Dan Richard’s Canonical Smackdown of Anti-HSR Talking Points

Jul 15th, 2014 | Posted by

James Fallows’s series at the Atlantic is really getting good. Chris Reed of U-T San Diego, a right-wing ideologue and a notorious opponent of HSR, called Fallows “clueless” about the bullet train. But Fallows has dealt with fools before, and wasn’t about to be intimidated by Reed. Fallows turned to California High Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard for a response, and it’s really damn good:

1. All the wonderful things the train allegedly does don’t matter if it can’t be paid for. There is at most $13 billion in state and federal funding for a project that has a price tag of $68 billion (a price tag that no one really believes is accurate). There is no prospect for further federal funding in an era in which discretionary domestic spending is being squeezed as never before. State funding of $250 million a year from fees from California’s nascent cap-and-trade pollution-rights market begins this budget cycle. But that is a pittance, and if they’re off the record, no state lawmaker will admit to wanting taxpayers to foot the entire bill. So why can’t the private sector come to the rescue? Because…

[Richard replies] Chris Reed’s funding analysis is simplistic and deeply flawed. First and foremost, virtually no project knows where all the funding is coming from at the outset. When we started BART to SFO, we were supposed to have $750 million in federal funding. We had virtually none for years and Sen. Dianne Feinstein and I walked out of Sen. Mark Hatfield’s office in 1994 with the first $25 million, which was a pittance. In the end, we received all $750 million and that was after Republicans took control of the Congress and 1994 and we were assured we wouldn’t get another dollar of federal monies. The California High-Speed Rail program has been held to a standard that no other program has had to face, which is to address calls for how the entire system will be funded, in advance. Nevertheless, here’s a broad outline:

• Cap and Trade dollars could provide billions for the project. The state talks of our allocation in terms of percentages because to speak of specific dollars would send signals to the carbon traders about what the expected the price of carbon credits. Still, the $250 million in first year funding is considered a modest amount compared to what future dollars would bring. Moreover, the cap and trade dollars, as more experience is gained, allow us to finance the construction of certain legs and build simultaneously, thereby reducing costs. Our $68 billion estimate includes inflation at 3% per year. Not only has inflation been below that amount, but for every year we cut off the construction time, we save about $1 billion dollars.

• Private Sector — Yes Virginia, there is strong private sector interest. People who talk about the lack of private sector involvement generally have no clue how the private sector works. Among other things, one should not want the private sector investment to occur at the outset, because the private sector prices risk and the risk would be highest then. However, our ridership estimates, which have been scrubbed by everyone from two independent peer review groups to the GAO, show that the system, as it is built out, will generate billions of dollars in excess of operating costs. Like the Japanese and other systems, our business model is to sell the rights to operate on our infrastructure to the private sector. We believe the NPV of the excess revenues will be between $12 billion for the initial operating segment and $20 billion for the line from LA to SF. At $20 billion, that would mean the private sector would be putting up about 1/3 of the system costs, doing that along the way to help us build out the full system.

• Development Potential — In Japan one-third of the revenues earned by Japan Rail East, one of the private sector operators of the Shinkensen comes from real estate development around the stations. We have not even begun to explore how to maximize that potential. In Arlington Virginia, station area planning resulted in such a dramatic explosion of mixed use development, generating such enormous property tax increments that the county was able to lower its other property taxes (source: Bob Dunphy, formerly with Urban Land Institute, now teaching at Georgetown). Senate President Darrell Steinberg proposed last year a bill that would allow for tax increment financing of any development within one mile of a high speed rail station. Sharing those tax increments with local communities would be appropriate, but we’d still be able to develop an enormous funding base.

• Use of the infrastructure — Again, we’re just beginning to look at maximization of the infrastructure we’d be building. Leasing the right-of-way (ROW) for fiber optic cable, as we did at BART, would generate significant revenues. Energy development in our ROW would be another money maker.

The point is that this is a long-term program. Our cap and trade funds are actually one of the more stable transportation funding mechanisms around (especially compared to the current situation of the Highway Trust Fund).

Finally, I do believe there will be additional federal support over time. Experience shows that to be the case, especially if legs of the system are up and running and it’s a matter of closing gaps, etc.

That’s just the first of seven epic smackdowns Richard delivers to Reed. Go read all seven, including Richard’s response on Prop 1A legality, the 2:40 travel time requirement, public and political support, and more. Bookmark it for future reference. It’s that good.

  1. jonathan
    Jul 15th, 2014 at 21:08

    Dan Richard is arguing on the basis of BART-to-SFO. As if it were a success. And citing other action at BART as a precedent. BART-to-SFO still loses money, At least if you’re honest, and acknowledge that the Colma station is NOT part of BART-to-SFO. Therefore Colma ridership cannot be counted toward BART-to-SFO revenue, Without that (bogus) ridership, BART-to-SFO is a failure.

    With a track record like that …. California HSR is doomed.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    I may well be missing some context, but it looks to me like Colma is included in the extension not to inflate the extension’s ridership estimates, but to deflate them: The EIR (so helpfully transcribed on Richard’s website catalog of Bart-Hate) noted that they believed many riders who would otherwise have boarded at Colma and Daly City would do so at a more southerly station once the extension was completed; thus, to measure the extension’s marginal ridership, you would want to look at the change between Colma alone, and Colma through SFO.

    Colma and Millbrae underperform the EIR the most, reaching 37% and 55% of projected 2010 ridership respectively. The other extension stations (San Bruno, South San Francisco, SFO) range from 73% to 84%; and Daily City outperformed by 50%.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    On topic, the only way in which he argued that the project is similar to Bart-to-SFO is that the project was started with partial funding. Unless you believe partial funding undermined Bart-to-SFO’s success (did it force the project to take shortcuts that undermined utility and therefore ridership? Please enumerate!), I don’t see how there would be any logical connection between the timeline of revenue and the project’s ability to meet ridership projections.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    In order to get the funding, BART lied about how much the SFO extension would actually cost. That meant better projects (such as Caltrain electrification, DTX) did not get built as a result. And the cost overruns blew a giant hole in Samtrans finances.

    So yeah, BART-SFO is a good comparison. But not in the way Richard would like.

    joe Reply:

    and I got a kidney stone!! Thanks Richards.

    “better” projects that lack advocacy and stakeholders to make them happen.

    BART-SFO didn’t stop Caltrain electrification.

    It’s taking the State and Gov’s office focused attention to electrify Caltrain. NIMBYs oppose improvements to grade crossings, additional gate down time, unsightly poles and electrification infrastructure and etc. Atherton wants Caltrain to run Tier 4 diesels.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    BART-SFO didn’t stop Caltrain electrification.

    For twenty five or more years and counting, yes, it did, and is doing so to this day.

    One day you may perhaps make a comment that contains some glimmer or truth and/or logic. But today is not that day.

    joe Reply:

    It is BART-SFO and Richards’ fault.
    Well at least you stopped blaming Caltrain and haven’t wished anyone a fierily death.

    Maybe tomorrow you’ll regress to the mean. Today’s a good day.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Samtrans paid a $200 million “buy-in-fee” to BART.

    Samtrans paid an additional $75 million to cover SFO extension cost overruns.

    According to Samtrans the extension was costing them $1.8 million a month in 2004, less than a year after opening.

    Samtrans was responsible for operating costs of Colma (opened February 24, 1996) and the SFO extension (Opened June 22, 2003).

    San Mateo County Measure A, re-authorized in 2004, pledged 2%, $30 million, to BART extension.

    Samtrans and BART “divorced” their original agreement, meaning Samtrans was no longer responsible for BART/SFO operating costs.

    As alimony, Samtrans was expected to give BART a portion of their State Transit Assistance (STA), which amounts to approximately $800,000 annually and $32 million from its share of proposition 1B (2006) regional transit funds.

    BART fan-boy cheerleaders swore up and down that the BART extension would turn a profit for Samtrans, there are 70,000 (90,000, if you include Colma) riders that can’t wait to jump on BART once it opens.

    Colma ridership (opened 7 years prior) was included in the ridership of the newly opened SFO extension so it would look better than it actually was.

    Any talk that the SFO extension recovers over 100% of the fares is an outright lie, based on voodoo math. All fare revenue for trips that begin or end from Colma to Millbrae, goes into the SFO extension “pot.” However, the operating cost applied to that pot is only for BART operations south of Daly City, about 9% of BART operations, 8.9 miles out of 104 miles of the BART system.

    So all this money going to BART over the last 25 years could have helped Caltrain fund electrification…

    Joe Reply:

    MIT student paper on the extension.


    SamsTran paid 12% of the total costs.

    Ridership up 127% since completion (2012).

    Reality Check Reply:

    Just to be clear, the $200m “buy-in” fee SMCo. paid to BART was really a “buy-off” fee. The term “buy-in” evidently has left a lot of people thinking that SMCo. has joined the BART District. Not so. SMCo. has no representation on the BART Board. Instead, this fee was paid to allow SMCo. to get the SFO extension ahead of other places (such as Pleasanton & Livermore) that STILL didn’t have BART service after decades of being in the BART District and having paid BART taxes. So the fee was to “buy off” the opposition of BART Board members representing still-not-served-by-BART parts of the BART District.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    How much of a “buy-in/buy-off” fee is VTA paying for extending to Santa Clara Co. while places within the BART district still don’t have service?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Dunno, but the Googles found this (and a bunch of other stuff) right away:
    BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Funding

    In March 2012, a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was executed, allowing the commencement of construction of the Berryessa Extension, with a formal project groundbreaking ceremony for the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension kicking off project construction on April 12, 2012.

    Read more about the BART Operating Subsidy

    Neil Shea Reply:

    It’s a different model. For SFO, BART built the extension. San Mateo county contributed $200m and responsibility for some of the cost overruns and operating losses.

    Conversely Santa Clara County is paying all of the construction costs and BART has agreed to run trains on that stretch. They also are funding some new trains, and I believe they contributed into BART for the existing system, control centers, maintenance, etc. Those funds helped BART complete the extension from Fremont station to the SC county line.

    joe Reply:

    According to the MIT student paper, (above) San Mateo originally objected to BART because they would pay a disproportionate share for their projected use and the BART system was tilted towards SF (commuter system to bring workers to SF) and not to encourage San Mateo Santa Clara travel. The original system was to end at palo alto – allowing Santa Clara to pay into the system for the privilege of a stop in Palo Alto.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I don’t see anything nor have I heard about a VTA buy-in-fee. If VTA doesn’t have to pay a buy-in-fee, is that fair?

    Or is it just a screwing to San Mateo Co. by BART and political leaders of that time?

    Matthew F. Reply:

    The assumption that every cost overrun is due to Machiavellian liars who are out to steal your money assumes a superhuman level of competence, whereby the planners know exactly how much a project is going to cost, but choose to conceal it in ways that nobody else will believe.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    Gah, I wish you could edit posts…

    “but choose to conceal it in ways nobody else is clever enough to spot, or that only project opponents will believe.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If it’s unintended, how come the mistakes are almost always in the same direction?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Mistakes that are unintended but biased in the same direction would point to a structural bias.

    Indeed, the first place to look for the reasons for “mistakes” that are biased in the same direction is structural bias.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yep. And a fair amount of this bias involves political pressure to massage the numbers in the correct direction. Same way reformist school district superintendents pressure principals to do better on standardized tests, and principals pressure teachers to massage test results.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Not just political pressure … the “correct direction” is self-organizing when it refers to the direction that is least likely to create additional work for the manager involved.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Because obviously having BART sealed off from Silicon Valley for 25 years makes any more sense. CalTrain electrification is an idea rooted in nostalgia not reality.

    Joe Reply:

    25 years ago Caltrain was not that popular. Some Peninsula residents wanted to shut it down.

    I’m sure there was some interest in the system but not coordinated and not a priority with the local governments.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Political support for Caltrain still seems rather tepid, even with transportation problems faced by Peninsula employers.

    The political truth is that Caltrain has always been just a placeholder until “Ring The Bay” can happen. That pisses of the Drunk Engineer/Mlynarik types, but average Bay Area Person thinks Transit=BART and politicians follow that maxim.

    If you want to be actually critical of Richards, it wasn’t that he fucked over Caltrain. His major political screwup was fucking over SamTrans and condemning “Ring The Bay” to 20-30-40 years in the future.
    The big problem with Caltrain, *from a development perspective*, is that it serves the olde nostalgic main street areas. No real density can be built in those Peninsula downtowns due to NIMBYism. But, BART, on the other hand, could plop stations in the Hwy 101 Google-style office parks and they could build parking garages and “edge city” skyscrapers as tall as they want to.

    Yes Peninsula BART would be expensive as hell (very long subways), but it’s already been pre-decided that Caltrain can’t do the job. Even with electrification and grade-separation in the pipeline, eventually it will be BART and HSR only.

    jimsf Reply:

    bart around the bay is very likely. thats why they put a wye at the airport, not so they could run trains from milbrae but so trains coming up the peninsula could go directly into the aiport. Bart trains from sunnyvale mt view palo alto and san mateo would probably have higher ridership to the airport than the current line because its a shorter trip.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like someone who can afford the real estate prices on the Peninsula can’t afford a limo or even a taxicab. Or the parking rates at the airport.

    joe Reply:

    I guess that means there are no poor in Manhattan since the rents are so high.

    If you lived here you’d know there’s traffic issues getting to and form the airport and a direct line to the airport as jimsf propsoes would make the trip easier and more reliable – like the DCA Metro Blue and Yellow lines and under construction Silver Line IAD METRO Extension in WA DC.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Poor people don’t go on many business trips and their idea of going on vacation is going to Coney Island.
    People in Manhattan, people who don’t own cars and use the subway so much that an unlimited metro card is a bargain take cabs to the airport. People in the suburbs who take the train into Manhattan for work everyday take cabs or pay the parking rates at the airport.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Once again adirondacker tries to be snarky while actually displaying his complete cluelessness and ends up sound like the giant ass he is.

    The commute down the Peninsula is as larger or larger than the commute up the Peninsula. The BART Wye has nothing to do with the supposedly wealthy residents getting to the airport and everything to do with the fact the Peninsula is one of the nation’s most important employment centers.

    Eric Reply:

    Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. Even if potential SFO ridership is larger from the south (questionable, since the north end feeds the whole BART system), it would be insane to have any significant fraction of SF-Peninsula trains diverted to SFO. Even “successful” airport extensions have low ridership, and every train entering SFO is one less train that can serve all of SF/East Bay or all of the Peninsula. It’s just not worth it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually that’s a very clever idea if you make SFO the hub of the BART system. I had never thought of it like this before, but that would relieve pressure on the tube if you had East Bay and South Bay riders arrive from the South. Plus, there’s Dumbarton too.

    I think we are going to need a bigger boat….

    Eric Reply:

    East/South Bay riders arriving in SF from the south is a good idea. (Though an upgraded Caltrain could provide it almost as well as BART.) But having trains terminate at SFO is a horrible idea.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It all works out really well.

    You continue to have the Pittsburg line end at SFO. Then you continue to run the Richmond train to to Milbrae and ultimately Santa Clara. Then you build an extension of the Plesanton line through Dumbarton and up to the airport. Add another line that heads from the airport to the South Bay and you are done.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @Eric, there is a rule on rail corridors into airports having to terminate at the airport to get airport infrastructure funding which has resulted in a number of airport/rail links that ought to be through stations being put in place as terminal stations.

    joe Reply:

    The big problem with Caltrain, *from a development perspective*, is that it serves the olde nostalgic main street areas. No real density can be built in those Peninsula downtowns due to NIMBYism

    Given Mountain View 1991 to now that’s not correct. The city’s built a set of high density condos and town homes all near Caltrain and they tore down a old mill mall and put up town homes and condos and added the San Antonio Stop.

    The job growth outpaces the housing but the density near city centers/caltrain is going up.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Mountain View is the exception to the rule, and even then the low-scale “TOD” they are building is very minimal compared to the “edge city” towers which could be built by the freeway.

    Most of the other towns on the peninsula may never build something over 4 stories downtown.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Where are all those edge city towers by the freeway that generate high transit ridership?

    flowmotion Reply:

    Like all BART extensions, ridership will probably not be “high”, but it will enable denser development (especially with the revised CEQA).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Then look to places other than the Bay Area. In Washington, the transit-oriented edge city development was in densified town centers, or new town centers built from scratch. Freeway-running Metro lines do not have as much ridership and do not support as much TOD. Tysons Corner, the example you bring up elsewhere in the thread, is so auto-oriented that it has rush hour conditions at lunch break, as people have to drive to get food; it has recently tried to become better, concurrently with the construction of the Silver Line, but that has involved extensive sprawl repair, with new sidewalks, a new street network punching streets to resemble a grid, and a downgrade of the cloverleaf junctions.

    Similarly, in Vancouver, the transit-oriented edge city, Metrotown, is poorly-served by freeways.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Note that the existence of towers does not imply successful TOD nor do their absence imply a lack of success … a quite healthy level of FAR can be obtained with four story buildings, provided they can be built to the sidewalk and to the lot line or edge of the alley easement.

    flowmotion Reply:

    As a resident of San Francisco, I obvious understand “successful TOD”, and it’s great that Mountain View has a nice little densifying downtown.

    However my point is there’s ultimately very few development opportunities on the Caltrain corridor, and therefore very little political support.

    Joe Reply:

    The development opportunities exist.
    It’s counter intuitive to argue the Caltrain city cores are not dense. It strikes me as condescending.

    Dogpatch at 22nd st is less dense than MountainView’s walkable development. Less defense than Palo Alto too.

    And PAlo Alto has a transit center at the Caltrain station and free city shuttle buses to ferry people around both stations.
    Menlo park is trying to develop near the Caltrain station with a 5 story project.
    Sunnyvale tore the mall down and has large multistory blds near its station.

    flowmotion Reply:

    22nd Street is in an industrial district. Or was, major redevelopments are going in there.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    22nd is very convenient for SF-origin commuters from much of the south-east of San Francisco, including not just the increasingly residential Dogpatch district, but Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, the Inner Mission, the Outer Mission, the Castro, the Haight, etc.

    It’s the choice of pretty much any Caltrain commuter who doesn’t live in SoMa, the Financial District or Chinatown/North Beach. (Caltrain’s unattractive to anybody in the rest of the city: 280 is vastly faster.)

    A handful of “TOD” three story condo complexes in Santa Clara County and Redwood City notwithstanding, SF will always smoke the entire rest of the corridor for all of residential, job, and recreational trips. That’s an unavoidable fact given the nature of the built environment and the rate at which it can possibly change.
    Here are the data: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/10/census-driven-service-planning.html
    and they aren’t going to change except at the most marginal rounding-error fashion for the next many decades.

    blankslate Reply:

    The sprinkling of development that in Downtown Mountain View is dwarfed by the massive amounts of office space that have been built north of 101 and within the 101/85/237 triangle, nowhere near Caltrain.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @flowmotion wrote:

    The big problem with Caltrain, *from a development perspective*, is that it serves the olde nostalgic main street areas. No real density can be built in those Peninsula downtowns due to NIMBYism.

    Wrong, take a look at this current map of downtown Redwood City construction projects. All are within quick & easy walking distance to Redwood City’s Caltrain/SamTrans station (midway between projects D & E on the map).

    flowmotion Reply:

    I don’t see anything like Tysons (Corner) in there?. Are a few squat buildings all it takes to impress you guys? There could be so much more.

    And like I said, MV only (because Google is begging for it). Most of the other Peninsula do not want any real development.

    Joey Reply:

    To be fair, you’re not going to get much transit ridership out of the office parks east of 101. The best you can do is provide easy bike/shuttle paths to existing employment and try to density around stations, however hard that fight might be. I won’t lie, it would probably be difficult to get anything substantial built in say, Burlingame or Menlo Park (in fact Menlo Park is willing to violate state law in order to avoid new housing), but places like Hillsdale and Millbrae have some room for redevelopment that wouldn’t piss too many people off.

    Jon Reply:

    San Jose Flea Market won’t generate much transit ridership either, but that hasn’t stopped BART from building a station there.

    BART may well plan to use the Caltrain ROW between Millbrae and Redwood City, because:

    a) those cities are less NIMBY than the cities south of Redwood City and might be more willing to have downtown BART stations. (Burlingame might be a challenge.)
    b) the ROW is less constrained, except for a 2 mile stretch through San Mateo, which they will tunnel through.
    c) there are fewer jobs in this area overall, and those do exist are either in downtown San Mateo or along 101, which is only about half a mile from the Caltrain ROW. So, there is less to be gained from carving out a new ROW along 101.

