President Obama Proposes $5 Billion A Year for HSR

Mar 4th, 2014 | Posted by

In his 2015 fiscal year budget President Barack Obama has proposed spending $5 billion a year on high speed rail projects:

In addition, the White House would like to set aside $19 billion specifically for rail programs. “The proposal also includes nearly $5 of billion annually for high performance and passenger rail programs,” the White House fact sheet reads, “with a focus on improving the connections between key regional city pairs and high traffic corridors throughout the country.”

This is the HSR section, which isn’t called out by name (probably because Obama-era Democrats tend to cower in the face of Republican attacks). But it is still important to note that the president and Congressional Democrats still want to dedicate significant ongoing funds to high speed rail development. This funding, of which California would easily receive $1-$2 billion a year, would be enough over time to build the Initial Operating Segment of the California HSR line, likely from Merced to Los Angeles.

Unfortunately there is little chance this proposal will pass, thanks to hardcore ideological opposition from Republicans. They will oppose not only Obama’s plans for more HSR money but also his proposals to increase money for other forms of mass transit, including light rail and bus rapid transit, and his proposals to double the annual TIGER grant funding pool.

But this is a good reminder that the only reason why California HSR faces financial questions is because of Republicans in Congress. That’s all. If they lose their House majority, California HSR will be properly funded. It’s really that simple.

  1. Reality Check
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 15:14
    #1

    Judge Kenny denies HSRA request to dismiss phase 2 of Kings Co. HSR lawsuit

    A Sacramento judge ruled Tuesday that Kings County and two of its residents can forge ahead with a lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority over its plans for a statewide bullet train.

    Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny denied a request by the rail agency for a judgment to dismiss the second stage of the lawsuit, which challenges whether the state’s proposed high-speed train system complies with state law.

    The ruling sets the stage for a trial in which the two sides are expected to present a string of experts to argue over the design of the 520-mile line that would run between San Francisco and Los Angeles through the San Joaquin Valley and whether it conforms to requirements in Proposition 1A, a $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond measure approved by California voters in 2008.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Key issues at a trial in Part 2 of the Kings County lawsuit are likely to be the rail agency’s proposal for a “blended” train system to share improved, electrified tracks on the Caltrain commuter-train line between San Francisco and Los Angeles — something some high-speed rail advocates like former judge and state Sen. Quentin Kopp of San Francisco say is different than what voters were promised in Prop. 1A.

    Rail opponents add that the blended system will keep high-speed trains from achieving Prop. 1A’s ultimate mandate for a 2 hour 40 minute nonstop ride from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles’ Union Station.

    Also at issue is whether the system can operate without a public subsidy, as the ballot proposition required.

    Joe Reply:

    The article has one inaccuracy. The judge did not rule on evidence. The authority wants to limit evidence to the official record. The plaintiffs want to bring in their own experts and evidence. This is an important argument for the upcoming case and will have great influence on how the case is litigated.

    The authority makes their argument for admissible evidence in the January 10 filing.

    jonathan Reply:

    So, Joe. Your only hope for the Authority winning, is that you hope Judge Kenny is going to restrict the evidence to the Authority’s “official record”?

    You should get a job with Answers in Genesis. They really, really need people like you, people who ignore unpleasant facts, and instead stick to the Approved Canon and the Party Line. You’d fit *right* in.

    jonathan Reply:

    The Authority is *so* screwed.

    Alll Flashman & Brady need to do, is subpoena John Chirco & co — authors of the simulation in Frank Vacca’s memo claiming speed-complaince with Prop 1A — and ask them *why* they removed the 110mi/hr simulation from the memo, when the Authority acknowledges Caltrain owns and controls the Corrodor, and Caltrain is not going to upgrade beyond 110mi/hr.

    And ask them *why* the train zoom through San Jose, rather than stopping at San Jose, as an SF-SJ “service” requires (what Prop 1A, rquires though Alan apparently can’t read it).
    And why the simulation doesn’t run from Transbay, though (again) that’s cleary what Prop 1A requires — even if the DTX isn’t built yet, it’s easy to simulate the restricted running.

    If California HSR dies in court, it’ll die because of the crooked back-room deal Joe Simitian pushed through, trying to steal HSR money for suburban transit at the “bookends”.

    It’ll also die for another reason: it’s just not possible to make all the meanders through downtowns along the way, and still meet the LA-SF times. Not just Palmdale, but all the towns along the way who want to take HSR dollars, and piss away hundreds and hundreds of millions of OPM, to “redevelop” their downtowns.

    I wonder what Synon will say to this…. probalby something about the Pelosi patronage machine controlling the Judiciary.

    joe Reply:

    Alll Flashman & Brady need to do, is subpoena John Chirco & co — authors of the simulation in Frank Vacca’s memo claiming speed-complaince with Prop 1A — and ask them *why* they removed the 110mi/hr simulation from the memo, when the Authority acknowledges Caltrain owns and controls the Corrodor[sic], and Caltrain is not going to upgrade beyond 110mi/hr.

    All that is needed is explain on the peer review site. I see 110 MPH in this memo.
    http://www.cahsrprg.com/final-docs-7-9-13-meeting/memo-phase-1-blended-travel-time.pdf

    Travel times between San Francisco and Los Angeles include the blended service between San Francisco and San Jose with a 110 mph maximum speed with an unimpeded path for a non‐stop HST service options in the SF‐SJ corridor.

    Phase 1 Blended (No Midline Overtake) 30 Minutes

    They list the assumptions and, in a different document, the peer review group explains the assumptions and definitions the Authority uses. It’s all there. Why the drama?

    jonathan Reply:

    Do *look* at the CARRD webpage I cited, uh, yesterday, in Robert Cruickshank’s previous entry.

    You know, the January memo — which *is* part of the official record — where PB says their simulations at 110mph show a 32-minute trip time, leaving 4th& King and zooming through Diridon. And only the 125mi/hr run on the Peninsula comes in at 30 mins. Uh, pretty much like Clem’s simulation, isn’t it?

    Do point out to your supporter Alan, how fucking question-begging it is, that PB show both SF-LA and LA-SF simulations; but they only show SF-SJ (southbound). Counsel for the plaintiffs can read this blog; they’ll be asking Frank Vacca *why* there was no SJ-SF Northbound simulation. “Is it because You can’t make the Northbound direction in 30 minutes — unless perhaps you crash into the terminus?”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Oh well if the 110 mph option doesn’t comply with the law they’ll just have to build the 125 mph option won’t they?

    jonathan Reply:

    Not a fucking chance.

    the Authority has conceded that Caltrain owns the Caltrain right-of-way, and Caltrain calls the shots. Caltrain can’t upgrade to 125 mi/hr option, because that (as far as anyone has actually achieved) requires full grade-separation. As I understand it, — I think from something you wrote — there’s no such beast as FRA-approved, 125-mi/hr track with “vehicle arresting barriers” : all 125 mi/hr track has been grade-separated. But I could be wrong, and if I am, I’ll gladly learn.

    If Caltrain tries to “grade-separate”, they’ll be pilloried by PAMPA and other Peninsula cities screaming about a “Berlin Wall’ separating their communities. They’ll have to deal with very expensive (and unpopular) takings in PAMPA and Menlo Park. *I* don’t see that happening; do you?

    Remember just which towns had the political clout to force the “Blended” system to become the official, final, Phase 1 plan. I can see someone making a case that the eminent-domain takings necessary for full grade-separation are well and truly outside the current ROW, and that they therefore contravene SB 557.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it’s a pisser when you get what you wish for. Obviously these people reallllllllllllly reallllllllly want grade separations. The state has powers of eminent domain. The state doesn’t care that there are rich people living in Palo Alto. Just like it didn’t care in a lot of other places rich people live.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Then let them state that is the plan. If they plan for 125 they still don’t quite make it (22 seconds short even if you don’t stop the train) but at least it would be closer

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Close the doors at 22nd Street.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You have to wonder if it was really that easy why they don’t argue it. Maybe they are just not that clever

    jonathan Reply:

    @John:
    No, they already pulled out all the stops on the organ.

    – Leave from 4th & King, not Transbay.
    – Blast through Cahill St (Diridon) rather than stopping
    – Ignore a known speed-restriction, an S-Bend in Palo Alto
    – Fudge the 110 mi/hr times, so that they magically end up the same as the 125 mi/hr times in the January memo from PB to CHSRA
    – Unexplained removal of the text saying that the simulation numbers are ‘best-case” and unlikely to be achieved in service
    – Note how PB refused to stipulate that the simulation times actually meet the requirements of Prop 1A
    – The explicit assumption that Caltrain will clear the line for any and all HSR trains. This, despite the fact that the Authority has stipulated that Caltrain owns the Caltrain corridor, and Caltrain controls the schedule — ahem, *EXACTLY* like how freight railroads control the scheduling of Amtrak trains over the freight right-of-way

    Look at those facts, look at the history of changes to the PB memo (on the CARRD web-page,
    http://www.calhsr.com/uncategorized/negotiation-over-a-few-small-words/

    *If* this goes to court, and even if those pitiable fools Joe and Alan are right (ROTFL) and Judge Kenny restricts evidence to the official record — CARRD has already established that there is a memo dated May 2012, which CHSRA has refused to release. But, ta-dah, that is part of the official record; and CHSRA can be subpoenaed to produce it.

    Recall that civil suits are judged on the preponderance of evidence. And the preponderance of evidence points to the fact that Dan Richard stated that PB’s design for CHSRA met the requirements of Prop 1A; that at the time Dan Richard made that claim, there was no data to support the claim; that CHSRA told their contractor, PB, to go produce such data; that PB offered data in good faith, which showed the design *did not* meet the Prop 1A requirements; and that the memo was subsequently edited so as to be (mis)interpretable, as supporting the Authority’s claim.

