Appeals Court Upholds Pacheco Route EIR

Jul 24th, 2014 | Posted by

Anti-HSR activists lost another lawsuit today when the Third District Court of Appeals upheld the Pacheco Pass route EIR:

The Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento heard an appeal from San Francisco Bay Area cities arguing that a planned path through Pacheco Pass hurts the environment.

The state argued the project was exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act because it is overseen by the federal Surface Transportation Board.

The court upheld the environmental review but also said the project must still abide by state environmental rules.

“Today’s court ruling reaffirms our successful compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act,” Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said in a written statement.

This is good news, as the Pacheco route always made plenty of environmental sense. It’s not any better or worse than the Altamont route in that respect, especially when you consider that an Altamont alignment would also have impacts to neighbors and open space.

Typically, the NIMBYs and anti-HSR forces who brought the suit were quoted in the article pledging to continue to obstruct the project by any means possible. But hopefully this decision will be another sign that the HSR project is finally overcoming many of the obstacles placed in its path, and the nuisance suits filed by project opponents will begin to fade away.

One can always hope.

  1. jimsf
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 20:33
    #1

    Any renderings of possible gilroy station desings?

  2. joe
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 20:56
    #2

    What’s been done so far is here.
    VISION section: page 35 (in the text) or page 40 in the PDF
    http://www.gilroyhighspeedtrain.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Vision_Report_Final_web.pdf

    The 750K grant just awarded to Gilroy is for studying the two man alternatives and begin looking at designs and environmental impacts.

    jimsf Reply:

    a victorian or mission style station would be nice there.

    joe Reply:

    Well Jimsf
    This is the old city hall (1904) and I challenge anyone to describe that architecture.
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_City_Hall,_7410_Monterey_St.,_Gilroy,_CA_9-23-2012_3-25-51_PM.JPG

    The new energy efficient Gilroy Library has a mission inspired look.
    http://www.harleyellisdevereaux.com/projects/gilroy_community_library

    And new police station
    http://www.ascribehq.com/masonry-construction-poy/awards/community/nov2009/P4162

    High school is craftsmen style and traditional.
    http://www.bcaarchitects.com/projects/projects_learning/public_schools/christopher.html

    BTW

    KION television is reporting on the HSR grant – there’s three links on google news. KION is the Central Coast/Monterey NBC affiliate. Why? Because Gilroy is the Central Coast Monterey Co HSR station and they know it.
    http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/highspeed-rail-station-proposal-moves-forward-in-gilroy/27112954

    jimsf Reply:

    I call the city hall victorian I guess.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Looking on a West Coast architectural database, they call it an “eclectic, idiosyncratic” design, but I guess its basically Queen Anne with a number of flourishes added.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Looks like someone ate too much Victorian Style manual and got sick. One that someone had used to dehydrate magic mushrooms in. The big honking 1905 on either side, on the second floor under the windows, is clue that whatever it is, it’s Edwardian. Which has many similarities to late Victorian styles, but it’s an Edwardian…

    jimsf Reply:

    anyway at least eventually angelinos will be able to visit the garlic festival.

    joe Reply:

    Which starts today, last weekend in July.

    I found this refreshing. Admit the station is going to change the city and work to that change for the better.

    “The high-speed rail station will change the landscape of our downtown, just like the railroad did in the late 1800s,”Gage said. “We are very pleased to receive the financial and technical support of the CHSRA and SCVTA to properly design, plan and implement a station area that complements and enhances our downtown.”

    Mayor Gage was NOT Mayor when the project began – he’s taken over recently and so far has said all the right things.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But “Edwardian architecture” doesn’t mean “anything built when Edward was on the throne”, it refers to a style that dominated English architecture during, and for a while after, Edward’s reign …

    … that building may have been built when Edwardian architecture dominated England, but it doesn’t look like its following the style dominating architecture a continent plus an ocean away. The architect of that building seems to me more to be adding his own flourishes to a Queen Ann design.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The first floor screams Romanesque. The roofline screams that he had a fine supply of magic mushrooms. Take a mismash of styles that were popular in the Victorian era and build a building in 1905 you have a Edwardian with a mishmash of styles. Take a 1890 house catalog to your architect and have him update the innards of the Queen Anne or a Gothic or a Oriental to 2014 code you don’t have a Victorian. You have a 21st Century Queen Anne or Gothic or an Oriental or a Shingle or Romanesque.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    It was designed by a joint venture of Martian and Saturnian architects! LOL

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    When you “planet” that way, that’s what U get!

  3. synonymouse
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 21:11
    #3

    UP kicking Buffett’s soft-on-hsr butt:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-24/buffett-s-bnsf-losing-freight-to-rival-as-service-slows.html

    UP knows how to stare down the geriatric Jerry Brown.

    jimsf Reply:

    That article had nothing whatsoever to do with hsr or passneger rail of any kind. Did you read it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Do you read the stuff you link to or do you just hope the headline has something to do with California?

    From the article

    “n June, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board ordered BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) to report plans for resolving delayed grain shipments. BNSF said in its weekly status update that it has 6,329 past-due rail cars mostly in North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota that were an average 24.2 days late as of July 17. ”

    Explain to us what late oil and grain shipments in Montana and the Dakotas has to do with HSR in Calinfornia?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Buffett owns BNSF and is a big supporter of HSR tacitly. Buffett is a newcomer to the rail business and bought BNSF right around the time Obama announced his HSR plan in 2009. Synonymouse’s is saying that BNSF is losing market share to UP because they are not doing a good job running the railroad itself. Synonymouse’s is just happy the UP is getting stronger given it’s opposition to HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah so Warren Buffet went out and bought BNSF, not because he thought it was a stable reliable business to be in but because he wanted to make Obama look good.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The UP is better run than the BNSF and its hardline against hsr alongside its property is correct. Buffett is no railroader and it is showing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    CAHSR, not LAHSR. It should not be sidling against the UP in the Tehachapis nor in the Valley. Tejon and I-5.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought the problem was that they were getting too cozy with BNSF.

    jimsf Reply:

    up can keep it off its property but not keep it from being next to its property

    jimsf Reply:

    and if the state of california wants to build hsr from san jose to gilroy it will and up wont stop it.

    joe Reply:

    The State’s newest Rail plan double tracks the UP ROW from San Jose to Gilroy.

    Perhaps synonymous could forward that planned transgression to UP Headquarters.

    CA should consider Caltrain electrification to Gilroy. Building HSR to Gilroy and then blending service from GLY to SFT until the full build into San Jose is funded and finished.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The State Rail Plan has had service to the Coachella Valley for over twenty years. The CRCC has been trying to add the “Coast Daylight” for about the same length of time. Don’t get too excited about these plans. They keep the consulting industry busy, but not the track building or train operating industries.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So basically UP picked up market share because its business grew by 8% while BNSF’s grew by 5% … because BNSF has as much traffic as it can handle until more of the capacity investments its presently making come online.

    It seems you get an HSR angle out of that by simply imagining that its there.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah

    synonymouse Reply:

    And youse guys are imagining choo-choos in the Caliphate.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There ya go confusing things with facts again.

  4. morris brown
    Jul 25th, 2014 at 09:10
    #4

    Here is the updated article from the Fresno Bee…

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/24/4038850/appeals-court-upholds-pacheco.html

    Stuart Flashman, an Oakland attorney representing the Peninsula communities, described the appellate decision as “half a loaf.”

    “My clients are obviously disappointed that the court rejected the challenges to the program EIR,” he said Thursday. “However, we are relieved that the court rejected the authority’s argument that, with the federal Surface Transportation Board taking jurisdiction, CEQA compliance was pre-empted by federal law.”

    Flashman said he believed the judges’ ruling on the issue of state law versus federal law was the more important part of Thursday’s opinion “because it means that the high-speed rail authority will still have to comply with CEQA’s stringent requirements for protecting the environment, rather than the lower standard set by federal law.”

    joe Reply:

    Let’s recall the architects of this victory.

