CHSRA Board Adopts Hanford East Alignment

Nov 8th, 2013 | Posted by

At yesterday’s meeting the California High Speed Rail Authority board formally adopted the staff recommendation for the Fresno to Bakersfield alignment, including the Hanford East route:

The preferred alternative of the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the rail is a reversal of the authority’s previous choice of a route running west of the city to appease property owners closer to Highway 99.

Today’s decision by eight members of the board has the rail moving south after Fresno before it veers east north of Hanford, just passing the city with a station along Highway 198 and 43.

The route, which follows some portions of the Burlington North Santa Fe rail line, also bypasses both Corcoran and Allensworth on the east.

As it turned out, property owners west of Hanford weren’t happy with that proposed alignment, and Kings County political leaders have chosen to sue to block the project entirely. So it made sense for the CHSRA to go back to the Hanford East alignment, which does a better job of serving the Visalia area as well. And Visalia leaders are gung ho for high speed rail, rightly so. A downtown Hanford station would have been even better than a greenfield station, but Hanford apparently does not want to embrace the benefits that HSR will bring to their community.

Speaking of the Kings County lawsuit, a follow up hearing was held in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny today. Kenny had ruled against the CHSRA in the Kings County suit, but did not appear inclined to order a halt to the project. Today’s hearing was to determine what remedy Judge Kenny would order as a result of his earlier ruling. Judge Kenny did not make a ruling from the bench and reporters weren’t able to discern what his intentions were. From past experience, however, I would be surprised if he called a halt to construction.

  1. morris brown
    Nov 8th, 2013 at 22:33
    #1

    Robert wrote:

    Speaking of the Kings County lawsuit, a follow up hearing was held in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny today. Kenny had ruled against the CHSRA in the Kings County suit, but did not appear inclined to order a halt to the project. Today’s hearing was to determine what remedy Judge Kenny would order as a result of his earlier ruling. Judge Kenny did not make a ruling from the bench and reporters weren’t able to discern what his intentions were. From past experience, however, I would be surprised if he called a halt to construction.

    Video of the meeting is now posted on YouTube

    It is posted in three parts:

    Part 1
    http://youtu.be/JvKZJOpU-HU
    21 minutes

    Part 2: http://youtu.be/UDJR_9pgijY
    22 minutes

    Part 3: http://youtu.be/kqc8D90nWec
    11 minutes

  2. ericmarseille
    Nov 9th, 2013 at 01:23
    #2

    Guys since the project has been (or so I thought) agreed upon and it’s only a matter of time before the works start I’ve been a bit less diligent on reading this blog ; but something really strikes me here…I mean, how come there are pressures to realign this line just a few months (or so I hope?) before groundwork starts???

    I sincerely don’t understand…In France a project has to be finalized, agreed upon by the political and local authorities, its financing completed, then the land expropriated, prior to groundbreak, and at no step of this plan is a major modification allowed?!

    I have to say this perplexes me totally…Could you please explain how it does work for California in simple terms? I’d appreciate, for I’m really a bit lost now.

    agb5 Reply:

    The difference is, in France there is widespread agreement that high speed trains are good and that government spending on long term infrastructure is a good way to boost the economy during a recession.

    France is currently building a high speed line from Tours to Bordeaux, it is being built in 3 years which is half the normal duration, so design and authorizations are being done simultaneously.
    – 300km long
    – 8,000 workers
    – 500 civil engineering structures
    – 11,000 land parcels acquired

    http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-we/2013/lgv-tours-bordeaux-dans-les-coulisses-du-plus-grand-chantier-8278321.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    in France there is widespread agreement that high speed trains are good and that government spending on long term infrastructure is a good way to boost the economy during a recession.

    Actually, no, in France there is bipartisan agreement on austerity, there’s just disagreement about how to achieve it. Hollande is not engaging in infrastructure-based stimulus, but in tax-hike austerity to bring the deficit within EU guidelines. The investment in LGVs is not a countercyclical stabilization policy but an ongoing investment, much as the pension system or the university system is not a stimulus program but an ongoing government service.

    Although there is bipartisan agreement on building more LGVs now, there was no such agreement when the LGV Sud-Est was built.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m a bit heterodox economically. I do *not* believe that tax hikes on the rich — which Hollande is doing — constitute austerity. I think this is an important point — I therefore do not consider Hollande’s tax-hikes policies to be austerity policies.

    Due to differing *propensities to spend* between rich and poor, you can get a “budget neutral” stimulus package by raising taxes on the rich and increasing spending for the middle classes and poor. Tax the rich and spend the money and it comes out as more money circulating through the economy.

    VBobier Reply:

    What about getting rid of Corporate Welfare/Subsidies in the US Tax code? That amounts to Millions or Billions of dollars lost in revenue every year…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, FDR’s tax hike in 1937 was part of the austerity package that sent the US back into recession.

    Alan Reply:

    The work that’s about to begin is from Fresno north towards Madera. The alignment adopted on Friday is part of the Fresno-Bakersfield segment. That EIR/EIS won’t be complete until sometime next spring (hopefully). After that, the FRA has to sign off on it, bid documents prepared, bids sought and evaluated, contracts awarded, etc. It’ll still be some time before any earth is moved south of Fresno.

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    Though, as I understand it, the Authority has moved forward to Qualify firms for that next segment.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Hey thanks a lot for this clarification Alan, I knew the first segment had to be Fresno to Something (I forgot Madeira), but my ignorance of California’s geography (well, except for the Sacramento-SF-LA-San Diego axis of course) did me in.

    OK then.

    Bill Reply:

    Rail travel is a way of life over there, therefore there probably isn’t the kind of fierce opposition that there is here. Conservatives relish the opportunity to cry socialism or communism plus we can assume certain influential politicians are in the pocketbooks of anti-rail lobbies. On the Dem side however though, it seems they were too eager to get the project up and running before they really had their ducks in a row, leaving too much room for obstruction. I mean, how can the Peninsula oppose a faster, quieter rail running along the same corridor as a slower, more noisy train? Do they hold mass public hearings and fund freeway projects before the bulk of planning is in place? That’s an honest question BTW.

  3. StevieB
    Nov 9th, 2013 at 02:53
    #3

    The Los Angeles Times reports Judge Kinney is expected to rule within 90 days but that “the legal issues could drag on for years with appeals”.

    The courts are a curious system.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They know they are in the wrong and in trouble. From article.

    “Right now, the authority is walking a fine line of moving this project along and complying with the bond act,” said Michele Inan, a deputy attorney general representing the agency

    This Hail Mary pass about using federal funds only buys them 2-3 years at most then they are stuck. The only option left would be a federal bailout to the tune of 20-30 billion to fund the whole 1st IOS which is not going to happen. Current thinking is the GOP retains the house and gains back the Senate because of Obamacare trouble. No one even remembers the shutdown at this moment.

    Once again, poor project management, not thinking ahead. With the votes in CA right now if they are truly dedicated to think project they need to find a state funding solution or they are dead in the water and we own abandoned track paid for with a federal grant we can’t match

    Tony D. Reply:

    Uhh, Earth to John, the current line of thinking is that the GOP is in trouble for the 2014 mid term due to purposely shutting down the government (for no good reason) and (again) threatening to destroy our economy with a credit default. Yet you think they’ll be rewarded with a Senate majority and retain the house? See Virginia and Ted Cruz and try again John…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    See Chris Christie in a blue state

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes they voted for the not-a-Republican.

    Alan Reply:

    However, NJ also elected a Democrat last month to fill Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat. That’s far more important to California HSR than the NJ governor. Also note that Virginia elected a Democratic governor, so the score for this year’s gubernatorial races is: 1 stayed the same; 1 flipped from R to D.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    wait for it…sometime this week or early next week the 1st enrollment numbers will come out and the press will count up the people who have lost insurance (15 million) against he people who have signed up (less than 10,000) and we will get a whole week or 2 of stories about how Obamacare is not even reducing the un-insured even with all the other warts it has.

    This story has legs all the way to the election.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes “I wasn’t able to sign up online and did it with paper. Pity my state didn’t set up our own exchange, it would be working as well as it is in states that did” is such a compelling story.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The paper applications go through the website also. 34 states are using the federal system. It is a compelling story

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not if someone decides that the people processing the paper can just send it directly to the insurance company. They were able to get something similar up and running in no time back in 2009 and the COBRA payment system for people who were unemployed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s cute how you still think they are capable of solving problems despite all evidence to the contrary. This is not a couple of million people, this is 20% of the US population. Like 60-70 million. This is not a quick fix. And the wrote the law so complex they have to check more than a dozen federal databases to verify the subsidies. None of this is happening on paper

    jimsf Reply:

    You can sign up by phone. Everyone has a phone.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Read about it Jim. The phone people are using the same website. They designed the whole system with a chokepoint at the website.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Both of those numbers will be dwarfed by the number of individuals gaining coverage through the expansion of Medicaid. That will remind people of the growing inequality of wages which also will have legs all the way to the election….

    Alan Reply:

    You mean, the millions of people who had worthless “catastrophic” “insurance” plans that likely wouldn’t pay much of anything? They’ll be better off moving to new plans.

    And of course, you deliberately ignore the fact that people can sign up for their own coverage without going through healthcare.gov or any other exchange, and there are no numbers yet for that.

    But keep drinking the kool-aid, John.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Try this name in Google

    EDIE LITTLEFIELD SUNDBY

    She is a stage 4 cancer survivor who is losing her gold plated PPO plan and can’t replace it with insurance that uses her doctors. Her insurance is neither worthless or junk. Obamacare caused her insurance company to leave CA directly and as a result she has to choose which of her doctors to keep

    Eric Reply:

    Obamacare is nationwide. Why would an insurer move from one state to another in response to it?

    On the other hand, this does show the danger of using private insurers. They can eliminate your plan whenever you want and there’s nothing you can do about it. Whereas in “socialized” countries where government sets the insurance conditions, this risks political backfire.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I looked up Edie. She says she has spent 1.2 million on treatments etc. Before Obamacare it was almost impossible to find insurance that didn’t have million dollar lifetime limits. So without Obamacare she would have gotten to million bucks and her insurance company would have wished her luck. And she wouldn’t have been able to get insurance from any one.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I have spent over 18 hours on the phone (not to mention the time spent actually reading the law and the regulations) trying to get detailed accurate information regarding tehe new health insurance “exchanges”.