    Slam-dunk. Especially if the May 2012 memo is damning to the Authority’s claim — and if it isn’t, then why is the Authority suppressing it??

    CARRD has also made some interesting observations (or should I say, speculations?) about the timing of those important word-changes, and the renewal of PB’s contract. It’s enough to wonder whether those might be grounds for criminal investigation, if the Authority loses the case.

    Oh well….

    jonathan Reply:

    @Adirondacker:

    Nope. Wrong. CHSRA and Simitian and the Legislature caved, at the fuss PAMPA put up over a “Berlin Wall” through their communities, and the concomitant eminent-domain takings.
    If they hadn’t caved, the official plan would still be Rod Diridon’s plan: separate-and-very-uneual ltracks, “Our tracks” (HSR) and “their tracks” (Caltrain). Which _was_ the plan, until Simitian &co dreamed up “Blended”, to bleed HSR money into Caltrain — err, “early investment” — and stop quad-tracking the Peninsula forever.

    (where feasible. In the unlikely case Clem is reading all this, no I’m not talking about the parts where it’s not feasible to quad-track; we’ve been over that before.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I say 9,234 angels can dance on the head of pin. You say it’s not a pin because it not exactly the shade of silver you want it to be.

    jonathan Reply:

    Adirondacker,

    if you knew anything about “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”, you’d know that the answer is an infinite number: angels aren’t matter. The color of the pin is immaterial.

    Oh, wait. Now I remember. Aren’t you the one who says that all European passenger stock is tiny, poky, narrow, and uncomfortable because you once saw a BR Mk.1 coach, or something like one?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You need to get laid

    jonathan Reply:

    You need to get laid

    I guess that’s how piss-ants acknowledge that they’re in the wrong,in the Adirondacks?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You need to get laid.

    jonathan Reply:

    Thank you for that confirmation.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Thanks, Jonathan, for the perspective. My perspective: 1) Route selection could put this project back on track – Altamont instead of any Pacheco variation, Tejon instead of Tehachapi. The selected routes contradict the CHSRA claim that the project will reduce suburban sprawl. Gilroy and Palmdale routes will undoubtedly induce suburban sprawl, McMansion-style and otherwise. 2) Electrification of the Central Valley is unecessary and more beneficial along Altamont. If the 2hr 40min promise to voters cannot be kept, settling for a slower speed, blended system through Bakersfield & Fresno should reduce costs, impacts, objections from affected communities and statewide ideological opposition. 3) Private investment will increase the ticket price, thus challenging the claim of affordable travel. As construction costs go up, so goes the ticket price.

    Our desparate need is for passenger-rail implementation nationwide. We cannot waste time on lengthy, controversial studies that only produce exclusively expensive joy rides for the Silicon Valley Dilbert class. Dilbert drove an EV-1, BTW. It’s similarly counter-intuitive to conclude that plug-in hybrid cars reduce energy consumption more than all-battery (Nissan Leaf, Tesla) electric cars.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Authority isn’t screwed, CalTrain is.

    Brown never intended for PAMPA to get a free ride through Prop 1a and since the other bond appropriation is still valid, this is a win-win situation for the Authority.

    jonathan Reply:

    Ted,

    Well, that depends. What is the Judge going to rule, for relief of the plaintiffs?

    Will the Judge simply pull the plug on the backroom deal to siphon money from the Prop 1A HSR pool, and fritter it away on commuter rali?

    Or will the Judge toss out the entire route, and tell the Authority to stop lying? Where, by “lying”, I mean purveying simulations which rely on running at 220 mi/hr through urban areas to meet the Prop 1A time requirements. And more shenanigans of the same kind.

    *I* wouldn’t care to guess, as much as I want to see HSR in California. So far, Judge Kenny has taken a very strict reading of the law: a lawyerly reading of the law, one which does no favors to the the Authority. (A fact which seems to escape Joe and his fellow-traveler Alan.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The judge can’t cancel the appropriation made by the Legislature. He can only require at most two remedies:

    1) That any segment/project that uses the money comply with Prop 1a. That would leave alone what hasn’t been determined to violate Prop 1a (I.e. the Central Valley portion).

    2) An explicit process to determine what the Financing Authority has to find in order to trigger 1).

    My guess is he will rule that the Financing Authority must show a slightly more rigorous process but not one that will disqualify the majority of the segments. The Caltrain plan fails this test at 110mph, but might make it at 125.

    My guess is also that Brown is secretly pleased with this outcome and never wanted to compromise with the Senate. He favors something closer to what Kopp wants and as SF/Oakland guy can’t stand the NIMBYs.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ted, the non-blended plan costs 100 billion. They cant even identify the 70 billion they need for the blended plan. I dont think Jerry is pleased, secretly or otherwise. Finding the money is still their number 1 problem and increasing the amount just makes it worse.

    joe Reply:

    1. Official correspondence shows 110 MPH and 30 minute time.

    2. Caltrain will do what’s necessary – the suggestion they run the show is what a clown would say to be argumentative…. oh.

    3. The town with political clout over HSR is Sacramento. Then SF and SJ.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. Both those things can’t be true. Either it’s 125 mph and (almost) 30 min or 110 mph and 35-40 min. Pick

    2. Grade separation now requires more than a dozen approvals by law. Caltrain isn’t the big obstacle.

    3. Jerry has yet to prove he can heard the cats (Democrats) in Sacramento. If he gets funding passed I will be a believer. Then he will only face the obstacle of courts and still more needed funding and the natural incompetence of the HSR authority.

    joe Reply:

    1. What’s deemed correct is what is reported by the CAHSRA to the IPRG. Think of it as configuration management.

    2 and 3 are fluff. peninsula cities currently will compete for funds to improve ROW. 3 in particular is babble nonsense. Yet to prove what to whom ? This shit talk was old before prop 30 passed.

    jonathan Reply:

    Wha’ts deemed “correct:, is what Joe deems “correct”:. And what Joe deems correct, is what supports Joe’s untenable position.

    Anyone who’s bothering to read this — assuming anyone is, besides me, John, Joe, and his fellow-traveler Alan — will notice that Joe has *given up* on his claim that only the “official” documents matter.

    Joe has tried to morph that statement into only the “correct” documents matter.
    Joe, I understated your abilities. My apologies. You deserve a position in the Ministry of Truth.
    Writing about chocolate rations.

    blankslate Reply:

    Anyone who’s bothering to read this — assuming anyone is, besides me, John, Joe, and his fellow-traveler Alan

    This discussion is indeed getting quite old.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s only 1577850000000 seconds old or so. It won’t get old until it’s 1578850043022 seconds old

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    joe they cant redefine the definition of a “minute” At some point they are going to have to provide a credible simulation that gets them from SJ to SF in 30 minutes. You can spin all you want, with the current design using 110 mph non-separated track they cant get the number they need. Its really that simple

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Define a minute.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    it is 60 times 9192631770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

    I did the math, it comes out to 55155790620 periods of radiation

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

    joe Reply:

    The Group agrees that the “pure run time” for non-stop trains from San Francisco Trans Bay Terminal to LA Union Station has thus far been designed to be 2 hours, 32 minutes, and from San Francisco Trans Bay to San Jose has been designed to be 30 minutes. Subject to the accuracy of the input data on speeds, distances, grades, curvature, signaling and equipment characteristics, the model does produce usable results. The Authority believes that this “pure run time” is the metric that most accurately reflects the Proposition IA requirement of the trip times that the system “shall be designed to achieve.”

    No issue with “minutes” or units of time in the IPRG report. They are not using seconds or commenting on seconds.

    The times are achievable. Their are additional improvements that can increase travel speed – the only question is how much investment is needed to improve times. Again, this is all covered in their correspondence.

    The oversight mechanism is working and they are providing unbiased review for the State. This is legally mandated review for the purpose of assuring the prop intention is followed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Read carefully it say “the authority believes”. It does not say “we the peer group concur”.

    Additionally they on,y state that given the assumptions made the result is accurate. But don’t endorse those assumptions (like running 125 on non grade separated track and not stopping the train at the station).

    It’s not an endorsement, it’s a carefully worded statement of facts without endorsing the position. It actually proves nothing

    joe Reply:

    The IPRG is mandated by The Bond Act with project oversight for the Legislature.

    It actually proves nothing

    Proves is imprecise wording.

    It is formal acceptance – the travel time submission was accepted as 30 minutes and compliant.

    The Group agrees that the “pure run time” for non-stop trains from San Francisco Trans Bay Terminal to LA Union Station has thus far been designed to be 2 hours, 32 minutes, and from San Francisco Trans Bay to San Jose has been designed to be 30 minutes.

    And any technical result is conditioned on the assumptions.

    The IPRG was not asked to endorse – they accept or reject and comment. They accepted the memo – this is the official record. It’s 30 minutes, not 30:22.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    ok joe, I look forward to a CA superior court judge ruling that 30:22 is less than the maximum 30 mintues as defined in the law. If that is the best argument that the authority has then this will be easier than I thought.

    Now personally, if I was them, I would argue that the design is unfinished and the case cant be decided until it is. At least to buy them some time to come up with a credible argument.

    joe Reply:

    Now personally, if I was them, I would argue that the design is unfinished and the case cant be decided until it is. At least to buy them some time to come up with a credible argument.

    jesus h christ. The Authority writes in their memo:

    “further improvements maybe achievable through improved train performance, use of tilt technology, more aggressive alignments and higher maximum speeds.”

