California Isn’t Broke

Nov 22nd, 2013 | Posted by

Equipment World, a publication I’d never heard of before today’s Google alert landed in my inbox, has a ridiculous article arguing “high speed rail is the next Obamacare”. If they mean “a good idea systematically undermined by Republican obstruction, I’d agree.

Unfortunately that wasn’t what they meant.

1. California already has a high-speed transportation network. Its called the airlines. They’re not going to build a train that can outrun a Boeing 737. Some 16,000 people fly between Los Angeles and San Francisco every day. How many trains would it take to put a dent in that total?

As you can tell from the start, the concepts of peak oil and climate change are completely foreign to Tom Jackson, author of this piece. Both mean that air travel will not last as a heavy duty piece of the intrastate transportation network in California.

Further, the airlines are supportive of high speed rail because they don’t actually make a huge amount of money on the short haul routes such as SF to LA and would rather those gates be used for medium and long haul routes. SFO and LAX are strong supporters of HSR as well.

Jackson clearly didn’t do his homework on point number 1. But point number 2 is just laughably false:

2. California is broke. The once prosperous state has more bankrupt cities than any other. And the price for this rail system keeps going up, the goalposts keep moving. Voters approved a $9.95 billion bond package for the train in 2008 based on the projections of a final cost of about $45 billion. But last year the agency in charge of organizing the project put the tab at $98 billion. Reshuffling the routes helped shave $30 billion off the tab (and slow down the train considerably) but does anybody think a project like this is going to come in on or under budget. Boston’s Big Dig was sold to the voters as a $2.6 billion project. Final tally was more like $14.6 billion.

Equipment World picked the wrong week to publish this. Yesterday the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected California would see annual budget surpluses of $10 billion by the end of the decade – and that’s after the Prop 30 taxes expire. California is far from broke. It’s about to be one of the richest state governments in the country. And with a GDP of $2 trillion it can easily afford the cost of HSR, especially spread out over 20 or so years.

In fact, with California facing big budget surpluses, the case for HSR will only become stronger as lasting infrastructure is an excellent use of surplus revenue.

3. Tickets are too expensive. Proponents at first bragged of one-way tickets costing $50. Now it’s looking more like $120+. Southwest Airlines has nine flights a day covering that route; $59 one way.

How many times have we had to debunk this one? It’s almost impossible to get that $59 fare unless you buy way in advance. If I were to travel from SFO to LAX tomorrow on Southwest Airlines the cheapest fare I can find is $215. Further, as oil prices and carbon taxes rise, that $59 fare won’t last anyway. By the time HSR opens from SF to LA, $120 will be a bargain.

4. The trains keep getting slower. California voters were originally promised a train trip that would be 2 hours and 40 minutes or less. As the political mud wrestling moves along that travel time has been extended to 3 hours, 40 minutes–and that’s only on the express train. Add the typical 40 to 60 minute commute it requires to get anywhere in LA or San Francisco, and high speed rail passengers will save at best an hour over the six-hour driving time.

My understanding is that the Blended Plan would indeed provide some trips that meet the 2:40 requirement, but that regular all-day service of 2:40 will have to await the full buildout of the Peninsula rail corridor. To the extent that there are delays, they’re the product of NIMBYs, not a poorly planned project. As to the time savings over driving, everyone who actually drives in California knows that you only actually get from SF to LA in six hours if you leave at 9AM on a Tuesday morning.

5. It’s not all that green. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions high speed trains are about on par with airplanes. Cars are more polluting but add a passenger and you cut the emissions per passenger mile in half. Add the whole Griswold family for a vacation and you’re practically an honorary member of Greenpeace.

This point links to a four year old study that did not fully account for the fact that California HSR will use renewable electricity to achieve 5 to 10 million tons of carbon emission reduction between 2022 and 2040. That’s crucial to helping achieve the state’s AB 32 targets.

Jackson closes his article by claiming HSR, unlike Obamacare, is pointless:

California’s high speed rail is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

This is only true if you believe oil is infinite and will be cheap forever, and if you believe climate change is a lie. For everyone who lives in the real world, HSR is a necessary part of California’s future.

  1. Donk
    Nov 22nd, 2013 at 22:31
    #1

    Unfortunately for HSR and fortunately for flying, the argument that you can be much more productive on HSR is going away. Now that they are letting you keep your electronics on during the entire flight, with today’s FCC announcement that they will be allowing cell phone use in airplanes (subject to airline approval), and with the company (forgot the name) that is launching the wifi-based texting and voice service on airplanes, we will be able to at least do simple tasks on airplanes. Granted, a HSR train gives you a much more comfortable working environment, but it will also generally be a longer travel time.

    This to me was one of the best arguments for HSR.

    The other good argument is simply that HSR gives you another less stressful option to get from place to place. The other arguments that Robert keeps citing (peak oil, climate change, more jobs) are secondary for HSR.

    Joey Reply:

    You also have to endure a lot of unproductive time at airports, including security and waiting at various stages.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It won’t be much fun when Amalgamated strikes your hsr and you have to go back to the airlines. Especially when Nancy and Jerry’s political descendents encourage the militant walkouts and overcompensation-featherbedding.

    StevieB Reply:

    You will be thankful for hsr when a meteor strikes your airfield.

    synonymouse Reply:

    As opposed to a “meteor” or temblor taking out a stretch of Stilt-A-Rail?

    VBobier Reply:

    Or airline employees go on strike, yes they can do that syno.

    david Reply:

    You don’t thing that there will be lines and security for HSR? Good luck with that.

    Donk Reply:

    Another really important argument for HSR, as Robert touches on here, is that you don’t have to book in advance for HSR. The main reason I fly Southwest is because it is flexible, i.e. you can show up late for your flight and take the next one, or you cancel your flight day of an use the credit for another flight. And luggage fees. If HSR can simply be convenient and flexible and not charge you for ass paper when you need to drop a deuce, then it will also gain large market share over flying.

    My whole point here is that we keep on focusing on these arguments for HSR that are almost political (since the right doesn’t believe in them). However, both Tea Partiers and Liberal Commies can agree that convenience, less stress, and increased productivity are good. These should be the primary arguments in support of HSR.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Give me an anytime walk-up HSR fare between SF and LA for a C-note, and I’ll be happy.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Robert missed the boat today. Air traffic all over the Western US was stymied by storms in the closest thing Southwest has to a hub: Phoenix and Las Vegas. Every flight tonight at the airport was delayed and I live in California…I raced home to post because I was hoping Robert would investigate how bad it must be.

    The FAA ruling changes nothing though. Trains allow continuous use of portable electronics with a modicum of personal space. Airplanes are going to allow calls, but can you imagine the cacophony if everyone used them at once in the sardine can seating that has developed in the last 22 years….

    synonymouse Reply:

    As bad as when BART is hit by a strike?

    Is a labor stoppage tantamount to an Act of God?

    EJ Reply:

    Are the Bay Area transit moaners still going on about the BART strike? I enjoyed living up there, but I sure don’t miss the incessant whining. I know you think BART is uniquely terrible, but you do realize that virtually every transit system in the developed world uses union labor, right?

    VBobier Reply:

    I think syno is the biggest bart moaner and whiner that I’ve ever heard of. It’s bart this and bart that, like a broken record.

    synonymouse Reply:

    As far as BART is concerned, “floggings will continue until morale improves.”

    VBobier Reply:

    Like I said syno is the biggest bart moaner here.

    Eric Reply:

    When have US airlines ever gone on strike? It happens in other countries though.

    joe Reply:

    Eastern Airlines.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://www.communitywalk.com/location/1966_airline_strike/info/2611054

    Alon Levy Reply:

    American’s pilot had a work-to-rule action a year ago.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    To answer Synon:

    Definitely. Last night was transportation dysfunction that I had never seen before. Every Southwest flight was delayed at least two hours. I met a woman who found out her flight was cancelled to Las Vegas and even though there was another flight that was headed there, Southwest refused to let them take it.

    Instead, one older woman decided to fly to Phoenix where my daughter was headed and spend the night in Sky Harbor so she could catch the first flight out. A family with the same itinerary was told the soonest they could get to their destination was midafternoon Saturday.

    Now that sounds bad, but not unprecedented.

    But add into that mess every connecting passenger going to what they think is their gate only to be told that the flight the were scheduled on has closed for boarding (still at the gate, but closed) and are told to go a to a different gate to board another flight. But instead of simply being allowed to board at the new gate, the agent sends to them back to the original gate to have their seat released and then forced them to run back to the gate with the new flight. Southwest’s staff wasn’t even nice or clear about what passenger needed to do.

    During the BART strike, meanwhile, there were other options riders had. And even though the options might have been miserable, they weren’t stranded away from home.

    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, weather is the deciding factor in favor of HSR. I came to that conclusion after a small storm hit Chicago and delayed all travel in the Midwest for up to 10 hours on a day I was traveling through O’Hare…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Even in perfect weather, when I flew Detroit-LGA, total door-to-door time was about comparable to or slightly longer than how much HSR would have taken via Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. I think it’s then that I first said, screw cost-effectiveness, I want HSR.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Sorry, I did miss that. But that’s why we have a comment section! Thanks for pointing out the weather disruptions.

    david Reply:

    Don’t bet that tickets will be the same price for advance purchase and for walk-up. This is certainly not true in other countries.

