Jerry Brown Seeks to Exclude HSR From Rainy Day Fund Proposal

Apr 25th, 2014 | Posted by

I’m not a fan of rainy day funds. If there’s a recession and government revenues decline, they should make up the difference through borrowing or through raising taxes on the rich, rather than putting revenues away during the good years. Especially when we still haven’t restored the brutal cuts of 2007-09, and when there’s 35 years of Prop 13 to undo.

But if Governor Jerry Brown insists on a rainy day fund, well, I’m glad he’s doing it like this:

Republicans, whose votes the Democratic governor needs to place his measure on the fall ballot, want tighter controls on the reserve fund than the governor has proposed. One senator said there might be a loophole in the plan that could help Brown fund the state’s troubled bullet train network — a project most Republicans oppose….

Another provision in the governor’s measure would allow lawmakers to spend the money on public works instead of selling bonds approved by voters. Brown is pitching this part of the plan as a way to avoid more debt: By using cash instead of borrowing, the state wouldn’t incur interest.

Nielsen is concerned that the provision is geared toward funding the bullet train, which is tied up in lawsuits that are preventing the sale of bonds for the project. If the court ultimately rules against the state, Nielsen said, money intended for the rainy-day fund or debt payments could instead be used for the train.

“I believe [Brown] looks at this as a win-win on high-speed rail,” he said. “We Republicans plan to hold his feet to the fire.”

This is the point where I remind readers that Republicans are a fringe party in California, soundly rejected by the voters and lacking any real power. Governor Brown ought to simply ignore them, and given the details of this proposal, I suspect he has.

Whatever it takes to get high speed rail built, that’s what state government ought to be doing. Its continued economic prosperity and ability to address global warming depend on it. As to Republicans, well, next time they win a major election in California, then we might stop to care about their opinions.

  1. morris brown
    Apr 25th, 2014 at 23:53


    The title of this thread

    Jerry Brown Seeks to Exclude HSR From Rainy Day Fund Proposal

    seems inconsistent with your statement that follows:

    But if Governor Jerry Brown insists on a rainy day fund, well, I’m glad he’s doing it like this:

    Your title seems to assume that HSR funding will not be available from this fund, and that you are convinced that Gov. Brown’s final measure will exclude such funding.

    Then you go on to say, he should ignore the Republicans. If he ignores them, he doesn’t get the Rainy Day fund he wants.

    Then you continue with this:

    Whatever it takes to get high speed rail built, that’s what state government ought to be doing. Its continued economic prosperity and ability to address global warming depend on it. As to Republicans, well, next time they win a major election in California, then we might stop to care about their opinions.

    Anyone who has been following all of this knows full well, there are more than just Republicans who don’t buy into the HSR boondoggle. Notably Lt. Gov. Newsom, Senator DeSaulnier as examples. Then you have really the father of the whole HSR project, Judge Kopp also opposing.

    Finally, at the Federal level at least, the Republicans are positioned to re-capture the majority in the Senate and maintain their majority in the House, in the fall 2014 election.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    Your argument can be summed up as: some Democrats say the same things as Republicans, therefore the GOP isn’t supporting a special interest.

    Would you say that because some Democrats say the media is liberally biased, we don’t need to ask why the Republicans are shoveling so much ammunition to this purported enemy?

    The Republican Party has long ago sold out to the Oil Industry. The fact that the Oil Oligopolists have bought some Democrats as well does not disprove that contention.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cap and Trade is just another tax to be passed thru to the lumpen. And the proceeds go to real estate developers seeding sprawl.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    Do you remember when Acid Rain was a big issue? We put a cap and trade system on sulfur emissions, and that cleaned it up better than emission limits by government fiat could. Conservatives had been proud of that until it appeared Obama would do the same for carbon. Also, how would cap and trade on CO2 promote sprawl? If the people who must drive had to pay others to do their nonpolluting for them, wouldn’t that reduce average commutes and hence traffic?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The inventors of cap-and-trade for sulfur emissions think it’d be a bad idea for carbon emissions and support a carbon tax instead.

    Jonathan Reply:

    But a carbon tax gives no opportunity for existing large financial players to make money, via arbitrage in the carbon market. Are those existing players also established political donors, “thought leaders”, usw?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “thought leaders”? I love it.

    Great euphemism for perverters of the political process.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    When it comes to the respective cap and trade proposals, the only difference between sulfur and carbon is that SO2 emissions all came from stationary sources–nothing like automobiles. While having individual drivers trade their emission rights is impractical (unless you want to impose “white market” rationing), free market economists could easily find ways to emulate the free market.

    joe Reply:

    And ironically SOx is a solar reflective gas so when emissions were reduced, the cooling effect from the short term atmospheric pollutant was lost.

    Also, with UV destroying gasses we have UN’s hugely successful Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. We all just agreed to stop.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Presumably the companies selling the fuel would have to buy permits for the emissions generated by burning it, and pass the cost to consumers. The argument for why CO2 is different from SOx is more about the overall size and complexity of an emissions market.

    StevieB Reply:

    Judge Quentin Kopp is not opposed to building California High Speed Rail. Kopp objects to the blended plan on the Peninsula and instead favors dedicated high speed rail tracks on the entire route.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Kopp is opposed to building California HSR cost-effectively. Given sufficient efficiencies (e.g. Altamont without direct service to SJ), Diridon would turn against the project, too.

    joe Reply:


    Very similar to the negative polls on Health care – ACA. ACA polled unfavorable on the left which wanted a single payer solution. It didn’t go far enough so unfavorable polls lumped both repeal the Law with expand the Law.

    Multiple governors, a majority of the Legislature and voters approved the project.

    A few disgruntled property owners will not prevail.

    John Burrows Reply:

    Your statement that Republicans are positioned to recapture the Senate and maintain their majority in the House—Reminds me of your 2010 statement that Meg Whitman will be the next governor of California.

    Turns out that California has managed quite well these last 4 years without Governor Whitman, and it is my hope that over the next 2 years our Federal Government will be able to get its act together with the Democrats in control of both houses of congress.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Whitman is pretty much the Governor of Silicon Valley. In other words she voices the policies and positions the rich people hold in private.

    The rich don’t care how much money the addled Jerry Brown throws away on boonies choo-choos since it is all going to come out of the pockets of the “low level employees”. They chuckle at Jerry the same way the laugh at the other political Brown, Willie, kind of a court jester-pimp.

    joe Reply:

    Yeah as CEO of HP she’s the Valley’s Ma Barker.