    You’re not even trying to pay attention – too busy being “The Expert” and trolling to pay attention.
    They claim to be complaint and have specific options to explore to improve travel times.

    Thank god they listened to you.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so “maybe” is good enough to trump a “shall” You are the one who insists on percise language joe. The plan, as it sits now, does not comply. They claim compliance, but have never shown any simulation below 30 minutes…ever. The perr review committee claims it will take 35-40 mintues in real world settings.

    Maybe is worth zero. They cant go faster than 110mph unless they grade seperate by federal law. so tilting and such is irrelevent. Either the plan includes grade seperation and curve straighteneing or it does not.

    They could win this case right now if they said the plan was to grade seperate and straighten the alighment. But they have not, because that is not the plan, because they dont have the money or political will to do that. So we sit and argue about semantics when the real issue is their continued contempt of prop1a and both the letter and intent of the law.

    I am paying attention joe, are you? are you paying attention to the fact that they cant even fake compliance at this early stage? What happens when the real world intervenes. They cant even construct a fantasy world where they comply. It only gets harder from here.

    joe Reply:

    Now personally, if I was them, I would argue that the design is unfinished and the case cant be decided until it is. At least to buy them some time to come up with a credible argument.

    Okay good idea.

    so “maybe” is good enough to trump a “shall” You are the one who insists on percise language joe.

    Oh no. maybe not a good idea.

    John meet John the troll.

    “MAY” and “SHALL” are requirements language.

    This is a memo about compliance. Specifically a memo about the simulations showing compliance and ongoing work to build a complaint section of HSR.

    As they move forward, there are additional steps to take to improve travel times if necessary. You suggested they do this and now it’s bad idea.

    Somone’s over caffeinated today.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The design is finished – that’s how Van Ark got fired.

    There is no oversight absent litigation; all else is spin and window dressing.

    If the Judge did not want to address compliance why did he not rule out the litigation at the outset? And I cannot see how he could not consider the plaintiffs’ at the very least implied argument that all of the Authority’s “experts” are on the payroll and under duress to effectively, shall we say, “misrepresent”.

    jonathan Reply:

    Bullshit, Joe. The earlier memos on CARRD’s website are *also* official correspondence.
    They were obtained under Californai’s open-government laws. The numbers in those earlier memos are irreconcilable with Frank Vacca’s final memo.

    But that would require you to read for comprehension, rather than simply mining the document for fragments which support your position. You really should look for a job with Answers in Genesis.

    Or maybe with an anti-global-climate-change organization. You have *exactly* the right skills and attitude.

    joe Reply:

    The Authority’s correspondence with the IPRG is official communication between the two entities.
    The memo is on the IPRG’s site. I don’t think CARRD’s site is admissible – whatever they might or might not have will be obtained from the source with appropriate context.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    in the funding case the judge allowed a freedom of information request from the appropriations committee. The memo to CARRD is the same. Its official communication.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well if the Appeals Court rules in favor of PB-CHSRA that would indeed be Pelosi et al pulling strings.

    And remember it was PA-CHSRA that insisted on going to “all the towns along the way”. There are some that are not thrilled. The Palmdale-Mojave excursion is so egregious, such a large deviation and so prodigal in its cost, that stands as the game changer and why it is possible Richards may yet throw out the surprise bone of tunneling thru the Bear Trap Canyon as an option.

    And do recall that the primary reason the Caltrain route was included in the hsr scheme was to round up the money for electrification and the TBT tunnel and to ward off BART predation. I suspect that without Prop 1a the BART Empire would already be moving in for the kill. So Simitian was only asking for what was due and promised.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB-CHSRA

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so when things don’t go the way you like it’s all a vast left wing conspiracy to sap the vital bodily fluids of Real American ™ men. Okay

    synonymouse Reply:

    say what?

    jonathan Reply:

    What Synon said. what ?Are you referring to the (predictable, and predicted!) Pelosi-string-pulling comment? Or to something else?

    I disagree with what he says about Caltrain, and I said why.
    I do think it’s irreconcilable with other things he’s said here; but maybe I’m misremembering someone else as saying MTC pushed for Pacheco so they could grab a ROW for BART-to-SJ-Flea-market. But I made my point clear.

    Are you referring to the (predictable, and predicted) Pelosi-string-pulling comment?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I pick things out of the word salad. It’s not a particularly fruitful exercise to try to make sense of the incoherent.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, I dunno. I find Synonymouse much more educable than, say, Joe. And there’s an occasional grain of insight there. Mind you, a stopped clock is right twice a day, too.

    Synon has (mostly) gotten that a well-designed HSR line is unusable for US rail freight.
    And he’s finally moved beyond the “Burton” patronage machine, to the “Pelosi/Brown” patronage machine, iirc.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well I could call it the California Democratic Party Machine but that loses the personal touch. Nonetheless the bosses going by whatever name may have to cut some deals.

    http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/California-Democrats-lose-power-of-supermajority-5285956.php

    “Political strategists say critical concessions may be needed from Democrats to pass a palatable water bond or approve a rainy-day fund, both of which would need a two-thirds majority vote to be placed on the November ballot.”

    I sure know how I am going to vote on the water bond, aka the SoCal real estate developer water grab bill of 2014.

    jonathan Reply:

    Shades of Pete Wilson cartoons !

    jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    I thought the reason Pacheco won over Altamont, is that BART wanted the existing right-of-way (ex-WP? I forget, I’m not an Altamont-alignment-warrior) for their Extension to the San Jose Flea Market??

    Gotta keep your conspiracy stories internally consistent, Synon.

    No, if anyone killed HSR in the courts, it was Simitian. It’s the push to spend the HSR money *now*, on the shitty Caltrain-modernization plan which is the egregious, “smoking gun” violation of Prop 1A. It’s hard to imagine being worse than PB and CHSRA’ but Caltrain manages it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary the Peninsula could have turned thumbs down on hsr and Prop 1a and gone with BART at any time. They were the ones that fought BART in 1962 and saved the ROW. After BART stole the Caltrain upgrade money in 1991 the Peninsula was desperate for a saviour. Now if Simitian goes over to the dark side with Heminger and MTC, a PB-CHSRA implosion would indeed summon Ring the Bay out of the crypt.

    On the other hand East Bay politics may be byzantine but prove ghetto pushover for imperial BART.

    PB- CHSRA – BART: they are incomparable, vero sui generis.

    Alan Reply:

    Actually, dumb-ass, I can read it. I also know how to recognize when something is *not* there, which is a skill that you lack. What’s *not* there is anything that gives the court a shred of authority to hear any of these arguments. All that Kenny did is ensure that the Authority has grounds for appeal.

    The mechanism for reviewing the Authority’s plans–the *only* mechanism–is the Peer Review Group. Nothing else. You can play Microsoft Train Simulator until you pee in your Depens, but it won’t matter.

    Over the weekend, Jonny, I posted an exact quote from the California Constitution, which you appear to be incapable of understanding. It says that the state may be sued in such manner *as provided by law*. No law provides that the state may be sued on because of disagreements on the HSR plans, so ultimately, the state will prevail.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I read Kenny ruling, he cited quite a bit of case law. He is no anti-HSR shill. Seems to me he would not have ruled this way unless he thought it was the right interpretation of the law. Could it be that you just might be wrong?

    jonathan Reply:

    The Black Knight always triumphs!

    joe Reply:

    It would be helpful to cite the exact language.

    He made no statements about the case – he stated there has been a broad interpretation of the law which has allowed lawsuits against non city,county state entities such as the Authority.

    Arguing Alan’s wrong about the design and evidence and the significance of the Ind Peer Review Group is making more than what was in today’s limited ruling.

    joe Reply:

    In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the court applies the same standards that are applicable to a general demurrer. (See, Civic Partners Stockton, LLC v. Youssefi
    (2012) 218, Cal. App. 4 th 1005, 1012.) The court must accept the allegations of the complaint as true and liberally construe them with a view toward attaining substantial justice. (See,
    Inter-Modal Rail Employees Association v. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company
    (1999) 73 Cal. App. 4 th 918, 924.) At the pleading stage, the court does not decide whether the petitioners will be able to prove their allegations, and does not consider the possible difficulty in making such proof. (See, Collier v. Superior Court (1991) 228 Cal. App. 3rd 117, 1120.

    jonathan Reply:

    Poor Joe.

    You and your supporter Alan insisted that Judge Kenny would throw the case out, because the plaintiffs did not have standing.

    You were wrong.

    You are incapable of acknowledging the fact that you were wrong.

    Alan Reply:

    Once again, look in the mirror, Jonny. You don’t seem to be capable of comprehending the difference between the issue of standing, on which the court did not rule, and the case law that Joe quoted.

    Ultimately, Joe and I will be proven correct. One procedural ruling does not make or break a case.

    The game’s not over, Jonny.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you dont have to agree with the ruling Alan, but arguing that the judge did not rule of standing is just ridiculous. He ruled that Tos had standing to sue and that it was allowed under 526a. The case is moving forward.

    joe Reply:

    Today’s ruling had nothing to do with the merits of the complaint.

    I was surprised that the often bombastic Fleshman mitigated the significance of today’s decision (in the newspaper.)

    But, Flashman added, “the judge isn’t saying anything about whether we can or can’t prove our case.”
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/04/3802992/judge-kings-county-high-speed.html#storylink=cpy

    The Authority, in their Jan 10th filing, argued the peer review group was the mechanism by which the HSR Bond Act assures compliance. They also argued, in the case of any lawsuit, admissible evidence should be limited to the official record. They cite prior rulings.

