State Building Trades Urges Legislature to Fund HSR

Feb 19th, 2014 | Posted by

The Tea Party (and their newest friend, Gavin Newsom) may be continuing their war against high speed rail. But California’s labor unions, a key Democratic constituency, remain deeply supportive of the project. Robbie Hunter of the State Building and Construction Trades Council explains why:

Simply put, California cannot afford not to do this. Our transportation system is already overtaxed and our population will reach 50 million by mid-century. High-speed rail is the only viable means of making sure our transportation infrastructure can meet our growing demand. Continuing to build more and more freeways and airports would be more expensive, more environmentally damaging, and less efficient. Ultimately, the cost of doing nothing will far exceed the cost of modernizing our rail system.

Other developed nations are using high-speed rail with tremendous results. We have learned from places like Spain, France, China, Japan and other countries that high-speed rail is the most efficient and preferred mode of transportation between population centers 100 to 500 miles apart. That is precisely the corridor California’s high-speed rail will serve. California and high-speed rail are made for each other.

So Hunter clearly understands the basic reasons for the project, reasons that need to be restated often so that legislators don’t get lost in the fog of right-wing rhetoric being hurled at the project.

Hunter also goes on to remind legislators that early challenges for major projects are common:

We must remember that there are always up-front costs for getting a major project off the ground, whether a dam or bridge, factory or a college; there are costs up front followed by great benefits. If you don’t get started, you can never get where you want to be.

But, as we see once again, the opposition always dwells on those early costs. That’s why in 1932, there were over 2,000 lawsuits filed to try to stop the Golden Gate Bridge from being built, and many more opposing Hoover Dam. But those projects have proven their worth many times over, and continue to benefit us nearly a century later.

If California cut and ran every time someone sued because they didn’t like a project, people would still be using horse and buggy to get around. California’s infrastructure and prosperity depend on legislators being willing to ignore the haters and move ahead with a project whose value has been repeatedly demonstrated all over the globe.

Especially when so many jobs are at stake. There’s no doubt that the building trades have a lot of jobs riding on HSR. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially five years after the recession ended and unemployment in the Central Valley is still in double digits.

California legislators should listen to people like Robbie Hunter, and ignore people like the Tea Party, when it comes to making important decisions about the future.

  1. EJ
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 10:51
    #1

    Shockingly, people who pour concrete for a living think CA should be pouring more concrete.

    therealist Reply:

    if u build it, THEY will come !!

    Reality Check Reply:

    EJ is quite right.

    The State Building and Construction Trades Council level of support for projects generally rises in direct proportion to their price tag. The more construction spending dollars a project will cause to flow into the paychecks of the union labor they represent and speak for, the more outspoken they are in support of that project.

    Yawn.

    EJ Reply:

    Waiting for Robert to come out and endorse all the highway construction projects that they routinely support.

    I mean, it doesn’t mean HSR is a bad idea, it’s just that their endorsement is relatively meaningless in terms of greater benefit to CA.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Hitler endorsed high-speed rail. So obviously, it is a good idea.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Hitler also required DRB to build the autobahn system that competed with it.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Not to be confused with Hitler’s DRB (formerly DRG) which operated the SVT 137 ;)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    … because he thought the Schienenzeppelin weren’t practical?

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

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The power-to-weight ratio of this is 22. Higher than most European HSR trains today, in fact.

    Wow.

    Jonathan Reply:

    You didn’t know !?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Given the Breitspurbahn, it’s really quite telling that the Schienenzeppelin wasn’t practical.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t say it wasn’t practical. They actually built some and tested them …. which more than can be said for Hyperloop…. or PRT in general. I speculated that he thought it wasn’t practical. Considering all the design changes between version 1 and version 2, version 1 wasn’t practical. And that no one else has tried it, except maybe the French with Aerotrain which was vaguely related, it isn’t practical…. and then again no one has tried extra wide broad gauge with two level trains either.

    Jonathan Reply:

    “built some”? WTF? Franz Kruckenberg built one (1) Schienzeppelin It was remotored as a Schienzeppelin; then rebuilt as a diesel-hydraulic (or Otto-cycle hydraulic), with a much lower power-to-weight ratio and a top speed of ~110 mi/hr.

    Newsreel footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-ID_ktSoLY

    What Kruckenberg unarguably did, was to apply aircraft-style lightweight construction to high-speed rail. The practical difficulties of completely un-muffled high-performace aircraft engine, and a spinning wooden airscrew within reach of bystanders whilst stopped at, or passing through stations, are an obvious safety hazard. Wikipedia observes that the Schienzeppelin would have great problems climbing hills, due to flow separation, but I don’t remember enough fluid dynamics to speak to that. But, definitely *not* practical: the interior passenger compartment simply wasn’t up to the standards of the day. (Compare to 2nd class seating in the DRG _Rheingold!!)

    I always thought the duralumin diagonal struts visible in the Schienzeppelin were very reminiscent of similar diagonal sturts in the Wellington bomber designed by Barnes Wallis. (Historically, the other way round, of course). The Wellington’s geodetic airframe was also based on airship experience — popularized, of course, by Nevile Shute Norway, aka Nevil Shute

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    one is more than none. Two is more than none and is “some”. Two more than anything Hyperloop has built.
    If you think whirling propellers next to a platform contemplate a pod hurtling through a near vacuum millimeters from a tube strong enough to maintain the near vacuum, pot shots from someone with a 22 and what happens when that gets disrupted.

    jonathan Reply:

    My point is that since you say “They built some and tested them”, and consistently talk about Schienzeppelin in the plural, you obviously don’t know shit about it, and shouldn’t be commenting.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Your point was being a anal retentive asshole. Do you work at it or does it come naturally?

    All I know about them comes from

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

    Which is why I linked to it, so assholes like you could read it. The first version was rebuilt into the second version. The word second is referring to the number of objects in this case and implies there was a first. Two of them. Things not one singular object, in English and most languages on Planet Earth, use plural pronouns. If there had been three, English doesn’t have pronouns for things-more-than-two so they would be the same as things-that-are-two.

    jonathan Reply:

    Franz Kruckenberg built one (1) rail zeppelin. You said;

    because he thought the Schienenzeppelin weren’t practical?

    and

    They actually built some and tested them ….

    “weren’t” is plural, “Them” is plural. But there was only *one*. Clearly you don’t know squat about the Schienzeppelin – you don’t even know how many there were! — and so you shouldn’t be commenting. That’s not “being pedantic:. It’s stating a fact. Repeating your error only digs you in deeper. (Hint: there was only ever one rail-zeppelin. It was re-motored, and rebuilt, but there was only ever one.)

    As if all I knew about the Schienzeppelin was from reading Wikipedia. And in *English*, for crying out loud! You’re almost funny.

    jonathan Reply:

    and…

    […’ Der Schienenzeppelin, den Kruckenberg als „Flugbahn-Wagen“ bezeichnete, wurde nur in einem Exemplar gebaut […]

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so you work at? It’s not a natural talent?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Now chaps, be nice. You must be willing to suffer fools, or surely you would not be reading this blog.

    jonathan Reply:

    The really funny part is:

    When Franz Kruckenberg rebuit the Schienenzeppelin into a B’1, with hydraulic drive to a front bogie, and a whole new front-end, that it was no longer a ,,Propellerfahrt” vehicle. *not* a Schienenzeppelin. Rather, it was a proof-of-concept, a prototype, of Kruckenberg’s later SVT 137 155. The design of the front-end, driver’s cab, etc. was very simillar to the SVT 137 155. And, ta-dah, the aircraft engine was replaced with a maybach diesel; the same family as use din the SVT 137 155.

    The SVT 137 155 is credited with being the design forebear of the DB’s VT 11.5, and the DR’s VT 18.16. (Kruckenber’gs own VT10.5 design, the “Senator”, was a failure because it had 6 engines, each of which was effectively a single-point-of-failure. Fix that, as in the later design,s and it was a huge winner.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    you need to get laid.

    jonathan Reply:

    Is it really so hard to admit that you were wrong??

    I got the relevant reference books years ago. Decades ago, in many cases. And my sex life is doing fine, thanks all the same.

    (oh, sorry, the Senator and Komet had 4 engines, not 6, but each was a single-point of failure. My bad; ackonwledged and corrected.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no one gives a flying leap. you need to get laid

    jimsf Reply:

    We need highway projects and high speed rail and the jobs and tranportation both provide.