    From Redwood City there are two good routes to 101; one is to tunnel under Broadway, the other is to follow the Dumbarton spur.

    Joey Reply:

    What I meant is that the office parks are not designed to be served by transit – they’re all surrounded by parking moats in generally pedestrian-hostile areas. But you’re right that hasn’t ever stopped BART in the past.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Jon, you’re talking like the *goal* is to build BART rather than the goal being to move people. Why would spend $Billions tunneling under an existing standard-gauge transit corridor that is already in place? Do you work for PB? Is there some free money somewhere that has no other possible use?

    Why would we not complete the grade separations and electrification on the existing corridor, increase capacity with cost-effective double-deck cars, express service and quad tracking, and use it flexibly for commuter and inter-city rail?

    What exactly is your goal?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Joey — Many of the shuttles from office parks to Caltrain/transit centers work quite well (such as Oracle’s, serving 10k EE’s and the Belmont & San Carlos stations).

    Mountain View could extend the VTA light rail a couple miles out Stierlin and Shoreline and around the North Bayshore area including the Googleplex, probably for $100m. Or for that money you could extend BART a few hundred meters.

    Joey Reply:

    Joey — Many of the shuttles from office parks to Caltrain/transit centers work quite well (such as Oracle’s, serving 10k EE’s and the Belmont & San Carlos stations).

    Yes, but my point is that putting the stations closer (i.e. BART along 101) isn’t going to bring much more ridership since you still have the last mile problem in most cases, even if it’s a bit shorter.

    Jon Reply:

    Go got me. Yeah, I work for PB. Sure. Why not.

    (I’m not saying this would be the most cost effective way to move people around the peninsula. I’m just saying, this is probably what BART is planning.)

    joe Reply:

    Joey:”Burlingame or Menlo Park (in fact Menlo Park is willing to violate state law in order to avoid new housing),”

    joe Reply:

    Joey:”Burlingame or Menlo Park (in fact Menlo Park is willing to violate state law in order to avoid new housing),”

    Reality Check Reply:

    From SJ Business Journal:
    Google to fund free public shuttles in Mountain View

    The shuttle program is tentatively slated to kick off this fall with four 16-seat electric shuttles to run at 30-minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mountain View was home to 77,846 people as of 2013. Mayor Chris Clark said that the program is not designed to be a public commuter system for all workers.

    “This service isn’t intended for commuting to work or school,” Clark said in a city statement. “It’s intended to make the things we love about Mountain View more accessible to the people who live and work here without putting more cars on the road to do it.”

    From Mtn. View Voice:
    Google donates free community shuttle service

    The shuttles will have 16 seats, plus room for two wheelchairs, and include bike racks.

    City officials say Google transportation manager Kevin Mathy proposed the concept to city officials last year.

    “We’re thrilled to be working with the City of Mountain View to provide neighbors a new — and green — way to get around town,” said Mathy in a statement.

    Google has agreed to pay for the service for two years, and has an option to continue for a third year. While the city will manage the service, Google will hire the drivers, said the city’s communications director, Shonda Ranson. The shuttle buses would initially be leased.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Neil Shea: “you’re talking like the *goal* is to build BART rather than the goal being to move people”

    Yep, that’s our BART.

    Jon Reply:

    Yep, this is likely what BART has in mind. Their plans for the Santa Clara extension show at grade tail tracks running along the north/west side of the UP ROW to just past De La Cruz Blvd – they are even altering the De La Cruz bridge to make this possible. They could continue to follow the UP ROW up to US-101, follow US-101 north to East Palo Alto, then either continue on 101 or cut back to the Caltrain ROW by following the Dumbarton spur. Probably this would be preceded by a Caltrans US-101 rebuild project, where they will add lanes and leave a ROW for BART.

    This would avoid PAMPA NIMBYs while accessing the swathes of tech jobs along US-101. Google already own a quarter of Mountain View (pretty much everything north of 101) – the only direction for them to expand now is upwards. Mountain View doesn’t want any more housing built and has manage traffic impacts; a BART connection to the Googleplex would, in their mind, solve both of those problems.

    flowmotion Reply:

    I haven’t really looked into the specifics, but a route like you describe would make perfect sense, given the political landscape.

    Donk Reply:

    This sounds great. Google should throw down a few billion and pay for it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the only direction for them to expand now is upwards.


    they can expand outward nearly infinitely

    Jon Reply:

    If they want to retain the bulk of their operation in Mountain View – which it looks like they do – they will need to expand upwards. If they wanted to relocate to SF or NYC, they could have already done so.

    jonathan Reply:


    before posting this, did you stop and *think* how long it’ll take to travel from SFO, across the Bay, down to San Jose, and then back North to Mountain View (on this unfunded wet-dream BART-to-Mountain View)? Versus simply taking the white bus from San Francisco?

    Does BART have wifi? Duh.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its not so much about sf to mountain view but bart to santa clara and mountian view would serve people who live in the east bay and work in silcon valley. bart can run run livermore mountain view trains.

    Michael Reply:

    …because when people drive from Livermore to Mountain View they go 580, 880, 101?

    jimsf Reply:

    what does driving have to do with it?

    jimsf Reply:

    currently you do have ace service in the corridor but that terminates in downtown san jose. bart would/could terminate in mountain view and servce all the communities along the way livermore, pleasanton, plus haywayd union city fremont andmilpitas, plus the berreyassa and san jose area

    joe Reply:

    Jon and Jimsf are right on.

    HW 237 connects east bay 880 to 101 at the Sunnyvale Mountain view border.
    That’s precisely where Google is expanding on Moffett Field /Federal Property. It’s heavily traveled and congestion tolled. A BART extension from San Jose / Santa Clara would be heavily used to access jobs in the south bay – the fastest growing part of the bay area.

    Johnathan’s arguing another red herring: SF to Mountain View via the east bay.

    Michael Reply:

    So it’s a second BART line that doesn’t loop through downtown San Jose that gets people to Mountain View? I was pointing out with my highway analogy that BART via downtown San Jose and Santa Clara is a long way around to get to Mt View from Livermore.

    jimsf Reply:

    It doesnt matter which way it goes, what matters is the time involved and number of communites served along the way, which is what makes it useful.

    Jon Reply:

    Before posting your rude and condescending reply, did you stop and read the bit where I described how such a line would connect back to Millbrae, thus providing a straight shot from the the existing SF stations down the peninsula to Mountain View? Or the bit where I noted that I’m just speculating what BART might planning, and that I’m not personally in favor of this idea?

    Seems to me like you’re trying to emulate Richard M’s style of posting. Well, you’ve got the vitriol down. Now you just need the smarts to back it up.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    How is it that: “it’s already been pre-decided that Caltrain can’t do the job.”?

    Yes political support for Caltrain has been rather tepid.

    I remember the BART fan-boy cheerleaders back in the mid 1980’s claiming that Caltrain carries nobody (ridership was around 16,000) and will never carry more than about 18,000, maybe 20,000 at the most. Well Caltrain ridership is now over 50,000 and growing.

    The problem is that we have the well-oiled BART PR machine and the transit industrial complex behind it, leaving Caltrain to get by on a few table scraps. So Caltrain is stuck in the operating dark ages. People tend to think of Caltrain as an infrequent, therefore slow system. This has nothing to do with conventional/standard rail technology. It has everything to do with lack of proper political support and funding, plus the unwillingness of the JPB to operate Caltrain the way it should be operated.

    Politicians get a lot more mileage out of ground breaking/dedicating a new BART station/extension over electrifying Caltrain, or procuring new BART cars, or procuring a couple hundred new MUNI buses… So we keep throwing billions into useless BART extensions rather than improving our existing transit infrastructure.

    Clem Reply:

    BART around the bay is an idea rooted in myopia. The only way it will happen now is like this.

    jimsf Reply:

    well that would be fine they just have to adjust the tracks into the aiport and make sure , as with ebart in contra coast, that there is seamless connections and ticketing

    flowmotion Reply:

    Nice image, but sorry, I’ll bet on “Ring The Bay” coming in first.

    If any politicians wanted to take Caltrain seriously they would have figured it out long ago. :(

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The other harsh reality is that nothing happens without windfalls of tax revenue. Clem’s assertion of myopia is funny because that OTHER second-generation system was in a situation similar to BART a decade ago and now has a new line under construction in the last place anybody though it would get built.

    Washington DC fueled by spending on Iraq was the Bay Area of the 2000s, and ridership and demands on housing convinced people to invest in the Silver Line to Dulles. So too will Ring the Bay come, even if it takes a bit longer to approve.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Nope. Unlike DC we don’t print money here. And even there they’re just connecting their big airport.

    It took an act of congress (many of them) with a lot of heavy lifting to get the Feds to pay most of the SFO extension, and that never met its projections. The Feds are not falling over themselves to help us complete the San Jose extension. BART’s at the end of its line folks. It’s a good thing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    BWI is busier than Dulles or DCA.

    Eric Reply:

    Which is why BWI already has light AND heavy rail, while Dulles has nothing yet.

    joe Reply:

    Also “B” comes before “D” in the alphabet.

    Silver line to IAD is being paid, about half of the 5.6 B, by road tolls.

    “Since construction began five years ago, there have been five toll increases that spiked a common round trip from $2.50 to $7 or, viewed as a monthly tab for typical weekday commuters, from $50 to $140.”

    And IAD retired the people movers and connected the terminals with a subway people mover.

    “The 3.8-mile AeroTrain cost $1.5 billion and has four underground stations.”

    BART to SFO cost $1.483B

    Jerry Reply:

    @Ted Judah
    At least the Silver Line goes to Dulles and keeps going. (Similar to the Metro going to Reagan and beyond)
    Unlike BART, which goes to SFO and dead ends. BART must then back out to Millbrae.
    Which means that CalTrain commuters from the South Bay going to SFO must get off at Millbrae. Transfer onto BART going north to San Bruno. Get off BART at San Bruno and transfer to BART going south to SFO. Which is dumb.
    Or as Richard says, our finest professional planners at work.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe that has more to do with with BART wanting the foothold in Milbrae on CalTrain’s ROW as Much as an airport station and not having the money to do both. Obviously it needs to be fixed going forward.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    The idea of replacing Caltrain with BART is a disservice to customers of BOTH systems.

    More crowds would get on BART earlier in the trip, leaving much less room for current BART customers.

    More wear and tear on the core BART system.

    Caltrain customers would be faced with:

    NO monthly pass.

    NO more express/baby bullet service.

    NO service to ATT Park.

    NO service in the Bayshore corridor.

    Fewer seats, more would be forced to stand.

    Less room for bikes.

    Clem Reply:

    To play devil’s advocate…

    Monthly passes are easily instated, there is no technological barrier.

    The Bayshore cutoff would make a marvelous BART express bypass between 24th and San Bruno BART (just requires a short tunnel under Bernal)

    Tee hee!

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Well played, but that leaves all the other issues, in particular capacity and express service. And I know you don’t advocate ripping out standard gauge trackage into SF.

    Clem Reply:

    Re: express service. The Bayshore Cutoff can be used for one BART train to bypass another that is going the long and slow way around San Bruno Mountain. If the time gain can be made as large as one service interval (15 minutes, or 12 minutes at 5 tph) then you’ve got yourself the perfect express tracks and trip times from SF to the peninsula are cut by 15 minutes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assume that would mean a BART subway for PAMPA cut and covered on the ROW and LAHSR deadended at Diridon Intergalactic or thereabouts.

    Clem Reply:

    Something about the SP Mulford line and LAHSR connecting to BART again in Oakland. Concrete pouring is suitably maximized with not one but two massive grade separation projects on each side of the Bay. Ka-ching!

    synonymouse Reply:

    With that dual feature going for it, it might just fly. Perhaps Mr. Allen is in on something we don’t know.

    Still I think PB et al will have to see those two nagging provisos in Prop 1a, 2:40 and no subsidies, deleted lest there legal embarrassments and hassling down the long road when the buyers remorse sets in. The Dogleg is not BART to SFO, which got lucky with the Peninsula(and the City) becoming the economic locomotive of the Bay Area, greatly aiding the coverrup and sugar coating of Kopp’s Folly we see from Richards.

    Clem Reply:

    The point of this little exercise is for Jeff Carter: you’re going to need a lot better and stronger arguments than “there is no monthly pass” or “there is no service to AT&T park” to stave off all the pro-BART arguments. If that’s all that makes Caltrain so special, it’s pretty much game over!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    There are a number of arguments for retaining Caltrain over conversion to BART.

    Cost is probably #1. To replace Caltrain with BART (including Bayshore cutoff/express) it would be what… $10 billion? $15 billion? $20 billion?

    Disruption of peninsula rail service during BART construction. Where are those 50,000 trips going to go?

    Loss of express service throughout the peninsula.

    Lower per vehicle capacity, a 5-car Caltrain provides as many seats as a 10-car BART train.

    Makes BART even more crowded than it already is.

    More wear and tear on the core BART system.

    Loss of local service in the Bayshore corridor, SSF, Brisbane/Bayshore, 22nd, possible Oakdale station, Mission Bay.

    Yes Clem, there are more issues than just monthly pass and ATT Park which may not be important to you but is important to others.

    Sure there is a lot of pro-BART sentiment out there. From a public perspective, there is nothing to compare to, except Caltrain which is still operated somewhat as a traditional old school commuter train. People see it as infrequent, therefore slow train, compared to frequent fast BART. There are no technological barriers preventing Caltrain from running more often other than the lack of proper funding and the willingness of the JPB to operate Caltrain that way.

    From a political perspective, you have the transit industrial complex wooing politicians into promoting concrete pouring wank-fests. Politicians get a lot more mileage out of dedicating a new BART station than dedicating Caltrain electrification, or a few hundred new buses for MUNI, SamTrans, or VTA.

    Doesn’t it make much more sense to improve/upgrade/electrify Caltrain so that Caltrain can provide an alternative to very expensive BART extensions?

    And BART can focus on acquiring new rail vehicles and maintaining the existing core system in a state of good repair?

    Why should we throw all our resources into just one basket? And a very expensive gold-plated one at that?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Clem: “Monthly passes are easily instated, there is no technological barrier.”

    True… Then why does BART refuse to instate them?

    They would increase ridership.. even more crowded BART trains and stations.
    They would encourage regular commuters to use BART for more than just work/school/etc.

    Re: Using the “The Bayshore Cutoff…” What about 23rd Street, Bayshore, and South San Francisco stations and the proposed Oakdale stop?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What about them? They could still be around. The Tokyo rail network has some express cutoffs with stations on them, which the local trains don’t serve. Presumably all trains would call at these stations, but the trip time would still be much less than going the long way around the mountain and making several extra stops in SF.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Clem is right of course. BART never did ring the Bay cuz of the many $Billions it would cost. The money to get a few miles to San Jose hasn’t even been found yet despite 3 tax increases. San Mateo county already burned it’s fingers.

    If the entire MTC Bay region wants to unify our transit management, with full proportional votes by Santa Clara, San Mateo, Sonoma, Marin, and Solano counties, then maybe we’ll decide to paint BART logos on whatever systems and cars make sense as we expand.

    But as much as BART met a need in the 1970’s, any rational look at current and future needs; available options; and cost-benefit will necessarily conclude that we’re moving beyond those cute, boxy ‘Indian gauge’ BART cars and tracks.

    Standards save money and provide flexibility. Standard gauge rolling stock allows joint procurement, double decker cars for increased capacity, restrooms for long trips across our large region, etc.

    Standard gauge rail allows rapid transit, commuter rail and intercity rail to share extremely limited corridor space, and allows express service.

    The BART system is already extremely imbalanced with the tube at capacity but distant hinterland extensions only lightly used. Further extensions cost roughly an order of magnitude more than a light rail line.

    If we unify the region, and adopt the BART logo, despite our hard-on for those old silver cars, someone will eventually look at all the needs one one hand and limited $$ resources on the other, and the Ring The Bay talk will be forgotten. Even BART barely proposes BART extensions any more — they know they need to focus on their core.

    Jon Reply:

    It does kinda amaze me that BART is still talking about a Livermore extension, even though the locals fought against a downtown BART station and voted against the Alameda county sales tax that would have funded it. Why are they still persisting? Why not just say,screw this, we’ve got other things we need to get done?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Pointless BART extensions are immensely rewarding. Just ask the people behind HSR to Los Banos and HSR to Palmdale. (Surprise! Same people!)

    It’s not BART-the-people-who-run-trains-through-SF that drives this stuff, you know.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Richard knows full well that HSR is not going *to* Los Banos but he just continues to repeat this falsehood to amuse himself

    Reality Check Reply:

    You gotta go to someplace in order to pass through it.

    Pity that forcing all SF Bay Area HSR service to/through Los Baños-Diridon comes at such high opportunity cost to overall system cost and utility. The purely politically-rejected formerly-preferred route via the ultra-congested Altamont-Dumbarton corridor remains obviously superior.

    Speaking of Diridon, anyone know what was/is up with his health? I noticed Dan Richard prefaced his April talk on HSR to the Commonwealth Club with a “shout-out to my friend Rod Diridon … I send him my best wishes for a speedy recovery”?

    joe Reply:

    “The purely politically-rejected formerly-preferred route via the ultra-congested Altamont-Dumbarton corridor remains obviously superior.”

    Haven’t you heard? It’s a waste of money to even extend BART a few more miles to Livermore.
    Here’s the reason: “(1000 + 100) / 2 < (900 + 900) / 2"

    Jon Reply:

    Then who is driving it? Serious question.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Richard is right that the transit industrial complex does reap rents with gold plated designs, and cost savings could be squeezed out if elected officials did their jobs. That’s true to some extent. But at the same time we badly need alternatives to driving everywhere, so Richard’s absolutism / perfectionism is not the answer.

    In San Jose’s case a large number of new residents and jobs are coming — and regional policy is directing a big share of the Bay Area’s growth there. San Jose is concentrating a lot of that growth in the North Bayshore area plus downtown. They want transit service. And of course they’ve also had a chip on their shoulder vs. SF and the stub of BART in Fremont was too tempting not to raise a randsom to try to extend it to their downtown.

    For Livermore, I think the era of BART wanting to make good on old promises to voters in the E Bay hinterlands is fading fast. Antioch accepted the offer of eBART. I think Livermore has forgone their extension and that’s OK, BART will focus on replacing all their cars and increasing capacity in their core.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Who else?

    California’s whole fabric is based on building infrastructure to attract migrants who buy the property and pay off the money borrowed to build everything in the first place. Cheap gasoline made this seem fiendishly easy, but in the future we will need another way to achieve mobility an you can’t stretch light rail that far out and connect workers to jobs. You also can’t take that much freight capacity off the real railroads either for commuter trains.

    One Ring (the Bay) to rule them and in the darkness, bind them!

    joe Reply:

    Richards been pro-Livermore-Altamont to build a HSR system that services east bay commuters to the bay area (follow the lights) and connect HSR terminus to BART.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Neil: Livermore BART is far from dead:
    Alameda County transportation sales tax back for a vote

    Alameda County Measure B1 failed narrowly in 2012 with 66.53 percent of voters approving the proposal to indefinitely extend the existing half-cent transportation sales tax and increase it by another half-cent.


    The biggest difference in this November’s version is that the tax will expire after 30 years [RC: and omitting Dumbarton rail — all of whose prior funding MTC recently gifted to BART for extending toward SJ].


    The proposed spending plan steers $2.8 billion to BART, bus, ferries and commuter trains; $2.4 billion to city and county streets; $1 billion to paratransit service for seniors and disabled and an affordable youth transit pass; $677 million for improvements to major freeways and highways; $651 million for bicycle and pedestrian paths and safety improvements; $300 million for community development that improves connections to transit and $77 million for technology and innovation.

    Among the specific investments are $400 million toward a BART extension in the Interstate 580 corridor to Isabel Avenue in Livermore; $130 million for a future Irvington station in south Fremont on BART’s Warm Springs extension now under construction; and station expansion and modernization at San Leandro, Lake Merritt, MacArthur, 19th Street, Oakland Coliseum, South Hayward and West Oakland stations.

    … and the Oakland Tribune story:
    Alameda County will ask voters to double the existing sales tax for transportation projects

    BART would get $400 million of sales tax money for the BART extension to Livermore. While much more money would be needed, the local tax money would provide “seed” money giving leverage to secure other funds, said BART Director Tom Blalock.

    Reality Check Reply:

    As for Blalock’s comment: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dumbarton rail “seed” money MTC just gifted to SJ BART (because, you know, it wasn’t nearly enough to do the project) was a relatively comparably-sized “seed” as the $400m “seed” which is evidently enough to leverage the funds to build Livermore BART. Typical of the double-standard that non-BART rail projects have always been held to and died by in the BART-obsessed highly-politicized Bay Area transit “landscape” which has served to keep Caltrain back and down for the last 25 years since it came into public ownership and control.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Jon – I think you’re right, it will die on its own. Further extensions in the freeway median do not help BART address its core problems.