    (McKinny v. Oxnard Union High School Dist. Bd. of Trustees (1982) 31 Cal.3d 79, 88 [emphasis added]; Hess Collection Winery v. Cal Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1584, 1596-1597 [quoting McKinny].) In an analogous case brought under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), ,b>the California Supreme Court held that evidence outside the agency record should not be considered:

    just as the appellate courts generally may not consider evidence not contained in the trial record when reviewing suchfindings,courts generally may not consider evidence not contained in the administrative record when reviewing the substantiality of the evidence supporting a quasi-legislative decision under [CEQA]. We also conclude that extra^record evidence is generally not admissible to show that an agency “has not proceeded in a manner required by law” in making a quasi-legislative decision. Such evidence is generally not admissible to challenge quasi-legislative decisions on non-CEQA grounds, and we see no reason to apply a different rule in CEQA cases.

    What’s most critical is the upcoming fight over admissible evidence. Kenny has yet to make a decision.

    If material outside the agency record is not allowed, then the Authority and the Peer Review Group will be the the only sources of evidence. Since the Independent Peer Review Group is the established review mechanism, I think he’ll give significance weight to their reports and correspondence. The official correspondence is sent to the IPRG, there’s less chance Laurel and Hardy can distort the meaning of a memo or ancillary documentation.

    Here’s one example: The CAHSRA and IPRG correspond in units of time – rounded minutes. There is no evidence that the CAHSRA should use seconds and no record I can see that the reported times are Min:Sec.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Revisionist history joe. Both you and Alan claimed Tos did not even have standing. A claim now proven wrong as a matter of legal ruling.

    I don’t know if the judge will restrict them to existing evidence or not, but even if he does there is more than enough evidence in the public record that shows they can’t meet the travel times including the estimates by your precious peer review group that says the actual non-stop service times are estimated at 35-40 minutes from SF-SJ.

    I personally hope he gives a lot of weight to the peer group report. There is no where in that report that the peer group estimates they can hit the times with actual real world service.

    Maybe it’s time to stop and ask yourself why you don’t want the case legislated on the simple question of if the design meets the requirements? Why do you and Alan keep insisting that the technicalities will save HSR. I find it disturbing that you want HSR to survive of the technicalities of the law rather than the merits of the plan and it’s compliance with prop1a.

    jonathan Reply:

    “The Black Knight always triumphs!”

    The sad, sad thing here, is that both Joe and Alan seem utterly, utterly unable to stand back and apply their arguments to their own positions. Alan claims that Judge Kenny is doing, is ensuring that the Authority has grounds for appeal. I’ll ignore — for the moment, and only for the moment, the incredible prejudice implicit in that statement.

    Look at the problem from the aversary’s perspective. (Alan, are you listening and learning?).
    Suppose Judge Kenny *does* limit the evidence to the “official record”. Who gets to decide what’s “official”? Is evidence released under California’s open-government law part of the “official record”? Are emails between PB and the Authority part of the “official record”?
    (Emails sure as shit admissible evidence in civil cases between private parties. I have no clue what the case-law is here, but I don’t presume to pre-judge it the way Answers-In-Genesis-Scientist-Joe, and Alan, do).

    No, if anything, if Judge Kenny limits the admissible evidence to only what the Authority says is official, Judge Kenny is simply begging to have the plaintiffs appeal.

    And the fact is, if the plaintiffs can bring the sequence of memos released due to CARRD’s requests, the Authority is in grave danger. And if Flashman and Brady have the brains to read CARRD’s website,and ask for the May memo which CHSRA has refused to release…

    Well, *why* would CHSRA refuse to release a memo relevant to whether they meet Prop 1A’s time constraints? Ask yourself that.

    And, if one reads the Independent Review Panel’s report with an open mind, they make it *explicitly* clear that the run-time simulations need to be updated as assumptions are changed or invalidated. And even the Independent Review Panel acknowledges that they discussed the Frank Vacca memo with Caltrain; and Caltrain agrees with Clem: a real-world SF-SJ service is not going to be less than 40 minutes.

    Alan Reply:

    Let’s try to be consistent, Jonny. Do try to follow along…I know it’s hard for you to understand logic.

    Judge Kenny refused to rule for the state in the validation action *because there was insufficient evidence IN THE OFFICIAL RECORD*. Please note that the judge did not consider anything that was not formally presented to the bond committee.

    Now, Little Jonny and his friends Laurel and Hardy are asking the same judge to do exactly the opposite–to accept any and all scraps of hearsay that they might dredge up, whether or not they were presented to the Authority’s board AT THE TIME THE DECISION WAS MADE.

    This is why plaintiffs and defendents in actions like this provide tens of thousands of pages of the ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD–because that’s the basis upon which the courts rule. What Little Jonny and L&H expect is for Judge Kenny to contradict decades of established procedure and law to hear whatever they dredge up. That’s not the way things are done.

    The court did not reach the issue of standing because the state apparently did not choose to argue the point. In my view, a mistake, but the AG surely had her reasons. The state is entitled to pursue its choice of litigation strategy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The answer is quite simple. Whether they are aware of it or not, the Cheerleaders are shilling for Palmdale and the Tejon Ranch. They don’t care whether this things comes anything close to what is stipulated in the legislation,; succeeds or fails and ends up spun off.

    HSR became a real estate developer scam and contractor welfare.

    joe Reply:

    We questioned the standing – On what grounds and what is the legal basis for litigating a design. the judge cited wide allowances to allow litigation but made no claims about the plausibility of making their case. You assume to much.

    I still question the basis for litigating a design and the court makes no ruling they can. It’s so far limited to the total travel time and SF-SJ segment.

    You have utmost confidence in your interpretations and repeat them but they’re not rooting in anything but repetition. You also derisive – “my precious peer review group”. They are the legal mechanism to check for compliance and advise the leg – by law. Correspondence between the authority and the IPRG is official and final correspondence. I prioritize that and see a record that shows compliance and effort to achieve compliance.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Let’s make this simple

    Standing: proven right by judge ruling
    Ability to sue over unbuilt system: proven right by judge ruling
    Admissible Evidence: TBD
    Interpretation of prop1a: TBD
    Ruling on legality of proposed system to prop 1a:TBD

    joe Reply:

    “Ability to sue over un-built system: ?!?” That makes no sense.

    This is the allegation:

    Here, petitioners similarly allege that respondents [CA HSR] have violated applicable law by committing to build a high-speed rail system that differs significantly from the one approved by the voters in Proposition 1A.

    They have standing to argue the high-speed rail system is significantly different. His ruling specifically disclaimed asserting any possibility they can prove anything.

    Next is a ruling over admissible evidence.
    Interpretation of Prop1A language will be argued with admitted evidence.
    He’ll find Fact and then apply the Law.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There were 2 issues decided here. That Tos had standing and that they were allowed to sue under 526a. That was my point

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    BTW I missed you and Alan explaining how a superior court judge made a mistake on this ruling when you both insisted it was a simple matter and the law was clear. Did I miss that or are you still writing that up??

    jonathan Reply:

    “The Black Knight always triumphs!”

    joe Reply:

    I questioned the plaintiffs standing and what they can litigate over design. Also evidence and the peer review groups influence over the lawsuit.

    I never wrote it was slam dunk. You might want to begin using quoting before gloating.

    Judicial review what thrown around as the rational but that refers to the constitutionality of a law or regulation. It’s still hard to see how they can litigate the design.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    here is what alan wrote

    ——-

    Jonny, my boy, there you go with your standard response #2: “You need some remedial [whatever] lessons”. Nothing about the substance of the discussion.

    You don’t seem to understand the facts here, as Joe (in particular) has pointed them out: THERE IS NO PROVISION IN AB3034 WHICH CREATES A PRIVATE CAUSE OF ACTION TO CHALLENGE THE PLANS! Can you get that through your thick skull? Your buddies do not have legal standing to pursue any claim based on the designs created by or for the CHSRA. The law provides the review mechanism for those designs, and it does not include the courts. Period. Full stop.

    and

    Generally speaking, a plaintiff must have standing to be able to file a lawsuit. It is the obligation of the plaintiff to prove standing, not the obligation of the defendant to prove otherwise. Tos, et. al., cannot possibly prove standing.

    —————-

    Here is what you wrote

    —————

    The State’s January 10 2014 court filing discusses legal challenges to travel times and it’s devastating.
    One might ask critics to read the Proposition/Law.

    The Law establishes a Independent Peer Review Group to oversee the Project. Amazing no? And they have a website and it’s publicly available and the legislated travel times are achievable.

    On what legal basis do critics and unhappy property owners have to sue the project?
    Well the State also goes over the law and the rational for lawsuits and it’s not looking good for critics.

    and

    .just that no one can [sue] them because they are not convinced or unhappy.

    Private citizens need a legal basis to sue. Not convinced or happy with the project isn’t a legal basis to sue. Citizens can sue when there is gross negligence resulting waste or if there is fraud.

    There’s a Peer Review Group overseeing the project. This legal mechanism established in the law protects the voters from fraud and negligence.

    Get a copy of their January 10th 2014 court filing.

    _________

    you seemed so confident a week ago

    joe Reply:

    I’m Joe, not Alan.

    joe Reply:

    Nowhere do I write the plaintiffs cannot sue.

    I ask on what grounds can they sue. I am correct – they cannot sue for being unhappy.
    They can sue over waste fraud and gross negligence. I write they can.

    The Independent peer review group is also charted with overseeing compliance.
    They have not found evidence of fraud, waste or gross incompetence. They have not taken issue with travel time calculations.

    The plaintiffs nevertheless claim the system planned is significantly different from what was proposed in Prop1a.

    The Judge made no claim the plaintiffs had any changes prove their point.