    1. Opponents sue on the Peninsula EIR and appeal their loss.

    2. Opponents including Rep Jeff Denham insisted the STB take over jurisdiction in an attempt to stop or stall the project.

    3. CAHSRA then claimed in the appeal process that the Fed standard holds and not CEQA. They seek to dismiss the lawsuit.

    Judge upholds the EIR (opponents lose their lawsuit) and asserts CEQA ermines operational.

    Lesson Learned. Bone headed attempts to stop HSR back fire.

    Attacks on HSR using travel times between SF and SJ peninsula will only result in a more “disruptive” with full grade separations and alignment improvements in cities such as menlo park.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am thoroughly surprised that the legal challenges to the Brown-Pelosi juggernaut have gotten anywhere. I have to assume that better minds than those two in the machine hierarchy are worried this thing could blow up in their faces.

    But more interesting:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-24/facebook-gain-makes-zuckerberg-wealthier-than-google-guys.html

    The Zuck made $1.6bil in a day and could afford to donate that to the aforesaid Brown-Pelosi to pay for the Palmdale 15 mile base tunnel. Double the size of LA in the high desert and water it with Hetch Hetchy. Set up a non-profit charitable foundation and dedicate it to the legacy of Antonovich and Jerry Brown.

    Meantime “inversion” is in vogue and corps are fleeing US taxes and regs. Barack, Cuban et al will be incapable of slowing down that trend because the corps have to do anything and everything to juice the bottom line to bloat the value of their equities to feed the 401K monster. Blame Ronald Reagan for trying to kill Social Security. Now even liberals are hooked.

    Cuban claims that as the corps leave the US the rest will have to pay way more taxes. So you cheerleaders will have to subsidize bottomless money pits like Muni, BART, LAHSR and 13 undocumented no-shows on your own. Have fun.

    les Reply:

    funny how corps are leaving to places where services like Muni and CHSR thrive and Obamacare is only considered a mild attempt to rectifying a shoddy healthcare system. Maybe we got some catching up to do, you think?

    joe Reply:

    You need help and secure line.
    Get a tin can and poke a hole in the bottom. Tie a string to a doorknob and thread the other end through the tin can. Tie a knot on the sting. Pull the line taunt and listen for a dial tone.

    Alan Reply:

    The Court of Appeals did suggest that the CHSRA was still free to petition the STB itself for a formal exemption ruling. (Footnote 4 on page 15 of the PDF)

    Quite amusing to see that the Court shot down all of TRANSDUMB’s arguments about the SETEC proposal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Did you expect it to go any other way in the uniparty state?

    Something more objective:

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/southwest-groundwater-disappearing-at-shocking-rate-140725.htm

    Go cheerleader developers. Go Palmdale. We need millions more ranchitos in the high desert.

  5. joe
    Jul 25th, 2014 at 10:36
    #5

    This was just posted.

    7/24/2014 John Tos, et al., v. California High Speed Rail Authority: Notice to Appear for Case Management Conference and Hearing on Motion Regarding Scope of Evidence at Trial

    Scope of evidence at trail — pretty important.

    Lewellan Reply:

    How is it that the CAHSR project, completely within a single state, falls under federal jurisdiction?
    Second question: How can supporters claim the Altamont route has more environmental impact?
    It seems the Pacheco route was chosen to provide fast trip times for the jet set living in Upper McMansionville overlooking quaintly typical sprawlberg.

    Alan Reply:

    First answer: Federal jurisdiction applies because the HSR system will interchange passengers with interstate carriers (Amtrak) and because it will be interconnected with the mainline railroad system, including sharing facilities on the Peninsula and SoCal areas.

    Second answer: For one thing, most of the Altamont alternatives involve constructing a new bridge or a tube on the alignment of the existing Dumbarton rail bridge. That alignment crosses some very sensitive wetland reserves. There are other reasons–the Program RPFEIR tells all.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, there is endangered species habitat along the Dumbarton alignment. However, in this context environmental impact isn’t just animals and natural areas. As Robert mentioned – neighbors and open space.

    CEQA isn’t a tool to reengineer a design. The alignment is settled. Some environmental impact lawsuits are leverage for a political agenda.

    TROLLDEF has used lawsuits to produce out of court settlements. One let’s TRANSDEF supply out-of-scope inputs to Agency models (no public consensus or outreach) and requires the results be included as an Appendix in a report. In this case the out-of-scope demands were litigated and rejected.
    http://transdef.org/RTP/RTP.html

    In the settlement of one suit, MTC agreed to study the TRANSDEF Smart Growth Alternative in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of its 2005 RTP. MTC released a draft of that plan, called Transportation 2030, in November, 2004.

    In its Smart Growth Alternative, TRANSDEF was able to test out the ideas it had advocated for the past decade. The Alternative assumed that all development between 2005 and 2030 would take place in already urbanized areas, without any urbanization of greenfields. Existing neighborhoods were, for the most part, not affected by this infill development, which was targeted at failed shopping malls and strip centers.

    A series of new Rapid Bus lines, additional service on existing bus lines, three conventional-gauge commuter rail lines and High Speed Rail, accessing the Bay Area via the Altamont Pass, would provide substantially more transit service than is affordable under MTC’s plan.

    Government by Litigation.

    Joey Reply:

    There aren’t many endangered species below the ground where the water tunnels were just dug for a reasonable price.

    joe Reply:

    Not many trains in those water tunnels either.

    The area around the [Dumbarton] bridge is an important ecological area, hosting many species of birds, fish and mammals. The endangered species California clapper rail is known to be present in the western bridge terminus area.

    Near the bridge on the Peninsula are Menlo Park’s Bayfront Park, East Palo Alto’s Ravenswood Open Space Preserve, and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. An accessible portion of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge lies immediately north of the western bridge terminus, where the Ravenswood trail runs.

    Easy peasy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    unfortunately it wouldn’t be dug by elves and lined with pixie dust. And the people living on either side of it would have something to say about it popping up in their neighborhood.

    Joey Reply:

    Interestingly, cut-and-cover becomes relatively cheap when you have a wide corridor and don’t have to maintain service during construction.

    Eric Reply:

    In other words: F*** NIMBYs.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan first: Amtrak connections may be interstate, but CAHSR is as much State’s Rights prioritization over planning guidelines, ie, 125mph Hybrid trip times vs 200mph waste of electricity, given it only transports individuals distant miles for no reason other than leisure/luxury.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Thus, my preference Altamont: serves more people, duh.
    Get a regional railline to Gilroy or be overwhelmed with landscrapers!
    McMansionville Estate Hillsides! Ride the train to town!

    Alan Reply:

    Federal jurisdiction has nothing to do with the choice of mode. That decision has been made and written into law. You may not like it, but you’re going to have to deal with it.

    This may totally overwhelm you, but a rail line doesn’t even need to physically connect to come under Federal jurisdiction. There was once a network of 2-foot-gauge freight lines in tunnels under downtown Chicago, which obviously did not physically connect with anything. However, they did interchange freight with the mainline carriers, which brought the tunnels under ICC jurisdiction. What matters is that goods and people are moving in interstate commerce.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, I’m not disputing federal jurisdiction. It’s no problem, a small matter. In 1994, San Diego Greenpeace opposed the Red Trolley Mission Valley extension, fearing environmental impact during construction. As it turned out, San Diego River has not functioned as well in 70 years, before the jetties and Bay dredging. Salt marsh coming back now. If the Dumbarton is to be replaced, adding rail very well could offer similar benefit to sensitive habitat rebuilding/restructuring.
    Anyway, my final word is YES to HSR, even Pacheco/Palmdale, though that debate seems to be bogged down in legal dictates from high potentates. Whereas, I must talk basic engineering advatanges to consider rather than ignorantly (no offense) dismiss.
    It looks like the Talgo Vertro? model is compatable with Caltrans, if I have Clem correctly.
    The Talgo XXI and Cascades coaches are too narrow. Correct me if I’m wrong again.
    The insults posted after a stated opinion are impolite but I can’t resist similar retort.
    If Tejon has the advantage on engineering, it should be Tejon. YES to HSR

    Alan Reply:

    Lewellan, it’s hardly “ignorant” (your word) to dismiss supposed engineering advantages when the decisions have not only been made, they’ve been written into a voter-approved law. HSR is not going to operate Talgos. Period. You may think they’re superior, but under Prop 1A they aren’t legal.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Engineering advances

    and

    voter-approved

    Two great flavours that belong together!

