CHSRA Fires Back At Flawed Denham-Vidak Op-Ed

Feb 28th, 2014 | Posted by

On Wednesday Representative Jeff Denham and State Senator Andy Vidak called for a new public vote on high speed rail in a Sacramento Bee op-ed. Their arguments were full of the usual flaws, the most important of which is Denham’s omission that he has been waging war against HSR since the day he was sworn in as a member of Congress:

Voters were sold a $33 billion project that would receive equal parts financing from the state, federal government and private investors with a guarantee to taxpayers that it would be fiscally responsible and not need an ongoing subsidy.

Since then the project has skyrocketed in cost, ballooning to $98 billion for the full 600 miles – later sliced to $68 billion by eliminating segments from San Francisco to Sacramento, and Los Angeles to San Diego – while the federal government has committed just south of $3.5 billion.

The project would indeed have received that federal money had Denham not done everything in his power to stop it. Congress was all set to commit a lot more than $4 billion until Denham and his Tea Party allies seized control of the House of Representatives in 2011. If Democrats retook the House this fall, they would indeed authorize new federal HSR funds in 2015.

Denham and Vidak are also misleading on the facts. The $33 billion figure was an early estimate in 2008 dollars for the LA to SF system. The segments from SF to Sacramento and LA to SD weren’t part of that $33 billion or the Prop 1A funding plan, and they haven’t been “eliminated” – merely deferred.

Even the Democratic chair of the California Senate Transportation Committee admits the true costs of high-speed rail could really be $350 billion

They’re referring to Mark DeSaulnier, and while I hadn’t heard that remark of his before, it would be incredibly stupid of him to say it if he did. The true costs of HSR could hardly be $350 billion. I cannot imagine a way to come up with that figure. But the costs of not building HSR are easily that high if not greater, when you figure in not just the costs of expanding airports and freeways but also the costs of carbon emissions, the effects of global warming (such as drought), and the costs of importing and burning fossil fuels. DeSaulnier should know better than to be handing ammunition to Republicans like this. I know he plans to run for Congress; hopefully Nancy Pelosi will sit him down and explain a few things to him before he gets to Capitol Hill and spends his time handing victories to Denham and the Republicans.

Denham and Vidak go on to discuss the issue of a required state payment to the federal government for high speed rail, the one that the Federal Railroad Administration recently delayed to July 1. They make several new allegations here:

To make matters worse, the authority must match every dollar that has already been spent by federal taxpayers. The first of these payments – $180 million – was originally required to be received by April 1. Last week the Federal Railroad Administration announced that the deadline has been postponed to July 1. A second payment of $800 million is due the following year. If the authority fails to come up with this money, the federal government can withhold other sources of funds from California to make up the difference. Those funds could include transportation, public safety or even education funding. Point being that the fiscal irresponsibility of this project is now endangering federal grant dollars that are meant to protect and educate our children.

First off, Denham is in no position whatsoever to talk about “fiscal irresponsibility.” He and his party have repeatedly acted irresponsibly by putting the entire national economy at risk when they threatened a default by opposing an increase in the debt ceiling. Denham also is shedding crocodile tears for these other programs like public safety, transportation and education that he and his party are busy slashing as much as they can get away with in Congress. He doesn’t care about those other programs and wants to slash them at the first possible opportunity. But they have value to him as a cudgel against HSR.

It is this claim that led California High Speed Rail Authority board chair Dan Richard to slam Denham and Vidak in today’s SacBee:

Indeed, virtually none of their “facts” are facts at all, but false assertions and phony suppositions.

An egregious example is the claim that the High-Speed Rail Authority faced a make-or-break $180 million payment to the federal government on April 1 – a doomsday scenario created out of wholecloth by Denham for apparent dramatic effect.

Denham and Vidak made another claim that Richard debunked:

No matter; Brown recently stated the federal government will deliver that $20 billion in 2015. Yet President Barack Obama just signed a bipartisan funding plan that delivers zero additional federal dollars to the troubled project for the fourth straight year.

Note that Denham blames Obama for this when Denham has been adamant since the day he arrived on Capitol Hill that he will not under any circumstances support another dime for high speed rail. Richard fired back at this claim:

The hyperventilating polemics don’t stop there. No, Gov. Jerry Brown did not state that the federal government would come up with $20 billion in 2015. No, the project will not cost hundreds of billions. And, no, riders will not have to change trains four times to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as Republican House members claimed recently in a bacchanalia of bogus bromides.

Sadly, we live in an era in which the media will breathlessly repeat these Republican lies because most reporters no longer believe in fact-checking what politicians tell them. So it’s up to blogs like this and op-eds like Dan Richard’s to do the media’s job for them.

Denham and Vidak conclude their op-ed with a call for an end to the project:

The law is clear that moving forward without securing state funding will put future federal funding at risk, including transportation, public safety and education dollars. It’s time that Brown put the brakes on this poorly executed project.

Actually, what puts transportation, public safety, and education dollars at risk is continued GOP control of the House. And we know that Denham will not ever vote for another dollar of future federal HSR funding under any circumstances, nor will Vidak in the legislature. So these guys are simply not worth listening to since nothing whatsoever will convince them to change their minds.

  1. trentbridge
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 15:48
    #1

    In July 1969 – over 43 years ago – the United States made the first of six moon landings – taking mankind across 230,000 miles of space and back. In 2014, the “guiding vision” is to make a train moving at 200 mph travel between LA and SF in less than 3 hours. Am I the only person who finds this squabbling over a not-very challenging transportation project a perfect example of how the United States has regressed from a country that stunned the entire world to a nation that would rather debate whether the world was created six thousand years ago or not and whether US adults are entitled to healthcare at a reasonable cost?

    nslander Reply:

    You’re not alone in that assessment.

    Jerry Reply:

    Many of us have the same thoughts.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US accomplishments these days is just as impressive as the good old days. Just because it is not big chunks of concrete does not make it less impressive.

    The internet, portable computers of power that continues to double every 18 months, technology at every level that continues to get faster, better, and cheaper all at the same time. Information literally for free and at our fingertips. Instantaneous worldwide communication…for free.

    Want something more physical? How about space stations. Planes that travel twice as far on half as much fuel. Practical electric cars.

    The US accomplishments have not decreased, they have actually increased so fast and so frequent that we take them for granted

    jonathan Reply:

    And yet the USA can no longer build its own passenger rail vehicles. Or its own 200km/hr passenger locomotive. (No, the EMD F125 doesn’t count;. EMD can’t build passenger-locomotive truckis/bogies; they had to buy those from Vossloh, along with other key technology in the F125).

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so what that we dont build trains. We dont have vending machines with used panties in them either, that is not a bad thing. If we choose to, the US could build a train industry, but why. We already own the plane industry which is much more successful and more technologically advanced.

    Now we have Tesla, the first practical electric car. I am not a fan from a use standpoint, but you cant deny the technological innovation. We even have the worlds first private space company.

    Its not beyond us…we outgrew it. Let someone else have it, we will take the information and internet companies instead.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The car isn’t the game-changer, it’s the battery technology behind it.

    We aren’t going to build HSR trainsets that require energy conservation, we are a net exporter. What we are going to build is technology that stores energy more efficiently and thus preserves both exports in energy itself and goods. What got shipped to China is what you can make anywhere….

    joe Reply:

    I did not know the USA invented Moore’s Law. Without that invention, we wouldn’t have fast, cheap Asian manufactured electronics.

    And the low earth orbit space station crew depends on the Soyuz space craft and Russian space launch capacity. Our most powerful launch vehicle was Von Braun’s Saturn V.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US invented the transistor and the US continues to design the electronics that extend Moore’s law. So what if they are manufactured someplace else. Let China have the 200,000 drones it takes to put out iphones all day long, I would much rather have the people with the brains to make the new stuff.

    The station uses Russian launch capacity and rockets because they have the most powerful rockets. But the US launch capacity is much higher. Satellites are launched from the US at a fast clip. The US launch capacity is just not as brawny, that does not make it any less impressive.

    I notice you didn’t address the planes, electric cars, and information, internet, and communication companies that the US dominates (just to name a few). I grew up in the 80s, when Japan was going to take over the world. Then the 90s, when Europe and the EU was going to take over the world. Then the 00s when southeast Asia and South Korea where the heir apparent. Now it is the Chinese. In the meantime, the pace of innovation continues to accelerate.

    Around 1994 I remember playing around with the internet on a Next computer (they were cool machines). It took 2 hours to download a single picture and to do it you had to integrate 5 different files using special software. Now we sit in 2014 just 20 years later and I can send an instant message to not just 1 person, but everyone in the world with internet access instantly for free. And that internet access is wireless so you can move around. I dont think you are giving enough credit for how amazing that is. The Hoover dam is a wonder of engineering, but it didnt bring the whole world together or overthrow a government, the internet has. And the undisputed center of that universe, the original invention and the continued exploration of that invention is the US. The information economy is a modern marvel in and of itself.

    The US is more than capable of doing anything we did in the past, we just choose to do other things instead. We havent lost our spirit of innovation, it has just changed what we innovate.

    joe Reply:

    Who invented fire? That was a game changer. The Wheel and copper tools. The transistor is 1950s.
    I watch the first Moon Landing in 69 and used punch cards to program and seen more – it doesn’t matter now.

    What about now?

    You want to go to the Space Station, you need to write a check to Russia and ride on a Russian Rocket and return in a Soyuz Capsule.

    We are still a good place to live and work and despite cuts, out education system is still good. People move here from all over the world to innovate and many naturalize. We attract global talent. Califronia and the SV in particular for IT.

    We are as capable as out R&D budgets which the US House wants to further cut and is shrinking, attacks on science and scientists and the war on our education system.

    The nuts actually blame unions for these problems.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is no “war on education” in this country. It is one of the few bipartisan supported issues. The is a disagreement on how to execute. No one is arguing (besides the unibomber) that science is bad

    joe Reply:

    Of course there is – it’s just a nonissue with you.

    Decreasing funding, higher Tuition, student loan burden, class room size, mandating supernatural explanations e.g. creationism, harassing climate scientists, laws frobidding the mention of global warming.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    funding is increasing every year. the facts do not support your case

    http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/edlite-chart.html

    As for teaching creationism, it is actually much less prevalent today than in the past. There was a time in this country when teaching evolution was the oddball out. Thanks for judicial review and the 1st amendment that is no longer the case.

    The truth is there has always and will always be controversy surrounding some form of science. Your claim, however, that science and education is “under attack” is not supported by the facts. A few isolated instances of stupid laws and stupid people dont make a coordinated attack and even if it did it is much less prevelent today than in “the old days”

    jimsf Reply:

    imsf Reply:
    March 1st, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Where’s John? I just want to give him the good news….
    The federal government made enough money on student loans over the last year that, if it wanted, it could provide maximum-level Pell Grants of $5,645 to 7.3 million college students.

    The $41.3 billion profit for the 2013 fiscal year is down $3.6 billion from the previous year but it’s a higher profit level than all but two companies in the world: Exxon Mobil cleared $44.9 billion in 2012, and Apple cleared $41.7 billion

    successful government program helps people and makes a profit!!!

    jonathan Reply:

    There is no “war on education” in this country.

    Bullshit. Total and utter bullshit. Bobby Jindal, amongst other Republicans, advocates for teaching Creationism in public schools. He’s also defended a Louisiana voucher program which results in public dollars going to whacko Creationist “schools” with uncredentialled teachers.

    Anti-science is a key plank of the religious Right. Decrying science — climate science — is a key part of the Republican platform. The Colorado state legislature passed a bill a year ago, allowing teaching of Creationism in public schools. All four Republicans in the race for Texas Lt Governor agree that Creationism *needs* to be taught in public schools.

    John, Republicans are anti-science and anti-education. that’s a fact. If you don’t like that, then stop being a Republican.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you can feed them bullshit about creationism and climate change and … it softens them up for the important stuff like how cutting taxes on rich people will make the economy boom.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    look at the trend, teaching creationism was the norm 2 generations ago, now it is a fringe position that cant win due to judicial review and the 1st amendment. Plus I hardly think the single issue of teaching creationism constitutes a “war on education”. The far right supports it to rally the troops, but no one seriously thinks we are going back to a ban on teaching evolution.

    Gain some perspective. In Pakistan they shot a 16 year old girl in the head because she not only was being educated but wrote in a blog. That is a war on education. A couple of politicians getting Jo Bob and Mary Sue riled up so they will vote for him is not even close to the same magnitude.

    jonathan Reply:

    look at the trend, teaching creationism was the norm 2 generations ago, now it is a fringe position that cant win due to judicial review and the 1st amendment.

    factually incorrect Just ask Bobby Jindal. John, why are you in a party which supports Creationism??

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Scopes monkey trial?? Ring a bell?? I think it is pretty clear that evolution is more accepted than it was 5 plus decades ago.

    There are some real kooks in the GOP for sure. I am not going to defend their individual positions. But you can’t judge the entire party on the fringe positions. The mainline GOP position I hate the most is immigration. I think the GOP policy is wrongheaded, shortsided, and in opposition to 200+ years of history. The kooks who say the constitution does not say “if you are born here you are a citizen” make me so mad I actually am embarrassed to be in the same party.

    But with 2 parties you have to go with the majority of the views you agree with. In balance the GOP wins based on a base belief in individual accountability

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yet 89 years after Scopes the Republicans are still trying to force the government to promulgate their mythology….. What’s changed besides there being more evidence that the theory of evolution is a reasonable explanation for the observed world? An opinion the Pope shares?

    jonathan Reply:

    look at the trend, teaching creationism was the norm 2 generations ago,

    Not in the civilized world., it wasn’t. (remenber IGY, Sputnik-era?)
    You want to compare the US to, oh, Lysenkoism?

    Regrettably, it’s not fringe. It’s a core part of the GOP platform in the GOP “base”… the former Confederacy, pretty much.

    jimsf Reply:

    John, I sure you would agree though that it makes more sense to reduce the cost of student loans by having the government lend money directly to students at the lowest possible interest rate rather than having students pay higher rates to provide profit for private lenders. Especially when the current low direct government loan rates already result in 41 billion in profits per year certainly an example of a successful government program. The govt could charge even less interest and still make a profit, allowing students to reduce their debt. In fact they could allow all current loan holders, direct, and private, to refi their students loans into a lower interest direct govt loan.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    my comment specifically said it is just a disagreement over execution.

    The government is just not capable of an efficient direct lending program jim. There is no evidence they could run sich a program with millions of recipients in a manner more efficient than using private contractors. We can argue if that is a good or bad thing, but I dont think they could pull it off even if given the chance.

    jimsf Reply:

    Where’s John? I just want to give him the good news….
    The federal government made enough money on student loans over the last year that, if it wanted, it could provide maximum-level Pell Grants of $5,645 to 7.3 million college students.

    The $41.3 billion profit for the 2013 fiscal year is down $3.6 billion from the previous year but it’s a higher profit level than all but two companies in the world: Exxon Mobil cleared $44.9 billion in 2012, and Apple cleared $41.7 billion.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    we live in a capitalist society jim, banks are allowed to make money on loans. Loans for cars, houses, personal, credit cards, and yes even education. Its not a dirty thing, its the basis of the entire economy. Profit = growth = more economy

    jimsf Reply:

    But surely you agree that for the sake of helping american families with the cost of education, that it makes sense for the government to lend directly at a lower cost. If someone wants to pay high rates to a bank nothing is stopping them. But if taxpayers can actually benefit by the govt lending at a low rate, and families benefit, then surely you must agree this is the best idea, since everyone wins.

    jimsf Reply:

    If I understand you correctly you support making college loans less affordable for people, making a college education harder to get for many people and at the same time you support lower wages via not raising the minimum wage, and eliminating collective bargaining. So that leaves lots of low wage jobs, which, even if an unskilled person, wants to go to college and work to pay for it, they can’t because they are making such low wages. The high paying jobs all require skills that are very expensive to obtain.

    So your idea of whats most important starts with corporate profit first, and benefit to the average american least.

    Your goal is to make is as difficult as possible for as few people as possible to succeed and compete with ( possibly threaten) those who have already succeeded….

    jimsf Reply:

    so basically your just an asshole with a fuck you attitude towards your fellow americans.

    Remember what happened to the last person who suggested the people eat cake?

    Eric Reply:

    College loans don’t make college more affordable. They are immediately canceled out by increased tuitions, and they form a nondischargeable financial yoke around the necks of whoever takes them for decades afterwards.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Remember what happened to the last person who suggested the people eat cake?

    They were lauded as an important philosopher; there’s absolutely no evidence that Queen Marie Antionette ever said such a thing and it first appears, apparently made up, attributed only to “a great princess” by Rousseau in writings from around 1765. Queen Marie was actually quite charitable, contrary to the slanders of the revolutionaries.

    jimsf Reply:

    So we need an educated workforce since we do not believe in paying a living wage for unskilled positions, but we do not want to provide economic assistance to those seeking to get an education.

    We could offer free education, sending some people to the professions and others towards skilled or unskilled labor, but then we would also need to make sure those lesser jobs paid a wage that woudl benefit the economy.

    Basically the goal of some of you here seems to be to have as many americans living in poverty as possible while the wealthiest people continue to grow their wealth.