    There are multiple nasty gotchas, and on the whole I think the Obamacare scheme is a failure — but it’s a failure because it still involves the scummy private insurance companies, who are the ones creating the gotchas and exploiting the loopholes. Obamacare is better than what we had before, but it’s not *enough* better and it’s going to be extremely frustrating for a lot of people.

    Single payer NOW.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Gotcha number 1: it’s not listed anywhere on the “statement of benefits and coverage”, but some family plans have no individual deductible and are therefore far worse than individual plans. But if you’re married you can’t get subsidies for two individual plans… so there’s a massive marriage penalty. No getting married, you can’t afford it…

    Gotcha number 2: silver plans have four variants, the main one and three “cost-sharing reduction” variants based on income level. The trouble comes if your income level changes mid-year. Your’re required to report your new income level, and you will get shifted into a new plan. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO START OVER ON THE DEDUCTIBLE. You could end up paying four — or, theoretically, twelve — separate deductibles per year. The silver plans are a TRAP and anyone with variable income has to avoid them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I have been in Canada 15 months. I was supposed to get my insurance card within 3, and haven’t gotten it yet.

    If you think the same company that screwed up the Obamacare website wouldn’t have screwed up a single-payer system, I have a bridge that used to run els but no longer does to sell you.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Edie’s insurance paid the 1.2 million BEFORE Obamacare. It is Obamacare that convinced them to leave CA. And it is Obamacare that is not offering a comparative policy. In any system there are winners and loser and in this case she is a loser. Perhaps it is worth it from an overall policy perspective, but she is not coming out on top because of this.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    She’s used 1.2 million dollars of care since March of 2007.
    The removal of lifetime limits was effective in 2010. If it hadn’t been enacted when she got to a million bucks in 2011 her insurance company would have wished her luck and sent her on her way. She would have had to spend down all of her assets on care and then hope that her doctors would take Medicaid. Or qualify for total disability two years before she hit a million and then hope that her doctors took Medicare.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    no one said she had a 1 million lifetime benefit. My insurance has a 5 million lifetime benefit

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Neither did I. I said “almost impossible to find insurance that didn’t have million dollar lifetime limits” and your insurance sucks if it has a 5 million limit, the stuff hoi polloi are getting in the exchanges doesn’t have lifetime limits and won’t have annual limits in a few months.

    joe Reply:

    “It is Obamacare that convinced them to leave CA.”

    It wasn’t. The Insurer was down to 2,000 people in CA in the individual market.

    That was our insurer until last year. They quit and we moved to Blue Cross Blue Shield a year ago this fall. No Obama – the insurer, private company, is having a difficult time competing in CA.

    TomA Reply:

    Its a great story. Its A full year from the next election. If things continue this abysmally, then it will be a story. If things pick up, as they did with Medicare Part D when ti was rolled out (and basically any large yssmte – from a new highway to a new university to this), then Republicans are going to look petty.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I just checked, he is for sure a Republican, who won in a landslide, in a deep blue state.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/05/Chris-Christie-re-elected-governor-of-New-Jersey

    Read the comments.

    He would have not won in a blue state, had he not been an obvious progressive, or had he not been one of them. What’s the point of having a candidate with a letter R win the next election, when he will just push for Progressive ideas, and pretend to spare conservatives morsel now & then as “bait & switch” strategy in getting conservative votes.

    Liberals like Chris Christie. He’s a Democrat on most issues. Which is why he’ll never win a Republican primary. And if he does, that’s a win/win situation for the left.

    ….but what’s worth pointing out is that the exit polls for today’s election in NJ show that MOST New Jersey voters will still vote for Hillary in 2016 over Chris Christie. Despite voting for him today. That’s in his own state.

    Well, what do you know. All that 0bama butt-kissing and shameless pimping of the Sandy tragedy paid off. Now Ted Cruz HAS to run in 2016.

    Hilarious.

    jonathan Reply:

    what are the odds that commenter is also an Obama “birther”?

    joe Reply:

    Odds are likely. 55% of Republican’s think Obama is foreign born.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    but isn’t Hawaii outside of Real America ™ ?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well, we almost lost it in 1941.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    .. so even the Republicans can see that he’s a Not-Republcan. A definition that keeps getting broader and broader.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Christie is a bad governor (he’s been engaged in malign neglect of NJ Transit), but remember he’s the one who hugged Obama and thanked him after Hurricane Sandy. He’s winning because of how not-Republican he is.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Christie is in many ways pure Tammany Hall — greed, graft, and waste, but non-ideological greed, graft, and waste.

    Alan Reply:

    Work on your reading comprehension, John. I was referring to Virginia as the state that flipped, not New Jersey.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Virginia is a blue state and the republican challenger was weak as hell, and he still almost won.

    Joey Reply:

    If he were more moderate he might have won. What this tells us is that republicans can be successful if they dump the Tea Party in favor of more moderate policies.

    Tony D. Reply:

    And Republican voters always outnumber Dems in non
    presidential, non mid term voting years…and the Democratic still won! Tells yah something doesn’t it…In Virginia for Christ sake!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cuccilnelii is the Republican Party and Christie is about to be purged for not being Republican enough. who are they gonna come up with in three years?

    VBobier Reply:

    Governor Chris Christie may as well jump ship then after being reelected as governor of NJ, where to? Wherever He wants to go, Independent or Democratic, either would suit Him.

    In 3 years, possibly that Cruz Missile or maybe Palin?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s not Christie in 2016. It’s Mario from Florida. He is going to pull the Hispanic vote and run away with it.

    VBobier Reply:

    Mario or any Repub/bagger couldn’t pull more than hot air from their butts, Hispanics don’t like Repubs/baggers and Mario is a bagger…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I know ethnic names can be discombobulating for people who live in Ozzie and Harrietland but Mario who? There’s Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. Maybe you have someone else in mind?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes I meant Marco, autocorrect went crazy and I did not catch it

    VBobier Reply:

    I get that autocorrect on FB, gad I can’t stand that, but that’s understandable John.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    When I post from the iPad it is automatic no matter the program. It has interesting interpretations of what I mean, but proper names are the worst. Then I get lazy and don’t check before I hit submit.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    He was conservative enough to dump the Choo Choo train. :-)

    Joey Reply:

    ARC had enough problems that even some of the strongest transit advocates were hesitant to back it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes it was going to cost less, be open sooner and have more capacity than the alternative being pursued instead. It was just awful.

    wdobner Reply:

    And ARC illustrates exactly what you’ll get in CA if you’re foolish enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater in some quixotic quest to ensure the CHSRA alignment is perfect rather than merely acceptable.

    joe Reply:

    Private Health Insurance is a pain but ACA is not unpopular enough to repeal. There’s no alternative.

    Some dissatisfaction is due to ACA not going far enough. That’s not a vote for President Rafael “Ted” Cruz to repeal the law.

    A slow website isn’t going to change many people’s mind. We’ve all be through the insurance wringer – just the wealthy talking heads on TV don’t get it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Of course they don’t they live in a world where everyone works for a large company that provides health insurance. Or is married to someone who works for a large company that provides health insurance. They then run stories about how someone who is making twice the median income is going to have to spend 3 percent of that on insurance. Makes my heart bleed.

    joe Reply:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-T3urnBZ1aRA/Un0TRQUiW6I/AAAAAAAAOuQ/ZT4KNk4K71s/s1600/ratigan.jpg

    Those of us who had to buy only catastrophic insurance because we couldn’t afford a better policy would struggle to pay a 4-5,000 dollar emergency room bill, which is what something like that kidney stone episode costs. This rich celebrity will just put it on his American Express card. He has no idea how most middle aged people think about their catastrophic plans — they pray they don’t need medical treatment.

    The ACA isn’t going to push the GOP into power and doom HSR. Quite the opposite.

    The best chance people have to save out of a tight budget is to reduce car dependence – go down to one per dual adult household (or zero) and rely on mass transit.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Be prepared for the next oppositional strategy: GOP uses mass transit funding as leverage against HSR.

    Christie knows this full well, and I don’t know what west and east politicians will do if forced to choose between the two….

    joe Reply:

    Mass transit benefits urban voters. That’s Dems. GOP will pit mass transit against roads & highways which help suburban and rural voters.

    Obama’s dropped HSR for a mix of HSR and enhanced speed rail so that HSR alternative is not getting support either.

    It isn’t getting worse for HSR – already and irrational full press against it by the GOP. It’s their Pickett’s charge.

    Christie isn’t a concern. As Chief Executive in NJ, he can hamper NJ’s acceptance of HSR funds but not CA and no tin the Senate. He can tell Jerry Brown to shut-up and be bombastic on my TV but what’s that do?

    While popular with talking heads in DC/NYC, he’s going nowhere nationally. Commonly known as a RINO, many GOP despise him for sucking up to Obama after Sandy and helping re-eelct Obama (they think).

    The liberal Mayor of NYC will be a more interesting and relevant foil for Christie. He’s going to get it from both sides.

    Meanwhile, if CA continues to move forward, we’ll recover and continue to grow economically and in population.

    Biggest worry for CA is climate: Heat waves (technical term) and drought.

    synonymouse Reply:

    naah – social unrest

    LA has already experienced this twice in recent memory. The bigger the underclass(your “population”)the greater the volatility.

    And a real government economy means lowered wages when the government has to employ and entitle everybody. Witness Venezuela’s health care system. And they have oil.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if you want outlays to go down and revenues go up vote for Democrats. That’s what has happened since the Reagan Revolution. What would you rather have tax and spend Democrats or borrow and spend Republicans?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CBO_-_Revenues_and_Outlays_as_percent_GDP.svg

    synonymouse Reply:

    Social and “grievance” spending will definitely go up under Democrats.

    Are Repubs greedy and impervious to the plight of the masses? Of course – that’s businessmen and rich people.

    Are some Demos stupid and corrupt? Yeah, the machine ones who are running our state.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Guess again, joe.

    I lived in Arizona when the Tea Party conservative seized control of the Legislature in 2009 and pushed through SB 1070 a hard-line immigration bill and almost shut the State down over the budget.

    Since then, the business lobby has been very quick to rein in the extremists no more how conservative the agenda stays. Even if it’s not Christie. the GOP elite will re-assert itself and run a divisive agenda not unlike the CA GOP after Reagan….

    joe Reply:

    Nothing’s turned around in AZ. http://www.mcso.org/
    SB 1070 is still there – US Supreme Court’s intervened on sections. There’s no repeal in sight.