  2. Derek
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 11:13
    #2

    Our transportation system is already overtaxed…

    That’s a result of pricing it below the market equilibrium rate determined by supply and demand. That’s never a good long-term strategy. It’s much, much easier and cheaper to fix this problem on the demand side than the supply side.

    Let’s give everyone free McDonald’s hamburgers. Let’s put 10,000 hamburgers a day on a table in front of the Capitol (or wherever).

    What would happen? People would take and eat the hamburgers, and once word got out, all 10,000 hamburgers would be taken very quickly every day. We may thus infer that because people need food and they really seemed to like those burgers, McDonald’s hamburgers are an important public good.

    A city planner might notice a problem: those 10,000 hamburgers just aren’t enough. They get taken very early in the morning, so not everybody has a chance to get a hamburger. The obvious solution — because burgers are a highly-valued public good — is to provide more free burgers. So the city planner starts to provide 20,000 hamburgers a day.

    You can see where this is going. People start going out of their way to get the free hamburgers, and planning their day around that trip. The city has to keep providing more and more free burgers — eventually millions a day — to keep satisfying the demand for free hamburgers. The competing food markets crater, because who would pay $2/lb for apples when you can get as many free burgers as you want (although maybe you have to wait in a 30-minute line). Public health goes to hell, because everybody’s eating six burgers a day. And yet, everybody likes their free burgers and the Hamburger Department is an untouchable political powerhouse. Proposals for a 10-cent hamburger fee to cover the huge costs of hamburger provision get shot down by public outrage.

    What’s the problem here? The problem is that food is indeed a necessity, and yes, people seem to like McDonald’s hamburgers — but the fact that people will take free burgers does not prove that they are “highly valued” by the market. We are not seeing actual demand for burgers. We are seeing induced demand for a good which is being provided at artificially low prices.

    But for some reason, replace hamburgers with roads and everybody goes nuts.

    In short, the fact that a new lane or road immediately fills up with traffic does not “prove” that there was a high demand for that road — it proves that people will use way too much of something that’s free.

    jimsf Reply:

    Great, now I’m hungry.

    Joe Reply:

    Aside from the fact people do go hungry and need assistance, why are libertarian lessons in economics so childish and off topic?

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is one lesson from “libertarians”, let’s say Reaganites, that does stick and sadly more so as time goes by. That is government is no longer capable of doing anything right or competently any more. On Mars, ok, where there aren’t any gangsters greasing palms, and maybe in small places, but in California no way. Every government project is totally effed up.

    Which is a drag because there are worthy projects. Private entrepreneurs were supposed to come in on CHSRA but that will never happen with PB and the unions around and Palmdale scoundrels.

    The Repubs worship the rich; the Demos worship the bureaucrats. Great choice.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t work because people who are convinced it can never work get elected and do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t work.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sounds like Jerry Brown and the CHSRA. He was the one who fingered Van Ark.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, the Tea Party is responsible for six and a half bil Bayconic Bridge rusting away.

    Travis D Reply:

    The alternate universe you live in sounds so fascinating.

    Eric Reply:

    “Every government project is totally effed up.”

    True in the US. Not true in many other developed countries.

    Derek Reply:

    why are libertarian lessons in economics so childish and off topic?

    The lessons are childish because Republicans and Democrats need things explained very simply. And they seem off-topic until the student understands supply and demand well enough to read a demand curve.

    joe Reply:

    I’ll make hamburger tonight and you can go make a road.

    Derek Reply:

    “If you wish to make a hamburger from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” –Carl Sagan

    Joe Reply:

    Did you invent the computer and internet to reply?

    How do you build a road across private property? Do we have to pay market equilibrium prices and then use the invisible hand to slap landowners who refuse to sell?

    The best argument us to stay on topic and explain the problem and solution.

    Derek Reply:

    Do we have to pay market equilibrium prices and then use the invisible hand to slap landowners who refuse to sell?

    Thank you for proving my original point that “It’s much, much easier and cheaper to fix [the problem of our transportation system being overtaxed] on the demand side than the supply side.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You are right Derek. “Transportation” including roads, parking, enforcement, etc. is provided at “below cost” if you are only considering direct fees by users. That in turn encourages people to use “transportation” at a higher capacity then they would if they were directly charged the actual cost.

    Here is where your argument fails. “transportation” does not exist in a vacuum. In actuality, it is a large part of civil society. Why did Rome build roads throughout the empire, to bring the empire together which has a great (unmeasurable) benefit. So you have to take it (somewhat on faith) that providing cheap “transportaion” is worth it because it provides a greater benefit. A benefit to the economy, to society, etc.

    Of course it is not really “below cost” the difference is made up in general taxes and such, but that cost is partially hidden. Of course the way of funding that costs can be more progressive than direc user fees which can be an advantage if you consider regressive taxes (fees) bad. I know you dont think that road fees are regressive but that is an argument for a different time.

    In summary, while you are correct that roads and “transportation” in general is priced below cost, I think it is pretty clear throughout history that the actual societal good of having a free (cheap) transportation system outweights the costs. You have to stop thinkning of the pieces as isolated from each other.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yet HSR which would be part of the transportation system has to show a profit. Hmmm.

    Derek Reply:

    “Transportation” including roads, parking, enforcement, etc. is provided at “below cost” if you are only considering direct fees by users.

    I’m not talking about the cost of the roads and supporting infrastructure, I’m talking about the market equilibrium price. Anytime you price something below the market, you create what’s known as a shortage. Remember, the market equilibrium price is the price where supply equals demand, and when you set the price below that, demand exceeds supply and somebody is unable to buy the product or service unless you start rationing.

    Your argument is that transportation should be provided below cost. We can save that argument for another day. My argument is that prices should be set at market equilibrium to provide the proper incentive for each person to limit his or her consumption of the product or service so that others may benefit, without the need for rationing.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I get your argument, you get mine. They are exclusionary. We can agree to disagree. You are right that setting it below “market value” leads to supply shortages, in this case traffic jams, but there is a lot more complexity in it. If you implamented direct cost pricing as you propose, there would be a lot of unintended consequences

    BTW, I would not caracterize my argument as providing transportation at below cost. The government actually always pays the true cost one way or the other. My argument is that it is ok for the cost to be paid by not just the direct users and not just in proportion to use.

    Derek Reply:

    If you implamented direct cost pricing as you propose, there would be a lot of unintended consequences.

    For example, it would drive up demand for alternatives such as high-speed rail.

    My argument is that it is ok for the cost to be paid by not just the direct users and not just in proportion to use.

    Unfortunately, the way we tend to do that is with sales taxes such as Proposition K in San Francisco and Measure R in Los Angeles. Sales taxes are regressive, so having the cost paid by not just the direct users creates a transfer of wealth from the poor to the middle class and the wealthy.

    joe Reply:

    Toll public roads and help the poor — article available on request.

    Derek Reply:

    [1] [2]

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr. Reply:

    Welcome to Japan, o Nachtigall-san!

    Japan has a large domestic travel market. The most popular destination is Kyoto – no surprises here.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr. Reply:

    Hmmm, let’s try this again:

    Welcome to Japan, o Nachtigall-san!

    Japan has a large domestic travel market. The most popular destination is Kyōto – no surprises here.

    The second-most popular destination is … Hakodate (and that is a surprise). This city, in common with many other municipalities throughout Hokkaidō, has struggled since the 1970s as its “traditional” industries declined (shipping and fishing, in this case).

    “I think it is pretty clear throughout history that the actual societal good of having a free (cheap) transportation system outweights the costs.”

    Shinkansen travel is not “free” and is by no means “cheap.” However, the (apparent) libertarian assumption that “direct”costs are not (and cannot be) offset by “indirect” benefits is nonsense. Confined to this one (very limited) example, extension of shinkansen service to Hakodate (during FY 2016) will generate benefits to Hakodate’s local economy. This will take place as the result of greater accessibility to tourists. The magnitude of such benefits is subject to debate – but the fact, I believe, is not.

    “Actual societal good:” An old saw from the proverbial “Econ 101,” stood on its head, goes like this: private investors can do nothing – “n-o-t-h-i-n-g” – unless they can capture a sufficient share of the of the value of the benefits provided. This, in some sectors of the economy, is very easy. There are other sectors of the economy where this is not so easy.