    Are you among the wealthiest americans or something that you would advocate this or are you among the delusional who think that one day you will be?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US does offer free education up to and including the high school level. There are a variety of programs to help people after that. I firmly believe that if you are smart and motivated, you can get a college education in this country. I was able to attend a great engineering college (top 20) through a combination of financial assistance and parent help with no loans. If we had been poor that parent contribution would have been replaced with financial aid. But my parent contribution was 0 by the time I reached senior year and my MS was fully funded with a stipend to pay for living expenses.

    If you choose not to get educated you are giving up the power to control your life. You are right jim, I don’t think we should pay uneducated workers 10-15 an hour for a job that is worth 8. It saps the economy and rewards people for making bad choices. It also punishes people who get jobs actually worth 15 an hour by diminishing their accomplishments.

    I don’t want to see anyone live in poverty, but some people make poor choices that doom them to that life.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    College used to be free in California and New York City.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, unless you attended this engineering college in the last ten years, your experience is irrelevant to the situation of today’s Millennials.

    Grad school is indeed fully funded by stipends, if you’re in STEM, or at a top university (and the proportion of top universities in grad school is way higher than in college because the mediocre universities don’t have grad programs). But college isn’t.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So my experience (16 years ago graduated my MS) is not irrelevant then because I am in STEM (the E in this case) and just like back then, today there is not an engineer in the US that paid for his MS or PhD. I don’t know of a single program in the country that does not pay at least the tuition and almost all pay some kind of stipend.

    My Millennial engineers coming straight out of school (of which I have hired more than a dozen) earn a little more than 70k + bonus + benefits. Not a fortune, but not bad for a starting salary and in a year assuming they perform well they get a promotion and about 10k more.

    Pick the right major and you dont have trouble paying back your student loans.

    joe Reply:

    today there is not an engineer in the US that paid for his MS or PhD. I don’t know of a single program in the country that does not pay at least the tuition and almost all pay some kind of stipend.

    You’re mistaken.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ph.D., sure. M.Sc., not really; at least in math, departments use masters’ programs as cash cows, especially when those are the mathematics of finance but also when they are non-financial math. Of course people with Ph.D.s in the US typically got their M.Sc./M.A. during grad school as a non-terminal degree.

    As for student loans, if you went to a very good school that isn’t rich enough to offer free rides to people, then you start your post-college life $200,000 in debt. At WPI, chosen because it’s a good but not top tier STEM school I have friends from, full tuition is $42,000 a year now. You graduate it $170,000 in debt. A close friend who went there says the average salary for WPI graduates her age (24 at the time) is $63,000. That’s nearly 3 times your salary in student debt, at high interest rates. It’s worse than mortgage debt, which is lower-interest, and in most of the US is much lower when you divide it between two working adults.

    On top of that, you can’t look at just one category of skilled workers. Engineers make more money than the average because they have a skill that’s in relative shortage. In a society with universal college completion, people with degrees are in abundance, so the salary per college graduate is reduced before considering the positive effect of a more skilled society. Overall, Glaeser’s research suggests that rising college completion rates raise non-graduates’ salaries, and of course raise average salaries by moving people from a lower-skill to a higher-skill category, but to my knowledge establishes no such effect for college graduates. The result is that in third world countries, which have huge skills shortages, professionals earn very high salaries relative to the local average; first-world professionals make more, but the gap between first- and third-world engineer salaries is much smaller than the gap in laborer salaries. Put another way, the college premium is smaller in a society with 100% literacy, 75% high school completion, and 30% college completion than in one with 80% literacy, 40% high school completion, and probably single-digit college completion; it will be even lower if college completion rises to where high school is now, which means it’s hopeless to try to pay for it out of loans.

    joe Reply:

    First hand knowledge for 2014.
    Top tier STEM tuition is 43 K annual – Stanford U.
    Ivy League – U Penn – 2014 engineering undergrad- 43K tuition. Add 20K for living expenses.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most jobs don’t need a college degree.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Most jobs in 1700 didn’t need literacy, either.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Many people will not get any benefit out of college. It will just be a waste of their time and a waste of seats in college classrooms. The only people who will love it are employees of colleges. Why do it?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. You are right adirondacker. Its true, most jobs dont need a college degree, because they can be done by anyone with even basic education. There are hundreds of fast food workers and store clerks for every doctor, lawyer, or engineer. So as a result there is no sarcity of people to fill them and therefore supply is high and demand is constant and they are not worth $15 an hour.

    2. No one pays full sticker cost at college except the super rich who can afford it. So comparing starting salary to 4 x yearly cost is not valid. But I will grant you debts of $100,000+ are not uncommon. Here is the rub. Dont incure debt of 100k+ for a degree that will never pay off. I used engineering for a reason, its a good investment. If you get a degree in buisness and incur 150k in debt, that job as Starbuck assistant manager is not going to get it done. That is on the individual, they made a bad investment. You could have gotten the same degree at a state school for much less and got the same job and career path.

    3. joe, please name the engineering program that makes people pay for MS and PhDs. I have never met and engineer with an MS or PhD that paid, I am curious. It goes along with interns. Engineering interns get paid, even when other disciplines will intern for free. I never understood that, why would you take a job for free?? Makes no sense to me, you are providing some service, so you deserve some compensation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the Republicans hadn’t fucked the economy with their no-regulation fetishes fast food workers would be making ten an hour. They wouldn’t be competing with law school graduates for jobs sling burgers and fries.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    why would they be making $10 an hour? You yourself said they dont need a college degree. Even when unemployment was 3% they didnt make that much. If you make them that expensive they will just be replaced with automation and efficiencies.

    Instead of a waitress we will order off the tablet computer at the table.
    Instead of a clerk it will be slef checkout.

    The trend is already happeneing, why do you want to cost people jobs by accelerating it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    when unemployment was 4%, in places they were paying ten an hour and having trouble finding people. If they can automate jobs at ten bucks an hour they can automate jobs at 7.25 an hour. People who work for minimum wage are doing work that can’t be automated. The business has no other choice but to hire them.

    Joe Reply:

    “3. joe, please name the engineering program that makes people pay for MS and PhDs.”

    I paid tuition all years of my MS and PhD including out of state for the PhD.
    My CS masters supported my third year with a teaching assistantship. I still paid tuition, room and board. Both were state schools.

    Good to know STEM postgraduate studies are now free.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, you’re totally wrong when you say, “No one pays full sticker cost at college except the super rich who can afford it. So comparing starting salary to 4 x yearly cost is not valid.” At private schools below the level of Columbia, most people pay full cost, through a combination of parental support and loans. At public schools there’s significant state support, but it’s in decline, which is what’s driving the growth in public university tuition.

    A lot of the higher-paying employers only recruit from the more prestigious (and usually more expensive) schools. I know some City College grads with good jobs, but I also know some with a lot of angst about how employers prefer Columbia and NYU grads. Columbia offers full rides to people who need them, but NYU doesn’t – in fact, schools like NYU, Tufts, and the good liberal arts colleges similar ones don’t have need-blind admissions, which means that if you may need financial aid they’re less likely to admit you in the first place. The result is that, on the college level, the US today reproduces the prewar British system in which the working class can’t go to high school without passing a difficult exam for a scholarship. One of the reasons the US surpassed Europe in the 20th century is that it offered free comprehensive high school to everyone early.

    joe Reply:

    Unlike a Corporation or Donald Trump, filing bankruptcy doesn’t discharge student loan debt.

    Most debtors cannot discharge (wipe out) student loan debt in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    just like you cant discharge tax debt either.

    I think there is a reasonable argument on both sides. Its not like you can repossess education. On the other hand the US has a long history of letting people “start over” and indentured servitude is just a bad public policy. Better to let people start fresh.

    The bigger issue is people going to school for 6 years and obtaining a degree that has no job prospects capable of paying off the required debt (i.e. humanities degrees). I have a hard time forgiving 100k+ of debt for a person who somehow thought that the BA in Philosophy or Business was going to get them a job capable of paying it back.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The bigger issue is people going to school for 6 years and obtaining a degree that has no job prospects capable of paying off the required debt (i.e. humanities degrees). I have a hard time forgiving 100k+ of debt for a person who somehow thought that the BA in Philosophy or Business was going to get them a job capable of paying it back.

    Except that they’re being told that it will in fact get them a job capable of paying it back the entire time that they’re in the public education system. Other people are getting screwed because when they entered it was a great field, but that changed in the four years that it took to complete their degree (or in the extra period of time because their field requires a masters or doctorate level degree to get any work).

    jimsf Reply:

    Just a reminder… getting and education isn’t about getting a job, its about being well educated. Only recently has it become a matter of “give us tens of thousands of dollars to buy your way into a career”

    Treating higher education as nothing more than a pay to play program diminishes its real value.

    Today we have jounalists who can’t spell or write, broadcasters who can’t speak properly, college grads who can’t read a map, and a popualtion in this county, who for the most part could not identify north, south, east, or west if you asked them on the street, regardless of their degree or career.

    AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD Would someone tell the bimbos in cable broadcasting to stop using adjectives instead of adverbs to describe verbs.

    joe Reply:

    “ndentured servitude is just a bad public policy. Better to let people start fresh. ”
    My exact concern.

    “Just a reminder… getting and education isn’t about getting a job, its about being well educated. Only recently has it become a matter of “give us tens of thousands of dollars to buy your way into a career””

    Hey – I taught college and agree. College is where the customers argue about getting the least for their money.
    Is this map stuff you talked about going to be on the next test?

    “…because their field requires a masters or doctorate level degree to get any work).”
    Yes, as the competition for jobs increases, the certification barrier increases. So too does the debt.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You guys must have gotten a different education than me, in engineering it has always been about getting an education to get a career, Would you really want to drive over a bridge designed by a hpguy who didn’t take statics. Or electronics designed by a guy who does not know the imaginary number?

    I’m not sure how readings. Map or knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (so you can identify the campus points) equates to education

    jimsf Reply:

    because if you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground you’re just an idiot.
    I don’t feel bad about not understanding quantum mechanics, but i’d be really embarrassed if I needed a gps to find my way from sacramento to redding.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Funny. I feel exactly the opposite. I feel bad I have forgotten a lot of differential equations because I don’t use it, but using a GPS or calling AAA to change a tire doesn’t bother me at all

    Now my father, on the other hand, he believes exactly what you belive. Hence I was educated to do those things and so much more to be “a fully functioning human being”. I think it is generational

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I wouldn’t classify philosophy (liberal arts) and business (supposedly career training, but realistically a not too useful gut major) together.

    Anyway, for me education has always been about getting a career, it’s just that this career was always meant to be academic. But I’m in that small minority of people who knew exactly what they wanted to do in life when they were 11 or 12, so I don’t think I’m very representative of the average.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    philosophy and buisness are the top 2 BA majors in the US. That is why I used them.

    Education should be about getting a career for everyone. If you are already established and just want to learn for learnings sake then fine, but dont complain about the cost. It is now a hobby, not a productive activity.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’ll be surprised how much money you can make with a medieval history degree if you got it from Harvard. If the working class starts flooding STEM fields, you’ll see the upper class start to devalue them, same way we’re already seeing a devaluation of education by white men who are outcompeted by Asians in STEM and women elsewhere.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Electronics R&D – most technology R&D for that matter – is global. Both Asia and Europe easily match North America in most technologies, and at most levels. Look at the people in our labs – they’re from all over, and they have equally good labs where they come from. Whether it’s universities, or national research labs, or technology companies, science and technology have spread out across the world in the years since 1964. This is a good development and I hope the US can stay in the game.

    joe Reply:

    Our advantage is cultural. Researchers can come here, our urban areas and California in particular, and be accepted. Many of our top researchers are foreign born and some even foreign educated – a good fraction stay and eventually become citizens.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    See joe, we agree. They may have been born all over the world but they come here

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Many of our top researchers are foreign born and some even foreign educated

    Foreign and even educated? Hard to imagine.

    Next thing you know you’ll be starting to suspect that “many top researchers” are Jewish.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You took it there Richard, my point was the US immigration policy and acceptance of immigrants has been good for the country in the past, now, and going forward. Not all comments about foreign people have a negative agenda

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Hey John, those weren’t your words. I don’t agree with 80% of what you write, but it’s clear that there is (wrong-headed!) thinking behind your words, and you didn’t write that particular piece of nonsense.

    joe Reply:

    The prejudicial mind gravitates to race and religion quickly.

    Maybe you can calk it up tos gilroylogic, another prejudicial tendency of yours to use place of residence as invective.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m guessing you’ve never been pulled aside and told you have no rights and “we don’t need to tell you anything, you’re not an American citizen” at a US airport.

    Seriously, do you know how much hassle it takes to get a visa if you’re not already from a developed country? It’s way easier in Europe or in Canada; there are more Chinese students in the EU than in the US as of a few years ago.

    (Pro-tip, by the way: fly through Canada with pre-clearance. Takes minutes and they barely check anything.)

    jimsf Reply:

    I have to agree here. My husband ( guatemalan) is here with asylum and stuck in limbo. Its taken many many years and we can’t even get a basic missing document let alone a green card, and being married doesn’t help at all either. I recently went to the immigration/homeland security with him to apply for a simple document and the guy there was flat our rude and accusatory from word one. He treated him like shit until I spoke up that we were married and changed his attitude with the threat of a discrimination lawsuit ( they are still grappling with the orders from the administration and the elimination of DOMA)

    The system is really beyond fucked up and the people who work there are like little napoleans.

    If you latino, you are assumed to be criminal. I was really shocked by the nasty, condescending attitude.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am a white middle aged male US born citizen with no accent and I have been pulled aside for inspections at airports at least a half dozen times. Once in SF for a whole search including taken to another private room and grope the privates search. It’s just security, it’s not personal

    Alon Levy Reply:

    We’re not talking about the same thing. The TSA are indeed assholes to everyone. There’s a program that lets you through without taking off your shoes that’s available to people the TSA decides are low-risk, and one of the requirements is US or Canadian citizenship; however it’s meant to be available only to very frequent travelers, and I imagine the percentage of people with this privilege is very small. However, immigration and police services are distinctly assholish to non-Americans. If they think you’re a terrorist, you may be deported to a totalitarian country to be tortured. If your fingerprints come up with a criminal record, they can detain you without telling you why; if the reason you have a record is that the cops accidentally swapped your fingerprints with the fingerprints of an actual criminal, as happened to a friend of mine, then tough luck. Said friend took a while to convince them that there was a mistake, that he’s Pakistani where the person they were looking for was Irish.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ireland was fairly lousy with terrorists for decades. There are a few conclusions that could be drawn from that.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Irish guy in question was not a terrorist, just an ordinary thug who was wanted for assault. My Pakistani friend got in a bar brawl with him a few years before the assault incident in question; both got arrested and released shortly, but the cops accidentally swapped the fingerprints.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So it’s their fault the police in Ireland fucked up?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They don’t match the US, they buy from the US, it’s the difference. Why are Amazon, Google, Boeing, Apple, Intel, etc. all US companies?

    It’s also not a zero sum game. I am not arguing that other pros are not innovative also, just that the US is no less innovative than they were in the past

    joe Reply:

    First inventing and innovating are different.

    An innovation is not an invention. Innovating is taking an invention and modifying or improving it.
    Microsoft common claims they innovate – take ideas and copy them such that are are better solutions.

    I think you really mean inventions – like the transistor. But if you mean innovations then the point is we are not inventing but making better solutions using other inventions.

    Me? I’d look at patents filed since the 50s and the fraction that are US and non-US.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i mean both. And patents would be the worst possible measure of both. out of a 100 patents these days maybe 1 shows real invention. The rest are just filed to extort money at a later date. The patent system needs reform, but that is a different discussion.

    Microsoft bought an invention from someone else (BASIC) and turned it into the largest software company in the world. It might be the best example of innovation in the history of the world. But the invention was also made in the US.

    In old economy, the invention was very important. The fax machine, the copy machine, the telephone, etc. In the modern economy, it is more innovation on the inventions. Who can make the best cell phone, who can make the best computing device, who can make the best communication software. The US excels at both, but innovation is the more important trait at the moment.

    Can we go back to the original comment, however. Can we agree that while it may be different than in the past, the US has lots of innovation today? We will just disagree on if that innovation is in the right areas (internet vs. rails).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not really.

    Most of the big companies like Microsoft and Apple are busy locking up patents by court cases or M and A than by building the next Bell Labs. It is because most of those big players have retiring Baby Boomer leadership that isn’t thinking more than 5 years ahead.

    Eric Reply:

    Boeing is not a great example, it’s not noticeably more successful than Airbus in Europe. And every other company on your list is from Silicon Valley. I might conclude that most of America is a horrible business environment, since outside Silicon Valley the US appears to have produced absolutely no innovation. Or we could just agree that Silicon Valley is sui generis and not an indicator of a country’s innovation in general.

    Eric Reply:

    And if you point to Texas Instruments or Microsoft – I’ll point to Nokia, Waze, TSMC, and many others from outside the US.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There can be more than 1 innovative country, I did not say the US was the only one, or even the most (although I believe that). I said the US was as innovative now as in the past

    James in PA Reply:

    3M is a world leading expert company on practically everything to do with thin films. They are not silicon, aerospace or automotive.
    General Electric is a very strong and capable company. A significant part being aerospace.
    Caterpillar. Leviton seems like a great mid-size company.
    Many countries would love to have just one of the strong U.S. corporations.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Boeing is a great example. It does not take 4 countries with constant subsidies to keep Boeing going. Airbus is not a company, it is a jobs program.

