Voices from Nowhere

Jul 28th, 2014 | Posted by

One of the worst calumnies flung at the California high speed rail project is that by starting in the Central Valley, the state is building a “train to nowhere.” Incoming State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León echoed this sentiment when he told the LA Times that the only thing along the route were tumbleweeds, a remark that rankled the nearly two million not-tumbleweed human beings who live near HSR in the Central Valley.

To his immense credit, Sen. De León went to Fresno to apologize and I’m sure the matter is now closed. But there are plenty of other Californians who persist in dismissing the needs of millions of their fellow Golden Staters just because they don’t live near the coast.

The California high speed rail project will benefit the entire state, but perhaps nowhere as much as the Valley. Its impact there will be transformational, a historic opportunity to help reduce chronic poverty, joblessness, and pollution by connecting Valley cities to the thriving coastal metropolises. This blog has been a consistent cheerleader for the Central Valley and for HSR to serve it, and I’m bullish on the Valley’s future with HSR.

So too are some of James Fallows’s readers at The Atlantic, Central Valley residents who have weighed in on his ongoing California HSR series to explain why HSR belongs in their backyard:

The cost-benefit of this project is much greater for the SJV cities. They will be connected like never before to the state’s major metropolitan areas. Tedious drives with a roundtrip travel time of 6-8 hours will be reduced to 3 hours. Neglected city cores will be redeveloped, new businesses will move in, residents will have the opportunity to seek new job opportunities in S.F/L.A, and most importantly all of this will be the game changer the SJV needs to diversify it’s agriculture based economy.

The SJV, even during good times and in wet years, suffers from chronic high unemployment, usually double-digits. In order for California to succeed, this region of 4 million people also needs to succeed. HSR provides that opportunity through the new long-term jobs that will be sparked by HSR and the stations located in the city cores. The SJV usually gets neglected in Sacramento and here’s a perfect opportunity to get noticed.

Another reader points out that HSR will benefit the masses, not just the coastal elites who are perceived to be backing it:

People envision High Speed Rail as a pet project for liberal elites…but between Bakersfield and Modesto, it seems like the greatest demand would be from people who don’t take car ownership for granted, and definitely not one car for every adult member of a family. Is that what’s already driving Amtrak’s California routes to be some of the most heavily used in the country?

Of course, the most elite of the coastal liberals, like those living in Menlo Park, tend to oppose HSR out of pure selfishness. But there’s no doubt that HSR will be a huge boost to a region of the state that could use one.

That last reader comment alludes to something that should prove HSR will thrive in the Central Valley: ridership continues to rise on the San Joaquins, leading to calls for additional trains to expand service and relieve crowding.

Glad to see Fallows paying attention to the impact of HSR on the Central Valley, a place that deserves a better economy and a sustainable infrastructure, despite coastal NIMBY efforts to hold them down in poverty.

  1. Paul Dyson
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 15:18
    #1

    It is a train to nowhere until it is connected to the end points and can provide useful transportation. Building HSR track through the fields of the Central Valley does nothing for the locals until the trains start running to significant destinations. And no, Bakersfield – Fresno does not count in transportation terms. Upgraded San Joaquins would serve that market just fine.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cutting an hour off the trip between Fresno and Bakersfield cuts an hour off the trip between Bakersfield and Madera or Bakersfield and Sacramento or Bakersfield and Emeryville too. Which is a significant upgrade. Which has to be built someday to have HSR service between Sacramento and Los Angeles and San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    Clem Reply:

    Let me see if I can follow your logic. Cutting 15 minutes off the trip between Bakersfield and Burbank cuts 15 minutes off the trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles or Sacramento and San Diego or San Jose and Anaheim too. That’s positively brilliant!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not going through Palmdale adds 20 minutes to the trip to any trip that doesn’t involve downtown LA when the tunnels under Cajon get built. And postpones any trip to Las Vegas until then.

    Joey Reply:

    No it doesn’t. There’s a convenient entrance to the Mojave Desert near Lebec from Tejon. Topologically equivalent to having a wye near Mojave or Palmdale on the Tehachapi route except N-S passengers don’t have to detour toward it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    but 40 miles farther

    Joey Reply:

    Additional trackage across the desert is cheap and trains can run at full speed. Additional track through the mountains is expensive and slower. That leg of the wye is going to be the least traveled anyway – a minor increase in travel time to Las Vegas shouldn’t drive the construction of the rest of the system.

    Clem Reply:

    Correct on all points. Nor should a minor increase in SJ – LA travel time drive the entire configuration of HSR in Northern California.

    joe Reply:

    And apparently the oversight of Monterey Co. and it’s large tourism industry should not factor either. The prime directive is Sacramento Bay Area money-losing commuter rail.

    Cap Cor is commuter rail. It’s not intercity rail like Dallas to Houston’s proposed HSR system. The ridership is daily – exactly what defines a commuter system.