    The IPRG writes in their memo

    “The Group agrees that the “pure run time” for non-stop trains from San Francisco Trans Bay Terminal to LA Union Station has thus far been designed to be 2 hours, 32 minutes, and from San Francisco Trans Bay to San Jose has been designed to be 30 minutes. “

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So let me get this straight joe. You always thought Tos had standing? You always though this suit could proceed? Because that’s not what you wrote

    joe Reply:

    I thought they would only have standing for fraud, waste or gross negligence – as I wrote. Look at what I wrote and you quoted.

    I did not think they had Judicial Review standing – that would mean a challenge the legality of the proposition. That wasn’t their complaint. Being unhappy isn’t standing.

    For fraud – the Ind Peer Review Group provides oversight. It doesn’t look good given there is an official record and reporting. There is a legally mandated entity checking for fraud, gross incompetence and waste.

    It does not look good for the plaintiffs. The record does not show a project significantly different than the one in the proposition.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If it makes you feel better then fine joe. Its not even a mistake, you disagree with the judge, thats fine. But if you want to claim you never questioned the standing and the ability to sue, fine, the record will speak for itself.

    Speaking of record.

    “The record does not show a project significantly different than the one in the proposition”

    That is the comment that takes the cake.

    Prop 1a requires identification of money up front….no
    Prop 1a requires EIRs be completed up front….almost means no
    time requirements…nope
    useable segments run HSR….no again
    no subsidies….TBD at best

    Alan Reply:

    And therein lies the grounds for appeal which Kenny has given the Authority. The state may have chosen not to argue the point, but the point is not theirs to prove. The state may have also determined that a ruling on the merits would be better than a ruling on a technical point, as the former would discourage any future actions of the type. Despite that, judges are expected to know and properly apply the law. That may not be the case here.

    Anybody can file papers to sue anybody. Whether they have a legal standing to do so is what’s at issue, and that’s where the judge may have erred.

    joe Reply:

    That is the comment that takes the cake.

    Prop 1a requires identification of money up front….no
    Prop 1a requires EIRs be completed up front….almost means no
    time requirements…nope
    useable segments run HSR….no again
    no subsidies….TBD at best

    What takes the cake is arguing without paying attention to the complaint.

    What they alleged doesn’t jib with your assumptions. DO some homework and find out what they alleged in the complaint. It’s tiring to have to explain what’s actually happening.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    amazing.

    First it was “they have no standing and it is not a proper 526a action”

    Now its “The state should have even have had to make the argument, the judge should have ruled for them anyway”

    Judge Kenny is a superior court judge for 10+ years and been practicing law since 1980 and you just accused him of making both a technical and legal error. You really think you know more about the issue than he does? I am sure he knows more than me.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If judges never made errors there would be no need for an appeals process. If every question was cut and dried there wouldn’t be any need for judges who make errors.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i get it, judges do make errors. I am wondering what qualifies Alan to be so sure the judge is in error. He has 34 years of legal experience and 10+ on the bench.

    Alan Reply:

    “Standing: proven right by judge ruling
    Ability to sue over unbuilt system: proven right by judge ruling”

    Nothing is proven until the Supreme Court says so. Unfortunately, one way or another that seems to be where we’re headed. But just look at all of those billable hours for L&H!

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is no guarantee that the California Supreme Court has the inclination for this case.

    Alan Reply:

    Here’s an approach that might make Jonny’s head explode, but reasonable people may understand:

    SHC 2704.9 identifies a number of distinct corridors, as Jonny has repeatedly quoted.

    “San Francisco-San Jose” is one defined corridor, and “San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station” is a separate, distinct corridor. It’s reasonable to conclude that SF-SJ was included in the list to provide an option for the Authority, in the event it chose to make Altamont the preferred route for SF-LA. That way, Prop 1A funding would still be available for SF-SJ, as a *separate* corridor.

    In its listing of the corridors, 2704.09 specifies only endpoint-to-endpoint timings, and does not include any requirements for timings to intermediate stations. On the SF to LA routing, SJ is an intermediate station, not an end point. As an intermediate station, timings to/from SJ are irrelevant to the discussion of whether the chosen route for SF-LA complies with 2704.09. Obviously, the Tos plaintiffs and their BFF, Little Jonny, are trying to superimpose the defined SF-SJ corridor over the Authority’s choice of routes for the SF-LA corridor it is actually building. Nothing in the clear language of the law allows this.

    So the bottom line is, under this interpretation the 30:22 between SF and SJ is totally irrelevant. What’s controlling is the SF-LA timing, which no one seems to be disputing.

    The law was written to allow the Authority broad discretion in determining the sequence of construction, not to place the agency in a straitjacket, as Jonny as his comrades would like. And one has to remember that the law was written to enable the construction of a railroad, not to provide a million reasons why that cannot happen. Any judicial interpretation must take that into account.

    Now…waiting for Little Jonny’s head to explode in 3…2…1…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    wow, that is really creative logic.

    So i missed the part where you said why the planned SJ to SF corridor (which you claim is independant of all other corridors) does not need to comply with the 30 minute requirement.

    you see if I accept everything you say, the authority is actually building a SF to SJ corridor. They are not going through Altamont and skipping SJ. So while this is a nice theory, it does not actually jibe with the fact that they are building a SF to SJ and route and therefore it must comply with the law. If there was no SJ stop, then you might have a point, but that is not the case.

    Also, the law was NOT written to allow the authority broad discretion. If it had been written that way it would not insist on times, pre-fudning, power systems, no subsidies, or even IOS. It was actually written as a straightjacket to provide political points to get the law passed. The main talking points were all the “controls” placed in the law to ensure that “real” HSR would be built.

    I think you would be better off arguing that the intent of the law is met, not the letter. Of course that would mean admitting the obvious, that the times cant be met. The counter argument being then change the law, get a new law, or dont build. But I think that argument will go a lot farther than claiming now that SF-SJ times dont have to be 30 minutes

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Don’t you mean 3.036666667, 2.024444444, 1.012222222 ?
    … (1822/1800)*3, (1822/1800)*2, 1822/1800 ….

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    math has no feelings adirondacker…you cant make fun on it.

    And calling me a tight ass (previously) or making fun of my desire for accuracy does not both me either. I consider the fact you think I am too technical to be a compliment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who measure things within the capabilities of the instrument making the measurement are accurate.
    Arithmetic isn’t funny or unfunny but I can be used to make fun of people and things.

    Alan Reply:

    No, John, the Authority is building the San Francisco-Los Angeles corridor. On that corridor, San Jose is not a terminal station, and the language of 2704.09 discusses end-to-end timings beteen terminals. As I rather clearly wrote, it appears that SF-SJ was included as a separate corridor–what used to be called a “branch line”–in the event that the Authority chose to get from SF to LA via Altamont.

    And you obviously missed the point. If SF-SJ were built as a standalone corridor, 30 minutes is the time to be met. But when the project is clearly to construct the entire SF-LA corridor, trying to overlay the requirement for the SF-SJ branch line makes no sense.

    I can certainly argue–and have been–that the Authority can claim “substantial compliance” without admitting that the times are not achievable. And aside from the hard-core NIMBY’s and Neanderthals who don’t want the thing built at all, if you were to ask the typical business traveler if those extra 22 seconds are a big deal, they’d’ look at you like you were some kind of fool. Business travelers know that most airline flights are delayed at least that much just by the captain putting the cream into his coffee. IOW, to travelers–the people we’re building this thing for–it’s a non-issue.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so Alan under your interpretation, unless they build on seperate tracks, there would never be an independant SJ-SF segment unless it was a spur off the SF-LA line through Altamont.

    That is just clearly neither the intent or the letter of the law.

    1. Your base assumption that intermediate times dont matter is contradicted by their being included in the law. There are many “intermediate times” specified. And the law does not state they are subservient to the SF-LA time.
    2 There is no evidence that it is considered a “seperate corridor” in the current plan. So your statement that “it appears it was included as a seperate corridor” is not supported by any evidence.
    3. You still can get past the fact that they are building a HSR line from SF-SJ and the law specifically states a time the train must run on that track, integrated with SF-LA or not. No where in the law does it say that.

    its creative, but the argument cant be supported on its face. Even the authority is not arguing they dont need to meet the time, they keep trying to prove they can.

    As for substantial compliance, they are going to have to admit they cant meet the requirements first. Once they do that then I suppose we can have an argument about if they are close enough, but as longa s they claim complete compliance, they will continue to be proven wrong.

    joe Reply:

    No communications show the times for the proposition are measured out to seconds. The Legal oversight entity, IPRG, accepted 30:22 simulation as evidence they can make 30.

    I think they will have to meet both 2:40 LA-SF and 0:30 for SF to SJ. If they have enough slack to make SF-LA in 2:32 then this is really going to be difficult for the plaintiffs.

    The Law has some maximum times which will be argued probably the most, there is the “Significantly Different” threshold and violating “No Operating Subsidy”.

    The Authority has to be breaking the Law.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i am really digging this “seconds dont exist if we never talk about them” argument joe.

    Idea: Have the HSRA send IPRG a communication that SF-LA takes 5 min. Since under your theory the communication is the proof (not any underlying data) they would be free and clear.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they spend the ten billion and they discover that they can’t run trains without a subsidy, what’s the remedy? Stop disbursing money that they don’t have anymore?

    joe Reply:

    Idea: Have the HSRA send IPRG a communication that SF-LA takes 5 min. Since under your theory the communication is the proof (not any underlying data) they would be free and clear.

    But a 5 Min claim NOT be accepted and the IPRG would write that in their report. This would cause a problem with the legislature, Governor, AG, Treasurer and the record would document the issue.