    The link uses a picture of Alphonse Capone.
    “Hewlett-Packard subsidiaries created a slush fund for bribe payments, set up an intricate web of shell companies and bank accounts to launder money, employed two sets of books to track bribe recipients, and used anonymous email accounts and prepaid mobile telephones to arrange covert meetings to hand over bags of cash,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Swartz.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How many “bribe payments” has Jerry Brown received from Palmdale real estate developers and the Tejon Ranch?

    synonymouse Reply:

    If Meg Whitman is Al Capone then Richards and Tutor are Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano.

    EJ Reply:

    I dunno. You tell us. You seem pretty knowledgeable about the vast Brown-Pelosi-Harris-PB-Tutor-Diridon-BART conspiracy but you never give us any details.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Willie Brown counsels to never put anything in writing.

    joe Reply:

    Jerrry s taken no bribes. None.

    How many ink jet cartridges does HP’s Ma Barker have to sell to pay off the 108M in fines?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Campaign contributions are legalized bribes. The Tejon Ranch Co. obviously owns Jerry Brown.

    Joe Reply:

    Ma Barker needs your help man-explaining how this legal bribe thing works.

    She’s 108m in the hole doing it the wrong way. Call her. Operators are standing bye.

    synonymouse Reply:

    She wuz framed like OJ.

    HP just doing the same shit as PB and Tutor.

    How about the always campaigning AG’s investigating the Tejon Ranch Co. for an unconstitutional embargo against anyone using the natural transport choke point on their land? How about investigating Palmdale real estate developers over corrupting PBHSR?

    Rizzo made the mistake of putting stuff in writing and not sending some of that money “upstairs”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Google Translate prefers minun ilmatyynyalus on täynnä ankeriaita.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Finnish is tricky to translate….

  2. Alon Levy
    Apr 26th, 2014 at 00:00

    If there’s a recession and government revenues decline, they should make up the difference through borrowing or through raising taxes on the rich, rather than putting revenues away during the good years.

    With that “raising taxes” line, you’ve just endorsed austerity during recession times instead of countercyclical stabilization, in which governments alternate between deficit spending in recession and monetary austerity in growth.

    joe Reply:

    Maybe if you don’t want to be practical about what makes austerity “bad”

    What matters is we have one of the lowest tax burdens.
    A progressive tax increase on incomes over 10M would not cut demand and is not counter productive to stimulating the economy. Fixing Prop13 and our tax law is a solution.

    I bet you can’t show that spending from a progressively indexed tax increase on capital gains (to match the rate as labor tax rates )would contract the economy and cut demand form 2009 to now. It’s austerity by definition,

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A progressive tax increase on incomes over 10 million would also generate trivial revenue, because very little income is over 10 million – people making 10 million or more have some income, but not that much, and a huge chunk of it is locked in their first 10 million, so it would be unaffected by an above-10-million tax hike. Marginal rates and all that.

    If you want to make a sizable dent in the deficit, you have to do what Hollande did, which was raise taxes on incomes above 1 million euros, and that would actually cut aggregate demand because of all the high-income spending on luxury goods. $10,000 handbags are GDP, same as staple foods, and they generate employment for the people who make them, same as staple foods.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hollande’s popularity polling is between 10 to 20%. The new Manuel Wals government sounds at least somewhat neo-Reaganite to me.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, and the fact that his policy is still an austerity policy, which leads to economic contraction, has a lot to do with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I would say more of an austerity policy. France would have to go back to the franc to start spending large amounts of newly printed money.

    Be interesting to see how Marine Le Pen would handle the French economy. A lot of FN partisans are union members.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Concentration camps for Jews, immigrants, and Roma are a form of stimulus, I suppose.

    joe Reply:

    It takes one person to sell a 10,000 handbag. The multiplier on that economic activity is less than if the funds were spent buying 10,000 in staple foods. Bonus is that in addition to the increased multiplier of economic activity, food purchasing reduces the need for food stamps.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It takes one person to sell and an entire design department in Milan to make. Don’t automatically assume that the cost of luxury goods is all profit, or high wages to just a few individuals. It’s not always true – for example, makers of $4,000 bespoke suits make a working-class income, since the work is labor-intensive and overheads are high. You’re making assumptions about multipliers, and when I ask you for references, you add more assumptions. Why?

    joe Reply:

    My family’s roots are in the US amalgamated clothing workers. I worked in a shop as a teen – it was labor intensive. It’s a purse. There’s only so much labor and materials.

    Let’s go to the purseblog.

    Some of the problem, too, is simply our baser instincts as consumers. There’s a bit of voodoo to creating successful luxury accessories, and part of that is making them seem as desirable as possible. The more out of reach something seems, the more fashion customers fetishize it, and that leads the status-conscious and the deep-pocketed alike to make purchases in droves. There is likely a point at which an elevated price tag affects the number of units sold in such a way that it hurts profits, but it seems as though designers have yet to find it – they keep raising prices and we keep buying, and even if the number of units moved decreases a little bit, the higher prices make up for it. And then some.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The rest of your link attributes price increases to costs of labor and materials.

    joe Reply:

    Now let’s go to Heritage to make the argument food purchases – food stamps in particular – stimulate the economy more than luxury spending.

    ….like Paul Krugman—think that’s not such a bad thing because, as they argue, food stamps “stimulate” the economy:

    We desperately needed (and still need) public policies to promote higher spending on a temporary basis.…
    [E]ach dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. [gross domestic product] by about $1.70—which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue.

    Others on the left have made similar statements about SNAP stimulus. What’s the problem with this argument?

    First, food stamps are intended to serve as a temporary safety net for those who face economic hardship, not as an economic stimulus.

    Additionally, food stamp dollars come from the taxpayers, meaning that as program spending increases, fewer dollars are available in the private sector. Heritage research explains that, for example, $100 of government aid “can be spent at a grocery store, which, in turn, can use that $100 to pay salaries and support other jobs.…[B]ut because government borrows the $100, that same money is now unavailable to the private sector—which would have spent the same $100 with the same multiplier effect.”

    Well, I think that incoherent argument against food stamps proves my point.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t see any comparative estimates of different forms of deficit spending there. Do you? The numbers I remember from from a few years ago have everything clustering in the range from somewhat more than a dollar to somewhat less than two dollars. So not everything has the same multiplier, but everything has a multiplier more than one, and the range isn’t that huge. Deficit spending is expansionary; austerity, of any kind, is contractionary.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You can’t really compare how a US State budget is built with how a national government builds its budget.

    Robert’s point about raising taxes during a recession is that there’s limited power of states to borrow as opposed to the federal government which has unlimited borrowing ability. Thus the “stimulus” in 2009 which was basically Washington borrowing on behalf of the states.