    I live in Silicon Valley so they are the companies that come to mind when I think off the top of my head. But there are innovative companies across the country.

    Why do you think the US has the biggest economy and a high standard of living? Because we have bad companies?

    jimsf Reply:

    No actually its because we are very lucky to have inherited the right place, ( a land of abuandant natural riches) at the right time ( just prior to the industrial revolution) and then we were able to use those atvantages to become a superpower during world war two, and then benfited by being the only ones left with leftover industrial might, while the rest of the world had to rebuild. That carried us through the next 50 years. We’ve been coasting on those “fumes” for the last 30 years which is why wages have remained flat for 30 years, and our infrastucture has been allowed to crumble and in fact we are no longer able as a nation to join together to accomplish anything whether its winning a war, building a new railroad, or even waiving a big national dick.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really…accomplish nothing? I’m not even going to bother to argue with you. We will just agree to disagree

    jimsf Reply:

    you missed the part where I said “made good use of that luck”

    Joey Reply:

    If by “inherited” you mean “violently took from the previous occupants,” then yes, we inherited it.

    jimsf Reply:

    When the first bunch of americans came over, they nearly starved and froze to death inspite of their “mad skills”
    Later on, the southern half of the coloines used slavery to build their industrial base.
    Then we lucked out and got a nice deal from the French on some real estate that doubled the size of the country.
    From east to west we found ourselves with a nation sitting on top of coal oil natural gas gold and silver among other things soil, timber, wildlife, rivers and lakes, two oceans and the gulf)

    Most of that was a lucky head start. Of course americans were very industrious and made good use of that luck but had we not been so lucky gaining those resources it would be a different story.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Right Jim, it was all luck. Nothing was earned. Nothing to do with forward thinking politics. Not hard work, not ingenuity, just luck. Technological advancement…just luck. Advances in agriculture, transportation, medicine, industry…all just luck. The only country capable of fighting a full 2 front world war and win it, just luck.

    Interesting question? Europe and the Middle East had a 1000-2000 year head start and the USA caught up and surpassed them in about 200 years. Really just all luck?

    PS, the first people over where by definition not Americans, they were Europeans. The Native Americans had no issues

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The South didn’t build an industrial base which is part of the reason they lost the war. They built an agricultural base.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It takes a lot of defense contracts and Japanese rent-seeking, though. The 787’s partly built in Japan in order to get JAL to buy it instead of the 350.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so its a bad company because it is diverse and global?

    I know you are intelligent enough to know that Airbus isnt a company at all Alon, it is a jobs program that will never be profitable. They even tried to turn it into a defense contractor and they cant even build a tanker. Its embarrassing.

    It can be argued that Boeing is the only company to ever make money in the airline industry since all the carriers declare bankruptcy every 10-20 years or so. Maybe Boeing and Southwest at this point. I would say that is a pretty good company.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, it’s a bad company because it relies on rent-seeking. It doesn’t build plants in Japan because it’s cheaper or because the workers there have exceptional skills that justify the added costs of a new factory; it builds plants in Japan to turn itself into a Japanese jobs program in order to get subsidies. It’s doing what Airbus is doing, on a smaller scale.

    Airbus is still getting more civilian subsidies than Boeing – Airbus doesn’t have anything like the actually profitable Everett factory (the A380 is still years from breaking even on development costs). But Airbus doesn’t have the huge military subsidies that Boeing gets, which let it share research and development expertise with its nominally unsubsidized civilian program.

    But Airbus could totally build a tanker. It’s competent enough to build the A380; don’t think for a second that it couldn’t build a tanker. It’s just at a huge disadvantage because US defense contracts are subject to Buy American, so Airbus would have to build a new plant in the US, at enormous up-front cost. This, for example, is why Airbus decided against bidding on the contract for the new Air Force One. It’s also an example for why neo-liberals push hard against Buy American and similar acts of protectionism: the rules guarantee that Boeing will be the only bidder for the new Air Force One, which eliminates competition and drives up costs, which will go straight to Boeing’s coffers. Airbus is of course at an advantage on its home turf, but European military spending is much lower than American military spending, so this advantage isn’t as great.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Airbus tried to be a military contractor…they just suck at it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A400M_Atlas

    They can’t build a transport without billions in losses even with built in subsidies.

    And I would not bring up plant locations. Boeing may build plants in Japan to curry favor, but Airbus has plants all over Europe with no rhyme or reason to try and by the affections of the whole continent.

    Why are you not complaining about the “buy Europe” standard that the French lead and the others follow? Boeing has a fine array of transports with proven track records but they commissioned airbus to build one just so they could say it was a Europe plane. Same with the Eurofighter. Same result, inferior plane behind schedule.

    I am no fan of Buy American, I think we should buy the best available from anywhere but buy Europe is 10 times worse and even with that advantage and the subsidies Airbus is still an also ran

    joe Reply:

    Airbus tried to be a military contractor…they just suck at it.

    So does Boeing – F-22
    and LMCo – F-35

    JB in PA Reply:

    As an aerospace engineer since 1985 and having closely followed the Boeing and Airbus competition with great interest, I fully agree with John Nachtiball’s comments.
    Even Airbus is admitting they are challenged to sort out the A400M foreign sales price in relation to the billions the program has gone over budget. The Euro nations tend to look down on anything to do with US aerospace at the same time as the desperately try to copy it and consistently end up years late and over budget. The Euro magazine FlightGlobal lays it out clearly. They are like FOX News in the way they spin words and images to praise Euro products and criticize and make look bad US products.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Sorry for the typo,
    John Nachtigall

    joe Reply:

    From what little I know, the Airbus approach to software seems very advanced. I don’t know thr A400M.

    As for cost overruns, what’s Boeing’s break even point for the 787?

    For manufacturing – they are selling at a loss no? http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2013/05/21/boeing-bleeding-cash-as-787-dreamliners-cost-200m-but-sell-for-116m-but-productivity-is-improving/

    The investment to R&D and design the plane is another hill they have to climb.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Making a plane is a challenge. Boeing had the secret sauce for the 777 (great plane, on time, under budget), then screwed it up by outsourcing the 787 causing delays (great plane eventually, over time, over budget). But in the end, after they work out the bugs, the 777, 787, F-22 and F-35 (which as you said is Lockheed) will both work and make money for the companies. So that is 2 out of 3 (They work, Usually miss schedule, high profit)

    Airbus does not “make money” most of its planes eventually work but they only exist to allow Europe to say they are “Buying Europe” and provide jobs. They lose money every year and on every plan except maybe the 330. They have 1 out of 3 ( they work, miss schedule, no profit).

    But even if you think Airbus is a great company, that does not make Boeing a bad company. They are 1 of only 2 companies in the world that can make a modern jetliner from scratch. I would say that is pretty innovative.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, the US outspends the EU about 2.5 to 1 on military, so American protectionism is more significant when it comes to military contracts.

    And yes, Boeing is one of two companies that can make an exportable widebody from scratch… but Airbus is the other. (There are more companies that can make narrow-bodies, led by Bombardier and Embraer.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because the US is a big and rich country. Japan has its Panasonics, Hitachis, and Kawasakis, too.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You’re forgetting that the Apollo program was nothing more than nationalistic dick-waving on an astronomical scale.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you say it like it is a bad thing. bringing a nation together for a common project is a good thing.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Putin loves you, John.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I don’t love Putin back.

    You are confusing the tactic with the intent and use,

    When FDR and Churchill brought together their nations for a common purpose it was a good thing. FDR actually did it twice (depression and war), he was a master at it

    Pulling a country together behind a science project is a hell of a lot better than many of the other alternatives. There is nothing wrong with the tactic, it is just sometimes used for evil

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As I recall, FDR’s bringing together the nation still led him to pull back on the New Deal in 1937, triggering a new recession.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Taper?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, not taper; sudden pullback because of deficit concerns.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Common projects good, nationalistic dick-waving bad.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you think the propaganda the Allies during WWII was a bad thing?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Nationalistic dick waving? Yes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    ok, well that is consistent. I would argue that nationalistic dick waving was necessary, but I suppose that is a different discussion.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And infrastructure stimulus is contractor welfare.

    jonathan Reply:

    Only if you give the stimulus contracts to corporate-welfare-addict companies.

    “Oops…..”

    Larry Scheib Reply:

    if we could only shoot Denham and Vidak to the moon.

  2. morris brown
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 15:57
    #2

    @ Robert

    You write:

    The project would indeed have received that federal money had Denham not done everything in his power to stop it. Congress was all set to commit a lot more than $4 billion until Denham and his Tea Party allies seized control of the House of Representatives in 2011. If Democrats retook the House this fall, they would indeed authorize new federal HSR funds in 2015.

    Where is the world do you have any evidence to support this statement? Is your evidence, this is what Nancy Polosi says will happen?.

    There are many other members of congress opposed to granting California any further funding for this project. The Democrats could not ever keep in a “placeholder” amount of $100 million in a funding bill, much less billions.

    BTW, your head seems to be stuck in the sand; nobody of any reputation is saying the GOP will lose the house this fall. Rather the attention has swung to whether the GOP can get control of the Senate as well.

    Joe Reply:

    Shorter Mortis Brown”
    Where is the evidence the opposition to HSR funding stopped HSR funding.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You can’t stop something that never existed in the first place. There was never any promise at to the federal level to fund HSR. Not a single dollar has been taken away from the project. They ASSUMED they would get funding. That was an incorrect assumption. The Feds never promised funding

    joe Reply:

    Friday before 7 PM and you’re already drunk.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    believe it or not joe, I dont drink. Its a medical condition. My posts are 100% sober.

  3. morris brown
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 16:01
    #3

    Sorry to have to re-do my comment above.

    @ Robert

    You write:

    The project would indeed have received that federal money had Denham not done everything in his power to stop it. Congress was all set to commit a lot more than $4 billion until Denham and his Tea Party allies seized control of the House of Representatives in 2011. If Democrats retook the House this fall, they would indeed authorize new federal HSR funds in 2015.

    Where is the world do you have any evidence to support this statement? Is your evidence, this is what Nancy Polosi says will happen?. Saying another $4 billion was coming from the Feds is akin to saying that private investment is about to happen any day (been hearing that for 4 years)

    There are many other members of congress opposed to granting California any further funding for this project. The Democrats could not ever keep in a “placeholder” amount of $100 million in a funding bill, much less billions.

    BTW, your head seems to be stuck in the sand; nobody of any reputation is saying the GOP will lose the house this fall. Rather the attention has swung to whether the GOP can get control of the Senate as well.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The 4 billion number was in the House proposed budget for FY 11 which was not picked up by the Senate.

    The main issue holding back more HSR is not the Tea Party Congress but GOP governors who dismantled HSR plans in their states and turned HSR into a program with only regional appeal. I suspect to get a highway reauthorization fix that the GOP will allow HSR funding in exchange for some other revenue solution.

  4. Reality Check
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 16:09
    #4

    Caltrain electrification draft environmental impact report (DEIR) released

    Palo Alto Weekly story:
    Caltrain plan would fell trees, add substations
    Agency’s new Environmental Impact Report analyzes the costs and benefits of long-planned electrification

    San Mateo Daily Journal story:
    Caltrain electrification on track: Draft environmental impact report released for modernization plans

    San Francisco Examiner story:
    Caltrain releases environmental report for electrification project

    San Jose Mercury story:
    Caltrain releases draft report on rail electrification project

    Although the so-called blended rail approach was intended to placate Peninsula residents and officials who feared that installation of additional tracks would lead to the seizure of private property, critics of high-speed rail still abound.

    Regardless, half of the $1.5 billion needed for the Caltrain electrification project will come from state funds that voters approved for high-speed rail because bullet trains require electrified tracks.

    Even without high speed rail in the picture, Caltrain officials expect some public push-back against the electrification plan.

    To electrify the 51-mile stretch of tracks, Caltrain will need to install poles at least 30 feet high with overhead wires alongside them. Caltrain also will need to build two substations — one in South San Francisco and the other in San Jose — as well as several smaller stations along the line.

    As many as 2,200 trees along the route will need to be removed and 3,600 pruned to make way for the poles, according to Caltrain. No trees can be planted or structures built within 10 feet of the electrical poles, for safety reasons.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    There are at least two designs to support the electrical wires with both requiring 23-foot poles in 200-foot intervals, Lee said.

  5. Reality Check
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 16:37
    #5

    Caltrain Electrification Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How will freight be affected?

    A: Freight will be able to use the Caltrain corridor but with the waiver Caltrain has from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to operate the EMUs, freight would have additional restricted operational hours. It should be noted that the FRA is currently in a rulemaking process for “Alternative
    Compliant Vehicles” that is relevant to the EMUs in the Proposed Project. It is Caltrain’s understanding that when the rule is in place, the additional restrictions on operations hours may not be necessary.

  6. David M
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 19:21
    #6

    DeSaulnier’s comment about CAHSR costing as much as $350B came in the introduction to a hearing regarding the Bay Bridge that took place in November.

    I googled previous references to that amount and found only one earlier than the hearing date. It was in a comment section, written by (drumroll…) Davide Flores!

    DeSaulnier is having an open house tomorrow, I may ask him for his source.

    David M Reply:

    He got $350B by extrapolating from $68B based on Flyvbjerg’s infrastructure cost overrun studies, not on any other information from the project itself.

    jonathan Reply:

    Gosh. And who’s the CEO of CHSRA? Is it the same person who oversaw the cost overruns on the new Eastern span of the Bay Bridge? Why, *yes it is*!

  7. jonathan
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 20:29
    #7

    OT: Illinois Department of Transportation rejects Caterpillar’s protest against Siemens winning the five-state contract for 32 125mi/hr locomotives:

    http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-467482/

    Siemens winning the contract is final.

  8. Reality Check
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 21:22
    #8

    Uh-oh, Chapter 2: Project Description of the Caltrain Electrification DEIR says 30-minute SF-SJ is achievable as required by Prop. 1A …

    Footnote 10 beneath section 2.3.10 “Relation to the High-Speed Rail Project” on page 2-20 reads:

    As described in Section 4.1, Cumulative Impacts, the cumulative analysis in this EIR presumes speeds for Blended Service up to 110 mph because the blended system has been simulated by Caltrain at speeds of up to 110 mph and shown to be viable. In addition, CHSRA has confirmed that with speeds up to 110 mph, a 30-minute express travel time can be achieved between San Jose and San Francisco as required by Prop 1A (CHSRA 2013). If it is determined to be necessary to analyze speeds greater than 110 mph in the future, additional simulations will be performed to understand the viability and implications of the 100 to 125 mph speed range identified by CHSRA in the 2012 Partially Revised Program EIR (CHSRA 2012d). If speeds beyond 110 mph are ultimately proposed by CHSRA for the Caltrain corridor, they will be evaluated in the separate environmental document for HST service on the San Francisco Peninsula.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well then. There you have it. Lots of hoopla over nothing.

    jonathan Reply:

    In addition, CHSRA has confirmed that with speeds up to 110 mph, a 30-minute express travel time can be achieved between San Jose and San Francisco as required by Prop 1A (CHSRA 2013).

    They’re lying. PB’s own simulation with a 110mi/hr limit showed 32 minutes. (The 30;22 simulation — the one where passengers jump out of a moving train at San Jose, the on Joe loves — was with a 125mi/hr maximum speed. ) And that 32 minutes is “pedal to the metal” all the way, with Caltrain “getitng out of the way”. Somehow, CHSA had PB remove that simulation from the draft memo. See the records CARRD provided.

    A realistic simulation with a 110mi/hr maximum speed shows a *service* time, from TBT and *stopping* at San Jose, of approximately … 42 minutes, adding the extra 2 mins (delta between 110 simuilation and 125 simulation, to Clem’s time).

    Here are some simulation times: 30:22, 32+. Which is the “maximum”?

    jimsf Reply:

    It doesn’t say the pax have to get off the train. just the travel time for the train to reach san jose.

    jonathan Reply:

    No,jimsf, the law says *service* time. What kind of a n SF-SJ “service* doesn’t let passengers get on or off??

    Too many people here are letting their desires blind them to words written down in black and white.

    Alan Reply:

    And some people are letting their obsession blind them to the fact that the words they see are *not* written down in black and white…

    jonathan Reply:

    “Service” is indeed written, in black and white, into AB 3034 Section 2704.09.

    [...]
    Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
    shall not exceed the following: [....]

    Anyone who says otherwise sn’t, is a liar. And, again, it doesn’t _matter_ if a train rushing through SJsaves 40 secs over a train that stops at SJ. The law limits the *maximum* time. So a train leaving SF and stopping at SJ — or a train leaving SJ from a stop, and stopping in SF — *also* has to have a service travel time under 30 minutes. See what that word *maximum” means? The very best-case time, 30:22, is only relevant if the law constrains the *MINIMUM* service time. But the law constrains the *MAXIMUM* service time.

    Alan Reply:

    No, Jonny, you’re the liar. You cherry pick your quotes to make it appear that the law requires that the service *actually be operated* at those times. You ignore the phrase, “shall be designed to achieve”, which is a key phrase in that section. It differentiates design goals, which is what the section discusses, from actual operating practices, which it does not. Two very different things, but you’re trying to read one into the other.

    You’re also lying when you imply that the courts even have jurisdiction to hear a case concerning the design standards. The law established the peer review panel to review the plans. That’s it. You can have all the wet dreams you want about a judge riding in on a white horse and stopping the project based on your perception of the design flaws, but it’s not going to happen.