    None such examples exist.

    Glad to see you using rounded numbers to the nearest minute and not typing 5:00 because you’re implicitly agreeing ever time you round to the nearest minute. I suggest you start using 5:00 minutes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you will not find this suprising at all joe, but the countdown clock that i use to manage my project team…it displays time to the 1/10th of a second. So we have 259 days, 11 hours, 17 min, and 33.4 secs left to go.

    I will give you an adddress you can write condolence cards to the people who work for me…but I am consistent.

    blankslate is right, however, I am having fun but everyone else probably thinks the discussion is old so I am going to let it go for now.

    jonathan Reply:

    John,

    One might almost, almost ask, what happens to a sock-puppet when the puppeteer’s arms are cut off?
    “It’s just a flesh wound!”

    Humor aside; you might want to look at Joe’s fanatical defense of the City of Gilroy asking for a glod-plated HSR route through their downtown. Look at what CHSRA proposed, and what Gilroy voted to ask for. It’s entirely comparable to Peninsula cities asking for HSR to be trenched (or cut-and-covered) through the Peninsula. You can find such discussions by searching for Richard M’s, uh, trademark term for that: (I quote but do not defend) “GilroyLogic(tm)”.

    joe Reply:

    You flatter him. After all, Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    jonathan Reply:

    No, Answers-In-Genesis-Scientist Joe. I *quoted* him.
    That’s apparently a distinction which is beyond your grasp.

    joe Reply:

    You emulate him including copying grotesque style and mockery.

    jonathan Reply:

    It’s called a “precis”, and a “quote”.

    Ask your buddy Alan for an explanation of those words. Though most people learn them in high school, if not before.

    joe Reply:

    See – you can’t stop play-acting can you?

    Michael Reply:

    If you know the Caltrain corridor, if it was improved for HSR to Redwood Junction for an Altamont project, there’s little south of there ( assuming electrification ) that physically limits speed.

    jimsf Reply:

    A system that doesn’t serve all these places along the way, is pointless to build. California’s 58 counties are not going to vote to spend 70 billion dollars so that techies in sf can go play grabass in hollywood.

    70 billions needs to build a system that serves as many communites as possible, giving them fast frequent service to as many other communities as possible. That would be an actual useful piece of infrastructure.

    Anything less would lose my support, and the support of the majority of californians.

    jimsf Reply:

    this is what we voted for

    jonathan Reply:

    Bullshit, jimsf. Bullshit.

    What Californians actually voted for was Prop 1A (aka AB 3034).
    AB 3034 has specific speed requirements.

    I’ve said, repeatedly, over several years, that there are two models for funding (and building, in that order) HSR, which one should compare and contrast. Those are the “French” model, where route decision are made centrally (in Paris), like it or lump it; and the German model, where route decisions involve compromise and politicking at Federal, Lander (state) and regional or city government., The French model leads to LGVs. The German model leads to HSR lines which join to legacy (“blended” rail, giving HSR stops in the 19th-century stations relatively small cities.

    California voted for Prop 1A. Prop 1A specifies French-style, LGV-style, time requirements.
    The political process forced a German-style design.

    There is *no way* to reconcile the two. Not without spending literally astronomical amounts of money.

    jimsf Reply:

    wrong Jonathan The route and city pairs were as shown on that map and the only reason prop 1a barely passed is because all those places were promised service.

    You just weren’t paying attention.

    Further, a system that doesn’t serve all those places is of no use to the majority of californians which is why prop 1a never would have passed without promising service to all those places.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The reason it passed is that no one, even the pros, could see how terminally contradicted it was.

    Van Ark was the first on the inside to become cognizant of major provisos voiding each other and deserves credit for attempting what needed to be done to work out the kinks. But the others were struggling to keep up. They should have had Van Ark’s back and encouraged the Palmdale litigation. We would be a couple of years farther along.

    Effectively the 2:40 proviso is intimately linked to the requirement of no subsidy and trumps ill-advised route fixes, such as the Peninsula and Palmdale-Mojave.

    At this juncture time to overturn Prop 1a and let the whole thing sit for a while. Eventually some private interests will come forward with a more viable plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Only you shielded from the powerful influence of the mind rays could see it.

    jonathan Reply:

    @jimsf:

    “wrong Jonathan”
    Jim, you didn’t say anything which conflicts with what I said. What people actually *voted for* was Prop 1A; and Prop 1A has service-time constraints which aren’t acheivable for a map like that. And the map is not actually part of Prop 1A. It’s a “proposed map” from the Authority.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I live in the Northbay and I did indeed “vote to spend 70 billion dollars so that techies in sf can go play grabass in hollywood.”

    All except for Tim Cook. May useless Carl Icahn take a bite out of Apple’s sorry behind. They deserve each other.

    Nadia Reply:

    @ Jonathan

    Simitian was one of only NO votes. How can you blame him for any back room deals?

    It was Governor Brown and Dan Richard & co. who made the deal an all or nothing vote by promising the bookends money only if they voted to appropriate money to HSR in the Central Valley. Simitian voted NO even with that promise….

    joe Reply:

    Simitian laid the ground work for the deal that was cut for approving blended HSR and was give a pass to vote no.

    The Legislature has a whip and the Whip’s job is to find enough just enough votes to allow members to vote no if they are not needed.

    jonathan Reply:

    Nadia,

    Ddn’t you see Simitian’s “town hall” meeting?? It was Simitian, Gordon and Eshoo who *proposed* the “Blended” plan in the first place!

  2. Keith Saggers
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 15:17
    #2

    Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the rail authority, said the agency does not plan to run trains at high speeds in urban centers and that the agency is “committed to building a high-speed rail system that will meet the requirements of Prop. 1A.”

    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

    jonathan Reply:

    The Authority need to make up their mind. They can’t do both, not with the current route.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The lawsuit is going to overturn the blended plan but preserve everything in the Central Valley. BART is ready to move ahead with their Lebensraum plans for the Peninsula. SFO to be renamed Quentin Kopp International.

    Film at eleven.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It may happen but it would run contrary to political reality and exigency and is not likely.

    First off PAMPA pols would be sorely pissed and ready to put Prop 1a back on the ballot no matter what Moonbeam says.

    Secondly the Valley route is only popular with a mayor here and there and a few contractors on welfare. A great many people there think it should “eat shit and die”, to quote a local billboard.

    So the exact opposite is more likely. It may have to go back on the ballot to accomplish that.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The political reality is that in the State Legislature, the Peninsula does not have the power. SF and LA control the caucus and the Latino Democrats in the Central Valley preserve the supermajority.

    PAMPA residents are free to move to a low tax, low regulation utopia like Texas at any time. No one is stopping them.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Uh, PAMPA has enough money to buy the San Joaquin Valley.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so? they can’t buy votes out there

    synonymouse Reply:

    Wise to be get along with the landlord.

    jonathan Reply:

    The lawsuit is going to overturn the blended plan but preserve everything in the Central Valley.

    And why not? How many narrow-radius, speed-limited sections are there in the Initial Construction Segment? How many downtowns does it slow down for, and make tight S-bends with two 90-degree turns to get through? Isn’t the Chowchilla wye outside of the EIRs which got approved for the ICS? Am I mis-remembering that?

    Alan Reply:

    Even if Judge Kenny inexplicably found the concept (not the design, which even Jonny admits is unfinished) to be illegal, we still have the issue of a remedy. The judge made clear that the only possible remedy to the problem with the funding plan was to order the Authority to fix that problem. He did not order a stop to construction–which is what L&H were really shooting for–and he did not, because he could not, order the Legislature to rescind the appropriation and invalidate the existing construction contract.

    Likewise, Prop 1A provides no real remedy here. Sure, the judge could order the Authority to go back to the drawing boards, but that would be pretty silly given that the unfinished design has been, and remains on the drawing board already. Through all the litigation, Judge Kenny has shown no inclination whatever to shutting down the entire project. He correctly understands that that is a policy decision which is left to the Legislature and the voters, not the judiciary. He has always fashioned his remedies, particularly in the Atherton cases, to be the minimum necessary to cure the technical faults without shutting everything down. I see no reason why he would break from that pattern here.

    But one also has to give great consideration to the reason why Prop 1A created the Peer Review Group–to ensure that the plans for the project are reviewed and critiqued by persons with the experience and professional training to do so–not a bunch of NIMBY’s, housewives, and ambulance-chasing lawyers trying to make a big score.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Peer Review Group is totally rubber stamp. Professional and establishment courtesy.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    tell them

  3. Reality Check
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 15:39
    #3

    As compared to NIMBY PAMPA, YIMBY Redwood City can’t seem to OK big projects fast enough:
    Five-story apartment complex could be latest addition to downtown Redwood City

    A five-story, market-rate apartment complex could be added to downtown Redwood City’s growing housing stock tonight if approved by the Planning Commission.

    The 133-unit complex, proposed for an almost one-acre site at 439 Fuller St., would join four others ranging in height from six to nine stories that have been green-lighted since January 2011, when the city adopted a Downtown Precise Plan.

    Together, the five buildings would provide 1,239 rental units. And that doesn’t count two apartment complexes being constructed just outside of the city center — a 132-unit project at 333 Main St. and a 265-unit one at 640 Veterans Blvd.

    By encouraging commercial and residential development near the Caltrain station to accommodate local workers, Redwood City has positioned itself to become “a powerhouse city in the Peninsula,” said Gary Johnson, vice president of Menlo Park-based Acclaim Cos., which wants to develop the Fuller Street project.

    “They really see the benefit to building density around transit sites,” Johnson said in a phone interview Monday. “Not only do they see the benefit, they execute it, unlike other cities.”