    Now there’s a plan to double if not triple the current fares between the Bay Area and Sacramento. I’m sure it will be wildly popular.

    Joey Reply:

    Lower priced commuter locals and higher priced intercity expresses can coexist – it’s not like the Bay Area – Sac market is only commuters.

    And re: Monterey, it would be nice to serve but doing so shouldn’t drive the requirements for the rest of the system. It doesn’t help that Gilroy isn’t actually that close to Monterey.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Increasing Capitol Corridor fares is a sure way to kill ridership and only enhance the problems you describe. I recognize PRIIA caused the State to eat higher costs but as it stands the train is more expensive than driving if more than two ride in the same car. It won’t take much more to drive more travellers back to the highway or off the road completely.

    Joey Reply:

    Again – why would CC fares be increased? The scenario I’m describing is one where the existing CC is maintained primarily as a local service (possibly with incremental improvements geared toward local service). Faster intercity service from Sacramento to San Francisco, the Peninsula, lower East Bay and Silicon Valley would be provided over Altamont, with travel times just over an hour – easily competitive with driving even if it costs more.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    PRIIA mandated States pay a higher rate for Amtrak services. I believe the Governor, in the spirit of realignment, has pushed those costs back on users.

    Joey Reply:

    But that’s independent of Altamont…

    Clem Reply:

    The prime directive is Sacramento Bay Area money-losing commuter rail.

    Is that so much worse than if the prime directive were Palmdale to Los Angeles money-losing commuter rail? Or Gilroy – San Francisco money-losing commuter rail? What a truly ghastly scenario!

    Joe Reply:

    Debunked by the ridership revenue forecast for the Pacheco alignment.

    Gilroy is not a commuter stop. It’s the monterey co stop. That’s why KION TV monterey reported on the 750k Gilroy station study.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many people in Los Angeles are chomping at the bit to go have an exciting weekend in Sacramento?

    Clem Reply:

    About the same as New York City residents needing to visit their state capital, Albany. New Yorkers should recall that Sacramento (metro population 3 million, bigger than Las Vegas) is our state capital. Or Albany residents having business (or pleasure) in the quaint little hamlet of New York City. That should make for plenty of demand.

    joe Reply:

    We need a Lobbyist Train to whisk the hard working from SF to Sacramento and back home in time for a late dinner.

    The Snowpiercer.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sacramento actually makes for a neat weekend getaway, even by train. Sure the almond factory tours are gone, but there’s a nice mix of stuff to see in the downtown core that you can’t do in say, Los Angeles. And if you are headed to Tahoe, there are lots of places to stop for a diversion of meal. Napa, Monterey, San Diego, it’s not..but the number of state capitals with superior qualities? I would venture Sac is in the top half at least and would be highe except many capitals are bigger and have more of a draw…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in New York who want to go to Albany or vice versa don’t go via Scranton.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And major increase in travel time for any one not going to or from LA in 2040 or 2050.

    Eric Reply:

    Nope. Tejon is faster for everyone, forever, with the following exceptions: 1) Palmdale, 2) Las
    Vegas.

    Both are numerically small compared to all the other population concentrations that HSR would serve.

    Do you really think Tehachapi is a better route, or do you just think that criticism of the current route will lead to cancellation of the entire CAHSR project?

    Joey Reply:

    When you factor in the 115mph slow zone through Bakersfield, the travel time is probably comparable if you’re heading east across the Mojave.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bakersfield to San Diego would be much faster by going through Victorville and San Bernardino than going through Los Angeles even though it’s roughly the same amount of miles.

    Joey Reply:

    1) What’s preventing those trains from taking the Cajon route from Tejon? Again, wye at Lebec to a cross-Mojave line. It’s the same geometry as having a wye from the Tehachapi alignment to a cross-Mojave line.

    2) The travel time benefit of not going through LA is overstated. Best case scenario you save 10-15 minutes. Enough to justify running some trains that way if you’re building the route already but not enough to justify building a new route just to run those trains. Now, there maybe significant capacity problems in the LA basin but then see point (1) – the possible routings are exactly the same.

    Eric Reply:

    Not “any trip”. Only trips to Las Vegas (population 2m). Trips to the LA (13m), SD (3m) and Phoenix (4m) areas would all be faster. And who says Cajon will ever be built? It’s really expensive and there are alternative routes to Las Vegas.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If you peer into the dark, clandestine file cabinets of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), you would see the study done for the Anaheim to Las Vegas magnetic levitation train. Cajon will likely come back into the fray once Antonovich leaves the Board of Supervisors and funding is killed for the High Desert Corridor.

    As I have stated before, my guess is that OCTA is going to position the Surfliner to the point in which Metrolink is discontinued and HSR is the alternative for LA to Palmdale. I realize that is not exactly feasible, but keep in mind the OC has a very strong incentive to have all the trains, Metrolink, HSR, and Amtrak California converge at ARTIC.