    You’ve also got yourself worked up into such a lather that you don’t even realize what you’re writing: “a train … and stopping in SF…” If the train doesn’t stop in SF, what the hell is it going to do? Burst out of the tunnel and fly to Marin? Do you think that ANY of us even think for a moment that a northbound train WILL NOT STOP IN SAN FRANCISCO? You do realize that SF is at the end of a peninsula, don’t you? You’re so obsessed that you don’t realize the illogic of what you’re writing, and that makes you even less credible. If it’s possible to be less credible than zero.

    Finally, you don’t even try to explain how a court could possibly even make a decision now, based on designs which are nowhere close to being complete. The law doesn’t care about simulations or design *concepts*. Just the actual *design*. So, how about it? Explain to us, O Knowledgable Oracle, how a court can rule on something which does not yet exist?

    jonathan Reply:

    No, Alan, i am *not* lying. You, however, have a very poor grasp of facts.

    You need to review the State of California’s constitution regarding where Californians have legal redress If you were right, that Californians cannot sue to block the Authority, then Judge Kenny would have tossed out Tos &c’ case. the Supreme Court could have summarily overturned Judge Kenny. the Appeals court could have summarily overturned Judge Kenny. They didn’t, and Judge Kenny is now deciding whether to hear Tos &c’s challenge that CHSRA’s design does not meet the speed requirements in AB 3034 , 2704.09.

    Regarding “shall be designed to achieve”: those words carry no more weight, and no less weight, than “maximum”, “service time”, and “shall not exceed”. No more and no less.

    And when it comes to arguing that “operational” isues are outside the design: grow up, and stop parroting poor semi-literate Joe. It is a simple fact that CHSRA has acknolwedged that Caltrain (JPB) owns the Caltrain corridor, and thet Caltrain (JPB) sets the rules whereby HSR can use the Peninsula Corridor. The Authority accepts that *Caltrain* sets the rules for use of the “blended” Corridor, not the Authority.

    I’ll try and keep this to words of not more than two syllables. When the Authority accepts the “Blended” plan, and Caltrain’s authority over the Peninsula corridor, then the “blended” plan beocmes part of the *design*. Part of the *DESIGN*.

    it is part of the *design* of the “blended” plan, that there are limited slots for trains on the Peninsula. it is part of the *design* that Caltrain sets the operating speed on the Peninsula. HSR cannot run at whatever speed it wants’ HSR has to fit in between Caltrain trains.
    I repeat, that is part of the *DESIGN* of the “Blended” plan.

    Or, to put it in terms that even you and Joe should be able to understand: you can quibble about “operational choices” of how an HSR operator operates *HSR trains*. But you can’t quibble about Caltrain operations, because the HSR Authority has accepted Caltrain’s constraints as *part of the design*.

    Limited slots on the Peninsula, and a ruling speed limited by how fast Caltrain trains run, is *part of the DESIGN* of the “Blended” system. in exactly the same way that limited speeds uphill, or downhill, are a limit of the *design* of a system which climbs up and down hills.

    Let’s try a counterfactual. Suppose the Authority continued with a quad-tracked plan for the Penisula, with segregated-and-unequal HSR and Caltrain tracks. That’s a different *DESIGN*, with different *CONSTRAINTS*. HSR no longer has to fit HSR trains between Caltrain train-slots, because that’s *PART OF THE DESIGN*. Now, drop the counterfactual: the Authority has agreed to the “Blended” Plan, and accepts that Caltrain controls the Corridor. Now HSR trains have to fit between consecutive Caltrain trains. That is a constraint of the “Blended” *DESIGN*.

    And as far as the independent review panel: do *read* what they wrote. They state that PB’s simulation is based on assumptions, and that those may change as the design proceeds. Also note that the independent review panel reviewed *WHAT CHSRA SENT THEM*. They did not review the draft memos, which have important content which was mysteriously removed before the final public version. That removed content shows, clearly and unmistakably, that the Authority’s “assumptions” *WERE ALREADY INVALID*, and that *THE AUTHORITY KNEW THAT*.

    You’ve also got yourself worked up into such a lather that you don’t even realize what you’re writing: “a train … and stopping in SF…” If the train doesn’t stop in SF, what the hell is it going to do? Burst out of the tunnel and fly to Marin?

    No, it’s going to crash. I suggest you look up the phrase “reductio ad absurdum”.
    The only way that PB could meet the Authority’s requirement to get SF-Sj times under half an hour, iin the Northbound direction is to have every nonstop SJ-SF train crash horribly in SF.

    *That* should tell you how totally bogus is Frank Vacca’s claim, that the “Blended” system meets the requirement of Prop 1A. But I guess that’s too subtle for you.

    But it also gets to the root of the problem: people like you, and Joe, and Frank Vacca, keep treating the trip-time requirements in Prop 1A as if they put a requirement on the *minimum* time. Whereas, in fact, they put a requirement on the *maximum* time. So the relevant time, for prop 1A purposes, is not the trip-time of a southbound train which blasts through SJ; it’s the *longer* trip-time of a train which starts from a stop, and ends at a stop.

    Here are two times: 30;22 and 31:00 (30+ seconds to come to a stop at San Jose, rather than blasting through at maximum-allowed speed). Tell me which is the maxmum of those two times.
    And you wonder why I observe that you and Joe can’t distinguish “minimum” and “maximum”…..!

    Alan Reply:

    Oh, Jonny, so many lies that you’re spewing, where does one begin?

    OK, the California Constitution. Article 3, Section 5 reads, in full: “Suits may be brought against the State in such manner and in such courts as shall be directed by law.”

    Now, Jonny, tell us, in your inimitable manner, specifically where the law directs the manner in which suits may be brought against the High Speed Rail Authority? We know that in this case, “in such courts” means the Superior Court of Sacramento County, because the Public Utilities Code tells us so. But do tell where the law creates a cause of action for private parties? Do try to read and comprehend the Constitution before you try to use it to support your (mistaken) views.

    Fact: There is nothing in either SHC Chapter 20 or the Public Utilities Code which creates a private cause of action against the Authority. And Jonny, hallucinating about it will not make it so. Have you noticed that Laurel and Hardy have not based their claim on any cause of action created by Prop 1A? They haven’t, because even they know that they can’t. CCP 526a is their only hope, and it’s so weak it’s almost non-existent.

    There’s no question that Judge Kenny should not have heard the Tos case at all, because Tos had no standing to do so. The Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on anything yet except to remand the matter to the court of appeals, and the question of standing is not yet before that court. I’m sure that Laurel and Hardy will appeal once the 526a action is shot down. Judge Kenny has not, as you pointed out, even ruled on the matter of whether or not the 526a action can proceed.

    “Regarding “shall be designed to achieve”: those words carry no more weight, and no less weight, than “maximum”, “service time”, and “shall not exceed”. No more and no less.”

    If that’s true, why do you keep avoiding that phrase? Because to Jonny, the playground bully, things are only important when he says they’re important.

    And once again, you ducked the question about how a lawsuit challenging the design of something can proceed when the design is not finished. Here’s another fact: The Authority is issuing “design-build” contracts for the construction of the system. There has been no such contract awarded for the SF-SJ section, therefore, that section has not been designed.

    You simply do not understand the difference between “concept” and “design”. “Concept” is the broader view of a project; the stage we’re at on the Peninsula right now. The JPB’s policies may enter into the concept as it stands today, but the concept is not yet a design. A “design” is detailed enough that you can give a piece of it to the guy on a bulldozer, and he’ll know what he has to do.

    You can blather on about the JPB’s policies as they stand today, but the fact remains that they may not be the policies a year or even 6 months from now. Jerry and the Legislature could easily amend SB1029 to provide that Caltrain gets none of the electrification money unless they agree to allow their line to be upgraded for 125mph service. If they *really* wanted to play hardball, the Legislature could remind the JPB that–as even SamTrans admits–the majority of the funds that bought the Caltrain line from SP were actually sourced from statewide Prop 116 funding–so in reality, the people of the entire state are the majority owners of the line, and the Legislature could assert that position. Remember, he who writes the checks holds all the cards.

    And Jonny, please let us know when you’re going to go into court and try to claim that the Authority’s plan for proving their design actually includes crashing the trains at Transbay. It’s not all that often that we get to hear judges falling on the floor laughing.

    Finally, Jonny, if you’re gonna use the fancy WordPress quoting power, please use it properly. In your last blockquote, you attribute the last 4 paragraphs to me, when it’s really your verbal diarreah. Do be more careful about that.

    jonathan Reply:

    Regarding “shall be designed to achieve”: those words carry no more weight, and no less weight, than “maximum”, “service time”, and “shall not exceed”. No more and no less.”

    If that’s true, why do you keep avoiding that phrase?

    I don’t avoid that phrase. I have spent some time and effort explaining to you that the compronosies and constraints of the “Blended” design are exactly that: *Constraints of the Design*.

    Finally, Jonny, if you’re gonna use the fancy WordPress quoting power, please use it properly.

    manually typing &amp blockquote > is “fancy WordPress quoting power? ROTFLMAO.
    Appealint to formatting errors, due to a sucky user-interface with no preview feature:
    that’s *got* to be the last refuge of the incompetent.

    And once again, you ducked the question about how a lawsuit challenging the design of something can proceed when the design is not finished. The Authority is issuing “design-build” contracts for the construction of the system. There has been no such contract awarded for the SF-SJ section, therefore, that section has not been designed.

    Stupid fool. The Authority is not designing or building the “Caltrain Modernisation” program on which the Authority has commited Prop 1A HSR funds. Tat’s a key part of the “blended” system.

    And thank you for making my point for me. While the Authority’s design of the “blended” system has not progressed very far., the Authority’s *OWN SIMULATIONS* show that under the very best-case assupmtions, — inadmissable assumptoins — it’s *IMPOSSIBLE* to make SF-Sj in 30 minutes. *IMPOSSIBLE*. Already shown. Frank Vacca’s memo claims that the Authority did so; but they Authority only got to 30 min 22 seconds by *not stopping* at San Jose, and by assuming a maximum speed of 125 mi/hr on the Peninsula. Caltrain has *already* stated that they’re only upgrading *Their* corridor to 110 mi/hr.

    Add at least 30 secs for slowing to a stop in San Jose. Add *AT LEAST* two minutes — per CHSRA’s own simulations, the 110moh max-speed simulatoin in the draft available at CARRD – and you get a *minimum* time of *AT LEAST* 33 minutes. And again, in the earlier draft, available at CARRD — PB states clearly and unambiguously that their simuation shows the “best” time that can be achieved. It’s a best-case *minimum* time, not a maximum.

    CARRD points out that even Parsons Brinckerhoff would not state that the design meets the requirements of Prop 1A. Frank Vacca was forced to state that in a cover letter, after the 110 mph simulation and the wording about “best case” were mysteriously removed.

    If you care about the actual *facts*, you can follow all this at CARRD’s website:
    http://www.calhsr.com/uncategorized/negotiation-over-a-few-small-words/

    Are you seriously telling us all here, that those facts mean *nothing* to you?

    ou can blather on about the JPB’s policies as they stand today, but the fact remains that they may not be the policies a year or even 6 months from now. Jerry and the Legislature could easily amend SB1029 to provide that Caltrain gets none of the electrification money unless they agree to allow their line to be upgraded for 125mph service

    Utterly irrelevant to whether the *current* plans, for spending Prop 1A HSR funds on the Peninsula, actually meet the requrements of Prop 1A.

    And do note, Mr. Ignore-Inconvenient-Facts, that the Legsilature has *already voted* on this issue. See the “Peninsual Protections Act”, SB 557, 2013.

    And Jonny, please let us know when you’re going to go into court and try to claim that the Authority’s plan for proving their design actually includes crashing the trains at Transbay. It’s not all that often that we get to hear judges falling on the floor laughing.

    learn to read for comprehension, Alan. *Do* go look up “reductio ad absurdum”. The point isn’t that the Authority should crash the trains into he buffers at Transbay. The point is that timing a train which blasts through San Jose is absurd.

    And, may I state for the record: I’m *SO* glad you agree that the relevant terminus is Transbay.
    You *do* realize that that adds another 3 min 30 seconds to all the Authority’s bullshit simluations? That the Authority’s simulationn is not Transbay-to-SJ; its 4th-&-King to SJ?

    Go, on, Alan. Add those 3 mins 30 secs to the Authority’ times. (Both the 110mi/hr times and the 125 mi/r times). You are finally making my point for me.

    Of those times, 30:22, 32, 34, 35, which is the maximum? Go on, tell us which you think the maximum is.

    *Now* do you begin to understand????

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, bugger. My quoting of “begin-blockquote and “end-blockquote” didn’t work.
    Robert, *when* are you going to introduce a preview mechanism????

    But, at last with a decent browser, the dashed-lines indicate the actual quotations.
    My apologies for that formatting error.

    Alan Reply:

    Keep ducking those questions, Jonny. I have asked you repeatedly to show us, specifically, where either the Streets and Highways Code or the Public Utiities Code create a private cause of action, for a private citizen to sue over alleged design flaws. You refuse to do so, and continue to duck the question.

    Facts from the CAARD website? ROTFLLMAO! The Oscar goes to Jonny for Most Outrageous Oxymoron of the Year!

    Your “statement for the record” is another of your lies. I *did not* agree that the relevant terminus is Transbay. I simply pointed out the indisputable fact that trains will not be able to go further north than Transbay. I took no position regarding terminii for purposes of the timing.

    And “arrogance”? Once again, Jonny, go look in the mirror, if you dare. When you cannot adequately rebut someone else’s arguments, you resort to ad hominem attacks on the opponent.

    I don’t give a damn if the Caltrain project has reached the actual design stage. The fact remains that many things can change before HSR trains start running, and likely will. And once again, you avoid the fact that the state can, if it chooses to do so, assert its rights and require changes to the Caltrain corridor that allow for successful HSR service.

    SB 557? You’re making me laugh again, Jonny! As an act of the Legislature, not part of Prop 1A, it can be repealed or changed at any time. And the fact is, the only one of the nine agencies who *might* have an objection to going beyond the “blended” plan is the San Mateo County Transportation Agency. Maybe. The cities of SF and SJ? Not a problem. Santa Clara county TA? No problem. Same with the SF TA. CHSRA? Don’t be silly. The MTC? Maybe, but not likely. The Transbay authority? Of course not. The JPB? Probably not–any improvements for HSR will benefit Caltrain at little or no cost to the JPB. Note carefully that the PAMPA NIMBY’s do not have a seat at this table.

    So SB 557 is not the impediment that you want it to be. But by relying on SB 557, you accept the fact that the Legislature has essentially written the “blended” plan into law. For now. That undermines Laurel & Hardy’s assertion that the “blended” plan is illegal.

    And Jonny, SHC 2704.095 does not require that local projects funded by Prop 1A money meet the HSR design guidelines. Given that 2704.095 makes cable cars eligible for funding, such a requirement would be problematic. In words even you can understand, 2704.095 does not require that the current Caltrain modernization plan comply with 2704.09.

    You wrote, “While the Authority’s design of the “blended” system has not progressed very far…”
    So, you admit that the design of the blended system is far from complete. Now, please tell us how any court could possibly pass judgement on an incomplete design? Judge Kenny does not even need to reach the issue of standing. He could, if he so chose, rule that the case is premature. You prove my point that the Caltrain modernization is a separate project which need not be compliant with 2704.09. You’ve argued that the simulations based on the current Caltrain project would not meet 2704.09. That would only matter if the Authority was going to operate service on that section exactly as it will exist at the end of the Caltrain modernization. But by admitting that the Authority’s design “has not progressed very far”, you acknowledge that the final product–the HSR-ready corridor–will be different from the current Caltrain plans. The *final product* I refer to is the one that must be 2704.9-compliant. And as even you now admit, we’re nowhere close to a final design.

    Finally, while slandering Mr. Vacca, you ignore his point that improvements in the technologies of the train sets could improve the projected running times. I’ve made the same point here, and you’ve ignored that as well. You’re trying to lock the HSR system into the technology that exists in 2014, and no court is going to see that as reasonable.

    So the bottom line, Jonny, is you got nuthin’. All you have a a few last straws to try to grasp.

    jonathan Reply:

    ou simply do not understand the difference between “concept” and “design”. “Concept” is the broader view of a project; the stage we’re at on the Peninsula right now. The JPB’s policies may enter into the concept as it stands today, but the concept is not yet a design. A “design” is detailed enough that you can give a piece of it to the guy on a bulldozer, and he’ll know what he has to do.

    That’s bullshit, Alan, total bullshit. It’s hard to believe anyone could be, not just ignorant, but so *arrogant* as to rant about the “Blended” plan on the Peninsula, when that person has *no fucking clue* what that “Blended plan” actualhy *is*.

    Contrary to your bullshit, the “Blended” plan is in fact very well-defined. It’s to use the existing Caltrain corridor and right-of-way, using predominantly the existing two-track alignment, with limited quad-tracked overtaking sessions. More, that is entrenched in SB 557.

    So, the “blended” plan involves, for the most part, using the existing track alignment. While that may change, in detail — such as a billion-dollar approach viaduct to the “Diridon Intergalactic” [sic] station in San Jose — such changes make only a few tens of seconds’ difference.

    The current Caltrain alignment, and the speed restrictions along it, are very well-known. (it has , after all, mostly been where it is for over a hundred years.) Clem Tillier’s blog makes great fodder from itemizing them, what they’d cost to fix, and how many seconds fixing each one would save.