  4. Paul Druce
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 15:39
    #4

    This funding, of which California would easily receive $1-$2 billion a year, would be enough over time to build the Initial Operating Segment of the California HSR line, likely from Merced to Los Angeles.

    The requirement is $21 billion by about 2020 (to fund construction by 2022). $1-2Bn won’t cover that.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Has to pass the House. Man proposes, GOP disposes.

  5. Tony D.
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 15:50
    #5

    At the least, can we please get Caltrain electrification from SF-SJ? Since his budget will never fly in the house, that’s all I’m hoping for now..

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    …or Union Station run through tracks?

    jonathan Reply:

    Tony D,
    No, you can’t. Not with Prop 1A money from the HSR pot, as opposed to the “connecting’ pot.
    Sadly, the bulk of Prop 1A funding for Caltrain “modernization” is from the HSR pot.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nope. This decision likely means Caltrain electrification is dead.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The political reality is that in the State Legislature, the Peninsula does not have the power. SF and LA rule the caucus and the Latino Democrats in the Central Valley are needed for the supermajority.

    PAMPA Is free to move to Texas or another low regulation, low tax shithole at any time.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And PB is free to relocate its corporate hq to Lagos.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Halliburton already went to Dubai. I think PB likes being in the developed world.

  6. Alon Levy
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 16:33
    #6

    It doesn’t sound like HSR; a majority of the federal stimulus money that was nominally sent to HSR is in fact not HSR by any recent international definition.

    Joe Reply:

    Thank God international definitions don’t hold here.

    Opposition to higher speed rail or high-speed rail is unpopular, that is to say, Americans want their trains to run faster. This is clearly a wedge issue and the more general definition of high speed lumps the high-speed rail project in with a lot of other popular projects across the United States. These are projects most voters want.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The CAHSR 30-minute claim thinks the laws of physics don’t apply in the US, either, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised international definitions of technology don’t apply.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Succintly, they are claiming that railroad schedules are calibrated in minutes aren’t they?

    Eric Reply:

    If that was the case then why did states like Florida and Wisconsin reject HSR funding that was offered them?

    joe Reply:

    Governors Walker (WI) and Scott (FL) rejected the funding.
    Walker then reversed himself and wanted funds reinstalled to upgrade a key Corridor between Chi and Mil. He was denied.

    Scott’s decision was unilateral and unpoular in his own party.
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/gov-rick-scott-rejects-funding-for-high-speed-rail/1151937

    State Sen. J.D. Alexander, a Republican from Lake Wales who chairs the Senate budget committee, warned that Scott may have overstepped his bounds by canceling the project.

    “The Constitution doesn’t allow the governor to not spend appropriations funds,” he said. “We would certainly hope that in the future he would follow the appropriate policy with regard to his expenditures.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And yet Walker won a recall election despite middling approval rates.

    flowmotion Reply:

    If this is such an important wedge issue, why not request enough money so that CAHSR can actually be constructed as planned? Even if passed, this proposal just keeps the whole thing barely on life-support.

    This appears to nothing more than a token gesture so Obama can pay lip service to an issue that’s realistically about #99 on the national democrat priority list.

  7. morris brown
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 16:34
    #7

    Why does Robert want to use space for this proposal which is going nowhere.

    Note this quote from Senator Boxer:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/usa-transportation-obama-idUSL1N0LV18E20140226

    Senator Barbara Boxer, head of the committee that oversees work on the highway bill, said on Wednesday that Obama’s plan was not likely to pass Congress.

    Robert keeps writing about the Democrats taking a House majority in Nov 2014. Everyone else says no change.

    What Robert should be concerned about is losing the Democrat majority in the Senate.

    See:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/02/20/computing_democrats_risk_of_losing_the_senate_121640.html

    With all of that said, this is a very, very challenging map for Democrats. As things presently stand, the map probably makes them underdogs to hold the Senate. Barring some sort of change in the national environment or meltdown in the Republican nominations process — neither of which is impossible — Democrats are likely in for a very long night on Nov. 4.

    Joe Reply:

    High-speed rail is a wedge issue. The purpose of putting HSR in the budget is to force you losers to take it out and do something very unpopular and then kick your ass in the next election.

    Most people want high-speed rail. The only way to run against HSR in California is to promise a different high-speed rail project in place if the current one.

    You’re on the losing side Of this issue so let’s make it really clear that the reason high-speed rail funding is not in the budget this because your side wanted it removed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    To just name a few off the top of my head… In 2010 Tom Castle was polling better than any Democrat in Delaware. They nominated Christine let-me-tell-you-how-bat-shit-insane-I-am O’Donnell and Chris Coons, the Democrat won in a landslide. In 2012 Richard Senator-for-life Lugar wasn’t good enough for them and they nominated Richard I’m-waiting-until-just-before-the-election-to-tell-everyone-how-bat-shit-insane-I-am Mourdock. Joe Donnelly the Democrat got just over 50 % of the vote and Mourdock didn’t make to 45%. In Indiana. Indiana. Then there’s Todd Akin. He was a prime choice wasn’t he? The primaries haven’t started yet. How many raving lunatics they nominate will affect the outcome.

    Joe Reply:

    Republicans have a real advantage – they’re in the minority so they have a greater chance of picking up seats.

    Of course Morris turns this minority status into another positive forgetting the fact that there are in a minority and what got there to begin with.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Rand Paul did win in Kentucky though, and Ted Cruz took Texas. Rick Berg though, lost North Dakota.

    joe Reply:

    One would argue both these guys pull the party to the right – to their detriment.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/us-usa-politics-texas-idUSBREA221MW20140303

    Cruz has turned an already right-leaning Texas Republican Party even further to the right, analysts said.

    “Cruz scared the daylights out of center and center-right conservatives to the extent that they do not feel comfortable enough to run on their true positions and feel compelled to cater to the most conservative elements of the Texas Republican primary electorate,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

    Many Democrats are actually hoping for a greater Cruz influence in the race.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With no Repubs or only phony RINOS around some of the Demos will start drifting to the right to fill the vacuum. You already see that in California, especially with Steinberg going the other way, toward Berserkeley and quotas.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Hawaii is a good case study for us. They have two blocs drifting apart within the Democratic machine. One is liberal, white and non union. The other is Asian, centrist, and union. California isn’t so far off, except here the latter are Latinos.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Republican s have been favored to retake the Senate now for three elections in a row. It can happen if they pick candidates who can keep their mouths shut. Otherwise, The stalemate will continue until the Huckabee Administration.

  8. Observer
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 17:22
    #8

    The democrats will not take the house of representatives back in 2014, and will probably lose seats in the senate in 2014. Even if democrats do better in 2016, federal funding for HSR is going to be a long shot; same will probably hold true in the 2018 and 2020 elections. California needs to figure out a way to fund HSR it self, even if it takes a new proposal – fully funded this time.

    Observer Reply:

    It may come to the point where California will need to move to a plan B. Bakersfield to Merced will probably get built, as will electrification of Caltrain. Then double track the Capital, Altamont, and Surfliner routes and also metrolink routes to Palmdale and/or San Fernando Valley. Then if we are lucky, far into the next decade – try to obtain federal funding to close the remaining gaps: Bakersfield to L.A. and maybe Merced/Pacheco/ San Jose.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary Clem’s optimal route thru the Tejon Mountain Village is affordable and might even attract private investment.

    Using electric locomotives and future Amtrak standard stock you at least get quasi-TEE. You’ll have to change motive power here and there unless the UP can be persuaded to accept some free catenary.

  9. John Nachtigall
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 20:09
    #9

    Off topic, but to good to pass up. Looks like a 3rd generation is on the way.

    http://www.kgw.com/news/politics/national/248476111.html

    I am smiling at your outraged responses already

  10. jimsf
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 20:10
    #10

    What Obama needs to do is make deals with the republicans. There are enough of them that know they need investments in their home districts. Give the the republicans something they want that is high profile, such as the keystone pipeline, and money for roads back home, in return for something low profile such as rail and transit. Republicans are well aware that government spending is an economic stimulus in their home districts and that’s where they need to get re elected.

  11. jimsf
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 20:27
    #11

    CA HSR

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Whatever you say about HSR supporters you have to admit they are great at drawing colored lines on maps. It’s amazing how colorful. If only it was matched by actual execution

    jimsf Reply:

    The authority drew the map. Its from the website.

    jonathan Reply:

    Precisely! thank you for your support!

    jimsf Reply:

    are you building a high speed rail system jonathan or are you just a nobody ranting on a blog?

    joe Reply:

    What you posted isn’t significantly different from the system the voters approved in the proposition. It’s exactly what we voted for.

    Today Judge Kenny stated the allegation:

    Here, petitioners similarly allege that respondents [CA HSR] have violated applicable law by committing to build a high-speed rail system that differs significantly from the one approved by the voters in Proposition 1A.