    Mark Reply:

    Then how do you take into account the fact that San Bernardino County is supporting the High Desert Corridor alignment, especially their County Supervisor from their High Desert? Your comment is pure fantasy. Cajon is not coming back into the fray.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Which is why we need to split the State so that LA can live on its own money and its own water.

    Let the ritchies riches and worthies of Beverely Hills, Sta. Monica and Malibu pay for their splendiferous base tunnel to Mojave.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I would presume San Bernardino County’s Board prefers the High Desert Corridor because they think it will happen sooner and at lower cost. But remember the City of San Bernardino is trying to establish its own airport to supersede Ontario for the Inland Empire. The High Desert Corridor partially undermines that goal. In addition, San Bernardino has the least leverage of any county in the South to get its way. Cajon forever….

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The High Desert Corridor is a highway scheme that just happens to have a reserved right of way for rail to …….Victorville! To connect with a Las Vegas project that is on an unlit back burner.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …an upgraded San Joaquin on HSR tracks? Because that is the plan actually until the tracks reach the “end points”. The actual HSR trains won’t be bought until we are much further away from nowhere.

    A better question might be, “are people really aware of what happens if Fresno and other Valley metros become urban centers that are less focused on agriculture? Are we ready for changes in our diet and economy to compensate for coastal people moving into the hinterlands? California has already seen the pitfalls of going from a net petroleum exporter to an importer. Are we ready for the same to be true for food and maybe even water?

    jonathan Reply:

    Yes, and that plan is *dead*, just as soon as a judge gets to see that CHSRA has a plan, which spends Prop 1A funds on a segment; and that plan does *NOT* electrify the segment.
    End of story.

    Yes, the Cap-And-Trade revenue may pull CHSRA out of the immediate funding hole — the hole theyr’e in, where FRA agreed to defer payment of overdue matching funds. But Cap-and-Trade revenue is nowhere near enough to meet the ongoing schedule of “matching funds” required for PRIiA funds. Do The Math. $250 milliion/yr, versus .. $3bn total to match PRIIA, funding by 2017.
    Or however long (years, not decades) the PRIIA administrators are willing to wait.

    Don’t meet the PRIIA matching-funds schedule, lose the PRIIA dollars, as far as I can see. Remember, this was supposed to be “shovel-ready” and “state-matched”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No he won’t.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jonathan is vying with Richard for the title of resident nihilist here. Judge Kenny is going to uphold the Prop 1a expenditures in the Central Valley because the funding there is in hand. The bookend funding will get struck down and repurposed to the IOS.

    SF to Gilroy and Palmdale to LA can use RRIF loans and other mechanisms. The new track in the CV cannot.

    jonathan Reply:

    Ted, where is the funding plan for electrification of the Fresnoto-Bakersfield section?
    No electrification means not ready to operate HSR trains, which means not in compliance with Prop 1A.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “No electrification means not ready to operate HSR trains, which means not in compliance with Prop 1A”

    That’s your assumption not a judge’s.

    jonathan Reply:

    That’s not an “assumption”. It’s in Prop 1A 2704.08. In black and white.
    Maybe you should take the time to read it?

    Zorro Reply:

    Useable segment is all throughout Prop1a, the phrase isn’t connected to HSR, since ‘Useable segment’ is all over the place, so HSR will be built, HSR has the funding and will soon enough get past these hopeless lawsuits that are put up by narrow minded morons, who can’t see beyond their own nose.

    jonathan Reply:

    Zorro, that’s factually incorrect. Why don’t you *read* Prop 1A, 2704.08.

    Or do you prefer to just make up stuff out of thin air?

    Zorro Reply:

    Catenary would be/is vulnerable to thieves while nor energized, so while under construction it’s best to leave that to just before HSR is to start, so that the wires can be installed section by section and that is not something that is unreasonable, just prudent. Putting Catenary up and then not energizing the wires is asking for trouble, to think otherwise is crazy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Anything and everything PB-Tutor lays down will be subject to theft and/or vandalism. Copper is just the most valuable.

    They should have constructed Bako to Sta. Clarita via Tejon first off and and as all at once as is possible with two 7 mile tunnels. Full hsr equipment and ops with a forced transfer at either end initially.

    Meantime and next in order do I-5 to Sac.

    jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    they didn’t have the money to do that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    California’s huge congressional delegation has never been behind hsr but in the most lukewarm sense. Money could have been found for the mountain crossing had that been made the overweening priority.

    Private funding could and would have been forthcoming for the Tejon, I-5, Altamont express and obvious route. It could break even. The Detour will always need subsidy as its true purpose is perennially money losing regional commute service to the high desert.

    jonathan Reply:

    Zorro,

    Prop 1A is quite iexplicit. If CHSRA doesn’t have a plan which includes detailed funding, and upon completion *is ready for HSR operation*, then CHSRA cannot get Prop 1A bond money. Oh, and CHSRA needs to submit a review, by an independent financial company otherwise not associated with CHSRA, to substantiate that.

