Final EIR For Fresno-Bakersfield Now Available

Apr 18th, 2014 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority today released the final EIR for the Fresno-Bakersfield segment of the high speed rail project. If the legal challenges are resolved, construction could begin next year.

Here’s a brief description of the route selected in this Final EIR, as provided by the CHSRA:

The Final EIR/EIS identifies the preferred alternative as parts of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe alternative (BNSF), the Corcoran Bypass alternative, the Allensworth Bypass alternative and the Bakersfield Hybrid alternative. Proposed stations are identified as the Downtown Bakersfield station on Truxtun Avenue, and the East of Hanford/west of Visalia station option located near State Route 198.

The CHSRA Board will meet on May 6 and 7 in Fresno to discuss and possibly approve the EIR, and if they approve it, the Federal Railroad Administration will issue a Record of Decision soon after that.

This is another key milestone in getting HSR built. Now we wait for the courts.

  1. John Nachtigall
    Apr 19th, 2014 at 08:26
    #1

    Why are we waiting on the courts? I thought the federal money was fee to be used and it was full steam ahead? That’s was Dan Richards said.

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t think he was implying that Fresno-Bakersfield construction has to wait for the courts. More like it’s one more thing checked off of the “punch list” before we can proceed “full speed ahead” on the entire project.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    He didn’t imply it, he said it. Last sentence of post. “Now we wait on the courts”

    joe Reply:

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/04/18/3884498/rail-agency-issues-final-environmental.html

    Even if the rail authority’s board certifies the document next month, the report is practically certain to generate lawsuits by project opponents challenging its adequacy under the California Environmental Quality Act. Similar legal challenges were filed almost immediately after the rail board approved its Merced-Fresno EIR in May 2012; all of those lawsuits were eventually settled by the spring of 2013.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re probably right; Laurel & Hardy will undoubtedly find a couple more sock puppet fools, and continue the quest to fund their retirement on the backs of California taxpayers. The good thing is that the CHSRA has hopefully learned from the Atherton cases how to do a better job on later EIR’s.

    Alan Reply:

    The implication you’re trying to draw is that construction on Fresno-Bakersfield has to wait until the current Tos and bond litigations are finished. That’s untrue, since work can begin with the Federal funds in hand.

    jonathan Reply:

    He didn’t imply it, he said it. Last sentence of post. “Now we wait on the courts”

    Now perhaps you see why I say Joe and Alan need to learn to read for comprehension?

    Alan Reply:

    No, dummy. What you *thought* he wrote was, “Now we wait on the courts before construction on Fresno-Bakersfield can begin.” That’s not what he wrote. Non-Prop 1A funds are in hand, and there are no court orders restraining construction south of Fresno, so as soon as FRA signs off, things can proceed.

    I can comprehend just fine. You need to quit being such a pompous ass.

    joe Reply:

    The wildcard is Bakersfield’s City Manager
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/politics/local/x485099786/Alan-Tandy-20-years-of-accomplishment-forceful-dealing

  2. Keith Saggers
    Apr 19th, 2014 at 11:38
    #2

    “East of Hanford/west of Visalia station option located near State Route 198″

    Good choice for Hanford/Visalia and a Sequoia National Park campers shuttle.

  3. John Burrows
    Apr 19th, 2014 at 18:34
    #3

    Slightly off the subject—

    According to an article in the Fresno Bee, David Valadao may be facing a real battle this November with 39 year old Amanda Renteria. Renteria is a little wobbly in her support for high speed rail, but the day the voters of the 21st Congressional District ship Valadao back to the dairy will be a good day for high speed rail in California.

    Travis D Reply:

    Good. Anyone that opposes this project should lose their job.

    Zorro Reply:

    Agreed, We need less loonies in Congress.

    Joe Reply:

    Renteria is playing goldilocks. She’s behind HSR but has “doubts” about this specific project plan to deflect attacks from Valadao.

  4. Travis D
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 04:28
    #4

    I was pleased to see that my comments on the EIR got a nice two page response.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Which?

  5. Roger Christensen
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 07:13
    #5

    A couple days ago Dan Richards did a one hour stint on Fresno anti-HSR Ray Appleton Show on Fresno’s KMJ 580 AM. I thought he did a great job of deflating the barrage of hysteria that was hurled at him for the full hour. A transcript or pod cast of that would be a good read/listen. The show had been hyped by the station as a gotcha showdown on HSR and I believe it backfired on them.

    StevieB Reply:

    KMJ Podcast has Dan Richards on the Ray Appleton : 4.17.14 show.

    Donk Reply:

    If Morris read the transcript I bet he would disagree with your conclusion.

  6. leroy
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 09:07
    #6
  7. Thomas
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 11:28
    #7

    Lets say that the plaintiffs win their appeal and the Authority cannot use Prop 1A funds until it has enough funding($31 billion) to complete the IOS. Do you think the state would still approve Cap and Trade funds in June for the project?

    Joe Reply:

    I’d argue your hypothetical case would assure the Legluslature uses a simple majority vote to give HSR a dedicated fraction of cap and trade.