    But it amazes me that people on this blog who know better (eg Richard M, Clem) have (with a straight face?) discussed extending BART to a *greenfield* station *beyond* Livermore just to support their desired Altamont routing.

    Jon Reply:

    Indeed. Exurban BART extensions are a west of money! Um, except when they support our pet HSR alignment, in which case they are an essential component of a cost effective initial operating segment.

    jonathan Reply:

    BART to SFO was a waste of money; it’s still losing money (if you don’t lie about the accountin).

    BART to San Jose looks set to be equally a waste of money.

    Why do these things happen? Follow the money. I don’t buy Richard M’s worldview, but i you remove the vitriol, what’s left is a theory with explanatory and predictive power. Which projects get funded? The ones which will make the contractors the most profit. Who gets to advise on these options? Why, the usual suspects, the same group of ocntractors.

    I see only one way to break this cycle. The public agencies need to hire some good engineers, which means they need to pay competitive salaries And those engineers need to know, not about concrete bents, but how to run passenger rail efficiently. Like, for example, the way that Europeans do. Or for another, then Japanese. Sadly, that rules out *everyone* who’s worked with FRA-compabible rail, and most people who’ve worked with FTA-regulated light rail.

    That’s just a fact; US rail companies haven’t been interested in passengers since the 1950s. They’ve shed passenger service where they can; and forced “safety” costs away from their own freight operations, and onot subsidized passenger operations . Just look at FRA “crashworthiness” as an example: buys very little in terms of actual safety, but saves the freight rail operators from installing even early20th-century safety technology. (Indusi, Crocodile, PRR pulse-codes).

    As long as public agencies contract out all their engineering, we are doomed to paying 2x-3x world prices, and getting third-rate results. The contractors are civil engineers; the *first* solution that comes to their mind is pouring concrete., So you need to have someone overseeing them, who knows how to run a railway (note spelling). Work smarter, not harder. More efficient/smarter operations beats electronics; electronics beats concrete.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Dear Jon,

    Indeed. Exurban BART extensions are a west of money! Um, except when they support our pet HSR alignment, in which case they are an essential component of a cost effective initial operating segment.

    How refreshing to get to address a visitor freshly arrived on our planet!

    Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy your stay.

    I’m not sure how it works on your home world, but using the addition and division that are regarded as conventional here on Earth, it can be the case that (1000 + 100) / 2 < (900 + 900) / 2, even though 1000 > 900. Crazy s6uff, I know.

    It may take some getting used to, but if you wish to fit in with the natives you’ve really going to try to have to master our arithmetical conventions. Otherwise people will start to ask, you know, questions, and soon it will be all about the cavity probes and Area 51 and I’m sure that’s the last thing that anybody really wants.

    joe Reply:

    So in summary guys:
    1:The East Bay commuters are awesome and need an expensive, new HSR alignment to get to work in SiliconValley. Follow The Lights. Dumbarton Bridge Rulz.

    2:Extending BART a few more miles a waste. PB is everyones’ daddy. Welcome to Earth and arithmetic.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There’s nothing magical about BART despite what Mlynarikian doctrine proclaims. Jonathan’s frustration comes from the fact that cities, not counties or the state, in California control urban planning and the revenue associated with those taxes. Same thing with freeway construction, it’s about making as much money as you can for your jurisdiction an letting the others eat your dust. And when that’s not possible because the State imposes a control agency like Metro or MTC…the ensuing fracas in the board room turns your engineering filet mignon into political hamburger.

    If we totally rational, wouldn’t we want major hubs like airports to be intermodal transit hubs? Doesn’t that make MORE sense than a cross-cross of bus routes and rail lines.

    wdobner Reply:


    I see only one way to break this cycle. The public agencies need to hire some good engineers, which means they need to pay competitive salaries And those engineers need to know, not about concrete bents, but how to run passenger rail efficiently. Like, for example, the way that Europeans do. Or for another, then Japanese. Sadly, that rules out *everyone* who’s worked with FRA-compabible rail, and most people who’ve worked with FTA-regulated light rail.

    Wow, that’s not arrogant at all. Guess what, most of us who do this crap for a living are at least as familiar with other nation’s practices as some pissant blogger. This foolish dedication to placing blame on the front line and back office personnel when your misplaced anger should be directed at the politicians who really determine policy is extraordinarily unproductive. Bring European engineers here and you’ll have frustrated Europeans. Bring Japanese engineers here and you’ll have frustrated Japanese. Changing the back office personnel out without correcting the fundamental failings present in how we approach transportation as a nation, and how our politicians determine that policy is less productive than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    jonathan Reply:

    nice photoshop. But why the obsession with double-deckers, and why (I think) Stadler?

    If you’re running consists that short, there’s no point running double-deckers ;)

    Clem Reply:

    Double deckers are necessary because if you give away half your track capacity to HSR, you need to maximize how many people you can move in one slot. The photoshop job was made way back in 2010, based on a rendering of a (then) future Stadler EMU that is now in service. Elsewhere, they actually build stuff instead of talking about it for years and years.

    jonathan Reply:

    I could ask pointed questions about how many more slots Caltrain could get from electrification and level-boarding, veruss their current FRA-compatible F40PH dinosaur-trains; and moving to something UIC-complaint and this-century-ish.

    But those aren’t pointed at you, and it might seem as if I meant them that way.

    Do you happen to have actual slot numbers at hand??

    Reality Check Reply:

    Thanks for the video link, Clem. Damn, aren’t those Stadler EMUs are sexy fine! Straight up train porn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Double deck stands as another arguing point in favor of Caltrain in the continuing holy war with IBG and all the other BART idiosyncratic works.

    Ghetto BART knows it will fare badly in a comparison with an electrifed and upgraded Caltrain and its many amenities. The objective is to humiliate and impugn the wretched Bechtelian legacy.

    BART is not silver but raw aluminum gray. Paint the beercans, BART fan boys, just like the originals.

    jonathan Reply:


    Welcome to reality. In the real world, BART fucked over San Mateo County and SamTrans by lying about BART-to-SFO. There is *no way* San mateo County will vote to join BART until everyone who remebers that is dead.

    So, if BART fan-boys want BART to ring the bay, the existing BART counties are going to have to buy a riight-of-way and pay for the construction.

    BART; talk about nostalgia!

    jimsf Reply:

    You wouldn’t have to wait for everyone to die. Most people now would likely rather have a direct bart connection to the rest of the bay instead of caltrain. They dont care about old history,

    Bart has other projects ahead of that though so it will be a while. They want to add more service to the urban core sections, complete the livermore extension, and the santa clara extesnion. The peninsula will likely be done one city at a time in increments. Milbrae to san mateo would be a likely cnoice as would santa clara to sunnyvale/mountain view.

    joe Reply:

    Keep Caltrain and have BART to run along the El Camino Real as a subway and have frequent stations from Santa Clara to Palo Alto Station and a Stanford Shopping Center Station. Also change zoning to allow 3-5 story live work development. Palo Alto would be a transfer point for the Caltrain N until San Mateo went ahead and connected to the El Camino Milbrae station.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    good idea, cut and cover should do it.

    jonathan Reply:


    fuck off and die. “most people” ,who are already enjoing Other Peiople’s Money pay for BART, would enjoy more BART paid for by other-people’s-money.

    Which part of; BART: fuck off and die” do you need help understanding?

    jimsf Reply:

    relax hun, I know a lot more about how things work out in california than you cuz Ive seen it for a lot longer. So go outside and play and we will call you when dinner is ready.

    jonathan Reply:


    i fear the only thing you know well, are the attiudes of current Amtrak California passengers.
    And you persistently make the statistical error of assuming that the opinions of current Amtrak California riders, are relfective of (a) the travelling public in general, (b) the public n general,and (c) the potential ridership of an actual Prop-1A complaint HSR system.

    You’d have to go a long, *long* way to find anyone more pro-rail than me.
    Who else here (aside from Clem, and maybe Richard M.) has a copy of Joern Pachl’s book?

    more to the point. I bet NO-ONE working for CHSRA or Caltrain has a copy.
    I’d tend to think that Frank Vacca could work his way up to understanding it — in the sense of being able to pose problems based on the text, and solve them. But I’d bet a good lunch that no-one at Caltrain could do that.

    And yes, I *do* have a Ph.D in engineering. Which I got by doing *science* taking data, and buliding models with explanatory and predictive power. And it’s not hard to apply that same approach to PBQD, and their paymasters CHSRA. And the fact is: PBQD writes Technical Memorada for CHSRA. The Technical Memorada set CHSRA policy. That’s a *fact*.Go read the TMs.

    finally, jimsf:

    you may know a lot about how to sell tickets to time-insesntive, mostly-retiree, extant Amtrak California customers. But you know *NOTHING* about the world outside that Nothing.

    have you looked recently at the percentage of CA population that rides your FRA-compatible dinosaur trains? No? Yes? And you’re going to be condescending on the basis of *that* percentage?

    Join the dinosaurs, jimsf. You’re right in line with them. “In line for crucifiction? Line on the left, one cross each”

    jimsf Reply:

    first, most of the people on amtrak california are not seniors, but younger people, and they are not time insensitive.

    second, my comment had nothing to do with amtrak. My comment was about how things happen politically in california, something that engineers like you constantly ignore.

    I don’t care how fantastic a rail system you can design. Its worthless if you can’t get it built, and getting it built in california is 100 percent about politics. I know what sells to californians, and I see how that selling has always been done. There are no signs of that changing.

    Things will proceed as planned. too bad for you.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who look at the schedule and decide it takes too long don’t show up at your window. They are at the airport, in a car or on a bus.

    flowmotion Reply:

    jonathan — the average San Mateo County resident has no understanding or knowledge of the SFO extension problems. Its relevance to a hypothetical BART ballot measure would be close to nothing.

    jonathan Reply:

    says a San Francisco resident. We’ll see what happens if it ever actually comes to a vote.
    Which won’t happen, if Caltrain actually gets electrified.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    CalTrain is going to be electrified so that CAHSR can use its ROW and BART can be built on top…duh.

    As for books–read Richard Orsi’s Sunset Limited before you run out of Qualuudes. You will see in the context of history, progressives feared the power of the railroads so much that they ended up weakening the biggest advocates for urban power and sustainability who the could do nothing but watch cars, sprawl and pollution soil the landscape because it was PUBLICLY FUNDED. Now progressives fear the real-estate industrial complex so much, they want to build trains with public funding. And yet, the engineers think you slay the broad gauge dragon and it will be utopia.

    jonathan Reply:

    you are out of your tiny mind. Look at the furore caused by electrification in PAMA.
    You think they’re going to allow butt-ugly Brutalist concrete pillars, and “escuse us, we haven’t grasped 200-year-old techology so our vehicles are REALLY REALLY NOISY” BART, on *top* of the catenary?

    I say *IF* Caltrain gets electrified, because the courts could pull the plug on the “Blended” plan, if they decide it doesn’t meet the requiremetns of Prop 1A.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The courts will pull the plug because there’s no match for the Prop 1a bonds. But that won’t stop electrification through other funding (like cap and trade).

    Meanwhile, for BART there will be a tunnel through PAMPA. Facebook can pay for it on its own.

    Joey Reply:

    Some of them might at least be aware of how royally fucked SamTrans got as part of the deal.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Projects costing $$Billions require new taxes, or at a minimum approval for large new bond issues. Elections to approve spending bring out lots of anti-tax forces who buy tv ads and mail information to homes. News outlets also cover these stories. “How royally fucked SamTrans got” is a demonstrable part of recent history which will get discussed in any campaign in the next 15+ years.

    Meanwhile as a moderate voter, I’m in favor of many modest sized investments in infrastructure, but I have to think carefully about those costing $$Billions. The biggest reason that BART is at the end of the line is that it is not cost effective.
    And if extending BART on the peninsula enables trimming back Caltrain that will raise many questions that may not have good answers.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The interests pimping this project could care less that it is “doomed”.

    jonathan Reply:

    The project appears to function well at transferring public funds to the usual suspects in the Transport-Industrial complex.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Talking of complexes, how the military/industrial complex doing these days?

    Jerry Reply:

    Or how is the Highway Trust Fund doing these days?

  2. Richard Mlynarik
    Jul 15th, 2014 at 21:23

    The real question is why isn’t Dan Richard hasn’t served time for his role in systematically defrauding the public of billions during his years of representing BART contractors, and BART contractors alone, during his tenure as a member and president of the BART board.

    PB luvs ya, Dan!

    Zorro Reply:

    Then if you think Dan Richards is so guilty, why don’t you call the police and swear out an arrest warrant? Or are you chicken Richard Mlynarik?

    synonymouse Reply:

    When you call the “police” you’ll get Dan Richards.

    Zorro Reply:

    Your statement is not surprising, but then you have rocks for brains Syno.

    Lewellan Reply:

    BART General Manager Grace Crunican ($315.000 salary, since 2011) as ODOT Director in 2000 was ‘fired’ for violations of ADA federal mandate and state code on the Ross Island Bridge surface/sidewalk/ballustrade rebuild project. She left the rebuilt sidewalks between fully developed neighborhoods unsafe and unused. Crunican landed the Seattle DOT position a year later and again displayed stunning incompetence and criminal manipulation of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project process. Crunican was again similarly fired in 2009. Whatever has gone wrong with BART since she’s been there, she has something to do with it. In the Oregon and Seattle positions, Crunican displayed a malicious disregard for public safety.

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    Lewellan Reply:

    Writing from Portland, I cannot keep up to speed on Bay Area projects, including HSR, but Crunican has this long record of criminally abominable public service. I can only suspect that the BART board of directors knew she can raise hell and get away with it and hired her on that basis. I heard from one SF bicycling organization member that she’s just adorable, so I suspect she plays political favoritism with that least empowered constituency.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I think Grace’s surname should be revised to “CRONYcan” – she must have plenty of cronies helping her cover up and carry out all her shenanigans!

    How is it that Crunican – who’s left such a trail of malfeasance behind her wherever she’s gone – continues to find employment?

    Everyone must be casting a blind eye to Corruption!

    Lewellan Reply:

    Goverment agencies related to transportation are the worst, basicly. Most transit agencies have direct professional connections to State Highway & Municipal DOTs. This is cronyism, each scratching each other’s backs. Fuel oil suppliers, engineering firms, construction supply, machinery, financiers, developers, etc.

    Why do transit projects often fall short of expectations? A functional transit system reduces car sales, monthly premiums, insurance profits. Crunican manipulates outcomes (IMO) to make things go wrong; more costly, less effective, interminable years of planning/blather. I do not trust her because of her examples of work in Seattle as Sdot Chief. Her seawall replacement is substandard and vulnerable to earthquake damage. Her plan to reroute SR99 traffic through Queen Anne increases accident frequency and severity. She screwed up the Ross Island Bridge for pedestrians/bicyclists.

  3. Alon Levy
    Jul 15th, 2014 at 21:43

    Re development potential, in no place that I know of has it happened with a publicly-run system. In Japan, the private railroads and not JNR were the ones that pioneered the development-transportation symbiosis model; it was only after privatization that JR East could expand into real estate. In Hong Kong I forget the timeline, but the MTR’s investments into real estate either began or were greatly expanded after privatization.

    And re use of the ROW, “energy along the way” reminds me too much of the Solar Roadways scam.

    But I guess that smackdown isn’t epic. It’s only epic when you have the power to waste billions of dollars of other people’s money.

    Resident Reply:

    There IS refreshing breakthrough here in what Dan Richard says (finally)- which is precisely that the plan is to steal as much prime real estate up and down the state as possible, and profit wildly from redevelopment. Again, don’t worry y’alls pretty heads so much about the damn train, the train is a fig leaf for the real objective. Funding is for schmucks; “investors” will be beating down their doors as soon as the redevelopment handouts get properly underway.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    What a lovely conspiracy theory you’ve dreamed up there.

    flowmotion Reply:

    In this case, the conspiracy theorist is Dan Richards.

    CAHSR is simply not going to finance itself with redevelopment schemes or tax-increment districts, and it was silly for him to theorize that it would.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    They will try but the cities will beat back attempts to do that. If municipal corps were not so strong in California, it might actually work.

    William Reply:

    The development potential near the stations is the reason I prefer to have a public majority but privately run company operating CHSR, preserving some public influence while allowing the operating company to own and operate non-railway business.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s indeed how JR East worked for a while, but that was on the way to full privatization. I don’t think the Japanese government would’ve let a company that was meant to stay state-owned do that – there’s too much potential for corruption.

  4. morris brown
    Jul 15th, 2014 at 21:52

    Robert ends his thread with:

    That’s just the first of seven epic smackdowns Richard delivers to Reed. Go read all seven, including Richard’s response on Prop 1A legality, the 2:40 travel time requirement, public and political support, and more. Bookmark it for future reference. It’s that good.

    Robert do you really believe your readers here have IQ’s below 80 and cannot for themselves understand this is all “bunk” that Richard spews here!

    Chris Reed in his analysis has it right. Dan Richard just continues to over and over again ignore the truth.

    We all should be tired of reading statements from Richard that contain the “I do believe there…..” clause. We are not interested in what Chair Richard believes will …eventually… happen. We are interested is what has happened, like the promise of private investment and much much more in Federal funding for the project never coming forth.

    joe Reply:

    Fresno’s supervisor Ms. Poochican gave a response for the IQ 60 and below opposition.

    Poochigian: “I’m very concerned that it’s not going to happen. And they’re going to ruin what we have, and as we’re feeding the rest of the world they’re taking away some of that opportunity. We do have a poor economy. Our area is one of the poorest. Would someone live here and maybe take a high speed rail train to San Francisco and work? Yeah maybe they would if they like 109 degree weather and 17 degrees in the winter. Maybe they would, there would be some. But I just have the concern that their job numbers are inflated.”

    Matthew F. Reply:

    It seems rather impolitic for an elected official to say “I think this project will under-deliver because this city sucks so much and everyone knows it”.

    I don’t really suppose anyone already accustomed to living in SF will migrate to the Central Valley to save on rent. But I do think it will help stem the bloodletting of the talented and intelligent individuals who grow up in Fresno and similar cities, who might choose to continue to live near their families while working in the major cities.

    joe Reply:

    I agree.

    There are Central Valley commuters from Tracy onward. Even the East Bay drops below freezing and hits 100+ routinely and people ride BART or drive over an hour each way to SF.

    Fresno will be 90 minutes from SF. Even if people don’t commute to SF, The City will attract people to Fresno for a easy day or weekend in the city.

    Observer Reply:

    Poochigian is not making any sense.

    synonymouse Reply:

    To the Cheerleaders nothing makes any sense unless it is “Hooray for Our Side”, to quote Buffalo Springfield.

    Observer Reply:

    Except when it really really does not make any sense. You misunderstand. Ms. Poochigian made a bad presentation – really. You can bet that in two weeks it will not be that way. Somebody will give her better talking points and what not. HSR supporters should be prepared.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Forestiere had it right about Fresno. Someone should be touting the subterranean opportunities around the Fresno station.

    joe Reply:

    Like WA DC’s Lefant Plaza.

    Jerry Reply:

    Good point re L’Enfant Plaza. (named after a designer/planner)
    Since the Plaza is a transportation crossroad, could the same approach work for downtown Stockton with two separate operating train stations?

    joe Reply:


    Also korea has a mall underneath a massive convention center. And it’s not over air-conditioned.

    It’s hotter in KR and the air quality’s much worse than the CV.
    I would hope Fresno puts enclosed spaces near the station for business meetings/conventions. It’s possible the CV cities will be good, affordable mid-way points for holding a day meeting or a convention.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Fresno has higher summer temperatures than Seoul – hottest month average is 28.4 vs. 25.7.

    Not that it’s particularly important, but still.