    . Even if it’s not Christie. the GOP elite will re-assert itself and run a divisive agenda not unlike the CA GOP after Reagan….

    The National GOP is going the way of the CA party. It’s regional (Conferderate) and xenophobic. They haven’t turned anything around.

    Electable ‘Moderates’ by the Party Elders were Romney/Ryan and McCain/Palin.

    2016 is going to be crazy time.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ joe: Lets first get past 2014, then We can deal with 2016…

    Agreed the GOP is a sinking/stinking ship, they’re the Flying Dutchman of politics and the GOP base is heading for Davy Jones Locker and the GOP can do nothing to alter that course at all…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They fully control 25 state governments and split quite a few of the rest!! They are far from a has been. They control the House, and have a real chance of taking the Senate. Be real, you can disagree with them all you want but they are not irrelevant

    VBobier Reply:

    The Shutdown made up to 49 republican House seats vulnerable, just like happened in 1996, as the House flipped from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, there are more than a few seats here in CA that voted for the Shutdown over 16 days, one of them is Rep Paul Cook and Rep Jeff Denham…

    Only a minimum of 17 more House Seats are needed for a Democratic Majority in the US House of Representatives, for a total of 218 to 250…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so they aren’t in full control of the other states where the Republicans have the governorship an the legislature?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_U.S._states

    Nathanael Reply:

    Republican Party is a dead party walking, just like the Whigs in the late 1840s. It’ll take a while to collapse entirely… just like the Whigs in the late 1840s… but it’s not viable any longer.

    Eric Reply:

    The current Republican ideology might collapse but the party won’t. The issue which destroyed the Whig Party was powerful enough to destroy the Union as a whole a decade later. Since then, the two party system has survived much more difficult challenges than ours, including the Great Depression, many wars, and the end of segregation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s the current thinking among people who were still insisting Romney was going to win in a landslide on Wednesday November 7 of last year.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/02/obamacare-democrats-2014_n_4198661.html

    I pulled it from the Huffington Post just so you can’t accuse it of conservative bias

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Huffington Post isn’t Fox News and they will publish things that challenge their editorial viewpoint.

    Alan Reply:

    The website does not make or break the entire ACA. While the website is being fixed, people are also learning that they can contact insurers directly, and sign up for a plan without going through an exchange. Nine months from now, the fuss about the website will be forgotten and people will be seeing the benefits of health care reform. And 12 months from now, the 2014 election should be very blue.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They need the website for the subsidy, which is needed because average policies have increased 41% (before subsidies) due to the increase in benefits.

    This kerfuffle with the individual market (5% of population) is only the appetizer. When large companies start dropping insurance and paying the penalty instead, then we will see the real action. companies like this are just the tip of that iceburg

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/29/company-dropping-its-health-coverage.html

    they are most likely just waiting for the website to get up and working (which wont be before the end of November).

    The news cycle has already turned, nobody is talking about the shutdown, it is al Obamacare and will be until the next election.

    joe Reply:

    The news cycle has already turned, nobody is talking about the shutdown, it is al Obamacare and will be until the next election.

    Voters can hardly wait to vote away ACA.

    No more crappy web site because no more subsidy. Yeah! problem solved.
    Losing ACA insurance
    Paying less for that worthless policy
    The joy of not being reimbursed for pre-existing conditions forever!
    And free phone Muzak as we sit on hold trying to get insurance to pay that medical bill.

    In 2015, if insurance pools do not pay at least 80% in benefits, all insurance pool members will be a rebate check for the difference.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They are 1.5 months into a 6 month enrollment period and next week when the numbers come out they are going to have enrolled less than 10,000 people. Since it is technically illegal not to enroll how are the 20% of the population that needs to enroll going to make it?

    It’s not a website, it’s about execution

    Joe Reply:

    You pay a small fee if you don’t enroll.
    No one goes to a reeducation camp for not entitling

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The law says it’s illegal, after the Supreme Court case it got revised to a tax. But last I checked, not paying your taxes is illegal

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And they are supposed to want to enroll. So how are they going to accommodate all these people who want and need insurance?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In the states with their own exchanges they are signing up that way.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    They are 1.5 months into a 6 month enrollment period and next week when the numbers come out they are going to have enrolled less than 10,000 people.

    Kentucky has already enrolled 32,000 applicants. Gov Beshear made sure the software worked for his state’s Kynect program. Beshear also says that Obamacare is creating more jobs in Kentucky, and that the state’s two senators (Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul) haven’t looked at what their home state’s accomplishing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Uniparty rule will of course continue in California but the PB’s version of CAHSR will prove an ongoing political burden. Under the best-case scenario nowhere to nowhere will underwhelm. Diesel AmBART with a smattering of riders and hella subsidized. Moonbeam won’t care as he is out of it in general but the lesser party honchos will grow weary of the continued bad press.

    California has to deal with the fact that the more welfare programs you add the more welfare recipients relocate here from elsewhere. The social spending agenda will become enormous and crowd out unpopular or questionable infrastructure projects. “Power, power, who has the power?” The teachers’ union and the prison guards union alone stomp the construction unions.

    The uniparty system does not reflect the consensus or even gauge it. The supposed voter initiative mechanism does not work and has been reduced to a tool of the establishment. For instance a ballot measure to overturn Prop 1A I believe would pass just as a measure to legalize a gaming commission and local video poker and slot machines. The whole political process is being gamed by a handful of lobbies. The inevitable outcome is profound distrust, disgust and apathy towards government and its minions at all levels. Not good for the social contract.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are confusing the socialist agenda with the welfare state. Socialist programs actually increase living standards. Welfare merely subsidizes the elite indirectly. The mistake most liberals in the US have made is to embrace the conservative vision of the welfare state because of fears of being associated with the Nazis and Soviets. Now the welfare state is almost unsustainable and liberals are going to be left holding the bag.

    VBobier Reply:

    If you make $50,000.00 per year, you pay:
    Are you sure you’re pissed off at the right people?(Picture)

    $247.75 a year for defense
    $3.98 a year for natural disaster relief(FEMA)
    $22.88 a year for unemployment insurance
    $36.82 a year for SNAP(food stamps)
    $6.96 a year for welfare
    $43.78 a year for retirement and disability to government workers(civilian and military)
    $235.81 a year for Medicare
    $4000.00 a year in corporate subsidies(to bankers, millionaires, billionaires and members of congress)

    Are you sure you’re pissed off at the right people?

    https://www.facebook.com/BitchyPundit
    https://www.google.com/+BitchyPundit

    Sources:
    https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/23
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/2012-taxreceipt

    Eric Reply:

    There’s a good deal of silliness in those links. Like saying prescription drugs are too expensive because of “patent monopolies”. Guess what: If patents didn’t exist, nobody would have developed those drugs in the first place.

    joe Reply:

    The public would still fund drug research.

    Private pharmaceutical companies are awarded full patent protection for publicly funded drug innovations.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is 100+ years of drug development that says no. For example, no country with socialized medicine (UK, Canada, Germany ) has a state pharma company that develops anything.

    It’s simple, no profits, no drugs. Right now the US subsidizes drug development for the rest of the world because the companies can sell here for a huge profit. The give it to the rest for pennies because “why not”. If the US stops paying, who will develop and who will pay?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Pretty much all useful drugs are developed by universities. You’re talking nonsense.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    name 1…name 1 drug that is sold and marketed by a univeristy

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Dammit, hit submit accidentally.

    there is much more to drug sales then coming up with the formulation. A good double blind clinical trial for a wide range drug costs more than 100 million dollar and in the end it can fail. There is no university on the planet that is going to bear that cost.

    Marketing and sales take up 30-50% of a drugs sales. SO for a blockbuster 10 billion dollar drug that is a 3-5 billion dollar investment….name that university.

    No university has GLP manufacturing facilities and passes regular FDA audits.

    You have confused basic research (wow this plant has a cool chemical) with drug development (lets prove this specific chemical, manufactured in this specific way actually works for this specific population).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think you have it backwards, John.

    In socialized medicine countries, there’s no incentive to substitute additional man hours for prescription drugs. Hence, there’s no profit to be had because there’s no ability for a provider to reduce man-hours by treated people through medication as opposed to other services like counseling.

    The majority of pharmacological work these days is really tinkering with research that is decades old. Every now and again there are major breakthroughs clinically or “lifestyle drugs” that gain popularity. But the size and money flowing through the industry today isn’t warranted by the amount of treatment it creates. You might as well be talking about cable television with how pharma companies cycle through product releases for various demographic buyers for ailments like cholesterol and depression.

    The only thing propping it up is the patent system, which is effectively land speculation/ economic rent-seeking by any other name.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    More unique drugs are being created today than any time in the past.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/08/05/the-5-best-selling-medications-of-2013.aspx

    Arthritis, cancer, and diabetes are not going to be resolved by counseling. Notice no one in the top 5 is lifestyle.

    As for the tweaking claim, By definition, those drugs have to be both safe and effective beyond existing treatments to pass the clinical trials to be sold.

    Now if you want to talk about the trade off between life and money that is different, but the drugs and devices work.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Arthritis, cancer, and diabetes are not going to be resolved by counseling. Notice no one in the top 5 is lifestyle.

    I wouldn’t put my stock (pun intended), on Motley Fool explaining to you how medical necessity works. Each of those is in effect a lifestyle drug because it does not reduce the morbidity associated with those conditions but instead improves the quality of life associated with the condition.

    Secondly, for all the drugs that pan out, hundreds more don’t pass trials. The warm and fuzzy corporations have no problem passing those costs on to people with horrible afflictions that need other types of medicine that should be off patent but aren’t because the firms know how to rig the game by packaging “extended release” as a novel change to the molecule that requires patent protection.

    I’m reminded of the time during the financial crisis when Jon Stewart had Jim Cramer on his show and asked him if he understood that Wall Street is not a game. Neither is public health or safety, and hopefully you understand that.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So drug companies are evil because they make a profit but you are advocating that these drugs are “lifestyle” drugs because all they do is increase the quality of life??

    Wow. Can’t argue with that.

    Let’s hope you never have to live in a world where drug development has been stymied.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Drug development stymied? Any of your friends HIV positive or suffering from mental disorders?

