finished in about 5 years, but the way it looks now there will be an undetermined number of years beyond that before anything else is finished.

    During those years when this segment of track is standing alone, how much of a contribution will it be able to make to rail travel in the San Joaquin Valley? Ridership on the slow Amtrak San Joaquins is up to over 100,000 per month, the 2nd fastest rate of growth of any of the Amtrak routes, and I would guess that faster trains over the new track could accelerate this growth rate.

    We are talking about a period of time that could easily be 10 years and during those years just how much of an increase in ridership we get here with higher speed trains may have a real influence on what happens to CAHSR after that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rural diesel BART-50+% subsidy.

  3. joe
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 11:20
    #3

    Serving the Central Valley makes sense.

    Smaller Cities Propel Amtrak Ridership to a New High
    http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/10/15/smaller-cities-propel-amtrak-ridership-to-a-new-high/
    The Northeast Corridor still accounts for a huge share of Amtrak’s total ridership, with 11.4 million trips, but the ridership on that segment was down slightly from the previous year. The major growth was in routes serving smaller cities.

    St. Louis to Chicago boardings were up 9.7 percent, indicating riders are responding to new investments in that line as well. One segment of track was recently upgraded from 79 mph to 110 mph service, and by the end of 2015 up to 75 percent of the route will receive similar improvements, shaving an hour off the trip between the two cities.

    AlanF Reply:

    The NEC ridership was down -0.2% because of the prolonged interruption caused by Hurricane Sandy and to a lesser extent, 2 interruptions on the New Haven Line in CT (train derailment & collision and recent Con Ed feeder line failure). Sandy resulted in an estimated loss of 313K NEC passenger trips in October and November. Add those and the NEC would have been up on ridership for the fiscal year.

    The Amtrak press release on the FY2013 ridership provides the ridership and revenue numbers for all the train services as well as the passenger numbers for the top 5 stations in each state. See http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/730/658/FY13-Record-Ridership-ATK-13-122.pdf.

    The Chicago to St. Louis Lincoln service increase was despite a series of multi-day service interruptions for track replacement. Once the major track work and service interruptions are done, I expect ridership on that corridor will steadily increase. There will be signal and grade crossing upgrades to increase speeds to 110 mph, but that work can be done without shutting the line segment down for days.

  4. Paul Dyson
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 12:53
    #4

    Any intelligent discussion of the effectiveness of a passenger service, perhaps with the exception of very short distance transit, should be about Revenue Passenger Miles, and revenue in general, not ridership. The next order of business is farebox recovery, followed by load factors. Simply counting bodies will not generate intelligent decisions as to where to invest your next transportation dollar.

    TomA Reply:

    On that note – revenue was up even more than ridership.

    jimsf Reply:

    +1

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I disagree completely. The purpose of passenger rail is to move people. Revenue should not be a major factor in the conversation, certainly not when it comes to deciding where to add new or expanded service.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s the Capitol Corridor commuter expansion from San Jose to Salinas.
    http://www.tamcmonterey.org/programs/rail/pdf/railextensionflyer-KickStart.pdf

    PROJECT BENEFITS
    Provides an alternative to the highly congested US 101 corridor to access to jobs, education, health care and inter-regional transportation in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Promotes mixed-use, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, livable communities and economic growth around the three stations

    CC will cut about 10-15 minutes off the Caltrain Gilroy to San Jose travel time by skipping stations. CC stops in Gilroy and Morgan Hill, two cites that have developed infill-housing around their City stations.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I haven’t been keeping up to date on Monterey County transportation policy lately. Is this actually funded and happening or still in the design stage?

    joe Reply:

    Funded as in all sources of funding in hand and locked up in Al Gore’s Lock-box? No but they already have 50%+ and I think have started the design with construction in 2015. It’s in the PDF.

    A 138 M project. 70M so far committed to start work. 68M still needed to finish. Expected service in mid-late 2017.

    18M is the largest single commitment and it’s from the Santa Clara VTA (also funds Caltrain so that’s significant) to modify the tracks and Gilroy station to accommodate additional passenger rail from the South.

    Improve tracks between Salinas and Gilroy. Build stations at Pajaro and Watsonville.

    Also, CA’s rail plan – from memory so maybe I’m wrong – is to extend the UP double track to ~San Martin (they wrtoe 5 miles N of Gilroy which is essentially San Martin). This double tracking is a mid-term action.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Sweet. Can’t wait to take the Capitol Corridor all the way to Salinas.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ending the service in Salinas makes no sense. CCJPA should extend the service to Monterey itself and past Sacramento to Folsom.