    Jerry Reply:

    Many cities have covered pedestrian walkways/skyways that connect downtown locations, such as Minneapolis, which are air conditioned and rain/snow free. NYC has a very popular linear park (High Line) which uses an abandoned elevated railroad bed. They are all in downtown locations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah but it’s dry heat in Fresno….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The High Line is uncovered and has no climate control. New York in general doesn’t do walkways or skyways much; these are a lot more common in cities with worse weather, including Minneapolis (and Toronto, and Montreal), but also Singapore at the other end.

    datacruncher Reply:

    If I remember correctly, Fresno averages about 35 or 36 days per year over 100 degrees (about 1/3 to 1/2 the average number of days over 100 seen in Phoenix or Las Vegas). 10% of the year in Fresno being over 100 degrees sure generates a lot of talk.

    joe, Fresno’s existing convention center complex is about a 6 to 8 block walk from the station site. Other than meeting spaces in any new hotel construction, I see no reason they would duplicate an existing complex. But I also remember that in the late 60s/early 70s (before I-5 was finished) Fresno saw many meetings due to its midstate location. That could return with HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The High Line isn’t downtown either. Unless you mean it’s south of where you are.
    There’s a big transfer station down on Fulton Street that’s going to be connected to a mall and another train station and all of that is going to be connected to the Winter Garden. You used to be able to walk from 6th and 42nd to 31st and 8th without going outside. They’ve closed that. There are few other smaller ones like Rockefeller Center and Grand Central.

    joe Reply:

    Alon. Humidity in Seoul is higher which means it’s more difficult to cool off. The night min is a surrogate variable.

    @datacruncher I think Fresno will have to grow their convention capacity and probably modernize to win conventions. I’d do it with a conditioned connection to the HSR Station complex for those sweltering days.

    I don’t think a shuttle bus to existing facilities would be bad and part of the complex could take advantage of the outside just as the Moscone Center has under ground and above ground facilities.

    The proximity to LA and SF/SJ & Sac makes it a good candidate for low cost, easy access meeting and convention spaces – like Chicago is for the US.

    Travelers can Fly to SFO direct and in 70-90 minutes be at the facility.

    Mac Reply:

    CV cities are already a good affordable midway point for California conventions.

    wu ming Reply:

    poo-choo-chicken elides the fact that tons of people live in the valley and commute to the bay area, both from the 580, 680 and 80 corridors. many commute by train. it gets 109 and 17 all the way from sac to stockton, but people live here all the same. what a local booster fail.

    of course, if the bay area actually built adequate housing stock close to the jobs, people wouldn’t need to drive or ride until they qualify, but that’s a whole nother clusterfuck.

  5. Mattie F.
    Jul 15th, 2014 at 23:02

    Our $68 billion estimate includes inflation at 3% per year. Not only has inflation been below that amount, but for every year we cut off the construction time, we save about $1 billion dollars.

    I think most people forget that the biggest component in the increase from the initial price estimate is due to the time value of money that results from stretching out the construction timeline. I’m glad he’s making the effort to point that out, and to put it in very simple terms to say, faster is cheaper. It’s certainly feels like a more broadly accessible explanation than “year of construction vs. constant year dollars”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you do this in constant dollars, the price is $53 billion. The state’s still going to be massively short, even with raiding the cap-and-trade fund. To those of us who think in constant dollar terms, the numbers 98 and 68 were never important; 65 and 53 are bad enough.

    joe Reply:

    The state isn’t going to be massively short because that’s a reinvention of how infrastructure projects are paid for in the USA.

    It’s currently more soundly funded than the highway system. It’s not any more short than a typical CA home owner is massively short in having all th money on hand for their 30 year mortgage.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not a reinvention of anything. Initial partial funding, followed by a scramble to figure out additional funding sources later (often because of cost overruns), is par for the course in the US.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There are still four more deep pockets to come forward: 1) Congress (not that this happens tomorrow but eventually), 2) pension funds, 3) HSR manufacturers and 4) sovereign wealth funds.

    A bigger impediment is making the IOS Fresno to LA for political reasons instead of SF to Fresno which could start producing serious revenue once San Jose and Fresno are linked up. Fresno to LA is still scary to investors because no one is certain who will use it. Still the State has enough cash to build enough of the system to reach a critical mass.

    Politics just might get in the way….

    Lewellan Reply:

    If I recall correctly, Prop1A promised voters a price tag of $42 billion for the entire line, including extensions to San Diego and Sacramento. The $98 billion revised estimate 3 years later was SF-to-LA and I’ve heard no estimate for the extensions since. To say the cost escalations are the fault of inflation just doesn’t sound right. I don’t believe it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The promised price tag was $33 billion in 2008 dollars for Anaheim-SF, and $42-45 billion (I forget which) for the full system. This rose to $65 billion for Anaheim-SF, again in 2008 dollars, and was then scaled down to $53 billion for LA-SF.

    Do not ever compare 2008 dollar figures with YOE dollar figures.

    Lewellan Reply:

    As I understand it, the $98 billion was reduced to $68 billion with the cost-cutting ‘blended’ system for the Peninsula and LA County. Snap, $30 billion less, just like that. Neither inflation nor the YOE dollars caused the cost overrun. More complete structural engineering raised the cost. The HSR authority should have presented voters a more realistic estimate. Voters approved the project with unrealistic cost estimates and no sense of the impact which raised objections and opposition.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The $98 and $68 billion figures are YOE. The $42 billion figure for the entire system is in 2008 dollars.

    Lewellan Reply:

    We should provide backup links to verify our differing opinions.
    As I understand it, the $98 billion was capital cost, not YOE cost (based on inflation).
    It stands to reason, as the cost cutting ‘blended’ system reduced capital cost of construction.
    And, how could inflation alone raise cost from $42 to $98 billion?
    Therefore, until either of our positions is verified, I’m sticking with mine.
    I’m too busy with rail and highway projects further north.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s in the 2012 and 2014 business plans.

    Also, the fact that you contrast “capital cost” and “YOE cost” makes you sound clueless. Capital costs can be constant-dollar or YOE.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I don’t believe you, Alon. The numbers on your first reply are way off.
    Provide me a direct link, and I’ll do the homework. Otherwise, your opinion will
    be taken with a grain of salt.

    Eric M Reply:

    Pot calling the kettle black?

    Here you go:


    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, the numbers are exactly correct, except that I misremembered and said $53 billion was in 2008 dollars whereas in fact it’s in 2011 dollars, and likewise $65 billion is in 2010 dollars. See Exhibit ES-5 on PDF-p. 23 here, and Exhibit ES-2 on PDF-p. 15 here. It is not an opinion. An opinion is “Lewellan is an ignoramus and a moron.” The statement that the official cost estimates are what I say they are in constant dollars is a fact that you didn’t know, or didn’t remember correctly.

    While we’re at it, go to Exhibit 3-2 on PDF-p. 68 of the second link, and look at the electrification costs.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Exibit 3.5: Year of Expenditure Cost Estimates, Incremental and Cumulative, shows the YOE cost for the IOS at $27.8B rising to $31.2B in 2022. Similarly, Phase 1, YOE $54.9B rising to $67.6B in 2022.

    Okay, that $67.6B is close enough to the Phase 1 estimate, but this document does not list pages as ES-2, ES-5 (with my system anyway), so I refer to Exihibit 3.5 in the Capital and Life Cycle Costs chapter. I asked for a direct link to the information requested. Your link is to the somewhat voluminous CHSR Authority business plan.

    It looks like you’re saying SF-Anaheim cost rose from $33B to $42-45B then rose to $65B and the shortened SF-LA segment reduced cost to $53B. I remember the $92B-$98B which became $68B with the blended bookends project-saving compromise.

    You’re stepping over the line calling me an ignoramus and a moron. That’s one good thing about internet forums: You can say it anonymously here. Say it to my face and you won’t like my reaction.
    Anyway, your “Do not ever compare 2008 dollar figures with YOE dollar figures,” epitomized your condescending asshole attitude. That’s my opinion. Don’t like it? Try being less condescending.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    PDF-p. XXX means it’s page XXX of the PDF. Put that number into the PDF file and you’ll see.

    What I’m saying is that SF-Anaheim went from 33 to 65. 42-45 was never the constant-dollar estimate of SF-Anaheim – that was the estimate for the full system, including extensions to San Diego and Sacramento.

    I know I condescend to you. In my defense, I’m right and you’re wrong, consistently, and you keep thinking I’m making things up. I’m not. I actually do know what I’m talking about here.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I do believe you know what you’re talking about, Alon. My thinking is however contrary to yours, and since you haven’t altered my viewpoint with your input, not with this latest XXX PDF whatever you’re saying, which is to me incomprehensible, you haven’t actually convinced me that you’re right, therefore, you don’t have a good grasp upon your perspective,
    and I will still take your viewpoint with a grain of salt, consistently as well.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re trying not to understand. You know exactly what exhibits are because you quoted one from the file. Go to the executive summaries and locate the exhibits if you can’t grok PDF page numbers.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “the biggest component in the increase from the initial price estimate is due to the time value of money that results from stretching out the construction timeline”

    The upside down time value of money … in normal time value of money, money that has to be spent earlier in a project is more expensive than money that has to be spent later in a project ~ since if you had the cash in hand, you could earn interest during the interval, or if you were borrowing the money, you avoid paying interest during the interval.

    Under YOE nominal budgeting, the later the spending, the more it is counted as costing, which is upside down.

  6. Matthew F.
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 00:14

    The state talks of our allocation in terms of percentages because to speak of specific dollars would send signals to the carbon traders about what the expected the price of carbon credits

    That brings up the thought that one cannot securitize cap-and-trade revenues, as has been often suggested on this blog, without making exactly those sorts of speculations.

  7. agb5
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 02:10

    The project has now advanced to the point where it is “shovel ready”, so all that is required for more funding is an economic recession which provokes the government to invest in shovel ready infrastructure projects.
    Historically there has been an economic recession in the US every 4 to 6 years, so the next one is due to hit any time now, despite the mainstream media insistence that economic recovery is just around the corner.

    joe Reply:

    Such as this
    A word of caution about a tech bubble from Janet Yellen

  8. jimsf
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 08:33

    In spite of the many, bitter, “my way would have been better” folks on this blog, this system, as designed and up on full build out will become a vital part of californias future. As a core, but fully expandable system, future generations will rely on this as much as a new yorker relys on the subway. Its not what you want, but it will be incredibly useful for future generations as the state grows.

    so get over it.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Yes, the people who really really need to go from LA to San Francisco really fast already have their need for food, housing, health care, meaningful occupation and a luxury sedan already met.

    Zorro Reply:

    Get over it, HSR will be built.

  9. Keith Saggers
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 08:58

    Dan Richard was an elected member of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District from 1992 to 2004, where he served twice as president of the Board. At the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Richard led efforts to secure $4 billion in capital for system rehabilitation projects, the transit system’s expansion to the San Francisco Airport and seismic retrofit programs

    elected is an operative word here

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    For 12 years Dan Richard pulled the wool over all the voters eyes except Richard’s and Syn’s.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Astute observation, Keith! Did you cut and paste that from Wikipedia or from an agency press release?
    I believe you and all about the wool business, but I’m a stickler for the authority and finality of judgement that only cut and paste and bring.

  10. Larry Scheib
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 10:37

    With such astute followers how can Dan get this project wrong? With all the vetting and critical analysis I think the critics have only but made this a more viable and successfully implementable endeavor. Keep up the good work guys!

  11. jonathan
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 11:21

    One of Dan Richard’s comments, which Robert raves about:

    We are building a train that precisely meets the requirements of the bond act to be designed to achieve a 2 hour 40 minute travel time from LA to SF. That is true even though the 50 mile portion from San Jose to San Francisco will share tracks with Caltrain. You don’t have to take our word for it. The independent Legislative Peer Review Group looked at the planning and concluded that at present, our design would allow for that trip to occur in 2 hours and 32 minutes, well within the design parameters.

    That is a direct lie. The Independent Peer Review group concluded that SF-SJ *service* would take about 40 minutes. 40 minutes is not within Prop 1A’s required service time of 30 mimutes.

    joe Reply:

    It’s not a lie. You disagree in the interpretation of the requirement (and omit that the independent peer review group qualifies their findings).

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, it *is* a lie. Even the simulations that PB did for CHSRA show that the “Blended” system *cannot* do SF-SJ in 30 minutes. They have to cheat, in 3 ways, to come close:

    * Exclude travel-time between 4th and King, and TBT. TBT is the defined terminus, not 4th and King.
    * NOT STOP at San Jose. (What kind of “service” doesn’t stop?)
    * Assume a viaduct into the San Jose station. No EIR for that viaduct. The viaduct isn’t part of Caltrain’s “Blended” system. Not funded. Not even on drawing boards. So time-savings from that viaduct cannot be included in SF-SJ service times.

    Looks like a lie to me. Of course, it may look different to someone who doesn’t grasp the difference between “minimum” and “maximum”; someone who insists the *service* time requirements of Prop 1A can be met by a special, one-time, police-blocking-all-the-grade-crossings, high-speed run.

    Eric M Reply:

    But the ultimate goal is a full build out with 4 tracks and grade separation all the way. That would produce travel times not in violation of Prop 1A.

    jonathan Reply:

    No, that is not the ultimate goal. Quad-tracking all of the Peninsula is illegal. The *OFFICIAL* statement is that the “Blended” plan *IS* full build-out. So go stuff your “ultimate goal”. Even the Authority has given up on that idea.

    Besides, quad-tracking doesn’t make much real difference to SF-SJ nonstop time. Adding tracks increases capacity; it doesn’t increase speed. To decrease SF-SJ time, you need to straighten out the bends and speed up the right-of-way. Check out Clem’s blog here:

    joe Reply:

    “No, that is not the ultimate goal. Quad-tracking all of the Peninsula is illegal.”

    Grossly misinformed.

    The expansion is legal and there’s actually a specific legislated process to approve Caltrain expansion.

    ” Though it stops short of codifying the blended alignment into law, it gives nine Bay Area agencies veto power over revisiting the four-track approach. The agencies include the Caltrain board of directors, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.”

    Jerry Hill sponsored the Bill. http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-09-06-governor-signs-senator-hill-s-bills-high-speed-rail-peninsula-protections-and-mounta

    The Bill specifically allows, with approval, an expansion. It does not limit the system to blended.

    jonathan Reply:

    SB 557limits the system to blended, UNLESS all nine partes to the MOU unanimously approve it.
    Any one of those parties has veto power over any expansion.

    And it remains a *fact* that CHSRA says the “Blended” plan *IS* full build-out of Phase 1.
    I agree, you are often grossly misinformed ;).

    joe Reply:

    You wrote expansion was Illegal.

    Quad-tracking all of the Peninsula is illegal.

    Not only is it legal, but they have a process to expand the ROW codified in Law.

    jonathan Reply:

    Only if they get unanimous approval from the nine parties to the MOU.
    I don’t see that anywhere. Do you? No unanimous agreement, no expansion.

    flowmotion Reply:

    This is a fun thing to worry about, because most of the people here will be retired or dead by the time it happens.

    Jon Reply:

    “Illegal” and “difficult to achieve” are not quite the same thing.

    agb5 Reply:

    They can start by quad tracking 49.9% of the peninsula, which keeps is a “predominantly two track system” as required.

    joe Reply:

    We’ve come a long way from ILLEGAL to it’s not only legal but there’s a legislated process in place to expand the ROW.

    No courtroom theatrics that HSR can’t expand the ROW to meet travel times – they can – the process is in place.

    As for expansion being difficult; NIMBY Anti-growth Meno Park had to approve ~2,000 new homes ASAP or housing advocates would sue to block the FaceBook expansion and withhold road funding.

    When the capacity is needed, they’ll put the screws to the thumbs and get unanimous approval.

    Eric M Reply:

    So it is legal. Maybe YOU should go stuff you “illegal” somewhere.

    Jon Reply:

    Your final point doesn’t make any sense. Yes, there is no EIR for that viaduct, and it’s not currently funded, but how does that make it any different from the rest of the HSR system?

    Preliminary engineering for the viaduct was performed as part of the canned SF – SJ EIR. They will pull out that work and use it to create an EIR for the viaduct when it becomes necessary to do so, which won’t be for another decade at least.

    joe Reply:

    It’s not a lie and the independent peer review has comments on the travel times and prop1a. if you’d address on the full scope of their comments then it might undermine your argument.

    Larry Scheib Reply:

    Dan Richard
    “Uh, no I didn’t add the word “nonstop.” It is in the bond measure. Section 2704.09 (b) “Maximum nonstop travel times for each corridor shall not exceed the following: (1) SF-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes.”

    You folks keep mixing together apples and oranges. The law requires that the system “shall be designed to achieve…” That means the system has to be constructed so that it can accommodate high speed rail. In the near term we will improve local service, even on the upgraded tracks. In the long term, we will be running both non-stop and intermediate trains at 200+ mph.

    In the near term, there may be transfers. In the long term, the system is designed and our intention is to provide a one-seat ride the whole way.

    People are confusing what happens as with build the system with what the system will be once its built. It will be exactly what the bond measure requires – electric trains at 200 + mph. Some will be nonstop, some won’t. All will be more than competitive with airlines. “

    Jon Reply:

    Anyway, the SF – SJ travel time is fairly irrelevant at this point. Assume for a moment that someone successfully sues the authority because they spent Prop 1A money on SF – SJ but did not achieve the 30 min minimum travel time for that corridor. (This will likely occur only after SF – SJ is operational; the courts will likely believe the Authority’s claim that they will meet required travel times until hard evidence shows otherwise.)

    To comply with the law, the Authority will be required to create and implement a plan to reduce travel times to 30 mins, which will likely be achieved through grade separation and curve straightening. That’s going to upset the peninsula communities a lot more than it will upset the Authority; CAHSR and PB will be more than happy to spend further public funds in order to comply with the law.

    jonathan Reply:

    There’s already a lawsuit alleging that the Authority’s plan does not meet the time requirements of Prop 1A. And the Prop 1A requirements are for *service* times, not guaranteed-not-to-exceed, pedal-to-the-metal-all-the-way stunts.

    It’s a civil suit. The court will rule on the preponderance of evidence. And that evidence isn’t good for the Authority.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Stop further spending on HSR to the Bay Area for now beyond San Jose. Provide nearly seamless transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, VTA rail, and BART. Squander no more HSR money to electrify or extend Caltrain. Caltrain has too many grade crossings, too much public access to its trackway. Safety trumps a “one seat ride” for San Francisco HSR patrons.—

    Prop1-A (2008) bonds were for “Safe, Reliable” HSR. Even on 79 mph track (like Caltrain now), grade crossings would be vulnerable to accident, sabotage, even terrorist attack. CHSRA talks of raising that speed to 120 mph along Caltrain. Such “Blended Rail” would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. Insist that HSR be on secure, fenced, grade-separated track.

    Explore alternatives to “Blended Rail”. Much better, safer, more reliable, and less costly would be to up-grade the East Bay Amtrak/UP line from San Jose via Santa Clara, Mulford, and Oakland to Sacramento. From a transfer station at the BART overhead in Oakland, San Francisco’s downtown Embarcadero station is six minutes away with a train at least every four minutes.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Stop further spending on HSR to the Bay Area for now beyond San Jose. Provide nearly seamless transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, VTA rail, and BART. Squander no more HSR money to electrify or extend Caltrain. Caltrain has too many grade crossings, too much public access to its trackway. Safety trumps a “one seat ride” for San Francisco HSR patrons.—

    Prop 1-A (2008) bonds were for “Safe, Reliable” HSR. Even on 79 mph track (like Caltrain now), grade crossings would be vulnerable to accident, sabotage, even terrorist attack. CHSRA talks of raising that speed to 120 mph along Caltrain. Such “Blended Rail” would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. Insist that HSR be on secure, fenced, grade-separated track.—

    Explore alternatives to “Blended Rail”. Much better, safer, more reliable, and less costly would be to up-grade the East Bay Amtrak/UP line from San Jose via Santa Clara, Mulford, and Oakland to Sacramento. From a transfer station at the BART overhead in Oakland, San Francisco’s downtown Embarcadero station is six minutes away with a train at least every four minutes.

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR is supposed to be a ride on just HSR, no transfers to non HSR(Caltrain) at SJ to get to SF Robert.

    Zorro Reply:

    Grade crossings will be eliminated by putting in under passes, that is grade separated. HSR will travel up from SJ to SF via the peninsula, not go thru Oakland and/or Sacramento or anywhere else in the East Bay, since Pacheco is where design work is aimed at, not Altamont, as Altamont was rejected long ago for HSR.

    Eric Reply:

    “Pacheco is where design work is aimed at”

    Does CAHSR design work have positive value? Or do they finish their design work with a worse understanding of the project than when they began? I suspect the latter.

    Eric M Reply:

    Robert S. Allen,

    Please explain how going up the east bay with grade crossings is more safe than the peninsula?

    Clem Reply:

    It sounds like Caltrain should be shut down as soon as possible, or innocent women and children might die!

    Eric Reply:

    That’s more or less what he wants.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Mr. Allen, you say you are not afraid of Caltrain… Then why do you advocate for annexing San Mateo and Santa Clara into the BART system? Why do you advocate for BART to eventually replace Caltrain?