    Nobody said pharma is evil for turning a profit; the question is the utility of using drugs instead of other types of therapy or lifestyle changes which are far more effective but way less profitable for Wall Street.

    joe Reply:

    In 1980, Congress granted universities the right to commercialize the patents that result from federally funded research by licensing them to private industry. A number of schools in California have done very well for themselves since then, and the faculty typically gets a cut of the royalty revenue in exchange for assigning their rights.
    – See more at: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201103010850/a#sthash.2YjTQAJx.dpuf

    Patents are licensed. Stanford does not manufacture drugs. Universities make money of the patents and all innovations which are publicly funded can be commercialized for private gain.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Exactly. Universities don’t commercialize drugs. And that process takes literally billions of dollars. Without profits, no one is going to do that

    Max Wyss Reply:

    This argument is correct to some extent. What weakens it is that the reality is that, for example, in Switzerland, a certain medicament costs 20 to 50 percent more than let’s say in Germany. And the “patent” argument (well, better said, the cost to develop a medicament) is brought up as well.

    If you look at it, the big money the pharmaceutical companies make comes from “lifestyle” medicaments…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Big Pharma has made most of its money in recent years from copycat and “minor tweak” drugs, and heavy advertising of drugs people don’t need.

    Meanwhile all the useful drugs are developed by universities, usually using public funds. Then Big Pharma grabs some of them and profiteers off of them.

    We don’t need to give government-granted private monopolies to Big Pharma, and we shouldn’t.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Nathanael. I am a quality engineering manager in the medical device industry (16 years). I say this to you as an expert. You have no idea about what you are talking about. You would not have the least idea what is required to commercialize a drug (or device for that matter).

    15 years, 100 million dollars, and at the end you have a 80% chance of failing. And if they did get it approved, manufacturing it. JNJ has made Tylenol for decades and they messed it up. I am sure Stanford could pick it up in a few years.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you make $50,000 a year and save 4% of it, about $48,000 of it goes to subsidies to business owners. Hey, if patent protection counts as a subsidy, then so do property rights and rule of law. Fair’s fair.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “Hey, if patent protection counts as a subsidy, then so do property rights and rule of law. Fair’s fair.”

    I don’t think so. In a market without patent protection, companies can still secure benefits from the results of their research and intellectual properties in a very simple way: keeping them secret. In fact some companies still use this to this day. However the company risks that if competition manages to replicate their results, they may lose the money spent on research. This of course reduces the companies’ willingness to innovate.

    In order to foster innovation state then grants companies time-limited exclusive rights to the fruits of their research. But this of course results in a market distortion. Because of this protection, the competitors’ cannot produce such good substitutes and the inovating company gains an market advantage sanctioned by the government. I wouldn’t call it a subsidy per se, but I would definitely call it “an government intervention on behalf of one market subject”, which is why I wouldn’t personally compare it to property rights or rule of law.

    p.s.: I’m not some free-marketista and think that just because patents interfere in the “natural order” (i.e. the order without measures they don’t like), they are wrong, and should be abolished.
    Just for the record.

    Alan Reply:

    And the judge also refused to enjoin the use of federal funds.

  4. jonathan
    Nov 9th, 2013 at 07:48
    #4

    OT, but may be of interest: WashingtonPost.com has an article (under “Politics”) about Obama’s HSR initiative. While it doesn’t say anything new of substance, it does have some pretty pictures of Talgos and the disused Talgo building in Milwaukee:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-high-speed-rail-project-falters-obamas-vision-of-government-remains-unfulfilled/2013/11/08/669f2dda-1a61-11e3-8685-5021e0c41964_story.html

    Photo gallery, mostly the locals interviewed, but also shots of Talgo exteriors and plastic-wrapped interiors:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-vision-unfulfilled-as-high-speed-rail-falters/2013/10/27/ad3286f4-3e7c-11e3-a94f-b58017bfee6c_gallery.html#photo=1

    That’s the flip-side of California getting the HSR money which Gov Scott Walkter turned down.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    One thing the Washington Post omitted was that they’re part of the problem. I’ve read their coverage of the CAHSRA, and almost all of them misstate the demographics of the Central Valley. Take the population of Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Kings, and Madera counties, and ask people to read a representative sampling of the Post’s coverage; and ask them if the region described could have that population. One of the few stories that doesn’t misrepresent was a column by George Will, and I presume that he is syndicated and his colunms run in the Fresno Bee or another CV paper, and he can’t ask the editors their to elide the untruths that are obvious in California.

    The Post might have an “I Only Have to Outrun You” attitude, thinking that negative stories outside the Northeast Corridor would mean more transit money for work within. Why they would believe such a thing, I have no idea.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The same George Will who writes about how Amtrak is going to turn us all into Commie subway riders living in high rise apartment buildings from his seat in Business Class on an Amtrak train?

  5. Donk
    Nov 9th, 2013 at 14:04
    #5

    Hey some of you need to chill out a little with John Nachtigall. It’s refreshing to hear a rational conservative voice around here for once. Ever since the Tea Party has taken over, this blog has been downright hostile to Republicans.

    John seems to be a rational Republican guy who is able to think independently and, at least to this point, does not seem to be one of those conservatives who buys into the extreme nonsense in his party. So give him some respect and maybe you can learn something from listening to a Republican for once instead of always surrounding yourself with a bunch of liberal commies.

    joe Reply:

    Ever since the Tea Party has taken over, this blog has been downright hostile to Republicans.

    Took over what? “Tea Party” are Republicans. It’s a populist movement in the GOP. The GOP Establishment is fighting their populist base.

    I propose you jump in for those ideas and beliefs you consider correct or show independence rather than asking people to self-censor to fulfill some arbitrary quota.

    Donk Reply:

    It is nearly impossible for anyone on to come onto this blog and express different views without getting tag teamed by a bunch of whiny liberals.

    And btw I am not saying any of this because I am a Republican (I’m not).

    joe Reply:

    “whiny liberals” ?

    Possibly when John speculated that only 10,000 will sign up for ACA, it is rude and whiny to mention KY alone has over 30,000 signed up. What is the right response?

    Those who read and know that’s nonsense are whiny and ganging up.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I was speaking of the federal exchange and private insurance(not Medicaid). But if you want to talk state exchanges…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/31/in-first-month-the-vast-majority-of-obamacare-sign-ups-are-in-medicaid/

    It’s true that KY has done a good job. Along with Washingtom state. Oregon on the other hand has 0. Can’t break 4 digits in other states.

    They need 2.5 million young healthy people to “willingly” (given it is a mandatory law this is relative) sign up for private or next year the premiums will skyrocket, you lose more people, higher premiums…it’s called the death spiral.

    So a few states are doing great. As the article explains you need 50 states to do great, the can’t get to double digits yet

    jimsf Reply:

    So Im confused. Are you upset that the program isn’t working as planned or are you happy its not working?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Im upset that we are not getting any of the good and all of the bad. It also makes my teeth itch to watch incompetence in action. They had 3 years to design a website, it was not an impossible task.

    I don’t think Obamacare is a good idea, but it is the law. So if you are going to do it, do it right. They could be helping a lot of people right now if they worried less about how it “looks” and more about getting it to work.

    The fact it is going to cost them in the next election is just observation, not a wish

    jimsf Reply:

    And you were just as upset with the medicare roll out during the bush years?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or the handling of the wars in Asia or the response to Katrina or letting the markets go wild or….

    jimsf Reply:

    note the silence.

    VBobier Reply:

    Which was in need of fixing just like the aca website is today, the difference is Democrats may have been against Part D, but when it was law did they try and repeal Part D even once? NOPE. Democrats instead focused on making the unpaid for Part D work, as it was/is a good idea, now the ACA fixes Part D by funding it and some don’t like their gravy train being stopped or cut…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    wow, is there a timer on my response. I was watching the football games. My fantasy team just got thwacked.

    Medicare rollout was a mess, but nothing compared to the ACA, mostly because it was less people.

    The response to Katrina was god awful. I followed that story for 5 years after the hurricane and still continue to check in. I think it is a crime how bad the response (at all levels of government) but especially at the local level. The fact they did not shrink the city footprint, no matter how disruptive that would have been, has doomed NO to a less than efficient rebound. The parts with critical mass are doing great, but the 9th ward is still abandoned, these many years later.

    Here is one you did not mention, occupation of Iraq was a mess before the surge. They needed to admit that boots on the ground were required but spent years pissing around trying to deny it. At least they fixed it in the end.

    The other great tragedy at the moment is Detroit. It is almost impossible to believe that a major city in the US could be mis-managed for so long and so badly. To be sure, they are a victim of circumstances, the city shrunk for a lot of reasons, some inside and some outside the control of the city itself. But the crime, was not to respond to that reality. Other cities, like Pittsburgh, did respond and made the difficult choice to ensure the livelyhood of the city. Detroit did not.

    So simply put, yes, those things all upset me also.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    No, we are getting the mix of the good and the bad that is implied by such a modest collection of adjustments to the current broken system.

    It surely falls well short of the benefits of going to a single payer Medicare for All system … or even a system with a premium-funded Medicare for All available in each HIX … but spending on average $100b annually in a $1.5b health care system without tackling the gross inefficiencies of for profit insurance head-on means only so much benefit is available. And the alternative pressed by the Right to their own private-market version of a health care reform is mostly to stick with the present system which is already breaking down.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Bruce, if all this distruption of the existing status quo does not result in a real drop in the uninsured rate then no, it was not worth it.

    That drop cant happen if people dont sign up, and people cant sign up without the subsidies and website.

    jimsf Reply:

    You are over looking all the important things that are working, and the whole point of obamacare..

    FACT young people can stay on the family insurance until they are 26. This is a huge help to struggling working class and middle class families as it allows them to keep the young adults insured while they attend college for no, or nominal addition cost.
    Do you not like that?

    FACT, Obamacare means that peoplw with pre exitsing conditions can not be dropped or denied. That is HUGE. You don’t like that?

    FACT, obamacare sets minimum standards that the industry has to meet. That is consumer protection. Consumer protection benefits poor, working class and middle class families the most.
    Im sure you don’t like that.

    Those three things alone make obamacare worth whatever problems we go through to get it running smoothly.

    joe Reply:

    The minimum standards are an issue for some. For those who insist on keeping and paying for substandard if not worthless plans post ACA to the present. Republicans may come to the rescue.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2013/11/09/Congress-weighing-laws-to-let-people-keep-health-insurance/stories/201311090063

    Senate Republicans proposed a similar bill last week. Introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., it would allow people to keep any health care plan they had from the time the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 through the end of this year. It has support from 42 senators, all of them Republicans.
    ….
    One key question about the legislative proposals that let people keep plans that don’t provide the coverage required by the law was how long they would remain in effect. If they go on forever, “you’re essentially saying there are no standards to be met,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. He said the law’s standards prevent the “rude awakening” of finding out that one’s insurance policy doesn’t cover medical costs.