    A libertarian / comedian I know says (perhaps with a bit of tongue in cheek), “I think that if the private sector can’t do it, then it shouldn’t be done.”

    Yeah, right.

    Derek Reply:

    I don’t think anybody doubts that extending the Shinkansen to Hakodate will increase tax revenue and thereby offset, at least partially, the cost of the extension, but will it be enough to fully cover the cost of the extension? If not, or if it cannot be proven one way or another, then the extension should not be built.

    joe Reply:

    “It’s much, much easier and cheaper to fix [the problem of our transportation system being overtaxed] on the demand side than the supply side.”

    Which is why supplying free hamburgers is a dumb lesson.
    Any bozo can make a hamburger and if demand for hamburgers increases so can the supply with more junk food franchises or at home cooking.

    Only the State has the power to acquire land and build roads. Too bad the market based advocates can’t make a compelling argument – McEconomics.

    Derek Reply:

    Only the State has the power to acquire land and build roads.

    Now I know you’re joking. Sorry, I’m kind of slow sometimes. Good one!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, post-Kelo, private interests can acquire land as well. And even pre-Kelo, railroads could acquire land by eminent domain.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Since the internet was a product of the DoD, I assume you want lots and lots of funding for defense research?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You have a cow? Better plan on it being tomorrow because if you start now you won’t be to the place where you have a pile of bits and pieces after butchering the rest of the beast.

    Jon Reply:

    You’re assuming the politicians don’t understand supply and demand. They do, they just don’t give a shit. The current state of affairs makes money for their friends in the highway lobby and creates construction jobs and plentiful parking for their constituents. Why should they rock the boat?

    Derek Reply:

    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” –Hanlon’s razor

    Joe Reply:

    There’s a sucker born every minute.

  3. Reality Check
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 11:52
    #3

    Palo Alto looks to spur Caltrain use among city workers
    Employees would be able to swap parking permits for free Caltrain passes under new proposal

    The program is expected to cost the city $63,691, according to the staff report. At the same time, staff expects to make about $27,800 in annual revenues from selling the parking permits that were previously provided to employees. The revenues would bring down the program’s cost to $35,892, the report states.

    […]

    If the council approves the staff proposal, Palo Alto would join 22 local companies that currently buy Caltrain passes in bulk and distribute them to their employees, along with Stanford University and Stanford University Medical Center. According to city planners, the university’s transit ridership among employees has increased from 8 percent to 28 percent since its participation in the Go Pass Program began.

    Now, with parking and traffic issues dominating agendas and land-use planning (which includes parking and traffic) identified as one of the council’s top priorities for the second straight year, the city hopes to achieve a similar ridership bump. The program’s eligibility would be limited to the 466 employees who work at Civic Center. Currently, about 50 of them currently rely on Caltrain for some portion of their commutes, according to staff.

    […]

    Staff had initially suggested a broader Go Pass program, one that could involve employees at downtown businesses. According to the city, Caltrain staff balked at this proposal, citing “current high Caltrain ridership at University Station and the concern of providing equitable programs with active participating companies.”

    joe Reply:

    We are running out of capacity on Caltrain during the commute. I was wondering when this policy, used for years to accommodate workers, would be curtailed for busy stops.

    The EIRs for already approved developments in PA and Menlo Park depend on Caltrain to mitigate traffic. http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2011/06/06/palo-alto-approves-stanford-hospital-expansion

    Their neighbor city, Menlo Park, has a new, ambitious, general plan for growing downtown (near the Meno Park Station and ROW) and they’ve already committed to projects using 75% of the allowed growth. Their EIRs depend on unrestricted access to Caltrain.

    Instead of planning for increasing transit capacity, the cities treat the service as a burden and annoyance. They’ve lobbied to restrict the ROW, complain about trains and refuse to improve crossings.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Please refer to 1991 BART-MTC killing Caltrain TBT tunnel and electrification.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, you still may very well end up with solo BART in tunnel thru PAMPA and PB-CHSRA kicked to the curb at Diridon Intergalactic.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    More like dual BART-HSR structure whipping on through PAMPA.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Dream on, Mega Meg probably has enough cash to buy PB.

    joe Reply:

    In the meanwhile I am thinking Santa Clara will run something down El Camino Real. VTA proposes BRT.
    http://www.vta.org/News-and-Media/Connect-with-VTA/VTA-Plan-Will-Analyze-North-Central-County-Transit-Connections#

    San Mateo Co has the same plan.
    PPT here http://www.samtrans.com/Assets/_Planning/pdf/El+Camino+Real+Bus+Rapid+Transit+Phasing+Study+City+Council+Presentation.pdf

    Site here:
    http://www.samtrans.com/Planning/Planning_and_Research/BRT.html

    BRT – dedicated lane for buses – would allow El Camino Real to expand upward. Many sections are single story and infill limited by the State.

    A subway – VTA subway would work too up to the County border but I doubt anything but piecemeal surface bus transit is possible with the various cities along the Highway. It will be hard to take a car lane away.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You sure do have a thing for tenements. Just enough air to get thru a nite.

    Jonathan Reply:

    More like dual BART-HSR structure whipping on through PAMPA.

    It’s not easy to build dual-gauge track. There is a 9-and-a-bit inch difference between standard-gauge and BART gauge. With a lot of care, just *might* allow BART and standard-gauge to share one rail, with a third standard-gauge rail just inside the other BART rail. That really doesn’t leave much room for the rail fasteners. Yes, the Great Western Railway had dual-gauge lines for standard-gauge and 7ft 1/4in; but that was with Brunel’s “baulk-road” track, fastened directly downward onto the baulks. No tie plates, no Pandrol clips, no chairs for bullhead rail. Just the flat-bottomed rail.

    Of course, having rail centers offset by four and a bit inches makes it absolutely impossible to share platforms (even if both systems used the same height. And even that ignores the mind-numbing technological incompetence of the BART/MTC transportation-industrial complex, who have yet to catch up with what George Stephenson knew and wrote about in 1821: coned wheel treads.
    Yes, Viriginal, BART runs cylindrical wheels. Which leads to different, conflicting and (imho) irreconcileable standards for track maintenance.

    So a more technically feasible option is a dual-gauge line with four tracks: broad-gauge and standard-gauge, interleaved, sharing no rails. No shared platforms at all.

    If BART-fanboys want to “share rail” in the Peninsula, they’d be better off suggesting wheelsets which can automatically change gauge. Like the Spanish broad/standard-gauge Talgo, or the Swiss standard-to-metre gauge wheelsets. Not that anyone has been insane enough to attempt dynamically-changing wheel profiles, mind you.

    And that ignores the most fundamental point about BART technology: third-rail 1kV DC *requires* fully grade-separated track. And that is one thing Palo Alto and Menlo Park are dead set against. (And yet another reason CHSRA is lying when they say the “blended” plan meets the requirements of Prop 1A: Frank Vacca’s memo assumes HSR can run at 125 mi/hr on the Peninsula. But FRA won’t let that happen without fully grade-separating the ROW. Which the Peninsula cities, and Caltrain, won’t do. “Oops.”)

    synonymouse Reply:

    There are only two options here:

    1. The bookends survive and Caltrain is electrified. CAHSR, with its much lighter passenger loads, takes a way backseat to Caltrain.

    2. PB-CHSRA implodes and the bookends evaporate. BART Ring the Bay moves in for the kill. I believe Newsom and the heavy hitters behind him consider this a likely eventuality.

    The real question is whether Jerry Brown can muster the imagination and flexibility to save the project. So far no way.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Jonathan

    I suggest that cylindrical wheel contour and flyweight car construction probably figured in BART’s dumping a bunch of its empty beercans on the “ground” at Concord last nite.

    Of course protecting the Bechtelian Legacy is job #1 at BART so no doubt they will come up with another cover story.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Run it at 124.99998 MPH.

    joe Reply:

    Or 39.0 MPH * PI.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Adirondacker, you were the one who said FRA won’t, as a practical matter, let them run faster than 110 mi/hr wtihout grade separation. (Quad-barrier crossing gates, blah blah blah).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you can foam about how 109.9999997 mph isn’t compliant the Authority can claim ungrade separated isn’t complete and therefore doesn’t have to comply. Or close the doors at 22nd Street instead of Mission Bay.