    StevieB Reply:

    There is considerable resistance to allowing cell phones on airplanes.

    Delta Air Lines said Thursday that it would continue banning cellphone calls even if the FCC allows it, citing strong opposition by customers who have been surveyed on the issue. Almost as quickly, JetBlue said it would be open to exploring allowing the calls while saying it wants to make flights “comfortable and welcoming for all.”
    Other airlines, such as Southwest, were taking a wait-and-see approach Friday.
    “The ability to use electronic items which access cellular data networks remains off the table and our customers have told us that in-flight voice communication would be disruptive,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins wrote in an email. “We continue to monitor feedback on this topic from our customers and would consider it should the FCC make any rule changes.”
    Alaska Airlines, American and United issued statements similar to Southwest’s. And the U.S. Travel Association issued a hold-your-horses statement.

    EJ Reply:

    AS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PERSON I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO ALLOW CELL PHONE USAGE ON PLANES ASAP. I HAVE VERY IMPORTANT DEALS TO GET DONE AND IT’S JUST SO MUCH MORE GRATIFYING TO ME WHEN I HAVE A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE ON A PLANE TO LISTEN TO ME BELLOW ABOUT THEM FOR A FEW HOURS. OF COURSE I DO THAT ON TRAINS WHENEVER POSSIBLE BUT I FEEL THAT ON A PLANE I COULD REALLY TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    This made me snort coffee. :)

    EJ Reply:

    HELLO?!? HELLO?!? SORRY ABOUT THE YELLING, I’M ON A PLANE!! THERE’S A LOT OF BACKGROUND NOISE!! ANYWAY, BOB, HOW ARE WE DOING ON THE ANDERSON ACCOUNT?!? DON’T FUCK IT UP, MOTHERFUCKERS!! WHAT?!? OH YEAH, I’M A BIG IMPORTANT BUSINESSMAN SO I MAKE SURE TO DROP A LOT OF F-BOMBS IF THERE ARE CHILDREN AROUND!! YEAH!! REMEMBER BEFORE WE COULD ONLY DO THAT ON ACELA?!?! NOW WE CAN DO IT NATIONWIDE!!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The people on Acela are all in business class or first class and are not easily impressed.

    Eric Reply:

    In my experience, since SMSes and WhatsApp became popular, the problem of loud jerks on phones has significantly lessened.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This.

    Also, in cities where phones work on transit – cities with els, cities where the subway is wired for service, cities with bus-only transit – people almost never talk on the phone on transit as a matter of etiquette.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What Joey said. Air travel requires you to move between difference spaces: the security line, the line at the gate, the plane itself, baggage claim. While waiting in line you’re less productive anyway because you can’t sit and work on your laptop, but you’re especially unproductive when moving between different spaces. It has similar effects to a transfer penalty.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The TSA is already getting its nose into the Amtrak tent. Does anyone really imagine that they’ll leave HSR passengers to board without hassle and interference of some kind? Dream on.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The TSA has had 12 years to set up airport style security and haven’t. The LIRR has had 20 to install metal detectors – since the last mass murder – and hasn’t.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So what? HSR is much higher profile than LIRR commuters. They are nibbling away, a few more patrols and sniffer dogs every year. Who is going to make a stand against “safety”, it would be political suicide.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Acela boards from the same station. From the same platforms. Why hasn’t the TSA done anything about those high profile customers?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You need to come up with something better than “does anyone really imagine?”. Amtrak resisted a TSA incursion onto a train in South Carolina, and the existing train stations, some of which are planned to be used for HSR in the Vision, do not have security theater facilities.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I don’t have to “come up with anything better”. I’m sorry if you can’t use your imagination to extrapolate clearly visible trends. it may not take the precise form of an airport set up but it will become as big a pain for the user.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The LIRR had six passengers killed and 19 injured in 1993. They haven’t installed metal detectors. The TSA has had 12 years to work their magic on trains and they haven’t. What trend do you see? I know the machers that use Acela aren’t in California so they aren’t important.

    EJ Reply:

    As Richard M. points out below, the CA high speed rail authority has specifically identified security checkpoints as a requirement in their stations. This isn’t some conspiracy theory, they’ve come out and said it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The clearly visible trend I see is that in 2005, when I started taking Amtrak, I could walk from the station entrance to the train without passing through security, and in 2013 I still can.

    It’s possible CAHSR will be different, but it’s also possible they’re stupidly trying to make their system easy to fit with security theater.

    EJ Reply:

    I totally appreciate the perspective from the Blessed Land of the NEC, but you don’t have to divine trends based on the inscrutable doings of Penn Station and the LIRR. You can look at the actual publications presented by CHSRA where they EXPLICITLY say there will be security checkpoints.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Do they say there will be checkpoints, or do they just leave space for potential checkpoints in case the TSA decides on it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cargo cultism. All they know is BART and airports. So they want faregates and security checkpoints or at least allocate space for them in the hope that the big security bird in the sky will come down when it sees their decoy.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Sure, Alon.

    They’ll first spend billions of dollars extra erecting the fortresses with the “potential” for installing checkpoints …
    … and then later they’ll do some sort of cost-benefit analysis
    … and then decide not to install the rectal cavity inspection stations.

    It could happen, right? Nothing’s decided, see? Don’t fret! America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals have it all under control.

    joe Reply:

    It’s quite plausible. I know this prolific transit expert who’s convinced the contractors build things that aren’t needed or used.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh for crying out loud. Just one of MANY examples, here on page 44 of this document: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/Merced_Fresno/Merced_to_Fresno_City_of_Merced_Public_Information_Meeting_October_5_2010_10_5_10.pdf

    See the thing prominently labeled “Security Line”? Next to where it says “Check in”?

    I mean I realize that’s not an LIRR or NJ Transit schedule, just an official publication from the people that are actually building CA HSR, so it probably doesn’t mean anything.

    EJ Reply:

    And do notice that “ticketing” and “check-in” are two separate functions in two separate buildings.

    Marc Reply:

    See the thing prominently labeled “Security Line”? Next to where it says “Check in”?

    The area shown is not large enough for a TSA-style security inspection. More likely fare gates separating the paid and unpaid areas.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes California is special.
    Just because there will be space for xray machines and metal detectors doesn’t mean those oblivious TSA people will put machines there or staff them.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    California HSR promises to have all of that, and more. (Really, they explicitly promise it. They are building a US airline operating at Flight Level Zero.)

    Tens of billions of extra capital cost, hundreds of millions of extra operating cost, ongoing payments to the defense industry, ongoing total surveillance, jobs for all the boys. No threat to the airlines. Synergy! What’s not to like?

    Feed the beast.

    Ihre Papiere, bitte!

    EJ Reply:

    That’s what all those giant “mezzanine” levels in their proposed station designs are for, right?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Into the pens, citizens!

    With Extra Special Treatment for some of you.
    And as for the swarthy and the non-citizens …

    VBobier Reply:

    I’d rather have an elected Government of the People, by the People and for the People, than corporations that are not accountable to the people of this country, the founding fathers rebelled against one such entity, the East India Trading Company which had a Royal Charter which is the equivalent of a corporation, even Lincoln thought they were a threat, as they are run by CEOs and a CEO is a Dictator in some companies, historically it’s the privately held ones. KOCH Industries is private and wants to undermine good Government, but when Government is underfunded, conservatives then say see it doesn’t work, lets get rid of it, that’s treasonous behaviour as there are two types of enemies, foreign and domestic, domestic enemies work to topple government and lie to get into office, as baggers have been proven to do lately…

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are living under corporate government. When you have house companies – the same croney-clients who always somehow manage to get the job/contract.

    Dems/GOP the same but with political theatrical antics that put professional wrestling to shame. What, DiFi with her $5bil is going to favor genuine income redistribution? Get real.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, the East India Company wasn’t relevant in the 13 Colonies. The colonists were rebelling against a government that wouldn’t let them ethnically cleanse more Native Americans.

    Second, what the hell are you talking about that’s even relevant to this thread?

    joe Reply:

    The East Indian Company was very relevant to the 13 US Colonies.

    The Tea Act
    http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/teaact.htm

    The Tea Act, passed by Parliament on May 10, 1773, would launch the final spark to the revolutionary movement in Boston. The act was not intended to raise revenue in the American colonies, and in fact imposed no new taxes. It was designed to prop up the East India Company which was floundering financially and burdened with eighteen million pounds of unsold tea. This tea was to be shipped directly to the colonies, and sold at a bargain price. The Townshend Duties were still in place, however, and the radical leaders in America found reason to believe that this act was a maneuver to buy popular support for the taxes already in force. The direct sale of tea, via British agents, would also have undercut the business of local merchants.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Tea Act was so unimportant that when Parliament repealed it in 1778, the war continued. The same is true of the various taxes, some of which were also repealed to no avail. The colonists wanted recognition of their local governments and permission to settle beyond the Appalachians and ethnically cleanse the indigenous population.