    It’s okay by me. I’m all for some people subsidizing insurance companies with payments for worthless polices.

    P T Barnum said no one ever lost money underestimating the American Public.
    Charles Darwin used the term: “Survival of the fittest.”

    jimsf Reply:

    We have minimum standards for so many things including other types of insurance such as car insurance. Minimum standards for food and residential construction practices.

    The problem with letting people keep their worthless insurance is that when they actually need care that the worthless insurance doesn’t cover, the rest of us wind up footing the bill in higher rates and emergency room costs. Those of us who do our part and cover ourselves with good insurance are taking responsibility. Remember back in the old days when “taking responsibility” was an alleged republican virtue? Of course once again, republicans are proving that they have no interest in governing, in common sense, in being responsible, or in doing anything but trying to blow smoke up everyone’s asses. The P in GOP stands for Pathetic.

    VBobier Reply:

    Here‘s the official site on the ACA, Myths and Facts… In case anyone wants to read what’s there.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    im not sure I would assert that the Whitehouse is an unbiased source for information on the ACA

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    FACT If people cant or dont sign up then those benefits are not realized

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    I was speaking of the federal exchange and private insurance(not Medicaid). But if you want to talk state exchanges…
    It’s true that KY has done a good job.

    Now hold on a minute. You had said that the problem was not with the website. The difference between the national program and Kentucky’s is the website. If the state that produced Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul get so many signed up, it’s highly unlikely that the Feds would do worse once people have a federal webpage where they can sign up.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yet all evidence says the Feds are doing worse signing people up.

    And I said the long term problems are not with the website, that is just one of the problems. The structure of the law is flawed. To be economically feasible, it needs to mix in young healthy people with the older unhealthy people that we unemployed. Those young people don’t have the money to pay the really high premiums they need to average out the lower (by comparison) premiums for the older people.

    And the penalties for remaining uninsured are too low to force them. In February the articles are going to be talking about how the insurance companies can’t make money on the exchanges. So they are going to drop out or raise prices…then less people…then higher prices…death spiral

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Much better that we keep what we have where young people can opt out leaving the insurance companies with the older sicker people who make the premiums go up which makes the healthier people risk not having insurance which makes the premiums go up until it’s in a death spiral.

    joe Reply:

    Right. John’s telling us the private insurance system is not economically feasible. That’s the tactic of the week. It opposes the Administration without any coherent strategy to insure people.

    ACA is flawed and is a step to single payer health insurance. There’s no going back.

    The ACA limits insurance companies. If payments to insured are less than 80%, the insured get a rebate check. These will come in 2015.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US population will not accept a single payer system. To make a single payer system work you have to have rationing and it’s just the antithesis of the American belief that everyone is special and deserves unlimited treatment.

    The existing system rations also of course, by money, not by age or usefulness. In the end, I bet that Americans are more accepting of that then they are of a single payer system that rations treatment by other means (even if they are more logical)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They seem to be quite content with Medicare. Some of them so content that they show up at rallies with signs reading “Keep the government out of my Medicare”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Medicare is a fair point. But that is a specific population that is looking for stability and know they will need hospital care. The younger and wider population will not. 2 counterpoints as examples.

    1. Expansion of medicaid for what amounts to be the poor and young has only been accepted in 1/2 the states. its hostility to a single payer system.

    2. The 5% of the people in the individual market insurance system having to switch insurance. Its true in many cases they will get equivalent or better policies but they resent being forced and they resent having to pay more even if they get more.

    On a whole, the US public is just hostile to a single payer system. it more efficient for sure, but the rationing like in Canada and the UK will keep it out of the US

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think you understand what “rationing” actually means and strongly suspect you just read it in an anti-public health care tract rather than in an overall explanation for how the British and Canadian health care systems (which are far from the only public ones) work.

    Personally I don’t care much for any Anglospheric health care system. Neither do the Canadians who care about the issue, by the way. The Canadians I talk to who have opinions crow about France and/or Sweden. I’m not familiar with Sweden, but France has a clever combination of a public basic health care system and a system of regulated add-on insurance on top of it that works like the US pre-Obamacare except that everything is much cheaper since there’s the basic government-funded system to fall back on.

    Sadly, in the US nobody seems to care that there exist other countries than Canada and maybe Britain. Same way that one of the people in charge of Bay Area transit planning didn’t know that Germany had commuter rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    As if health care isn’t rationed in the US. It is all the time. It’s just that when the profit making insurance company denies a service or denies a claim it’s not rationing. It’s just the free market at work.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s likely that the US won’t have a true, national single payer system outside of Medicare. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if many US states adopt a model similar to the French over the next ten years. California and other high labor cost states are the most susceptible to going this way….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    California has had an all-Democratic state government for nearly 3 years. No single-payer there.

    Edward Reply:

    If anyone wants to just browse the ACA options, a new website has been set up:

    http://www.thehealthsherpa.com/

    No login is required. It is a noncommercial site set up by a group of programmers.
    It can also approximate your discount (if any).

    Even though is says it is for the states covered by the federal site, it worked for California too.
    It has direct links to the various providers.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    John sounds like he cribbed his notes from the Wilson Administration.

    It’s fine to say the Democrats’ approach is bad and won’t work, but I have yet to hear from him what you are going to do to fix the state other than dismantle the State, piece by piece. In a state where the white vote is still 70%, I suppose you can rely on “divide-and-conquer”. In CA, where whites are almost going extinct, it’s a complete non-starter.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wilson? Points for going back in time. But that said I am happy to steal great ideas, no reason to reinvent the wheel.

    I am more of a Jack Kemp/Reagan guy.

    I never said I would disassemble the state, I actually really respect Gov Brown. He has done a great job even though I disagree with his methods (threatening people’s schools to get them to raise taxes is just wrong). I am happy to pay taxes, which is good since I am a single guy who make a lot of money in CA so I am a net giver for sure.

    I just hate inefficiency, incompetence, and not following the law. I am conservative in fiscal policy for sure. Social policy is mixed. Gay marriage is no problem, I could care less. I do believe in death penalty

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I am a single guy

    Hmm I wonder why

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wow, personal attacks…classy

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m astonished that a good catch like you hasn’t been snapped up. Flabbergasted even.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Doubling down…even more classy

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But aren’t you a good catch? I’m perplexed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Let me spell it out for you since you fail to be grasping the point. You don’t know enough about me to be making judgements on my life. Just like I don’t know enough about you. I could be single for a whole variety of reasons. Perhaps I am very ugly. Perhaps I have not found the right girl. Perhaps my wife was killed by a drug user for $20 and a cell phone.

    Some of those reasons would make you feel superior and some of them you make you feel like a world class jerk. So why don’t we keep the discussions about politics and not personal.

    Just a suggestion

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just like one doesn’t congratulate a woman when she announces her engagement – you wish her good luck because it’s obvious that any man would be thrilled to have her and congratulating her might imply otherwise – one just assumes that anyone wondering why a man isn’t married is wondering why such a good catch hasn’t been reeled in. Just like recently engaged men don’t get offended when people congratulate them. Or wish their intended good luck. Never crossed my mind that wondering why would be thought of otherwise. Or that someone would see it as an attack. I’m deeply embarrassed that it crossed your mind or anyone else’s and apologize if made anyone think otherwise.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I was referring to Pete Wilson, by the way.

    The government is incompetent schtick comes from a deliberate attempt to disguise the unsavory elements of the political process and demean those civil servants who work diligently to uphold the law. If you are willing to believe it, you might as well decry all corporations as evil and tools of the Devil.

    Liberals are driven to drink because the GOP churns out logical fallacy as public policy.

    Donk Reply:

    Nice work adirondacker. Thanks providing such a great example to my point.

    Eric Reply:

    ” instead of always surrounding yourself with a bunch of liberal commies.”

    Until this phrase I thought you were one of the rational conservatives :)

    jonathan Reply:

    Huh? Derek is an Ayn-Rand True Believer. He’s proud to say here that he has a buddy who was a shift-boss at a chicken-processing factory, who broke the law by giving employees he liked (or fancied?) an unfair break. Given that the workers are paid by weight, such discrimination is blatantly illegal.

    I don’t recall whether Derek pooh-poohed such laws, or whether someone else (John?) did so.
    Either way, Derek is a kook, pure and simple, Derek thinks you should be grateful if a Taggart gives you the “opportunity” to drive a steam-loco into tunnel with defective ventilation.

    And, to get somewhat on-topic: I seem to recall that the Army Special coming in the other direction to Ayn Rand’s government stooge, had orders to proceed even against signals, because the signals were unreliable.

    And people *vote* for Paul Ryan!? Who campaigns as an Ayn-Rand true beleiver? Who’d vote for an ignoramus who said Government traffic should proceed through red traffic-lights because traffic-lights are “unreliable”?

    Oh, I forgot. I think that’d be Derek.

    Travis D Reply:

    There is no such thing as a “rational conservative” and we do ourselves a disservice to entertain any notion such a mythological beast exists.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are, they either wandered off to spend more time with their families or were purged and are spending more time with their families.

    Eric Reply:

    You’ve spent too much time in the echo chamber.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s plenty of rational conservatives. They call themselves “Democrats”.

    Eric Reply:

    You’ve spent less time than Travis in the echo chamber but still too much.

    Travis D Reply:

    Eh, they like to say being a Democrat means you are a traitor and an enemy of God. I get to say they are all unhinged loons.

    You reap what you sow.

    Eric Reply:

    Who is “they”? Don’t define yourself by the worst of what you think the other side does.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There certainly are rational conservatives … its just that being rational, they need to find a different word for being “conservative” in a real sense, given the way that the word has been grabbed as a Brand Name by the radical reactionaries. Normally they call themselves “moderates”.

    Donk Reply:

    I am actually center-left and generally vote Democrat.

    The liberal commie line was an attempt at humor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so you vote for Rockefeller Republicans like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama….

    Donk Reply:

    To a liberal commie, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are Rockefeller Republicans. To most other people they are Democrats.

    I do in fact occasionally vote for Rockefeller Republicans. You seem to be implying that there is something wrong with that. Does this make you angry? I love when I get into an argument with a liberal commie and they think I am evil because I am center-left and they lump me in with the Tea Party. I have the same problem when I talk to my (few) friends that like the Tea Party – they think I am a liberal commie.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Compared to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Nelson Rockefeller was a liberal commie.