    Michael Reply:

    Ted, look on a map and explain the route from Salinas to Monterey, or visa-versa, that makes sense. The line to Monterey leaves north of Salinas at Castroville. The highway, 68, that runs between Salinas and Monterey has no parallel rail line. The two cities are end points on legs of a wye.

    joe Reply:

    UP ROW does not go to Monterey. They do have a ROW available and concept to run rail from Monterey to a hypothetical Castroville station. CC extension is going to build the Castroville station. The route is congesting with commuter traffic and with weekend tourism/access to the peninsula on 5 miles of 156 between 1 and 101.

    http://www.tamcmonterey.org/programs/rail/montereyline.html
    map here http://www.tamcmonterey.org/programs/rail/pdf/TAMC_Transit_MBL_Stations.pdf

    description

    The Monterey Peninsula Fixed Guideway Service will provide light rail transit service using the existing Monterey Branch Line alignment, which was purchased by the Transportation Agency in 2003 for $9.3 million. The 16 mile corridor extends between Monterey and Castroville on the publicly owned tracks adjacent to Highway 1. The first phase of the project will run between Monterey and north Marina with key stations in Monterey, Seaside, Sand City, Marina/CSUMB, and connecting bus service to Pacific Grove and Carmel to the south and Salinas to the east. Later phases will extend service to the planned commuter rail station in Castroville and increase the frequency of trains. TAMC is currently in the environmental review process for this project.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If this service is going to end in Salinas, then it should be an extension of CalTrain. It will be primarily for commuters.

    If this service is going to be part of intercity service, then Monterey (which I realize took out their old ROW as a bike trail and would need new track) is a much more logical end point because of its a small city that attracts a lot of out of town traffic that could be served more effectively through mass conveyance.

    Salinas, with all due respect to John Steinbeck, is no one’s idea of a getaway or high end business destination. Hooking it up to the Corridor makes no sense.

    As for Folsom, the issue is that the Capitol Corridor only runs twice a day during commute hours between Auburn and Sacramento. However, Placer County is the epitome of car-based sprawl and not nearly as deserving as the Folsom corridor, which still has a functioning freight track separate of the light rail AND tracks that can hold freight trains on them. But more importantly, the Folsom corridor has Sac State and other stations that could draw more than Roseville does. Moreover, CC would no longer compete with the heavy freight traffic UP runs through the Sierra.

    joe Reply:

    If this service is going to end in Salinas, then it should be an extension of CalTrain. It will be primarily for commuters.

    Caltrain was not interested. Monterey Co. has waited years for a peep and Amtrak finally got involved.
    The benefit of having CC is competition with Caltrain for commuters. Salinas is affordable housing – Monterey is not. Salinas is an extraburb city and source of traffic to San Jose. 101 in Monterey is being upgraded to accommodate that commuter traffic.

    Monterey proposes a light rail to the Castroville station.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe, you do realize that the Capitol Corridor is an organ of BART which is building (wait for it) an extension from Alameda County to San Jose County even though most of the commute traffic from the Morgan Hill/Gilroy area goes the *other way* up the Cal Train corridor?

    Competition is not part of the plan. BART is looking to feed more passengers to BART. Much as I am supportive of BART generally, I am not sure how BART helps new hires at Facebook who just bought a starter home in Salinas get to Menlo Park.

    You and Paul Dyson are apparently suffering from the same illness: you can’t tell the difference between intercity/regional rail and commuter rail. As this is the HSR blog I would like to point out, commuter rail is not going to feed HSR. Mass transit, intercity diesel, airline passengers, freeways, yes, commuter rail…no.

    joe Reply:

    I don’t understand your objection.

    Look at the PDF I posted – CC extension is commuter rail from San Jose to Salinas N in the AM and S in the PM. It is 2 trains with possibility to expand to 6. It will help HSR by feeding riders from Salinas to the HSR station co-located with locla service. (someday)

    Caltrain was not doing shit about extending service. Adding CC service is competition for South County ridership versus nothing from Caltrain. Nothing. So we are better off with more service from a different provider and with service in one seat to the East Bay and another to SF.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Salinas is a bigger city than Monterey, so intercity service should go there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe, I understand where you are coming from, but you don’t want the Capitol Corridor to morph into Metrolink North.

    Commuters are not interested in a two-seat ride, and as you know, the big employers in Silicon Valley are all to the north and west of Diridon Station.