    The majority would have to be batshit insane to let those fed billions go back to DC unspent.

    If the state identifies cap and trade then the Authority can show they have funds and the state can borrow from that dedicated funding stream to pay for work in current years.

    Observer Reply:

    The legislature would be inept if they send the fed grants back. They will probably approve cap & trade funds for the IOS.

    What I am wondering – if the anti-HSR folks win their court case, and say cap & trade funds are then used to build the IOS, is whether the state will be able to obtain FRA loans to then build to Palmdale and San Jose. If the state is somehow able to obtain enough FRA loans to build to Palmdale and San Jose, then private funding will follow, perhaps in conjunction with FRA loans to CHSRA.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How are loans going to help you? You need the anticipated profits from operations to pay the private investors that are supposed to build the last 1/3 of the system (in addition to operations).

    There is no way they can pay loans back in addition to all those things.

    Cap and trade under the most optomistic scenario can’t even get you the IOS.

    Donk Reply:

    Anyone know approximately when they are going to vote on cap and trade? Next month? Next year?

    joe Reply:

    “Budget Enactment
    By constitutional requirement, the Governor’s Budget must be accompanied by a Budget Bill itemizing recommended expenditures which shall be introduced in each house of the Legislature. The Constitution also requires that the Legislature pass the bill by June 15.”
    ….
    The Legislature typically waits for the May Revision update before final budget decisions are made on major programs such as Education, Corrections, and Health and Human Service.
    http://www.dof.ca.gov/fisa/bag/process.htm

    Donk Reply:

    Thanks.

  8. Keith Saggers
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 11:32
    #8

    what does “lets say” mean?

    jonathan Reply:

    It means “Suppose”.Or, “For the sake of argument”, or ‘Hypothetically, “

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    so you meant “let’s say”,

    learn to write for comprehension

    jonathan Reply:

    That was Thomas. Is nit-picking about a missing apostrophe really the best you can do?
    And why at Thomas?

    Donk Reply:

    Why does everyone have their panties in a bunch today?

  9. Eric
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 15:52
    #9

    More examples of competent Bay Area transit planning:

    “Signal priority is a great theory; unfortunately, at least in SF and the East Bay it has been an empty promise. SF Muni supposedly set up the traffic signals to favor the southern Embarcadero streetcar (light rail) lines. But, theynever even turned it on. [C]urrently there is a plan to buy a newer generation of hardware–will they ever actually use it? time will tell.
    AC Transit in Oakland/Berkeley/San Leandro claims to have installed hardware on 2 Rapid lite routes. The transponders were only installed on the “branded” buses even though the locals operate more trips per day and, of course whenever there is any maintenance issue non branded buses are deployed. In their in house study of one of the routes, they admit they have no maintenance/testing program. More recently they have decided to scrap the existing hardware and start over. So much for something which could have worked.

    Posted by: david vartanoff | 04/19/2014 at 12:00 “

    Mike Jones Reply:

    That’s what ITS is about. Expensive stuff that does little, but keeps engineers in a job.

  10. morris brown
    Apr 20th, 2014 at 17:50
    #10

    A couple of threads ago, Robert was so excited about Cap and Trade funding and if converted into some sort of “revenue bond”, he was contending that they might have enough funding for the whole IOS. Thus he wrote:

    30 years is a standard length for a revenue-backed bond. So what if the state were willing to “securitize” 30 years of HSR revenue? That could mean $8.4 billion in revenue at current cap-and-trade revenues and $18 billion at the speculative $3 billion a year in cap-and-trade revenues, though perhaps less depending on how interest costs are paid. That latter amount just might get the tracks into the LA basin.

    UPDATE: In fact, Sen. Steinberg’s plan actually includes a projection of $5 billion a year in cap-and-trade revenues. They peg HSR’s share at $878 million each year. Over ten years that’s $8.78 billion. Over 30 years, that’s $26.34 billion – enough to get the IOS built.

    I should have commented at the time, here again Robert doesn’t seem to understand this kind of financing.

    1. Robert first used $3 billion / year coming from Cap and Trade and since the proposal is to give 20% of that to HSR, that would be $600,000 / year in revenue to support issuing a revenue bond. Those bonds have to pay interest and at 5% / year it works out on a 30 year revenue bond, the proceeds to spend would be about 9.3 billion. That would be amount you would receive from such a bond, using these numbers (not $18 billion as Robert seemed to think), The total cost of such a bond including interest around 17.9 billion.

    2. Then Robert updated with the new expected $5 billion from Cap and Trade. Since 20% of $5 billion is $1 billion / year in revenue, at 5% / year it works out on a 30 year revenue bond, the proceeds would be around $15 billion. (not the 26.34 billion Roberts writes). Total cost for this bond around $30 billion including the interest.

    Now, no issuance costs or fees etc. included in these numbers which will lower the net proceeds further. This fails to take into account even the possibility of getting such a revenue bond floated, since, certainly at this time, nobody seems to have any idea of how much or how stable the Cap and trade funds will be.