    Let’s look at what the Intolerable Acts actually said. One was indeed about paying the EIC back for destruction of property in the Tea Party, but it was more about the principle than about the EIC, same way that “no taxation without representation” was about the principle since it continued even after the Stamp Act was repealed. Another put a British-appointed government in charge of Massachusetts. A third let Britain move trials between colonies. A fourth was about quartering soldiers in homes. A fifth was about giving the Midwest to Quebec instead of letting Anglophones settle it instead.

    And I still fail to get how that bit of history is relevant to Richard’s complaint that the government is forcing everyone to go through security theater.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It make more sense if you speak Real American ™.

    joe Reply:

    “The Tea Act was so unimportant that when Parliament repealed it in 1778, the war continued.”
    Hilarious though process.
    Tea Act was important – historians write that it was important. Pretty much a consensus.

    “And I still fail to get how that bit of history is relevant to Richard’s complaint that the government is forcing everyone to go through security theater.”
    Correcting a major misunderstanding about my nation’s history.

    The battle to protect civil liberties against, road check points, stop and frisk and the surveillance state goes beyond HSR. Richard flings that any all other poo at HSR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’d certainly be able to cite references for such a consensus saying the Tea Act was a primary motivation and not the non-recognition of state governments or lack of Parliamentary representation or the Appalachian settlement boundary.

    And the battle indeed goes beyond HSR, but it also includes HSR as one component.

    joe Reply:

    Primary motivation?

    The comment was the East India Company wasn’t relevant to the 13 Colonies. It was relevant. I don’t think it was primary – maybe for Boston more than elsewhere. I think the full reasons were declared in a document summer of 76.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Declaration states some concepts very eloquently. It’s rather rich for slaveholders to be rambling on about freedom.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Declaration doesn’t mention the EIC.

    joe Reply:

    “The Declaration doesn’t mention the EIC.”

    No it doesn’t which is probably why you were confused.
    It helps to have a education with US History as a requirement.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Your last comment was “I think the full reasons were declared in a document summer of 76.”

    joe Reply:

    “First, the East India Company wasn’t relevant in the 13 Colonies.”

    You were Wrong. Sorry that’s wrong – not close to being half true either.

    The reasons are written in the Independence Declaration. That doesn’t mean the Declaration will show what’s relevant to our revolution.

    I need only show the Company is relevant – it was very relevant.

    The relevance of the East India Company to the 13 colonies a is historically well documented. It is not the primary reason, it need not be a reason, it is relevant. Relevant.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so the Declaration shows reasons, but relevance is something different from reasons.

    Okay.

    Are you sure you’re not a trial lawyer?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So this whole mythic thing with faux Indians and throwing tea into the harbor didn’t have anything to do with being one of the reasons. Interesting.

    EJ Reply:

    And you, you’re leading the brave fight against punctuation.

  2. John Burrows
    Nov 22nd, 2013 at 22:42
    #2

    There is more to California than San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    For someone who needs to travel between Fresno and either San Francisco or Los Angeles or for someone who needs to travel between Bakersfield and either San Francisco and Los Angeles this highway in the air doesn’t work as well.

    The cheapest one way flight I could see from Fresno to SFO was $141 one way and the flight time, gate to gate, was just under one hour. If you add time spent at the airports, high speed rail would likely be as fast or faster. In reality this talk about flight times between Fresno and the Bay Area is pretty academic because almost everyone making this trip is going to suck it in and drive.

    If I remember right, one of the things CAHSR is supposed to do is to form a better link between the major population centers of California than exists now—something that this “highway in the air” is not doing well for the 2million plus residents of the San Joaquin Valley.

    Joey Reply:

    The monetary cost and time penalty for serving Fresno and Bakersfield is marginal, assuming you don’t try to send express trains through downtowns (increasing both cost and time penalty). Put the express alignment near the cities but not in them, and serve the cities themselves either with station loops (Fresno) or greenfield stations with strong connecting transit (Bakersfield).

    Donk Reply:

    Not only do people always dismiss intermediate cities like Fresno and Bakersfield, but also urban stops like LAUS and Anaheim and suburban stops like Santa Clarita or Riverside that are far from airports in their own regions. Unfortunately as we discussed a couple days ago, there is a push to force HSR to service airports.

    joe Reply:

    One wouldn’t want to avoid airports either. We discussed Denver’s DIA which is way east of town.

    SJC and SFO are pretty close to legacy rail tracks. A SFO stop for HSR is a stop between San Jose and San Francisco.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Servicing SFO by HSR is not a problem: It’s less than a mile from the tracks, for heavens sake. (And its 2 miles from Millbrae Intermodal). Somehow, though, I don’t see HSR ever servicing LAX.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s not how Kopp saw servicing SFO. He pushed for deep penetration price no object.

    But isn’t that how and where California generally is made to take it?

    joe Reply:

    “He pushed for deep penetration…”

    Lay off the CIALIS.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hey, the man said “servicing”.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now you understand why LA lobbied so hard for Palmdale and Ontario stations where they could route additional passengers to. However, the collapse of demand for air travel in the Inland Empire means that Metro is *really* interesting in finishing the Crenshaw line to route subway traffic from LAX to LAUS. (That’s not in the EIR, everyone shouts.)

    Don’t under-estimate how important the SFO-HSR connection is, though. Properly linking it, or Oakland airport to the HSR rail network wouild be a game-changer for Northern Caifornia relative to the rest of the world. Collis P. Huntington would be proud.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like having Newark, BWI and TF Green on the NEC has changed travel in the Northeast?

    http://www.united.com/cms/en-us/marketing/custcomm/promotions/pages/amtrak.aspx

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t know why lately you seem to be getting in touch with your inner troll:

    Acela doesn’t serve EWR or BWI…the Northeast Regional does.

    However, even Acela’s service was changed, there would still be lost profits from existing service up and down the NEC. Baltimore is a Southwest hub these days…so even though it is extremely convenient to transfer that way, United’s intent on protecting it’s revenue from Dulles. American could get into this game…but they have collateral profits at stake at Reagan.

    Offer true HSR service in the US codeshared with a major airline/airport and yes, it will change the game.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and people who want to get ot Newark or BWI take the few extra minutes that a Regional takes to get there versus an Acela would if it stopped there.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and United is so fearful of Amtrak that they …. codeshare…

    http://www.united.com/cms/en-us/marketing/custcomm/promotions/pages/amtrak.aspx

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Acela doesn’t serve EWR perhaps because a) it’s lower-ridership than any single Acela stop, and b) to serve it requires switching from the inner to the middle tracks and that could interfere with other trains on the line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Acela not stopping there would tend to depress Acela ridership.
    Don’t confuse him with switching from the inner tracks to the middle tracks to outer tracks.
    …maybe the reason Acela doesn’t stop at Newark Airport is because the people who use Acela aren’t the types to schlep to the airport by train or the types to travel from DC or Boston or even Philadelphia to save 50 bucks on airfare. The ones who schlep from Philadelphia to save 50 bucks on airfare are also the type to schlep to Newark airport on using SEPTA and NJTransit, masochistic as that may sound.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You’re ignoring the fact that up to now, US Airways had no motivation to collude with United to use Acela. Now that American and US Airways have merged, United has a bigger incentive to funnel passengers via Amtrak. Even so, you need faster travel times north of NYC and south of DC to siphon off more than just Philadelphia.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would someone in DC get the urge to go all the way to New York to fly somewhere unless it was the once a day flight from JFK for all of the USA and Canada to Obscureistan? Or LA to SF or vice versa? People in LA who want fly to New York or Chicago or Atlanta or Boston can fly there from LA. If someone wants to get Fresno to Los Angeles do they care that the train stops at SFO? They might if they want to go to Chicago. What incentive does someone in Chicago have to fly into Newark when they want to go to Baltimore? Someone in Stamford who wants to go to California might find using the train to get to Newark intriguing. They aren’t going to take the train to Newark so they can fly to DC. Or Boston. What’s going to be revolutionized? The shuttle flights between LA and SF might get less frequent. Like the shuttle flights between NY and DC are getting less frequent. Why does Engulf and Devour Air that has flights from almost anywhere to DC, Philadelphia NY and Boston care that there is a train? And if they don’t have flights what is their incentive to not have people change planes at their Midwestern hub – fly from wherever, change planes and get to DC or LA? Or NY or SF?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

    Let’s say you work in central DC. You have two options for connecting to a major airport:

    You either take the soon-to-be-finished WMATA Silver Line extension from the District to Dulles, which would take about an hour. (Driving would be about the same.) Or you take a MARC Train to BWI which is 35 minutes.

    But imagine, just imagine, you could also take Acela on that route for a 15-20 minute ride to BWI where you would transfer directly to the terminal (you are already checked in and bags shipped with you) where you would go up and escalator and wait at your gate for your flight to Europe, the West Coast, or pretty much any city that doesn’t have Acela service.

    Now, perhaps that doesn’t make you want to switch flying from say, DC Reagan to Boston. But it would make you want to switch away from Dulles, which again is a hub of United, which conveniently also has a hub in the other Amtrak airport station in Newark. Pretty soon that convenience factor funnels most long-range and medium-range flights to the airport with HSR away from the one that doesn’t: JFK and/or Dulles.