    Sure, CalTrain isn’t seizing the opportunity here. But CalTrain is about to eaten alive by BART and replaced. Most of Santa Clara County is not that dense yet. There’s plenty of room for infill. The solution doesn’t always have to be more lines of service.

    blankslate Reply:

    Ending the service in Salinas makes no sense. CCJPA should extend the service to Monterey itself and past Sacramento to Folsom.

    CC already goes past Sacramento to Roseville and Auburn (1 train/day). There have been plans on the books to add additional trains for years. You can take light rail to Folsom. There is even a convenient cross-platform transfer at the Sacramento train station… oh wait a minute…

    joe Reply:

    FWIW, South County’s easy commute (thanks to the 4 lanes added to 101) is ending. The expansion that initially tanked Caltrain ridership is now congesting and train use is increasing again. The service also cuts travel time to San Jose by 15 minutes.

    The PM commute backs up at Morgan Hill early in the afternoon and persistently.
    The AM commute now backs up at San Martin to Morgan Hill – Monterey NPR traffic regularly reports this new feature.

    Metering lights on HW 101 turn on in late 2014 after they finish installations to the county line. That’s going to help commuters but backup cars on side streets.

    Gilroy’s been one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in CA. Morgan Hill in particular is adding homes/apts along the ROW between Monterey Blvd (old 101) and 101. Also added a new 4 lane bypass road Butterfield Road to accommodate the infill. It feeds cars to the Morgan Hill Station and on to 101 causing the backups.

    Adding 2 trains to the existing 3 and running to Oakland is going to draw ridership.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So Robert you disagree that CA HSR should cover it’s operating costs, presumably you believe that passenger rail should be free to all comers?

    Travis D Reply:

    That’s not a bad idea actually. I mean if people are willing to pay the taxes to make it free then why shouldn’t it be?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A people don’t want to pay the taxes
    B you could never meet the demand
    C. Why charge for any good or service if that is your philosophy?

    jimsf Reply:

    No one said it should be free. But one has to weight the societal benefits along with the costs. Everything is a trade off. Just like there are trade offs between environment and economy. Sometimes they work together but often they are at odds.
    Sidewalks don’t pay for themselves but they serve a public good and its generally accepted they are worth having. I think cyclists should have to pay the cost of bike lanes by way of lic. fees. But many would disagree because they say the benefits of people cycling are worth the public cost.

    Transit, and all forms or transport have to have that debate.
    There are people who argue against giving formula to hungry babies and people who want to shut down coal and nuclear power. Nothing is set in stone, including the value of high speed rail.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Remember that the cyclist already pays more than their fair share of the cost of the road ~ roads do not cover their costs out of gas taxes, they are also funded out of local income and property taxes, and the non-gas-tax share of road funding is substantially larger than the road maintenance cost imposed by a cyclist as a fraction of the road maintenance cost imposed by a car.

    jimsf Reply:

    I just think that in cities, such as sf, and others, where the city is paying for nicely upgraded bike lanes… they should also either license riders, or have registration for bikes, or both, for a nominal annual fee, to go towards the cost of the bike lane improvements. Not to punish cyclists, but because it would allow the cities to afford even nicer bike lane upgrades and more extensive networks. In addition to that license and registration for bikes, would make it easier to track theft, could offer security, and also encourage bike riders to obey the law. Its a cheap way to create a win for everyone. Im not talking about 150 bucks a year, Im talking nominal fees, 10 or 20 bucks a year to go into a bike kitty that directly benefits the cyclists.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    20 bucks doesn’t cover the cost to issue the registration.

    bixnix Reply:

    Cycling instead of driving generates significant savings to society – less air pollution, less oil and fluid runoff pollution. We won’t need to fight wars to ensure our oil supply. No sending dollars overseas to make some Mideast sheik rich. Exercise means healthier bodies means lower long-term medical costs. Less land needed for roads and parking. Cycling doesn’t even need a DMV or supplemental insurance. Why would we want to discourage cycling? Maybe we should reduce the auto subsidy, instead.

    jimsf Reply:

    registration or licence by a city should not discourage bike riding, it should encourage it. cyclists should want to raise extra money to put towards a better experience. I would. especially if registering my bike would help with theft issues.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But you are setting to one side money saved by the city for each motorist moved onto a bike, and the fact that cyclists are already paying more for the roads than their maintenance impact, while the cars are paying less for the roads than their maintenance impact.

    joe Reply:

    Missoula MT circa 1984 required bike registration and that all bikes display the reflective registration sticker. They still do. http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/index.aspx?NID=406

    bixnix Reply:

    The registration or licensing won’t discourage cycling much, but a fee might. So have an optional bicycle registration, but obtain the funds via a small auto tax or pollution tax.

    joe Reply:

    Bicycle theft discourages bike riding.