    Teh sheeple haz spokens! No new talgotaxes!

    Lewellan Reply:

    And for this artistic contribution, a fare thee well, as well:
    To you and yours, a prosperous future,
    to Richards newborn a heritage of wisdom.
    Our, their future, may they travel upon rail lines,
    as in European, Asian, rail-centric metropolitan urban society.
    So farth behind North American rail. Boeing nor GM mind.
    Ford finished Plugged-in Hybrid-Drive, estimated best 21st Century advancement.
    Joke Time:
    How can a Tesla run DC?
    “AC” Tesla? I don’t think so.
    Mister Tesla rolls over in his grave.
    Hybrids over all-electric; I’m just sayin…

    Lewellan Reply:

    “It’s hardly ignorant to dismiss engineering advantages when the decisions have been made and written into voter-approved law! (Aaarg!) HSR WILL NOT operate Talgo, period! (Aaarg!) YOU may think TALGO superior, but under Prop 1A TALGO ain’t legal!” (Aaarg!)

    Oh my good gracious! Oh my no, NOT ILLEGAL? That is so hardly American. I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked! Oh my heavens to Betsy! Oh my, not legal? Oh, what is this world coming to?

    Lewellan Reply:

    “Conventional-gauge commuter-rail lines and HSR accessing the Bay Area via Altamont Pass
    would provide substantially more transit service than affordable under the MTC plan.”
    “Ohhh, musta forgot about that,” said john henry.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Calling MTC “experts”, Jerry & Nancy:

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/2-investigates-fare-cheats-targeting-back-doors-mu/ngnGk/

    Joey Reply:

    Maybe there’s an issue, but it seems like a lot of fearmongering without data to back it up. POP relies on random and unpredictable fare inspections which could happen at any time on any route, but are overall not frequent. Fare evasion is never going to be zero, even with faregates, so ultimately you have to weigh the additional revenue from more people paying their fare vs the cost of catching more fare evaders (more inspectors have to be hired, etc).

    joe Reply:

    Fines need to be reasonable – like the full cost of a monthly pass – so they’ll be issued for every infraction to all users.

    VTA’s fines are high $250 and can include 100-300 in court fees. Sometimes (according to the SJ newspaper’s study) tickets are not issued because it’s such a high fee.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In Vancouver, the fine is $173.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    A rule of thumb (in Europe) is that with POP, 3 to 4% evasion is acceptable. And that’s about the rate the ZVV has. Reducing that rate would require more checks, which means more inspectors, and those additional inspectors would not bring in enough fees to pay for themselves.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well of course pop doesnt work on MUNI. I knew that when they started it. Nno one loves SF more than I but lets face it, that is a city full of freaks and weirdos and kooks and unruly hooligans and subversives of every stripe. POP could was never going to work there. Taming san franciscoans would require electric fence and riot gear.

    joe Reply:

    Time for Ben & Jerry’s

    Koo-Koo Crunch with Tejon Swirl.
    Party Boss Peppermint
    Machine Boss Berry with flakey crust bits.
    Altamont Passion Fruit

    synonymouse Reply:

    Moonbeam Malted
    Palmdale TunnelCake

    joe Reply:

    Synonymous Hazed & Confused™
    Chocolate & Hazelnut Ice Creams with Fudge Chips & a Hazelnut Fudge Core

    Peninsula Quadruple Track Caramel Chunk®
    Caramel Ice Cream with a Swirl of Caramel & Fudge Covered Caramel Chunks & Carmel Bits.

    Twice Baked Cheesecake Jerry Brownie

    Joey Reply:

    That’s it! We can fund HSR with a bake sale!

    joe Reply:

    Fund HSR with a baked sale.
    Legalize and tax marijuana. Fund HSR with the revenues estimated at 1.4 B annually.
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/07/15/71927/california-tax-board-legal-pot.html

    jimsf Reply:

    LOL that was good.

    Alan Reply:

    Joe, I agree completely. I was just picking out a few of the “highlights”. Another strike against the CETEC plan is, IIRC, that it proposed locating the line to the Dumbarton bridge along the Hetch Hetchy ROW through Fremont. However, Hetch Hetchy’s response was, “What part of ‘Hell, No!’ don’t you understand?”. One didn’t have to be an engineer to look at the drawings and see some significant issues with constructability and maintainability for an HSR lline along the Hetch Hetchy ROW.

    Clem Reply:

    However, Hetch Hetchy’s response was

    These are two state agencies. Any turf battles would easily be resolved by the governor’s office knocking the appropriate heads together.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not particularly wise to be building things over your aqueduct unless the aqueduct is very very deep.

    Clem Reply:

    I had no idea you were an expert in aqueduct design! Thanks for clarifying.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I saw a joke there somewhere and also laughed…

    joe Reply:

    What makes this disagreement a turf battle? The agencies make decisions in support of their charter and not the Gov’s political interests.

    The E in CEQA is Environmental, not Engineering. Lawsuits to mandate alternative project designs by self-appointed watch-dogs and disgruntled landowners is a waste of taxpayer money.

    The alignment is way out of scope which means adding it would be purely political pressure out of the Gov’s office which critics claim is evil and why their superior alignments were not chosen.

    Alan Reply:

    Last I heard, Hetch Hetchy comes under the Public Utiliites Commission of the City and County of San Francisco, not the state.

    Their objections were legitimate. Hetch Hetchy has to have constant, unimpeded access to every part of their system, and having HSR on their ROW would obstruct that. As important as HSR is, it’s not quite as important as the water supply to the City.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Off-topic: if you don’t understand “PDF-p. XXX” notation, go to the direct page links here:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2012Draft_web.pdf#page=15
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2012_rpt.pdf#page=23

    In the future, this is what “PDF-p. XXX” means.

    Alan Reply:

    Unfortunate that the Sacramento county courts now charge an arm and a leg to download documents…

    jonathan Reply:

    What was posted about “scope of evidence”,and where?

    Joe Reply:

    The court posts filings and notices on their website. They also let anyone subscribe and recieve a notice when anything is posted.

  6. morris brown
    Jul 25th, 2014 at 14:53
    #6

    This morning KQED radio on their Forum program discussed some issues in Sacramento.

    In a broadcast from our Sacramento studios we’ll talk state politics and examine some major bills awaiting action in the Capitol. And we’ll check in with two newly elected legislative leaders.

    Host: John Myers

    KQED radio forum july 25 2014

    David Siders, reporter for the Sacramento Bee
    Jessica Calefati, politics and state government reporter for the San Jose Mercury News

    Kevin de Leon, Senate president pro tem-elect, representing the 22nd Senate District
    Kristin Olsen, assembly Republican leader-elect representing the 12th Assembly District

    YouTube link to those excerpts dealing with HSR… (audio only)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi5yGdv2Oy0 (8 min 44 sec)

    I must say reporter Calefati really doesn’t have a clue.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Interesting that de Leon now wants to use the federal grants and bond funds in the Valley, but reserve the GHG money for the bookends. I wonder he also wants the CalTrain money clawed back and spent on the ICS.

    Clem Reply:

    I could easily see a one-for-one funding swap of HSR bond funds for GHG funds, for the $600 million HSR contribution to Caltrain electrification. This solves two problems at once:
    1) it sidesteps any litigation on the issue of spending HSR (non-connectivity) funds on Caltrain
    2) it uses GHG funds on a project that has short-term GHG benefits, unlike HSR

    joe Reply:

    Recall Caltrain HSR electrification funds approved by the Legislature were later restricted to Caltrain electrification and cannot be reprogrammed. Jerry Hill’s “clever” legislation to make a full-build out more difficult also assured the electrification project is 100% dependent on HSR funding.