    “It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law” :)

    jonathan Reply:

    Adirondacker, please explain *why* you think a judge is going to ignore the law.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Precedent: Scalia does it as a matter of habit.

    Alan Reply:

    As do Thomas, Roberts and sometimes Kennedy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And Alito – you forgot Alito.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    IOKIYAR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Scalia had by far the most reasoned opinion on the Aereo massacre engineered by Comcast, etc. bribing Congress. Disney and the Hollywood mafia owns the “liberals” anyway.

    jonathan Reply:

    Alon, I’m not talking about overturning precedent. I’m talking about ignoring *what is specifically written in the law*. I don’t personally don’t see California’s Supreme Court deciding to just *ignore* the law. And there are no constitutional issues raised by Prop 1A (AB 3034) — not now that’ it’s passed.

    So even if the California Supreme Court decided to just ignore the law, don’t you think the Roberts court would hear an appeal? How do you think Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy would rule on that??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Theydon’tthinkthatthelegislaturemeantforittobeallreadinonebreath. And may have a different opinion about what the legislature intended.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What the judge is going to do is ignore your interpretation of the law.

    Zorro Reply:

    Cap n Trade is only $250 Million for 2014, after that it is 25% all 4 yearly auctions, as stated by law, that is not $250 Million, so I call your statement BS jonathan.

    jonathan Reply:

    Zorro,

    Do tell us, what fraction of $2.75 billion, will HSR Cap-and-Trade come to, by 2017?
    I call your response BS.

    jonathan Reply:

    .. more to the point, Zorro: *when* is the next PRIIA-matching payment due? The one after the already-deferred payment, that is.

    And when does CHSRA get their next tranche of Cap-and-Trade money after that $250m? How long can CHSRA continue on the Cap-and-Trade IV, without Prop 1A bond revenue?

    joe Reply:

    Doom and gloom is fact-check free.

    What is the projected 2015, 15 and 17 income?


    The revenue could total around $15 billion by 2020, according to the LAO, citing economists’ estimates.
    That would provide about $5 billion for high-speed rail by 2020 with funding continuing until the project is done. – See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/03/04/lao-bullet-train-could-increase-greenhouse-gases-by-2020/#sthash.3SgTxVqS.dpuf

    Zorro Reply:

    Thanks joe, I couldn’t find that.

    Alan Reply:

    Jonny, you never learn, do you? Another day, the same lies about “no electrification”. You’ve been referred to Authority documents which specifically spell out construction of electrification and signalling, and you still lie about “no electrification”. You seem to be the only one (except perhaps for Morris) who believes your lies.

  2. jonathan
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 17:48
    #2

    Anyone who think Menlo Park is the “most elite” Coastal liberals has never been to the Peninsula, or to Marin County.

    Clem Reply:

    You mean the same Peninsula where Menlo Park 94025 is located?

    jonathan Reply:

    Yes, the one between Atherton, and Palo Alto.

  3. Tony D.
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 18:59
    #3

    On this subject I have to disagree with you Robert (respectfully). As I’ve said in the past, If I were in charge and could do it all over again, I’d throw ALL available funding towards the end points in SoCal and NorCal. Completely upgraded ACE, Caltrain and Metrolink as HSR commuter service to get the most bang for the buck from the get go. As funding became available I would have then constructed the links in the Central Valley. Getting cars off our freeways should have taken precedence over eliminating poverty/joblessness in the CV.

    This all said, hopefully Cap n Trade and private funding will all make the aforementioned thought a moot point…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Money fell out of the sky and has to be spent now not five years from now when the environmental reports are complete. It has to be built someday.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Completely upgrading ACE, Caltrain and Metrolink from the getgo gets no bang, because there were no bucks on offer for that. The federal intercity HSR funds were for intercity HSR infrastructure.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Look, my idea above was all hypothetical; relax. That said, SF-SJ, SJ – Stockton or LA-Anaheim aren’t considered intercity?…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Metrolink from Ventura to Oceanside is part of the LOSSAN intercity corridor. Metrolink from Sylmar to LAUS and south to Anaheim is part of the HSR corridor. Any of those segments could have used the fed bucks with a little common sense. Instead the geniuses chose to put it all into the San Joaquin Valley.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The environmental reports were farther along for the Central Valley. For about the 803rd time.

    Joey Reply:

    Because they put resources into those EIRs early.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Amazing how it just worked out that way, huh?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Okay Richard, you are going to have to elaborate on this. PB and MTC and BART and the Bildabergs etc, don’t benefit from the ICS being in the Central Valley. If anything I would presume PB would want to start with a segment that would expedite an expansion of a project simultaneously. Don’t see that here, so you will have to explain this one.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Starting with a Stranded Investment is absolutely standard local procedure. “Ignore the inutility, ignore the cost overruns, you can’t stop now because you’ve already spent so much money and have nothing to show for it.”