    The game change is that up to now, a major airline needed one hub in each part of the country to stay competitive. With HSR, now it’s possible to have one hub (Atlanta, Chicago, SF, etc) and own that region. But as we see from Acela, it’s only as good as the quality and reach of the HSR service.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who can afford Acela fares fly out of DCA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    DCA’s runway is not long enough to fly anything but a 737 or 757. You can’t have foreign partners of major airlines landing their 747s at Reagan. Secondly, the innovation would be using Acela to serve those passengers beyond the airport and into the downtowns of other cities.

    The French did it, and the Germans want to do it. I’m not sure if the Spanish followed suit.

    aw Reply:

    I think the Germans already do it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The French and Germans already do it, but. The TGV ridership at Charles de Gaulle isn’t high – it’s 3-4 million a year, I believe counting both entries and exits. The intercity ridership at Frankfurt Airport is 8 million, both entries and exits. Newark can’t expect to get comparable ridership because it’s a smaller airport, and also Philadelphia and Washington already have major hub airports. In the Washington area, the social class most interested in intercontinental air service lives in the Northern Virginia suburbs, and can just drive to Dulles; domestic air service in the US is done with narrowbodies, so National is preferred.

    So the intercity ridership at Newark would have to rely on New Haven, Trenton, maybe Providence, and maybe the segments of Philadelphia that have Star Alliance miles. It’s not a lot, and stopping there would muck up commuter service.

    Steven H Reply:

    A few friends of mine recently took the train to EWR from DC so that they could fly to Frankfurt–hardly Obscureistan–and federal employees (myself included) still sometimes make the long, torturous journey to IAD even though we can readily “afford” to fly out of DCA.

    It’s not that there isn’t a market for train to plane transfers–because there is–it’s just that that market is tiny and insignificant compared to all of the other markets that we need rail to serve.

    That’s not to say, however, that a Dulles HSR station wouldn’t be useful; such a station would serve Fairfax County and parts of Arlington just as well as (if not better than) HSR at Union Station. As Ken Cuccinelli can probably attest: Fairfax County is a pretty dang important market in its own right.

    Steven H Reply:

    (I should probably add that I don’t think there will be a Dulles HSR station anytime in the near future, and I’m not suggesting that we build one…I don’t want to be a partisan in the Airport vs. Downtown Debate)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Re Dulles HSR: the problem is that Dulles isn’t on the way to anything. There’s a right of way leading toward Reston, sadly not used by the Silver Line even though it serves Reston more centrally than the highways, but it wouldn’t be useful to revive it except in the context of a commuter line. If such a line is actually built, however, then it could host some surplus intercity trains that aren’t needed for service to Richmond and points south, as long as there’s capacity in the Union Station throat.

    I wasn’t actually thinking of adding HSR to Dulles before (only to JFK, using surplus trains not needed north of New York, and PHL, next to a line that could potentially be used as a bypass for inner Wilmington Line curves). But in that restricted circumstance it would be feasible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and cutting 20 minutes from today’s train ride from Union Station to BWI isn’t going revolutionize anything.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    At this point, the airlines can’t consolidate any more. The have no choice but to build market share by means like HSR to capture new revenue. It’s similar to what cable TV companies did with high speed internet.

    Besides, SFO is really trying to steal LA’s dominance in flights to Asia. Newark and BWI aren’t exactly a threat in that regard.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “There is more to California than San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

    When it comes to making money not much. Santa Rosa lost its service to Vegas. Musk recognized the profit to be earned is between the two conurbations and he is not even a railroad guy.

    John Burrows Reply:

    I totally agree that Musk is not a railroad guy.

    VBobier Reply:

    No He certainly is not, He makes cars that go BOOM, so far at least.

    StevieB Reply:

    It is not fair to say Musk cars explode. Instead they are prone to be consumed in flaming infernos.

    Eric Reply:

    Proportionally, Tesla explosions/burning are extremely rare and non-dangerous.

    A Tesla car is less likely to burn up than a HSR train is to crash horribly.

    StevieB Reply:

    Because Tesla cars are so few 3 fires in 6 weeks is proportionally larger than fires in all cars in the country and sends up alarms. The MIT Technology Review article Early Data Suggests Collision-Caused Fires are More Frequent in the Tesla Model S than Conventional Cars when you look at collision data.

    When you look at the number of fires in collisions, (the numbers come from here and here) it comes to one in 32,603 registered vehicles. That’s far less frequent than one fire per 6,333 Model S’s.

    joe Reply:

    Large number systems can be analyzed using population statistics but for Tesla I’d treat this problem as a small number system and look at each and every fire to understand what’s the risk of fire and then I’d look at the risk of injury overall.

    How many deaths for Teslas?

    joe Reply:

    ABCNews. “Another fire happened in Mexico after the driver ran through a concrete wall at more than 100 mph.”
    ….
    “The car went through a freaking concrete wall and hit a tree and the guy RAN AWAY.”

    Then the car caught fire. I propose we recreate the accident with a 2014 Corolla or Camry – these vehicles no longer have the consumer reports recommendation for under-performing in current safety crash tests. The test they under-perform simulates hitting a tree.

  3. adirondacker12800
    Nov 22nd, 2013 at 23:19
    #3

    How many trains would it take to put a dent in that total?

    16 if they are really long and 32 if they are half as long to carry all of them? 40 if you want to give them luxurious leg room and a few empty seats here and there? Trains with really dense seating are as roomy as first class on planes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Trains with really dense seating are as roomy as first class on planes.

    Not really. Amtrak’s Regional trains are about as roomy as domestic first class (possibly a few centimeters roomier), but they’re roomier than many others. The TGV has a seat pitch intermediate between Amtrak or Shinkansen and airline economy class (see PDF-pp. 22-23), and the Shinkansen and ICE have seat width comparable to airline economy class on A320s. Eurostar has airline economy class seat width and marginally wider than airline economy class seat pitch, comparable to JetBlue and international economy at the better airlines.

    Donk Reply:

    I took the Korean HSR train a couple years ago. Definitely not much better than coach on an airplane.

    joe Reply:

    But still better.

    I flew SF to Inchon Korea in a 5 seat row and had a sleeping little boy’s feet stretch across on my lap.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Regionals have the densest seating on Amtrak expect when those poor defenseless Thanksgiving weekend travelers find out they reserved seat on a NJTransit multilevel or a MARC train.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I thought Regionals and Acelas have the same seat pitch, just the classes have different names. The Empire and Keystone trains have the same seat spacing as Regionals; the long-distance hagfish don’t, but I’m deliberately not counting them.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The NEC trains have the densest seating, Wikipedia has the seating arrangements for Amfleet Is versus Amfleet iis. I don’t remember what it is on AmComets/Horizons and if I remember correctly the Viewliners are the same as the long distance Amfleets. The Superliners are denser but they are double decked. I’m sure people are …. disappointed… when they find out their Amtrak trip is going to take a half hour longer than they though it would because Amtrak is running their Thanksgiving Extra with Arrows. Though I don’t know if they still use Arrows or if they have gone with multilevels and MARC cars. Give it a week or two the foamers in Pennsylvania will have YouTube videos of the MARC trains in Pennsylvania and the Maryland foamers will have videos of NJTransit trains in Maryland.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Empire and Keystone trains run Amfleet Is.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Keystones have refurbed Metroliner cars on the cab end. Or did. I dunno. Normal people, ones who have been on coach in an airplane, see the denser seats on the NEC as spacious. And wouldn’t notice the differences between an Amfleet i and an Amfleet II. The only difference I can see with my eyeballs is that the footrests are different. Or were, They may have changed since I last looked hard. I’d have to go look up the stuff about seating and bolsters and how they are different from Metroliners and what’s been standardized on the refurbed cars. I know that the foamers get all frothy when one or the “wrong” types shows up someplace. Followed by 40 pages of discussion of nuances between the different cars and where they would best go. Makes my eyes glaze over.

    JJJ Reply:

    The reservation system is pretty clear that youre being offered commuter rail equipment.

  4. trentbridge
    Nov 23rd, 2013 at 13:40
    #4

    Work! Work! Work! Work! Work! Work! The rest of the world laughs openly at American’s obsession with working. The world’s worst vacation entitlement – among the world’s stingiest public holiday schedules – and yet Americans feel the need to spend the hour or so aloft – with the laptop open, answering emails or tweeking spreadsheets. Look out the F*&cking window and see the God-given glory that’s California from the air! Open your f*&cking minds that there’s more to life than brown-nosing your ass@&le boss! In fact, call the flight attendant and have a glass of wine, or stronger stuff. Shouldn’t you treat yourself better?

    joe Reply:

    BART management now thinks their contract was too generous with 6 weeks of paid family leave.

    The dispute revolves around Section 4.8 of the new contract, which requires the district to provide workers with “six weeks of paid time off to take care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner or to bond with a new child.” While the district currently provides up to 12 weeks of family medical leave, it’s unpaid, with workers using vacation days, sick leave or other accrued time off.