  4. Reality Check
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 11:55
    #4

    Siemens to give DB an extra ICE 3 trainset free to make up for delivery delays

    Max Wyss Reply:

    FWIW, this is not the first time Siemens gives the customer an extra train set for free to make up for delivery delays: For the S-Bahn Zürich network, the SBB ordered 60 class 514 EMUs (aka DTZ); now they have 61…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There seems to be a serious type approval problem in Europe. Siemens 8 car ICE sets approved but not when coupled together, etc. Of course we here won’t have any of those problems, not with CBOSS, PTC etc. Ask Mike Scanlon.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    There are indeed issues with approval. In fact, every country has its own approval office, and each one has its own approval regulations. Some of them are, of course, consequences of the national systems, such as signalling circuits etc. There are now pan-european certifications for main components coming up, but it still takes quite a bit of time and it is tedious. Siemens claims that the Vectron has passed some of those certifications. But there are still the certifications for the whole system…

  5. synonymouse
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 13:27
    #5

    “California’s infrastructure and prosperity depend on legislators being willing to ignore the haters…”

    Who are primo amongst the real haters:

    BART hating on every other transit op, most particularly Caltrain

    Palmdale real estate developers hating on the California environment and California taxpayers

    Tejon Ranch Co. hating on HSR

  6. Paul Druce
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 14:42
    #6

    The Tea Party (and their newest friend, Gavin Newsom)

    Lolwut

  7. morris brown
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 15:18
    #7

    SF Chronicle — Newsom opposes high-speed rail – other Dems to follow?

    http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Newsom-opposes-high-speed-rail-other-Dems-to-5246249.php

    The Chronicle has been perhaps the biggest media supporter of HSR. Now we see at least some kick-back from the paper’s political writer Carla Marinucci.

    Pretty soon, only construction unions, the City of Fresno, and, of course, our leader here Robert, wanting to proceed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Citing the stream of revelations about construction problems on the new, $6.4 billion Bay Bridge eastern span, Dorinson said, “If you think a bridge between two points is complicated, what about a railroad?

    “People don’t have faith that the government has the capability of doing these kinds of big projects anymore,” Dorinson said. “They’re saying, ‘These politicians would screw up a one-car funeral.’

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Morris

    It is Palmdale and the Tejon Ranch that have to be the real “Mr. Big” at PB-CHSRA. Fresno is going to get served in any scenario and the construction unions are going to the work wherever it takes place. Remember those boxing-gangster movies from the fifties? John Friendly has to tell Palmdale:

    “Sorry, kid. Tonite’s not your nite. You’re gonna take a dive.”

    StevieB Reply:

    The President of the United States, Secretary of Transportation, and the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration are on the list of HSR supporters. Success of the project will not be determined until the second half of the 21st Century. I hope you are a patient man.

    Alan Reply:

    Morris can look up from wherever he is by then to see how successful HSR will be…

  8. synonymouse
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 15:28
    #8

    I don’t see Gavin Newsom anywhere close to the Tea Party. He has the consensus behind him, both Democrat and Republican voters. Jerry Brown, Richards, Morales, PB are in the minority opinion now.

    I would put Newsom as the spokesman du jour of a bloc comprising likely Kopp, Willie Brown, Heminger, Lee and maybe Ammiano-Leno. This is the BART-MTC faction which favors Ring the Bay. I would select Kopp as the one most knowledgeable and setting their tone on hsr. He is deeply dissatisfied with the downgrade from real high speed and since Jerry Brown seems to have no fallback plan whatsoever the project is likely to be outright cancelled, not reset nor reformed.

    Which is of course a very favorable scenario for Ring the Bay. The hsr scheme could be resurrected at any time but it would be bleeding edge and on LA and SF terms. Exotic tech would probably re-emerge.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am guessing Newsom favors a re-vote, along with the majority of the public.

    Travis D Reply:

    Why? So we can shelve a perfectly good proposal that only idiots and weirdos think is flawed?

    TomA Reply:

    YEs – more or less.

    A revote will lose. There will not be a replacement proposal. HSR will die. Highways and airports might or might not be built to replace it. Or perhaps nothing, and gridlock will get worse.

    But at least we did’t waste money on a flawed plan that went somewhat out of the way of the ideal route.

    joe Reply:

    “A revote will lose. ”

    A re-vote would open up the debate. It’s been one-sided. Just as Jerry Brown was losing to Meg Witman and her awesome lead in the Pols and big check book.

    First a re-vote would debunk the lie that HSR funds can be reused for other purposes – we’d lose the funds and billions in development.

    Second, we’d talk about the need to expand roads and air capacity for the next few decades with more flights and 4 lane I-5.

    Third – it would pint out the flaws in Prop1a and the bureaucracy it created and lawsuits by disgruntled property owners. Tos for example wants HSR stopped and money spent on more subsidized water.

    synonymouse Reply:

    yes

    Alan Reply:

    You can have a revote on Prop 1A as soon as we get a revote on the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections.

    synonymouse Reply:

    say what?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That is a plausible theory, but Newsom’s unwillingness to state a preference as to using Prop 1a funds for Ring the Bay lowers the likelihood he has been seduced by Kopp’s “Big Bang Theory”. I think Newsom is trying to stake out a position in the anti union Schwarzenegger wing of the CA Democratic Party. He is running on ambition and triangulation and destined to run out of steam.

    I do anticipate, though, more of these divide and conquer proposals: shifting the federal match to the Northeast Corridor and shifting Prop 1a to mass transit locally.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Phase 1 – From the South, stop HSR at San Jose with cross-platform transfers there to/from Caltrain and Capitol Corridor. No more state or bond money for Caltrain electrification, tunneling, downtown SF terminal, or future trans-Bay tube.
    —–
    Phase 2 – Up-grade Amtrak’s East Bay Corridor from San Jose to a new Oakland “San Francisco Bay Ray Hub” where BART crosses overhead (I-880/7th Street). BART trains about every 4 minutes are only six to ten minutes from all four downtown San Francisco stations.
    —–
    Much better, cheaper, safer, more reliable than “Blended Rail”.

    Alan Reply:

    Blah, blah, blah. The same unsubstantiated, illegal bullshit you’ve tried to push here before. In so many words: “Kill HSR and Caltrain so BART can build up the Peninsula.” Not gonna happen.

    joe Reply:

    It’s cut and paste.

    BART to San Jose is ~21 miles and 7 Billion or ~333 Million per mile.

    HSR from SJ to SF is about 1.5 Billion – Blended. You can take HSR to SF or transfer at SFO to BART and have all those lovely legacy stops plus it’s faster and safer.

    No one’s every been shot by Caltrain but BART Police are deadly. And BART can unilaterally shut off cell phone service if they think the customers are unhappy and protest.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Talk to your BART staff about putting more people in the Bay tube, they will likely tell you that capacity is restrained by dwell times at the Market Street stations.

    Zorro Reply:

    Stopping in SJ is not possible, Prop1a says SF to LA, not SJ to LA, your phase 2 has no support, so neither will be done and no revote will happen either, as petition drives take millions to fund.

    Blended is temporary and for the moment is what will be done, and HSR will be built.

    synonymouse Reply:

    VBobier?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Swears up and down he isn’t but sounds exactly like him nonetheless.

    jonathan Reply:

    Zorry, zorro, Zorro. Blended is *NOT* temporary. That is blatantly incorrect. There’s even a law against extending the Peninsula “blend” to include more quad-tracking. Such extension requires a *unanimous* vote from all 9 parties to the MOU. Not gonna happen.

    Besides, read Frank Vacca’s memo. He says the “blended” plan meets the requirement of Prop 1A. He’s lying, of course, and even CHSRA couldn’t twist the arms of PB to say that; Frank Vacca had to put it in a cover-letter. But, officially, “Blended” is the “end of the line” on the Peninsula.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And verily always was. CHSRA was invited on board to supply money and muscle to keep BART at bay, not ringing the Bay.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Laws are never repealed on your planet?

    joe Reply:

    When you write Frank Vacca is lying in an official memo – you’re getting close to libeling.

    If asked, how would you defend that accusation?

    Would it be a stream of insults or argument over definitions or would you write a long word-salad ?
    Certainly you’d have to try something – right?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If I was him I would point out that the conclusion is unsupported by the content. Since the content says 30:22 and the conclusion says “30 can be achieved” one can draw a reasonable conclusion.

    That and the 1st amendment which has been interpreted to allow for bluster and even exaggeration without libel.