    PB/Bechtel’s BART extension to “the SF Airport” started construction past the airport in Millbrae. As the costs “unexpectedly” escalated, the threat was to defer the intermediate stations (South SF, San Bruno) unless ransom was paid. Ransom was paid, of course: MTC Executive Director Steve “$5 billion Bay Bridge cost overrun”, and for that matter the sleazebag who did the work of pushing Pacheco and killing Altamont at MTC in 1999, always delivers to his very very very special friends.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Interesting theory: that scenario makes sense for the Bay Area…but will LA pay the ransom? If the IOS is any clue, maybe they worry about that and want to get to LA as fast as possible. However, Fresno to LA HSR won’t get many riders…so it’s going to be very awkward to demand ransom for a system that will appear to have minimal demand and exorbitant cost at first….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Xpress Fresno to LA via Tejon would perform much better than Mojave to Palmdale.

  4. Paul Druce
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 19:56
    #4

    Ridership is actually down slightly YTD on the San Joaquins but let’s not let facts get in Robert’s way.

    jonathan Reply:

    That’d *really* be a first!

    Travis D Reply:

    It is funny to see just how much some people here hate the residents of the valley. What’d we ever do to you people? I mean, I get it, you are all in the big cities and think anyone that doesn’t live there is unfit for life but that doesn’t mean we are actually just going to curl up and die.

    Ugh. Such hate.

    Not directed at anyone in particular. Just a general vibe I have picked up.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Off your meds?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Hey, hey, let’s not go there again.

    Your local World of Warcraft chapter ought to drumming up votes for the water bond. Things are going to get dicey in Suda Bay Area if this drought keeps up and the State turns off Silicon Valley’s faucets to send more water to LA.

    Alan Reply:

    Says the pot, calling the kettle black.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Thats what happens when in time performance collapses

  5. Jos Callinet
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 20:03
    #5

    Speaking of tumbleweed being the only thing(s) that’d be served in the Central Valley, here is a rather curious find related to fast trains in this country – you would think they were an on-going subject of interest.

    But, take a look at one of this blog’s links http://trains4america.wordpress.com/ , “Trains For America.” There hasn’t been a single updated entry on their webpages since December, 2013.

    Hasn’t there been quite a lot of discussion and activity since then? Cap and trade, for one. Why has that site’s interest suddenly lapsed? Just curious.

    Perhaps there’s only tumbleweed now where formerly there were people interested in HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The guy who wrote that blog lost interest, got sick, died?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The guys who wrote that blog had a falling out?

    “A blog is not maintained” as a piece of evidence regarding overall interest in HSR is a bit like using the temperature outside as evidence about global warming. Blogs get started and then dropped all the time.

  6. Jos Callinet
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 20:24
    #6

    If so, why’s it still on the web?

    jonathan Reply:

    is that a serious question??

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Yes

  7. joe
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 20:51
    #7

    Tuesday Dinner Special: Supervisor Debbie Poochigian’s HSR Word Salad

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/25/4040660/fresno-county-supervisors-revisit.html

    High-speed rail will likely be a political piñata again Tuesday, as the Fresno County Board of Supervisors takes another swing at deciding how it feels about California’s proposed bullet-train program.

    The debate comes two weeks after Supervisor Debbie Poochigian’s proposed resolution to oppose the state High-Speed Rail Authority’s plan — after at least five years of official support — failed to gain any traction with her board colleagues following a four-hour discussion including public comments. Several supervisors said they wanted more time to ponder the issue.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/07/25/4040660/fresno-county-supervisors-revisit.html#storylink=cpy

    Borgeas said a resolution to oppose high-speed rail “is highly symbolic,” but added that “the future of this project is going to be decided by the courts.”

    Jeff Morales will provide the bromide.

    Jeff Morales, the rail authority’s CEO, is expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting. A spokeswoman for the authority said the agency didn’t know about the specifics of Borgeas’ proposal and was unable to comment.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    WE SHALL SEE!

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    We should buy Debbie a dog (pooch) she can play with!

  8. datacruncher
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 23:49
    #8

    When Kevin De León tried to clarify his comments in Fresno he said “…I literally meant in between Fresno and Bakersfield…”

    That has now prompted a statement from the Mayor of Visalia (2012 population of 127,081).
    http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/opinion/2014/07/25/get-know-south-san-joaquin-valley-senator-de-leon/13134285/

    Looks like De León may need to plan another trip to apologize for his apology.

    Eric Reply:

    He may have been impolite but he was correct. You don’t build HSR for towns of 127k people.

    Joey Reply:

    No, but you put a (peripheral) station there if you happen to be passing by there anyway.

    Eric Reply:

    Agreed, and not all trains stop there.

    Joe Reply:

    Visalia CA would be the sixth largest city in New York State.

    Joey Reply:

    New York State doesn’t have many large cities.

    Joe Reply:

    And San Jose is the tenth largest USA city and is derided by blog commenters for being irrelevant.