    NOTE BART currently does not provide anything beyond the basic minimum required by US Law.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

    Mexico is 12 weeks paid leave (100%) for the mother and 5 days for the father.

    12 weeks to bond with a new child is only 3 months. The 13th week they are in some child care center. If you both work and can afford it, like us, that’s 6 months – still it’s unpaid leave.

    synonymouse Reply:

    way too generous – up there with 13 undocumented no-shows

    Who do you want to tax to pay for it?

    joe Reply:

    I’d tax you. Then you can retire and live off those children’s taxes when you grow old.

    That’s your plan, to collect your retirement entitlements and blog about the corrupt entitlement system and lazy others.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One of the first Tea Party rallies in Washington DC., one of the ones that happened before the memo about not showing up with signs that say “Keep the government out of my Medicare”, there was much complaining about how Metro didn’t run enough trains, the platforms and trains were very very crowded.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Here it’s 17 weeks unpaid pregnancy leave for a biological mother and 35-37 weeks unpaid parental leave per parent (link), but the employment insurance system pays benefits during leave.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Three months is 13 weeks. Its why once a quarter you get five paychecks in a month if you get paid weekly and and three in a month twice a year if you get paid biweekly. And every few years there’s an extra pay period in the year. 53 if weekly and 27 if biweekly.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s not our fault. The US is the only country in the world where there’s a self-selecting population of obsessive, overly-optimistic, materalists. Those of us that value something other than brown-nosing usually have to pick a field like academia or government to avoid contemplating suicide or mass casualty events.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Lol at the idea that academia and government aren’t as full of brown nosers as industry.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Of course there’s brown nosing in academia and government. We just don’t think it’s better than taking a two week vacation or earning a pension.

    Eric Reply:

    Maybe you don’t but there are plenty who do. It’s pretty much universal once you get (or want to get) more than one level up in the management hierarchy of any organization.

  5. synonymouse
    Nov 23rd, 2013 at 14:20
    #5

    Actually this strangely short article is better written and more pertinent than any of Dan Walter’s numerous critical pieces.

    But none of these pans ever mention that the defacto route is so hopeless it can never generate a profit and that the CHSRA will be stuck with a BART-Muni management model of guaranteed incompetence and all the attendant labor and maintenance problems.

  6. Derek
    Nov 23rd, 2013 at 17:32
    #6

    They’re not going to build a train that can outrun a Boeing 737.

    Why not? A bicycle can outrun a jetliner, so a train should be a piece of cake.

  7. bixnix
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 10:17
    #7

    3. Tickets are too expensive. Proponents at first bragged of one-way tickets costing $50. Now it’s looking more like $120+. Southwest Airlines has nine flights a day covering that route; $59 one way.

    I bought a roundtrip SNA-SJC for the Thanksgiving holiday for $360, a month ago, on Southwest. And one flight is on Thanksgiving, which saves a bit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When the Thanksgiving schedules for Amtrak were released weeks ago it was still possible to snag a $49 one way trip between New York and Washington DC. Just for fun last night I checked the reservation system. The Regionals are sold out late in the afternoon on Wednesday. There’s a few seats left on Acela but they aren’t the cheap seats. So it doesn’t matter that Amtrak carries people between New York and DC for 49 bucks. Those were gone a long time ago. And if you want to travel late in the afternoon on Wednesday you better book now because those expensive seats on Acela may not be there tomorrow.
    .. this just seems odd to me. There were still seats available on the mid morning trains on Thanksgiving Day. Get on the 10 o’clock and you could be in NY from DC or vice versa in plenty of time to make dinner at 3. And then get on the 9 o’clock and get home late on the same day. Or go back on Friday. Sunday is the second busiest day after Wednesday. No 49 dollar fares available then. I didn’t check, probably no 49 dollar fares on Friday or Saturday either.

    AlanF Reply:

    If I may as someone on the east coast who is doing just this for Thanksgiving. I will be taking a NE Regional from DC northward on Thanksgiving morning, get to CT by early afternoon. Then head back home on late Saturday afternoon to beat the Sunday crush. By making the reservations in early August, I was able to get the lowest price fare.

    I have driven from DC to CT for Thanksgiving trips. The train is a much, much better way to travel than on I-95 and the NJ Turnpike.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Last year, I was visiting New Haven from New York, taking Metro-North on Wednesday evening; the train was almost full, but I found a seat, and the fares were free since the conductors weren’t taking tickets.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Get off at Exit 11, take the Garden State Parkway to the end, take the NYS Thruway South/East to the Tappan Zee Bridge and use the Cross Westchester Expressway to get to I-684 or the Hutchinson River Parkway/Merritt or.. I shudder… the New England Thruway/Connecticut Turnpike. Except at 3 in the morning or on summer Sunday nights it’s faster than going through the Bronx. Tune into the all news stations at Exit 5 or 6 to make sure there isn’t something going on that will foul up the plan. WINS at 1010 at :01, WWBR at 1130 at :05 and WCBS at 880 at :08. They don’t always agree.

    There have been times when things are so snafu’d getting off at Exit 10 and going through Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens to sneak up on the Hutch from the south would be faster.

    … And you do know that half the people getting the train in DC think they have to use the first door they see. you can walk on the platform and get on the train farther down….

  8. joe
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 11:13
    #8

    “if you want to travel late in the afternoon on Wednesday”

    Never-mind trains or planes, if you want to drive I-5 between SF and LA Wednesday afternoon befor Thanksgiving – good luck and tank up. You’ll be stuck in traffic and delayed hours.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s one advantage of trains and planes, they are reserved. It’s not a free for all like on the highways. If they can handle 12,000 people an hour the first 12,000 people get seats. The 12,001th person is told they are outta luck. It takes the same amount of time to get to where you are going on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as it does at 3 am on a Tuesday in January. more or less. The poor souls who didn’t reserve early on the Amtrak services with “Extras” get stuck with commuter equipment that is slower. ( in the Northeast, should be the same amount of time in places where the trains normally are slow ) But they get there….

    Derek Reply:

    Traffic congestion is an easy problem to fix if you know how to read a demand curve.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    for people on the train ( or the plane or the ferry boat or funicular ) traffic congestion isn’t a problem….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Meh. So let’s say it’s dynamically priced; the roads wouldn’t be jammed on Thanksgiving, but the tolls would be very expensive, same as air and train tickets. (And it’s of course completely stupid to widen a road for a peak that happens on one holiday.)

    joe Reply:

    We want to move people, not fix congestion.

    I can fix congestion with a curfew.

    Derek Reply:

    If Alon Levy is right about the tolls being very expensive the day before Thanksgiving, then people will take buses in order to avoid the cost and carpool in order to split the cost, and the road will move more people than without the express tolls. So you can move more people and fix congestion at the same time.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Except that the intercity buses are going to have very high fares, because it’s not profitable to buy more buses just to move people a few days per year. Carpooling is to some extent already being practiced – intercity car trips average a higher occupancy rate than commuter trips, 2 vs. 1.2, and these holiday trips are disproportionately family trips rather than business trips so the actual occupancy should be even higher.

    There is no way around very high cost in either time or money for travel during a peak that only happens a few days per year. The price signaling isn’t telling people to carpool or take a bus; it’s telling them to visit their families some other time. Even US parking minimums specify that parking lots only need to meet the demand of the 4 busiest days, rather than that of the single busiest day.

    Derek Reply:

    Except that the intercity buses are going to have very high fares…

    It will still be cheaper than driving.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t be so sure. Buying a dedicated bus just for a single one-way trip on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving works out to a lot of money spread among not many annual passengers. Fares are going to be high just like they’re already high on planes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah the joys of trains. The commuter agencies are running Sunday schedules. Take a guess why Amtrak leases NJTransit and MARC equipment on Thanksgiving weekend but not from SEPTA. I suspect that on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the capacity constraint for Amtrak is qualified operators…. 2 to 4 in the afternoon they could have many more trains leaving NY or leaving DC between 4 and 6…

    joe Reply:

    Add Buses. Of course!!! And qualified, experienced drivers too! We’ll add drivers and buses for the holiday travel days.

    I think if you played this game – http://www.simcity.com/ -you’d find out why that added bus idea is not practical.

    More realistically, we leave earlier, tolerate traffic (time in traffic is a cost) and plan accordingly. For schools, they excuse the full week to allow people to spread travel out over more days. Work allows vacation that week and people manage.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In 19th century Lancashire, each mill town had the factories close for holidays for a different week in summer, so that workers could go vacation on the beach without overwhelming Blackpool’s capacity.

    And in France today, different regions have the summer holidays start and end at different times, spaced a few days apart, in order to reduce traffic congestion as all the Parisians rush to the Riviera.

    Derek Reply:

    Phoenix International Raceway is located about 20 miles outside of Phoenix, with no mass transit or close freeway connections. The local roads get overloaded on race day. So they set up a Park-N-Ride program for the big race days. The parking lot is near the I-10 freeway.