    As state policy goes, however, rainy day funds are very important and especially for California because of how much personal income tax contributes to the General Fund.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The whole point of a rainy day fund is to simulate a countercyclical fiscal policy. A non-sovereign borrower can’t have deficit levels fluctuating between zero and a positive number to maintain a debt-to-GDP ratio, but instead has to have deficit levels fluctuating around zero. The rainy day fund creates a surplus in good years and protects it so that it won’t be raided in good years, but instead used for deficit spending in bad years.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You seem to be not realizing that I agree with you.

    The drawback of the rainy day fund approach is that it is limited by how much money you have in the bank, not the severity of the downturn. Some states actually burned through their entire rainy day funds in 2008 and still needed capital injections (I mean, um stimulus funds) from Uncle Sam to survive the collapse in revenue.

    That’s what Robert doesn’t like…no matter how much you put in the rainy day fund, it’s never enough.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The severity of the downturn is enhanced by the extreme progressive tax base in CA. Even Jerry has recognized it is too progressive. Of corse he sold out that realization when he passed prop 30 anyway.

    CA needs a huge rainy day fund because any downturn is going to have a huge impact on tax revenues.

    aw Reply:

    If California’s tax system is too progressive, how do you explain all the startups, techies and vulture capitalists in Silicon Valley? How do you explain all the TV and movie stars and producers in southern CA?

    You would think all those high income individuals would move away if they thought that they could find a better life elsewhere.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You mean like this?

    CA tax system is too progressive because in every downturn the loss in tax revenue is worse than most every other state from a percentage view.

    Silicon Valley persists in spite of the taxes, not because of it. Ask yourself where all the other kinds of jobs went? Why is CA unemployment above average with such an economic engine?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, what you’re not getting is that Silicon Valley requires huge amounts of local human capital and can’t move as easily as a Toyota factory.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “The building, which has been owned by Google since 2010, is one of the largest technology-owned office buildings in the world—exceeding all of the combined buildings at Google’s Googleplex headquarters in California. It is also larger than Apple Inc.’s new circular “spaceship” (2,800,000 square feet (260,000 m2)) headquarters being built in Cupertino, California.

    joe Reply:

    BTW, that Toyota-GM factory in Fremont CA and former workers now make Teslas.
    Lathrop CA is a second site for some skunk-works project.

    “Tesla is continuing to invest and create jobs in California as part of our ongoing infrastructure expansion. In the last two months, we have signed leases for more than 625,000 square feet of Californian real estate, independent of sales and service centers. These recent investments reinforce our commitment to California and will help us continue to bring compelling electric vehicles to market at affordable prices.”

    In Alabamam Toyota has to use picture cards for their poorly educated workforce.

    President of a Canadian automotive parts association, Fedchun said work force illiteracy in states like Alabama and the superior reading skills of Canadian workers are the reasons the plant is going there and not to the Deep South.

    He said the Canadians are cheaper to train, a point that he believes helped persuade Toyota to turn down offers of millions of dollars in incentives to locate in Canada.

    He said trainers in Alabama had to use “pictorials” to teach workers who could not read how to run the highly technical plant equipment.

    Low tax States. It’s hard to not be reminded of the advantages of low taxes and low educated workforce.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jerry is a bit more clever than you give him credit for:

    He used Prop 30 also to lock in realignment of specific responsibilities to local government funded by property taxes. With the flick of a switch he can shift a lot of state General Fund spending back to the counties. The only exception is Prop 98-protected education funding.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Toyota gives Jerry the one-finger salute:

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Jerry is super clever, but he knows the tax system needs to be fixed including dumping prop13. Yes a republican thinks we should dump prop 13!

    But the Dems are all talk and no bite. They have total control but don’t really believe. They only care about “punishing” the rich, not rationalizing the tax system to a long term sustainable system. If they did they would fix it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 13 was a wonderful stroke of luck for the average Californian. The business interests could not figure out a way to write out the humble homeowner from the measure.

    Remember the purpose of government is to make the little people pay for everything.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Big corporations never die so they never need to sell their real estate. They love Prop 13. They will love it even more 150 years from now.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Prop 13 is sold as a bogeyman, but it’s all the laws added after it that create the magnitude of the problem. Allowing heirs to inherit your tax stays is feudalism (Prop 226) or Prop 98 that arbitrarily freezes the General Fund contribution to local education…and on and on.

    Knowing what I know, owner occupied dwellings in the Western US should be have a cap on property tax. But the rest of system should be scrapped.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    there should no no cap on property taxes any more than there should be a cap on income or sales taxes.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There has to be a cap unfortunately, or else you will have huge speculation booms that precipitated Prop 13 in the first place. The reason is because in the West water is all imported and very expensive in urban areas. Just rezoning land causes values to shoot up even though there is no reason for it. In the non arid parts of the US, agriculture can exert enough pressure to stop cities from sucking farms dry.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    in the non arid parts of the US crops get watered with this thing called rain…. and the farmers in the northerly part are very interested in how much of this stuff called snow, falls in the winter.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the contrary, Ted – a cap reduces the cost of holding real estate for investment, so it encourages more speculation. A high property tax falls on the speculators.

  3. Howard
    Apr 26th, 2014 at 11:15

    Santa Clara County may put sales tax for transportation on a fast track

    By Gary Richards

    Thursday, April 24, 2014 – 6:00 p.m.

    Moving up plans by two years, Santa Clara County will likely put a quarter-cent, 30-year sales tax on the November ballot, joining Alameda County and San Francisco this fall in attempts to raise the billions needed to extend BART, build new interchanges and repave pothole-riddled streets.

    Combined, these moves have Bay Area-wide implications, as many of the proposed projects link East Bay commute routes to those in the South Bay and San Francisco. Surveys show that support for such a tax is at 73 percent in Santa Clara County and 72 percent in Alameda County, a cushion that could be crucial to meet the state’s strict two-thirds approval for special taxes.

    “We have never tested this high,” said Carl Guardino, chair of the California Transportation Commission, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the campaign manager for three successful transportation measures in Santa Clara County since 1996. “Even in 2000 during the height of the bubble, the highest we polled was 72 percent.”

    A measure could be put on the ballot by Santa Clara County supervisors or the Valley Transportation Authority, which oversees transit, highway and street funding in the county.

    “We are very excited about the polling results,” VTA board chair Ash Kalra said in a statement. “The VTA Board of Directors will further analyze the poll results and work with our partners at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and other stakeholders to look at potential ballot measure options.” A decision will need

    These measures would raise the sales tax to 9.0 percent in Santa Clara County and 9.25 percent in Alameda County.

    The Alameda County measure would be a half-cent tax for 30 years. San Francisco is looking to raise its local vehicle license fee and use bonds for work on MUNI and city streets.