    It’s the same reason people can call Bush a war criminal or Obama a non-citizen despite not just lack of evidence but even evidence to the contrary. I think he is pretty safe

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You assume he was calibrating to seconds.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am not going to argue this with you anymore. The units of time are constants based (for the last decades) on the physical properties of atoms. There is nothing to “calibrate to”. Maximum 30 minutes is a defined mathematical quantity. More then that is beyond that maximum. Engineers are paid to be precise. It’s just that simple

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then stop bringing it up. The rest of us don’t have sphincters that can crush lampblack into diamonds and it’s 30 minutes.

    joe Reply:

    Since the content says 30:22 and the conclusion says “30 can be achieved” one can draw a reasonable conclusion.

    He didn’t write “Has been achieved”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_libel
    Frank Vacca isn’t a President or a political figure. He’s a project manager. And the example illustrating this difference would be Dr. Michael Mann.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Golly, I just can’t wait to schlep my ass and whatever luggage I may have from a nice comfortable HSR train up onto a crowded standing room only BART train. Now that is first class service!!! And I want to pay an ultra premium fare and double surcharges for such a fantastic privilege.

    Brilliant, world class service… It will increase ridership tenfold, maybe twentyfold…

  9. trentbridge
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 15:35
    #9

    Facebook is planning to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion – which has 55 employees. God Bless California! Somehow – this transaction creates about $15 billion plus “new wealth” (I assume, not being an accountant – that it’s coverd by “Goodwill”) that can and will generate substantial personal income tax revenues for California in the next year. Eat your heart out, Texas.

    therealist Reply:

    tex-ass will never amount to a hill of beans !

    Andrew L-A Reply:

    Which explains why they will have HSR first?

  10. Thomas
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 18:51
    #10

    Continuing from the other thread on freight RR agreement-

    http://www.examiner.com/article/high-speed-rail-rule-of-law-vs-sheer-political-will

    “In addition, no master railroad agreements with Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF have been obtained. FRA grant agreements require those before construction can begin.”

    UP has sent letters to the Authority saying it will not allow any HSR trains on or along its ROW, except for overpasses and underpasses. Considering the HSR alignment is right next to UP tracks in the Fresno area for about 20 miles, how can the Authority address this issue so that construction can begin?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Next to the tracks is not on their tracks and if it’s outside their property they don’t have any to say about it?

    Thomas Reply:

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/10/union-pacific-continues-war-against-high-speed-rail/

    “Documents and drawings show encroachment onto the railroad’s right of way in Fresno and Merced.”

    Jesse Dunn Reply:

    Can somebody just stick a pacifier in UP’s collective mouths already? I haven’t heard this bad of a tantrum since my nephews were knee-high to me.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    HSR tracks – like freeways – beside a railroad devalue the adjacent land due to the difficulty in serving it with drill and spur tracks.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Except for things like grain elevators, coal-fired power plants, mines, ports, big factories – do railroads want to bother with sidings to serve small customers anymore? Usually they want the customer to pay a trucker to haul the container to the container yard. Mostly, they abandon little-used branch lines with no concern for adjacent landowners. And when subdivisions sprout up along rail lines, or condos and big box stores replace industrial land adjacent to rail lines, the railroads don’t complain. The big warehouse developments in my area are near freeway interchanges, not along rail lines.

    And how important is the track through the San Joaquin valley to UP? It is, after all, a single track. Can the state just buy it outright, and let UP continue to operate on it? Then, California can manage the entire ROW, and HSR can serve the more populated areas.

    As for UP, most of their operations are in red states, or red congressional districts. Part of their hostility to high speed rail may be due to the need not to antagonize Republican politicians. We know how petty and vengeful politicians can be.

    agb5 Reply:

    UP will benefit from adjacent HSR by having many of their at-grade crossings replaced by bridges, which will reduce maintenance costs, fatal accidents, and noise pollution.

    Who owns the ROW of a spur?

    joe Reply:

    Dedicated HSR ROW means UP loses the benefit of the Public paying for track and crossing improvements when service is run on their tracks.

    IL for example is spending taxpayer money to improve the ROW and crossings between Chicago and St Louis. That’s free work for the railroad.

    Thomas Reply:

    The Fresno station will sit right on top of the tracks. Also, in the downtown Fresno area, does the UP ROW just include the tracks, or does it include the small strip of land adjacent to the tracks?

    http://www.fresno.gov/NR/rdonlyres/0DC42033-5E1E-41D3-AB92-35BE1F990D58/0/CAHSREIRResponsePresentation92911.pdf

    Paul Druce Reply:

    State might very well pay for the grade separations anyhow, depending on traffic congestion. As for track improvements, really not necessary for UP on that line.

    Thomas Reply:

    The alignment crosses over the UP line in Fresno, as well as run adjacent to it. Considering how UP is so against HSR, could they just say no to even crossing over its tracks in order to stop the entire project?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no

    Thomas Reply:

    From page 70 of the 2014 Draft Business Plan-

    “Given the interface with existing railroad right-of-way, there is a need for agreement with the railroad companies. At this time, there is not a master agreement in place between the Authority and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) or between the Authority and Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) to inform design and construction of modifications to UPRR or BNSF facilities and each railroad’s right-of-way and operational requirements…If agreements cannot be reached with the railroad companies, then design work in progress or already completed may be affected, leading to cost increases or schedule delays that could become significant if the delay in reaching ag
    reements persists. In addition, the terms of these agreements and constraints imposed by the railroad’s normal operations may negatively impact (implicit) productivity assumptions made
    during the development of the program’s schedule and cost estimate, as well as the eventual contractor’s possible means and methods.”

    Since the federal funds expire in 2017, at what point do they need to come to an agreement?

  11. joe
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 19:31
    #11

    Union of Concerned Scientists write a letter.

    Scientists urge California to boost target for cutting emissions
    California is on track to cut carbon dioxide and other gases to 1990 levels by 2020. The scientists urge adoption of emission caps for 2030 and beyond.

    A group of California scientists Wednesday urged state lawmakers to adopt a steeper target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

    “California’s leadership is needed now more than ever to address the risks of a dangerously warming climate,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a letter signed by more than 100 scientists, researchers and economists and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists’ letter said that putting a price on carbon dioxide through cap-and-trade “is key, but not sufficient to adequately reduce emissions.” Achieving more dramatic cuts in greenhouse gases, the group said, will require new policies to promote renewable energy and a cleaner transportation system.
    http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-greenhouse-gases-20140220,0,19556.story#ixzz2tpTiXxy8

    The California Sierra Club’s focus on 2020 is out of step with the science community.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Screw the science community – they are the ones responsible for global warming. Progress = environmental degradation. There is only more development or less development. No smart growth.

    Don’t travel as much.

    Travis D Reply:

    You’re the type that burns down lighthouses when they fail to prevent a ship grounding aren’t you?

    Seriously? You denigrate all of science?

    Wow.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Smart growth is smart heroin. Junkie excuses of population growthmongers.

    Jon Reply:

    And that’s the attitude that has resulted in SF rents being the highest in the country. Heckuva job, baby boomers.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Relocate Facebook to Cleveland.

    Oh, that’s right, in a couple of years it will be passe de mode anyway.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why do you hate Cleveland?

    synonymouse Reply:

    When it is not raining or snowing it is getting ready to do one or the other.

    And they scrapped B&O 421 that served as a stationary boiler in the flats for some years after dieselization. Amongst many other sins.

    But Columbus is just as bad. Tore down University Hall and then had to build a plastic, Disneyland replica after so may bitched. Still no streetcars.

    Ohio lives to flatten stuff.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …California tore down streetcars too.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    try dont travel at all. Progress does equal enviromental degradation, it also equals enviromental revitalization. The same science that polluted the Great Lakes also cleaned them up.

    But if you want to go back to the middle ages where people were born, lived, and died (in about 30 years) within a 20 mile radius then may I suggest finding some vacant land in Wyoming or Arizona and starting a commune. Question: Would people get a waiver for traveling to the commune using science and technology or are they going to have to walk??

    I am not going to bother to list all the great things that science has brought to this world, but the results are unquestionable. Yes, every technology has a downside, but would you really want to go back to plauges, pestalance, early mortality, political systems that make the current 1% look humane, etc. then go ahead, I will take science and technology all day long rather than that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry if I come across hopelessly luddite. Every day I grind out a few more lines in latin of Caius Petronius. So I am looking at the world from the opposite angle, namely how little basic has changed.