    Guess where they got all the buses and experienced drivers from? I’ll give you a hint: the buses are yellow.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The ride quality on school buses is shit, and in California a large proportion of school buses fail the tests for emissions in the interior of the vehicle. They sort of work for short school trips. They wouldn’t work for 7-hour intercity trips. Passengers wouldn’t be willing to pay enough to make it profitable. Even with school buses, operating costs are very high. Think about it: the driver has to get back to the original base, and the buses aren’t usable in an intercity capacity except when there’s no other option, so the trip includes deadheading. Because of the 14-hour roundtrip, expect to pay generous overtime, and maybe even one night’s stay at the hotel in the destination city. The 7-hour trip also means one trip per bus, pushing up the number of school buses required for any high-volume operation.

    School buses are inefficient for school use, too, because they often only get to do one roundtrip per day; in budget cuts, cities in California have eliminated them and told students to use city buses, for example Long Beach. (And in a functioning dense city, people who don’t go to specialized schools should not ever need motorized transportation of any kind to get to school.) The first website I found when trying to Google the number of school buses is in a rural area of Ontario, where buses average 109 km per either day or weekday, I am not sure. In New York, as per the NTD, the average is 131 per day (not weekday), but because of city traffic the buses are moving very slowly, so this 131 km is 10.5 hours in revenue service. In rural Ontario, I would guess based on traffic speeds that this is closer to 2 hours a day per bus.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bus drivers have hours of service restrictions just like truck drivers and train crews.
    School buses don’t have bathrooms. All of the other problems are surmountable. Well that and if they raise tolls high enough to cure congestion there political backlash wouldn’t be pretty so the buses would still be in traffic, it’s just that it wouldn’t be as atrocious.

    Derek Reply:

    Think about it: the driver has to get back to the original base… Because of the 14-hour roundtrip, expect to pay generous overtime, and maybe even one night’s stay at the hotel in the destination city.

    On the Megabus and CAShuttleBus, the bus drivers from opposite directions meet at the halfway point (such as the Coalinga rest stop off the I-5) and switch to a different bus to take back to their home city.

    Joe Reply:

    Perfect ! We’ll coordinate so they met up with exact timing and no wait. Just tax the drivers for being late. 10.00 a minute. They’ll be incentivized to be on time.

    Derek Reply:

    If a bus is going to be late to the rendezvous, it can drive faster and the other bus can drive slower.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    then instead of one bus being late two buses are late.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so now you need to increase tolls even further to allow buses to make up time without causing traffic jams.

    Derek Reply:

    That’s a worst-case scenario that can be mitigated with sufficient time padding.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so now because of padding the bus is also 1-2 hours slower than driving, and because the drivers may have a very long work day, there’s overtime pay reducing the bus’s cost advantage further. So you’re crammed for potentially 9 hours on a school bus without a bathroom, choking on the bus’s emissions, and paying almost as much as you would carpooling with your nuclear family.

    Derek Reply:

    Alon, the Megabus and CAShuttleBus both take less than 8 hours to get from LA to SF.

    Joe Reply:

    School buses! Hilarious.

    Back to three hots and a cot and housing above police stations while were at it

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I think you mean below police stations. Above police stations there’s a view, you don’t want to give it away for free.

  9. Elizabeth
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 13:30
    #9

    OT

    We have posted additional progress reports from the Authority’s consultants,  including reports from the since dismissed program manager oversight consultant (TY Lin) and a new series of reports from the construction manager oversight consultant.   Since the Authority stopped holding public operations committee meetings 18 months ago, these are virtually the only way to get updates on what is going on.  Hint, hint:  a westside bypass of Bakersfield is at least being looked at and service plans for the first construction segment are being developed at the FRA’s request. Shouldn’t these service plans get some public feedback?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I know it is small, but why is the Authority volunteering to pay for Tutor’s printers, when by the terms of the contract, Tutor was supposed to?

    Change order request
    http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Monthly-Status-report-MR-002.pdf

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/construction/RFP_AD3_B2_PtA2_SpecialProv.pdf
    For the
    facilities it provides, the Contractor shall have the following responsibilities:
     Be responsible for installing, maintaining, and paying all utilities.
     Provide daily janitorial service (except weekends and Authority Designated Holidays) and
    maintain trash containers and trash pickup service.
     Be responsible for maintenance of the exterior area of office spaces including access to
    parking areas.
     Include desks, chairs, filing cabinets, bookcases, and telephones in all offices.
     Provide copying, computer, printing, and facsimile equipment services, including paper,
    supplies, and maintenance.

    Eric M Reply:

    Not that I am defending anyone, but the wording might need to be examined.

    Scope of work: Provides copier and printer equipment for the Authority office facility

    Reason for change: The Contract did not require the Contractor to furnish copier and printer equipment for the Authority office facility.

    What are they considering/meaning the “Authority Office Facility”?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    “The Contractor shall provide a field office for the Authority’s field staff co-located with the
    Contractor’s management personnel”

    “For the
    facilities it provides, the Contractor shall have the following responsibilities:”

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The only thing I can see is Tutor is not interpereting “services” to mean the actual machines. Let the change orders begin!

    joe Reply:

    I don’t know what they are referencing but parsing this:
    “Provide copying, computer, printing, and facsimile equipment services, including paper, supplies, and maintenance
    “services” doesn’t include the equipment. The word “equipment” is an adjective. They are missing the conjunction, “and”.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Copiers are typically leased. Copying services would imply a machine.

    The entire contract is full of things are actually very ambiguous and involve much, much higher $$ sums. It is not a good sign for things to come.

    Michael Reply:

    Left over from old days. Printing until very recently was all sent out to be blueprinted, copied, etc. Most larger planning firms still send copy/print jobs out to copy/print shops. They do not own/lease production copiers and have staff dedicated to making copies. When I (one person firm) write proposals, I make it very clear that printing/copying “the product” is a cost not included in the contract.

    Jon Reply:

    Not just a West Bakersfield bypass; both the July and Aug PMT reports mention they are also looking at a “Bear Trap” route for the Bakersfield-Palmdale alignment. Most likely they realized that if they are gonna bypass Bakersfield to the west, Bear Trap Canyon makes for a better route up to the high desert.

    Doesn’t mean they are abandoning Palmdale, of course. The Aug PMT report does say “Participated in a workshop regarding a potential alignment to bypass Bakersfield utilizing Tejon Ranch”, but that doesn’t tell us anything.

    synonymouse Reply:

    To wax Spockian, “a potential alignment to bypass Bakersfield utilizing Tejon Ranch” is illogical. Given that Van Ark was fired for precisely advocating that study.

    Barry Zoeller and Michael Antonovich would shortly soil their pants. An ROW that far to the west would permit a speed-up bypass of Palmdale entirely at an early date and the Palmdale trackage deeded over to Metrolink, etc.

    Tejon favors I-5, another verboten. Methinks the engineers are going bleary-eyed and punchy and musing, like the notion to bring the UP into CAHSR Tehachapi ops.

    Could be some honchos are getting ready to move on to greener pastures and don’t care if Team Palmdale Mountain Village has a hissy fit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And c’mon, why would they use such an incendiary and baiting phrase as “to bypass Bakersfield”. That would be in the same stupid spirit as studying Tejon but with any Ranch property strictly embargoed. Ergo, not to be taken seriously.

  10. synonymouse
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 14:40
    #10

    “Shouldn’t these service plans get some public feedback?”

    I truly do not enjoy coming off as a totally obsessive pill about this but does not the ouster of Van Ark tell all? If anything they have gone beyond “Top Secret” to “Disinformation” down at the PB bunker.

    There are two fundamental scenarios here. (1)Jerry Brown’s plan is plainly ram-it-thru-stay-the-course and prevails thru brute political force. CAHSR will prove a Maginot LIne – a blockbuster disappointment – worse than BART, which has managed to created a quasi-monopoly that the DogLeg can never engineer.

    (2)Much less likely. The State and Federal bureaucracies come to see Jerry Brown & cohorts as a sort of Captain Queeg and move to quietly sideline him as captain of CAHSR. IMHO Brown has gone Ronnie Reagan in his last years and become more inflexible than ever and simply cannot appreciate the quality and quantity of the shortcomings of PB’s scheme.

    The Judge is the last recourse. If he is leaned on and caves, quite likely, the patronage machine will pour billions down their signature gopher hole for decades to come. It is all about rewarding friends; it does not matter if the project dysfunctions.

  11. D. P. Lubic
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 17:08
    #11
  12. VBobier
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 17:58
    #12

    This state surplus of about $9.6 to about $10 Billion a year starting in 2017-2018 could over 10 years fund HSR construction($5.9 Billion a year for 10 years) and after that could also buy whatever else is needed to get HSR running, like buying the trains, building stations, etc. The surplus could to the tune of $1 Billion a year fund SSI recipients to the tune of $64.10 each per month and this would help those vulnerable Seniors and Disabled People in this very expensive state(for every dollar invested into the CA economy, the economy would generate $2 in income and that would generate more taxable income w/o raising taxes by one red cent, just as food Stamps do). It could also be used to repair the local city, town and county) roads and keep those roads in good repair, which right now are mostly old cracked asphalt pavement held together by slurry that gets more and more cracks over time, plus another $1 Billion or so will most likely go to education, all these things should be done, CA is not broke, tax money is constantly coming in, anyone who says CA is broke is crazy and doesn’t know what they are talking about.