    Contra Costa County is not going before voters this year, but in 2016 it may seek a new sales tax for road and transit work.

    The measures would raise more than $12 billion over the next three decades — almost $8 billion in Alameda, up to $3.7 billion in Santa Clara and more than $500 million in San Francisco.

    Traffic delays have risen 21 percent in Alameda County in the past year, and the attention of voters is once again shifting from crime, jobs and schools to lengthy drives to work.

    The measures would provide funds to bring BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara as well as to Livermore. Caltrain overpasses could be built from Gilroy to Palo Alto, and upgrades made to MUNI.

    Targeting the horrendous I-680 commute between the East Bay and San Jose, a northbound carpool lane would be added on 680 through Fremont, plus a connector from 680 to 880. New ramps would be added at the 580-680 interchange and Highway 84 would be widened.

    The Alameda County tax would redo terribly clogged interchanges on I-80 at Gilman Street and Ashby Avenue in the Berkeley area and up and down 880 through the East Bay.

    The deplorable condition of local streets has also become a pressing concern, with a growing number of voters seemingly ready to dig in their pocketbooks to fill potholes. The Santa Clara County survey revealed that 87 percent said street repairs are a high priority, and voters in Alameda County rated pothole-filling as the third most pressing transportation need.

    How bad has it gotten? Drivers who use Foxworthy Avenue in San Jose have posted handmade yellow and neon green signs that say “POTHOLE MINEFIELD AHEAD.”

    “The stretch of Foxworthy between Ross and Meridian has deteriorated in the last few years into a mostly undriveable road,” said Chris Nielsen of San Jose.

    Jeff Hallett of Livermore, a frequent BART rider, said, “I would definitely favor a half-cent sales tax increase to support BART to Livermore using a 580 route. It would make it easier for me personally.”

    “A new interchange at 580/680? I would go for that,” said Thomas Barbeiro of Pleasanton.

    Doug Swalen quibbles with the likely projects in the South Bay: “I can think of other more pressing projects that should get money, such as flyover ramps at 101/880, widening 17 down to Highway 9 and maybe adding a fourth lane to 85.”

    Cole Barber of San Jose wasn’t buying it. “I am against any new taxes. They already collect too much money,” he said.

    Until a few weeks ago, it seemed the Silicon Valley Leadership Group would wait until 2016 to push for a new tax. It has never before sought one in a non-presidential election, because presidential races tend to generate a wider, more liberal turnout at the polls. But on a whim, Guardino asked pollster Jim Moore to do a survey on how a tax would fare this November.

    The results Moore got made Guardino ask: Why wait? On Friday, he plans to inform business leaders and elected officials across the county of the survey details, seeking approval to forge ahead.

    While the smaller turnout likely this November works against these measures’ chances, another factor working in favor of them is that antitax groups aren’t expected to mount much opposition.

    Jon Coupal, head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said his group probably would not contest the various measures since they would have to meet the strict two-thirds voter threshold and are not an attempt to dodge legal restrictions.

    “If that is what they want to do,” he said, “that’s democracy.”

    Contact Gary Richards at 408-920-5335.


    Alameda: 9%Contra Costa: 8.5%Los Angeles: 9%San Francisco: 8.75%San Mateo: 9%Santa Clara: 8.75%

    Source: Board of Equalization

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    Clem Reply:

    Here comes BART, burrowing into San Jose… If Measure A 2000 is any indication (and it very much is) all those other projects are just window dressing.

    joe Reply:

    Yes. That exactly how I read it. Promise the moon and deliver BART.

    The measures would provide funds to bring BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara as well as to Livermore. Caltrain overpasses could be built from Gilroy to Palo Alto, and upgrades made to MUNI.

    Caltrain overpasses from Gilroy north isn’t going to happen with this money.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Can Ring the Bay be far behind? All it would take is PBHSR implosion.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sound familiar?

    Reedman Reply:

    The better, more recent, gauge of public sentiment is Measure B – 2008. Measure A promised, but didn’t deliver BART (VTA got a ‘not recommended’ vote from the feds (Federal Transportation Agency) for BART, because the feds saw that the only way for VTA to afford BART was to emaciate bus and light rail). Measure B was required to make up the cost overruns, and that just to get to Berryessa. Measure B lost “at the ballot box” (it didn’t get enough votes on election day), but after the mail-in/absentee ballots were counted, it passed weeks later by a razor thin margin (66.78%, where 66.66% was required, a margin of about 600 votes in over 600,000 votes in all of Santa Clara county). Without Measure B, there would be no federal money and no BART to Berryessa.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In normal democracies 50.000001 percent is enough to pass…

    Tony D. Reply:

    Agree 100%!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    50% could change the law. Why do you think the majority don’t change the law?

    Tony D. Reply:

    It’s irrelevant why the law hasn’t changed. All we’re saying is that north of 50% in favor of something usually is enough to pass in a normal democracy. North of 66% in favor should always mean a landslide victory; not winning by a razor thin margin.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s not irrelevant. A simple majority put in the law, a simple majority could repeal it. So in this normal democracy the majority choose to make everything pass by 66.6% and could change that rule at any time.

    In this paragon of progressive states why can’t they repeal that?

    joe Reply:

    Like Prop 25. Simple majority vote for a state budget – now it’s on time and with a surplus.

    So go ahead and taunt about the super majority for tax bills.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You are just proving my point. If the Dems wanted a majority to pass taxes they could vote it in now

    Jonathan Reply:

    Here comes BART, burrowing into San Jose… If Measure A 2000 is any indication (and it very much is)

    Very much so. Just look at how MTC wants to “forgive” BART its debt of the Dumbarton Rail money it “borrowed”. Where are the people who attacked me describing that as “theft”, now? There’s only one acceptable outcome: repayment, in full. Anything else *is* theft.

    But, as Clem knows, that’s exactly what the Bay Area Transport-Industrial complex will deliver. MTC “forgiving” the debt will “optimize” MTC’s ability to “meet transportation needs”, i.e., spend more money on BART.

    Not to mention monstrosities like OAC….

  4. Keith Saggers
    Apr 26th, 2014 at 12:01
  5. Jos Callinet
    Apr 26th, 2014 at 21:58

    A giant toilet is being prepared to receive the CAHSR Authority.

    Who is vying the hardest to be the one who gets to press the flush-handle and watch as the CAHSR Authority swirls ’round and ’round in the bowl and disappears forever down the drain, never to be seen or heard from again?

    ‘Twill be most interesting to see who it is who eventually gets to press that handle.