    Senator Kevin “Tumbleweeds” de Leon has yet to acquire the skills to successfully operate in public as the Senate Leader. He needs a handler.

    joe Reply:

    Well, on second thought maybe de Leon did think this through and coordinate with his peers.

    By linking CV HSR to Fed and Prop1a funding, they are putting pressure on the CV politicians who disparate transportation but benefit from State GHG funding. In particular, Jeff Denham and Kevin McCarthy but also wishy washy CV Dems.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Guess again. It’s the Central Valley politicians of both parties freaking out about the GHG tax because of how dependent they are on gas to get around. Switching funding streams will ensure stronger opposition to HSR both in the CV and Peninsula.

    The truth is this is exactly why we should start with Gilroy to Fresno to Bakersfield. Once the CV section is built, their political support becomes less important and pressure will build on SF to LA to complete the system.

    Eric Reply:

    Gilroy to Bakersfield is nowhere to nowhere. If you are going to the expense of building a mountain crossing, it should be Tejon not Pacheco, so you can start with Fresno-Bakersfield-LA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sigh.

    Gilroy to Bakersfield allows you to run service from the CalTrain corridor to the ICS track. It puts Fresno about an hour away from Silicon Valley and opens up a lot of exciting possibilities. Without that link through Los Banos, the San Joaquin Valley stays isolated.

    You might think that there would be a similar impact for LA to Fresno. But this would not be the case because bakersfield’s economy is actually pretty strong these days because of oil prices and because LA isn’t going to be able to transplant its growing industries to there or Fresno. It’s completely believable that Intel could build a factory in Fresno. It’s very unlikely, however that Disney would put an animation studio in Palmdale or Bakersfield.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Building it from Fresno to Anaheim gets the people who have the good job in the Intel factory to Disney for the weekend.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I was in Bakersfield 3 years ago. Like a ghost town near the Amtak station. Lots of corvettes cruising around. Hardly any traffic. Stores closed. Unshaded sidewalks. Dusty lots undeveloped since the 1950’s. Wide streets with hardly any traffic, but all traffic speeding Bakersfield like a race course.
    If the Peninsula and LA County communities can fix their track good, why can’t Fresno Bakersfield?

    Now we learn Gilroy will raise a 15′ berm for HSR through town and
    underpass the car/foot traffic. Won’t that be nice.
    Parking garage construction 1st priority for job creation.
    God bless America, or not.

    joe Reply:

    Gilroy requested a trenched station and has 750K to further study that downtown alignment.

    William Reply:

    @joe, the Gilroy WG’s recommendation was a Downtown Split-Grade station, not trench station

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Recall Caltrain HSR electrification funds approved by the Legislature were later restricted to Caltrain electrification and cannot be reprogrammed.

    Sure.

    Just like Santa Clara VTA’s funding for Caltrain electrification couldn’t be reprogrammed to BART. Because The People Have Spoken. Oops, except it was. All of it.

    Or VTA’s funding for Dumbarton rail. Oops, reprogrammed to BART.
    Or MTC’s funding for Dumbarton. Oops, reprogrammed for BART.

    Mmmmm … giant sucking sound.

    joe Reply:

    The sound is in your head.

    Senate Bill 557 signed in 2013.

    The bill clarifies that $600 million in high-speed-rail funds will be used to electrify Caltrain by 2019, with local agencies providing the balance of the $1.1 billion project.

    The rail authority is now preparing to construct the first segment of the $68 billion San Francisco-to-Los Angeles rail system in Central Valley. In a statement, Hill said the new law “provides statutory assurance that high-speed-rail funding will be used to advance the modernization of the Caltrain system and deliver cleaner, quieter, faster, more frequent rail service to Peninsula residents and business.”
    http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-09-07-high-speed-rail-safeguard-bill-signed-law#sthash.EmK3QiI0.dpuf

    The State legislate to move the funds. BART can’t touch the funds without it.

    Dumbarton was never this high priority and never had funds ear marked to the project.

    Glad I could help.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ah, the naivete.

    joe Reply:

    Moving the 600M requires changing the Law.

    No such protection for Dumbarton rail.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART throws its weight around NorCal the way the Tejon Ranch Co. does in SoCal.

    Meantime Leland Yee is coming under RICO. It is alleged that he sold votes for $60,000 per vote. What is the difference between Yee and Jerry Brown taking care of the Tejon Ranch and Palmdale real estate developers for campaign contributions and other laundered consideration?

    RICO Jerry Brown. Free fall guys Yee and Shrimp Boy, Rizzo. They are pikers compared to the top Party bosses.

    synonymouse Reply:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-leland-yee-20140726-story.html

    Alan Reply:

    I must say that once again, Morris is wrong. Listening to the entire broadcast in context, Ms. Calefati sounded intelligent and well-informed. I did not discern a bias from her either way, pro or con–in other words, what a reporter should do.

    But Morris can find solace in the fact that anti-HSR hack Vartebedian still works for the LA Times.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s a guy without a clue. Gov Perry comes to Sacramento trolling for the Tesla Battery Factory.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/07/25/california-gigafactory-tesla/13146237/

    Other states appear to be courting Tesla just as vigorously. Texas Gov. Rick Perry showed up in California’s capital of Sacramento in a Tesla to personally lobby Musk. As reported by the Sacramento Bee, Perry complained of California’s “over-taxation, over-regulation and over-litigation.” Yet Texas is one of the states that so far refuses to allow Tesla to sell cars directly to the public, instead of going through dealers, critical to its business model.

    Little facts like that could prove key to California’s bid. Tesla is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and the factory where it makes its electric cars is nearby in Fremont. Brown’s economic development officials say they are fully devoted to keeping Tesla.

    “Tesla was born in California and currently employs over 6,000 people, making them the largest automotive company in the state,” says Brook Taylor, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

    The article indicates a CV facility would be a competitive location if the facility can be approved quickly. I think Nevada has the edge. It has the raw materials.

  7. Eric
    Jul 27th, 2014 at 06:48
    #7

    As much as I am anti-Tehachapi, and as much as the illogical focus on Gilroy recalls the illogical focus on Palmdale, I don’t really care about Pacheco/Altamont. They cost about the same amount, and provide about the same service to SoCal and the Central Valley. Pacheco is bad for Bay Area-Sacramento trips, but the Capital Corridor already exists and can be upgraded to give a high-quality ride from Oakland to Sacramento.

    So let’s stop frothing and focus on the only real travesty, which is Tehachapi.

    Clem Reply:

    While I agree with your overall point, you make two contradictory statements:

    They cost about the same amount

    and

    the Capital Corridor […] can be upgraded to give a high-quality ride

    Presuming that by “high quality” you mean almost as fast or faster than via Altamont HSR, the Cap Cor route would need many billions of realignment and tunnels. Keep in mind that via the SETEC alignment, Tracy (and the Central Valley) is just 35 minutes from Transbay.

    So no, they do not cost about the same. Pacheco requires additional investment to make a halfway decent Bay Area – Sacramento connection, which the Cap Cor (with all my apologies to all the Amtrak apologists) is not.

    It all depends on how you frame the question.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Getting to Tracy isn’t going to be cheap either.

    Clem Reply:

    It seems the point went way over your head. Pacheco and Altamont (via Tracy) are about the same cost and difficulty, as Eric correctly pointed out. The difference is that Pacheco requires a second alignment to provide for fast Bay Area – Sacramento service, while Altamont does not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the rest of the world, including most of California doesn’t have an Altamont fetish.