    So, it’s relatively straightforward to take the alignment, its speed-limitations, and the maximum acceleration and braking-rate of an HSR trainset, and solve the “equations of motion” for that trainset, as it accelerates, brakes, or (rarely0 runs at maximum permitted speed, along the Caltrain corridor. (The chosen trainset, the AGV, is the highest-performance trainset on the market).

    In point of fact, an amateur, Clem Tillier, has done *exactly this*. Clem has even found where PB/CHSRA’s simulation has failed to take into account existing S-bends near Palo Alto.

    So it’s simply *bullshit* to claim that the “Blended” plan on the “Peninsula” is only a “concept”.
    Just as it’s *bullshit* to say that we cannot make statements about the design speed of that corridor. Parsons Brinckheroff has done it. Clem has done it. Clem has even found errors in PB’s simulation. Clem has correlated his simulation with PB’s, to high precision.

    Only a very ignorant, very arrogant person would be so asinine as to claim that the “Blended” plan is “only a concept” and so we cannot talk about the trip-times of that design, because it’s only a “concept”, not yet a “design”.

    joe Reply:

    So it’s simply *bullshit* to claim that the “Blended” plan on the “Peninsula” is only a “concept”.

    HSR is using a design and build contact – did they use one for the Blended section?

    Show us the design documents – the technical descriptions of the system. That’s what the Simulation have to based off if this is a design.

    Tell us the name of the FIRM or Team that’s done the design, the contract the State used to pay the FIRM or Team. Was this paid for with ARRA or Prop1a Funds?

    Or can you tell us the firms that submitted their qualifications to do the work. Each contract has a preceding qualification step. There’s one right now for the next CV section. Five partnerships submitted paperwork.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe,

    I’m not your assisstant. You will have to go find the Nine-Party Memorandum of Understanding for yourself. That _IS_ the “Blended” plan. And it’s entrenched in law as such, under SB 557.
    Which I’ve already cited to Alan, by the way.

    Perhaps then even you will understand that it’s *NOT THE AUTHORITY* who is managing the $600 million of Prop 1A HSR money going to the Peninsula “Blended” plan: that money is going to Caltrain. Caltrain is in control of spending that money, under Caltrain’s modernization plan. *Not* the Authority. As spelt out in the Nine Party Memorandum of Understanding. Which details which pf the parties provides the funding, which totals $1,456 million. And details what the money is to be spent on.

    I don’t need to show you design documents, Joe. The “Blended” plan uses largely dual-track within the existing Caltrain corridor, with a very few passing loops. And those, and additional construction, are required by law to stay within the existing right-of-way. And guess what, Joe: there’s very little wiggle-room in that right-of-way. We can use the existing track geometry, and be accurate to within a few seconds. Guess what, Joe? that’s *exactly* what PB did for CHSRA> So stuff your demand for “detailed design”. Instead, I point you at Clem’s simulation from February 2013, which agrees very closely (after correcting for PB’s mistakes) with Clem’s own simulation. Or look at the publically-available contract between Caltrain and the providers of CBOSS.

    As for how you make pronouncements about the “Blended’ plan, and what travel-times it can sustain, while at the same time you’re so clueless about what that “Blended” plan is, that you ask if the “Blended” plan is using a CHSRA Design/Build contract…. words fail me.

    joe Reply:

    blah blah blah.

    Instead, I point you at Clem’s simulation from February 2013, which agrees very closely (after correcting for PB’s mistakes) with Clem’s own simulation. Or look at the publically-available contract between Caltrain and the providers of CBOSS.

    Nope, you need to admit there isn’t a design, nothing is definitive. They write that the times are achievable with assumptions, and that’s all the Authority is saying in their documents.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, please read for comprehension.
    In actual fact, the times are NOT achievable within valid assumptions. The earlier drafts of the PB memo, avaliable on CARRD’s website at

    http://www.calhsr.com/uncategorized/negotiation-over-a-few-small-words/,

    show this conclusively. The *vaild* assumptino for the “Blended” plan is 110 mi/hr, as Caltrain has stated. CHSRA”s own simulation shows that at 110 mi/hr. SF-SJ takes not less than 32 minutes.

    Worse, PB’s simluation is for 4t-and-kin/San Jose. Your alter-ego Alan has stipulated that the legally required SF-Sj time is, of course, Transbay/San Jose. Add in the 3 mins 30 secs needed to get from Transbay to 4th and King, and even the *Authority’s own numbers* show that SF/Sj takes *not less than* 35 mins 30 secs,

    I don’t need to admit to any of oyur crap about a “design not existing”. I’m just using the simulations which CHSRA paid PB to calculate! CHSRA’s own numbers! The numbers they chose to hide from the Independent Review Panel!

    joe Reply:

    This is the official record.
    http://www.cahsrprg.com/final-docs-7-9-13-meeting/memo-phase-1-blended-travel-time.pdf

    I’m just using the simulations which CHSRA paid PB to calculate! CHSRA’s own numbers! The numbers they chose to hide from the Independent Review Panel!

    The Winner for “Best Dramatic Comment.”
    Category Fiction.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe,

    What is it with you? If the Authority says it can do SF-Sj in 30:22, then you accept the Authority’s claim unquestioningly. You revile anyone who disagrees with it. And yet, when the exact same simulatoin tool, run by the Authority’s own contractor, shows a time of 32 minutes for the *actual* top speed which Caltrain will allow on the Peninsula, then all of a sudden you insist on seeing a “design”, and documentation of which design/bid contractor won the contract.

    Despite being told at least three times, you persist in not understanding that the Authority’s *OWN* simluation shows it’s not possible to run SF-SJ, even blasting through San Jose without stopping, if you assume the top speed Caltrain will allow peninsula — 110 mi/hr.

    Joe, i you accept PB’s simulation with a 125mph top speed, then you have to accept PB’s simulations for a 110mph top speed. Yet you don’t. Joe, you are a hypocrite, a truly despicable hypocrite.

    joe Reply:

    I accept the peer review group’s findings.

    jonathan Reply:

    And here, Joe,k you can find PB’s own simulations, which CHSRA paid them to do.
    These were released to CARRd under California’s public-information laws.

    http://www.calhsr.com/uncategorized/negotiation-over-a-few-small-words/

    And here you can see the January 13 draft, which includes the 110mph-max simulations:

    http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/PMT-Memo-Ph1-Blended-Trip-Time-011313.pdf

    Here’s a clue, Joe: those are official documents. CHSRA chose not to show them to the Indpendent Review Panel. But now they’re out there for the world to see.

    And they will be just as admissible in court as the final version which Frank Vacca cited as showing the “Blended” plan meets the requirements of Prop qA

    So we’re back to asking you , Joe: here are two times. 30:22, and 32 (seconds not included).
    Which of those is the maximum??

    Alan Reply:

    “More, that is entrenched in SB 557.”

    Now who’s full of shit? As I pointed out above, SB 557 can be repealed by an act of the Legislature, as it is not part of Prop 1A. And by pointing out that the blended system is “entrenched” by SB 557, you essentially acknowledge that it is legal.

    And again, you are a f*** liar. You claim that I “stipulated” that the terminal for timing purposes is Transbay, when I said no such thing. If anything, I admitted that it is not physically possible for trains to go further north than Transbay. However, that’s different from what you claim I said.

    “I don’t need to admit to any of oyur (sic) crap about a ‘design not existing’.”

    You already have! You admitted, in one of your blatherings which purportedly was a response to my post, that “While the Authority’s design of the “blended” system has not progressed very far…” A design which “has not progressed very far” IS a “design not existing”! Even you should be able to see that.

    You’re desperate, Jonny. Absolutely desperate. You see that construction is beginning in the CV, and realize that the train is leaving the station. That makes you willing to stoop to any kind of lies and deceit to try to convince others that you’re right–which of course, you’re not. You stoop to those lies and deceit in order to protect your own selfish interests, which is truly despicable.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s a clue, Joe: those are official documents. CHSRA chose not to show them to the Indpendent Review Panel. But now they’re out there for the world to see.

    You found The X-Files. When will you let The Peer Review Group know about these documents?

    jonathan Reply:

    @Alan:

    You’re lying. *You* introduced Transbay. That stipulates Transbay as the Northern terminal, the point from which service-times need to be measured.

    However, i see you’re not so *terminally* stupid that you don’t realize that by doing that, you lost. So you’re trying to generate smoke and hide the fact that you’ve lost. That makes you a good alter-ego for Joe.

    you also can’t read. the scenario for “crashing at Transbay” goes like this:

    Counsel for plaintiffs: And why did you pick southbound for the simulation? Is it because if you run Northbound, you can only make the 30:22 time by crashing at the Northern terminus?

    jonathan Reply:

    You found The X-Files. When will you let The Peer Review Group know about these documents?

    That’s a good adolescent playground response, Joe. Good to see you making progress.

    It’s not the “X-files”, stupid child; it’s part of the public record of CHSRA. And thank you *so* much for making my point for me. (It’s almost embarassing, arguing with people so *dumb* they make your point for you). The Independent Peer Review Group didn’t review these documents; they reviewed what CHSRA gave them. And — if you took the time to *READ* the documents (a detail far too boring, beneath a “scienist” like you” — you’d be aware of how PB labelled the abscissa. It’s hard to spot the fact that PB’s simulation starts form 4th and King, unless — as Clem did — you set out to replicate their results. (You know, like “science”, that thing you pretend to understand).

    And it’s in AB 3034, in black and white, that the SF terminus must be Transbay. As your excrement-for-brains supporter, Alan, has stated.

    Of course, to a scientist like you, adding up the anomalies and unacceptable exclusions from PB’s simluation is … what were your words? “.. A Monty Python skit”?

    joe Reply:

    lmost embarassing, arguing with people so *dumb* they make your point for you). The Independent Peer Review Group didn’t review these documents; they reviewed what CHSRA gave them.

    If it’s a smoking gun document as you claim, why not send it to the Peer Review Group?

    jonathan Reply:

    …. and even if the law didn’t say “service time”, it clearly and unambiguously says “maximum” (nonstop service time) “shall not exceed.

    It doesn’t matter a gnat’s fart if a train blasting through Cahilll St Station can make the run in 30:22. Because an SF-SJ train that *stops*, and thus has a longer trip time, is the governing trip-time. Because (again), the law specifies the *MAXIMUM* time, not the *minimum*.

    Nonstop, pedal-to-the-metal, 125 mph,4th-and-King, charging through Cahill st: 30:22.
    Nonstop, pedal-to-the-metal, 125 mph, 4th-and-King, stopping at Cahill St: 31+ minutes.
    Non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal, 110 mph, 4th-and-King, charging through Cahill St: 32 minutes
    Non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal, 110 moh, 4th-and-king, stopping at Cahilll st: ~33 mins

    It doesn’t *matter* if the times to blast through Cahill St are less than the times when the train stops, because the law specifies the *maxium*.

    So. Of the numbers 30:22, 31+, 32, 33, which s the *maximum*? Which reflects the actual *DESIGN* of the “Blended” plan on the Peninsula? Hint: it’s not the 125 mph numbers. And run from the *legally defined*, *required* SF terminus — TBT – – and you add three and a half minutes on top of that. So here are some nonstop times: 35+, 36+. Which off those is the *maximum*?

    Add in delays *required by the design*, and *required for service times*, and you get higher numbers. 38 mins, if I remember Clem’s simulation. Excluding 6% slop in *service time*, for *contigencies*.

    Even Caltrain says there’s no way that an actual *service* would be less than 40 mins, SF-SJ. And that’s to or from 4th and King. Add the ~210 secs to get to TBT, and the *design* *service* *time* for “Blended” HSR *service* on the Peninsula , with a max speed of 110 mi/hr, is … 42 minutes, or thereabouts.

    Clem, if you re-run your SF-SJ simulations with a max of 110, exactly what numbers do you get??

    jimsf Reply:

    Well then I guess they will need to go back to the elevated four track plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I hope they get what they wish for. 30 minutes between San Francisco and San Jose…..

    joe Reply:

    Jonathan’s interpretation reads like a Monty Python Skit.

    In the past month Caltrain cited capacity limitations and rebuffed Palo Alto’s request to increase employer provided Caltrain passes for Palo Alto based employers.

    Something has to give.

    I suspect they’ll throw around the idea of burying the ROW and when that fails then propose a 4 track system with legacy track along the Palo Alto to Atherton ROW.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Nothing has to give.

    Caltrain’s consultants and staff will keep drawing salaries.

    Capital projects with no service benefit will keep being funded, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a pop.

    Caltrain will continue crying poverty and “at capacity”. Service will not improve in any non-trivial fashion.

    Why mess with success? It is a perfect cycle, and nobody anywhere has any incentive to disturb it in any way.

    joe Reply:

    Too bad you’re not Putin. You could ride in shirtless on a white horse and save the day. Then pound in a few rail spikes by hand.

    Meanwhile ridership has increased and ….
    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2014/02/caltrain-declines-palo-alto-request-for-downtown-gopass/

    Here’s how horrible Caltrain compares
    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2014/02/governing-caltrain-in-the-age-of-electrification-expert-perspective/

    And
    http://www.slideshare.net/alevin/lou-thompsoncaltraingovernance

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Here’s how horrible Caltrain compares

    Special Olympics!

    Gold stars for everybody for making super extra effort!

    Each and every one of our US commuter railroads is a special little one of god’s angels! Even the abortions!

    Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not super special!

    joe Reply:

    Why do you make such inappropiate references. http://www.specialolympics.org

    FEBRUARY 28, 2014 | NORTH AMERICA: TEXAS

    My Grandson
    By Peggy Brooks
    My grandson Jaxx has Down’s syndrome and people look at him with pity. He doesn’t need your pity. He needs to accepted for the beautiful child he is. He needs to be helped to be the best person he can be, and I believe he will be more than most people think. He is special, and I love him.

    Caltrain is just like Jaxx – ho ho ho. You are so cutting and funny Richard Mlynarik.

    Joey Reply:

    Comparing CalTrain to the Special Olympics isn’t fair because Special Olympians succeed despite their disabilities, whereas the people at CalTrain screw up basic tasks that they are entirely capable of doing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they have never done anything right how do you know they are capable? Much less entirely.

    joe Reply:

    Joey Reply:
    March 1st, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Comparing CalTrain to the Special Olympics isn’t fair because Special Olympians succeed despite their disabilities, whereas the people at CalTrain screw up basic tasks that they are entirely capable of doing.

    Little Richard.

    Eric Reply:

    Off topic: When did they start giving kids names like “Jaxx”??

    Alan Reply:

    You’re right, of course. As soon as the dolts in PA city hall realize that Caltrain, as it exists as a 2-track system, is inadequate, they’ll be begging for more Caltrain capacity. And so goes SB 557, onto the trash heap…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i would support that plan, at least it would not be a violation of prop1a

    jonathan Reply:

    Bypassing SF-SJ considered a feature of the Altamont alignment advocates.

    Elevated adds billions of dollars, and doesn’t buy much time. Eliminating the speed restrictions (tight curves) on the Peninsula, where feasible, gets much better bang-for-buck.
    But to consistently make less than 40 minutes, CHSRA needs its own tracks, for most of the way between Millbrae and SF. A passing loop in the mid-Peninsula just isn’t enough, if a northbound HSR trainset passes a Caltrain consist mid-Peninsula, only to run into the heels of the previous Caltrain service somewhere just past Millbrae.

    Clem’s blog article from a year ago, http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-blend-hsr-style.html makes the point differently — 2 minute enforced “stop” at Millbrae, even if the doors remain closed — but it’s the same point.

    jimsf Reply:

    Even if chsra used a different route such as altamont, it would be in violation of the law because the sf sj trip time has to be 30 minutes and you can’t get from sf to sj in 30 minutes in a straight line at 110 or 125, then you certainly can’t get from sf to sj in 30 minutes any other way.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    On the contrary, the law specifically allows for Altamont.

    And if they don’t select Altamont, then they can’t do LA-SF in 2:40, which is one of the most important requirements of Prop 1A.

    jimsf Reply:

    so suddenly the 30 minute sf sj time doesn’t matter anymore

    jimsf Reply:

    this all important 30 minute time is holy in prop 1a …but vanishes with altamont?
    Where does it say that ” the 30 minute sf sj travel time will be waived if the authority chooses altamont”?

    Altamont is not going to happen by the way. Its going to be served by bart and ace as part of the northern joint unified service.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    SF-SJ is one of the segments eligible for Prop 1A funds. So if the authority chooses the SF-SJ route, then it has to meet the 30 minute requirement. If it chooses the Altamont route instead (an option specifically stated in the text of Prop 1A), then the SF-SJ time requirement is irrelevant.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think that is true. If you run SF-OAK-STK-MCD you can avoid the 30 minute requirement, but if you adopt the Peninsula route with Altamont, either you have to detour through San Jose or you have to meet the requirement by proxy for a train that would dead end in San Jose.

    joe Reply:

    Bypassing SF-SJ considered a feature of the Altamont alignment advocates.

    And there is no Sacramento – SF time requirement which might indicate the Proposition authors and voters don’t see much value in building the SF-SAC city pair in place of SF-SJ.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    San Jose will have BART stations some day which obviously makes it more important.