    Of course, Dan Richard is out there saying they are going to get $20 billion from private investors, who are only waiting for the the first section (IOS ?) to be built, before they commit.

    joe Reply:

    The LAO cites estimates for CnT revenues ranging from 3 to 13 Billion in 2015. 20% of 13 B is substantial.

    We don’t know how stable CnT will be just as we don’t know how stable or investments in most financial markets. Welcome to market based solutions.

    We know the State has to pay it’s debts. Constitutionally debt payments are 2nd only to education. The risk is not on the investor so the rates are not carry that risk.

    We’re also running a State surplus with plans to build a rainy day fund and as we continue to invest in CA we’ll continue to grow the economy and produce revenues.

    Private Investors would be wise to wait until these initial lawsuits end down the state builds a link from the CV to LA County.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    If the LAO estimate is from $3B to $13B, that would be better stated as “we don’t know what the revenues will be”. You can be sure that every corporation that may have a CnT liability will be using their tax attorneys and accountants to figure out ways to reduce their exposure.
    We do know that, the current surplus notwithstanding, the state has large unfunded pension and health care liabilities. There are also serious issues of congestion in our urban areas, education needs, the desire to restore benefits for the poor, and on and on.
    What we don’t seem to have is a crisis in intercity passenger transportation. People may not like airports and air travel in general but by the time we have the security bureaucracy and the typical American standards for herding passengers they are not going to like HSR any more. And as I have stated before, there is plenty of capacity at the regional airports (BUR,ONT,SJC) so we don’t need to be building runways for a long time.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

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

    I guess Californians are worth more than people in the rest of the country.

    Joe Reply:

    Nice strategy.

    Handwringing over the unimportance of rail except for the small stuff you want.

    The ACA is controlling healthy costs and the new Medicare and insurance subsidy funding is economic stimulus aka tax revenue.

    Brown’s budget is also pays into pension and school borrowing and he proposed a savings as well as funding HSR.

    I get it, you don’t care about state wide rail when there’s more important things to fund.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe: What I want, modern, electrified regional rail systems, is not “small stuff” by any measure. I happen to think it is a more direct response to transportation and environmental problems than the HSR plan. And indeed the HSR “blending”, not to mention last leg of journeys, will not be successful without it. As for your other points, we have no idea how ACA will pencil out, it’s too early to say, just like we don’t know what CnT will yield.
    State wide rail has to fulfill a need, has to have a purpose. This isn’t 1869, we do have alternatives.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But California won’t need the solution people all over the world are using for short range intercity travel. California is special isn’t it?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So Cal to SF/Bay is not so short, and has a very responsive civil air service. “all over the world” most countries already have robust regional and metro networks which we, especially in Southern CA, are just beginning to put together. I think too many people like yourself are more interested in the mode, and justifying using it, rather than examining the transportation problems and finding the best solutions. Now if we could steamroll over everyone in its path like China does and build at a fraction of the cost it may be different.
    I think you also forget that the competition isn’t standing still. Highway vehicle efficiency, comfort and safety continues to improve.
    People here have realized that the HSR project has no relevance to their daily lives.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Magnificent rhetoric, but the beneficiaries of your plan are the too-big-to-fail Class I Railroads.

    To wit: the places where legacy rail has blossomed into effective regional service (like CalTrain) is where the Class I’s abandoned their ROW and the market for freight. Notice where freight rail is still lucrative say the Altamont Corridor) nothing seems to be able to shake more demand loose.

    The reason is very simple: 100 year old freight rail lines often have land use patterns that are better for industrial uses than commercial or residential ones. And even in cases like the Expo Line when those industrial areas are rezoned, the land use pattern still doesn’t match the traffic flow on the street.

    Sometimes the best solution is to start over. That is the moral of the story with BART and HSR. Paul is asking for Windows Vista when we need Apple’s Leopard. Start over, start fresh, and start with walkable density…or else.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted: My “modern electrified regional rail systems” do not have to be built on class 1 railroad alignments, or if they are they can share the RoW. Not sure where you see they are the beneficiaries except as landowners. Incidentally the last round of RR mergers took place in the Clinton years. UP stock was $18 in 1995, $192 today. Don’t recall them receiving a bail out. Why the “too big to fail” soubriquet?

    Reedman Reply:

    Sorry. The Windows Vista comment reminds me of Big Bang Theory:
    ————
    Howard Wolowitz: Raj, did you ever tell your sister about the time Sheldon got punched by Bill Gates?

    Priya: Oh, God! You’re kidding?

    Raj Koothrappali: Nope. Gates gave a speech at the university. Sheldon went up to him afterward and said, “Maybe if you weren’t so distracted by sick children in Africa, you could’ve put a little more thought into Windows Vista.”