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR in California will still be built, of course the baggers in the Republican Party are already in the toilet, this is a majority BLUE state, not a Big Oil state.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Zorro who writes this nonsense:

    this is a majority BLUE state, not a Big Oil state


    4. California – 526,000

    California is the fourth largest producer of oil in the United States at 526,000 barrels per day. Like Alaska, though, oil production in California has been declining steadily from its peak of 1.1 million barrels per day reached in February of 1986. There are big shale deposits in California, though, so things could change in the Golden State in the near future.

    Zorro Reply:

    That oil in the shale is extracted by Fracking and that requires water and California is in a severe drought. So can you drink oil? Would you?

    John Burrows Reply:

    California’s crude oil production of 526,000 barrels per day equals about $20 billion per year, or roughly 1% of California’s $2 trillion economy—And while this may sound like a lot of oil, it supplies well under 40% of what we consume every day. We may produce 526,000 barrels of oil per day but I do not think of California as being a “big oil state”. On the other hand we certainly are a majority blue state—And getting more blue by the minute.

    morris brown Reply:

    Just using oil production is hardly a total measure of the economy that the oil and gas industry plays in the state. Read this recent article from the LA Times; note $21.6 billion in total revenues and estimated 468, 000 jobs. I certainly consider this makes the industry a big oil state.,0,5142847.story#axzz308wZ3oUb

    Oil and gas industry generates thousands of jobs in California, report finds

    By Shan Li

    April 22, 2014, 11:31 a.m.

    The oil and gas industry creates about 49,000 jobs in Los Angeles County and billions of tax revenue in California.

    That’s according to a new report conducted by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and commissioned by the trade group Western States Petroleum Assn., which takes a look at the role of oil and gas on the Golden State economy in 2012.

    In the county of Los Angeles, more than 17,000 people are employed in oil and gas extraction, while an additional 12,000 work at gas stations, the report said. The industry generates about $5.7 million in labor income.

    On a statewide level, California enjoyed $21.6 billion in state and local tax revenues from gas and black gold. These energy sectors also created a combined 468,000 direct and indirect jobs.

    The study comes at a time of intense debate in California over potential regulations for the controversial drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or more commonly known as fracking.

    Advances in drilling technology has helped unlock large amounts of previously inaccessible oil and gas from shale formations in places like North Dakota and Texas. Petroleum companies are hoping to hit a similar pile of black gold in California’s Monterey Shale.

    But environmentalists and many residents in California are vocally against fracking, decrying the practice as destructive to the environment, farmland and water supplies. Some point to studies that have linked fracking to seismic activity.

    joe Reply:

    And then their the tax revenue Oil does not generate. We don’t tax the extraction of Oil tso I propose a tax like Alaska and Texas to fund HSR.

    John Burrows Reply:

    “The oil and gas industry” includes all aspects of the industry— from production to refining to transportation—all the way to the retail gas station. By the time you get down to the individual gas stations you may find that there are 50 “big oil states” in the USA.

    Concerning fracking in California, the problems involve more than environmentalists. The Monterey Formation has already been extensively fractured by the San Andreas Fault over a period of millions of years, and because of the resulting complex geology, figuring out where to drill is proving to be a real challenge.

    John Burrows Reply:

    There doesn’t seem to be much room in this giant toilet because it is already full of Republicans—And they seem to be climbing over themselves trying to reach the flush-lever. But don’t worry–If they do succeed in flushing themselves out of existence another party will rise to replace them—Sort of like what happened in the 1850’s when the Republicans rose to replace the Whig Party. And of course with the Republican Party down the drain, Federal funding will again be available for high speed rail.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yep…no GOP control in CA. So why does it take 66.6% to pass a tax? Why is unemployment above average? Why are property taxes held artificially low?

    These all seem like Dem issues that they could resolve since they have complete control of the state?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s very strange to hear a Republican mention lack of consensus among Democrats in Sacramento when Speaker Boehner runs a do-nothing Congress that can’t pass bills to save its life. Even where the GOP has full control in other states, like Kansas, it hasn’t been smooth sailing.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Are you trying to prove my point? The GOP votes as a block 99% of the time. That is your (everyones) big critisism of the GOP. The Republicans have consensus, the problem is they dont have the Senate and the Presidency (yet). Hence nothing goes anywhere. (as a side point i would add that they are doing no one any favors by not compromising, but that is a different point).

    And If you want to put the governance of Kansas and Utah up against the governance of CA and IL you are sadly misinformed about the state of reality. CA is functional only because Jerry acts like a conservative when it comes to spending. It has real structural problems, however, with pensions and tax structure that he cant wrangle alone. IL is an excellent example of what happens when you let the Dems completly control a state

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Illinois and California are both dealing with a huge rural urban divide. Maryland, meanwhile, is a good example of what happens when liberal Democrats are in full control. Hawaii is another good example. NY, IL, and CA have other industries besides what you find in big cities and this tend to pass stuff not based on ideology, but as to what is the most politically advantageous victory.

    In other words, field position.

  6. Keith Saggers
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 14:42

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    … a consortium of Alstom, Bombardier and Indra Sistemas a €410m contract to supply and maintain signalling, train control and telecommunications systems including GSM-R for the Valladolid – León and Venta de Baños – Burgos high speed lines.

    The contract covers a total of 310 km of new line, and includes 20 years of maintenance worth €229m.

    Meanwhile, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals are bringing you CBOSS on 80km of route, with no train control and no communications (separate contracts for Caltrain-unique vendor-locked proprietary disasters, with their own juicy separate change orders) and no maintenance and no savings on lineside signals for the low low low cost of $250 million … with costs rising by the day and schedule slipping by the day.

    Fucking awesome. More than four times the cost. Lesa than a thousandth the value. USA USA USA!

  7. Keith Saggers
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 14:44

    Zorro Reply:

    Nice find, though only at minimal speed.

    320 kph(km/h) = 199 mph
    355 kph(km/h) = 220 mph

    Prop 1a says this doesn’t pass, at least without modifications, still it is promising.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    These are expensive sets. The initial E5 order was if I remember correctly 400 million yen per car, and the N700 orders nowadays are 300; the Hokkaido trainsets are 450. Japanese peeps, why is this?

    swing hanger Reply:

    I believe the additional 50 million is for spare parts. The H5 trainset, other than having a different body line stripe and interior carpet pattern, is identical to the E5

  8. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 21:12

    Stop squandering more HSR funds on Caltrain.
    Insist on secure rail (fenced, grade separated) for HSR.
    Truncate first phase HSR at San Jose.
    Later upgrade Amtrak East Bay/Mulford route to Sacramento for HSR.
    Include an intermodal station at the BART overhead in Oakland.