    License for the bike – entire lifetime. Reflective sticker on the frame with number.
    Helps fund the the Po-lice to identify, recover & return stolen bikes.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    A bike lifetime registration to discourage theft is one thing. A sufficiently high fee to have any impact on infrastructure spending would just cut down the number of cyclists and increase the number of motorists, thereby running down the road infrastructure.

    joe Reply:

    “A sufficiently high fee to have any impact on infrastructure spending would just cut down the number of cyclists and increase the number of motorists,”

    $100 year fee would push people of bikes and into cars? Is that an economic choice or spite?
    If that fee installed traffic calming structures, painted bike lanes and bike paths, people would complain and pay it.

    bixnix Reply:

    The average bike is worth $200 or less. It would be such a disproportionate tax that a lot of people, especially kids and low-income, would not pay it.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Whether people are willing to pay taxes to make it free? Or in the case of most progressives, whether they can tax some vague notion of “the rich” (translation, people who make more money than they do) to pay for it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do you really think you are going to squeeze any serious money out of Apple?

    It is the little people who pay for it all and that is why stupidity and corruption are the real problem.

    You get both in the private sector to be sure but not to the gross extent you see under a patronage machine. Entrepreneurs would never throw away billions on 40 miles of tunnel wandering off in the hinterlands in the wrong direction.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, usually a cogent voice for the forces of Amtrak, has gone off the deep end here. Ridership is the core of system demand. But given the Governor’s desire to have local government contribute to Amtrak California to offset higher state costs under PRIIA, Paul probably fears that Amtrak will be colonized by the same mental disorder that affects local transit.

    The only problem with such a fear is that BART already manages the Capitol Corridor, and soon the San Joaquins. Paul, though, is usually more direct that this….

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The SJ board voted against BART as manager, and for the ACE crew. It would be nice to remove BART from management of CapCor but probably not doable at the moment. Lack of progress in upgrading CapCor from Oakland to San Jose might well be traced back to the management agency! Ridership is not the “core of system demand”. Transportation measurement is units times distance, whether freight or passenger. If 1,000 people a day join the train at Oakland and only travel one stop down the line then you are wasting resources running the train to Sacramento.
    The LOSSAN corridor became far more successful when 2 of the original “San Diegans” were extended to Santa Barbara, thus increasing the passenger miles traveled and the extra revenue generated.
    It seems from his commentary that Robert would be content with HSR if it carried a jillion people from SF to Millbrae, since that’s a lot of riders. It’s also a bloody stupid idea.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Are you suggesting that the majority of ridership on Amtrak California is only going one or two stops?

    The point that I was trying to make is that before you can evaluate load factor/CASM, you have to establish volume/ridership. You can’t add service effectively by starting with a budget and trying to build up ridership by modifications.

    That’s how you end up with light rail.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Would somebody translate what Ted J is trying to communicate?

    joe Reply:

    You’re wrong — again.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Subsidies might be paid in ways other than general taxes. The Airtrain is free, paid for internally by the airport. If CO2 taxes or congestion taxes kick in, at some point they might even pay to operate the BART wye, so that fares to the airport aren’t prohibitively high. Oakland airport might pay to operate the thing they’re building. Many riders on Caltrain get free passes through their employers. And the Las Vegas train they keep talking about – you can bet those fares will be heavily subsidized by the casinos.

    I think the general taxpayer is pretty well taxed out. However, passengers aren’t the only entities which benefit when people use public transit, and those entities might help share the cost of the transit. More passengers, however subsidized, will drive down costs for everybody else.

    Travis D Reply:

    Well, locally we agreed to pay more in property taxes so that our bus system is free at point of use. So people agreeing to pay more in taxes to make a transportation system free at point of use is not unprecedented. For an even bigger example see the Federal highway system.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yes, that is what I believe. HSR always covers its operating costs but I do not believe it should be required to do so, since that prevents the operator from offering subsidized fares. The goal of HSR should be to maximize ridership, so as to support economic growth and reduce carbon emissions and oil consumption.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If it is to be in line to receive operating subsidies, the position in the queue versus operating subsidies for local transport would be incremental CO2 emissions reduction per dollar subsidy.