    Reality Check Reply:

    They don’t have a wasteful spending fetish either, and yet it keeps happening … so there’s still hope for Altamont since fetishes are evidently not a prerequisite.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Depends on what you want to spend money on. Most people don’t care that the people in Fremont would be able to get to the Walgreen’s in Stockton really fast. Not even the people in Fremont. The people in San Jose decided that they would rather have an HSR station instead of BART ride to Fremont to go anyplace that the diesel Caltrain trains couldn’t take them.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Which is exactly why Amtrak California uses Altamont for the Capitol Corridor service, because it is much more convenient for people traveling to and from Sacramento…

    Lewellan Reply:

    Consider Altamont a central rail connector =to be electrified= as soon as possible.
    Can capacity along this corridor be reached without HSR?
    Can Amtrak Capitals and San Juaquins improve with the upgrades?
    If they can, so be it, majority viewpoint supports fixing existing rails first,
    as most cost effective, productive, you name it.
    Anyway, Has Tejon engineering been proven “reliable/resilient” thus necessary,
    or is Tehachapi spoken of in heraldy wizardrous exclamations of expertly fortitudinalness?

    jonathan Reply:

    Lewellan, the Altamont right-of-way is owned by Union Pacific. Union Pacific’s response to electrification of their right-of-way is: “fuck off and die”.

    The rest of your comment is incoherent.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Happily, essentially none of the SETEC Altamont ROW is owned by UP.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Capital Corridor Service runs from Sacramento to San Jose via Oakland.
    It is ‘managed’ by Amtrak not run by them, other posters have explained this in more detail.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Amtrak California is the trade name of the California Department of Transportation’s Division of Rail.

    jonathan Reply:

    Keith, Capital Corridor is operated by BART, under a contract with CCJPA. Not Amtrak.
    I wouldn’t wonder if you have parroted a which states that.

    William Reply:

    Capitol Corridor is run by Amtrak but day-to-day managed by BART

    Reality Check Reply:

    But then, as you know, what Capital Corridor uses is irrelevant because it just used (and continues to use) whatever existing ROW it could (can) … and has at no time planned to build and/or operate HSR linking SF and Sacramento.

    William Reply:

    It is “Capitol Corridor” with “o”, for where the legislature branch meets

    joe Reply:

    It’s amazing how Pacheco is disparaged as a “focus on Gilroy”.

    KION news Monterey television thinks the Gilroy Station matters.
    http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/highspeed-rail-station-proposal-moves-forward-in-gilroy/27112954

    Altamont bypasses Monterey County which is a tourist and business destination in favor of commuter traffic to/from SF and Sacramento.

    HSR is full cost recovery – no subsidy. Someone, anyone please guestimate how many subsidized Amtrak riders will switch to the full cost recovery HSR fare.

    Estimate how many Sacramento State employees move to SF and commuter to their Sacramento Job given City employees can’t afford to live in the city.

    joe Reply:

    The state’s median starting base pay in 2011 was $2,280 per month, or $27,360 per year.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “HSR is full cost recovery – no subsidy.”

    Absolute nonsense. And BART is being sold to a private operator. Yeah, sure.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “HSR is full [operating] cost recovery” ~ and also has substantially lower operating costs per mile than Amtrak California trains. That’s one of the things that all of those capital subsidies are buying you ~ more efficient rolling stock utilization because of more turns per train, and lower per mile costs for all costs that are accrue on a per-hour basis.

    Zorro Reply:

    And Clem, no work is being done for Altamont & HSR, none, just for Pacheco, also HSR isn’t the Capitol Corridor, nor is it meant to be.

    Clem Reply:

    Good for you!

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    HSR should ban grade crossings. (Prop 1-A in 2008 was for “Safe, Reliable” HSR.)—

    End first stage HSR to the Bay Area at San Jose. (Near seamless transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, Amtrak, SCVTA, and BART.)—

    Later extend HSR via Santa Clara, Mulford, and Oakland to Sacramento (route used by Amtrak 11/14). New transfer station at BART overhead in Oakland (6 minutes from San Francisco’s downtown Embarcadero station and near all of BARTland).—

    Embarcadero is really more a center for transbay transit than is the mis-named bus terminal now under construction.

    Alan Reply:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna.

    Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

    Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

    Makes about as much sense as anything that Mr. Allen has written…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    “Your ideas intrigue me, I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”

    morris brown Reply:

    Clem wrote:

    It seems the point went way over your head. Pacheco and Altamont (via Tracy) are about the same cost and difficulty, as Eric correctly pointed out. The difference is that Pacheco requires a second alignment to provide for fast Bay Area – Sacramento service, while Altamont does not.

    I have always been amazed that this project, which up until now, was dominated by Northern California legislators, (think Steinberg, Leno), and Northern board members (Diridon, Kopp etc),
    did not insist upon the much much better choice of Altamont over Pachecho.

    Getting to or from Sacramento on the train via Pacheco is a losing choice, when compared even to driving. The mighty force of San Jose, which from the beginning said, either come through San Jose or we will not support the project carried the day.

    joe Reply:

    I am amazed that this project’s critics are dominated by people living adjacent to the Caltrain right of way in the wealthy cities of Meno Park, Atherton and Palo Alto.

    Folks, you bought property near a 150 year old ROW. It’s being used again. Deal with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It has been dealt with, provided LAHSR does not implode. In which case BART will move in for the kill.

    It has been dealt with by money and connections. Ergo the Blend. The Cheerleaders come away with heads bloodied.

    Same thing happened at Tejon where the Ranch’s money and connections have(thus far)prevailed. Rule of the superrich and insiders is a two-edged sword. Developers and growthmongers win at Mojave but lose in PAMPA.

    Clem Reply:

    The Transportation Industrial Complex has a strong incentive to build two alignments rather than one. That’s why the whole question of Bay Area – Sac service is conspicuously out-of-scope of HSR, awaiting the moment when Pacheco is a done deal and “something must be done” about the Capitol Corridor. From where they stand, it’s perfectly logical: why build one train at taxpayer expense when you can build two trains at taxpayer expense?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And the not living along the single alignment pay taxes and get a say in what gets built or not built. There’s more to life than getting people to and from San Francisco.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The Monterey area gets many millions of visitor a year – my wife & I regularly go and meet folks coming from SoCal. We never have reason to go to Sac but we we do go to LA, Fresno, Davis, Tahoe, Vegas and Phoenix – usually by car unfortunately.

    I do not assume that this ‘Phase 1′ and ‘Phase 2′ routing will be the last HSR that we ever build or need in CA. I do assume Clem travels regularly from SF to Sac and thus cares about that routing. But please don’t take away the planned/approved connecting service for Monterey, and let’s come together to finish phase 1 so that we can extend it further.

    Eric Reply:

    “Presuming that by “high quality” you mean almost as fast or faster than via Altamont HSR, ”

    I don’t mean trains moving at HSR speed. Oakland-Sacramento is only about 90 miles, and a large fraction of the ROW is already very straight. Even without straightening the nasty curves on the Oakland end, I don’t see why the whole route should take more than about an hour. That time seems quite competitive to me, and it saves extra HSR spots on the peninsula for trips to SoCal.

    Clem Reply:

    It isn’t about speed. It is indeed about trip times. The Cap Cor has three major problems that hurt tip times: 1) crappy connection to San Francisco, 2) very twisty alignment and 3) it belongs to UPRR. That’s why trip times from SF to Sac won’t come below two hours without some very large capital costs. Altamont HSR will beat any Bay Area – Sac Cap Cor trip time by a large margin, despite the circuitous routing. And it will do so for free.

    As for slots on the peninsula, there can be many more of them if HSR vacates the corridor at Redwood City. This was a obvious finding of Caltrain’s capacity analysis: Dumbarton trains slot in transparently because they don’t need to overtake when only using half the peninsula.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And trip along the current Altamont tracks is so crappy that a few passengers trains a day toddle through. Fixing that will require a large capital outlay. It wouldn’t be free because people without an Altamont fetish decided that the trains to Los Angeles won’t be going that way.