    Better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper.
    Learn from Bourbonnais (See Wikipedia).

    joe Reply:

    “Bourbonnais!! Slowly I turned…step by step…inch by inch…,”

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no it’s not

  9. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 21:40

    Stop squandering more HSR funds on Caltrain.
    Insist on secure rail (fenced, grade separated) for HSR.
    Truncate first phase of HSR to the Bay Area at San Jose.
    Later upgrade Amtrak East Bay/Mulford route to Sacramento for HSR.
    Include an intermodal station at the BART overhead in Oakland.

    Better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper.
    Learn from Bourbonnais (See Wikipedia).

    jonathan Reply:

    Mr. Allen,

    you should at least have the wit to not advocate breaking the law. Not meeting the route requirements in Prop 1a, and not meeting the time requirements in Prop 1A, is breaking the law.

    Why are you destroying a once-valuable reputation, by mindlessly advocating BART?

    Donk Reply:

    Prop 1A is so fubared that the law has become irrelevant. Whatever happens in Judge Kenny’s courtroom or in CHSRA offices is just a half-spirited attempt to follow the law. Both sides don’t care about following the law – they just use it against the other side if they need to score some points in a lawsuit.

    Realistically, the train will not make the 2:40 travel time, there will be more than 26 stations (or whatever the number was), and the route will end up looking different than the one on the original map. And nobody will give a shit because the Prop 1A money and Stimulus funds will be all spent out by then.

    All that matters is that the damn thing gets built in a relatively efficient manner, with relatively low cost, within a relatively short period of time, and with relatively good quality. If they can do relatively better than the Big Dig, I will be happy.

    All this analysis on this board about following or breaking the law is just mental masturbation. When it comes down to it, what the law actually says is irrelevant.

    Zorro Reply:

    Face it, the nimbys are just not winning overall, probably cause their legal counsel is incompetent, they didn’t even invalidate the appropriation from the legislature, incompetent lawyers don’t win, not unless they’re very lucky.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In truth Mr. Allen’s argumentation is as sensible as what keeps coming from Dan Richards and Jerry Brown. About as repetitive and insipid.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no it’s not

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Mr. Allen is in post-only mode. He doesn’t engage in dialog or respond to legitimate questions. It’s like a bot, and the behavior does suggest that his past reputation may have been overrated.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Which distinguishes him from the usual suspects in which precise manner?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Diridon and Kopp and Doty don’t come here to post missives.

    EJ Reply:

    Richard, I’d always thought you were exaggerating when you go on about the incompetence and general weirdness of Bay Area transportation planners, but holy crap, if this Robert Allen is representative, I apologize for every time I made fun of you.

    jimsf Reply:

    He does have one good idea though. A direct west oakland bart-capitol transfer. In Davis for instance, 99 percent of sf bound passengers use richmond bart and not the amtrak bus at emeryville even though the travel time is comparable ( but its about 3 dollars cheaper to take bart at richmond)

    The bart travel time from richmond to west oakland is about 30 minutes but the ccjpa travel time from richmond to emeryville/west oakland is about 8 minutes. From west oak its only a few minutes to sf by bart and you have high frequency as all the lines converge there.
    a bart ccjpa xfer at the elevated above west oakland would probably cut 20 -30 minutes off the sac-sf travel time when you consider the greater frequency and less wait time.

    jimsf Reply:

    and it could be used for san joaquin trains as well. and bart trains would only stop there at actual connection times all others would bypass.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Everybody doesn’t move at the same speed between the trains.

  10. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 23:12

    The law was in the title of 2008 Prop 1A: “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train…” Bourbonnais illustrated the peril of grade crossings on 79 mph track, let alone at higher speeds. HSR on Caltrain tracks would be neither safe nor reliable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes it would

  11. Keith Saggers
    Apr 28th, 2014 at 08:35
  12. Keith Saggers
    Apr 28th, 2014 at 09:02

    not sure what the e in ebart stands for.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    Sac or bust. Sorry no toilets. Ear plugs not included in fare.

    Zorro Reply:


    Peter Reply:

    eBART=”East Contra Costa BART Extension”. The “e” refers to east.

    They were also looking at a “wBART” extension in West Contra Costa County at one point. I haven’t heard anything about that in years, though.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    That was “tBART”. Morphed into BART extension bypassing Livermore on 580 with the usual immense BART yard/tail track tack-on.


    Peter Reply:

    wBART and tBART were different “projects” (just studies, really). wBART studied an alignment into the North Bay parallel to the Capitol Corridor.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:


    jimsf Reply:

    capitol corridor will add a stop at a new multimodal location in Hercules.

    Joey Reply:

    Unfortunately they can’t increase service beyond the current 20 trains per day per direction (including San Joaquins) because of UP.

    Jonathan Reply:

    US $58m for eight cars? *Eight*? Just over $7m per car? Surely that has to be ~$7m for a GTW 2/6 articulated set.

    hm. 2009 pricing was $50m Euro, for 13 3-car sets. Still seems high.

    And is BART actually going to manage cross-platform transfers, as showin in the marketing material?

    jimsf Reply:

    Bart currently does perfectly timed cross platform transfers all day long at macarthur station. works great.

    Joey Reply:

    They are building a transfer platform west of the current terminus – one side BART and one eBART. Of course there’s no way of knowing how well timed it will be yet, but as jimsf says, they do manage it okay at MacArthur.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Yes, approximately $7m is for a GTW 2/6, Diesel powered, set up for US use, Swiss-built and shipped to the US. This price is pretty much comparable to what Denton paid 5 years ago (considering inflation, Denton’s bigger number of vehicles plus their option for 25 additional vehicles).

    Just to compare, a similar order for a client in Italy had the price tag of around $5.5m per unit (although there have already several dozen units been built for Italian customers, which means that the type has already been approved.

    The price is also comparable to the SMART vehicles.

    I read somewhere that Stadler was the only bidder. This is not that much of a surprise, because the order (8 vehicles) is too small for a major maker (such as Siemens or Bombardier); the “big” ones would only bid if they could piggyback that order on another major order (as it happened with the H-Train, where the Talents could be added to a bigger order by the Deutsche Bahn).

    If they don’t mess up on the operation level, there is a very good chance for a big success.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How many luxury level MCI coaches could one purchase for $7m?

    Sorry, IMHO, a doodlebuggy is just a diesel bus on rails. If you cannot afford wire, stick with buses.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The railroad rarely if ever gets congested with automobiles.

    Jonathan Reply:

    If that’s your opinion, then you’re an idiot, and no-one need pay any attention to you.