    [all laugh]

    Leonard Hofstadter: Bam! Right in the nose. Made me proud to own a PC.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul,

    I can’t help but notice that while the Class I carriers play no role in your vision, Metrolink was designed to buy up Southern Pacific’s B team track network and run commuter diesels. The only catch is that Catellus and the UP didn’t sell all their assets, so Metrolink has minimal leverage if any. Strange coincidence I know.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted: Who designed Metrolink?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, the story about Metrolink is that it was designed to cost as little a possible. Cities had to pay for their own stations. I suspect SCAG and the LACTC were involved, obviously, but don’t know who else might have been at the table.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Where does it make sense to use trains instead of planes or buses? How many HSR corridors fit your definintion, whatever it is? Versus the one that everybody else uses which is 500 miles/800 km and under three hours? Though that is trending towards 750/1250 and four and half hours.

    joe Reply:

    I think too many people like yourself are more interested in the mode, and justifying using it, rather than examining the transportation problems and finding the best solutions. Now if we could steamroll over everyone in its path like China does and build at a fraction of the cost it may be different.

    I’d love to see you throw out some analysis to support your opinions that you’ve got the statewide rail system all figured out. I can at least look at the HSR plan and model which I know will be criticized aside from the fact it’s actually real.

    Counterfactual arguments about better ways to spend money you ain’t got and have not gotten in multi decade effort make me very cautious about following the pied piper.

    I think you also forget that the competition isn’t standing still. Highway vehicle efficiency, comfort and safety continues to improve.
    People here have realized that the HSR project has no relevance to their daily lives.

    SoCal commuter rail has no relevance in my daily life. Self driving, hyper efficienct electric cars will solve all your transportation and pollutions problems so kick back and let the invisible hand work.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …except that self driving, hyper efficient electric cars aren’t appreciably smaller than todays cars. Or will be appreciably faster.

    joe Reply:

    Yeah – that is right. However, such a system is quite capable of increasing capacity.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Only if everybody has a self driving car.

    joe Reply:

    Seems you know more about this than you let on.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s hard to get excited about HSR in LA when people are already excited about all the transit expansion going on.

    The enthusiasm in the Bay Area for HSR is mirrored in the enthusiasm in Southern California for transit. To say that people don’t care about HSR south of the Tehachapis is overkill. It is like a young parent, overwhelmed with the birth of his or her child, wondering how a excited someone can be at becoming a grandparent.

    The strength of the Bay Area’s commitment to transit is the bedrock for the HSR program in California…and the growth of transit throughout the state will help to foster HSR’s role outside the Bay as time passes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Opening of LAUS:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmOo9oKrjLI

    Donk Reply:

    Ted you make some great points.

    However, I don’t think HSR would have gotten off the ground if the bedrock of transit in LA wasn’t also in place. One of the best strategic moves made by LACMTA/RTD was building the Red Line as underground heavy rail and routing it from Union Station towards Wilshire. Without this, and the upcoming extension to Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City, and Westwood, HSR would be missing out on thousands of daily passenger trips.

    Even if they had built it as light rail, it wouldn’t have done much good strategically. It would have become the equivalent of the Long Beach Blue Line – a painfully slow and crowded line that doesn’t really solve any transportation problems except for the transit dependent.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Donk-

    Light rail is the half a loaf as far as I am concerned. I think Metro needs more fully grade separated lines beyond the subway. It is a political solution, light rail, not a policy one.

    However, using Union Station in LA as your transit hub is akin to having 4th and King be SF’s transit hub. Not where te people or the jobs are compared to Market Street etc. So no matter how much vitriol TransBay gets, at least they are trying to reconcile that fact.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Donk: As I recall, the L.A. plan was to have an extensive network of underground lines but this was abandoned after the high cost of the initial Red Line. As Ted states, light rail really is half a loaf, the Blue Line being an excellent example.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe: My “multi-decade effort” parallels a similar effort to find money for HSR. Not the success which I would have liked, but HSR hasn’t gotten off to a blazing start either.
    Sorry you don’t find the transportation needs of Southern California to have any relevance to yourself. I’m surprised you bother with a blog like this if you are only interested in your own back yard. Or is it really all about building a hyper speed commute line from Gilroy to PA for Joe?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Light rail can be upgraded with grade separated segments. Does LA want to spend the money on tunneling for the Blue Line in downtown?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or if you insist on BART’s then it is time to take on Amalgamated and go driverless.

    EJ Reply:

    Does LA want to spend the money on tunneling for the Blue Line in downtown?

    Really? This has been Metro’s #1 priority for a while – it’s mostly funded and construction is getting underway.

    http://la.curbed.com/tags/regional-connector

    Or if you insist on BART’s then it is time to take on Amalgamated and go driverless.

    Your gibberish is always a little difficult to understand, but I think you’re talking about Amalgamated Transit Union? They don’t represent LA Metro workers. Not that Metro is talking about going driverless anyway. And LA’s subway is normal standard gauge technology, not BART. I’d think all of this would be obvious, but I’m always amazed at how little many people in the Bay Area know about LA.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA is TWU?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I guess maybe I had read about the underground connector and forgotten about it amongst all the kvetching about the slowness of the Long Beach light rail line. Good for LA; they are better than Muni.