    Clem Reply:

    Nobody is talking about using the current Altamont tracks except you. We are talking about using the green-field SETEC alignment instead of the green-field Pacheco alignment, either of which can be built for about the same capital outlay. The former provides scorching fast service between the Bay Area and Sacramento, blowing the doors right off the Capitol Corridor and I-80. The latter does not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Here on planet Earth people who aren’t as mesmerized by the glory that Altamont would be bring decided that they wanted to build something else. Which makes talking about the current tracks pertinent.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A simple look at ridership statistics would tell you that most passengers would still pick Capitol Corridor service over “scorching fast” Altamont HSR because most passengers get on or off between Davis and Oakland.

    In a perfect world, there would be two HSR alignments splitting off from San Jose: one to go south through Pacheco and one to go north up the Sunol grade to the 680 and over the Carquinez Strait and down through Yolo County and into Sacramento. Then from there, the track would split again going north to Oregon and east to Folsom and then Tahoe and Reno.

    jonathan Reply:

    North to Oregon?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It might never be able to break even, but I believe Portland to Sacramento could be Serbs by 220mph trains in three hours.

    Eric Reply:

    It could, it would just take a couple hundred billion dollars to construct. Not worth it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Just a couple ten billion, but still not worth it given city sizes.

    Eric Reply:

    CAHSR is at 60-90 billion and has many fewer mountains in the way.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The bulk of the CAHSR cost is not mountain crossings, but iconic bridges and suburban tunnels.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    A simple look at ridership statistics would tell you that most passengers would still pick Capitol Corridor service over “scorching fast” Altamont HSR because most passengers get on or off between Davis and Oakland.

    Ted, we’re all still waiting for you to make any comment that is either true or remotely rational. Keep trying! Or better yet, don’t.

    For actual Planet Earth reality, see http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/07/bad-political-analysis-makes-for-bad-hsr-criticism/#comment-231161 and follow-ons.

    For fully 46% of the existing market, Sacramento—Davis and Altamont HSR with BART connection in Livermore and Fremont absolutely blows the socks of any conceivable shit-tastic Amtrak Capital Corridor “upgrade”. In reality, market growth (not Amtrak! actually competitive with anything!) would mean that 80+% of Bay Area—Sacramento Area rail ridership would be via Altamont, with the UPRR/Amtrak dino-trains chugging and creaking and winding along for as an ongoing welfare operation.

    joe Reply:

    “ongoing welfare operation.”
    That’s right. “welfare” as in acknowledging commuter fares cover 50% of the CC cost.

    On planet Mlynarik cost is not a problem. BART to HSR to Sacramento – if you have to ask how much then you can’t afford it.

    Joey Reply:

    50% farebox recovery is still pretty heavily subsidized. Not that the service should be canceled but it’s worth acknowledging that it’s not too difficult to do better.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Very cute, Richard.

    You build a straw man argument against mine because you can’t even address the point I am making. So let’s think about this. On the Cap Corridor currently, it takes right around two hours to go from Oakland to Sacramento and three from San Jose. So, a mindblowingly fast Altamont would siphon most passengers from the Capitols from the South Bay. But that isn’t where the riders are currently!

    Add in the requisite connection or BART or drive down 680 to Livermore, and you just wiped out your time savings. Sure, it allows SF residents a slightly faster trip that is one seat ride. But hey, it solves needing two HSR alignments, not because Altamont will carry all the traffic but because the other route will stay slow legacy rail!

    Genius…

    Joe Reply:

    HSR had to be full cost recovery. Like all commuter systems, CC ticket sales do not cover cost of operation. CC pays half of costs in fares.

    Replacing CCwith an 2 to 3 times as expensive alternative might not be awesome for the average user.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Joe, “ongoing welfare operation” in the original sense of an ongoing operation serving the common good.

    And full [operating] cost recovery does not in itself imply tickets that cost twice as much, since the per mile costs to be recovered would be substantially lower for HSR than for the Amtrak California services.

    Joey Reply:

    Right – maintaining the existing service and pursuing faster express service along a different alignment aren’t mutually exclusive. If anything, having express service along a different route helps the local service because improvements can focus on serving the local markets rather than end-to-end travel time.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It sucks for the local travel markets because they are so far away from each other that they aren’t the same markets.

    Joe Reply:

    Mlynarik uses welfare as a pejorative.

    I agree that “welfare” or subsidized transit is necessary. recognize commuter rail cannot be full cost recovery. That’s why HSR isn’t going be a suitable commuter system. As a full cost recovery service, it certainly will not be competitive with subsidized service nor will it carry as many riders given the limited stations allowed by prop1a.

    I recall cost and ridership estimates priced Gilroy to San Jose at $26 each way. It’s 7.00 to San Jose, over three times the cost, and 13.00 all the way to SF which is half the cost of a full trip to SF.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    1. Any remotely competent inter-city rail operation should achieve 100% operating cost recovery.

    2. CCJPA (and anything related to Amtrak, and anything related to Olde Tyme US Passenger Railroading) is indeed a welfare operation, in the pejorative sense, because its beneficiaries are (1) the operating unions (2) the agency employees (3) the agency contractors and, overwhelmingly (4) UPRR and its contractors.

    Public benefit — a legitimate goal — and public services delivered are insignificant, accidental side-effects of the operation of public-private wealth transfer swindle machine that sucks down a billion dollars and delivers one crappy slow late hugely-over-staffed creaking museum train per hour at best after a couple decades of “investment”.

    3. There’s no way in hell that any level of “investment” in UPRR’s private infrastructure and in Amtrak-style shit-trains is ever going to yield anything approaching the level of service to the size of market that BART+Altamont (+Davis extension) could. We have two decades of irrefutable real world history that shows this. Yes, there are intermediate riders between Berkeley and Davis. No, they shouldn’t be ignored. But there are far far far better and cheaper ways to serve a lot more people than to piss away tens of billions making slow unreliable freight-crippled Amtrak, well, just the same slow unreliable and freight-crippled, but a bit more of the same.

    Money spent on Amtrak and/or Old Tyme Commuter Railroading is simply money wasted.

    It’s nice that a small handful of people (including my non driving by personal martyrdom choice self) choose to martyr themselves to ride a slow and hostile and infrequent insider-welfare train some times instead of driving. But that doesn’t mean that the public or the global environment are receiving anything remotely like a return on the resources which have been squandered on this historical train wreck.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. so building HSR from Sacramento to Davis is going to be cheaper than building HSR from Davis to Sacramento? Hmmm.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Richard,

    You act surprised that America perpetuates corporate welfare for the railroads as if the alternative is better. Track is private property and unless you want the government owning it all and leasing it out to concessionaires, I don’t see how public utility increases. Rail service sucks because gas is cheap and roads are wide.

    Still, you imply a very important point: HSR is intercity transportation and cannot be all things to all people. The current construction boom in rail keeps perpetuating the myth that a mode like light rail can substitute for BART or streetcars. That Metrolink and the Surfliner are interchangeable, no need to worry. This is the real danger, that we build exactly what we don’t need.

    joe Reply:

    1. Any remotely competent inter-city rail operation should achieve 100% operating cost recovery.

    Cap Cor is commuter rail, not intercity. It’s ridership is predominately people who ride on a daily basis. Commuter rail is intentionally NOT run for full cost recovery. HSR is full cost recovery. Costs will at least double and probably triple for the same commute. You’re not helping.

    2. CCJPA (and anything related to Amtrak, and anything related to Olde Tyme US Passenger Railroading) is indeed a welfare operation, in the pejorative sense, because its beneficiaries are (1) the operating unions (2) the agency employees (3) the agency contractors and, overwhelmingly (4) UPRR and its contractors.

    Scapegoats — Unions, employees, contractors, railroads, and reality.

    ….


    It’s nice that a small handful of people (including my non driving by personal martyrdom choice self) choose to martyr themselves to ride a slow and hostile and infrequent insider-welfare train some times instead of driving.
    But that doesn’t mean that the public or the global environment are receiving anything remotely like a return on the resources which have been squandered on this historical train wreck.