    A diesel bus is called a “railbus”. You can see examples if you care to look. For example, look at the Wikipedia article on “Uerdingen railbus”. A modern DMU is something very different. It’s not a Doodlebug.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If it is diesel it sucks.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    OK. put up a 1200 VDC (or so) light rail electrification.

    Then change the power cube of the GTW.

    Are they still doodlebugs after that?

    synonymouse Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    But I would use 750VDC to be compatible with Muni.

    Jon Reply:

    Why the hell would eBART need to be compatible with Muni? There isn’t even any track connecting the two systems!

    Bottom line is, BART should not be wasting money on further extensions into the exurbs. But if they must, it’s better to do it cheaply with DMUs than waste more money on electrification and EMUs.

    You’re obsessed with electrification because you’re a foamer, not because of any actual performance or cost/benefit consideration.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Je foam, donc je suis.

    As OPB opined a while back on the Altamont Site single track under the GG Bridge is quite doable and thence over Muni lines downtown.

    BART should probably be dissolved and some of its system perhaps reconfigured as part of long haul intrastate rail.

    BART envisions the ideal world as Manhattan to be served by 10 length cattlecar trains. Not me.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Why the hell would eBART need to be compatible with Muni?

    For pretty much the same reasons our resident cast of clowns believe CHSR needs to be compatible with Amtrak (NEC or otherwise): purest, unadulterated stupidity and ignorance.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes it would be awful if California used something almost compatible with the tiny little HSR system in Japan.

    Peter Reply:

    synonymouse is conflating SMART’s DMUs with eBART’s DMUs.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Feasible, but would require two additional substations.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    But they are still the same vehicles… the only thing which has changed is the power cube.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Inflation? What inflation?? Oh, you mean the US dollar sliding against the Swiss franc :)

    That’s still a 27% margin over the Itailan order you mention.

    As I understand it, these vehicles don’t need to meet FRA regulations as they don’t run on the national rail network. They run only on an isolated “eBART segment. I could be wrong, though. And Denton got a waiver, after demonstrating that their “alternate design” vehicles with crash-energy management, exceeded current FRA dino-train safety requirements.

    As for Synon: 25kV overhead electrification of a tiny segment of standard-gauge, which doesn’t connect to any other rail (adjacent to BART tracks at a different gauge) is *dumb*. It’s a huge, huge capital cost, for substations and OCS and re-enginerring overpasses, for a *tiny* fleet, which I guess will have a fairly low utilization (weekends). *Dumb*.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The McNear family built the P&SR interurban in 1903 with their own money. Similar traction ops sprung up all over the country, in a much poorer epoch.

    What you got now is sheer needless markup. The BART ething is marginal because the deep pockets segments of the BART empire are all fucked IBG. No run-thru. The BART Directors are in fear of Amalgamated. Tells you all you need to know.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Automobiles were a rich man’s plaything in 1903. Ridership estimates are going to be different if nobody has a car.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It was quite rural – Petaluma and Santa Rosa both had populations around 7,000.

    Insiders who want a free rebuild of the track for their freight ops and diesel busmen aka transit “experts” hate wire as it messes up their plans. Of course the last thing the BART Empire wants is a successful standard gauge OC light rail line in the Northbay as it makes it harder to replace with IBG, Bechtel’s holy quest.

    Same for the ething: they’ll rip it up in time for IBG. This is simply temporizing. You need to take Mr. Allen more seriously.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    7,000 people without cars are going to use a lot of mass transit.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Synon, you can’t compare an inter-urban in a carless era (cars only for very rich); with a short, 10-mile BART feeder running in a highway median. There’s just no comparison.

    “Ridership estimates are going to be very different if nobody has a car”.

    You seem to have difficulty grasping the fact that we’re not talking about SMART, we’re talking about eBART. Where are the “freight ops” or “diesel busmen” who benefit from eBART tracks??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He wasn’t talking about eBart or SMART of the Chicago L or Marta in Atlanta or the Tokyo subway he was talking about the ” P&SR interurban in 1903″. Silly silly me I assumed that was when he wrote ” P&SR interurban in 1903″

    synonymouse Reply:

    My take on ebart is that the Becthelians(the generation that would include such worthies as Mssrs. Allen, Quentin Kopp, Rod Diridon, Jerry Brown, et al.)are running up against latter day revisionists not so enamored of 1962 train-hating eccentritech. So they had to temporize and try to intitute full blown IBG later.

    But the Bechtelian Quest is far from over;the BART Empire plans to colonize the rest of the Bay Area in due course. So the last thing they want is a functional standard gauge OC electric light rail in the North Bay. Much harder to get rid of and replace with IBG, 3rd rail, beercans – standard issue BART kool-aid. Doodlebuggys in the North Bay were dictated by insider power brokers wanting free freight trackage rebuild ruling out any ramps or flyovers not compatible with heavy freight and Marin Co. towns not wanting long loco-hauled nor any touristy wine trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Il mio aliscafo è pieno di anguille

    EJ Reply:

    It’s beautiful. Build more BART, and you piss and moan about broad gauge and bechtel. Build something standard gauge, and it’s a conspiracy of freight railroads.

  13. jimsf
    Apr 28th, 2014 at 12:36

    FYI the American dream is still, imo, all it’s cracked up to be! I haven’t kept up here with being busy remodeling the new house and all that goes with it…. but there is no greater satisfaction!
    That said, how are we doing. HSR still on sked to break ground in the valley?

    I am confident that the project will move forward and one day everyone will look back and wonder what all the drama was about. I hope we some dirt turning this summer in the valley.

    EJ Reply:

    Or it’ll be like BART – barely good enough, vastly more expensive and less flexible than it ought to be; and we’ll look at Paris, or Vienna, or even NYC – any city with an efficient suburban network, and sigh over what might have been. I hate to sound like synonymouse, but he’s not always wrong.

    Good luck with the house; nothing like a little manual labor to sooth the soul.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Careful, a statewide BART would be the envy of many counties that have better intercity rails than we do…

    Jonathan Reply:

    It’d have to be a really, really tiny state, though.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Where is the digs? Roseville?

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Sorry, jimsf, it’s looking more and more like this project, for expediency’s sake, may well soon end up in the toilet.

    We’re in suspense as to who’s likely to get to be the one who finishes it off – will it be the NIMBYS, the courts, Republicans in Congress, no-go decision on Cap-and-Trade funding, a general Great Dithering-around of indecisiveness, or a combination thereof?

    Might it even be Governor Brown himself if and/or when he finally wakes up and smells the caffeinated realization that his HSR hopes are all but dashed and even threatening his personal political future, so he tosses the CAHSRA to the lions in order to save his own skin?

    We shall see.