    He signed the bill legalizing abortion in New York.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Rockefeller#Governor_of_New_York.2C_1959.E2.80.931973

    The MTA was formed and almost immediately spit out grandiose plans for a subway from the Bronx down Second Avenue in Manhattan with a possibility of extending it to Brooklyn. Another grandiose plan to bring the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central. And actually built some of it. The existing tunnels they are using for those two projects were finished when he was still governor. Express service south of 34th Street on the 6th Avenue line and the connections under Chrystie Steet were built then also. And a grandiose plan to bring the LIRR to Wall Street that no one remembers.

    Want to get one of the local Tea Party member frothing at the mouth just whisper Adirondack Park Agency. It’s a communist plot to sap the precious bodily fluids of Real Americans ™ . On the other hand they just love that the State spent great big gobs of money improving hunting conditions in the Park. Hunting for fat wallets of downstate tourists. Mostly on habitat improvement in the campgrounds the state built during his tenure. Who get there highways built during the Rockefeller years.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Compared to any New Deal Democrat like FDR or Truman or even Hubert Humphrey, the Clintons and Obama and the rest of the Hedge Fund Democrats are center-right.

    The reason so many quote progressive unquote policy positions are backed by 2/3 to 4/5 of the American public but get no traction is the way that money politics has dragged the center of the political establishment far to the right of the center of opinion of the American public as a whole.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Donk, I’m fine with Rockefeller Republicans. I would have voted for Nelson had I been alive.

    Fact is that Obama is waaaay right-wing compared to Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller wasn’t spying on every American for no reason or murdering people without trial with robot drone bombs; Obama is.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Rockefeller wasn’t a president. However, the president most associated with that wing, Eisenhower, launched a coup in Iran when Mossadegh nationalized the oil resources.

    joe Reply:

    He enjoys trolling. Who knows what the views are – they don’t matter as much as arguing and saying he’s Goldilocks – just right in between everything.

    I think this 1956 Republican Party Platform shows how labels change – really nonsense actually.

    1956 Eisenhower Republican party platform is to the left of the Obama administration.
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25838
    http://boldprogressives.org/2012/08/the-surprisingly-progressive-republican-party-platform-of-1956/

    When the Dem President comes form the U of Chicago School of Economics, it’s silly to pretend he’s liberal.

    Eric Reply:

    Hence my :)

    wdobner Reply:

    Since when is it rational to insist that highways “pay for themselves” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? If he’s what passes for a rational conservative then I hope we’ve remembered to wrap Omar Bradley in copper because he’ll be spinning enough to power a small town.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That’s perfectly rational for a yellow-bellied surplus sucker who’s getting a piece of the roughly $7,500 road transport subsidy per person.

    jimsf Reply:

    In no liberal commie. the irritates me most of the time. I can deal with the left’s nonsense because they mean well but are just misguided and unrealistic. The republicans, and I have been a voter since reagan, have proven themselves over and over and over again to me, that they are not interested in my vote, as a gay married working class wage earner. I have waited for 33 years now and all I get is the same anti gay anti union bs today, that I got 33 years ago.

    Still waiting.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Not enough billionaires willing to spend millions and tens of millions on promoting labor rights for that to get any traction in the Republican party. And the radical reactionary billionaires and millionaires need the radical right wing theocrats for ground troops, and with that goes accepting their anti-gay bigotry.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “John seems to be a rational Republican guy who is able to think independently and, at least to this point, does not seem to be one of those conservatives who buys into the extreme nonsense in his party.”

    He isn’t.

    We nailed him with facts on a specific issue (namely, whether highways “pay for themselves”, which they do not) some time back and he just ignored them. Typical pay-no-attention-to-reality Republican behavior.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I don’t recall what specific conversation you are referring to Nathanael.

    I agree that direct user fees (tolls and gas taxes) do not pay for highways. They are subsidized by general fund monies (sales and income taxes usually).

    I do argue that the good that highways provide is more than offset by the money that is paid to build and maintain them, perhaps that is what you are referring to.

  6. joe
    Nov 9th, 2013 at 21:39
    #6

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2013/11/how-republicans-killed-americas-high-speed-rail-plan/7458/
    How Republicans Killed America’s High-Speed Rail Plan
    Eric Jaffe is a contributing writer to The Atlantic Cities.

    The coda to all this, as rail blogger Robert Cruickshank points out, is that Scott’s decision to halt high-speed rail may soon bring his own time in office to an end. Crist, now a Democrat, has decided to run against Scott in the next election and currently leads polling by 12 points. He will no doubt be portrayed as a flip-flopper, going from one party to another, but now he can portray his opponent as the same.

  7. John Lindt
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 06:18
    #7

    A more practical approach in Kings County. Hanford seeks funding to extend infrastructure to new HS Rail station… check it out at
    http://sierra2thesea.net/central-valley/hanford-asks-for-money-to-extend-services-to-new-hs-rail-station

  8. BruceMcF
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 12:22
    #8

    The “eastern edge” of Hanford and “downtown” Hanford are sufficiently close to each other that its not that big of a deal for the anchor role in the handful of local bus routes presently played by the downtown Hanford station whether the station is downtown or on the eastern edge of town.

    Given that service to the residents of Hanford is a small minority share of the total origin demand at “Visalia Station” and destination demand is mostly oriented either to the base or to Visalia, somewhere near to the intersection of 43 and 198 would seem to make the most sense in terms of net transport benefits provided.

    jimsf Reply:

    I hope they don’t give it a horrible name like kings tulare or some such thing. The proper name should be Sequoia Station as visalia/Ca198 is the gateway to Sequoia national park. Plus it sounds a lot better.

    joe Reply:

    or Kings-Sequoia Station after both parks.

    Call Merced’s Station, Yosemite or hyphenate it as Yosemite-Merced.

    Eric Reply:

    Or “Kings-Tulare-Visalia-Sequoia National Park Station”. It works for DC, right?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Kings County wants nothing to do with it. They should get their wish and have it called Visalia.

    jimsf Reply:

    agreed. or goshen.

    trentbridge Reply:

    Call it “Nowhere” and thus make everyone happy – a train that Tea Party conservatives in Congress should love – the train to Nowhere, California.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sequoia – Leemore. A nod to the tree huggers and a nod to the tree exploders.

  9. J. Wong
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 12:32
    #9

    More news reports on the November 8th hearing:

    Fresno Bee

    Beaumont Enterprise

    My take: Clearly, the opponents are hoping to kill the project. They’re really not interested in getting it to follow the law, but are just using that as an excuse to kill it. The state is arguing that it’s up to the Legislature to determine if they’re satisfied enough to authorize disbursement of the bond money. Could go either way.

    VBobier Reply:

    J. Wong, Your links aren’t working…

    Fresno Bee

    Beaumont Enterprise

    I’ll try and fix them for you, I hope I have the right links, these work. And yeah agreed, aren’t they always?

    VBobier Reply:

    The Fresno Bee article I meant to link to is this one here.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Thanks, @VBobier

    synonymouse Reply:

    How come Kamala was not there for Jerry. Maybe the politics are getting dubious.

    This thing needs to go back to the voters. Let PB and Tutor and the construction unions spend millions on brainwashing tactics. Stimulus.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kinda like Hillary distancing from Barack.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Other way around; Kamala is heir apparent. Brown does not want her tarnished by this in 2014. Harris will come out for HSR in due time.

    VBobier Reply:

    To put HSR back on the ballot Syno you put up the money or shut up, that is what is required for that game, MONEY up front…

    J. Wong Reply:

    “How come Kamala was not there for Jerry. Maybe the politics are getting dubious.”

    @syn You really read too much into it. Maybe they don’t think it’s at much risk to really require the A.G. to argue it. Besides, it’s not like she does the actual work on any case anyway.

    joe Reply:

    Deputy AG S. Michelle Inan is listed on the curt documents and it’s her email – and only hers — that I see listed.

    She’s the apparent lead attorney on the case. Scandalous.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Is there any doubt as to their motivations? Likewise those (for example) who opt to use handles like “resident” “defender” or hide behind catchphrases like “done right” are of the reactionary bent.

  10. John Nachtigall
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 17:23
    #10

    Lets try and get this back on HSR. As I posted above a specific quote from tha LA Times article.

    “Right now, the authority is walking a fine line of moving this project along and complying with the bond act,” said Michele Inan, a deputy attorney general representing the agency

    So at best, this strategy buys them 2-3 years. Then what? They need to find 20-30 billion to complete the first IOS. Where is that coming from. Even if it is federal dollars in needs a match.
    Are they going to blow the whole wad of bond money on the first IOS?

    Its bad strategy and bad management.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Are they going to blow the whole wad of bond money on the first IOS?”

    Sure, why not? The IOS is from the San Fernando Valley to Madera. It closes the gap and will be true HSR. I’m sure the Legislature will be willing to fund the rest once that happens. And who knows, maybe Congress will change and sensibly decide to provide further funding so the U.S. can be more competitive again.

    joe Reply:

    What would be the alternative to finishing an Initial Operating Segment?

    There’s no alternative proposed – just endless complaining and woes.

    I have no idea how I’m paying off my home – where is my guaranteed salary or job. Still I have a mortgage and it’s secured and right now my monthly payment+Tax is far less than rent.

    The President, Governor, State Legislature, Senate Majority Leader and House Minority Leader all want HSR. Some 40 tea party lunatics don’t. Obviously it’s a simple problem to overcome.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Simple..really?

    Seems like we are 5 years in, they lost a court case, and no dirt it moved. Doesn’t seem easy to me at all?

    joe Reply:

    So you decided to punt on explaining how bad it is to build an IOS and just troll.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Fine…one IOS argument coming up.

    I thought you would want to save some money for the other 60% of the project. It just seems very short sided to me. After the bond money is gone what are you going to match the further federal funds with?

    Of course the bigger problem is that the bond money is not enough to match a 1:1 federal grant.

    The legal strategy they are using just seems very short sided

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You realize that most of the “are you kidding me” elements of the HSR plan are courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown effectively started over two years ago. So to crow about a five year delay is disingenuous.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Nor if I think it has been mismanaged from the start. The authority has done a poor job across both administrations

    Mac Reply:

    Problem is..the money runs out somewhere North of Bakersfield. A Madera to Wasco/Shafter segment only guarantees a faster Amtrak train. Planning/building a route over the Tehachapis is going to cost a fortune and will likely take decades

    J. Wong Reply:

    The bond money does not run out north of Bakersfield. Yes, the bond money by itself will not be sufficient to complete the IOS. But either the Legislature or the Federal gov’t can allocate more money along with the rest of the bond money to finish the IOS.