    Joey Reply:

    Curious. The same section of Prop 1A also specifies a 2:40 Oakland-LA travel time. Is that going to be met?

    jonathan Reply:

    Bypassing SF-SJ considered a feature of the Altamont alignment advocates.

    Not always. Some talk about a “spur” to San Jose. Though that has become more difficult than it used to be.

    Clem Reply:

    The best spur is BART, which many passengers would transfer to anyway at Diridon because there is little economic activity at Diridon (it is a peripheral area, a 15 minute walk from downtown, not unlike 4th & King in San Francisco… Transbay Terminal this ain’t)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The best spur from Oakland is BART?

    I recognize the tendency towards parochialism here, but that is over-the-top. Way to denigrate the areas of the Bay Area that need effective transportation just as much as the Peninsula.

    Clem, this type of rhetoric is exactly the same crap LA rail opponents threw out for years to stop the subway. Give it up, Downtown San Jose’s future is not controlled by it’s past. Land use patterns are going to change, like it or not.

    wdobner Reply:

    The best spur is BART,

    That’s it, lets bypass another population center and tell them a 40+ minute “rapid” transit line ride is what they’ll just have to learn to live with. No wonder Richard calls it the flight level zero airline, it’s only going to end up serving LAUS and TBT by the time the “advocates” are done eliminating all en route stops.

    Altamont is fine, but it’s foolish to pursue it without providing some means to get HSTs directly to San Jose.

    jonathan Reply:

    @wdobner:

    Altamont is fine, but it’s foolish to pursue it without providing some means to get HSTs directly to San Jose.

    There *ISNT* any way to get HSR to San Jose via Altamont, not in 2hrs 10 minutes from LA to SJ.
    Are you proposing building HSR over both Pacheco and Altamont? That’s … “courageous” of you.

    No wonder Richard calls it the flight level zero airline,

    No, Richard M. calls CHSR’A’s plan a “flight level zero” airline because of the mind-boggling adherence to airport -style design. Fully enforced, narrow fare-gates Completely separate, secured, “ground side” and “air side” [sic] facilities. Airport-style security theater, or at the very least, desigining facilities for such nonsense into all stations. Proposals to keep passengers completely away from platforms, except for within a few minutes of when trains arrive or depart.
    Ask Richard for a complete list, I’m sure he will oblige.

    That sort of crap adds billions and biliions to the overall cost, and it’ _completely_ unnecessary.
    It even *reduces* value to customers.

    Joey Reply:

    jonathan: The program EIR calculated 2:20 LA-SJ via Altamont. Switch to Tejon and you’re already below 2:10. Use the SETEC alignment rather than the program alignment through Fremont and Pleasanton and you’re close to 2 hours.

    Clem Reply:

    The best spur from Oakland is BART?

    No, the best spur from San Jose. But Oakland as well. Fremont has far more trans-galactic multi-model potential than San Jose or even Millbrae.

    Clem Reply:

    Trans-galactic multi-modal, that is

    jonathan Reply:

    Joey,

    [[ 2:20 LA-SJ vial Altamont ]]

    What was the basis for that time? What was the Authority’s SF-LA estimate for Pacheco/Tehachapi, at the same point in time as that time? But even 2:20 is still more than 2:10.
    And yes, I’m aware that Altamont is faster mostly because the trains spend more time going through the Central Valley, where they can travel at high speed.

    if the Authority base-lined a different route than SETEC, why is the SETEC alignment a consideration? Seems like SETEC is not politically viable, but that’s just my take.

    Joey Reply:

    Here are the numbers from the Program EIR:

    Pacheco
    – SF-LA: 2:38
    – SJ-LA: 2:09

    Altamont
    – SF-LA: 2:36
    – SJ-LA: 2:19

    All of these numbers were with Tehachapi of course. This was using the program alignment in 2008, which was not intended to be final (and indeed, has been heavily refined in the selected alternative). For Altamont, the program alignment followed the UP route through Fremont and Pleasanton. It would have sharp curves and require a lot of property takes. There were a few other alignment options on the table at that point but none were analyzed in any exquisite detail because Altamont was dropped.

    jonathan Reply:

    Thanks, Joey My point was: compare the then-estimate SF-LA time, 2:38, and compare to Clem’s estimate of the SF-LA time via Pacheco and Tehachapi. Would the the Altamont-alignment times for SF-LA and SJ-LA grow by approximately the same amount as the Pacheco times have, since then?

    Joey Reply:

    Well to do that we must examine the causes of the growth in travel times. The slow section in Bakersfield would probably still exist. There would still be slower running on the Peninsula but less of it. There would be no reverse curve iconic bridge in San Jose. If the SETEC alignment had been added for consideration it probably would have decreased travel times by at least a few minutes.

    PRE Reply:

    “Altamont is not going to happen by the way. Its going to be served by bart and ace as part of the northern joint unified service.”

    Pacheco isn’t going to happen either – there simply isn’t going to be the funds.

    joe Reply:

    As JimSF pointed out, taking the CV system over Pacheco connects to Caltrain and completes the San Jose / SF section.

    jonathan Reply:

    Irrelevant to whether there will actually be funds to build it. Which is PRE’s point.

    jonathan Reply:

    Drunk Engineer writes:

    On the contrary, the law specifically allows for Altamont.

    And if they don’t select Altamont, then they can’t do LA-SF in 2:40, which is one of the most important requirements of Prop 1A.

    In what sense “most important”? It’s in AB3034, in the exact same section as several other required nonstop service “not to exceed” times. Including LA-SJ in 2:10. I don’t understand how that can possibly be done via Altamont. But the requirement is there in black and white.
    it’s #3, right after the SF-LA and SF-SJ maximum “not to exceed” service times.

    Selective reading seems to be the order of the day for California HSR ;)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    is says non-stop service. Do you think the definition of a non-stop train from SF to SJ is the train does not stop.

    Make your train schedules say that and lets see how that goes???

    Get real.

    joe Reply:

    How much time are you suggesting needs to added for pax ?
    Will one or does the whole train have to disembark? Any padding for families with children or elderly?
    Maybe add some time for schedule padding – Clem used 5 Minutes in his schedule.
    Maybe add a 10 minute delay for the unionized operators to get donuts and coffee.

    Just trying to be realistic here and have absolutely no intention of opposing or criticizing HSR. We have to make these real world test until the project becomes too expensive.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i would time from the second the train starts moving in SF to the second it stops moving in SJ. it is a non-stop train, so you dont have to worry about passengers embarking and disembarking in the meantime. So you can have the passenger time for free, just travel time.

    jonathan Reply:

    John is correct The relevant section of AB 3034 says *travel* times.
    Joe plainly hasn’t even *read* the law he pontificates about !

    Yes, I get the later sarcasm, but if Joe wants to be sarcastic about passenger boarding times, then he plainly hasn’t read AB 3024, since it clearly states *travel* times. Joe[s attempt at sarcasm misses the boat; as Joe aims at _departure_ times. Poor Joe.

    joe Reply:

    I outsourced to the peer review group – so far they’re fine with it. Did you know the AB3024 is linked on their webpage? http://www.cahsrprg.com/statute.html

    And now for something completely different.

    jonathan Reply:

    ,

    t doesn’t say the pax have to get off the train. just the travel time for the train to reach san jose.

    jimsf, please try to keep up with the scoreboard.

    CARRD has shown that drafts of the infamous CHSRA memo show that, with a 110 mi/hr top speed, even the indefensibly-optimistic, cannot-stand-in-court, assumptions PB/CHSRA made, the *absolute minimum* time that an AGV trainset can make SF-SJ, is 32 to 33 minutes. And that’s *still* assuming that the train blasts through Cahiill St, not stopping.

    What PB’s simulations show is that an AGV trainset, running a t”pedal-to-the-metal”, maximum-at-all-times acceleration/braking, can make SF-Sj in 30:22 if the Peninsula top speed is *125* mi/hr.

    That’s 125 mi/hr. Not 110. PB’s own memo (in earlier draft from) say, explicitly, that their simluations are “the best that can be achieved” And with a 110 mi/hr top speed, that’s 32 to 33 minutes.

    Ipso facto, Caltrain are *lying* if they say that CHSRA has shown HSR can make SF-Sj in 30 minutes with a 110 mi/hr top speed. The 30:22 is only achieveable wiht a top speed of 125 mi/hr.

    And, I repeat, that 125 mi/hr top speed is only attainable, under FRA regulations, if the Peninsula is totally grade-separated. Which PAMPA will accept only over their dead bodies.
    After all, the entire “No Berlin wall through our communty” , Blended plan, was dreamt up to avoid that so-called “Berlin Wall”.

    And to steal HSR money and spend it on commuter rail — or the Transit-Industrial complex which, in the Bay Area, feeds off transit organizations with zero in-house technical competence.

  9. jimsf
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 22:11
    #9

    O/T
    BART will focus on first segment of Livermore rail extension
    By Denis Cuff
    Contra Costa Times
    4 hours ago
    OAKLAND — BART will focus its environmental planning for a rail extension to Livermore on a first segment along Interstate 580 to Isabel Avenue.
    BART board members said Thursday that they will hold off on environmental studies of any other Livermore site that would require a decision on whether to stay along the freeway or lay tracks to downtown.
    Board members and planners delivered that message in their meeting Thursday night to Livermore leaders, who wanted the rail system to pledge it would never study the downtown alignment as an option.
    BART’s answer: It’s premature to bar a route for a segment BART won’t even do environmental studies on for years.
    “It’s not the right time to exclude an option, even though I strongly agree BART should not go to the downtown,” said John McPartland, a board member from Castro Valley.
    For now, BART officials said they are studying alternatives for a 5-mile, $1.2 billion rail extension from the end of the line at the Dublin-Pleasanton station to a proposed new station near Isabel Avenue.
    To meet environmental laws requiring an examination of alternatives, BART also is studying options for express bus service and a diesel train, both less expensive than regular BART service.
    The environmental review is expected to be complete in 15 to 18 months, setting the stage for the BART board to approve a project and then seek funds to build it.
    BART would get $400 million for the first phase of the Livermore extension if Alameda County voters approve a November ballot measure to double the county transportation sales tax from a half-cent on the dollar to a full cent.
    Livermore Mayor John Marchand asked the board to swear off any consideration of the downtown route, which is opposed by the Livermore council and 8,000 local residents who signed a petition.
    Marchand said he is concerned that leaving the door open for a downtown route could hurt the political campaign for the county sales tax increase in November.
    BART officials, however, said it would be premature to oppose an option before it is studied, as required by state law.
    “If you haven’t studied all your options, you haven’t done your job,” said Director Tom Radulovich, of San Francisco. “You leave yourself open to legal challenges.

    PRE Reply:

    Why is this complete waste of money being considered? And to compound the idiocy by building another awful station in the middle of a freeway.

    PRE Reply:

    And how can it possibly cost that kind of cash to build 5 miles with one station (!) in a freeway median. What is it literally plated in gold? Does BART ever get tired of stupid BS?

    Travis D Reply:

    Most of that cost will be to rebuild the 580 freeway. There isn’t enough space in the median right now so they entire freeway will be reconstructed to allow for the required 40 foot space.

    I think the extension will not be so bad if they extend it downtown and have it interface with the ACE station. Doing anything else with legacy BART infrastructure would be worse than dumb.

    The only other thing that they could do that wouldn’t be so bad would be to build the entire thing as a DMU then hook it into the new ACE service (which might be DMU as well). That way you could hypothetically have one DMU take people from Modesto or Stockton all the way to the Dublin BART station. By this time eBART might be able to hook into this with its own DMU service.

    jimsf Reply:

    Livermore voted firmly against it going downtown. They don’t want outsiders accessing their downtown. They want it kept out in the freeway. I’d like to see it downtown but it would also work well in the freeway to capture the altamont commuters.

    Meanwhile, they also plan to keep pushing ebart further west and south, while converting initial ebart to full bart a section at a time. Eventually, you can be sure that the gap between discovery bay and livermore will be filled.

    PRE Reply:

    Insane! Tthe only BART extension that should be considered is on Geary and that’s going to get an “extra special” bus maybe sometime in the next 25 years. If Livermore is adamant against a downtown station then they shouldn’t get a station at all and if the powers that be want to capture Altamont comuters I don’t see how 4.8 extra miles is going to make much of a difference. Now if they built an ACE line from downtown Livermore in the 580 median to the East Dublin/Pleasanton station that would make sense, but way to much for the MTC and BART cabal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “extra special” bus?

    Muni cannot even get its act together to convert the #38 to trolley bus and operate out of Presidio Yard-Geary Carhouse.

    Or why not just go lo-floor 3-section streetcars. Those outside truck mounted motors are really cool and I think some can do about 50mph. Just lay the track on Geary and O’Farrell and use the curb lanes all the way out Geary. Interim but, hey, nothing’s perfect.

    And keep some diesel express buses as well on Geary.

    jimsf Reply:

    A station multi mode bart ace 580 station here would go far to alleviate the the worst part of the 580 commute.

    EJ Reply:

    I always felt that a direct connection to ACE had a lot more overall relevance than a downtown Livermore station – it makes ACE useful to a lot more people.

  10. joe
    Feb 28th, 2014 at 22:43
    #10

    http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_24c3d9ee-68de-11e3-b20b-001a4bcf887a.html

    The controversy started at the December meeting, when board member Tom Radulovich from San Francisco stated, “A downtown option makes a lot of sense. Livermore may change its mind. I sure hope it does.” He argued that the route through downtown to Vasco Road represented a 21st century project, taking people to places where they want to go rather than having to take a bus the last mile. “All of BART’s project goals are best served by the downtown-Vasco alignment,” he declared.

    He asked BART staff to include more alternatives. “Politics may intervene. On our part, we need to be more aggressive in planning. We have narrowed the list of alternatives too much.”

    jimsf Reply:

    you have to get a station up at the base of the grade at the 580

  11. joe
    Mar 1st, 2014 at 12:03
    #11

    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/opinion/todays_opinions/our-view-take-steps-now-to-prepare-for-high-speed/article_71c43268-a0ef-11e3-867b-0019bb2963f4.html

    Our View: Take steps now to prepare for high-speed rail

    Most people are tired of hearing about high-speed rail, and with good reason. It seems a week can’t go by without some tiny little step in the process of it getting funded, approved, built – or the opposite. And with each step, there are arguments and complaints. 

    Now is the time to take steps that ensure if high-speed rail is built,  it becomes more of an asset than a detriment to the county.

    In December, the Hanford City Council asked City Manager Darrell Pyle to take some steps that do just that by sending a request for more than $15 million to pay for major extensions of the city’s water and sewer mainlines. The money would be used to extend those services to the site of the proposed station,  which is approximately a half mile northeast of the Highway 43 and Lacy Boulevard intersection. That is an area that is outside the city’s sphere of influence, which means the station could be built without city input, then need city services.

    When Pyle sent the request, there were anti-rail people who criticized him. They interpreted the action as  tacit approval of high-speed rail. 

    It is not. The request does not mean the station will be built and it doesn’t even mean the council is in favor of the station in particular or high-speed rail in general.

    It just means the council and city manager are being prudent managers and trying to forestall problems no matter what happens with rail. That’s an approach jurisdictions throughout the county should take. It’s a lot easier to ask for money ahead of time as a condition of construction than to wind up trying to unravel a mess after the fact.

    We urge the county to take a similar approach, and hope that the anti-rail people will understand that no matter how much they don’t want it, the tracks could be laid and the station built. Let’s be prepared, no matter what happens.

    Observer Reply:

    The Hanford Sentinel is certainly correct. But once a group becomes anti – anything and turns rabid about it, they will not listen to reason or common sense. They will forever look for any excuse to whine about there cause – lost or not. They may even go as far as to demand that the city or county deny any and all services to the HSR station. Sad but true.

    joe Reply:

    Gilroy has it opponents too.

    Gilroy’s Mayor told skeptical City Council members that if Gilroy did not plan for HSR – The State has the power to build HSR without City input.

    Hanford should engage citizens in workshops to show and get input on how the City can use HSR to foster and guide economic growth. Stop cowering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Theres always the option of not building a station at all and then they can sit around and whine about how they don’t have a station.

    jimsf Reply:

    I prefer that option.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The proposed HSR regional station between Hanford and Visalia is similar to the proposed East Midland Hub Station proposed between Nottingham and Derby on HS2 in the UK. The building of hub staions between cities is projected to stimulate growth across the region. Good work and good luck to Hanford City Council.

    Observer Reply:

    I feel sorry for the City of Visalia who wanted a HSR station and who certainly deserved one; they would taken great pride in it. They have to endure all the resistance to their west in Kings County. They deserved better.

  12. datacruncher
    Mar 1st, 2014 at 14:16
    #12

    Background for the editorial is in this December article.
    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/pyle-seeks-money-for-hsr-related-improvements-east-of-hanford/article_70082e1c-612e-11e3-8ba2-0019bb2963f4.html

    The December article has quotes from opponents upset that the city wasn’t waiting for the court cases to be decided. But I noticed that the 5 reader comments at the bottom had more of a feel that Pyle and the city was doing the right thing in looking ahead.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.gilroyhighspeedtrain.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Vision_Report_Final_web.pdf
    Page 51.