    Since inception, the plan was to use all or part of the Caltrain ROW, and to provide upgrades to Caltrain. Same for the Metrolink line used to reach LAUS. Since inception the plan was a one-seat ride from SF to LA, once the system was completed.

    There is nothing stopping Caltrain from grade separations and fencing the ROW.

    What’s to stop accidents, sabotage, or terrorist attacks to the UP Mulford line or BART for that matter?

    As Clem, myself, and others have pointed out, BART is overcrowded (as is Caltrain in some cases); it makes no sense to dump more crowds onto BART.

    In Replacing Caltrain with BART, former Caltrain riders would have NO more express/ baby bullet service, NO monthly pass, NO service to ATT Park, NO service in the Bayshore corridor, fewer seats, less room for bikes…

    If Caltrain were run the way it should be run, it could provide frequent service at higher capacity than BART.

    Upgrading the UP/Mulford line and providing more frequent/useful (transit) ACE/Capital Corridor (or even Caltrain) service would take pressure off of BART, making BART more comfortable for BART customers.

    Caltrain and BART should complement each other. By having Caltrain run as a frequent electrified “transit” service, it provides an alternative to very costly BART extensions. BART could then focus on improving the existing core system to become the best it can be.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Allen repeats his pretzel logic but seems to be making a case for additional investment of state, HSR and regional funds to accelerate building grade separations for the Caltrain corridor. Agreed, let’s give Californians a grade-separated, one-seat ride to SF.

    Thank goodness the Caltrain corridor uses standard gauge track that accommodates double deck cars with restrooms and can flexibly and safely be leveraged for both commuter and inter city rail.

    It’s good Mr. Allen now appreciates the benefit of standard gauge track, but it’s too bad he didn’t speak up when BART to San Jose was using up prime real estate with inflexible, non-standard rail. BART itself now promotes standard gauge eBART and tBART, but the schizophrenic habit of Caltrain hate is hard for some BART folks to quit.

    As a rapid rail system masquerading as commuter rail, BART has cost the region dearly, foreclosing use of key corridors for standard rail options, preventing express service, double decker cars, etc.

    Thank you for your service Mr. Allen but I think you can stop repeating yourself now. If this is hard you may want to find a 12 step program to help (you know, ‘apologize to those you have wronged’, etc.)

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Hi jonathon
    How do you know the evidence does not look good for the CHSRA?

    jonathan Reply:

    because I can read, and do arithmetic….


    Zorro Reply:

    No where in Prop1a does it say how many stops beyond LA to SF there is, nor how many times HSR has to meet this goal, Once would do.

  12. StevieB
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 13:05

    James Fallows of the Atlantic was on Valley Public Radio July 15 in a segment titled James Fallows: California’s High Speed Rail Plan Is ‘Better Than The Alternatives’. Fallows explains that after doing research for his series of Atlantic articles he is now more in support of the project and offers why.

    But it seems to me the most powerful argument is the dynamic one. That if California does not do this and there are another 10 or 15 million people there over the next generation, the other ways of dealing with the transportation problem, whether it’s more roads or just the cost of congestion or more airports or whatever, will be more destructive as far as I can tell than going ahead with the rail project.

  13. Reality Check
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 18:37

    Demolition continues in Fresno for state high-speed rail project

    Demolition crews with Fresno-based J. Kroeker Inc. are pushing ahead this week with their work to knock down and clear buildings that sit in the path of California’s high-speed rail line, even as lawsuits continue to cast a shadow over the future of the statewide train system.

    First to fall was an old bar, Annie’s Hollywood Inn, on Golden State Boulevard between McKinley and Olive avenues. A large excavator made short work of the demolition on Monday, reducing the former honky-tonk to rubble and splinters within 15 minutes. The long-closed bar became the first building demolished to make way for construction of the bullet-train system.

    By Wednesday, not even rubble was left on the site — only a patch of dirt amid a row of rundown motels that long ago saw their better days. The heavy equipment had moved on to nearby McKinley Avenue just east of Golden State, where three small houses were cleared.


    Keav “Kay” Lim and Ken Chea expressed disappointment with the value that appraisers for the California High-Speed Rail Authority offered then for their restaurant. They said they thought it would take between $300,000 and $500,000 to be able to relocate at a new site, but chose to accept $160,000 for the property and the business rather than prolong what they thought was inevitable.


    Katch Environmental is certified as a disabled-veteran owned company. Katchadourian said the contract will keep his company and its employees busy for about four years.

    “About 85% to 90% of the people I hire are from CalWorks,” he said. “This high-speed rail contract has allowed me to hire 25 people who didn’t have a job before. Now they have a steady job to feed their families.”

  14. Reality Check
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 18:42

    Fresno Supervisors reject Poochigian call to renounce high-speed rail

    A local attack on the California high-speed rail program fizzled in Fresno. An effort to get the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to renounce their support for the project died. It was backed by just one supervisor.

    The Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting heard familiar arguments both for and against the Californian High-Speed Rail project.


    The discussion and debate went on for more than four hours. Finally, three supervisors, Phil Larson, Judith Case McNairy, and Henry Perea indicated they wanted to save all this talk for another day. But Poochigian did not want to stop.


    In the end, Poochigian made a motion to renounce the boards previous support for high-speed rail, but nobody went along with it. Instead they agreed to resume talking about high-speed rail in a couple of weeks and perhaps introduce additional resolutions.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Reality Check (and others)

    This ABC30 report of the Supervisors meeting is a classic case of lousy, and miss-leading reporting.

    What actually happened was the Supervisors decided to not take action yesterday, but put off any action on the resolution until the next board meeting, set for July 29th.

    Tim Sheehan has written an accurate article :

    see: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/15/4025872/fresno-county-supervisors-make.html

    with the headline:

    Fresno County supervisors make no decision on opposing high-speed rail

    or this article in the business journal:


    Joe Reply:

    They rejected her call to vote against HSR. They didn’t vote. She failed.
    She wants to drag it on.

    joe Reply:

    Sounded apinful

    Following about four hours of discussion, including more than two hours of comment from 36 speakers, Supervisor Debbie Poochigian urged her board colleagues to ask the county’s staff to prepare a resolution opposing the statewide bullet-train plan. But her motion died without a second from any of the other supervisors.

    Instead, a visibly frustrated Poochigian — who wrote the proposed opposition resolution — found herself on the losing end of a 4-1 vote to extend the debate to the board’s July 29 meeting. “We have been working on this seven years, so I don’t know what more information we can get or what questions we can answer,” Poochigian said

    The extension of debate was a consequence of her losing a 4-1 vote to continue the debate and get a second on her dead-end resolution.

    Mac Reply:

    I noticed that Morales stated twice in that meeting that the HSR project would generate
    450,000 Permanent Jobs . Where is he pulling this number from? It doesn’t match up to any of the data calculation/reports I’ve seen…… Anyone?

    joe Reply:


    If it were only 100,000 jobs the NO Vote would be just as dumb for Fresno. I guess that’s why no one wanted to second the motion to draft the Resolution.

    Mac Reply:

    The fact is that it appears that Morales is misrepresenting the jobs information. The HSRA knows that JOBS is the mantra that seems to be effective in the Valley to draw support. These numbers have been refuted in the past…yet here he comes up with them again. Sort of getting tired of the lies.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Estimated by CHSRA in the formal 2012 business plan “Construction of the rail is expected to generate up to 100,000 construction-related jobs every year the system is under construction, and as many as 450,000 permanent jobs once the rail is completed,” noted the proposal

    Mac Reply:

    Keith…the plan addresses the 100,000 as job years…remember that? Also…they throw this 450,000 permanent jobs number around….but they don’t show how they ended up with that calculation. They don’t state what they are counting. Are they taking credit for the job numbers of any new business that is built within 10 miles of the alignment from now until 2035? Doe anyone have a link that shows how they came up with the 450,000…..and is this “job years” yet again?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Hi Mac

    Yes I also have a problem with the job years formula,

    Mac Reply:

    Would you say that they are referring to 450,000 “job years” in the 2012 Business Plan then?

  15. Reality Check
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 18:55

    Why are California lawmakers worried about increased fuel costs?

    Concern about rising fuel costs spurred 16 Democratic Assembly members to send a letter to CARB Chairman Mary Nichols asking her to delay, or redesign, the program for greenhouse gas emissions.

    “We request that you delay expanding the cap-and-trade program to cover transportation fuels or at least change the program so that it does not unnecessarily increase fuel costs in order to generate revenue for the state,” the letter states.

    Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, said the program was created to limit greenhouse gas emissions, not generate revenue for the state.

    “This new revenue comes out of the pockets of hard working Californians,” Perea said in a news release. “The Legislature did not ask for the cap-and-trade program to work this way.”

    Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino noted the negative effect higher fuel prices would have on Californians who rely on their vehicles on a daily basis. She is asking the governor to delay implementation because of the effect it would have on truck drivers trying to do business in the state.

    “We also have a significant trucking sector, which is vital to the health of our economy,” Brown stated.


    Republicans at the statehouse are also trying to draw attention to the issue.

    Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said the worst part of the mandate is that none of money from this “new hidden tax” would be used to improve roadways. Instead, the money would be earmarked for such projects as a high-speed rail sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.

  16. jimsf
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 20:53

    OT new muni light rail cars from Siemens

    jimsf Reply:

    ……..Previous deal soured

    When Muni bought its current fleet of light-rail cars from Italian manufacturer Breda in 1996, Haley said, it didn’t buy enough cars and tinkered too much with customizing the design. Its reliability requirements also were too lax and it didn’t take maintenance costs into account.

    “We tried to learn the lessons from the previous procurement,” he said.

    So the MTA plans to buy more rail cars this time, let the manufacturer handle most of the design, require better performance from the vehicles and consider the costs and time requirements of maintenance.

    The new cars will be more modern but in some ways less complicated. The problematic doors on the current Metro cars have 200 parts; the new ones will have fewer than 20…..

    jimsf Reply:

    The problematic doors on the current Metro cars have 200 parts; the new ones will have fewer than 20. But the new cars will also have black boxes that will help Muni determine the causes of accidents. Transform the system An enthusiastic Haley said the MTA has been struggling to improve Metro service, and making slow incremental progress. The new cars, he said, will transform the system.

    “These new cars will make this the best light-rail system in the country,” he said.

    The board also approved a $3.55-per-stop fee for corporate shuttles using Muni stops. That’s an increase from the $1 per stop adopted when the agency approved the 18-month test program in January. The fee covers only the costs of administering the program, and applications for the program have fallen short of the number anticipated.

  17. jimsf
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 21:28

    also OT but when will billionaires realize they can’t screw with california.

    six statesmy ass
    get real. how would that solve the water issue. Will the rain be happier to fall upon a divided california?

    More business friendly? right trying do business in the west while dealing with six californias instead of one. yeh thatll make things sooooo easy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes it’s just awful the way New England is turning into a ghost town because it’s so difficult to deal with multiple states. Or New York City with it’s metro area spread out over four.

    joe Reply:

    It is awful. I remember when NY had waaay more electoral votes than CA.

    Why Visalia Ca would be the 6th largest city in NY.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Investor’s Plan to Split California Would Create Poorest State in USA

    Silicon Valley’s per capita personal income (PCPI) — $63,288 — currently would rank as the highest among U.S. states ($3,600 above Connecticut, but still below the District of Columbia)


    Central California’s PCPI would rank last among all U.S. states (about $150 below Mississippi).

    Joe Reply:

    And Silion Valley would be one of the drier states.

    Hetch Hetchy and the pipe carrying Silicon Valley water would belong to a different state and they’d charge for it or just reroute it to local Ag.

    This initiative exists because some political consultants wanted a billionaire to give them money. They got paid to put his pet rock on the ballot.

    Zorro Reply:

    Agreed Jimsf, 6 California’s would be pathetic, but then this tripe of a ballot measure was written up by a Silicon Valley Millionaire by the name of Tim Draper. I’m voting NO on this drek should I see it on My ballot and I’m encouraging others to do the same, unless they’re crazy, 1 California is way more powerful, than 5 mini California’s would ever be.

    United we stand, Divided we fall.

    Article XI of the California Constitution is amended to add section 4.5 to read:
    Sec. 4.5(a) Upon enactment of this section, it shall be competent in any county charter to provide
    that the county governed thereunder may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations in
    respect to municipal affairs, subject only to restrictions and limitations provided in their several
    charters and in respect to other matters they shall be subject to general laws. County charters
    adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall supersede any existing charter, and with respect to
    municipal affairs shall supersede all laws inconsistent therewith.
    (b) A county charter may provide for the delegation of authority in respect to municipal affairs,
    by way of compact, or other agreement, to a regional association of counties, consisting of the
    other counties within the boundaries of the new states provided for in section 2.5 of Article II [sic],
    during the interim period of time before Congressional approval of the new states.
    (c) For purposes of this section, any law intended by the Legislature to be a general law or matter
    of statewide concern that supersedes the authority of a county over its municipal affairs and also
    requires an annual subvention of funds to reimburse the county for the costs of the program or
    service pursuant to section 6 of Article XIIIB, shall require an annual transfer of funds from the
    state treasury to a county treasury, as needed, and in the absence of such reimbursement, the
    county shall have no obligation to enforce the law. The state shall have no power to incur debt
    owed to a county pursuant to this subdivision.

    [End of Section 4.]

    Of course, he has a fatal typo above; it refers to “the new states provided for in section 2.5 of Article II” but Article II Section 2.5 of the Constitution just says “A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted.” He probably meant to refer to his new Section 2 of Article III but made a drafting error.

    This came from a poster on Calitics.

    Zorro Reply:

    5 should be 6.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am voting for it. **** LA supremacy.

  18. John Burrows
    Jul 16th, 2014 at 22:39

    Concerning Chris Reid’s seven point argument against HSR in California:

    His fifth point begins—“The public no longer backs the project. It won narrowly in 2008. Now polls show nearly 2/3 of voters are opposed.” The Field poll which Reid is quoting actually shows 59% of voters were opposed, (considerably less than 2/3).

    But there is something else that is interesting about this poll—The results were published in early December 2011, nearly 3 years ago. California and Californians have changed a lot since then, and we only need to look at another Field Poll to get a sense of what has happened.

    The Field Poll does an “Annual Assessment of Economic Well Being of Californians”. If we compare the results from the 2011 poll with the results from the 2014 poll:

    In 2011—91% of those polled thought that “bad times” best described the California economy, 4% rated the economy as in-between, and only 5% thought California was enjoying “good times”.
    The 2014 results are dramatically different—53% think that times are bad, 22% in between, and 25% that times are good .

    To the question “Are you better off, the same, or worse off now than you were a year ago” the results are also dramatically different.

    In 2011—22% said better off, 28% said no change, and 50% said worse off.
    In 2014—44% said better—28% no change—and 28% thought they were worse off.
    In three years a huge 22 point shift, and in fact the 44% of Californians saying that they are better off is the highest number since 2001.

    The California of 2011 where Mr.Reid appears to be dwelling was a pretty bummed out place. The California of 2014—Not so much. If this Field Poll is right, then in only three years there has been a dramatic change in how we view our future and in how we view the future of our state. My guess is that in the last three years there has also been a change, possibly a big change in how Californians view high speed rail. The results of the next Field poll on HSR in California will be interesting.

  19. Keith Saggers
    Jul 17th, 2014 at 11:45
  20. Roger Christensen
    Jul 17th, 2014 at 11:50

    Interesting to note the a proposed Metro study on this month’s agenda to look at converting the Orange Line to rail and extending it to Pasadena has a specific component of connecting NoHo to Bob Hope Airport either by Red or Orange Line. No funding but it could surface on the Long Range Plan or even on the 2016 ballot.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:


    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Oops. WordPress fail. Supposed to be a reply to Saggers’ terribly apropos link contribution.

  21. morris brown
    Jul 17th, 2014 at 14:48

    NY Times:


    Political Duel for California Governor Spans Nation


    (regarding HSR)

    And Democrats said that as long as Mr. Brown remained strongly for the rail project, there was only so much Mr. McCarthy could do. “I don’t believe he is in a position to block the train,” said Representative Karen Bass, a Democrat from California who served with Mr. McCarthy in the Assembly.

    In June, Mr. Brown moved to circumvent Mr. McCarthy with a state budget agreement that used $250 million in cap-and-trade fees on the energy industry to fund the eventual high-speed rail. Mr. McCarthy denounced Mr. Brown with a blistering post on his Facebook page for trying to “prop up California’s unworkable high-speed rail project.”

    Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Brown brings up the train whenever they meet. “Every time he comes back, the facts get stronger on my side,” he said. “The governor should focus his time on water, infrastructure, highways.” …..

    (from McCarthy’s Facebook page as mentioned…
    Kevin McCarthy
    June 13 ·

    Unfortunately yesterday Gov. Jerry Brown and his allies are still attempting to salvage and prop up California’s unworkable high-speed rail project that our state cannot afford. I am strongly opposed to California’s high speed rail boondoggle. I will continue to do whatever I can as long as I am in Congress to stop any future federal funds from going to this project.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    High speed rail is infrastructure. One of the ways to focus on highways is to reduce demand for them by intercity travelers who can use high speed rail instead.

    Alan Reply:

    In other words, McCarthy is saying, “I will continue to do whatever I can to protect my friends, the Koch brothers and the oil interests, who continue to provide plenty of dark money to keep me in office, and to hell with the people I represent.”

    joe Reply:

    NYTimes AdNags is typically awful. It’s about a political duel – that’s his lede.

    Also Recall the NYTimes ran a HSR article about the train to nowhere and forgot to put Fresno on their map.
    They are that dumb. http://fresnobeehive.com/archives/9977

    I don’t think of myself as one of those folks who takes offense at every Fresno slight or omission. But when the New York Times does a piece on the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project and doesn’t even mention Fresno — and even leaves it off the locator map! — it seems like something is missing.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s the NYTimes describing the Bakersfield to frenso section

    Under a plan approved in early December, the inaugural stretch of the multispurred 800-mile system will eventually connect San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento and other major California cities and will run through the state’s farm-rich Central Valley.

    Federal and state authorities have committed some $5.5 billion to the first leg of the project, which will connect Bakersfield, the valley’s southern hub, and the unincorporated area south of Madera. [Borden]

    No Fresno because the propaganda says the train goes no where and the buffoons who did this at the NYTimes don’t know basic CA geography or the HSR system and are to lazy to fact check.

  22. Scramjett
    Jul 17th, 2014 at 14:50

    I think I need to read the HSR blog more often. Every time I read one of their stories, I feel more optimistic about HSR and even more optimistic that it might actually get built out BEFORE my kids grow up. Now if Sacramento Regional Transit can get that bloody Green Line to the airport built sooner than 2035…

    Scramjett Reply:

    As an addendum to my own comment…I would like to see California push for, on the national level, HSR connections back east using their own HSR network as an example. I’d also like to see HSFR (high speed freight rail) built out alongside HSR networks. In my mind, there is absolutely no reason why these could not be accomplished before I retire (around 2035), if not sooner.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t enough people between the cities along I-35 and the cities along I-5 to be building HSR between them. The freight doesn’t care if it takes four days to get cross country instead of five. That’s too slow for people who can fly in airplanes to the places they want to go.

    Scramjett Reply:

    As I said, it is what I would like to see. Never said it would happen. And it’s too bad that it won’t.

    As for high speed freight, a few years ago, I read a piece that made the case for high speed freight rail. Such investments would reduce bottlenecks on existing freight lines and allow for reduced travel times on non-HSR passenger trains. It would also be less expensive than flying it across country or driving it via long haul trucking. Fright does care how long it takes, you know, the old adage “time is money.” The trucking lobby might take issue with it though.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Freight rail is already cheaper than all alternatives except ocean shipping. That’s why in the US it carries the low-value, cost-sensitive goods, like coal, while trucking carries the higher-value, time-sensitive ones. To compete with trucking you’d have to make the cost differential far larger.

    Conversely, flying long distances is cheaper than you think. For example, the current average airfare from New York to Los Angeles is $350 one-way, which is $0.087 per kilometer. Intercity rail fares are on average 50-200% higher, depending on the country. The effect of a carbon tax depends on what counts; average CO2 emissions from NY to LA are 714 kg per passenger, which means that at $500 per ton it’s only somewhat more expensive than European intercity rail and massively faster, though the radiative forcing effect of CO2 is higher at higher altitudes, plus there are other greenhouse gases like ozone.

    Trentbridge Reply:

    And most of the trailerload/container cargo moves inland from Los Angeles in double-stack trains and is then delivered by truck at the destination.