  13. Alon Levy
    Nov 24th, 2013 at 19:32
    #13

    h/t Paul Druce: here are the joint Amtrak-CHSRA train specs. As can be seen in section 8.4 (starting PDF-page 41), concerning interior designs, the decisions are sometimes questionable, and force uniformity of design even in areas where it’s easy to adjust to different operators’ needs. For examples:

    8.4.6 A transverse seating configuration in a mixture of both passenger table and unidirectional seating layouts is required. The ratio of table seating to unidirectional seating shall
    be broadly comparable with that of the Acela Express.

    (Besides the implicit “fuck the Shinkansen” attitude, why force the same seat design for both operators when modular designs like the Velaro can do both?)

    8.4.7 First Class accommodations shall represent a minimum of 15% of the total
    Trainset seating capacity.

    Business Class accommodations shall constitute the balance of the Trainset seating capacity.

    (Again, why force uniformity? And why is standard class called “business class” on CAHSR, a system that intends to charge normal-world fares and brands itself as for everyone?)

    8.4.8 The following configurations shall be provided [in first class]:

    a) For Amtrak: 2+1 transverse seating.
    b) For the Authority: 2+2 transverse seating.

    Seating shall be provided with spacing equivalent to 1067 mm (42 inches) of Pitch.

    The minimum seat width shall be 508 mm (20 inches) measured from the inside edges of the
    arm rest.

    8.4.9 Business Class seating shall be provided in 2+2 configuration, in both table and unidirectional seating layouts, and shall include accommodations for ADA seating.

    Seating shall be provided with spacing equivalent to 991 mm (39 inches) of Pitch.

    The minimum seat width shall be 508 mm (20 inches) measured from the inside edges of the
    arm rest.

    (Finally a difference – but why require 2+1 on Amtrak first class when the specified seat width can be provided with 2+2? Just let the builders do 2+2 with much longer pitch to differentiate it from business class. Unless the point is to offer substantially the same product but brand it differently to soak passengers who don’t realize there’s almost no difference in comfort level…)

    Also, consider the following gem on PDF-p. 35:

    8.1.1 The Vehicle floor height above TOR shall be 1295.4 mm (51 inches) with a tolerance of 6.35 mm (0.25 inch).

    Like Clem and unlike Richard, I don’t think that mandating high-floor vehicles is wrong. However, the specs are mandating a floor height that is 3″ higher than the platform height on the NEC, in violation of the ADA, which only allows a 2″ difference on legacy platforms and a 5/8″ difference on new platforms served by new trains. All the existing trainsets have floors that are a bit lower than 1295.4 mm, so there’s no technical problem with requiring trainsets to follow US law on this matter. Amtrak is just used to screwing over people in wheelchairs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because Amtrak is going to have trains delivered in 2016 and California is still going to be selecting colors for the concrete tint? Who cares. By the time California is ready to order trains Acela IVs will be running to Atlanta.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’d argue it the other way – by the time the electrify to Atlanta, California will have finished the entire system, Sacramento to San Diego.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Charlotte then.
    Who said the Acela IVs would be all electric? Hitch the cars to a ACS63 that’s dual mode. It wouldn’t even have to be athletic as as ALP45 since the chances of North Carolina and Virginia getting track good for 100 by then are slim. At least the Virginians and North Carolinians, right now, have actual non-land cruise service.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why would they even hitch the cars to anything that far south? Poorly-maintained tracks would raise train maintenance costs, and also have the trains depreciating while running on tracks where they aren’t any faster than conventional trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the cars aren’t hitched to a locomotive of some sort the passengers have to get out and push.

    Dual mode so that they don’t piss away a half hour in Washington changing engines? Acela IVs can be the dual mode version of today’s Amfleets and HHP8s. When are the new single levels going to be completely delivered? They’ll be good for 125 north of DC. And the cars that run south of DC. All the way to Florida.

    … though calling the super express trains Acela Express and the plain ol’ express trains Acela Regional didn’t work out too well. And Acela Commuter was even more confusing. Wasn’t confusing to me because I’m ancient enough to remember when my coach ticket was good for any train that came in eastbound except for the very few all-parlor-car trains. And my ticket wasn’t good on those because I had a coach ticket.

    All moot until there is more capacity between Sunnyside and Newark. East Side Access will help with Sunnyside to Penn Station. Pity ARC was canceled that would have been even more dramatic until people realize that they have a one seat ride from Cranford and the thundering herd that showed up for Midtown Direct is replicated in Cranford.

    I take it back about 100 MPH track. North Carolina is attempting to get some 110 MPH track sometime soon and Virginia is seriously considering 90 MPH track that could become 110 or 125 easily. Trains aren’t just for NOVAns any more.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so those trains are limited to 125 mph north of DC, have a high center of gravity so they can’t do more than 6″ of cant deficiency, and have shit acceleration because locomotive, so they do NY-DC in charitably 2:50, more likely >3 hours with the padding required. Amtrak’s specs call for 2:11 NY-DC on the new Acelas. So this means scheduling overtakes, in which the slower train uses less than perfectly reliable equipment. It also means running a loco with freight axle loads on tracks that don’t get much of that. It’s not worth it. Just make people transfer in DC; they won’t like it, but it saves an hour.

    VBobier Reply:

    To heck with Acela, by 2015 TGV type trains will finally be legal in the USA according to the article here about the FRA rule changes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yep. The document even says the trains should be compliant with the draft Tier III regulations, i.e. the FRA’s rewrite that’s supposed to make European HSR trains legal on US tracks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    well things that kinda sorta look like European trains. Most European trains can’t serve the high volume stations in the US. the gap would be too big and the floor too low.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The single-level high-speed trains that aren’t TGVs or Talgos have very similar floor height.

    Clem Reply:

    A door control panel shall be provided at each doorway in a Vehicle with powered doors to control the operation of the side entry doors, or other doors on that Vehicle, or other Vehicles in the train via trainline control signals. The panel shall be accessible to the Train Crew via a locking cover opened by a crew key.

    Phew! I hope there’s space in there for a proper lantern, to give the high-ball to the engineer!

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I am truly perplexed by this whole exercise. Is California really going to buy these? When would this happen?

    1)160 mph (Amtrak) trains over flat terrain are very, very different from 220 mph (Authority trains) that are going to climb the tehachapis. This is like a front wheel drive car vs 4 wheel drive mega truck.

    The California trains are going to try and go through multiple highly populated regions at 220 mph. Vibration/ noise/ ballast pick up. These are all issues on another scale from the NE corridor.

    2) Shouldn’t the operator be making decisions about train layout and dining services? AFAIK there is no such creature yet other than than the Authority itself.

    Echoing Alon, the rhetoric, at least, is an attempt to make the trains affordable (more SNCF than RENFE). The concession that the California seats don’t all need to be leather (cost and a nod to all us west coast vegetarians?) is a minor blip in the cost/seat exercise.

    There is also the small problem of serious capacity constraints wrt the Transbay Terminal that make maximizing the seating capacity a priority.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, even RENFE turns out not to be that expensive, modulo heavy yield management. I’m finding sub-50-euro tickets from Madrid to Barcelona even not very far in advance as long as it’s on a non-Friday weekday, and many such tickets if I’m looking for a ticket for January. Overall intercity yield on RENFE is about the same as on SNCF and DB, a bit over 10 euro cents per passenger-km. The Acela averages nearly 50 US cents per passenger-km. With the latest revisions, California is still proposing to charge fares not much higher than European ones and well below Japanese ones: $101 from LA to SF is about $0.15 per kilometer.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    RENFE is having a hard time with spanish economy and finally cut fares

    http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/renfe-cuts-ave-fares-as-recession-hits-ridership.html

    The issue is not their revenue per passenger – it is the cost per seat, which is very high. They have poor utilization/ few seats per train/ high services. This is even with the off-loading of all the shorter commuteish passengers onto the highly subsidized avant service.

    They have now split the company into pieces – one of whom owns the trains, one who maintains them, one who operates them – which makes opaque finances even more so.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    When I say utilization, I don’t mean loading factor – I mean the number of trains required for their service pattern.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Does AVE have different classes of service? Acela is all first and second. Regionals are all second and third. It’s just under 22 cents a mile if you go for the lowest fare between DC and NY. If I did the currency conversion and the km to miles conversion correctly .1 euro per km is .22 dollars per mile, roughly. I didn’t use factors with more than two places after the decimal. …comparing third class buy ahead fares to median second class fares it’s not surprising that they are different.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The AVE has first and second, same as the TGV, ICE, Swiss services, British services, etc. Amtrak brands services differently, but an alien visiting the various trains would report that Acela business = Regional coach = European second class = Japanese green car, and Acela first = Regional business = European first = Japanese standard class. (Said alien would also report that the air-bound equivalents of spaceships on Earth are so cramped that humans probably have a technology for suspended animation).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    First class on Acela is first class on Nozomi. Business Class on the Regionals is first class on Hikari. Clockers when they ran were Kodama. I don’t remember if they had business class. They were wonderful for the commute between New York and Newark. So were the what’s now the Regionals.