    It is anticipated that the CHSRA would pay for costs directly related to the construction of a station and alignment in Gilroy, as well as for the cost of additional infrastructure improvements that are required to ensure adequate traffic and safety conditions regardless of the station location. In the Downtown alignment, the trench option would cost approximately $2.2 billion compared to $1.0 billion for the modified at-grade alignment. Both the aerial and at-grade alignments in East Gilroy would cost roughly the same at $1.5 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. However, the at-grade alignment in East Gilroy is the only option that would generate a significant additional cost of $191 million to the City of Gilroy, since the City would be responsible to construct overpasses for new streets crossing the tracks and new streets are currently planned for this area. The cost estimates were developed by the consultant team based on available information; the actual cost estimate by the CHSRA is likely to be higher.

    joe Reply:

    An EIR that is compliant with CEQA needs to consider alternatives. This requirement is used by opponents to slow and challenge the EIR process.

    It is hypocritical that HSR opponents concurrently demand all county and city governments delay planning until the last moment.

    Thomas Reply:

    Is CEQA being applied to the ICS? Isn’t the issue of NEPA pre-empting CEQA being heard in federal court, or has that been resolved?

    joe Reply:

    CEQA still applies. The State has argued CEQA is pre-empted. They made that claim in the PAMPA EIR Appeal but there’s nothing decided.

  13. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 1st, 2014 at 22:17
    #13

    2008 Prop 1-A was for “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond…” HSR on Caltrain tracks – with trackside commute station platforms and 43 grade crossings would be highly vulnerable to accident, vandalism, and delays. It would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. HSR needs a secure trackway.

    Phase HSR first just to San Jose, the largest city in the Bay Area, with cross-platform transfers there to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor.

    Later extend HSR on an upgraded Amtrak East Bay route to a new transfer station at the BART overhead in Oakland. BART runs about every four minutes to all four downtown San Francisco stations in six to ten minutes.

    No tunneling. No costly San Francisco terminal. No new Trans-Bay tube to extend to Sacramento. No state bond money to electrify Caltrain. Better, safer, more reliable, and far less costly.

    Eric M Reply:

    Quit spamming and repeating the same thing over and over in different threads.

    Alan Reply:

    No s***. Makes one wonder how this doofus ever got elected or appointed to public office. Well, actually, “doofus” does describe most of our elected officials…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why is an HSR train going through the grade crossing more vulnerable than a Caltrain train? Why is it less safe? Do vandals care what logo is on the side of train? or truck or a concrete wall?

    joe Reply:

    Any insight into the BART derailment at Concord? Was it Al Qaeda?

    Michael Reply:

    Worn out old switch failed during normal train movement. BART is old but pretends it’s not.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Note these derailments occur with empty trains. BART beercans only weigh in at 60,000 lbs. Did it climb the rail? Crappy tv news never has any details.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Not again, please…

    Eric M Reply:

    Do a Google search with his name with high speed rail. You will see he is spamming the same message on many news articles as much as he can. First time, sure, debate what he said. Now Robert should just delete them as they are spam.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Maybe he turned into a bot…

    Or Robert should figure out an “ignore user” feature for the comments function.

    Alan Reply:

    Mr. Allen:

    There was an election. Your point of view lost. What part of that do you not understand? You’ve been asked how terrorism would be a greater risk for trains with a HSR logo rather than Caltrains’, and you haven’t answered. How about answering the question? How about explaining how a permanent system which requires two changes of train to get from LA to SF complies with Prop 1A?

    Are you so devoid of reality that you do not understand that the “costly San Francisco terminal” IS ALREADY UNDER CONSTRUCTION, or that in any event, Caltrain needs to be electrified?

    Do you think it might be a better use of time to get BART’s current management to replace the worn-out C57 interlocking, before a revenue-service train dumps passengers into the street?

  14. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 1st, 2014 at 22:25
    #14

    2008 Prop 1-A was for “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond…” HSR on Caltrain tracks – with trackside commute station platforms and 43 grade crossings – would be highly vulnerable to accident, vandalism, and delays. It would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. HSR needs a secure trackway.
    Phase HSR first just to San Jose, the largest city in the Bay Area, with cross-platform transfers there to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor.
    Later extend HSR on an upgraded Amtrak East Bay route to a new transfer station at the BART overhead in Oakland. BART runs about every four minutes to all four downtown San Francisco stations in six to ten minutes.
    No tunneling. No costly San Francisco terminal. No new Trans-Bay tube to extend to Sacramento. No more state bond money to electrify Caltrain. Better, safer, more reliable, and far less costly.

    jonathan Reply:

    Allen,

    Tell us why HSR running along the Caltrain corridor needs a more ‘secure trackway” than Acela rtrains unning at similar speeds along the NEC?

    Answer you *cannot*, because it *doesn’t*. You don’t know what you are talking about.
    Show us you have some technical competence to be making these statements. And, no, getting yourself elected to a Board composed of other, elected, technically-incompetent individuals doesn’t count.

    Do try to *read* AB 3034, and read it for comprehension. AB 3024 *requires* a single-train ride between all stations on the system. An SF station is required, and in fact designed to be the TBT Trying to steal HSR funds for BART is *illegal.*.

    Clem Reply:

    Trying to steal HSR funds for BART is *illegal.*.

    LOL. Just watch and learn.

    jonathan Reply:

    oh, I am, I am. How fast can you say Dumbarton Rail?

    synonymouse Reply:

    This blog is truly fortunate to have you posting occasionally, Clem. You seem to be the only one to recognize how things generally go down in the Bay Area.

    All it would take for implosion would be for the Judge to rule convincingly that the bookends are illegal and that Caltrain does not get hsr money. The conventional wisdom is that the “establishment” in its entirety wants hsr. IHMO, not BART, not Heminger, not MTC. Call me crazy, and it might be the case, but I see Gavin Newsom running up the Ring the Bay flag.

    BART as Machiavelli as Junior Soprano:

    “Richie Aprile – So, what do yo u want me to do?

    Junior Soprano – Go talk to ally boy, feel him out. But he’s a slippery fuck. Don’t commit.”

    jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    if the current BART Board of Directors can be judged by Robert S. Allen’s mind-bogglingy ill-informed, arrogant, illegal proposal, then you’re spot on about BART. I’m not so sure how that translates to MTC or Hemiger.

    Do recall that MTC ponied up with most of the “matching” funds to match CHSRA”s contribution to the Peninsula “book-end”, er, HSR Early Investment. If Hemiger and MTC are dead-set against electrifying the Peninsula, and want the ROW for their Manifest-Destiny (BART Ring-the-Bay!!), then someone awfully powerful twisted BART and MTC’s arms, to come up with $730 million to match the Prop 1A funds. It’s all in the MOU.

    I don’t know for sure, but don’t most of the Federal funds in that MOU come from money allocated to MTC? In other words, MTC prioritized Caltrain, giving Caltrain the Federal money over BART?? Pretty hard arm-twisting. If it was Jerry Brown, he’ll be Governor until 2018, long enough for most of the Caltrian Modernization funds to be frittered away, er, sorry, spent.
    I mean, Caltrain says they’ll be done by 2019….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Your analysis is logical and apparently carries the day. Same situation obtained in 1991 until BART kicked Caltrain to the curb.

    If the current plan holds together BART is screwed and some years down the road will have to face the comparison of its crap to a modern standard gauge OCS operation. Of course they could try to kill the fun by degrading Caltrain, say taking away the WC’s. I could see Heminger trying that.

    In my estimation this stems from a decades long culture war between traditional traction fans and modernists-Brutalists who viscerally hate railroads. BART is a train built by and for people who hate trains and who fear others might consider their undertaking old-fashioned. In the fifties it was practically holy war between the relative handful of electric transit advocates and really the extermination of overhead wire in the US. They even wanted to go after the NYC subway system. So when the tide seemed to turn at last with BART what a bummer to watch Bechtel piss on a hundred years of hard fought traction experience.

    The ironic part is that BART-Bechtel in its quest to be different produced an extremely noisy system that is the quintessence of all that it disdained in the NYC subway. And they still evidently won’t change out the cylindrical countour nor the sandwich, both of which, survey says, are the primary cause of the noise.

    So let’s give a big shout-out of **** you to BART [and Crapcast while we're at it].

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    psst. the NYC subway runs on third rail so there isn’t any catenary to tear down. New York City would grind to a halt without the subway. Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston would become really unpleasant if not also grinding to a halt. DC’s system is doing much better than BART and these days DC would grind to halt without it too. BART is quieter than the noisy bits of NYC Subway.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I thought of that inconsistency but hey it is time for another drink. The highway lobby hatchet men were indeed talking trash about the NYC subway not being needed any more. Moses might even have been drifting that way with the general decline of public transit after the war.

    You need to check out BART south of Daly City – bring along your ear plugs. I wonder if the legacy subways suffer from a ghetto rep(certainly reinforced by movies and tv)of vicious thugs just itching to roll you. The ominous atmosphere enhances the perception of noisy going with trouble.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There was a golden age for driving in New York City, It lasted an hour and 27 minutes, in 1956.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I have never seen any New York subway segment that’s noisier than the Transbay Tube. And yes, I’ve ridden the R32s on many occasions.

    EJ Reply:

    Not for nothing, but AFAIK no NYC subway segment is as fast as the Transbay Tube, either. Not to say that BART couldn’t be quieter, but then again in NYC the L train isn’t barrelling along under the East River at 70-75 mph like BART is in the Transbay Tube.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not 70-75, but the E and F trains routinely go 50-55 mph under the river, and the mainline trains go 60 mph through the Hudson and East River tunnels.

  15. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 1st, 2014 at 22:31
    #15

    2008 Prop 1-A was for “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond…” HSR on Caltrain tracks – with trackside commute station platforms and 43 grade crossings – would be highly vulnerable to accident, vandalism, and delays. It would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. HSR needs a secure trackway.

    Phase HSR first just to San Jose, the largest city in the Bay Area, with cross-platform transfers there to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor.

    Later extend HSR on an upgraded Amtrak East Bay route via Mulford to a new transfer station at the BART overhead in Oakland. BART runs about every four minutes to all four downtown San Francisco stations in six to ten minutes.

    No tunneling. No costly San Francisco terminal. No new Trans-Bay tube to extend to Sacramento. No more state bond money to electrify Caltrain. Better, safer, more reliable, and far less costly.

    jonathan Reply:

    Posted three times, six minutes apart, with only minor white-space differences.
    Does BART-Boy need lessons o how to use a Web-browser?

    That’d be a telling statement on the tech savvy of the BART Board, now wouldn’t it?

    jonathan Reply:

    Look, Bart-Boy — or Bart-Bob,

    You come here, postint about the title of Prop 1A/AB-3034. and you treat the entire readership of Robert Cruickshank’s blocg with *contempt*, lecturing us about how HSR cannot be safe and reliable;only BART can be “SAFE” and “RELIABLE”.

    Then you continue to treat the entire blog readership with contempt, by telling us how HSR between San Jose and Oakland or Sf should be *completely dropped*, in favour of BART transfers.

    Well, BART-boy, you may quote the title of Prop 1A, but (like so many here) you failed to read it. In particular, you failed to read Section 2704.09. let me quote from 2704.09. (b) and (f)

    [...]
    (a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue
    operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.
    (b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
    shall not exceed the following:
    (1) San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40
    minutes.
    (2) Oakland-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes.
    (3) San Francisco-San Jose: 30 minutes.
    (4) San Jose-Los Angeles: two hours, 10 minutes.
    (5) San Diego-Los Angeles: one hour, 20 minutes.
    (6) Inland Empire-Los Angeles: 30 minutes.
    (7) Sacramento-Los Angeles: two hours, 20 minutes.

    [...]
    (f) For each corridor described in subdivision (b), passengers
    shall have the capability of traveling from any station on that
    corridor to any other station on that corridor without being required
    to change trains.
    [...]

    Just in case it’s not clear; changing Between HSR and a BART train (or to Caltrain, for that matter), to travel between SJ and SF, or SJ and Oakland, is *SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED* by Prop 1A.

    So please take your flagrantly illegal BART- worshipping ideas, and go away, Mr. Allen. Just go away. And once you’re gone, *learn to read* before you come back here quoting Prpo 1A.
    Or at the very least, learn not to treat people with the unbridled contempt you’ve shown so far.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But is Mr. Allen’s scheme any stupider or less thought out than what PB is trying to shove thru at the mountain crossing?

    Numerous extra billions blown on an addled detour, an in your face gratuitous operational and fiscal handicap.

    And Jerry is worried about potheads. They can become Amalgamated chauffeurs, so long as they vote right.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/BART-board-pulls-no-strike-measure-after-unions-5281179.php

    jonathan Reply:

    :But is Mr. Allen’s scheme any stupider or less thought out than what PB is trying to shove thru at the mountain crossing?

    Not my area of concern, Synon. And yes, it is: Prop 1A doens’t explicitly rule out Tehachapi or Palmdale, but it *does*8 explicitly rule out BART-Bob’s proposal. IMO he doesn’t deserve the title “Mr”. Respect has to be earned, and he’s treated the entire readership of this blog with utter contempt.

    he also seems to be a fascist: he thinks BART can, and should, “annex” San Mateo county and force it to pay for BART ring-the-bay. he’s said so on numerous forums, in pretty much those words. Screw San Mateo voters. Screw democracy. Screw the law.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes it is stupider and less well thought out. Why is an HSR train more vulnerable than a Caltrain train? Why is it more accident prone? Or more a target of terrorists? Or vandals. Vandals don’t like to deface moving trains. It will be moving while on the Peninsula. Just like the Caltrain trains.

    Alan Reply:

    “Or at the very least, learn not to treat people with the unbridled contempt you’ve shown so far.”

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

    jonathan Reply:

    tell me, Alan: of the times 30:22, 32, 40, … which is the maximum?

    jonathan Reply:

    .. or to put it another way: you’ve accused me of lying, repeatedly., and (if memory serves) from the very first time you responded to me. I’ve quoted the relevant sections of the law to you.
    I’ve pointed out, repeatedly, where AB 3024 puts a requirement on *maximum* *nonstop* *service* times.

    You don’t challenge that the words are there, yet you start off by calling me a “liar”. Any reasonable reading of those words will support and substantiate what I’ve said.

    That’s a good way to earn “respect”, Alan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it doesn’t define times for the trains that make intermediate stops. Nor does it define how often non stop trains have to run. In the middle of rush hour they won’t run any nonstops. At 3AM they can let 4 people enjoy the luxury of getting there in 1822 second though almost always they will be normal people who think about in it terms of being a half hour.

  16. synonymouse
    Mar 2nd, 2014 at 12:54
    #16

    “he thinks BART can, and should, “annex” San Mateo county and force it to pay for BART ring-the-bay.”

    I would hazard that most all the honchos in the Brown-Pelosi patronage machine take a quite similar position grosso modo. BART effectively rules Bay Area transit and the pols are joined to it at the hip.

    I stand astounded at how far Caltrain has gotten, of course absent all the rent-seeking scandals, TBT and CBOSS, etc.

  17. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 2nd, 2014 at 14:41
    #17

    Railroad grade crossings are dangerous. People too near railroad tracks get killed. HSR needs a secure trackway, which Caltrain’s ain’t. Upgrade Amtrak’s East Bay Mulford route to the BART overhead in Oakland; the cost is modest. Until then, just stop HSR at San Jose with cross-platform transfers to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor. If the law needs changing, so be it.

    joe Reply:

    BART Police are far more dangerous. Increase standards and training or disband the force.

    jonathan Reply:

    SR needs a secure trackway, which Caltrain’s an’t.

    Caltrain controls operation on its corridor. Caltrain is NOT going to grade-separate, and it’s going to limit speeds to 110 mi/hr. That is well within FRA regulations.

    Stop lying, Robert.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why are people more likely to get killed by an HSR train than a Caltrain train? Why is running HSR trains on tracks with grade crossings along the east side of the bay safer than running the on tracks with grade crossings on the west side of the bay?

    jonathan Reply:

    Surely you aren’t expecting a rational, reasoned answer to that??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no, but it’s an effective way to to wash away the FUD

    jonathan Reply:

    For third parties? or for BART-Bob himself?

  18. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 2nd, 2014 at 16:23
    #18

    Incrementally upgrade the UP/Amtrak East Bay Mulford route to the BART overhead in Oakland first, including grade separation and multi-tracking. Until then, stop HSR at San Jose with cross-platform transfers there to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor. Safe, reliable, cheaper, and better. And pointed to a future Bay Area/Sacramento HSR link.

    Clem Reply:

    And pointed to a future Bay Area/Sacramento HSR link.

    The best Bay Area / Sacramento HSR link (where best is the most balanced compromise between cost, schedule and performance) is without question Transbay – Redwood City – Fremont – Tracy – Sacramento. Cheaper and much faster for LA and CV to Sac. Trying to build a single “backbone” from SD via SF to Sac is to misread the map of California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    spot on

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    going 50 miles out of the way for San Francisco to Sacramento trips is okay so that Tracy gets a station is peachy keen gonzo great but going 50 miles out of the way to get to Palmdale is going to cause the fabric of the universe to rend. Okay.

    Joey Reply:

    SF-Sac via Altamont is longer than the existing route, but it ends up being faster. You could of course build a new alignment roughly parallel to the CC route to get similar travel times, but that costs additional money, whereas SF-Sac via Altamont comes for free once Phase 2 is built (which would have to happen anyway). It ends up costing less, in fact, because the SF and Sacramento branches share more track.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    meh

    Clem Reply:

    Even ants and bacterial slimes have known for millions of years that the most efficient way to connect three destinations that do not lie in a straight line is to form three branches with a central junction. In this case it’s Tracy. If Sacramento didn’t exist, Pacheco would indeed be a fine alignment. Just the same, if Las Vegas made any sense as a California HSR destination, then Palmdale would make a fine junction point. Neither of these hypotheses holds, however.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so what’s equidistant from Bakersfield Los Angeles and Las Vegas? Hmmmmmmm.