    Its prospects are not good at the moment, to put it mildly.

    Zorro Reply:

    The LAO doesn’t know a thing about HSR or Cap & Trade or Who’s better on CO2, which is CARB, though the LAO and a few others know how to spew talking points about cap and trade. Republicans in Congress can go to blazes, as can KOCH Industries for that matter.

    Republican Senate Candidate Attacks Opponent For Supporting Cap-And-Trade Plan HE Helped Write

    Republican Senate candidate Adam Hasner is attacking one of his primary opponents by linking him to a stalled cap-and-trade climate change law in Florida. That may sound like par for the course in GOP politics except for one small problem: Hasner co-sponsored that bill, and praised it publicly when it passed the state legislature.

    In a press release attacking Republican candidate George Lemieux — who already served in the Senate in an interim capacity after Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) resigned — Hasner tied his opponent to a cap-and-trade initiative spearheaded by former Governor Charlie Crist.

    Like many Republicans, though, Hasner knows a thing or two about supporting cap and trade in the pre-Obama era.

    He cosponsored the legislation calling for the creation of a cap-and-trade regime in Florida. And when it passed the Florida House, his office issued a press release on behalf of the bill’s sponsor praising the initiative

    “Responsibly addressing global climate change and anticipated national cap-and-trade legislation, while continuing to focus on energy diversity, reliability and affordability, the bill will place Florida’s energy sector and economy in
    a position to best protect the interests of Florida’s citizens,” the release read.

    A spokesman for Hasner points out that the Florida cap-and-trade bill prevented Crist from implementing a stricter pollution reduction regime by Executive Order. And he notes that Hasner’s office issued press releases for all Republican members as a courtesy.

    Crist signed the bill in 2008. But the law was never fully implemented, and now state Republicans hope to repeal the entire initiative.

    Remember when Republicans liked cap-and-trade?

    Then there is this:

    Cap & Trade Funds should help finance the California High Speed Rail

    Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
    Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.

    Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
    Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.

    Why HSR Is a Good Use of Cap-and-Trade Funds

    It does nobody any good for carbon emissions to be lowered through 2020 only to rise again because short-term solutions have run their course. AB 32 was intended to be the start of a long-term, lasting reduction in California’s carbon emissions. With transportation being one of the primary contributors to those carbon emissions, California needs to prioritize the development of new transportation infrastructure that can dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a long-term way. High speed rail does that.

    I’m all for electric vehicles, but environmentalists should not see them as a panacea. Electric cars have a maximum range these days of 100 miles. Adding in charging time, it would take perhaps as much as seven hours to drive a typical electric car from San Francisco to Los Angeles, if not more. For the foreseeable future, electric cars aren’t going to be a solution for those who want to drive across California. They are a useful tool within metropolitan areas, but not between them. HSR is the only option that can provide big carbon savings for intercity travel in California. It also helps address the serious air pollution problems in the Central Valley, which are largely driven by transportation. That’s something I would expect Magavern in particular to be excited about.

    I would agree with these criticisms if Governor Brown were pledging to use all the cap-and-trade revenues for HSR. I love bullet trains but even I don’t think that would be appropriate. The Governor’s proposal would direct just 17% of the current $1.4 billion annual cap-and-trade revenues to HSR, leaving over a billion dollars available each year to invest in other forms of carbon reduction. It makes a lot of sense to take 17% of those revenues to invest in infrastructure that can provide carbon-free travel for the rest of the 21st century.

    HSR is exactly the sort of thing that cap-and-trade was envisioned to fund. After all, it’s been in the California Air Resources Board’s AB 32 scoping plan for years. It still has it in its draft plan update from October 2013. CARB includes HSR as part of its ongoing measures to ensure that the reductions achieved by 2020 are lasting – the entire point of AB 32:

    Governor Brown’s proposal fits with that approach. The notion that AB 32 and cap-and-trade is all about getting to the 2020 targets and nothing more is a gross misrepresentation of the intentions of the law and the overall approach to solving the climate crisis. The Governor’s proposal, then, is a good start that deserves strong support from California environmentalists and transit advocates.

    This line of attack is being picked up in familiar and expected quarters. Rounding up the usual suspects, starting with Dan Walters of the Sac Bee:

    While creating the new revenue stream might – emphasis, might – help persuade the court that there is a legally sufficient financial plan for the initial bullet train segment from the San Joaquin Valley into Southern California, as the law requires, the legality of such a shift is itself legally suspect.

    The cap-and-trade law says that proceeds are to be used specifically to lower California’s greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, says bullet train construction would actually increase emissions “for many years” and a decrease, if any, would not occur until decades later.

    Mac Taylor also opposes bullet train construction and his claim is based on a study he didn’t bother to cite. This is a specious claim that he makes, assuming that there’s no actual benefit to providing an electric train powered by renewables that has been proven to shift riders away from carbon emitting methods of travel everywhere else it operates. And if HSR wasn’t going to help meet the AB 32 goals, why did CARB include it in its scoping plan? I will take CARB’s analysis over the LAO’s any day when it comes to climate.

    One could easily envision that bullet train opponents who have successfully challenged the project in court would make common legal and political cause with environmental groups, which have pledged to hold Brown accountable for spending the cap-and-trade fees as the underlying law requires.

    This would be cynical in the extreme, and environmental groups should be very strongly dissuaded from doing anything so crazy. You don’t solve the climate crisis in drips and drops. You will also need major infrastructure projects that provide huge and permanent reductions in carbon emissions. HSR fits that bill perfectly.

    The Press-Enterprise, which has editorialized against HSR in the past, takes up a similar line of thinking:

    Raiding the state’s greenhouse gas receipts is not a feasible solution to the rail line’s funding gaps. The governor should already know this: The state’s legislative analyst reported in 2012 that using the greenhouse gas money for the rail line would be legally risky. Money from the cap-and-trade program is supposed to help reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The “bullet train,” however, would not even begin operating until at least 2021, which deprives the state of a rationale for using the greenhouse gas money for the train. The state cannot credibly justify spending the cap-and-trade fee receipts on a project that cannot possibly help California meet the greenhouse gas law’s 2020 goal.

    Again we see the LAO cited, again CARB, which actually knows what it’s talking about, is ignored.

    There’s a deeper point here. AB 32 was not meant to simply reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and then declare the climate crisis solved. We don’t just walk away from carbon reduction once the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2021. AB 32′s basic purpose is to achieve a lasting and ongoing reduction in carbon emissions. HSR does that in ways that the smaller but still valuable things like electric charging stations and weatherization don’t match.

    joe Reply:

    Mac Taylor doesn’t like HSR. He should run for State Assembly and govern as an elected Representative.

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