    There is no train to nowhere.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not irrelevant. It’s relevant in the same way Providence would be relevant if it annexed the entire state: a secondary CBD that’s worth serving, but not at all costs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Jose is not irrelevant – it just wants to be LA when it grows up.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There are many parallels between San Jose and Los Angeles. Thankfully, San Francisco managed to assert itself before the Bay Area suffered the same fate as Southern California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And the ultimate, if not current, indignity is the new money is gravitating towards the hated City.

    San Diego, even PAMPA, would be a better role model for SJ.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hey, Raiders

    Forget San Antonio. Try to find a place to play in the City. Kezar?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    San Diego has valuable real estate even without an artificial growth boundary and a ton of government spending to prop itself up. San Jose is nothing more than a cleaner, smaller, whiter, high-tech version of Los Angeles.

    joe Reply:

    Whiter?

    San Jose is 42.8% white while LA is 41.3% white

    I’d have a hard time telling the difference.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Census bureau pegs the non-Hispanic white population of the City of LA and San Jose as 28.7% in 2010 :

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0644000.html

    But L.A. County? 27.2%. Santa Clara County? 33.9%! Notice the huge disparity!

    In all seriousness, my comment was based on growing up in Southern California and visiting family in Northern California on a yearly basis: There has always been a more noticeable Latino population in Los Angeles than San Jose and it has become moreso (even though San Jose’s Eastside is heavily Hispanic these days) because the of the jobs that both regions created from the 1970s on…San Jose replaced blue-collar manufacturing jobs with high-tech ones that Latinos usually didn’t have the education to get while, LA replaced blue collar manufacturing jobs with non-union ones that welcomed anybody that would work for a lot less.

    Seriously, there are many, many, parallels between San Jose and LA. Sacramento and San Diego also are seemingly separated at birth. The main difference between North and South is that San Francisco gentrified by getting white elites to move back in and Orange County gentrified by getting white elites to move out. Thus, the geopolitical struggle of our age…etc.

    Joe Reply:

    Ted
    The non Hispanic white population of LA is fractionally Greater, whiter, than San Jose.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Fractionally, like 1/100000000th? The Census estimate was the same for both cities but Santa Clara County is whiter than LA County.

    jonathan Reply:

    Ted wrote:

    San Jose is nothing more than a cleaner, smaller, whiter, high-tech version of Los Angeles.

    Ted, *you* said San Jose was whiter than Los Angeles, not Santa Clara County.

    Eric Reply:

    Oxnard CA is almost twice as big as Visalia. It’s more deserving of HSR than Visalia. Don’t see anyone pushing HSR to Oxnard.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tejon hsr with a major station at Sta. Clarita would bring service closer to Oxnard, diitto for Ventura and Sta. Barbara.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Go sell that idea to Santa Clarita, they are on record as not wanting HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    As John Friendly said, you have to lean on ‘em.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Lean on them the way PG&E does:

    ww.sfgate.com/default/article/City-Emails-show-cozy-ties-of-PG-E-regulator-5651934.php

    Nudging ever closer to Richards and Jerry Brown. RICO the Tejon Ranch Co. and the other high desert real estate developers.

    Mac Reply:

    Santa Clarita Station. For those not familiar :Would be about a 1 hr drive by car from Santa Clarita to Ventura/Oxnard….
    1 1/2 hours by car to Santa Barbara.

    Mac Reply:

    Also should add that HWY 126 is one of the only (and biggest) east-west highways in the Central Part of the California and it is just outside Santa Clarita. It is the route that anyone traveling from Bakersfield, Tejon and obviously Santa Clarita would take by any other method (bus,car) if they were going to Ventura,Oxnard, Santa Barbara.

    joe Reply:

    You guys are on to something. This will be a very helpful in fixing HSR and putting the emphasis on rationale alignment and design.

    Go for it.

    Travis D Reply:

    HSR isn’t allowed to travel to small cities? That makes no sense. Following that logic HSR would never leave urban areas.

    Eric Reply:

    You only build HSR for large cities. On the way, it may happen to pass small cities and may or may not stop there depending how small.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s worth noting that smaller cities, when summed together, do often contribute meaningfully to ridership, though I’m pretty sure that most of that is between the small cities and the larger end cities rather than between intermediate small cities. If you have one route with a few small-medium cities and one with nothing, all other things being equal you choose the one with the cities.

    joe Reply:

    Unless it’s private funding. Texas inter city rail Dallas to Houston with no stops.
    If it were CA, and public funding they’d built Dallas Fort Worth Dallas College Station and Houston.
    Conversely a private HSR system in CA might run along I5 and bypass the CV.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    College Station is the 15th largest metro area in Texas.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I-5 is in the “CV”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who don’t live in the city can use it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    DeLeon had the moxie to take on the likes of Visalia and speak the obvious but does he have the political nerve to take on Palmdale and the Ranch?