    EJ Reply:

    UTU for the most part I believe, but don’t quote me. ATU represents bus drivers in San Diego, but not LA AFAIK. LA’s a pretty big union town in general, though, much more so than the Bay Area.

    It’s not hard to be better than Muni – every time I go to SF I’m amazed that a city which, on paper, is so dense, compact, and transit friendly, not to mention wealthy, has such an unimpressive transit system. It does the job for the most part, but instead of being world class, like it should be, it’s barely adequate. Then you read about the ongoing disastrous planning approach, the union work rules that are crazy even by the standards of a US transit system, decades of deferred maintenance… oy. The historic streetcars on Market and the Embarcadero are cute, though.

    LA’s got its fair share of questionable projects, but they’re also making progress on good stuff like the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the Regional Connector.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The most questionable project is the incredibly dumb detour to Mojave.

    JB in PA Reply:

    …dumb detour to Mojave…

    Wandering in the desert. Its been done before.

    Donk Reply:

    Regarding the Long Beach Blue Line: Metro is currently spending $1.2B on enhancements to the Blue Line – station widening, track crossovers, signaling, signs etc. These will make the system more reliable and usable, but won’t do anything to speed it up. You would think that $1.2B would get you express tracks.

    http://thesource.metro.net/2014/04/15/a-better-blue-line-major-track-improvement-work-on-blue-line-set-to-start/

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ….at those prices… Ring the Bay at 6 billion sounds like a deal!

    synonymouse Reply:

    No private investor is going to ante up a penny to acquire Mojave.

  11. Jos Callinet
    Apr 21st, 2014 at 20:18
    #11

    At the end of 2013 I predicted that HSR in California would STILL amount to no more than a lot of hot-air discussion on this forum, lawyer-enriching lawsuits across the state, and no-shovels-in-the-ground come the end of 2014.

    I stand by my prediction, although I hope I’m wrong.

    2014 is CAHSR’s “do-or-die” year – meaning either that work gets underway on it this year or the project will likely end up being canceled – too much precious time has already been lost and wasted, and the fed’s 2017 “spend-the-federal-dollars-on HSR-or-lose-them” deadline is only three years away.

    The contractors bidding on the project are doubtless beginning to lose interest in it and will redirect their energies toward obtaining more promising work elsewhere if nothing happens soon.

    We are now nearly one-third of the way through calendar year 2014 – and the CAHSR project appears to be as stuck, moribund and lawsuit-bound as ever, if not more so.

    With each passing day, week and month, its prospects worsen. It’s becoming more and more evident – to this observer, anyway – that the CAHSR (at least as it’s currently envisioned) isn’t going anywhere soon.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Looks like construction is starting soon, like next month: Fresno Bee: Valley High Speed Rail Construction

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So is this like the “next month” from 6 months ago or the “next month” from a year ago or the “beginning of the year from 2012?

    I would have to say this is at least the 4th time in 3 years it was going to start “next month”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Sorta like how cutting taxes on rich people will unleash the power of the invisible hand of the free market making all boats rise on a stupendous tide of prosperity, been doing for the past 30 years?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No nothing like that actually. They have no relation to each other

    joe Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK4sNtNmWMU
    In this address, President Reagan spoke about cutting taxes and government spending as part of his economic recovery program, targeting the national debt.

    joe Reply:

    There are a series of events such as contracts issued, work begun on design, then drilling for substrate samples at Fresno sites which already happened.

    Now there’s a highly visible construction activity starting.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That “highly visible activity” was supposed to start 3 times before stretching back years now.

    So sad you keep backing an authority that keeps displaying incompetence in execution.

    joe Reply:

    It’s really becoming a clown act John. You need a rubber nose and seltzer water.

    Alan Reply:

    So sad you keep seeing incompetence when so much of the delay is due to shyster lawyers and their sock puppet clients.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Authority was created in 1996 under that Pete Wilson guy. Prop 1a took 12 years to pass. Now it is six years later and you are watching the buzzards circling overhead, figuring its only a matter of time before someone’s political ox is gored.

    Here’s the thing: we are probably another decade away from seeing full-on HSR lines in the US. The majority of the building won’t happen until after 2020 when the Baby Boomers are mercifully sidelined politically and economically and the Millennials get aggressive about domestic infrastructure spending.

    For the next six years or so (which might be a long wait for you) there will be fits and starts and we will get closer to the ultimately goal. We will get the ICS under way in California and in the NEC there will be some upgrades, Desert Xpress will break ground and even I bet some exciting news in Washington State.

    Texas will flirt it but not pull it off…and Florida will come up with some weird system to link Disney World with the cruise ports.

    But until it gets worse in transportation policy (more airline consolidation, collapsing Highway Trust Funds, declining vehicle registrations) and the country at large (another tough recession coinciding with the Huckabee Administration in 2017), don’t expect that sublime moment you are looking for.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The cruise ports are a pimple on the ass of Florida tourist trade.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The way John Mica and United Airlines sees it (and CSX and…) is that it would be great if you could find a way (a monorail maybe?) to drop millions of shivering, pale Northerners in Orlando’s huge airport and ship them to theme parks and cruise ships and spring training ball parks.