  5. jimsf
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 18:35
    #5

    My front line experience is that there has been an amazing amount of first timers riding the train. I really can’t believe how many people tell me every single day this is their first time. Once they try it, and get the hang of it, they love it. Most dont even mind the bus connections although there seems to be a particular uppity subset of folks who look down their noses at buses.

    If they can get a couple trains up the up the coast between SNS and SLO and up into SF, Ill bet coast ridership would double.

    jimsf Reply:

    Actually if they would allow us to sell caltrain tickets as through amtrak tickets and if caltrain would create a timed connection, the wouldnt need to have amtrak train into sf. All we need is an ability to sell a through ticket and timed connection at san jose. Its not rocket science.

    EJ Reply:

    I take the Surfliner between San Diego and Santa Barbara fairly regularly, and anecdotally just talking to fellow passengers there seems to be a big uptick in first timers lately. I dunno if it’s better marketing, more word of mouth, steadily worsening traffic, or a combination.

    And, like you said, most people seem to think it’s pretty great.

    jimsf Reply:

    And somehow they manage even though most of socal between SBA and SAN is not real transit friendly. Sure there are connections, but the distances involved between and even within job centers and other destinations, are large and no pedestrian friendly. yet people make it work. those same people will make hsr work, even with a lack of connections and walkability.

    EJ Reply:

    I moved to San Diego from LA a couple of years ago, and compared to LA, people here seem much more knowledgeable about and likely to use rail to travel up the coast. Of course that could be because I lived in West LA, miles from any train station, and with slow and poor connections to LAUS, and now I live in Downtown SD where the train station is a 25 minute walk, a 5 minute trolley ride, or a $8-$10 cab ride away.

    Most of the regular train users I know aren’t trekking from East County in SD to catch the train. Local connections are still really important.

  6. jimsf
    Oct 15th, 2013 at 20:56
    #6

    HANFORD — Fresh on the heels of an August court victory, anti-HSR forces in Kings County are mustering for another possible legal fight — this one alleging that an environmental impact report for the project’s Fresno-to-Bakersfield stretch failed to address key issues.

    Douglas Carstens, an attorney for the Southern California firm Chatten-Brown & Carstens, told the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board at their regular meeting Monday that the EIR in circulation doesn’t include critical earthquake, flood and other risks that he said recently came to light.

    “The dangers are not localized,” said Carstens, who represents the Kings County Board of Supervisors, Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability and the Kings County Farm Bureau. “They are alignment-wide.”

    The technical reports weren’t included for public review in the draft Fresno-to-Bakersfield EIR issued in July 2012, Carstens said, adding that the EIR should be reissued with the additional information.

    “Our response to that is we’ve been working with the communities between Fresno and Bakersfield for years now, and have been reaching out, whether in workshops and public meetings, to ensure that all of that feedback and their voices are heard,” said Authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley. “Our final environmental document is being put together, and we intend to address all those concerns.”

    The existing draft EIR for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section running through Kings County is expected to be issued by the end of the year or in early 2014.

    Monday’s comments were not part of a regular agenda item, so Authority staff didn’t have to respond, Carstens said.

    According to Carstens, an internal HSR draft report, dated April 2013 and obtained last month through a Public Records Act request, identified risks in the following areas:

    q Shallow groundwater in Kings County that could cause flooding in the event of an earthquake

    q Earthquake risks along the entire alignment

    q Soft compressible soils in the old Tulare Lake basin in southern Kings County

    q Possible seasonal flooding at the Kings River crossing near Laton and in other areas

    “Recently proposed changes in the project design have never been analyzed,” said Kings County Counsel Colleen Carlson in a written statement.

    Carstens said a complete analysis of the seismic and geotechnical issues could force reconsideration of alignments along Interstate 5 or Highway 99 — two routes that Kings County supervisors originally didn’t object to.

    “This is a once-in-a-century momentous project,” he said. “They should get it right.”

    The reporter can be reached at 583-2432 and at snidever@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SethN_HS.

    jimsf Reply:

    These folks really need to find a hobby.

    joe Reply:

    The EIR is also missing these key risks:

    3.1 1. Plague of blood (דָם): Ex. 7:14–25
    3.2 2. Plague of frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:25–8:11
    3.3 3. Plague of lice or gnats (כִּנִּים): Ex. 8:16–19
    3.4 4. Plague of flies or wild animals (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:20–32
    3.5 5. Plague of pestilence (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:1–7
    3.6 6. Plague of boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:8–12
    3.7 7. Plague of hail (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:13–35
    3.8 8. Plague of locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:1–20
    3.9 9. Plague of darkness (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:21–29
    3.10 10. Death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36
    ,

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You wouldn’t care if the same passion was stopping a fracking project. What’s good for the goose… Equal application of laws

    joe Reply:

    If you think the law is unequally applied then you misunderstand the law.