    Who needed bar cars when there were trains with diners and club cars stopping in Newark, New Brunswick, Princeton Junction and Trenton? I couldn’t resist, the condensed timetable for the parlor car trains that left Suburban or Penn Station New York for the other terminal had dining cars on most trains. The ones that didn’t were in the dead of night or were the “advance” that made local stops that the long distance train that was scheduled very close to it. didn’t make.

    Before there was all sorts of consternation about security there were reserved and unreserved Regionals. Green car versus non-green car, it’s just that it was whole trains, if I am remembering correctly, what green car fare gets you. Does first class Nozomi come with free food? Does Club Nozomi get you into the Nozomi lounge at the stadiums? And there are the long distance trains siphoning passengers willing to have slow speed service off of Regionals…. It used to be very nice to catch the Montrealer in DC and have dinner between Philadelphia and Iselin even though it was bit slower. Everything was a bit slower back then and a bit slower farther back. The crack express trains were slower than the median Regional is today, back the day.

    A significant amount of the time saved on the fastest Acelas comes from blowing through stations Amtrak serves at track speed. Gives me a very minor urge to see employee timetables for NY – DC.. is the track speed higher on the inner tracks through Newark Airport versus the middle and outer tracks… Connecting the outer tracks through Newark Airport with the outer tracks through Rahway is on Amtrak’s wish list. Tunneling from New Rochelle to Linden would get them their wish wouldn’t it? without tearing down downtown Elizabeth. Extending another two miles to south of where the branch to Bay Head diverges would be even nicer.

    Replacing Portal Bridge and the zigzag bridge gets you 5 minutes and since they both need to be replaced it’s “free”. Baltimore tunnels save 5 which needs to be done before the B&P tunnels collapse. Rumor has it that constant tension catenary, which has to be done anyway, saves 15 if the tracks in select places gets upgraded. Upgrade those select places to 200/325 it’s a solid 15. I can’t find a reference, 60 percent of the people using LaGuardia as origin or destination, not as a hub, are from the Upper East Side. One could infer that 60 percent of the shuttle users are going to and from the Upper East Side. It would be nice if they reopened the taxi concourse in Penn Station, that would make the taxi ride to or from Penn Station a bit more pleasant.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The fare difference between Hikari and Nozomi is trivial – 230 yen for Tokyo-Shin-Osaka. The Kodama costs the same as the Hikari. Most likely the fare difference is there only so that tourists on Japan Rail Pass won’t clog the Nozomi. The unreserved seats are cheaper, but not by much – 610 yen on Tokyo-Shin-Osaka Nozomi.

    Amtrak can totally squeeze more speed out of upgrading the slowest segments, you’re right. I’m just skeptical that trains running with dual-modes will benefit all that much. The long-distance trains using the NEC today are slower than the Regionals, even with the same locomotives, because of a difference in consists and maximum coach speed (and possibly also reliability).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The long distance trains toddling along the NEC won’t be toddling for much longer. The Heritage Cars are being retired. The slow trains are going to be clipping along at 125.
    NJTransit decides “whoops we have enough locomotive for ARC opening in 2017 and Gateway isn’t going to be finished until 2030″ they can lease a few to Amtrak and the Richmond services save a half hour as soon as they go into revenue service. And people who want to use Amtrak to get to BWI aren’t pissing away a half hour in Union Station while the engine gets changed. It’s a few minutes dwell while they switch to electricity. The same for the Springfield trains and you get a half hour faster ride as soon as they go into service. No major investment study, draft environmental study etc, or no jerking around for a decade while the curve straightening project goes through the whole process. Dual modes allow them to phase the electrification. Speed up the easy parts – Hartford to Springfield? – and while they are spending the next 15 years deciding on a route in New Haven county they get another 5 minutes… The dual modes they buy and put into service in 2020 are near end of life by the time Next Gen is opening. it’s a relatively cheap interim step.
    ..and it helps shut up the NIMBY’s. It’s harder to say no to project when there’s three trains an hour during peak than when there’s 7 or 8 trains a day. Easier to believe there will 6 trains an hour when there’s three an hour than there will be 6 trains an hour when there’s only 15 a day.

  14. Ken
    Nov 25th, 2013 at 14:44
    #14

    I honestly don’t understand the anti-HSR mindset. They clearly don’t like CA, so why don’t they move? It’ll be socially healthier for both camps if they just move away to live their aging, Baby Boomer lives in Arizona. Then we won’t have to listen to their constant boo-hoo whiners delaying everything and have our things our way.

    VBobier Reply:

    Some are old geezers who probably can’t and some are ultra rich and connected farmers like Jeff Denham(R-CA10) who don’t want to lose 1 square inch of land to HSR, yet would happily sell land to developers, just not to a project in a Blue State that is about to have some real budget muscle, all thanks to Prop 30 & 39 and the voters of California. Who thanks to the last attempt at a farm bill, attempted to gift Himself some farm subsidies and yes He’s a poor millionaire that doesn’t need a subsidy for a farm. I’m hoping the voters of CA10 will vote this turkey out on Tuesday NOvember 4th 2014 as Jeff Denham voted for the October 2013 shutdown and for continuing the shutdown too as the Modesto Bee says…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The oldest baby boomer is 67. The peak has another decade of work ahead of them. In other words retiring isn’t an option for most of them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, no. As Adirondacker said, most of them are still in the workforce; the ones who aren’t are people who lost their jobs in their 50s and are now unemployable. (Although Boomers as a generation are richer than Millennials, the specific person whose picture is used in the Old Economy Steven meme has health problems and lost his job in the recession.)

    If they all move to Arizona, things will actually become worse, because the kinds of Californians most likely to move to Arizona tend to be nativist and racist. (Yes, I’m generalizing, but tolerant Californian Boomers are less likely to think California is no longer the dream state and move to Arizona.) In California they’re swamped by Hispanics, Asians, blacks, and non-racist whites, so if they stay, they can’t harass immigrants and minorities too much. In Arizona they’re a declining majority. The more of them move, the longer it’ll take for Arizona to stop criminalizing being Hispanic or foreign-born.

    Ken Reply:

    But the Boomers caused this mess. They were the ones that built CA as a car addicited state with ugly suburban sprawl instead of building the city dense with mass transit in mind.

    The difference between Boomers in Asia and Boomers in the US is drastically different. Look how much say, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong has accomplished since 1950. Tall high rises, walkable city, excellent mass transit. And look what we have.

    Wouldn’t we be better off if the Boomers moved out of CA?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The boomers were mastering potty training when the auto centric California was being built. Half of them weren’t born when the Interstate Highway Act was passed.

    Ken Reply:

    But they’re also the ones who expanded the suburbs too. And they are the ones who keep saying no to everything even though the voters want HSR. They usually call us millennials the selfish generation, but they are the ones that are really selfish.

    If everyone of the Boomers suddenly died tomorrow, just imagine how much the we can change the world.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes they should have staged sit down strikes in their mother’s womb and forced their parents to live in walkable suburbs instead of ones zoned by their grandparents.

    Ya’d be screwed if the boomers disappeared because they are a significant part of the work force.

    Ken Reply:

    So you’re saying Boomers wanted to live in more densely populated cities? Yeah right. When suburbia was going on, they were getting high on LSD and having free sex.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You make it sound so good.

    A lot of them were getting drafted.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The people who led the counterculture are too old to be baby boomers. They were born before or during World War II.
    The baby boomers didn’t have anything to say about the post war suburban boom. They were too young or not even conceived when their parents moved out to the suburbs. By the time any of them got to voting age suburbanization was well established.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, the term “Boomers” is inappropriate as a generational marker in those countries, except maybe possibly Japan. You’re imposing an American economic growth trajectory on countries with very different economic histories. You’re also imposing an American political system, in which certain values are identified with suburbia, on countries that are again very different; in Korea and Japan, unlike in the US, there is such a thing as right-wing urbanism.

    Second, the generation that built California as a car-addicted state was in charge in the 1920s. The Boomers’ role is that they benefited from it, not that they created it.

    And third, no, moving Boomers out of California isn’t magically going to make the state pro-development or end the use of infrastructure as graft rather than as a service to residents.

    Ken Reply:

    What the heck is right wing urbanism?

    Anyone who lives in an urban area is more liberal minded. Just look at how much those Asian countries accomplished by putting focus of their tax dollars into mass transit infrastructure.

    joe Reply:

    http://marketurbanism.com/

    or

    I’m currently biding my time with this (entirely unremunerative) blog until I can find a job in journalism or thinktankdom somewhere on the East Coast (or in any field, any place, really…).

    So, if you have any leads on that, send me an e-mail at smithsj[at]gmail…you figure out the rest. Paid or unpaid, East Coast or East Africa (I can speak Romanian, French, German, and Spanish, in descending order of fluency…so maybe West Africa would be better) – I can’t promise you that I’ll take it, but I’ll at least consider it!

    Here’s a complete list of my posts.

    UPDATE:
    Stephen now writes for on urbanism at Forbes.com. Articles Profile.

    Ken Reply:

    So what does that article have to do with anything?

Comments are closed.