    The only thing working against this plan is that those South Americans won’t fly any further north than they absolutely have to. Plus they like that tropical air in Miami…Orlando just isn’t the same. But if Mica had his way, Orlando would be the Chicago of the South.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t that many cruise ship passengers.

    Donk Reply:

    Haha – Huckabee. Good one.

    I registered as Republican in 2008 solely for the purpose of being allowed to vote in the Republican primary and vote against Huckabee. Those were scary times. I don’t think it will happen again.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The outcomes of the court cases will determine the future of PBHSR. If Jerry Brown receives effective carte blanche and the PB scheme goes ahead unreconstructed it will be decades of billions flushed down the toilet and eventual ferrovial bankruptcy.

    Queretaro(maybe Raton)redux. Class ones don’t need no backup Dogleg.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!

  12. Jos Callinet
    Apr 21st, 2014 at 20:54
    #12

    Ahhh, Ted – how fervently I pray for the first-coming of a highly enlightened and progressive Huckabee Administration – I can hardly wait!

    With any luck (plus votes and prayers of course), Mike Huckabee might even experience his SECOND coming!

  13. joe
    Apr 21st, 2014 at 21:46
    #13

    What about green painted diesel engines instead of electrification?

    http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2014/04/18/atherton-challenges-caltrain-electrification-report

    Atherton challenges Caltrain electrification report
    Town asks for analysis of designs not compatible with high-speed rail

    The letter, signed by Mayor Cary Wiest, but prepared mostly by the town’s rail committee, asks Caltrain to change the draft report so it looks at more alternatives to electrification and to “respond to the questions and concerns that we have outlined in this letter.”

    The letter says the report is incomplete because it does not include analysis of the entire high-speed rail project, even though one of the stated aims of the electrification project is to make the Peninsula tracks compatible with HSR.

    It also faults the environmental review for not looking at alternatives that aren’t compatible with HSR.

    wikipedia sez:

    In September 2010, Forbes magazine placed Atherton’s zip code of 94027 at #2 on its annual list of America’s most expensive zip codes.[8][9] In October 2013, 94027 was placed at #1 on the list.[10] Atherton is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States

    agb5 Reply:

    Power supply and dynamic braking using induction
    coils between the rails has been introduced and will soon be available. The use of such techniques must be analyzed in detail in the EIR.

    Where has train power supply using induction coils been introduced?

    wdobner Reply:

    They appear to be referring to Bombardier’s Primove inductive power transfer system for trams. Unfortunately for the Atherton City Council there’s nearly an order of magnitude separating the capabilities of the Primove system from the needs of a commuter train. The Primove system is paired with some pretty large batteries/ultracapacitors on the tram because the power transfer is insufficient to supply lighting, heating, and traction power at the same time as the tram accelerates.

    But what exactly are they complaining about? There are already wires down the Caltrain tracks for signal power and communication. There are utility wires that run right in front of their houses. Catenary isn’t going to be any more visually intrusive than the standard three phase utility PGE line that’s far closer to their houses.

    But thanks Joe for pointing that out, I needed a laugh this morning. Their objections to the noise of a pantograph on the OCS, the danger to squirrels and trespassers, and “unsuitable” OCS supports are laughable. Fine, as Clem pointed out, the center catenary supports are likely superior, but his points are pearls before these NIMBY swine.

  14. Jos Callinet
    Apr 21st, 2014 at 22:09
    #14

    Ted Judah et al – here’s another very interesting take on why California is having such a difficult time launching its high-speed rail program: An article on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)’s website entitled, “Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy”.

    Although the article, the link to which is here http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 , doesn’t directly address high speed rail in California or anywhere else, for that matter, it nonetheless offers us an enlightening and perhaps different view into what is taking place behind the scene and governing in US politics and policy, and might give us some additional understanding of why the CAHSRA and its project is being kept at a standstill.

    nslander Reply:

    Enlightening? Welcome to the rodeo.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I would agree. The longer I work in the private sector, the more I realize the US is really just Britain if Cromwell had survived. Who needs a Rump Parliament when you have local control?

    synonymouse Reply:

    IMHO Oliver Cromwell is the spiritual godfather of the U.S. Fortunately for the French the Bourbons were not smart enough to make themselves national popes and the monarchy was eliminated.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So who wants to be Lord Lieutenant?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I need to brush up on my knowledge of the Civil War in Britain, but such a sad time. Comtemporary with the bete noire of my college French studies, one twisted Blaise Pascal.

    Reminds me of a Doctor Who episode: “But they burned the Queen of the May.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Sad time? We executed the King!!! 41 years later we kicked his sorry brother out. Go plant some Sweet Williams on 11th July!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Evidently the Irish maintain a very negative opinion of Oliver Cromwell. Some bloody sieges.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    17th century rules of combat

    Ted Judah Reply:

    As an Irish family friend used to say to me:

    “We only know one person is in Hell for sure. Cromwell– he was never sorry for what he did.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oligarchy? Government infused with stupidity and corruption, yeah. But at least we got rid of the monarchy and titled and landed gentry.