    Clem Reply:

    if Las Vegas made any sense as a California HSR destination

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ten million Californians a year find it an interesting destination.

    James in PA Reply:

    Visited Reno a few years ago. Got more second hand smoke than I care to for the next 10 years. Will try to avoid Nevada if at all possible. May be 10 million, but it is not for everybody.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so? going to San Francisco isn’t for everybody or Los Angeles.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ James in PA

    Many gamblers smoke – I mean they like to take risks. So the Indian casinos in California are all smoky. Just as much as in Nevada. I just wish where I live had a neighborhood casino like the Nugget in Carson that I could walk to at nite to play some Double Bonus on a Game King and enjoy a few free old fashioneds. Nevada does have perks – plus you can have a gerbil or prairie dog as a pet.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think Ants live in a monarchy though not a democracy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eh. Not really. The queen isn’t sentient, and neither are the workers, so it’s really not correct to compare ant colonies to monarchy. The queen is not a ruler but a breeder – imagine a country with no masters but with two kinds of slaves, one that’s sterilized and does menial work and one that’s kept constantly pregnant (or if male milked to impregnate the females) to produce children.

    jimsf Reply:

    are you referring to Utah?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, in Utah the male breeders actually have authority over others.

    jimsf Reply:

    exacctly. TAlk a bout a dog leg! All that money to dog leg people from sac via altamont, south to the peninsula and then north to sf in a big zig zag while bypassing all the communites in between making is useless for people in davis fairfield martinez eastbay and there is no need to duplicate sac – bay service when there is already ccjpa wervice which has acceptable travel times, can be improved, and serves a very busy 1-80 corridor through very old established cities and towns making it very useful.

    Eventually ccjpa train will be hourly and Ive heard talk of 24 hour service as well.

    Clem Reply:

    What money are you talking about, Jim? You see, if you build LA to SF via Altamont you only need a small track extension to enable LA to Sac (as is planned for phase 2). Then you’ve got a commercially viable SF to Sac connection for FREE. Could you build a faster one roughly following the Capitol Corridor? Yes, but that would be a huge waste of money when you can get most of the benefit for zero dollars. Of course, zero dollars doesn’t do much for the bottom line of Parsons Brinckerhoff and the likes, which is why this plan isn’t favored. It’s far more profitable to build phase 1 and phase 2 and then point out that we need a phase 3 to connect the Bay Area to Sacramento with proper HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    90 miles at an average speed of 90 takes an hour. 140 miles at 140 miles an hour takes an hour. You need full blown HSR when you add more than 50 percent to the route.

    Clem Reply:

    Not sure what your point is. Transbay – blended – Dumbarton – Altamont – Tracy is 35 minutes. There wouldn’t even be a contest with the Capitol Corridor. Full blown HSR indeed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in San Francisco who want to go to Sacramento or vice versa don’t care how long it takes to get to Tracy. Or Needles. Or Houston. Or Miami. Or Athen GA or Athen Greece, Berlin, Cairo, Darwin, Essen, Framingham, Genoa, Hyderabad, Ithaca, Johannesburg, Knoxville, London, Memphis TN or Egypt, Naples Fl or Italy, Odessa or Оде́са, Paris TX or France, Quito, Rome GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, WI or Roma in Italy, San Paulo or Saint Paul MN, Utica. NY or Tunisia, Venice CA, FL, IL, LA, NY, UT or Italy, Warsaw, Xinzhou Ypislanta, Yuma or Yellowknife or Zurich.

    Clem Reply:

    When you can take time away from stringing together random place names, let us know what your actual point is.

    Mine is this: SF to Sac via Altamont HSR would blow the doors off the Capitol Corridor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes I know that Altamont will end world hunger, eliminate hunger and make the chewing gum keep it’s flavor on the bed post overnight. The current Capitol Corridor blows the doors off ACE. Spend the money improving both of them.

    Joey Reply:

    What money? You are proposing to build SF-LA, Merced-Sacramento, and upgrade the CC and ACE routes. The alternative is to build SF-LA and Manteca-Sacramento which also happens to give good SF-Sac and SJ-Sac travel times.

    jimsf Reply:

    you’ll never get that train across the bay. I mean unless you don’t mind spending another 30 or 40 years trying to fight that battle. you are never going to get that route changed. it simply wont happen.

    Joey Reply:

    Heaven forbid we should dig tunnels right next to the water tunnels which were just dug.

    jimsf Reply:

    Im not saying you can’t do it but you know that starting now and making that change will delay the project indefinately. and the cost for transbay tunnels for hsr would be prohibited.

    Id like to see hsr while Im still living. But at this point Im more concerned with highway improvements.

    Joey Reply:

    The cost wouldn’t be as prohibitive as you might think. The (smaller, yes) water tunnels were completed for a reasonable sum. With that comes geological data which makes the soil conditions along that route more or less 100% known. This eliminates much of the risk, and by extension cost, of boring tunnels.

    The usual baseline for Transbay crossings is the SF-Oakland crossing, but that’s much longer and much deeper than the Dumbarton crossing. Make no mistake, a second SF-Oakland tube will be needed at some point, and the cost will likely be astronomical. But Dumbarton is orders of magnitude easier.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Would rail on the Bay Bridge have been a better option (that is, putting rail on the new Eastern Span)?

    JB in PA Reply:

    Use the old span for rail?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The old span will fall down just as easily in an earthquake with trains on it as it would with cars.

    jimsf Reply:

    The problem with altamont is a: you leave san jose and silicon valley off the mainline, b: you’re not going to get hsr through the livermore valley any easier than you are going to get it through pampa, c: there is already a plan for altamont as part of the norcal unified service and D its just not going to happen.

    you can type about it all day long but you are just exercising your fingers.

    I prefer to deal with the reality of what will be. ( although frankly at this point in my life Im more concerned with upgrades to highways 50 and 80 and Im busy perusing the cmsp or whatever caltrans calls it… for the corridor)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    you mean people won’t be thrilled at the prospect of taking a half hour BART ride to San Jose? why one of the schemes pushed here it to let them get on BART in Livermore so they can have an even longer BART ride!

    jimsf Reply:

    The stretch from roseville to the benicia bridge is almost a straight flat line. up grade it to 110.

    The slow down is the bridge itself, and the approach to martinez, followed by the waterfront stretch from martinez to about hercules/pinole. From point pinole to emeryville its really quick. Most of the lost time is the bridge and the approach to the bridge and martines.

    from sac more people seem to use the emeryville bus to sf
    from davis, the majority of people use richmond bart. in any case, reduce the 2 hour sac-sf time to 90 minutes and you beat driving. Thats all you have to do. Going faster than that and youre just burning up money needlessly.

    and always a reminder because people seem to forget that sac sf and sf la travel times are not the end all be all of the world. serving intermediate folks is just as important.

    everyone pays for these things, and everyone should benefit.

    Joey Reply:

    You can’t upgrade it to 110 because UP has explicitly stated that they will not allow higher speeds on that corridor.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    California state Rail Plan

    Additional track upgrades may lead to even faster travel speeds (110 mph) and express routes between Sacramento and Oakland. Adding a third or fourth mainline track in some sections would improve capacity, especially where freight and passenger services face limited infrastructure. Other potential long-term projects include new crossings of the Carquinez Strait and the Alviso wetlands to improve service reliability and provide environmental enhancement. Potentially new rail alignments between Martinez and Richmond will be considered as coordinated with new crossings of the Carquinez Strait and in response to future adaptation to sea level rise in the current Martinez to Richmond route

    Joey Reply:

    That was before this particular agreement was signed. And the state rail plan is just an unfunded wish list anyway.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    citation needed

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can’t upgrade Altamont pass to 110 either.

    Joey Reply:

    Keith: this agreement, section 2K (page 7). UP outlines which corridors they may allow higher speeds in, and Oakland-Sacramento is excluded.

    Adirandacker: In both cases you need new track to achieve higher speeds. The difference is that with Altamont it comes for free with the rest of the HSR system.

    jimsf Reply:

    The ccjpa plan from april 2013 page 8-9 shows increased speeds to 110, increased frequencies, and the addition of rush hour express trains

    jimsf Reply:

    from april 2013:
    Capitol Corridor Short Term Vision
    (5-10 Years – $952MM capital expenditures)
    „ 1. Update existing elements of 2005 Vision Plan:
    „ a. Maintain 90% on time performance (OTP) (94% actual)
    „ b. Increase daily service frequency
    … i.Auburn-Sac: 4 trains/day vs. 2 actual
    … ii. Roseville-Sac: 20 trains/day vs. 2 actual
    … iii. Oakland-Sac: add 2-4 peak express trains to 30 trains
    … iv. San Jose-Sac: 22 trains vs. 14 actual (incl. 2-4 peak)
    „ c. Reduce travel time by 12%, e.g., through PTC, improved
    track and signage, etc.
    … Increase top speeds from 79 to 110 mph and average
    speeds from 43 to 60 mph

    jimsf Reply:

    a. Extended service to Salinas/Monterey and
    Truckee/Reno (if 2022 Winter Olympics Bid wins
    USOC approval in 2013)
    „ b. Add new stations in Vacaville/Fairfield, Hercules
    and North Sacramento

    This is the first Ive heard of adding a north sacramento station.

    Joey Reply:

    Curious that they’re planning additional trains and faster speeds which UP has perviously said they will not allow. Has UP okayed these changes?

    jimsf Reply:

    1. FASTER SERVICE – Reduce travel time up
    to 50%, with capital investments to increase top
    speeds to 110mph and average speeds to 90
    mph, provide limited stop express service,
    replace bridges and more direct routes,
    particularly in sections from Benicia to
    Richmond/Berkeley, Oakland to San Jose, and a
    new transfer station to BART at West Oakland.

    jimsf Reply:

    And before hsr gets any where near the bay area, ccjpa plans to reduce travel time to this:

    „ a. 1-hour ride from Oakland to
    Sacramento (compared to 1h45m now)
    „
    b. 75-minute ride from San Francisco to
    Sacramento (compared to 2h15m now,
    requires BART transfer at West Oakland)

    „ c. 90-minute ride from San Jose to
    Sacramento (compared to 3-hour now)

    joe Reply:

    –> San Jose -> Tamien-> Morgan Hill-> Gilroy-> Pajero/WatsonVille-> Castroville-> Salinas-|

    Adding and upgrading track at Gilroy Station for the CC extension.
    http://www.tamcmonterey.org/programs/rail/pdf/gilroytrackext.pdf

    Joey Reply:

    jimsf: That still doesn’t say if UP has signed off on the changes. Obviously they can’t stop the state from building cutoffs of the slow sections, but given the terrain that’s going to be expensive (how exactly is this supposed to happen before HSR?). This looks an awful lot like an unfunded wish list to me. Have they completed even back-of-an-envelope designs for any of this?

    joe: UP has in fact stated that they don’t really care about higher speeds and more trains south of Oakland, so yes, that can happen.

  19. Thomas
    Mar 2nd, 2014 at 19:22
    #19

    The federal ARRA funds have a deadline of September 2017 and the FY 2010 funds have no deadline, correct? So I am assuming that ARRA funds will be used as much as possible first. However what if not enough progress is made on the project by 2017 and some ARRA funds time out, would the feds take back the FY 2010 funds as well due to insufficient progress?

    joe Reply:

    No – we do not pay back 2010 funds.

    The ARRA expenditures require matching CA’s expenditures or CA has to pay Feds back for Fed money spent and not matched.

    Every dollar CA matches is a dollar CA never has to pay back. As long as CA spends the Fed money before 2017 and CA continues to build, it’s good.

    The argument in the future will be over the timing of funds spent. Ideally CA would spend all Fed funds first and IMHO, when Prop1a is resolved in favor of CA, all funds needed to match will be available and CA will spend fed money first.

    Thomas Reply:

    But lets say only half of the ARRA funds are used due to slow progress, do you think the feds would take back the 2010 funds, since it would be going towards about 50 miles of track instead of 130?

    joe Reply:

    The Feds never send the full amount. They send allotments and as those funds are spent, more funds are sent.

    My experiences is with university grants.

    When they send funds these funds have dates attached to them and the orgs fiance person spends the money with the oldest dates first. That way the money does not expire.

    In this case, the 2010 funds would be matched first. But say they don’t – the total amount owed back is the diff between what the State spent and what they matched. A total is a total. It wouldn’t matter how you matched funds for the final reconciliation.

    Michael Reply:

    Oops!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3vOfArbIJw

  20. jimsf
    Mar 2nd, 2014 at 20:43
    #20

    New bart design looks good

    Interiors created by public input

    new features

    Joey Reply:

    Nice, but I’m a little disappointed they don’t have open gangways which would improve circulation and safety.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No vestibules?

    jimsf Reply:

    If you mean the passageway between cars then yes it would be nice if that was open throughout. But wouldn’t that require a trainset that can’t be taken apart

    Michael Reply:

    Here’s an “open gangway” train from Munich. People can more easily distribute throughout the train and there’s more room overall. The Munich U Bahn and BART are about the same age, with the Munich system opening its initial network in time for the 1972 Olympics. The train in the video came online a few years ago.

    Doors are usually the failure point that takes a train out of service, especially when failing in the “open” position. Just because you can break a train down into individual cars at the yard doesn’t fix the problem the train has failed on the system. BART runs today in units of 4- and 5- car units, so why not 350′ trains (five cars) that can be coupled in sets for a better passenger experience, i.e. more space?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Michael: here’s your opps link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3vOfArbIJw

    Pretty much every other (non-US!) metro train will be similar, exceptional historical infrastructure issues aside. Because most people running non-US metros aren’t complete idiots.

    BART could and should have specified permanently connected 4/5 “car” sets, but a small bunch of entrenched neanderthals in the maintenance division (note BART has the most expensive and most poorly-utilised collection of huge and sprawling maintenance yards that I know of in any comparably sized system, just chock-full of expensive out-of-service equipment all hours of the day and night) refused point-blank to countenance it. After all, they’ve equipped each and every one of their out-of-control BART yards (including the large and nearly completely idle South Hayward Yard that they burned down …) with little car turntables. Choof choof!

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. Putting yesterday in the future, tomorrow.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    being underground doesn’t make a train a subway.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Being able to type doesn’t mean that you make any sense.

    jimsf Reply:

    being a prick does mean that you are a prick.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m not sure he has one, which would explain a lot.

    Joey Reply:

    jimsf: Yes, as Richard meintions, it requires semi-permanent (say 4 or 5 car) trainsets. It is true that BART’s maintenance facilities are configured for maintaining individual cars rather than entire trainsets as is the modern practice, but I don’t think this is an insurmountable obstacle. Cars can be coupled and uncoupled in maintenance facilities anyway.

  21. jimsf
    Mar 3rd, 2014 at 13:14
    #21

    never seen a double decked subway train before

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    This this you found? It is called “a train” running in “a tunnel”.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    jimsf Reply:

    first of all richard, suck me. second, it is cleary a metro system not a regional rail or hsr, and how many cities are using double decked emus in their “metros.”

    Joey Reply:

    The distinction between regional rail and metros has become somewhat blurred in recent times, with systems like Sydney’s CityRail (the video you showed) Paris’s RER, and numerous others operating in tunnels with tight stop spacing in the city center and on legacy track in the suburbs.

    I would argue that this example probably falls under the category of regional rail more than metro, first of all because CityRail is really a regional system and secondly because the rolling stock is more suited to regional operations (long door spacing and lots of seats). CityRail does have plans to operate a couple of their inner lines more like metros at some point in the future though.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Well, if you translate “recent times” to “within the last 40 years”. In fact, the München S-Bahn with the city tunnel did count as the reference for quite a few years. They linked through the regional lines ending at Hauptbahnhof with the ones ending at Ostbahnhof. It was a coincidence that both termini had 6 lines, which allowed to combine them to 6 (originally). Nowadays, there are 8 lines running through the tunnel, pushing the signalling system to its limits.

    The same concepts apply for the Paris RER (and several other systems, like the Zürich S-Bahn, the Stuttgart S-Bahn, London Overground, etc.).

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Sydney introduced double deck trailers (mixed in with single deck motor cars) in 1962.
    It’s been 100% double-deck EMU since 1992.
    The cross-city tunnels date from 1932.

    As you say, nothing recent. Outside the antediluvian North American backwater, that is.

    swing hanger Reply:

    To add: Tokyo Metro has been interlining with the various suburban private railways and JR since the 1960’s. The longest service stretches for 98km end to end.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s alway this

    http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/subwaymap.pdf

    Joey Reply:

    If you put CalTrain in a tunnel and squinted a bit it would probably look about the same.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    This type of rolling stock is used in an S-Bahn environment, but not what is normally understood as “subway”.

    Subway vehicles: 3 to 5 double or triple-wide doors, relatively few seats. No bi-levels.

    S-Bahn vehicles: 2 (maybe 3) double-or triple-wide doors, high number of seats. May be bi-levels.

    Note: the SNCF has 3-door bi-levels for RER services. Parts of some RER lines are under the control of the RATP, which means they could be considered to be hybrids.

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