    It’s bullshit.

    jonathan Reply:

    Fine words, from someone palpably incapable of distinguishing “minimum”and “maximum”.

    jimsf Reply:

    Actually with the exception of the blended bookends, the system shown is exactly what the voters approved and the blended bookends are only a way to get single seat service from end to end sooner than waiting for for full hsr in the urban book ends. Of course eventually it will be upgraded but the bookends even with fully separated row, was still only going to run at 125 between sf and sj and from sfv-anaheim. So all they need to do is blend the bookends to support 125 service which is not a big deal to do.

    jonathan Reply:

    jimsf,

    how can anyone be so misinformed?

    jimsf Reply:

    I’m not misinformed. I was here, I voted. I remember what I voted for. I also remember when half the people on this blog were saying the bookends should be blended because building a separate system was a waste of money and concrete.

    jimsf Reply:

    and jonathan. THIS WAS THE PLANNED ROUTE when we voted for prop 1A.

    jimsf Reply:

    and if you are referring the banning of four tracks on the peninsula let me tell you something. That is a worthless piece of paper. Ive been in california for 50 years. How long have you been here? I know how things work here. when the time comes the system will be upgraded you can count on that. In fact once it the IOS begins operation. The system will never stop being upgraded and expanded. The opponents know that. That’s why they are hell bent on not letting it get off the ground. The hsr system will be exactly like the state highway system. Perpetual growth, perpetual employment, perpetual pouring of concrete by the same people who pour all the other concrete in the state. and you know what. californians are good with that so long as everyone continues to be mobile.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And they are going to rebuild the Embarcardero Freeway thru the Wharf and the Marina.

  12. jonathan
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 20:52
    #12

    But this is a good reminder that the only reason why California HSR faces financial questions is because of Republicans in Congress. That’s all.

    I call bullshit, Robert. California HSR is facing serious funding questions even regarding the Prop 1A funds. If CHSRA loses their appeal, or loses their second case, then it’s “game over” for the obligated Federal funds. (As I understand it, Judge Kenny’s ruling requires the Authority to submit a new business plan which identifies funding for the entire IOS. Not happening.)

    If the Authority loses, California can’t come up with Prop 1A funds to match the Federal funds.
    And the Authority’s SF-SJ time canot stand: the earlier versions of the PM memo, released thanks to CARRD, make that clear. The independent verification of simulation results by Clem Tillier, and the concomitant uncovery of further shenanigans in the simulation assumptions, only underscore the point.

    The best, the very best we can hope for, is that CHSRA wins their appeal (though I don’t see how they can). Then the Authority can go ahead with the Central Valley ICS. The “bookend” plan to fritter away HSR money on commuter rail is dead.

    Caltrain is still stuck with BART AATC, Mk. II (aka “CBOSS”) as the contracts are already signed.

    I don’t want to sound like Synon, but if the $600 million of Prop 1A HSR money disappears, then I bet MTC takes away the $600 million of “matching” federal-grant/bridge-toll/BART/Clean-Air money, faster than you can say “Ring-The-Bay”.

    Which leaves Caltrain without enough money to actually pay for CBOSS….

  13. jonathan
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 21:57
    #13

    Proposed Ballot initiative to terminate California HSR, gets approval to gather signatures

    Proponents of the initiative now have 150 days to gather 504,760 signatures, to qualify for ballot in 2014 elections. The initiative would prohibit the State from issuing bonds, expending Federal, state, or local funds; and, to the extent possible, require the state to terminate existing HSR contracts.

    http://www.signalscv.com/section/36/article/115572/

    Zorro Reply:

    Now someone has to pay millions to get those sigs and then I doubt it will pass, I’ll vote against it no matter what, as would a majority of Californians.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The only way an hsr revote goes back on the ballot is by the Legislature or ordered by the Judge. The number of signatures needed is way too high – the initiative process has been gutted.

    Even with a massive PB-Tutor-construction union-TWU&Amalgamated brainwashing campaign I believe hsr would go down to defeat. Of course PB-CHSRA would try to prevent an express I-5 alternative allowed into the vote.

    But if Jerry’s Socal real estate developer water grab act does make it to the ballot its defeat will stand as a symbolic thumbs down on PB-CHSRA as well.

    therealist Reply:

    let my people vote !

    Eric M Reply:

    They already did!!

    therealist Reply:

    let them vote over & over again !!

    therealist Reply:

    WE ARE THE PEOPLE !!!

  14. jonathan
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 22:41
    #14

    And, as a relevant follow-up to Robert’s blog-post about funding:

    Here’s a question for a real California laywer. In the first part of the Tos et al. suit, Judge Kenny ruled for the plaintiffs. Gov. Jerry Brown appealed to the State Supreme Court (on behalf of the State), on the grounds that Judge Kenny’s ruling did not offer substantive relief. ;The Supreme Court referred the appeal to the Appellate Court, and the Appellate Court decided to hear the appeal.

    Does the State, when it appealed on “no substantive relief”, implicitly concede that the plaintiffs have standing to sue? If the State thinks the plaintiffs lack standing, surely the State should appeal on those grounds first?

  15. jimsf
    Mar 4th, 2014 at 23:19
    #15

    I wonder if they are going to use Japanese, French or German trains…

  16. Keith Saggers
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 04:47
    #16

    USA: Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority issued a request for proposals on January 24 covering the supply of up to 43 trainsets for use on the Initial Operating Section of California’s planned high speed network and the existing Northeast Corridor route between Washington DC and Boston.

    According to CHSRA, proposals are to be submitted by May 17 with a view to a manufacturer being selected by the end of this year. The authority added that ‘a goal of the procurement is to identify whether established high speed rail manufacturers have service-proven designs that can meet both the short-term needs of Amtrak and the long-term operational needs of CHSRA with little or no modification.’

    Amtrak and CHSRA hope that the joint procurement of rolling stock with ‘a large degree of commonality’ will result in lower acquisition and life-cycle costs. Trains for both operators are expected to seat between 400 and 450 passengers. CHSRA’s initial batch of 15 trains would require a maximum speed of at least 320 km/h (200 mile/h) for use on ‘largely brand new infrastructure’ between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Amtrak’s fleet of ‘at least’ 28 trains would have a more modest speed requirement of 257 km/h (160 mile/h) to reflect its use ‘at the time of delivery’ on existing NEC infrastructure; these trains would replace the current Acela Express fleet. The request for proposals stipulates that respondents must have had a fleet in commercial operation at speeds in excess of 257 km/h for at least two years.

    ‘Today’s announcement is one more step in our efforts to standardise domestic rail equipment and reinvigorate US manufacturing’, commented Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo. ‘Combining orders between Amtrak and CHSRA will generate economies of scale and make it more attractive for high speed rail manufacturers to build factories here in the USA. The end result means the riding public will have lighter, faster, more energy efficient passenger rail service

    Railway Gazette

    jimsf Reply:

    This is a good development.

  17. Jeff Davis
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 06:17
    #17

    The President is only proposing $1.3 billion per year for all new high-performance rail corridors in the U.S., and presumably, any one state would only be eligible for less than half of that (Congress caps any state’s share of the TIGER grans program at 20 percent, for example). The remainder of the $5 billion per year for FRA is for Amtrak, commuter rail PTC, and other items. See the FRA portion of the official DOT summary document here:
    http://www.dot.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/BudgetHighlightsFY2015.pdf

  18. Ben
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 08:10
    #18

    So what would happen if the judge rules that the project does not meet the travel time criteria and the ICS would require a subsidy? Would he invalidate the 2012 vote by the legislature and order a re-vote/reappropriation by the legislature for a 2:40 plan? Would he say that no Prop 1A funds can be used until enough funding for an operating segment can be built that would not require subsidies?

  19. morris brown
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 10:43
    #19


    March 05, 2014
    Audit Initiated of FRA’s High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Amendment and Oversight Processes

    See: http://www.oig.dot.gov/node/6390

    In particular it should be interesting to view what this audit will find, with regards the Grant Agreement between the FRA and the Authority.

    As you should know, originally released the grant agreement called for the State matching funds to be spent in parallel with the Fed funds. With the major delay in the project, and the prospect that the time limit of Sept 2017, at which time all Fed Funds had to be spent, or lost, the agreement was revised. The revision called for State matching to start in April 2014, but even that was not gong to work, so the agreement was again changed to start State funding to start in July 2014.

    It would appear that one of the objects of this audit will be to determine if the Fed funding is at risk and will not result in at least a segment being built with at least “independent utility”.

    Should be interesting.

    joe Reply:

    Just keep Jeff Denham away. He has this knack for stunts that backfire and reaffirm the project’s arguments.

    From requesting the GAO audit that strengthened the case for ridership to his OMG the funds and project are at risk that helped the Brown’s Petition for Appeal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The first question to ask is would a class one purchase the orphan ARRA in any event and how much would they be willing to pay. If the State has to divest it as too expensive to keep and there are no buyers, that means the scrapper.

    therealist Reply:

    buffet can afford it…..

    synonymouse Reply:

    Buffett is not even interested apparently in helping the CSRM with the 2 Santa Fe locomotives rusting away in Sac.

    And I guess Amtrak is getting the last track in BNSF bakken country.

    therealist Reply:

    i will talk to him….

    Lewellan Reply:

    Warren Buffett — High Lord Global Warming Denialist.

  20. Derek
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 12:34
    #20

    Caltrans on the Hot Seat: Assembly Looks at State, Local Planning Tensions
    by Melanie Curry, Streetsblog Los Angeles, 2014-03-05

    The discussion played out along the same lines as the Senate Transportation Committee hearing last month, where Professor Joel Rogers, who led the team that produced the report for the California Transportation Agency (CalSTA), presented his findings on the dysfunction at Caltrans….
    “I do not mean to imply that local control is a bad thing,” he said, but the report was “quite critical that the self-help counties build projects and then push all the maintenance onto Caltrans without doing anything like a lifecycle accounting on the actual costs.”

  21. Reality Check
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 15:12
    #21

    Inspectors will audit federal high-speed rail grant oversight

    Transportation auditors announced Wednesday that they will examine the Federal Railroad Administration’s oversight of high-speed rail grants nationwide, including about $3.9 billion in stimulus and transportation funds for California’s bullet-train project.

    In a letter to the federal rail agency, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation said the audit will begin immediately at FRA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and possibly other locations.

    The audit is being undertaken at the request of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock […]

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