    Atherton is practicing the best defense is a good offense. But unless they are just being pissy-hissy maybe they are hinting they want underground BART to replace both Caltrain and PBHSR.

    For that to happen Brown would have to see his legacy come undone. Diesel Caltrain is an eventual goner as the air pollution district nannies will come after fossil and even natural gas isn’t gonna cut it because the booming patronage requires performance only electric can provide.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Syn – “pollution nannies”? So you yourself don’t want electrification, that’s something that nannies want? Because you have no grandkids facing this climate disaster? So for you it’s all about politics, being against whatever you think Gov. Brown is for…

    synonymouse Reply:

    My writing must be really unintelligible and I am the only one who cannot see it. I am a stone traction fan and have been probably since the age of two. Of course I want to see the SP ROW electrified and have been of that opinion since I first rode the line in the sixties. Primary reason I voted in error for Prop 1a was to finally see some catenary hung in the Golden State.

    BAAPCD nannies are the a-holes who force one to go way out of town to get some paint thinner. Meanwhile they have no problem with Muni fossil on Geary when a trolley coach barn is right on the route. Some “dump the pump” bullshit.

    Climate disaster is a population growth and urbanization endgame being exploited by corporate gangsters like PB-Tutor. Ironic that developers pimp it as an cashcow.

    synonymouse Reply:

    a cashcow

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s catenary all over Los Angeles and San Francisco. For the trolley cars and the trolley buses.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Synonymouse, just what IS a “Stone Traction Fan”?

    Is it a Freddie Flintstone-era household air-circulating appliance made with granite blades and powered by prehistoric antediluvian Gerbils?

  15. trentbridge
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 09:48
    #15

    Since the Supreme Court has ruled that money is a constitutional part of free speech – the wealthy are able to shout loudly via their bank accounts – almost unfettered for their causes and policies.
    That’s why this country is not a democracy but an oligarchy.

    The comparison to Britain is spurious – anyone who knows British politics knows that the spending on elections is severely curtailed:

    The pre-candidacy expenditure limit is £25,000 plus 7p for every entry in the electoral
    register in county constituencies and 5p in borough constituencies. However, the limits will
    be tapered so that the full amount is only available when the dissolution is in the 60th month
    of the Parliament, and at 90 per cent if in the 59th month, 80 per cent for the 58th month, 70
    per cent for the 57th month, and 60 per cent for the 56th month.

    “The Electoral Commission’s guidance also sets out the candidate expenditure limits for the
    formal election campaign period (the short campaign):
    2.14 In the short campaign, you can spend £7,150 plus:
    • 5p per Parliamentary elector in a borough/burgh constituency
    • 7p per Parliamentary elector in a county constituency.3

    So no more twaddle about how we are like Britain. The Koch brothers would puke at such restrictions…

    synonymouse Reply:

    In Britain the Koch Bros. would be knighted; no worries about expenditure limits.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Koch Brothers would buy themselves national newspapers, the way Murdoch did.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Of course Trentbridge, if you or your buddies own a newspaper or TV station it tilts the scales a bit..

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Incredibly silly comment.

    Yes, the British have spending caps on election campaigns, but they also don’t have fixed election dates either. In other words, it prevents a ruling party from burying the other one in negative ads if there is a loss of confidence.

    But the UK still have the same single-member districts with first-past-the-post voting. The House of Commons looks suspiciously like Congress now that the parties have realigned in the US. There is even sectionalism in today’s Great Britain between the service sector oriented South, the manufacturing oriented North, natural resource hungry Scotland and yes, Ireland as the cheap labor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ireland has rejoined the Union?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The UK does. Fly from Ireland to Britain and won’t pass through immigration. And I believe you can enter the UK with an Irish Passport and not be subject to visa controls.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Adi: I don’t think Ted understands the question. He’s probably thinking of the European Union. By the way Ted, the UK now gets its most of its cheap labour from Eastern Europe, not Ireland.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That doesn’t mean you can vote.

  16. joe
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 12:11
    #16

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_25609974/ben-tripousis-high-speed-rail-wise-investment


    Ben Tripousis: High-speed rail a wise investment

    In almost all of these international success stories, a phased implementation strategy was used. This means a portion of the system was constructed and opened for business, while the balance of the system had yet to be constructed. Many of these international high-speed rail systems have not only fully recovered their construction and operating costs, but they’ve generated enough revenue to help fund future extensions.

    There is an assumption that coastal communities like Santa Cruz won’t benefit from high-speed rail and their transportation needs were not considered, prior to voters approving the high-speed rail project. Rest assured, the Authority has been working diligently with statewide transit agencies to ensure that communities throughout California will have the ability to connect to high-speed rail.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Who is this flak?