    From Progressive Railroading:

    For the second-straight week, U.S. railroads set an intermodal volume record. They logged 272,553 containers and trailers in the week ending June 21, besting the high-water mark they set the week before, according to the Association of American Railroads.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Filled with cheap stuff that can take five days to get to Chicago. Moving the cheap stuff to Chicago faster doesn’t make the train trip from Denver to Chicago fast enough to make people want to take the train. Move the passenger train at full fledged HSR speeds you can’t share tracks with freight for very long, even fast moving freight and it still isn’t fast enough to make people want to take the train instead of flying.

    jonathan Reply:


    so far so good, no unwarranted assertions about genitalia size.

    What you’re missing is that current US freight rail companies don;t care whether it takes four days to get across the US, or 8-10. (not 4 vs 6)

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Which is why the railex service with five day refrigerated produce from Washington State to New York State can’t exist.


    When you have an argument that concludes that reality doesn’t exist, its not reality that has to give way.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Less than 33 hours for a little over 1,200 miles from Florida to New Jersey. The train has been running for decades. I don’t know or care how long it’s taken in the past.


    Somewhat less than 144 hours to get from Delano CA to Rotterdam NY. They’ve been doing it consistently for years. Usually promoted as “five days”


    The runs from the West Coast to Rotterdam are working out so well they are opening another terminal in Jacksonville FL. And hoping to open one in the Midwest.

    jonathan Reply:

    Freight rail is already cheaper than all alternatives except ocean shipping. That’s why in the US it carries the low-value, cost-sensitive goods, like coal, while trucking carries the higher-value, time-sensitive ones. To compete with trucking you’d have to make the cost differential far larger.


    And it is therefore no surprise that the US freight rail companies maintain their track to, at *best*, the shitty standards which allow them to run freight-trains at speeds which make US freight rail equivalent to sea freight — SHIPS — for inter-EU freight traffic.

    Which is why the “Steel Inerstate” so beloved of Bruce mcF is nothing more than intellectual masturbation. The US Govt is going to spend hundreds of billions building 200 km/hr, electrified rights of-way? Which freight rail will use (on, lets not forget, the *OUTER* tracks of an SFFS right-of-way)? When these exact same freight railroads have focused, for 60 years, on low-value, low-speed freight? When they either *never had*, or *LOST TWO GENERATIONS AGO*, the institutional knowledge, on how to maintain either track or rolling stock, to anything-more-than-dirt-cheap-diesel traction?

    that’s just *STUPID*. You think UP or BNSF or CSX or NS can turn, even in a space of decades, into SBB Cargo? There are words for fantasies like that, and they’re not fit for polite company.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Aren’t the US railroads focusing heavily on trying to win domestic intermodal, especially Norfolk Southern of late?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “The US Govt is going to spend hundreds of billions building 200 km/hr, electrified rights of-way?”

    Where did you get that? The claim that the proposals require spending the USG hundreds of billions of dollars, and the claim that they requires 200km/hr right of way are fabrications, so it seems that what you have done is knock a straw man off a straw horse.

    jonathan Reply:

    The majority of the “Steel Interstate” material I’ve read talks about how public expenditure defines modal share; and compares a steel interstate to the interstate highway system. Now you’re saying that *doesn’t* imply public financing of the construction of a Steel Interstate system? Well, excuse me. What *was* that supposed to mean?

    As for the 125 mph *huh*? Bruce, are you quibbling about the difference between 125 mi/hr, and 200 km/hr? i’ve read several Steel-Interstate pieces which advocate 125 mph.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “The majority of the “Steel Interstate” material I’ve read talks about how public expenditure defines modal share; and compares a steel interstate to the interstate highway system. ”

    Yes, subsidizing the one and taxing the other substantially defines mode share.

    “Now you’re saying that *doesn’t* imply public financing of the construction of a Steel Interstate system?”

    You weren’t claiming public financing, you were claiming public funding, since hundreds of millions public spending on financing would imply many trillions in investment.

    “As for the 125 mph *huh*? Bruce, are you quibbling about the difference between 125 mi/hr, and 200 km/hr? i’ve read several Steel-Interstate pieces which advocate 125 mph.”

    I’m quibbling about the difference between 200km/hr and 90mph. Discussion of 125mph is talking about passenger rail speeds, not rapid freight rail, and at that about corridors where there would be a high enough frequency of passenger service to warrant dedicated passenger track.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are people posting things on the intertubes about all sorts of things. How many times have you read that the latest lawsuit is going to be the death of high speed rail in California? I personally like the one where the maglev trains leave New York City and go to Albany so that people can get from Washington DC to Boston fast.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Alon, your first paragraph is way off base, as is your agreement jonathan. You may be smart engineers or well informed about passenger rail but you seem to have a major gap in your knowledge of recent developments in US rail freight. A lot of high value freight, electronics, appliances etc. moves by container train. The cost differential with trucking has actually declined as the rail offering has improved. Extremely high value items such as jewelry or micro chips will of course be air freighted or expedited truck. But just as a lot of “airfreight” moves by truck, especially on certain days of the week, so does a lot of “truck” freight move intermodal. Intermodal trains typically travel at 60 – 70 mph and provide equivalent service in most lanes to single driver trucks. I know you love to hate US railroads, but permit me to point out that a lot of container cargo moves competitively by barge in Europe because the railways cannot get their act together.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I know railroads are increasing their market share, but their share of the market by the value of goods they carry is still only 4%, in both the US and the EU. The share of ton-km is far higher in both, especially the US; that’s precisely my point.

    Anyway, I’m not hating on US railroads! They’re very good at what they do. From an environmental perspective, what matters is to have the most ton-km on the most energy-efficient mode, and not the most value. It would be nice if these goods weren’t coal, but it really isn’t any of the Class Is’ fault US energy policy is to destroy the planet.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    In transportation, how many people care about market share in terms of value of goods? The days when freight rates were regulated and value had a high factor in determining rate are long past. A lot of high value machinery moves east to west in “backhaul” containers at very low rates. Further, I doubt the accuracy of the “value” statistics in domestic freight since deregulation. It’s jonathan who gets in a lather about the US railroads. As you say, Alon they do a good job of moving the traffic that is tendered to them. The rolling stock is crude but their is a different mindset in volume production over great distances, and doing it at a profit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Market share in terms of value is important because it determines things like willingness to invest in fixed plant. Since US freight rail is basically the Wal-Mart of ground transportation (and the same is true of EU freight rail, just to a lesser extent), it’s unlikely to be interested in frills like fast freight, electrification, higher maintenance standards to avoid derailments, and running on a schedule. Passenger rail is completely different. Intercity rail competes with cars almost entirely on convenience rather than cost; even urban rail, which is much cheaper than driving, competes on a combination of cost and convenience. Routinely sitting on the track for a while doing nothing is only sort of acceptable, for a short while, if you’re the subway in New York, in which case your competition is Manhattan traffic.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Wrong again, I think. There is a very limited market for fast freight in terms of ton miles and because of the continental scope the really important stuff will be air freighted. No amount of investment in “frills” will change rails’ participation or lack of in that business.
    Intermodal freights run on a schedule, although there is far more slack than you would recognize from your passenger orientation. For years I shipped trailers from L.A. to Chicago on ATSF in about 60 hours ramp to ramp, very reliably. The difference between then and now is that there was about an $800 difference per load compared to truck, today if you call for a truck from one of the major carriers you actually get a container and it moves by rail for almost the same price as truck.
    With the vastly improved software for supply chain management now available, and the automation of a lot of the pick and pack process at DCs actual transit time has diminished a little in importance. Reliability is now key rather than heroic “hot shot” movements, whether by rail, truck or air.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Paul, isn’t the first paragraph what I said?

    Re scheduling, you know this far better than I do, but my understanding is that freight runs have a well-defined start time and end time, but these are hours apart, and in between there’s no timetable control. Or is this only the case when trains run with train orders, without CTC?

    jonathan Reply:

    Wrong again, I think. There is a very limited market for fast freight in terms of ton miles and because of the continental scope the really important stuff will be air freighted. No amount of investment in “frills” will change rails’ participation or lack of in that business.

    Paul, you appear to be in violent agreement with Alon and I.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I worked in rail yards in west London and in the trucking business in L.A. I can assure you I know of violent disagreements and this is not violent. You must be very sensitive.

    jonathan Reply:

    that’s violent *agreement*, Paul.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well I still know a fist fight when I see one….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    How recent are your recent developments? As recently as 2013 the NREL found that the mode shift from truck to rail in response to price changes in many freight markets is quite low, because rail could not provide the QOS characteristics provided by trucking.

    And “a lot” as a description of rail market share in those freight markets is more than a little vague.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I would not look to NREL as the prime source for data. “many freight markets” is more than a little vague.
    My point about the machinery is this. Pre-deregulation a $50,000 machine tool would carry a high freight rate because of its classification. Post deregulation it can move in a container to the west coast for a few hundred dollars and in effect the same rate as e.g. animal feed, which also moves westbound in containers.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “‘many freight markets’ is more than a little vague” … yes, but I can go to the source and get specific details on, say, Commodity Group 34 (machinery) if I need to. Given modes other than trucking have under 30% share for the 90% of cumulative ton-miles of Group 34 freight going under 2500 miles, I’m confident “a lot” for that freight category means “a minority share and not likely to become a majority share”.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Dyson, your statement “container cargo moves competitively by barge in Europe because the railways cannot get their act together” seems a wee bit dismissive given European rail practices are far better than US railroad operators.

    Mr Buffett got his butt kicked on the Columbia River Crossing I-5 Bridge replacement project just last year. His BNSF (related) bridge and rail work downstream should NOT host an oval track 90 degree spurs rail facility on tiny Hayden Island and hinder/impede other cross river rail operations. Duh. Buffett won’t be pronounced ruler of the rails! The Port still claims the facility possible but they’re lying to save face and conduct a cooling off period. The CRC was done in by Wsdot and the greedy global Ports.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “given European rail practices are far better than US railroad operators.” I have no idea what that means and I don’t suppose you do either. Which practices? Running passenger trains? True. Running long haul freight? Almost non existent in Europe, so no comparison is relevant. And what relevance some obscure reference to an infrastructure project in metro Portland has to the discussion I have no idea.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The US has a much higher rail mode share than Europe for freight, measured in ton-km (in value, it’s about the same). Most of the difference can be explained as a matter of physical geography (Europe is better suited for sea freight) and economic geography (Europe ships less coal and ships goods over shorter distances, both of which trends work for trucks and against rail); part of it can’t, and has to be explained by other means. European freight rail rates are higher than American ones because of interference from passenger trains, and European labor regulations and union agreements aren’t harmonized across the EU, so trains often have to wait at borders.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    European rail rates are higher because truck rates are higher. European rail costs are higher for the reason stated. You can’t always recover your costs with higher rates. But the geography analysis is correct. Hardly anywhere in Europe (a peninsula of course) are you more than 150km from a seaport. That’s why I don’t understand why jonathan gets in such a spate about US railroads. They are built for the job that they are called upon to do, which is completely different from the European railroads. Grain and now oil are other long haul cargoes in the USA for which there is no European equivalent.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Europeans and Asians run enormous amounts of agricultural and mineral products by rail. In North America. To the ports where it goes to the ports in Europe and Asia. Intercontinetal freight doesn’t have to float exclusively on salty water. The grain in that expensive pasta imported from Italy started someplace on the Great Plains and wended its way to a port that serves ocean going ships. Like Duluth Michigan. And got to Duluth by rail. Or got to the Port of South Louisiana on a river barge.

    Eric Reply:

    “which means that at $500 per ton”

    Where did this figure come from? The EPA gives figures an order of magnitude lower.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ultimately, the Stern Review.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “To compete with trucking you’d have to make the cost differential far larger.”

    Or make the quality of service differential smaller.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s actually harder. Trucks really can go anywhere. Trains can’t. With passenger rail, it’s fine – people can walk the last kilometer from the train station home. With freight rail, the last kilometer is a truck, and then it’s incrementally more efficient to make it the last thirty kilometers, and soon the train can only serve intermodal distribution centers.

  23. Reality Check
    Jul 17th, 2014 at 23:52

    Muni OK’s $1.2b deal for 260 Sacramento-built Siemens light-rail cars

    The contract approved Tuesday calls for the German company, which manufactures light-rail vehicles in Sacramento, to build 260 cars.

    The first new car could arrive at the end of 2016, with the 24 new cars needed for the Central Subway expected to be delivered by 2018, in time for the scheduled opening in 2019. Replacement cars would arrive by 2021 with options for 85 more cars in 2018 to 2030. They’re intended to handle ridership growth through 2040.

    Siemens provided illustrations of three possible designs and color schemes for exteriors of the new light-rail cars as well as options for the interior configuration, but the details won’t be decided for a few months. The agency will involve the public in the design process.

  24. Keith Saggers
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 11:33
  25. Reality Check
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 13:11

    Totally off topic, but check out the radical styling of this new Russian LRV … “described as an ‘iPhone on rails’”. Makes the new Siemens Muni LRV styling look ultra tame.

    Observer Reply:

    Interesting. I like when people think out of the box. The aerodynamics seem interesting; instead of directing air flow over and above, it directs air flow down and under – or so it seems.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Certainly no uglier than the BART or SMART cars.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    But keep in mind that this design is comparable to a concept car at a motor show.

    The front is, as it is now, unpractical, as it lacks anticlimbers.

    The design is, however, interesting and intriguing.

  26. Reality Check
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 15:52

    Regional TER train rams TGV; 40 hurt

    Two French trains, one of them a TGV, collided in south western France on Thursday afternoon, leaving at least 40 injured, three of whom were said to be in a critical condition. Initial reports suggest the crash was caused by a signal failure.

    The signalling system in the in the area where a high speed TGV train collided with a regional TER in south western France on Thursday, was undergoing maintenance, according to France’s transport chief.

    The two trains collided near the Denguin (Pyrenees-Atlantiques) at the foot of the Pyrenees, around 17km from the city of Pau at around 5.30pm on the line between Pau and Bayonne.

    See also: Béarn : 40 blessés dont quatre graves dans la collision entre deux trains

  27. jonathan
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 20:05

    No, Ted. The courts may well pull the plug on spending Prop 1A HSR funds on the Peninsula “Blended” plan, because that” plan *cannot* meet the requirements of Prop 1A. Just look at the actual, honest simulations from PBQD, obtained by CARRD. The version *before* the one where Frank Vacca lied and said that PBQD’s simulation of a train leaving from 4th and King (not TBT) and blasting through San Jose (not an SF-SJ service) _almost_ meets the Prop 1A time requirements. If, and only if, the train driver drives at the utmost acceleration and (non-emergency) braking capacity of the trainset. That is *NOT* a service time, and a judge like Michael Kenny can figure that out.

    Plus the non-existent viaduct. Doesn’t CEQA explicitly prohibit piece-mealing EIRs like that??

    More, the “Blended” Peninsula plan will *NOT*, repeat *NOT be ready for HSR operation, because it’s going to be signalled with a non-HSR-compatible signalling system. Ooops. Mind you, a court has yet to rule on whether the ICS is Prop 1A compliant. And even an innumerate like Joe should be able to see that the ICS is *NOT* in compliance with Prop 1A. The Authority’s plan for the ICS leaves the ICS *non-electrified*. And that is blatantly in violation of Prop 1A:

    The corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and
    ready for high-speed train operation.

    And Prop 1A defines “high-speed trains” in 2704.09. Note the word “electric”:

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following
    (a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue
    operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.
    (b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
    shall not exceed the following:

    So. The ICS is not electrified. It has to be a “usable segment” with independent utility to met the PRIIA funding requirements. So the ICS is a “usable segment”, which *upon completion* will not be electrified. Therefore it’s not ready for high-speed trains (which Prop 1A defines as electric, among other important attributes.). So the ICS is *NOT* Prop 1A-compliant. End of story.

    As for cap and trade? $250 m/yr. for HSR. Ted, I’ll go out on a limb and assume you approve of Bill Clinton’s speech to the 2012 Democratic convention. So, let’s do some arithmetic. If you spent *all* the HSR cap-and-trade money on Caltrain electrification, how many years would it take to electrify Caltrain? When is this expenditure going to start? When is Caltrain electrification supposed to be complete??

    jimsf Reply:

    you’re reading it wrong.

    The system does have to meet the ulitmate requirments.
    The ICS has to have independat utility
    That independat utility does not have to meet the full build out requirements. The full build out has to meet the requirements.
    That has always been understood.

    jimsf Reply:

    ..and anything that is initially wrong, will eventually be fixed as needed for funding to go forward.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The expenditure of the funds on the ICS does not preclude a provision within Prop 1a. The lack of matching funds outside the ICS will be dispositive.

    agb5 Reply:

    A “Usable Segment” is defined as *SOME* of the following components: “right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities” which, if built, must be built to a standard that makes them suitable and ready for eventual high-speed train operation.

    The language is there to assure the public that bond money will only be spent on properly constructed components of the eventual high-speed rail system.

    For example, to be certified “suitable and ready for high-speed train operation”, the “right-of-way” component must be fully grade separated with no sharp bends.

    I hope the train manufacturer certifies the train “suitable and ready for high-speed train operation” before it leaves the factory.

    The system is being built in pieces over time, so there is a need for language to guarantee the quality of the pieces match the eventual goal.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Here is what it actually says

    (d) “High-speed train” means a passenger train capable of sustained revenue operating speeds of at least 200 miles per hour where conditions permit those speeds.
    (e) “High-speed train system” means a system with high-speed trains and includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities.
    (f) “Corridor” means a portion of the high-speed train system as described in Section 2704.04.
    (g) “Usable segment” means a portion of a corridor that includes at least two stations.

    It does not say “some”. It says “includes, but not limited to”. There is no doubt the people who wrote the law intended for the usable segments to be usable by HSR. The current authority is trying to twist the very clear words of the law to be able to build segments that are not HSR ready

    agb5 Reply:

    If the people who wrote the law intended a usable segment to be usable by HSR, they would have written:
    “Usable segment” means a high-speed train system with two stations.

    The deliberate addition of the word “portion” can only mean that the author intended a usable segment to be something less than a complete “high-speed train system”. i.e. “some” components of a high speed train system.

    There is no doubt that the people who wrote the law intended the system to be built in stages over time, right-of-way first, rolling-stock last, because the people who wrote the law were consulting with experts who are familiar with international best practice in HSR construction, and building a mini complete HSR system with only 2 stations would make California a laughing stock around the world.

    The judge can always ask the “people who wrote the law” what they had in mind by “portion”. They can show the judge working-notes and draft copies to clarify what they were thinking.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s pointless. They’ve gotten into their heads that the legislature didn’t intend that construction would happen in phases and the phases would have stages. That unless as the last grading machine rolls past the first track laying crew follows so close that they can smell the exhaust from the grading machine and the people hanging centenary can hear the track laying machine it’s not legal.

    jonathan Reply:

    No,Adirondacker. People are saying that the ICS doesn’t include electrificaiton; therefore the ICS does not allow electric HSR trains; therefore it is not a ‘usable segment” as defined by Prop 1A; therefore Prop 1A bond funds cannot be spent on the ICS. (or any other segment which isn’t tracked, signalled, and electrified, at “completion” of the segment; at completion of the Prop-1A funded-and-matched project.

    Pretty simple, really.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    As agb5 pointed out the legislature wrote that a usable segment has two stations. If they wanted a usable segment to be defined as a two HSR stations they would have defined it that way. No matter how many times you jump up and down and threaten to hold your breath until you are blue a usable segment is still going to be defined as two station not two HSR stations.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    adirondacker12800 seems to have you on this one … Prop1a(2008):
    “(g) “Usable segment” means a portion of a corridor that includes at least
    two stations.”

    Fresno and Hanford would add up to {… gazinto … carry the … borrow the …} ah, yes, “at least two”.

    I believe the legal argument there is along the lines that projecting words into a legal definition while reading doesn’t actually legally amend the text to include those words. Then again, I Aint No Damn Lawyer, so I prefer to wait until the legal dust has settled.

    Resident Reply:

    BruceMcF – But Prop 1A also has a specific definition of a “corridor”. What is that?

    agb5 Reply:

    A “corridor” is defined as a specific routing. e.g. the
    “Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union Station” corridor.

    Resident Reply:

    Sorry, that was meant to read:
    So putting it all together: Usable segment as defined by ab3034: A portion of high speed train system that includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities, which includes at least two stations.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @Resident, A portion of a high speed train system which includes at least two stations, where a high speed train system includes, but is not limited to, right of way, track, power system, rolling stock, station, and associated facilities.