    Does completion of the IOS mean Prop1A is complete? No, they’ll also have to get money to complete Pacheco to San Jose. That’s life.

    Look, money for the Apollo missions was an ongoing concern. The total sum required to get Apollo 11 to the Moon was not allocated when JFK first sent it to Congress. It was allocated on a yearly basis. This would have been the case with HSR if the Republicans hadn’t gummed up the works. When they finally get tossed out, we can expect allocations to start up again.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Tossing them out looks less and less likely since Mitt Romney’s landslide victory.

    joe Reply:

    Any year, Congress can rescened money. This Congress cannot tie the hands of a future Congress.

    Budgeting is a year to year battle.

  11. jimsf
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 18:27
    #11

    Meanwhile back in railroad land…

    Robert,

    I would like to see a blog topic concerning the perata law as it pertains to the state’s thruway bus system.

    here is the problem.

    The taxpayers, who in their generosity and clear mindedness, have voted over the years to raise various taxes in order to help fund a statewide transit network. This has taken shape in the form of amtrak california, caltrans, and the thruway network.
    its not the best, but it does a lot with what little we have to work with.

    the perata law, put in place at the request of a single private bus operator, acts to keep the very taxpayers who are funding the bus network, from actually taking advantage of the network.

    As you know, in order to buy a bus segment, you must be traveling on a train at one end or the other.

    Currently many passengers know how to cheat that system and management has put in place for employees a ” you can say this but you can’t tell them that and if they say this then deny them but if they phrase it like that then its ok” instruction. Is that any way to run a statewide transit network in place as large and important as the state of california? Should not the focus be on solving the real problem instead of wasting time rearranging the titanic’s deck chairs?

    What you wind up with are half empty buses passing through and between towns along their routes who are forbidden from serving the very people along those routes who voted for and are PAYING taxes for, those empty buses that are passing them by and refusing to let them travel from say, Eureka to Santa Rosa.

    An obscene waste of taxpayer resources.

    Here’s the deal. Its just a law. A law passed by a guy in sac at the request of a company. Big deal. Laws can be repealed. Laws can be amended. Exemptions can be made ( some already have been)

    Don’t you think that if the voters clearly understood how this resource ( taxpayer funded statewide bus network) was being squandered by these restrictions, that the voters would be willing to repeal or amend the law via the initiative process since obviously the lawmakers and tranportation folks haven’t done it?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m not sure repealing CA Government Code 14035.55 would be a good thing:

    (c) Except as authorized under subdivisions (e) and (f), the department may provide funding to Amtrak for the purpose of entering into a contract with a motor carrier of passengers for the intercity transportation of passengers by motor carrier over regular routes only if all of the following conditions are met:

    (1) The motor carrier is not a public recipient of governmental assistance, as defined in Section 13902(b)(8)(A) of Title 49 of the United States Code, other than a recipient of funds under Section 5311(f) of that title and code. This paragraph does not apply if a local public motor carrier proposes to serve passengers only within its service area.

    (2) Service is provided only for passengers on trips where the passengers have had prior movement by rail or will have subsequent movement by rail, evidenced by a combination rail and bus one-way or roundtrip ticket, or service is also provided on State Highway Route 50 between the City of Sacramento and the City of South Lake Tahoe and intermediate points or on State Highway Route 5 between the community of Lebec in Kern County and the City of Santa Clarita for passengers solely by bus if no other bus service is provided by a private intercity bus company…..

    I Interpret this language to mean to prevent local transit agencies from muscling each out for connecting traffic from Amtrak California. This sounds like minor league stuff, until you think about the consequence of allowing jurisdictions to do this for say, high speed rail, BART, or even airports.

    Now you might think we will keep section (c)(1) and delete section (c)(2). But if you do that, no private operators will survive because the state subsidized rates will drive them out of business. So then you have no choice but to repeal (c)(1) which is an invitation for jurisdictions to start battling it out.

    Unless of course, you want to have an actual, honest-to-goodness state transportation firm which would own and run your bus and rail service (and why not air????). That’s so much socialisme I’m not sure even Robert would approve….

    jimsf Reply:

    Yes. That’s my point. I want to have an actual honest to goodness state transportation system. What a shocking concept. Something that actually makes good use of available tax dollars that doesn’t leave people standing at the curb because of some ridiculous rule.

    Who gives a rats ass about other private carriers. If they can’t take it, they can go do business elsewhere.

    Caltran’s job is to create, build, and provide for a properly designed, integrated and comprehensive statewide transportation network. That’s what we are paying for.

    Turf wars and other ushc nonsense have no place in that. That is exactly what turns the public off and jeopardizes future funding.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so people who decide to live out in the middle of nowhere should get subsidized bus service along with the subsidized road it runs on?

    jimsf Reply:

    yes. we are californians and should all have access to everywhere.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why not subsidized flights to Tokyo then? I’ve always wanted to get on the Queen Elizabeth and go to Europe, why shouldn’t the state help me pay for that?

    jimsf Reply:

    Hereis a map ofthe network anyone at any point along any of the those multi colored lines should be able to travel to any other point on the multi colored lines at any time. Since we are paying for the whole thing.

    That would make the most use of the limited equipment while giving the largest number of people access to the most places for their tax dollar.

    That is, if you believe transportation is the most important goal.

    If you believe that political games and nonsense are most important. Well then I can’t help.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What you seem to be ignoring though, is that the whole reason California doesn’t have a statewide this or a statewide that is because of the influence and role of …yes, you guessed it… local government.

    For example, what transit operators should be allowed to connect to HSR stations for express buses? Should AC Transit be able to serve Diridon Intergalatic? Will Metro be able to run an express bus between LA Union Station and Disneyland? What about airports?

    Moreover, who gets to combine fares and tickets? You know that MTC and BART would love to find a way to integrate HSR into Clipper….

    The way the Brown Administration acts, it will only get more devolved and complicated over time. Now BART is going to control (I mean, uh, administer objectively) both the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins. And don’t rule out OCTA seizing the Surfliner and letting LACMTA keeping Metrolink as its own creature.

    We are definitely living in interesting times, and if DeSaulnier wiggles his way into being Senate President Pro Tem, things will really (I mean, really) take a turn.

    jimsf Reply:

    you know in san francisco private cab drivers have to compete with subsidized muni buses. 2 bucks across town or 15 bucks across town. And they do just fine.

    Other transit operators also have rules ( golden gate/samtrans) within the city and some of those rules have had exemptions carved out.

    Anything can be done with rules and laws. Right now, greyhound is holding the people of california hostage.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the rules and regulations for the state subsidized bus is for the subsidized bus to only carry people to the train.

    jimsf Reply:

    Yes. I know. That’s my point. The rules need to be changed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they could change the rules “you decided to live out in the middle of nowhere, drive”

    jimsf Reply:

    Its not like everyone in california decided to live “out in the middle of nowhere” just yesterday.

    And furthermore, the bus routes are not “middle of nowhere”

    With the exception of maybe death valley, modoc county and mono lake, the rest of the state, especially those areas that are servved by the thruway system, are part of vital regions. Which is why the buses are going up there to get them in the first place.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they are so vital how come Greyhound won’t go there? Or so vital how come Fung Wah hasn’t started service?

    VBobier Reply:

    Greyhound isn’t local bus transit, Greyhound=Amtrak with rubber tires…

    joe Reply:

    JimSF what are the rules?

    MST (Monterey-Salinas Transit) runs bus service to Gilroy and on to San Jose. It’s associated with Amtrak connecting to San Jose and Salinas Amtrak stops BUT it runs daily so it’s clearly not ticketed train riders.
    http://www.mst.org/wp-content/media/55.pdf

    http://www.amtrak.com/california-thruway-buses-reach-hot-vacation-spots
    “Loll [sic] in Monterey and Santa Cruz via San Jose.”

    http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/158/578/California-Thruway-Map-2012.pdf

    jimsf Reply:

    Again my point being that on some routes rules don’t apply but on others rules apply.

    My position is that if the state ( the taxpayers) are paying for fleets of buses, and paying contractors to provide services that create the network, then the people,(taxpayers) who live in areas served by those state funded buses, ought to be able to use them for travel along whatever routes they serve.

    “Oh hello, I was just standing here at this bus stop in Willits and I see that you have arrived driving this very fancy taxpayer funded bus…. you know the one I voted to pay taxes for…..and Id like to ride my bus from here to Vallejo as I notice you do go there”

    “Oh well Im very sorry. I realize you are paying for this service including this fancy half empty bus, but, because greyhound is a whiny crybaby and can’t compete because they are horrible, (but need to blame someone else) one of your lawmakers in Sacramento for some reason, and I can’t imagine what persuaded him, decided to do greyhounds bidding and make it illegal for you to ride this fancy half empty bus from Willits to Vallejo. Even though, you know, you are paying for it, and it does go from here to there and there is plenty of room for you.”

    “but that doesn’t make any sense”

    “Well silly of course it doesn’t. We are not in the business of making sense, dear taxpayer. That would be too easy and create too much efficiency. And it would be a wise use of public money. Now we certainly don’t want that!”

    “well this just seems ridiculous!”

    “Oh it is. But you have to keep in mind, there are many complex reasons for we can’t do things that make sense.”

    “well Im confused and frustrated”

    “Great, then our job here is done!”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bill Gates and Warren Buffet decide they want a 1:1 scale model train and since it wouldn’t be much fun with realistic passengers on it they decide to start selling tickets on their scale model for $1.95 Oakland to Los Angeles. How happy would you be about that?

    jimsf Reply:

    fine with me. Let me know when that happens. Ill buy a ticket

    jimsf Reply:

    Did the private toll roads ask for limitations on the what exits the neighboring freeways could serve?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Getting to the station from your new job in Kansas City would be arduous. If Amtrak isn’t selling tickets they don’t need station staff. Or run trains. I hear KS is really nice in the winter what with the blowing snow etc.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The toll roads in California did. And restricted how many lanes they could have. And whether or not trains could become an option if I remember correctly.

    jimsf Reply:

    no, the people who invested in the toll road in orange county that parallels the i 5 in orange county did not say “the – 5 can not service exits a b c and d because it would create unfair competition”

    joe Reply:

    I’m guessing fault and solution lies with uneven county bus service.