    We’ve used Caltrain for twenty years now and never once thought it was martyrdom.
    Do everyone a favor and buy a Tesla.

    joe Reply:

    It’s also about station limits, fares and full cost recovery.

    The CC Business Plan. Page 19 Budget
    http://www.capitolcorridor.org/included/docs/business_plans/12_14_Business_Plan.pdf

    Cap Cor revenues (30M) cover about 50% of the total cost of operation (60M). The total budget request for 2011-12 is just under (34M).

    HSR is also be limited to 24 stations.

    (d) The total number of stations to be served by high-speed trains for all of the corridors described in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall not exceed 24.

    The HSR system stations would be SFT, SFO, RWcity and East Bay (would be the GLY in Pacheco alignment).and the SJC Station.

    Adding commuter stops at Oakland and Fremont and Livermore and Tracy take from the 24 station cap.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The 24 station limit is for stations built with the bond money. If someone wants to come up with money from some place else they are free to spend that money whatever way they want to.

    joe Reply:

    The 24 station limit describes the system under construction, the business plan and the revenue model. So no they can’t do what they want with non-prop1a money.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So for all eternity there will only be 24 HSR stations in all of California? In a moment of rationality Caltrain, HSR and Metrolink all decide to use the same platform height etc. But because the holy Prop says there can only be 24 stations HSR trains, even though they could, can’t stop any place but those 24 stations? One day the bonds are going to be paid off. But even thought the bonds have been paid off the holy Prop says there can only be 24 stations and Palm Springs is shit outta luck even though the HSR line to Phoenix passes through out near I-10? Or once an hour one of them extending one of them to Irvine is verboten? Even though theres no technical reason why they couldn’t.

    Joe Reply:

    “So for all eternity there will only …”
    My 9 year old argues this way.

    Altamont advocates want a second east bay commuter system that runs to Sacramento and crosses at dumbarton. When that alignment is evaluated against prop1a requirements it falls short. That’s the current standard so it matters.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So they can’t build commuter stations in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale either because that would mean having more than 24 stations along the line? Or Glendale or….

    Joe Reply:

    That’s right. They can’t add stations willy nilly.

    Each one matters.

    Clem Reply:

    By the authority’s own documents, Altamont is two minutes faster than Pacheco for LA-SF

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The BART ride from San Jose to Fremont would make the trip from San Jose much longer.

    Joey Reply:

    Hard to say since BART never actually published travel times for the SV extension.

    Joe Reply:

    Joey

    VTA claims in promotional material a trip from San Jose to SF in 60 minutes.
    Green line Fremont to SF is 46 minutes.
    That means about 15 additional minutes to the San Jose Berryessa station from Fremont.

    Joey Reply:

    Can you link me to this promotional material? Travel times are 100% absent from the EIR.

    Joe Reply:

    Search on “travel time BART berryessa”

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20120124/20120124_0602pres.pdf

    61 minutes to SF and also travel time to Pleasanton.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe,
    Your 9-year-old argues that way? Does your 9-year-old know the difference between a minimum and a maximum? Maybe you should ask your 9-year-old to explain to you why your claim that a one-time, police-close-all-the-grade-crossings, “cannonball run” from SJ to SF meets the *maximum*, *not more than* requirement of Prop 1A.

    Then again, maybe you lie to your own children. Who’s to know?

    Joe Reply:

    He knows not to act out for attention or write creepy things.

    jonathan Reply:

    “Creepy things?” You find objective facts “creepy”? Facts repeated over months, facts easily verified by reading this blog?
    ,
    And you claim to be a scientist!!

    joe Reply:

    Creepy ->

    Then again, maybe you lie to your own children. Who’s to know?

    jonathan Reply:

    You lie here. Who’s to know where else you lie?

    jonathan Reply:

    .. then again, maybe you *don’t* lie here; you truly *don’t* know the difference between a minimum and a maximum. Either way, you’re sunk. Unless you tell your children the unvarnished truth.

    Do you tell your children that you’re a wacko who thinks California should spend *NINETY BILLION DOLLARS* buying up UPRR — because that’s the only way it could happen — so as to electrify the Gilroy-to-San-Jose right-of-way a decade or so earlier than an electrified HSR corridor? Just for you. Oh, and the other 450 riders per day between Gilroy and San Jose.

    No, I bet you don’t. Because that would expose you for what you are.
    And you say that’s “creepy”?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh yeah, there’ll be stations in Caliente, Mojave, Tehachapi. If you want AmBART commute rail to sprawl out the high desert you need plenty of stations.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its for the system built, if the system is to use the bond money. But so long as the system is being built with funding in part provided with Prop1a bonds, that’s a limit that has to be respected.

    If additional corridors were to be connected to the system, to Las Vegas or Reno or Phoenix or Palm Springs … that would be a different matter.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What remedy is there in the legislation besides withholding bond money? once it’s all disbursed there might be some chance of restricting spending by the Authority because it would endanger the repayment of the bonds. But someday the bonds are going to be paid off. Once that happens whatever restrictions there are in the bonds are even harder to enforce.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If you are talking about beyond the time horizon when the bonds are paid off … then hypothetically, sure, but its far enough in the future that its a pointless exercise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Worrying about whether or not there are 24 stations in 2025 is equally pointless. There won’t be. All of the bond money will have been spent by then. If somebody wants to spend money from someplace else there won’t be any bond money to withhold. It would be very hard to argue that spending not-bond-money on more station or track, from Palmdale to Victorville for instance, would endanger repaying the bonds. It would be increasing ridership which would make it more likely the bonds would be repaid.

    Joe Reply:

    Even the laurel & hardy legal team could win a lawsuit where CA is planning on violating Prop1a as soon as the money runs out. That planning can be subpoenaed and face to face discussions explored under examination.

    And when they populate the HSR revenue and ridership model with these commuter East Bay rail stations because they’ll pretend it’s within the 24 station cap, they’ll model a drop in revenue if not run a deficit. With coexisting BART and CC service, the more expensive HSR commuter system isn’t going to make it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It will be hilarious when they try to convince the judge to withhold money from the bonds after all of money from the bonds has been spent. And even more hilarious when somebody comes up with money to build more track or more stations and they try to argue that increasing ridership with new tracks or a new station, built with other people’s money, is going to endanger paying off the bonds.

    Joe Reply:

    That’s billions of matching dollars from now.

    So it’s not hilarious if they plan to violate the law and get caught or destroy evidence or conspire to break the law and cover up the acts.

    What’s planned, said, written now matters.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How can they violate the law when they make it up as they go along? Who is going to stop them

    Those in charge of investigating only go after the minnows, never the big tunas. The Willie Browns are hard to catch because the fix is usually done at the goodwill level and consideration comes later. So you automatically take care of the Ranch since that’s the way it has always worked.

    “Manus manum lavat”

    -Caius Petronius

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t planning on building more than 24 stations. If three years after the last of the bond money is spent they look around and decide that they need tracks between, oh Victorville and Palmdale, and the Desert Express people are willing to pay for it with money they scared up someplace else what’s going to stop them from facilitating that? And running trains which bring them more revenue making it easier to pay off the bonds?

    jonathan Reply:

    Revenue? More revenue? CHSRA (Dan Richard) says they want to privatize the profits, by selling a concession to private operators. Who gets more revneue in the case of a 5 or 10 or 20 year concession?

    Eric Reply:

    “The Cap Cor has three major problems that hurt tip times: 1) crappy connection to San Francisco, 2) very twisty alignment and 3) it belongs to UPRR. That’s why trip times from SF to Sac won’t come below two hours without some very large capital costs.”