  17. Keith Saggers
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 12:29
    #17

    Sand Canyon Preliminary AA Option
    The Preliminary AA Option has a design speed of 220mph. It directly impacts approximately 23
    residential parcels, passes within 400 feet of Sulphur Springs School and Pine Crest School property lines, and displaces the Evangelical Free Church of the Canyons beside Sand Canyon Road. It also crosses the southern edge of the proposed Vista Canyon development. It has no impact on the Santa Clara River in this area, and fewest impacts to aquatic resources consisting of 2,200 linear feet of streams/creeks within 100 feet and 5 hydrologic feature crossings.

    Sand Canyon Metrolink 200 Option
    An option with the design speed reduced to 200mph in order to follow Metrolink more closely west of Sand Canyon Road was investigated. This emerges from tunnel south of the Metrolink right-of-way, follows that right-of-way over Sand Canyon Road then passes north of the Evangelical Free Church of the Canyons.Acton

    SR 14 East Option
    The Preliminary AA SR 14 East alignment crossed the southern edge of the the proposed Vasquez High School development about 75 feet from the nearest proposed school facilities, and was 600 feet from the High Desert school property in Acton. This alignment has been refined to avoid directly impacting the Vasquez High School property, lower it by 20 ft, and move it 600 ft from the proposed school facilities In Palmdale this option follows the Metro/UPRR right-of-way with a station at the Palmdale Transportation Center.

    Acton SR 14 West Option
    The Preliminary AA SR 14 West alignment in Acton is about 2850 ft from Vasquez High School, and was refined to avoid the Ward Road interchange bridge, without additional direct residential impacts. In Palmdale this option is close to SR 14 and crosses mostly vacant land before joining the Metro/UPRR right-of-way near Avenue M. It has a station west of the existing Palmdale Transportation Center near Avenue P.

    Acton SR 14 E/W Hybrid Option
    An option that followed the SR 14 West alignment up to the tunnel portal in Acton and entered Palmdale east of Palmdale Lake (similar to SR 14 East) was investigated. This option would have similar residential impacts in Acton to SR 14 West, avoiding impacts to Vasquez and High Desert Schools, and an approximately 7 mile long tunnel with a 175 mph design speed, resulting in a 20 second (less than 5%) journey time penalty. In Palmdale this option follows the Metro/UPRR right-of-way with a station at the Palmdale Transportation Center

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    EIR Alternatives-Sylmar to Palmdale

  18. Jos Callinet
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 15:18
    #18

    Ah, it’s a canyon!

  19. Jos Callinet
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 15:19
    #19

    Or carved from one! lol

  20. Keith Saggers
    Apr 22nd, 2014 at 15:53
    #20

    Hi Paul, where you able to get to any of the meetings?

    •Palmdale to LA: Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Arleta Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Los Angeles Trade Tech College Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Shadow Hills Property Owners Association Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Sylmar Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Castaic Chamber of Commerce Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Central City Association Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Sylmar Women’s Club Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: Southern California Transit Advocates Presentation
    •Palmdale to LA: East Hollywood Neighborhood Council
    •Palmdale to LA: Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
    •Palmdale to LA: Railway Association of Southern California Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Mount Washington Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: New Generations Rotary Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Sun Valley Beautiful Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Eagle Rock Community Revitalization & Preservation Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Pico Union Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: West Glendale-Gateway Kiwanis Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Burbank Noon Kiwanis Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Salvadoran American Leadership & Educational Fund Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: La Tuna Canyon Community Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Los Angeles Chinatown Business Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: North Figueroa Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Granada Hills Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: San Fernando Valley Jaycees Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Silver Lake Improvement Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: United Chambers Of Commerce Of SFV Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Downtown Glendale Merchants Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Pacoima Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Monterey Hills Federation Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Highland Park Heritage Trust Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Plaza De La Raza Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Jewel City Kiwanis Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Arleta Neighborhood Watch Coalition Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Echo Park Improvement Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Pacoima Beautiful Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Rampart Village Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Hollywood-Los Feliz Kiwanis Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: National Association Of Railroad Passengers Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Glendale Rotary Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Universal City-North Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Mid-Town North Hollywood Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Northridge West Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Sun Valley Area Chamber Of Commerce Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Divine Saviour Parish & Saint Ann Catholic Church Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Kiwanis Club Of San Fernando Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Lakeview Terrace Improvement Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Chinatown Senior Citizen Center Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Kiwanis Entertainment Industry Group Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Burbank Rotary Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Greater Highland Park Kiwanis Club Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Heritage Square Museum Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Glassell Park Improvement Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Adams Hills Neighborhood Association Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Atwater Village Neighborhood Council Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Friends Of Cypress Park Presentation
    •Palmdale To LA: Los Angeles Chamber Of Commerce Presentation

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The consultant team came to the February meeting of the Burbank transportation Commision at my request. Lot’s of lines on maps, unable to answer questions about the “interim” terminus other than that they are studying three options.

  21. Keith Saggers
    Apr 23rd, 2014 at 13:01
    #21

    re:“interim” terminus

    The plan calls for one station in the San Fernando Valley and HSR on an upgraded Metrolink corridor into LA Union Station

  22. jimsf
    Apr 24th, 2014 at 12:07
    #22

    Well Im just glad they setled ont he hanford east kings tulare location which keeps the station closer to visalia, closer to 198/99 and 43 for the most access for the most people.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    agree

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