    BTW, nice to know HSR is just like fracking.

    Another example of misunderstanding and an over-reaching false equivalence.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You are right joe. I should have said equal application of delaying tactics using the law. I apologize for my mistake

    jimsf Reply:

    tax the fracking to pay for the hsr!

    joe Reply:

    Instead we frack the taxing and can’t pay for anything.

    Steven H Reply:

    I’ve only heard “equal application of [the] law” once, by a blogger who believed that his 14th Amendment rights were violated when another blogger called him a “climate change denier.” (evidently, they’re the new gay)

    There’s no such thing as equal application of the law; and methods of oil extraction aren’t entitled to the equal protection of the law, mostly because they aren’t people. (Though, as a person, Corporations like Exxon-Mobile may be entitled to 14th Amendment Protection [sarcasm])

    Anyway, the anti-HSR folks in @jimsf’s comments aren’t alleging (and will never allege) that HSR causes earthquakes. Fracking can’t say that.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You know that HSR is not a person either…it is a project??

    I was not referring to the 14th amendment. I was referring to the fact that these same tactics are used (and cheered) by the environmental crowd to delay all kinds of projects. If you are going to write the law such that the delaying is allowed and encouraged you can’t complain when someone uses it against a project you like.

    joe Reply:

    Equating fracking with HSR is pathetic and why CEQA is being reformed.

    Kings Co is sandbagging the HSR project.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yep they are. And winning

    joe Reply:

    If you say so Mr. Boehner.

    I guess unemployment dropping to 12% is winning.
    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/kings-joblessness-drops-to-percent/article_cc954b00-2246-11e3-b053-001a4bcf887a.html

    Oh wait….

    “The true unemployment rate [is] significantly higher than we claim because we don’t know who those people are who have given up looking for unemployment,” Lehn said. (John Lehn, Kings County Economic Development Corp. CEO.)

    Well at least they’ll protect farmland. ….

    “Lehn found himself wishing for the pre-2008 days when Kings County’s housing economy was booming and unemployment was hovering in the single digits.”

    Oh my. Housing – doesn’t that destroy valuable agriculture land?

    “Winning” — like when the Detox Center Staff don’t find your crack pipe and stash.

    joe Reply:

    BTW

    The Fail that is Kings County.

    1) 2011- Throw the kitchen sink at the EIR
    2) 2013- OMG they are missing alignment wide issues.

    From 2011 – the strategy was to engage everyone and throw the kitchen sink at HSR. Force CAHSRA to respond to all these grass roots issues sent into the EIR process.

    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/kings-county-rail-group-to-host-eir-workshops/article_c3eac28e-d6a6-11e0-bbfc-001cc4c03286.html

    We want people to understand what the EIR/EIS process is and how they can participate and write objective comments that the Authority has to answer,” said Fukuda, one of several impacted homeowners in a neighborhood on Lacey Boulevard east of Hanford. “We view this as the public’s first opportunity since the EIR was released to work together and show unity.”

    “We want to help people read these huge and complex documents and comment in a meaningful way,” said Watt. “Part of my job is to get them to think more ‘big picture’ and help them articulate their impacts in a way that is relevant to the legal requirements of these documents. I

    Now the EIR is missing massive, alignment wide issues. Maybe. Maybe not because opponents tried to overwhelm the EIR process.

    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/kings-opens-new-front-in-hsr-legal-war/article_9db0658e-35ad-11e3-9157-0019bb2963f4.html

    Douglas Carstens, an attorney for the Southern California firm Chatten-Brown & Carstens, told the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board at their regular meeting Monday that the EIR in circulation doesn’t include critical earthquake, flood and other risks that he said recently came to light.

    “The dangers are not localized,” said Carstens, who represents the Kings County Board of Supervisors, Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability and the Kings County Farm Bureau. “They are alignment-wide.”

    agb5 Reply:

    The best technical solution to all of these risks is also the cheapest and simplest, build the rail-bed on and elevated earth berm, this protects it from local flooding, it can’t be seriously damaged by an earthquake, and any ground movement can be easily fixed during standard ballast maintenance.

  7. J. Wong
    Oct 16th, 2013 at 12:48
    #7
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