    And therefore the ICS qualifies as a segment for construction, if the funding plan for the IOS of which it is to be a part is considered to pass muster. It is the status of the funding for the IOS that is subject to dispute … if the funding for the IOS passes muster, then the ICS is a portion of a qualified corridor, if the funding for the IOS does not pass muster, then that is a moot point as far as Prop1a bond funding goes.

    Which is why the CnT funding was critical, since it took the question of whether or not the funding plan for the IOS passes muster for Prop1a bonds funding at this point off the table as a question that can halt construction of the ICS.

    jonathan Reply:

    BruceMcF: no, not at all. Look at 2704.08. point 2 (H:

    Before bond-sale proceeds can be spent, the Authority has to show the Governor, Legislature committes, and the Director of Finance a detailed funding plan which shows, per 2704.08 (2) (c) (2) (H)

    (H) The corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and
    ready for high-speed train operation.

    Same goes for the independent auditor’s report on said plan:

    construction of the corridor or usable segment thereof can be
    completed as proposed in the plan submitted pursuant to paragraph
    (1), (B) if so completed, the corridor or usable segment thereof
    would be suitable and ready for high-speed train operation,

    The Authority cannot receive Prop 1A bond poceeds until it has submitted a plain which includes detailed financing for a “usable segment’ which is *ready for high speed train operation”: electrified, at the absolute minimum, since Prop 1A explicitly defines high-speed rail system as *electric* trains capable of sustained revenue operations at speeds not less than 200 mph.

    Any plans to build a non-electrified segment means that segment is not electrified; therefore not ready for high-speed train operation; therefore does not meet the requirements of Prop 1A 2704.08.

    The Authority’s ICS is *explicitly* planned as non-electrified. Ergo, Prop 1A bond proceeds cannot be used to build that ICS — unless the Authority has a plan to electrify, signal, etc, *ahnd has identified detailed funding sources* as part of that plan, and the plan is approved by an independent auditing firm.

    So. No electrification, no Prop 1A money. It’s pretty clear.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It’s not going to be electrified, until it’s electrified, at which time it will be electrified. There is no intention not to electrify it eventually. Well, it fills up these columns if you keep splitting the same hair. Why don’t we discuss Redondo Junction, ACE (Alameda Corridor East) and other fun topics.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so you are back to arguing that the legislature expects it to erupt instantaneously or it’s illegal to spend the money.

    jonathan Reply:

    No, Adirondacker. But read what Prop 1A *says*: the Authority has to have a *plan* which, upon completion, will result in a *usable segment* *ready for high-speed train operation*.
    Prop 1A clearly defines high-speed trains as electric trains capable of sustained in-service speeds not less than 200 mph. The Plan *has* to include detailed funding. For the completed section,. which *HAS TO BE READY FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAIN OPERATIONS*. Which means *ELECTRIFIED*.

    It’s there in black and white in AB 3034, 2704.08. Why don’t you try *reading* that section, instead of spewing out strawmen? No plan for electrification, or no detailed funding for electrification, means no Prop 1A money. Which part of that is so hard to understand?

    And no, that *DOES NOT* say that the whole thing has to erupt instantaneously. It just says that any “usable segment” which is completed using any Prop 1A money, has to 8E READY FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAIN OPERATION*. Which (duh) includes electrification for the electric high-speed trains. Any plan to build Fresno-to-Bakersfield, which does *not* electrify, is not ready for highs-peed train operation. So it can’t receive any Prop 1A funds.

    That’s not “splitting hairs”. It’s merely reading what the law says. (Says twice, in fact!)

    Paul Dyson: Please read Prpo 1A (AB 3034), Sec 2704.08. You clearly haven’t.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So we’ll build Palmdale to Burbank and electrify it
    Or maybe a few rules will be stretched on the way to a desirable end product

    jonathan Reply:

    Paul Dyson:

    Only if you assume that either this issue never gets litigated; or that a judge is going to ignore the clearly-written (twice!) intent of the law. Which was written expressly to assure voter concerns about stranded investments. Excuse me, but judges don’t usually do that. And comparing to (for example) water bonds isn’t relevant, unless those water bonds had similar requirements expressly written into them.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well if it’s not okay put the catenary up ten years after the track is laid it’s not okay to hang the catenary a week after the track is laid either., Or an hour and half.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Given that it would appear to be a “slam dunk”, why is it that no lawsuit has brought up the issue that there is no electrification planned for the ICS? Nor signaling, etc. Maybe because it isn’t really relevant, and as lawyers, they know it.

    jonathan Reply:


    What’s so hard to understand? The Authority needs to file a plan, including detailed funding sources (plus contingency, and risk-assessment and risk mitigation strategies). That plan has to result in a “corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and ready for high-speed train operation.”

    Prop 1A doesn’t require one year ,or ten years, or twenty years. What it does require is a plan for constructing a usable segment *suitable and *READY* for high-speed operation”. And detailed funding for that construction.

    I honestlly don’t understand why that is hard to follow. So I’m left with a suspicion that you *do* understand, but that you are deliberately twising the facts into a straw-man of your own concoction.

    J. Wong: I am not a lawyer, but in US law there is a doctrine of “ripeness” for a suit. Perhaps no-one has sued over this because the Authority has yet to file the required plan ? Or is the Authority’s “Business Plan” acting as the plan required by Prop 1A 2704.08.? And if so, where’s the independent “audit”?

    PBQD certainly doesn’t meet the requirement for an independent review (“audit”) firm. I personally haven’t heard of any such review by any other company. It’s hard to sue about absence of a legally-required item in a report, if that report hasn’t yet been filed, and therefore doesn’t formally exist; or might be changed before it’s filed. (Which is what lawyers mean by saying such a suit is “not nipe”)

    Alternatively, perhaps Tos, Fukudua, et al’s counsel — Flashman and Brady — are as bad as Joe and Alan love to portray them.

    But the fact remains that the Authority’s plan clearly does *not* include electrification. Until the Capt-and-Trade money appeared like a rabbit out of a hat, the Authority planned to build the ICS using Prop 1A funds. What that says to me is that the Authority’s legal staff is .. inept. We’ve seen the screw-up over STB jurisdiction, and the screw-up by which Judge Michael Kenny ruled against the Authority’s business plan. And I’d opt for firing whoever hired that legal staff. But that’s up to the CHSRA CEO, the Board, and ultimately the Governor.

    Joe Reply:

    Alternatively, perhaps Tos, Fukudua, et al’s counsel — Flashman and Brady — are as bad as Joe and Alan love to portray them.

    Well, they mismanaged the lawsuit amendment.
    They ran over their “shared” time in appellate court.
    Bakersfield & Kern Co are going with a Hermosa Beach Firm.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    tl:dr I’m sure it’s yet another long winded tirade about how coveting the neighbor’s ox violates the commandment about not telling lies.

    If they wanted a usable segment to have all of the above they would have written that a usable segment has all of the above. Or that a usable segment has two HSR stations. They didn’t.

    jonathan Reply:


    Well, that’s the point. Prop 1A *does* say that all that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It says a usable segment has two stations. You imagine it says that coveting oxen is a lie.

    jonathan Reply:

    Adridonacker, you need to read more than just the portion you quoted. Try reading Prop 1A, Sec 2704.08. It has stronger constraints than the one you cherry-pickd. You can find it here:

    (H) The corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and
    ready for high-speed train operation.


    (A) construction of the corridor or usable segment thereof can be
    completed as proposed in the plan submitted pursuant to paragraph
    (1), (B) if so completed, the corridor or usable segment thereof
    would be suitable and ready for high-speed train operation,

    But no, go on cherry-picking just the portion you want, and ignore the plain text in Prop 1A which contradicts your position. After all it’s hardly the first time you’ve done so.

    Eric M Reply:

    Well here is what was presented to voters for Prop 1A in 2008:

    (note, it is a PDF)

    Text of Proposed Law

    Alan Reply:

    The Authority’s ICS is *explicitly* planned as non-electrified.

    Bullshit. The Fresno-Bakersfield FEIR, which I’ve explicitly cited in another thread, specifies the construction sequence for the ICS, WHICH INCLUDES ELECTRIFICATION AND SIGNALS. Jonny consistently ignores that little fact, because it goes against his fantasy. The plans included in the FEIR clearly show the locations of the electric traction facilities along the line. “Not designed”, my ass.

    I am not a lawyer, but in US law there is a doctrine of “ripeness” for a suit.

    That’s exactly right. Among its many other flaws, the Tos 526a action is trying to litigate a matter which is not ripe by any reasonable standard. There is no final design for the Peninsula–conceptual studies are not a design that guys with bulldozers can use. And then there’s the little matter that Judge Kenny has already ruled that the “blended system” is just another way of achieving the goals of Prop 1A, and it’s unlikely that he would overrule himself. But before they can even get to that argument, L&H have to overcome the mountain of case law which says that a 526a action can’t do what they’re trying to do.

    jonathan Reply:

    Alan: bullshit yourself. I really wish you’d stop lying. Or learn to read to at least a high-school level of competency.

    The EIR is *IRRELEVANT* to what the Authority is planning and funding. The Autnority has a *plan*, which is *funded* and has a *completion date* and *contingencies*. That *Plan* does NOT, repeat NOT include electrification. I *STIPULATE* that the EIR includes electrification and signalling. That is not at issue. What is at issue is that the Authority’s construction and funding plan *DOES NOT INCLUDE* electrification.


    Go away, Alan. Don’t come back when you have read, and understood that. As others have commented, it’s a “slam dunk”.

    jonathan Reply:


    you poor chump. If the California Third Circuit Appellate court tosses out the case on the grounds that California water system was completed without such protections, then such a ruling is an immediate grounds for appeal: the Apellate court has made an error of law. No legislation required the California water system to transport water at 200 mph, so it is facile to toss out portions of Prop 1A based on comparison to the California water system. Such a ruling would be a capricius and arbitrary overtuning of Prop 1A, which was passed by both the State legislature (as AB 3034), and passed by the voters of the State of California (as Prop 1A).

    Can’t you just imagine Scalia and Alito and Roberts wanting to get their teeth into that?
    Hm But for that, you’d have to have a grasp of reality. And no-one who thinks the State of California should make it a top state priority to electrify the UP line to Gilroy, so that the 50,00-odd residents of Gilroy can enjoy an electrified Caltrain trip to San Jose, has much of a grasp on reality.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So the lawyers, who have shown no compunction for billing by the hour to file lawsuits that have an ice cube’s chance in hell of succeeding haven’t filed one using your logic. Hmmm. It’s obvious the whole world can’t read as well as you.

    Peter Reply:

    Speaking of “grasp of reality”, why are you talking about Scalia, Alito, and Roberts? Look up appellate jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court.

    You’re also throwing out fun legal terms without really knowing what they mean. For example, look up “holding” versus “dicta” to figure out why a court comparing the California water system with the HSR system is not an “error of law”.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Before bond-sale proceeds can be spent,”
    … that is all to the point of whether the funding plan for the IOS is adequate, which one judge has ruled against and on which the appeal hasn’t been settled.

    If the IOS funding plan passes muster, the ICS is a suitable portion of a qualifying HST system, and if the IOS funding plan passes muster, the ICS is a suitable port of an HST system that, however, does not yet qualify for Prop1a bond funding.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Damn 2005 comment technology ~ not even that, since 2005 comment technology typically included preview:

    “and if the IOS funding plan passes muster,” should be, “and if the IOS funding plan does not pass muster,”

    datacruncher Reply:

    I only see the term “independent audit” used in the Prop 1A ballot description, and nothing that says it would be an “independent auditing firm”.

    The only reference to audits in the actual law I see is in 2704.04 which reads “The State Auditor shall perform periodic audits of the authority’s use of proceeds of bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter for consistency with the requirements of this chapter.”

    I read that as audits applying only to bond proceed spending. I also read that as requiring only the State Auditor to conduct them, not an outside firm.

    The State Auditor has weighed in over the years. The HSR reviews/recommendations from that office are at:

    There are references in the law to reviews by an independent committee, but that is not requiring an audit by a firm.

    jonathan Reply:

    I put the word “audit” in ‘scare quotes” as I was using it as shorthand for the actual text in Prop 1A:
    If you want the actual text:

    2) a
    report or reports, prepared by one or more financial services firms,
    financial consulting firms, or other consultants, independent of any
    parties, other than the authority, involved in funding or
    constructing the high-speed train system, indicating that (A)
    construction of the corridor or usable segment thereof can be
    completed as proposed in the plan submitted pursuant to paragraph
    (1), (B) if so completed, the corridor or usable segment thereof
    would be suitable and ready for high-speed train operation,

    I think writing (“auditor”) , as a shorthand for “financial services firm … independent from the authority” is a reasonable summary. Do you disagree?

    datacruncher Reply:

    I do disagree. The law section you are quoting mentions a “report” not an audit.

    Accounting/financial services firms make a distinction between an “audit” and a “review”. They represent different levels and different standards of examination done by those outside firms.

    If we are both reading the law correctly, there is a call for a report (review?) from an outside financial services firm and then also an audit of bond proceeds use by the State Auditor.

    Much of this and other discussions appear to be about parsing words. If specific words and meaning are important then I would think that concept would apply here also.

    Alan Reply:

    jonathan: Go get your own clue. You’ve been lying here repeatedly. You’ve been saying that the ICS is being planned without electrification, and that is a barefaced lie, as I have pointed out repeatedly. You’re a goddammed liar who refuses to admit the truth. You repeatedly misstate and misinterpret Prop1A to suit your own agenda.

    “The EIR is not relevant to what the Authority is planning and funding”? You pathetic, lying fool. Of course the EIR is relevant. They wouldn’t have spent years and millions of dollars writing the thing if it weren’t relevant.

    Beyond that: You’re lying when you state that the funding plan (presumably the 2011 funding plan, the one at issue in the Tos litigation) does not discuss electrification. The funding plan incorporates the 2012 Draft Business Plan by reference (a common procedure that everyone except Jonny understands), and the Draft Business Plan clearly discusses costs related to electrification. So you’re lying again.

    And you’re delusional. You simply cannot accept reality. The reality is that the Authority, whether you like it or not, is building an electrified railroad.

    I’m not going anywhere. Someone has to call you out on your lies and delusions, not to mention your overinflated ego and sense of self-importance.

    Resident Reply:

    agb5: Wrong. AB3034 has a specific definition, specifically:

    (f) “Corridor” means a portion of the high-speed train system as described in Section 2704.04

    So next question: What is the definition of “high-speed train system?

    (e) “High-speed train system” means a system with high-speed trains and includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities.

    So putting it all together:
    Usable Segment, as defined by AB3034: that includes at least two stations.

    Resident Reply:

    ok, so I’ll try again…
    The above was meant to read:

    So putting it all together:
    Usable Segment as defined by ab3034 (sections e-h combined):
    A portion of high speed train system that includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities, which includes at least two stations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They could have defined it as two HSR stations but didn’t. The judge who rules on the frivolous lawsuit someone tries to bring because it’s not erupting instantaneously between two stations will probably rule that it’s okay to hang the catenary years after the diesel trains start running.

    agb5 Reply:

    So putting it all together: and boiling it right down:

    A “usable segment” is a portion of this list “right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities” with two stations.

    A portion of a list is a subset of the list, i.e. some but not necessarily all items in the list.

    Actually a “corridor” is already a portion of the list, and a “usable segment” is a portion of the portion.

    The dictionary definition of “portion” is “a part of a whole; an amount, section, or piece of something”

    agb5 Reply:

    A “Cake” means a desert that includes but is not limited the following components “Sponge, Jam, Icing”.
    A “Slice” is a portion of a Cake.
    A “Bite” is a piece of a Slice.

    Is a Bite “legally required” to include Sponge, Jam, and Icing?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The cake plate needs a battery holder and wiring because when the ten year old it is for wants a cake for his 25th birthday he will be requesting LED candles.

    Resident Reply:

    An High Speed Train system is NOT defined by a portion of the list of – the High Speed Train system is composed of all those things on the list. A corridor is a portion of a High Speed Train System with two stations. A corridor is not bits an pieces of a High Speed Train system.

    A Cake is not a cake unless it ingredients are fully baked in to cake form, If you hand someone a dollop of Jam, and baggie of flour, that’s not a Bite of Cake.

    jimsf Reply:

    where did you people learn to cook?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Opening the jar a week before you plan on baking the cake doesn’t make jam inedible or mean you can’t spread it on toast at breakfast. If the legislature had intended the cake to be made under electric light, only served in the dining room after dinner on the good china they would have specified cake filling jam. Or that you can’t cook in the kitchen before the living room is painted.

    agb5 Reply:

    A corridor is a portion of a High Speed Train System with two stations. A corridor is not bits an pieces of a High Speed Train system.

    “a portion” = “bits and pieces”.

    joe Reply:

    The Proposition funds a HSR system. The safeguards protect the public from waste and fraud as the system is being constructed.

    Judicial questioning during the 30 minute appellate court hearing clearly favored interpretations for building the system.

    CA built the state water system with fewer safeguards. The risk of not finishing the system in light of the historical record is not actionable.

    agb5 Reply:

    The way I read it, the same usable segment can be “completed” multiple times, so long as each time a new portion (component) if a high-speed train system is completely built to the “suitable and ready for high speed train operation” standard, and some kind of passenger train service can make use of at least one station (or optionally, tracks)

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    Project starts construction 2015 finish 2019
    No cap and trade funds

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    Jerry Reply:

    Good video. The announcement mentions CBOSS PTC will be operating also. Will it be the same PTC as CA HSR, or will CA HSR have a different PTC??

    Clem Reply:

    Different PTC. Most likely the industry-standard ERTMS or something closely related to it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yep, no cap & trade funds, but they are expecting Prop1A bond funds.

    jimsf Reply:

    which is fine since its a 50 mile segment of the hsr project

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Main HSR bond funds, or complementary bond funds?

    J. Wong Reply:


    jonathan Reply:

    which means it has to meet the requirements of Prop 1A.

    CHSRA plan depends on a viaduct in San jose to meet Prop 1A times? No EIR for viaduct? no funding plan for vidauct? Sorry, no Prop 1A funds.

    Delete viaduct from plans? Then go back to PBQD simulation — the one from the penultimate draft, obtained by CARRD under California open-government law- -and you’re not even close to meeting Prop 1A times. And that’s from 4th&King, no TBT.

    Joe Reply:

    If any plan is argued to not be compliant then they’ll up grade the row.

    CARRD will regret time requirements wee used to attack the project.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, you have to be reality challenged if you think Jerry Brown is going to take on the Ritchie Riches of PAMPA when he is obviously scared shitless of the Tejon Ranch Co. And PAMPA is way more flush than the Ranch plus Chandlers.

    Joe Reply:

    Jerry’s already beaten them.
    He signed Jerry Hill’s HSR bill which gave the HSR full access to PAMPA ROW. Now the rail system is being baked into every PAMPA development’s EIR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LAHSR was invited on board to provide the money to pay for Caltrain electrification and the TBT tunnel which BART had scuttled and the muscle to beat off BART further predation. So no surprise there and no PB 4 track Embarcadero Freeway on rails.

    Whatever development occurs will be according to PAMPA consensus. Get used to it. It is no ABAG section 8 ghetto bending over to PB’s schemes or TOD tenements.

    Now how about your wiseguy Jerry finding the stones to eminent domain the Ranch the way he is the humble folk in the Valley.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Besides “time requirements” only trivially implicate the Peninsula. That’s just Kopp’s lunatic obsession. The real time loss is at the humongous detour to Mojave.

    Joe Reply:

    You are outdated.

    Facebook moved to Menlo park and made 20+ years of Nimby opposition to home building evaporated instantly.

    More corporate Develpment is needed by the Valley Bosses who run the show now. They need Caltrain and HSR for their EIRs to pass review, Caltrain and soon Cslttsin/HSR make it work.

    Brown is playing them all and you’re missing the dhow because you think home owners are driving the process.

    It’s the peninsula billionaires Obama visits every 6 months.

    Joey Reply:

    NIMBY opposition to home building isn’t gone – remember, they had to be threatened with loosing the new Facebook development before they agreed to build new housing. And even still, they’re adding more jobs than housing (like many peninsula cities) which is inherently problematic.

    joe Reply:

    I did not write Menlo Park desired the housing nor that these housing requirements are enough. The opposition disappeared in a matter of a few months and it will happen for HSR.

    Caltrain electrifies, grade separations built and the ROW expands because business continues to expand, there isn’t enough housing and environmental laws will not allow the growth using automobiles.

    Disgruntled homeowners next to the ROW don’t call the shots.