    The gaucherie and questionable taste of Trimalchio, seventyish freed slave up from the depths now so rich with estates and money, slaves, etc he does not know how much he has. Replace the slaves and courtesans with hangers-on and toadies how different is he from the instant millionaires of today?

    Recommended reading if only for the gusto – the Romans were tough.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    humans have not changed at all, but the world has changed a lot. So if your perspective is that there is still greed, ignorance, romance, courage, vice, etc. then I grant you the human race is the same as ever.

    But science and technology cant be blamed or credited for any of that. it just allows the emotions and human nature to play out in different ways. And for much longer since it extends life…a lot.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Nowhere does this say “17% of the cap-and-trade money should go to HSR.” Hell, nowhere does this say “HSR,” even.

    joe Reply:

    1. When they wrote “will require new policies to promote renewable energy and a cleaner transportation system.” did you think of personal jet packs or transporters? It’s a letter to CA about CA transportation systems. What ever could they mean? hmmmm.

    2. Union of Concerned Scientists specifically argue against simple, short term criteria such as your percentage of the annual budget. They don’t use % at all so when they don’t cite your work, it’s not a sign they are agreeing with you.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I thought they meant higher fuel economy, lower motorization, more local transit, and walkable and bikable streets. If they were interested in specifically saying HSR, they would have. Just because the state decided that HSR Is Necessary doesn’t mean the Union of Concerned Scientists thinks the same.

    jonathan Reply:

    The California Sierra Club’s focus on 2020 is out of step with the science community.

    Joe is lying yet again. Here is the Union of Concerned Scientists’ open letter:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/Open-Letter-on-Climate-Change-from-CA-Climate-Scientists-and-Economists_Feb-19-2014.pdf

    Nowhere does it say anything about HSR. Not a thing. The letter says SB 32 and the executive order are good things, but not sufficient The ltter urges California to focus on a 2030 emissions goal:

    Please begin now, to set a science-based, heat-trapping emissions by 2030

    And guess what, Mr cant-tell-the-difference-between-miimum-and-maximum? HSR is also way down the queue, when it comes to reducing 2030 greenhouse gas emissions.

    Once again (for Joe); The UCS letter has _nothing_ which disagrees with the Sierra Club’s position, that HSR is simply way down the queue, as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Or to reduce emissions by the medium-term, 2030 target for which that letter advocates.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People are going to make intercity trips in 2030. They can fly, drive or take an electric train powered by non carbon emitting sources. For intercity trips within the state it’s at the top of the list.

    joe Reply:

    The Sierra Club’s objections to HSR focused on the 2020 deadline which – as a scientist – I know is arbitrary date. This short term focus on say, shifting to prius & electric cars, doesn’t lead to sustained, long term changes in our infrastructure. Car centric developments built around electric cars is not going to work.

    joe Reply:

    Joe is lying yet again.

    Nowhere does it say anything about HSR. Not a thing. The letter says SB 32 and the executive order are good things, but not sufficient The ltter urges California to focus on a 2030 emissions goal:

    I wrote only two sentences –

    Union of Concerned Scientists write a letter.
    &
    The California Sierra Club’s focus on 2020 is out of step with the science community.

    The fabricated interpretations coupled with accusations of lying lack humor, creativity or twist on words. I suggest you re-read the comments policy.
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/comments-policy/
    5. Scurrilous or extraordinary claims that lack evidence.

  12. Tony D.
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 19:54
    #12

    Robert,

    The only thing waging war against HSR is the current reality of funding. I strongly believe Newsom had awoken to this reality as well. It’s not so much being against the concept of HSR; just an acknowledgment of there being no money to build this thing in its entirety (or as originally planned). Now, if Cap and trade funding for HSR becomes, then maybe. Until then…

    Tony D. Reply:

    Meant becomes reality at the end.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Musk got his ear!

    It is real simple: it is all about Palmdale commute ops, not hsr. We’ve know that since they fired Van Ark. Why would you fire your expert just when he is getting a handle making the project viable and replace him with a hack from PG&E, the company that had just succeeded in blowing up San Bruno?

    The whole thing is just a real estate development scam.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought it was long dead Chandlers not wanting their property, which their descendants don’t own, to stay undeveloped.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I’m not sure, but I think the Chandlers may be still invested in it, just not as much. The Tejon Ranch Development is for richies – they hold in contempt the huddled masses striving to escape LA. Those are to go in Palmdale, reportedly to in turn displace Antonovich’s unwanted, unshaven, uncouth, unyupped “desert rats”.

    Mass quantities of high desert ranchitos for the hoi polloi. Some eco-green.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    aren’t they going to be crammed into tenements next to the viaducts that the even poorer people live under?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    or was it the plot by Harry Reid, the devout Mormon, to lure stalwart Californians to Las Vegas to be fleeced?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Van Ark’s dismissal had more to do with the fact that he sided with SCNF’s plan to cut out the Central Valley which would have invalidated the federal match. The problem is that the French were never supposed to be the real bidder, Arnold wanted China to do that instead. But the huge crashes made that untenable. Add in the rejection of JR Central’s funding in Florida and you get the picture.

    Republican governor kept hitting the corollary projects foreign firms needed to offset the cost of investment in HSR. When all those leads dried up, van Ark really had nothing left to offer except Plan Douty. When Brown’s people said “gotta support the President” and build in the Central Valley, it was only a matter of time.

    Palmdale isn’t about Palmdale, btw. It’s about Harry Reid.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Balderdash.

    Van Ark recognized revisiting Tejon was necessary and responsible in the light of the fact the more they studied Tehachapi the dicier it looked.

    Turns out the entire raison d’etre of PB-CHSRA is Palmdale real estate development and pandering to the Tejon Ranch. It had to come out sooner or later.

    Harry Reid cannot even figure what to do with the LV Monorail or how to cope with big casinos popping up everywhere in the 50.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are making my point: van Ark’s sin was that he was tone deaf politically. He didn’t realize how fishy Brown thought it was that a former Alstom man would suddenly tell him in light of new developments during the EIR process that they needed to scrap everything and switch to Tejon, given that SCNF is at the very same time drumming up support for Le Plan Douty.

    As for Reid, he is a lot like Biden. He is really the third senator from CA and like Biden is, the champion for rail development on the West Coast. And without Palmdale and the concept of Desert Xpress, Reid has less leverage going head to head again Biden on rail spending. Reid is the only thing standing in the way of CAHSR’s transformation into Acela West.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you don’t start spending the money soon it’s going to be Acela. The money will be redirected to the East Coast.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It should be as Jerry Brown is clueless and forbids them to develop options.

  13. joe
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 20:30
    #13

    February 20th Hanford is the place to be.

    http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/transportation/10830-labor-groups-to-rally-for-high-speed-rail
    Several labor and environmental groups will speak out in support of high-speed rail during a rally Feb. 20 in Hanford.

    The rally, being held at noon in front of the Hanford Civic Center at 400 N. Douty St., will bring together the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the California Labor Federation, Building and Construction Trades Council, Laborers International Union and environmental groups.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/02/08/3758540/high-speed-rail-opponents-to-hold.html
    Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability, an organization in Kings County that is battling the state’s high-speed rail project, will hold afundraising luncheon Feb. 20 in Hanford.

    The event at the Hanford Civic Auditorium begins at 11 a.m. for sponsors who contribute $7,500 to $25,000 to have a private lunch with state and federal legislators who have been invited as special guests. A lunch reception, with tickets priced at $100 per person, begins at 12:15 p.m

    synonymouse Reply:

    Those guys would rally to build some prisons in Hanford.

    joe Reply:

    They already have them Dear.

    “Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific, stated in an October 2010 newspaper interview that nearly half of Kings County’s personal earnings come from government jobs, which pay more than agricultural employment. ”

    Of course this figure doesn’t count the money paid for milk price supports and Ag.

    Travis D Reply:

    It just ticks you off that not everyone has bought into your warped reality doesn’t it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assume the ticking off comment is meant for me.

    Not at all.

    Those union goons would demonstrate in favor of a freeway thru Yosemite Valley .

  14. joe
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 21:48
    #14

    Visalia firm gets rail contract

    http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20140218/NEWS01/302180007/Visalia-firm-gets-rail-contract?nclick_check=1

    With plans to acquire more than a thousand parcels, many in Kings and Tulare counties, along the proposed route for the California High Speed Rail system, the agency board picked a local firm to head up one team of surveyors.