    Amtrak seems to have partnered with MST which is forward looking. MST runs EXPRESS service to San Jose with a few major stops like Salinas, Monterey Transit Center on to Santa Clara CO. Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

    I suppose availability varies by county and therefore is unevenly available across the state and counties. For that reason, the State needs to get involved and fill the gaps.

    The Amtrak Bus a certificate that says it’s a bus for CA and Amtrak. That can be printed on my HP color printer. It just needs some one at the State level to coerce county transit to bless the bus as public transit.

    Running bus service along and between rail stations is a good thing. It provides alternatives for people. Maybe rail and Bus interests think that’s competition but the public needs dependable, frequent service.

    In Gilroy, the 168 and 121 parallel Caltrain stops and allow us to use Caltrain knowing a problem or missed connection means we can get home via the bus. Not ideal but both VTA and Caltrain get more riders who would say the hell with it.

    jimsf Reply:

    The buses that serve monterey from salinas and santa cruz from san jose, are regularly scheduled local services. we just sell tickets for them in advance.

    On the thruway route between sacramento and south lake tahoe, local travel is allowed because there is an exemption of some kind so that an amtrak thru passenger can ride from placerville to south lake tahoe with no rail segment.

    If there are exemptions and exceptions for one, why not all.

  12. synonymouse
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 19:00
    #12

    Solar bird cooker:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/10/bird-feathers-singed-solar-power/3491617/

    Biggest deniers and greenwashing phonies around: population growth mongers, aka developers. Damn little difference between Jerry’s Palmdalecentrism and his Peripheral Tunnel.

    EJ Reply:

    You know, you’re right. Everything sucks. I’m just gonna go kill myself. Later.

    Eric Reply:

    So let’s move to coal instead. No environmental problems there.

  13. joe
    Nov 10th, 2013 at 19:59
    #13

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/cities-streetcars-economic-development-_n_4240785.html?utm_hp_ref=san-francisco&ir=San%20Francisco

    Cities Turn To Streetcars To Spur Economic Development
    ….
    Cincinnati voters on Tuesday (Nov. 5) elected anti-streetcar candidate John Cranley as mayor. The mayor-elect made canceling the city’s $133 million plan to connect downtown with the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood a central plank in his platform. Streetcar proponents say halting construction would cost the city about $30 million and mire it in lawsuits.

    “We’re going to get out of the streetcar project, which is too expensive,” he told supporters after his election, according to TV station WCPO.

    Cincinnati’s streetcar has been a lightning rod for controversy for years. One of Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich’s first acts in office was to eliminate state funding for the project promised by his Democratic predecessor.

    The project still depends on federal money, and canceling it would mean the city would have to send back the federal money it has already spent.

    Dumbass.

    Talgo seeks $65.9 million from state for abandoned high-speed rail line

    Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/talgo-seeks-659-million-from-state-for-abandoned-high-speed-rail-line-b99137348z1-231015571.html#ixzz2kJ1Z5ZWH

    Madison — The U.S. arm of a Spanish train-maker filed a $65.9 million claim against the state Thursday, setting up a likely lawsuit and reviving debate over Gov. Scott Walker’s rejection of $810 million in federal stimulus money for a high-speed rail line.

    In its filing with the state Claims Board, Seattle-based Talgo Inc. also maintained Wisconsin owes bond holders an additional $70 million because it borrowed that much for two train sets but never took possession of them.

    If the train company’s reasoning is correct, taxpayers would have to pay Talgo $65.9 million and immediately refund $70 million to bond holders rather than paying that sum off over the coming years. Even then, the state still wouldn’t own the trains.

    The request for more money comes on top of about $40 million the state has already paid Talgo.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    So… Wisconsin would just have high speed trains sitting there that are not even compliant with FRA and ADA regulations? That would be hilarious.

    joe Reply:

    The Rail Project walker canceled was supposed to finish this Summer 2013. That is, Service to Madison and improved service from Milwaukee to Chicago.

    wdobner Reply:

    Sorry for the slight necrocomment here, but the Talgo train sets ordered by Oregon and Wisconsin are fully FRA compliant and as compliant with the ADA as anything else being offered. Your supposition that this represents some sort of averted boondoggle is misplaced.

  14. Donk
    Nov 11th, 2013 at 01:18
    #14

    So the new route is now bypassing Corcoran? Well somebody better share the news with the misinformed editorial writers who still like to call it the Borden to Corcoran “train to nowhere”. Or else their statements may risk coming off as sounding ridiculous.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Corcoran is not inscribed in stone in Prop 1A?

    Sue, Palmdale, sue.

  15. Emmanuel
    Nov 11th, 2013 at 14:38
    #15

    Btw. ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber that compete with taxis seem to be on the rise.
    The California Publci Utilities Commission put them into a new category called Transportation Network Company
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_Network_Companies

  16. joe
    Nov 11th, 2013 at 16:50
    #16

    If LaHood gets his way – drivers will freak. Bricking phones in moving cars would really put a crimp on drivers in the bay area. Mass transit would jump.

    Ray LaHood Wants To Completely Disable Drivers’ Phones (And Keep Google Glass Off Their Heads)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/ray-lahood-drivers-phones_n_4251773.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&utm_hp_ref=technology

  17. joe
    Nov 11th, 2013 at 17:38
    #17

    Something I’ve seen recently. Bay Area traffic – Between Gilroy and Meno Park is getting far worse. It’s unprecedented.

    Too may people trying to work in a small area.

    Rationing by waiting in traffic, by tolling or car pool. That’s not going to get people to work.

    More Caltrain service and express bus service will help get people to work between 6 and 10.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/traffic/ci_24486581/traffic-jams-paralyzing-bay-area

    Bay Area commuters are getting a sinking feeling as we see firsthand what economic recovery looks like — miles of brake lights on commutes so congested we’re wasting hours a week inching to work and back.

    It almost makes you miss the recession.

    Commuters say trips that took 30 minutes a year ago now may take 60 or more. It’s happening on Highway 85 in the South Bay, Highway 101 along the Peninsula, Interstate 880 through the East Bay and Interstate 680 from the Sunol Grade to the Benicia Bridge.

    He says Silicon Valley will soon bump against “terminal gridlock” like the kind that occurred in Beijing six years ago when commuters were trapped in their cars for days.

    While ridership on BART, Caltrain, light rail and buses continues to grow and carpool use is on the rise, there are simply too many of us driving solo to work.

    Car Pool on 101 N between Menlo Park and Gilroy is congested in several spots. It is dependably congested.

    Clem Reply:

    Similar experience on I-280, which used to be smooth sailing. And the train is getting so crowded that it’s unpleasant, especially if you bring a bike on board.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Try the light rail in Sacramento, it’s standing room only.

    joe Reply:

    Same unpleasantness on the 329 at 7:58 which is packed standing room only at the third stop, Sunnyvale. Difficult to get off at Palo Alto.

    101 South once again backs up at Morgan hill where 4 lanes trim down to 3 lanes. The expansion from 2 to 4 lanes relieved that for about a decade.

    I confess, we bought a new plug-in hybrid sedan with car pool sticker to help with the commute for those days one of us has child duty. It saves 40-50 minutes a day easily – for now. Stickers were extended to Jan 2019.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Conceivably traffic could worsen with predicted lower gas prices and likely BART fare hikes to pay for the very large Amalgamated raise. Ditto for AC.

    Donk Reply:

    I bet VTA light rail is still empty.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    VTA Light Rail: brought to you by the exact same people bringing you HSR to Los Banos and BART to the SJ Flea Market.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Cool story, bro!

    And CHSR from Palmdale to Merced is just the ticket.

    joe Reply:

    I wouldn’t make that link.

    But then You are a GOP trope: You foster resentment and scapegoating. Just swap race with geography and demographics.

    They worry that minorities, immigrants, and welfare recipients now believe it is their “right” to claim [public] benefits. Tea Party participants, in particular, were very focused on those who claim “rights” in the form of government services, without taking responsibility for themselves.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Cool story, bro!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Get treated as a criminal at an airport a couple times because your passport issuer never threw nukes on anyone and then talk to me about resentment.

    Entitled asshole.

    jimsf Reply:

    that happened to me in palm springs cuz i had an expired DL

    joe Reply:

    WTF?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Point is, people resent the US for a lot more reasons than those offered by the neo-Confederates.

  18. jimsf
    Nov 11th, 2013 at 19:21
    #18

    At least the people at the high speed rail authority understand the importance of comprehensive integrated network”

    This Revised Plan retains the start of construction of new high-speed infrastructure
    in the Central Valley but introduces simultaneous investments to produce immediate benefits
    throughout the state (Exhibit ES-2). Working collaboratively with regional transportation partners,
    advanced investments will be made in the existing Los Angeles Basin and San Francisco Bay Area rail
    systems. These early improvements will accomplish two key goals:
    • First, these improvements will lay the foundation for the high-speed rail system as it expands to
    reach those areas and connect the state.
    • Second, because these improvements can proceed independently of the high-speed rail system,
    they will provide near-term benefits to travelers in metropolitan areas.
    Benefits will be realized sooner and more efficiently, not only in metropolitan Los Angeles and the San
    Francisco Bay Area, but also in the Los Angeles–San Diego corridor, the Inland Empire, and the
    Sacramento region—all of which would see improvements much earlier than under any previous plan.
    This approach represents a significant evolution of thinking about how high-speed rail best fits into
    California’s transportation system and best serves the people of the state. More specifically, rather than
    being planned, designed, and implemented largely as a stand-alone system, high-speed rail in California
    will be integrated into a comprehensive and seamless statewide passenger rail network. Leveraging and
    partnering with intercity and regional systems results in a wide range of benefits, including the
    following:
    • Accelerated delivery of advantageous investments
    • Expanded early benefits for rail passengers
    • Reduced costs
    • Greater cost-effectiveness
    • Fewer construction and operating impacts on communities
    • Coordinated planning and investments among state, regional, and local agencies
    • Improved transportation and reduced congestion in metropolitan areas
    • Reduced air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions

    Ted K. Reply:

    The above italic text is from the following :
    California High-Speed Rail Program Revised 2012 Business Plan
    April 2012
    Building California’s Future
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2012ExecSum.pdf
    (PDF, page ES-6 [eighth page of 22], HSR.CA.gov document)

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