    Alan Reply:

    I disagree. SB1029 appropriated the funding for projects including Caltrain electrification from the $950 million available from SHC 2704.095, the section relating to projects which connect with HSR, etc. Section 2704.095 has no language mandating that projects funded under that section comply with the requirements of 2704.09. That’s a good thing, since 2704.095 makes cable cars eligible for funding, and they’re about as un-HSR as one can get and still run on rails. The only restriction in SB1029 is that no part of that money can be used to expand Caltrain from the “blended system” to the full 4-track buildout. Not a big deal; we’ll address that when the time comes, if ever. Later, when modifications are made to the Caltrain electrification on the blended system to allow for HSR trains, then yes, those modifications would have to make the line compliant with 2704.09, if they’re funded with Prop1A money–if there’s any Prop1A money left by that date.

    2704.095. (a) (1) Net proceeds received from the sale of nine hundred
    fifty million dollars ($950,000,000) principal amount of bonds authorized
    by this chapter shall be allocated to eligible recipients for capital
    improvements to intercity and commuter rail lines and urban rail systems that provide direct connectivity to the high-speed train system and its
    facilities, or that are part of the construction of the high-speed train system
    as that system is described in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04, or that
    provide capacity enhancements and safety improvements.

    There’s some ambiguity in that paragraph. Some people would argue that it means that yes, the Caltrain electrification work has to comply with 2704.04, and therefore comply with the detailed requirements of 2704.09. Until Caltrain actually becomes part of the HSR system, I’d argue that the HSR requirements do not apply. The funding is being used for capacity expansion of Caltrain, and that need not comply with 2704.04 or 2704.09. But Laurel and Hardy, if they haven’t been disbarred by then, will undoubtedly find a puppet plaintiff to waste more of the court’s time and the public’s money.

    joe Reply:

    You know they’ll argue otherwise. The NIMBY tactic is to over-interpret travel times and Prop1a safeguards to make the proposition unworkable or force the costs up and attack project cost.

    It runs the risk of backfiring. Again.

    Jerry Hill’s Oh-So-Clever Bill to restrict HSR to Blended also 1) mandated Prop1a HSR funds go to Caltrain electrification and cannot be moved elsewhere 2) permitted HSR to use the ROW and 3) provided legal path to a full build of the ROW.

    Jerry Hill’s Bill locks HSR to Caltrain and they can’t spend the money elsewhere if NIMBY legal challenges cause problems.

    Bay Area Pols like Jerry Hill will have a choice: Lose the hundreds of millions ear marked for Caltrain or fix whatever problem Laurel & Hardy concoct.

    The $1.5 billion program [Caltrain electrification] is funded through a nine-party agreement that leverages local, regional and federal funding to match $705 million in voter-approved high-speed rail bond revenues.

    morris brown Reply:


    You obviously don’t understand SB-1029 because what you have written is garbage.

    You wrote:

    The funding is being used for capacity expansion of Caltrain, and that need not comply with 2704.04 or 2704.09. But Laurel and Hardy, if they haven’t been disbarred by then, will undoubtedly find a puppet plaintiff to waste more of the court’s time and the public’s money.

    Sb-1029 took $1.1 billion from Prop 1A funding; not from the $950 million funding fron “connectivity”, but from the $9 billion pot of funds reserved for HSR.

    These funds must comply with the provisions of Prop 1A; they don’t; this part of the appropriation is certainly illegal. This funding was not even included in the Financial plan; it was simply added by the legislature. It was the bribe need by Senators Steinberg and Leno to achieve the needed votes from some Denocratic Senators, to pass SB-1029 into law.

    You, especially you, keep denigrating the abilities of Attorneys Brady and Flashman, who keep winning in court. You comment they failed with their lawsuits to attack this illegality is due to their failing abilities. You fail to understand that the lawsuit was filed before this funding took place and therefore this illegality, after the fact, could not be included in the lawsuit; at least not unless they wanted to amend the lawsuit to include this action, which would have resulted in major delay in the courts.

    You really need to do your homework, and write a whole lot less.

    While you are at it, please cite grounds for your contention that either Brady or Flashman or both should be disbarred.

    joe Reply:

    You, especially you, keep denigrating the abilities of Attorneys Brady and Flashman, who keep winning in court.

    L&H did not add the Legislature to the Tos et al. lawsuit. When they figured it out (or were told of this mistake) their amendment was late and rejected.

    L&H solely relied on the 2011 Financial Plan to halt the project and therefore the Judge could not rule the appropriation itself was illegal and since the Legislature was not part of the complaint. He invalidated the 2011 Financial Plan as L&H wanted but that’s a problem.

    On Appeal the questioning ( At http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twdcDrKBBVY) clearly showed this was flawed since the remedy of de facto ordering the Legislature to redo the 2011 Financial Plan violated a separation of powers. Kenny’s ruling over reached. He had to because L&H didn’t give him the opportunity to directly invalidate the Appropriation.

    That’s doing homework – and here’s reality based view from a HSR opponent.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Once you have the mark on the hook doing things badly means the mark comes back and pleads to give you more billable hours to fix it.

    Eric M Reply:

    Of coarse he knows that opponent and I am sure they talk all the time. It is his friend Kathy Hamilton, who lives right around the corner from him. What is also interesting, is Anna Eshoo has a place right next door to Kathy.

    Eric M Reply:

    Of course……

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “As far as grounds for disbarment– misleading and deceiving clients would be a good start. L&H undoubtedly promised their clients that they would stop the HSR project forever.”

    It’s not unethical to tell your prospective client that their suit is going to have a snowball’s in hell and when they insist that you proceed, to argue their position very convincingly. Or when you tell your client it is going to cost a lot of money to throughly cover all the bases your bat shit insane client tells you to only worry about home plate to only cover home plate.

    Alan Reply:

    An officer of the court, as attorneys are known, should know that its unethical to waste the court’s time on cases that the attorney knows to be without merit. Nothing requires an attorney to take every case that’s offered.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There a difference between being totally pointless and having your client burn money you advised them to not spend. If every issue was either black or white we wouldn’t need courts. If the lawyer says “this is dark gray”, almost everybody else agrees it’s some shade of gray but the client insists it’s pure white they are free to spend their money finding out that a judge agrees that it is indeed gray and then even more money appealing to find out that it is gray. They can then all sit around and complain that the judges are in on the conspiracy. Whatever that conspiracy is. The rest of us can all be assured that our judgment that it was gray was correct, have the judges dust off some smudges that made it appear lighter than it is and move on.

    Alan Reply:

    Morris, I know exactly what I’m talking about. But to help your limited understanding, allow me to quote one of the relevant sections of SB1029:

    SECTION 1. Item 2660-104-6043 is added to Section 2.00 of
    the Budget Act of 2012, to read:

    2660-104-6043—For local assistance, Department of Transportation,
    payable from the High-Speed Passenger Train
    Bond Fund………………………………………………………………..
    (1) 30.10-Mass Transportation…………….. 713,333,000


    1. These funds shall be available for encumbrance or liquidation until June 30, 2018.

    2. The funds appropriated in this item shall be available for capital improvement projects to intercity and commuter rail lines and urban rail systems that provide direct connectivity to the high-speed train system and its facilities, or that are part of the construction of the high-speed train system, as adopted by the California Transportation Commission, pursuant to Section 2704.095 of the Streets and Highways Code.

    4. Any funds appropriated in this item for projects in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor, consistent with the blended system strategy identified in the April 2012 California High-Speed Rail Program Revised 2012 Business Plan, shall not be used to expand the blended system to a dedicated four-track system.

    So to put this into terms that Morris can understand, this tells us several things:

    1) The funding appropriated to Caltrain comes from section 2704.095–the portion of the bond money set aside for local transit and commuter rail improvements. The money does not come from the main $9 billion portion dedicated to HSR.

    2) This section refers specificaly to projects in the SF-SJ corridor–like Caltrain. The Legislature clearly intended the Caltrain modernization funding to come from the “local connectivity” funds from Prop 1A, not the HSR portion.

    Nothing in 2704.095 requires a recipient of that section’s funding to meet the HSR design standards in 2704.09. It’s physically impossible for any of the transit modes designated in 2704.095 to meet the HSR design standards, so requiring them to do so would make it impossible to award any of the local funds. That clearly was not the Legislature’s intention in drafting Prop 1A, and any competent court would see that.

    As far as grounds for disbarment– misleading and deceiving clients would be a good start. L&H undoubtedly promised their clients that they would stop the HSR project forever. They haven’t, and in all probability never will. What they’ve accomplished is to delay the project, burden the taxpayers, and rack up incredible amounts of billable hours to act like they’re going to achieve a promise to their clients that they cannot keep. They’ve also managed to embarass and demean the legal profession.

    And BTW, Morris, I’ll write as much as I please. You’re hardly the person to tell others they should say less. Finally, just because the facts don’t match your delusion doesn’t mean that I haven’t done my homework.

    To add to Joe’s comment: I don’t think it would have mattered if L&H had included the Legislature as defendants from the beginning. Judge Kenny was pretty clear that the court could not and would not overrule a political decision of the Legislature. But the mistake just made L&H look even more foolish. The appelate court hearing pretty well sealed that.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Alan: You really are dense, aren’t you. Here is the break down of the CalTrain “modernization” project.


    MOU funding from the document…

    Program Costs (in $ millions)
    Advance Signal System / Positive Train Control (PTC) $231
    Electrification and Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) $1,225
    Total $1,456

    Program Funding (in $ millions)

    Source Amount
    JPB Contributions $180
    JPB Local – Currently Available $11
    Caltrain PTC $4
    Subtotal Local $195

    Prop 1A Connectivity $106
    Prop 1A High Speed Rail Authority $600
    Prop 1B Caltrain $24
    Subtotal State $730

    Federal RR Admin. for PTC $17
    Federal Transit Admin prior/current obligations $43
    Federal Transit Admin future obligations $440
    Subtotal Federal $500

    MTC Bridge Tolls $11
    BAAQMD Carl Moyer $20
    Subtotal Regional $31

    Total $1,456

    I have put in bold the $600 million that is coming from the $9 billion pot of funds for HSR from Prop 1A. I have commented on this issued at Authority board meetings… no broad member disputes that this $600 million from HSR funds. Only you I guess…

    All that CalTrain gets from the Connective pot of funds as noted was $106 million. So go ahead and write what you want —

    BTW, you don’t have any idea of what was promised to any of the parties involved in the lawsuits.
    Mike Brady has worked on these issues Pro Bono… do you know what that means?!!

    Alan Reply:

    OK, I misspoke on the SB1029 issue. At least I’m man enough to admit a mistake, unlike certain others on this blog. I overlooked the section on the 1.1billion. Fine. As far as the illegality–the section does provide that the money cannot be spent until the various provisions of 2704 have been met. So where’s the lawsuit? Why haven’t you or your PAMPA buddies rushed Laurel and/or Hardy back to the Sacramento courthouse? Could it be that you’ve learned by now that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that you’d prevail?

    Now, as to your obsession with Laurel and Hardy, the Great Lawyers–they haven’t won anything, really. A number of delays, yes. But the real goal for those two is to stop the project permanently. They haven’t won that, and they’re not going to. I wouldn’t consider the Atherton cases a “win”–they delayed the project while corrections were made in the EIR’s, but the corrections were made and the project proceeds. The goal, of course, was to stop the project altogether, and in that, they’ve lost.

    And yes, I certainly know what “pro bono” means. I rather doubt that Brady is truly doing the work pro bono, but his name seems to be on far fewer filings than Flashman’s–and you didn’t say anything about him.

    But gee, Morris, if you know more about what Laurel and Hardy promised, and what they’re being paid (or not paid), could it be that you’re one of the puppetmasters pulling the strings in the Tos litigation? Is that why you’re so sensitive to the criticism of L&H? If so, you and the rest of your PAMPA friends can take the court papers and stuff them up your pompous asses. Besides, what do you care? You’re probably going to be long dead before the bulldozers roll over your precious neighborhood.

    agb5 Reply:

    Upon completion, the Caltrain electrification system will become a component of a High-Speed Train System and suitable and ready for high speed train operation.

    Presumably the catenary will be build to support full-build-out maximum speeds that conditions permit.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Presumably the catenary will be build to support full-build-out maximum speeds that conditions permit.

    No, it is not being designed to do so. Out of contract. Out of scope.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, on the job!

    Joe Reply:

    How could they build a full track catenary when it’s prohibited by the recent law proposed by NIMBY State Senator Jerry Hill?

    The Implication is super duper man could build full catenary if he were in charge.

    Richard would wish away his critics and compromises into a corn field. Just like the little boy in Twlight Zone. Then he’d build exactly what he wants. Right now he is perfecting the wishing people away part.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    CalMod Design-Build for Electrification
    Questions and Answers # 2

    The attached document provides a list of the JPB’s response to Questions and Requests for Clarifications/Explanations as set forth in the solicitation documents.

    Date: June 19, 2014

    Q #: 4
    RFQ Section/Form Reference: N/A
    Question: What is the maximum track design speed? 110mph or is it higher?
    Answer: 110 mph

    Joe Reply:

    The 110 MPH speed is repeated over and over in the 92 page “Caltrain / California HSR Blended Operations Analysis” 2012.

    He asked about “full-build-out” which I thought refers to 4 track HSR and Caltrain alignment which is not being built now due to a political compromise.

    Maybe you could wish away the opposition and this compromise.
    Just put them in the corn field with all the other bad things.
    It’s a good life.

  28. Brian_FL
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 21:15

    This blog has been a big cheer leader for Chinese HSR. Now I understand why the Chinese are so intent on promoting HSR:


    It seems that the Chinese (socialist) government has allocated 80% of the airspace to military use. And the effects on private Chinese air carriers are negative. So with a skewed marketplace in China, how can we compare the USA to China as far as viability of HSR?

    Eric Reply:

    I’m waiting for someone here to say that “because of global warming, we SHOULD do whatever possible to push passengers from planes to electric trains”.

    Anyway, it says that in eastern China (where the people live) the military percentage is 52% not 80%. So even with no military restrictions whatsoever, there would only be space for air traffic to at most double. Given China’s economic and population growth, travel demand will probably double in the next couple decades, so HSR would soon be needed anyway.

  29. Lewellan
    Jul 18th, 2014 at 21:21

    Dyson’s statement, “container cargo moves competitively by barge in Europe because the railways cannot get their act together” seems a wee bit dismissive given European rail practices are far better than US railroad operators.

    Mr Buffett got his butt kicked on the Columbia River Crossing I-5 Bridge replacement project just last year. His BNSF (related) bridge and rail work downstream should NOT host an oval track 90 degree spurs rail facility on tiny Hayden Island and hinder/impede other cross river rail operations. Duh. Buffett won’t be pronounced ruler of the rails! The Port still claims the facility possible but they’re lying to save face and conduct a cooling off period. The CRC was ruined by Commission leader Wsdot, the greedy global Ports and the new Big Box owners who just built Jantzen Beach parking lot-o-lot-o-rama.
    ODOT finished in 2010: Marine Drive, Local MAX/road Bridge, Concept#1 Off-island Access.
    Wsdot still wants Concept ‘D’ Spagetti ramp downhill exits to ‘T’ and the Double-deck bridge nonsense.
    And also of course Wsdot’s/Sdot’s BERTHA must be stopped. Box Cut/cover/Seawall in FEIS still possible and incredibly better than the DBT, near 3/4 its length below sea level in porous wet clay.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Yeah, some of us also endeavor to produce reform and change.
    The minority engineering viewpoint is fervent to resigned opposition.
    Most supporters can’t present a credible explanation defending their position.
    They don’t question the structural concerns, etc. Sound familiar?
    Microsoft meet Silicon Valley. More money than they know what to do with.
    Spend it out in the desert first. By 2028, 1.5 hours to Bakersfield Sports Arena game zone!

  30. Keith Saggers
    Jul 19th, 2014 at 09:17
  31. Peter
    Jul 19th, 2014 at 11:05

    California bullet train: Interest from private investors revives shaky funding plan

    Tony D. Reply:

    Why don’t you do a thread on the above news? That’s huge!

    Joe Reply:


    “Last week, an all-female crew demolished the first of many structures the state must clear to make way for a 29-mile stretch of track in and around Fresno. “

    Peter Reply:

    Because women don’t work construction?

    joe Reply:

    If women in construction is not unusual then why stage the event and make it unusual?

    Alan Reply:

    I think the photo-op was due more to the fact that this is the first tangible sign of construction in Fresno, and secondarily, to show the positive economic effect that the project is generating. The demo company’s owner mentioned how she had added staff and moved to larger quarters because of the HSR contract.

    John Burrows Reply:

    Off topic a little, but on my last remodel job we used three truck loads of concrete—Two of the drivers were women.

    John Burrows Reply:

    The company which supplied the concrete (Graniterock) has a driver training program in which women are strongly urged to apply. I have no idea of what the situation is with the demolition company in Fresno except to say that women are as capable as men when it comes to driving trucks or operating heavy equipment, and the owner of this company may have a bias against men just as in the past many such owners have had a bias against women.

    I would not be surprised if substantial numbers of women ended up working on the IOS.

    Zorro Reply:

    Biased My ass, the owner is just being fair and believes in something called Equality.

    Eric Reply:

    9% of US construction workers are women

    What are the chances that a team ENTIRELY of women was chosen?
    Unless they were deliberately chosen to fill a quota.

    Eric Reply:

    Oh yeah, and of that 9%, just 2% are what you would call “construction workers”. The remainder are managers, administrators, etc.

    So it’s even more surprising.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In New York, the sandhogs’ union’s website photo is all-male, and all-white except for one black guy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That kind of thing happens when you take pictures of highly skilled well paid career professionals.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When your diversity is worse than at dudebro tech events, something is very wrong. (My recollection is that 30% of SV programmers are Asian, a handful of percent are black or Hispanic, and 20% are women.)

    Joe Reply:

    How can you tell by skin color?
    My coworker was neither tan nor with a Hispanic surname but he’s Puerto Rican born and raised.

    Eric Reply:

    I just looked up that photo… there are 21 workers in it. If 98% of such workers are male, it’s more likely than not that a randomly chosen group of 21 is all male.

    As for the racial composition – one is clearly black, and there is no way of telling if the others are white or Hispanic or Native American or Arab or whatever else. Blacks are 13% of the population, so 1 out of 21 is a little low, but well within normal random variation.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s a New York local. New York is 36% non-Hispanic white, give or take, and the Hispanic population’s composition is mostly Caribbean, so that it’s very hard to confuse Hispanic New Yorkers with white ones. You can also look at the list of officers, and see that their names are English and Irish, and not Spanish or even Italian.

  32. jimsf
    Jul 19th, 2014 at 21:28

    So to sum things up and rise above all the complaining, it has been a good week for hsr. We have concrete testing, property demolition, plans to accelerate a socal segment, an alignment chosen for bakersfiled portion, the TBT right on shchedule, caltrain electrification moving ahead, and renewed interest from private investors in spain, france and la.

    slow going, but its going.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m sure next week will bring the filing of the lawsuit that will be absolutely positively the end of HSR. Just like the last one was. And the one before that. and before that. There’s that to look forward to too.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its nice that people have so much money to spend on pointless lawsuits. My lawyer wanted 1000 dollars to write a letter.

    I guess rich people just aren’t used to things happening without their explicit approval.

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    I know a good, reasonable price immigration lawyer, if you write to me @

    Keith Saggers
    Pier 26, Mailbox #1
    The Embarcadero
    San Francisco
    CA 94105

    I will write back to you.

  33. joe
    Jul 21st, 2014 at 08:31

    Officials expect Silver Line parking demand to outstrip supply

    It was a deliberate decision on the part of planners to not include parking garages at four of the five new Silver Line stations. The decision was part of the larger push to transform Tysons from a sprawling expanse of corporate office buildings, strip malls and some of the most grinding rush-hour traffic in Northern Virginia into a less car-dependent, walkable model community for the 21st century. Planners hoped the lack of parking would encourage commuters to find other ways to get to Metro.

    But that transformation is decades away. And even as Fairfax County officials have invested millions of dollars on bus routes, sidewalks and planning for bike lanes designed to connect riders with the Silver Line, just how many users will take advantage of the options and what traffic patterns will emerge remain unknown.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    “onslaught of thousands of Silver Line commuters in search of free and easy parking.”

    Why must parking always be free? There’s a really obvious solution here.

    joe Reply:

    The highway is a toll road so I don’t get it either.
    It’s nice to see they are not offering to build parking at any price.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If there is demand I’m sure one of the privately run parking companies will figure it how to meet it.

Comments are closed.