    The board awarded a right-of-way engineering and survey support contract to five firms including a Visalia-based company.

    Quad Knopf Inc of Visalia was awarded a $3.2 million contract to carry out the work from Fresno to Shafter over the next four years. The award was announced at the CHSRA board meeting Feb. 11.

    Helping to make the Quad Knopf application tops of all five winners was that “all the firms on the Quad Knopf team are local to the project, and all are Certified Small Businesses,” said president Mike Knopf.

  15. Robert S. Allen
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 23:03
    #15

    2008 Prop 1-A bought “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond…” But the HSR being planned is neither safe nor reliable. A better and less costly layout:—–

    Phase 1 – From the South, stop HSR at San Jose with cross-platform transfers there to/from Caltrain and Capitol Corridor. No more state or bond money for Caltrain electrification, tunneling, downtown SF terminal, or future trans-Bay tube.
    —–
    Phase 2 – Up-grade Amtrak’s East Bay Corridor from San Jose to a new Oakland “San Francisco Bay Ray Hub” where BART crosses overhead (I-880/7th Street). BART trains about every 4 minutes are only six to ten minutes from all four downtown San Francisco stations.
    —–
    Much better, cheaper, safer, more reliable than “Blended Rail”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Hooray for forced transfers! Three cheers for more difficult East Bay construction! Applause for keeping Caltrain out of the reach of SF jobs!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Robert S. Allen is a former BART director with the BART mentality that BART should replace Caltrain on the peninsula and be extended to the far reaches of the universe. I have seen correspondence from Mr. Allen to Caltrain advocating for BART down the peninsula. Never mind the astronomical cost of BART and that Caltrain can provide superior service if operated the way it should be operated.

    No state/bond money for Caltrain electrification??? Well once Caltrain is electrified, that will end the BART coup d’état down the peninsula.

    Terminating HSR at San Jose, forcing people to transfer for San Francisco would significantly deter the ridership potential. And then advocating for a ‘phase 2’ second transfer…. How is that faster, better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper than a direct HSR ride to downtown SF?

    joe Reply:

    It’s a troll.
    This is the same comment posted twice.

    The Phase I is exactly what hard core Peninsula opponents lobbied – stop HSR in San Jose with transfers and stop Caltrain electrification.

    Alan Reply:

    And Mr. Allen’s “plan” is still as non-compliant with the law as it ever was. And then there are little details like UP’s ongoing operating rights…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    How is that safer and more reliable? For that matter, justify your statement that current HSR design is neither safe nor reliable.

    datacruncher Reply:

    A posting name of Robert S. Allen has been showing up in the comments of many BART, HSR and Caltrain articles. There have also been letters to the editor in newspapers. A few examples:
    http://livermore.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/bart-to-isabel
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/my-town/ci_24695453/times-herald-letters-smarter-plan-constructing-high-speed
    http://www.dailycal.org/2013/08/28/high-speed-rail-affects-central-valley/

    All of the HSR related comments by this name (whether they are by Mr. Allen himself or not) promote this same scheme of BART transfers for HSR passengers either at San Jose or at a new Oakland location. In comments elsewhere this posting name also promotes annexing San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties into the BART district as part of his ideas, something for Peninsula residents to watch.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Same guy. That is I. A firm backer of secure, fenced right of way for passenger trains, with no grade crossings. BART is that way. If HSR is to live up to its “Safe, Reliable” claim in 2008 Prop 1-A, it will be that way too. It won’t have open right of way, trackside commuter platforms, or 43 grade crossings the way Caltrain has. Amtrak’s East Bay route (UP “L” line) could be up-graded to secure much more easily and at far less cost than Caltrain. No need for another costly trans-Bay tube for extension to Sacramento. My railroad career includes engineering and operations on three major freight/passenger railroads that are now part of UP, including the SP Western Division which included the Bay Area, as well as four terms as an elected BART Director. AREMA Life Member. A devout fan of 5-County BART around the Bay (beyond Berryessa to Santa Clara Caltrain and on to Millbrae) and other BART within the five counties. Our six million residents deserve a vote on a unified rail rapid transit network, as conceived by the SFBARTC’s superb 1957 “Report to the Legislature”.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Robert S. Allen: “Amtrak’s East Bay route (UP “L” line) could be up-graded to secure much more easily and at far less cost than Caltrain.”

    It may be cheaper and easier, but he forgot to mention the astronomical $$$$$$$$$ cost to extend BART from Millbrae to San Jose. This would leave us with:

    No express trains.
    90 minutes running time from SJ to SF, forever!!!
    NO service in the Bayshore corridor!
    NO service to ATT Park!
    Limited bicycle and passenger capacity!
    NO monthly passes!!!

    Not to mention the wear and tear imposed on the existing core BART system and passenger discomfort from more crowded trains.

    It may be costly and challenging to upgrade Caltrain to be fully grade separated, but still a fraction of the cost/difficulty of a BART extension replacing Caltrain.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    My Phase 1, HSR just to San Jose with cross-platform transfers there to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor, would cost far less than running HSR on Caltrain into San Francisco. It would serve everyone well. Unlike “Blended Rail”. it would be safe and reliable, as the voters were told in 2008. It deserves an honest appraisal.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t cost a lot more to run HSR trains on Caltrain tracks compared to running Caltrain trains on Caltrain tracks. It may even cost less.

    jonathan Reply:

    It’s a non-electrified, Diesel-hauled Caltrain that this BART-fanboy is talking about.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He will be very perturbed when Caltrain goes and electrifies without asking him.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART has been trying to stop Caltrain electrification for decades.

    BART loathes the idea of something other and superior to its wretched self be deployed for the rail-ignorant locals to see and compare.

    Michael Reply:

    BART no, but BART’s minions, probably. Folks at BART are actually sane and seem to want to do good, for the most part. Important to make the distinction.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Apparently these same sane folks at BART are refusing to replace the Bechtelian aluminum sandwich wheels that are so noisy with solid steel. Gotta worship that Bechtel broadgauge legacy that had achieved divine perfection, but the apostates at DC and Atlanta refused to adopt.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s the same transit industrial complex in either case, with designs on pouring lots of concrete on the peninsula corridor by whatever means necessary. Plan A was a four-track stilt-a-rail and fell through, although all the engineering required for the EIR was completed (just never released). If HSR funding for blended plan B falls through, plan C is to build BART. Heads we win, tails you lose. Electrification without frills is less attractive because it requires too little civil engineering to be an attractive business proposition for the corporations and the unions. $400 million urban holes and big grade separation projects are far more preferable.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    It must be part of the oath-of-office when joining the BART Board of Directors and the BART fan boy network. BART and nothing but BART is the panacea for any and ALL transportation problems, it’s imbedded in their culture. Over the last 40 years, many of them have claimed that Caltrain will never amount to much and will not carry more than a ridership of 20,000. Incidentally these are many of the same people that claimed that BART to SFO/Millbrae will have a ridership of 70,000, with 30,000 using Millbrae alone, and that BART to SFO/Millbrae will turn a profit.

    Reedman Reply:

    BART is smart enough to recognize it’s weaknesses (capital cost and incompatibility with standard gage rail). With eBART having begun constuction, the DMU option will have real-life experience in NorCal.

    joe Reply:

    The “e” in eBART refers to diesel. They really do market well. In Chicago we’d call it DeBART and it would complement DaBART.

    The eBART project is 60% less expensive than conventional BART. Nothing about eBART precludes construction of conventional BART in the future given adequate ridership and funding. http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/ecc#sthash.xY9d4ZAG.dpuf

    For just 60% more, we can replace eBART with BART. That’s a high cost forf electrification.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not just electrification; it’s also regauging the tracks for BART gauge, constructing separate tracks for BART, separating all the grade crossings, and paying extra for working around an existing line.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ok, let’s say it costs less. How are you getting around all the parts of prop 1a that the plan would be in direct violation of. For example, transbay terminal is the end, run times to SF, only using the money yo build HSR, etc??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    All the more reason to not be in any rush to complete Transbay. If the bonds are all sold their no longer any reason that zealots can use to file lawsuits.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I am all for a unified rail system that includes conventional rail (Caltrain/ACE/Capital Corridor), HSR and BART. Systems NEED to complement each other, NOT work against each other!!!!