    1) A one-station ride on BART is not really a “crappy” connection. And the CC has a better connection to Oakland and anywhere in the East Bay, which to some extent makes up for the worse connection to SF.
    2) The route is pretty damn straight north of the San Joaquin crossing. South of this crossing there are nasty curves. But this south part is only about 30 miles long. If a few of the worse curves are corrected somewhat in order to enable 60mph travel on that segment, it should be possible to achieve 1 hour travel times overall.
    3) Most of the route has development on at most one side of the tracks, and/or a wide ROW, so the UPRR obstacle should be surmountable.

    jonathan Reply:

    Eric,

    *BZZZT*. Having to deal with BART fare-gates is a crappy connection. Having to deal with BART ground-level-to-platform, and platform-to-ground-level, is a crappy connection. And then, if PBQD gets their way, having to deal with yet another fare-gate to get onto HSR is a crappy connection.

    Eric Reply:

    So, how much money is worth spending so that travelers do not have to walk through a fare gate and up a flight of stairs? I’d say not very much.

    Zorro Reply:

    Eric, give us a break, Tejon isn’t happening, no HSR work of any sort is being done there, Tehachapi is where HSR will go, don’t like that? Too bad, I mean what are you going to do? Whine some more like a 2yr old?

    synonymouse Reply:

    So, Zorro, what is your cost estimate for the Detour, Bako to Sylmar, mit base tunnel to Palmdale?

  8. Andrew
    Jul 27th, 2014 at 08:30
    #8

    Forget about Pacheco Pass; take the Panoche Rd route:

    http://goo.gl/maps/UmM7v

    Cuts LA-Bay Area travel time way down. LA-SJ in 1:40 possible. Flat and tunnel-free except for the black portions. Does not cross San Andreas Fault.

  9. Lewellan
    Jul 27th, 2014 at 12:32
    #9

    The argument that favors the Altamont corridor goes like this:
    Altamont electrification reaches higher capacity and service market with HSR.
    Gilroy/Los Banos should have basic appreciable passenger-rail upgrades, new crossings, grade separations. That outcome is less parking structure roadway traffic dominant all around Pacheco towns and neighborhoods, not forgetting loud 200mph wheel squeal all day and overnight.
    Altamont HSR average speed is under 100mph, normal noise levels.

    Madera-to-Fresno accomplishes nothing.
    The top-speed track testing doesn’t test hazard curves, repeat accelleration/decelleration
    brakes, slow speeds, related signalling, construction, impact, etc.
    It makes no sense to spend so much money and effort and get so little to show for it.
    Madera-to-Fresno/Bakersfield is NOT a credible IOS for 1st Phase.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Madera-to-Fresno/Bakersfield is NOT a credible IOS for 1st Phase.”

    Madera to Fresno/Bakersfield is not being proposed as “IOS for 1st Phase”, so whether or not its a credible “IOS for 1st Phase” is a moot point.

    Also note that phrases like “IOS for 1st Phase” increases the weight of evidence in favor of a comment-generating robot, since there are not different IOS for different phases … there is just one Initial Operating Service, due to the meaning of the word “Initial”.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Blah blah blah. Obviously, it’s easier for chearleaders to frame any discussion around semantics and terminology. Palmdale-to-LA is recently also considered an IOS, though discussion of the advantages/drawbacks of the Tejon route is verboten. Proponents should keep Plan B options on the table, just in case their ‘infallable’ designs ‘fall apart’ again.

    Alan Reply:

    Blah, blah, blah. Obviously, it’s easier for trolls to convince us that they have no clue about the actual project when you write things like you do. The IOS–the only IOS–is Merced-LA. The initial construction segment is Merced-Bakersfield. There’s a significant difference.

    Madera-to-Fresno accomplishes nothing.
    The top-speed track testing doesn’t test hazard curves, repeat accelleration/decelleration
    brakes, slow speeds, related signalling, construction, impact, etc.

    Please explain how you know better than the manufacturers’ engineers who have all told the Authority that the ICS will be an acceptable test track?

    That outcome is less parking structure roadway traffic dominant all around Pacheco towns and neighborhoods, not forgetting loud 200mph wheel squeal all day and overnight.
    Altamont HSR average speed is under 100mph, normal noise levels.

    Please cite your sources for your claim that the Altamont average speed is under 100mph.

  10. synonymouse
    Jul 27th, 2014 at 14:22
    #10

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/27/dust-storm-arizona/13244675/

    The San Joaquin Valley of the future. Yeah, 220mph thru Bako.

    Eric M Reply:

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China regarding HSR? Moron

    datacruncher Reply:

    That is not a new phenomenon in Phoenix and it never slowed population growth there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    He’s bored. Next he will post a story about Valley fever cases in Arizona, unaware the Valley the disease is named for is actually the San Joaquin.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The name is only because it was first identified in the San Joaquin Valley. But the disease is found from Monterey County to Texas in the US and south into Central America.

    It probably should have been named for an Arizona landmark. CDC stats show over 2/3s of Valley Fever cases are from Arizona.
    http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/statistics.html

  11. joe
    Jul 27th, 2014 at 18:58
    #11

    I think he’s eyeballing those level of service estimates.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/07/bullet-train-goal-68-trips-a-day-from-dallas-to.html

    A fleet of high-speed bullet trains could be zipping from Dallas to Houston 68 times a day by 2021, says Travis Kelly, vice president of government relations for the Texas Central Railway.
    “If you know you can go to the station and catch a train, then you’re more likely to take the train,” Kelly told me Thursday. “Especially in the early days, we’d love to say those trains are going to be full on day one. But they’re not. You’re going to have the flexibility to just walk up to the station, buy a ticket and get on the train.”
    ….
    The Dallas station would likely be built in downtown, he said.

    “It would be really easy to connect into DART,” he said.

    For Houston, the station could be built just north of downtown depending on right-of-way costs.

    Downtown stations are good but it will cost more than 10B if both stations are near downtown.

  12. Andy M
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 04:12
    #12
  13. Reality Check
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 11:06
    #13

    After nearly half a century, US rail industry, regulators, continue to stall adopting PTC

    jonathan Reply:

    Factually incorrect.

    After *OVER A CENTURY*, US rail industry, regulators, continue to stall adopting systems to prevent trains from passing signal set at stop (UK English: “Danger”)

    Reality Check: if you’re going to go back even 50 years, you *cannot* call it PTC. There were well-established terms, even then. “PTC” is a legislative invention, which has been implemented as an incompatible-with-everything-else-in-the-entire-world radio ATP system.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The rest of the world uses different frequency allocations.

    jonathan Reply:

    You’re saying the Great Western Railroad used radio-frequency a century ago? Did the PRR use their own RF spectrum? How about Indusi. Hint, your beloved PRR *tried* that.
    Your response big stretch, even for *you*.

    Oh, and in case it escaped you: The RF portion of a digital processor is *tiny*. It’s an intellectual-propety core (IP core) which can be swapped at cost which is minimal, over the units needed for a continent-wide system.

    Do the residents of the Adirondacks bring their own facts about the RF spectrum used by signalling systems in China? Hint: they’re not the same RF spectrum as those same signallling systems use in the rest of the world.

    jonathan Reply:

    .. your response *is a* big stretch…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So just how many current users in ITU region 1 have to be reallocated so railroads in Region 1 can use the radios railroads in region 2 and 3 use?

  14. Keith Saggers
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 13:18
    #14

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/events/2014_Palmdale_LA_Public_Scoping_Mtg_Notice_072414.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    Please note the Alternative Corridor – New Study Area in the Palmdale to Burbank section. (Or was that always a corridor of consideration??)
    Does that mean more, or less, tunneling?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It’s almost all tunnel, to be studied at the request of Antonovich to avoid his district’s populated areas along I-14. Problem is what do you do at the south end between the 210 and the 5?

    Eric M Reply:

    That is not a problem. You keep the boring machines low with a 45 degree (so to speak) underground turn popping up next to San Fernando Road.

    jonathan Reply:

    And, just out of morbid curiosity, what is the radius of that turn?

    Eric M Reply:

    I don’t remember the math. I will look it up. I think they were planning on 125 mph on that area, maybe 150. Can’t remember off the top of my head.

    Eric M Reply:

    Between ~ 6000 to 9000 feet. Minimum

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