  9. blankslate
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 07:00
    #9

    I thought the goal of this project was to provide useful transportation. If reducing poverty in the Central Valley is the goal, there are probably more effective ways to spend $68 billion on that.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    No the goal is to support future residents of Palmdale, Bakersfield and Fresno. Which are apparently the economic and cultural centers of California.

    Eric Reply:

    Palmdale is the center of the universe!

    joe Reply:

    Someone is the center of the universe.

    Opposition from the Peninsula pushed the HSR Project to the Central Valley. Atherton now demands the EIR study tier IV diesel trains. It’s that backwards.

    Caltrain gets electrification so VIP Mountain View commuters have their share of the pie.

    Reality Check Reply:

    When you say “Atherton now demands” … you are talking about whatever the local Menlo-Atherton anti-HSR clan (Ringham, Maulbetsch, Brown, Conlon, Janz, Hamilton, Grindley, Enthoven, et al) are advising Atherton to demand via the still-sputtering-along Atherton Rail Committee which they are firmly in control of.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Transportation is still useful even if your needs don’t necessitate your use for it. HSR is a great solution for when you have distances that are all day drives but too dense to add air travel to. Even the smallest metro area along CAHSR’s alignment is much larger than a whistle-stop on Amtrak.

  10. morris brown
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 11:44
    #10

    Fresno Supervisor’s have just changed their position which was previously, support for the HSR project.

    On a 3 -2 vote, the Supervisors adopted a resolution was says:

    the board took a position that the board officially opposes the HSR project

    If ever there is a “smackdown” of the often repeated theme by Robert, that the project is still popular with the voters and that its popularity is improving, here is proof to the opposite.

    The more people have examined the project, the more voters come to the realization that the project is a boondoggle, and should not be supported, and in fact should be stopped now.

    Eric M Reply:

    Or their political contributions just grew

    Joe Reply:

    Game over Morris. You don’t know you’re beat. The project is not only funded but your own Senator Jerry Hill leglislated that HSR funds must be spent readying Caltrain for blended service.

    CEO Jeff Morales told the supervisors their vote will have no impact on the project.

    morris brown Reply:

    Joe writes:

    CEO Jeff Morales told the supervisors their vote will have no impact on the project.

    Boy have you been duped… you actually believe anything Morales says?

    Joe Reply:

    Clearly he’s right. If he were not you’d have precisely explained how it mattered.

    You just ranted about the voters and that HSR is unpopular and should be stopped. The usual bits of fluff.

    Alan Reply:

    Morris is desperate enough that he seizes any little tidbit, even slightly anti-HSR, and treats it as if it were his salvation.

    Fact is, it’s far too late in the game for the Fresno Co. supes to really make any difference.

    And anyone who believes that a politically-motivated vote, with a margin of only one vote out of five, is deluding himself to believe that the tide is suddenly turning against HSR.

  11. morris brown
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 12:16
    #11

    Fresno Supervisor’s also approve directing staff to prepare and send back an amicus brief to file with the court, supporting the plaintiffs in the Tos et. al lawsuit against the Authority. The vote was also on a 3 yes 2 no votes.

    So now we have all there, Kern, Kings and Fresno County Supervisors in opposition to the HSR project.

  12. Eric M
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 12:46
    #12

    And here is the real truth of the Fresno vote, but of course denied. And not what Morris Brown wants you to think.

    The Board of Supervisors meeting became testy when Perea asked Poochigian and Borgeas, who presented the so-called “amicus brief” proposal, if they traded votes on their respective resolutions during the break. Borgeas, who is board president, said Perea was out of line in asking the question. Both Borgeas and Poochigian insisted no horse trading had occurred.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Eric:

    Perea was essentially accusing Borgeas and Poochigian of violating the Brown Act, which they both with venom denied. What a lousy looser Perea was shown to be. Perea was trying to a one man blcoker of any vote being taken, just as he had at the last meeting. It was clear when Larson declared his intention, he was doomed in his and Case McNairy position.

    Alan Reply:

    A political circus, and far too late to do anything to change the project.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 13:12
    #13
  14. JJJJ
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 14:17
    #14

    The supervisor vote is essentially meaningless.

    HOWEVER, if Ashley Swearengin wins her campaign to be State Controller, theres a very high chance the next mayor would be firmly against HSR. Why? Is is almost the last Republican in the country willing to stand by High Speed Rail (and also supports a strong downtown and infill development).

    That could have a serious effect on the project. AKA: Look at the history of Republican willing to fill holes that have already been dug to toe the party line.

    Joe Reply:

    Assume the 65 million in Fresno area contractor work, the many construction jobs and HSR maintenance facility placement factor into the next election.

    I believe there’s a cause effect relationship. The only one to switch votes retires and hasn’t up for reelection. The other NO votes never took a stand, never voted previously.

    Maybe it’s political genius to vote against local jobs and infrastructure. I think not.