    It’s time to put this BART Uber-Alles to rest for good.

    synonymouse Reply:

    right on

    joe Reply:

    5 BART miles.

    That’s what’s the cost to electrify the Caltrian ROW and bring 110 MPH HSR & Caltrain to SF. It’s 1.5 B or the equivalent of the cost of extending BART to San Jose 5 of the total 21 miles.

    Clem Reply:

    BART from Santa Clara to Millbrae requires the same 40 grade separated crossings (not 43) as Caltrain / HSR, with one important difference: they must all be done at once.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    One freight gauge track at grade roughly 40 miles. Two parallel BART tracks at grade roughly 35 miles, with about ten over- or under-passes. Two parallel BART tracks in shallow cut about five miles; 13 1/2 clearance above top of rail to streets crossing at grade.
    —–
    Not for a while. Let the voters decide on this as part of a 5-County BART plan and bond measure. Until they vote, keep Caltrain as is, with the noise, traffic delays, and hazards of 43 grade crossings.
    Just don’t add High Speed Rail, with its vulnerability to accidents and sabotage.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’ll ask again what make BART immune to accidents and sabotage?

    joe Reply:

    The BART Police force.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_24971843/bart-police-shooting-still-unclear-whether-fellow-officer
    BART officers have shot and killed six people since the agency was founded in 1972; three of the shootings occurred during the past three years. The police force for Atlanta’s transit system, which employs 321 officers, has had two in the last three years; the New York Police Department’s transit bureau, with 2,400 officers, has not had a fatal officer-involved shooting in at least 10 years.

    joe Reply:

    35 miles of BART. That’s just under $10 Billion dollars.
    $1.5B for blended HSR and Caltrain.

    Just don’t add High Speed Rail, with its vulnerability to accidents and sabotage.

    http://www.fruitvalefilm.com/
    Own it

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You realize that the TGVs and Shinkansen both have grade crossings when they run on legacy track, right?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Or ICEs between Hamburg and Hannover… 200 km/h running and grade crossings, freight, regional trains. Blended plan par excellence.

    Or could anyone imagine if the TGV would have become such a success if people had to take the RER to Melun to “board” the TGV to Lyon??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Melun is much closer to Paris than San Jose is to San Francisco.
    Asking people to change to BART is like asking people to change to Boston’s Orange Line… in Providence. Or the NYC’s D train in Bridgeport. Or northbound to take the Metro’s Orange Line to… Baltimore. Or PATH trains, in Trenton. Or, it’s a bit farther away than San Jose is from San Francisco but not my much, changing to Los Angeles’ Red Line in…. Palmdale.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Sure, Gare de Lyon to Melun is shorter than San Francisco to San Jose, but the principle is the same. I would have taken a place further south, but Melun is the end point of the RER.

    Hmmm… actually, there are currently a few TGV services which begin/end in “Paris”: the OuiGo low cost TGVs do not go to the Gare de Lyon, but they serve the EuroDisneyland stop. And we know how “successful” they are, despite their low fares.

    Another place where the highspeed service to a major city requires changing to a non-mainline train: Bonn (OK, it did lose some of the importance, but still, there are major companies, and not all government offices were moved to Berlin). The stop for Bonn on the Frankfurt (Airport) – Köln HSL is Siegburg, and then people change to the Light Rail line for Bonn; taking about 40 minutes to the center. But this is still faster than the “old” line along the Rhine river.

    And now this:

    San Jose as an end point might work…

    … for a few months, until the novelty effect is over.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Do people in Hamburg and Berlin get the urge to go to Bonn to take in the sights and the fine dining? Or even go visit Grandma?

    One of the reasons to go to Transbay is that there will be a bus terminal hiding under the park teetering on top. It provides service to places not served by, insert a long sigh here, BART. It’s the same concept at LA’s Union Station. It’s the place in Los Angeles where the local transit comes together. Kinda sorta, it will someday. Makes it easier to go visit Grandma in Long Beach or Grandpa in San Rafael.

    Assuming Caltrain gets electrified with the same 25kV/60Hz that HSR will be using it would be reallllllllly realllllllly stupid to make people change to Caltrain in San Jose. Though it’s the Bay Area and three quarters of the people realllly realllly want it to be 3,141.59 volts DC and dual gauge. Then they could put pantographs of BART trains and run BART trains on it.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Fully agree, it is braindead to make people from/to San Francisco change in San Jose on a regular base.

    FWIW, about the Bonn sitation. From the North and East (such as Berlin), the ICEs go to Bonn Hbf (every hour, on the hour). Only from the South (München, Stuttgart, Basel, Mannheim, Frankfurt), it is faster to take the ICE to Siegburg and then the light rail line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So people in Berlin don’t have to get on the interurban and they still don’t go to Bonn for all the exciting nightlife, world class shopping and fine dining.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Indian broad gauge is not “freight gauge”?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not in the US, it ain’t.

    EJ Reply:

    Pretty sure he’s talking about structure gauge, not track gauge.

    jimsf Reply:

    I support running bart up the peninsula. But the cost will probably be prohibitive. I would also support bart-i-fying caltrain. electrify it, use all high platforms, use bart ticketing and turnstiles, convert the track guage on the southern part of the sfo wye to accomodate emus into sfo parallel to regualar bart and make it a seamless transition around the bay.

  16. jimsf
    Feb 20th, 2014 at 20:15
    #16

    Honolulu wins victory in quest for rail transit
    Posted: Feb 18, 2014 1:01 PM PST Updated: Feb 18, 2014 4:53 PM PST

    HONOLULU (AP) – A federal appeals court is upholding the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to stop Honolulu’s high-speed rail transit project.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling issued Tuesday says the project complies with environmental and transportation requirements. The ruling says Honolulu officials made a “good faith and reasonable” effort to identify archaeological sites along the proposed route and developed an appropriate plan for sites discovered during construction.

    The ruling affirms a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit by opponents of the more than $5 billion project.

    The project is scheduled for significant construction work this year. Work resumed last fall in west Oahu after a yearlong court-ordered hiatus. The Hawaii Supreme Court ordered the city to conduct archaeological studies throughout the 20-mile route.

    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not high speed, it’s trolley cars on stilts.

    synonymouse Reply:

    hollow-core sans Amalgamated

    EJ Reply:

    Whatever the hell that means. It’s actually grade-separated light rail, like they have in vancouver and copenhagen, where it works quite well.

    synonymouse Reply:

    AFAIK, it is Bredas, steel wheel, presumably resilient, on hollow core elevated and driverless.

    We’ll see how noisy it is and I would guess ATU is not at all amused.

    EJ Reply:

    Right. So the same system used on Copenhagen’s popular, award-winning metro system? Now, if it were San Francisco, I’m sure you guys could find something to moan and whine about. I think Honolulu is a little more optimistic though.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is not really streetcars; it’s third rail. Slower standard gauge BART – so the HART part is appropriate.

    They would have been better off with rubber tire or monorail or other gadgetbahn if they insist on elevated. Especially in a tourist area. Stilts at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay? So Oakland, so PB.

    synonymouse Reply:

    so ghetto

    EJ Reply:

    It doesn’t go by any beach, you useless whiner. Look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdUMs1itSlI

    Elevated lines are built all over the world – even in total dumps like Copenhagen and Vancouver.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes Copenhagen is a hell hole of poverty and social breakdown. Or Vancouver.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “you useless whiner” – that has a nice ring to it. I’ll think of it next time I see that BART Amalgamated lady on tv and no-shows.

    Vancouver and Copenhagen – cold and wet places that don’t have as many homeless as warm places. Copenhagen was always anti-tram; they sent their Duwags to Cairo. Vancouver liked trolley buses – did they survive the diesel busmen?

    Lots of tourists want to go to the north shore – be nice to have a streetcar going there. Oh, let’s slap up some hollow-core.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if they are no-shows how are they going to be on TV?

    synonymouse Reply:

    When you think ATU-TWU you think undocumented noshow. No need to drop a dime – just don’t show. The union takes cares of everything.

    James Fujita Reply:

    If Hawaii’s unions wanted to stop this project, they could have done so ages ago. Hawaii has a very unionized economy.

    A high water table and a high price tag (and probably ancient Hawaiian burial grounds) kept the project from going underground. And they didn’t want trains to mix with traffic. So…

    synonymouse Reply:

    They have to hope it is not as loud as BART in Daly City.

Comments are closed.