    JJJJ Reply:

    The republican playbook is to vote against local job and infrastructure, where have you been?

    joe Reply:

    Not at the local level – that’s a new innovation.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “HOWEVER, if Ashley Swearengin wins her campaign to be State Controller”, (citation needed)

    JJJJ Reply:

    ???

  15. morris brown
    Jul 29th, 2014 at 15:09
    #15

    Audio of the Fresno County Supervisors meeting, resulting in the supervisors taking a new position on officially opposing the HSR project can be heard at:

    Fresno supervisors 7-29-2014 meeting links

    part 1…. Tom Richards, Brady and public comment

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PV36tmguM4 1 hr 20 minutes

    Part 2

    Supervisors discussion before break no vote taken

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWR0awsT2iQ 38 minutes

    Part 3

    Supervisors vote on resolution, discussion and public comment 43 minutes
    and vote on amicus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d06lIWUp0M

    Eric M Reply:

    So Fresno county supervisors withdrew support. Totally symbolic, nothing more but political BS.

    But what you fail to talk about is the city of Fresno, which will have the most impacts in Fresno County, still supports the high speed rail project and it is their voice that means the most, not the county board.

    Always trying to grasp at straws morris brown. You and other NIMBY’s.

  16. Mac
    Jul 30th, 2014 at 04:23
    #16

    Thanks Morris..for posting the links. Doubters need to listen for themselves.
    I agree that Perea was totally out of line with his false accusations. As I recall, 2 weeks ago he accused Poochigian of having some personal ulterior motive behind bringing this back for a vote.
    He is a piece of work.
    Too bad Roberts started up the next blog topic before this could be further discussed.

    joe Reply:

    Listen to what?

    You do realize Kern County was reassured their EIR lawsuit wouldn’t interfere with their Bid to host the HSR maintenance facility and it’s high paying jobs.

    Mac Reply:

    Not sure where you are going with this, Joe

    Joe Reply:

    Kern Co.still wants the HSR facilities and the jobs located in Kern Co.

    Mac Reply:

    Ok.. thanks.
    Yes, I think it is fair to say that both Kern and Kings/Tulare would want the High Maint Facility if the High Speed Rail Project gets built despite the current opposition.

    When you asked, “listen to what”? I was referring to the audio of the meeting that Morris posted the link to.

    joe Reply:

    Did Fresno County Supervisors pull out of contention for the HSR facility? No!

    Not one county has gone on record against the HSR facility.

    Observer Reply:

    Correct. Noticed that they did not vote to pull he $25million that they have offered for the HSR facility. It is all election year B.S.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Poochigian is legendary in the Fresno political grudge Playbook. Her most recent was going after the First Five project downtown Fresno once she heard that it’s CEO was planning on running against her. And she did it all as a “protector of the taxpayer”.

    Mac Reply:

    I can’t agree or disagree because I am not familiar with that proceeding. However, it makes sense to at least stick to the how the officials act on/are involved wit HSR issues…..rather than bring up their views/actions on every issue they’ve ever voted on , or heard in their chambers. Things get too far off track.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “he is a piece of work”. That could apply to a lot of people in politics, not to mention rail advocacy. Feel free to continue the discussion, I for one will read it.

    Mac Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uBZcKNRw-U
    BTW I listened to the whole meeting LIVE.
    I found, copy,and pasted this link that I found when viewing some of the links Morris listed. If you weren’t watching or listening Live to the whole meeting, it has less of a punch to it. However, if you did–it would have stood out in a big way. That comment just reinforced my impressions from the July 14 BOS meeting. When it looks like a vote won’t go his way, Perea starts attacking his colleagues. He doesn’t engage in professional discussion with his fellow colleagues when they differ. He personally attacks them. Is this the kind of Supervisor Fresno Co. wants on their payroll? Fine, disagree with each other..but he hits below the belt. He went out of his way to put Poochigian down in the July 14 meeting. ..accusing her of having some sort of personal ulterior motive behind her position.(I listened to that one too). Yes, he is a piece of work.

    Mac Reply:

    To be more specific, He is a “piece of work” with regard to how he is dealing with this particular issue.

    Joe Reply:

    Big crybabies. What are they doing in politics if this comment was do offensive.

    The entire showboating NO was offensive.

    Mac Reply:

    Label Crybabies..whatever. But I think it is offensive to be accused of violating the Brown Act by your very own colleague in the midst of a public BOS meeting.

    joe Reply:

    It’s a simple question. If they can’t take a little heat then quit. They accuse the HSR project staff of foisting waste and fraud on CA yet a simple question is off limits. Cry babies.

  17. bixnix
    Jul 30th, 2014 at 09:21
    #17

    Anybody know of sites that are tracking the HSR prep work and construction? There’s gotta be some railfans who are taking pictures already…

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    A demolished nightclub and a meatpacking plant are about all there is to see of construction atm, I believe.

    Joe Reply:

    So critics will claim HSR is anti-strip mall, anti-strip club and anti-strip steak.

Comments are closed.