Will Democrats Undermine Cap-and-Trade?

Jul 6th, 2014 | Posted by

California Democrats just adopted a budget that includes ambitious spending plans for cap-and-trade revenues. That’s as it should be. But you’d think Democrats would be a bit more cautious before they go undercutting the source of those funds.

That is what 16 Democrats are proposing to do. They recently wrote to the California Air Resources Board to demand that CARB delay the rule requiring energy retailers – including gas stations – to buy carbon permits.

Now Assemblymember Henry T. Perea of Fresno is proposing a bill that would delay the rule by three years:

Assembly Bill 69 by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, would delay for three years a rule requiring the energy industry to purchase permits for transportation fuels. Lawmakers and critics have been warning for months about a resulting price bump….

But the coming inclusion of transportation fuel into the program is threatening to push gas prices up, prompting alarm from moderate Democrats. In a show of broad discontent, 16 Democrats last week sent a letter to the Air Resources Board urging the air quality regulator to delay implementing the new rule. Despite the complaint, all but one of them voted to spend the money the rule is expected to generate.

Perea said he still supports AB 32’s overarching goal of reducing emissions but does not believe consumers have been adequately prepared.

“What we’re really trying to do on this is create a public discussion, because I’m not sure the public is aware of cap and trade and what it’s going to do to their pocketbooks,” Perea said.

Perea is a strong supporter of high speed rail, so I’m surprised to see him take this position. If fuels are excluded from cap-and-trade, that means less money for HSR and other crucial transportation projects.

I understand that these Democrats believe there is political risk in letting this rule go forward, that Republicans will blame them for a gas price increase. There are two responses to this.

First, Republicans will blame Democrats for breathing. Democrats never win when they let Republicans dictate their behavior. Democrats do win when they refuse to worry about what the GOP will say about them and instead move ahead with good policies that benefit a lot of people.

Second, gas prices rise and fall a lot these days. They’re spiky. Right now gas prices are about $4.13 a gallon, which is below the $4.50 range that we saw in 2008. Those numbers will fall as the summer wears on, all the way to winter, when they’ll start rising again. The public won’t notice a cap-and-trade related increase.

Yes, some members of the public who listen to right-wing talk radio and watch Fox News will attribute a spring increase to cap-and-trade. But they weren’t voting for Democrats anyway. The Democratic base won’t reward politicians who try to weaken AB 32, especially after voters in 2010 resoundingly rejected both a ballot proposition and a gubernatorial candidate that pledged to delay the entire cap-and-trade system.

There’s no good reason to undermine cap-and-trade, and certainly no reason to freak out about its effect on gas prices. If anything cap-and-trade and the projects it funds are the best way to help people deal with rising gas prices, by funding the alternatives they will need to get around affordably.

  1. morris brown
    Jul 6th, 2014 at 22:45
    #1

    Boy, Robert is making a mountain out of a “molehill” here.

    Having secured only 16 Assembly Democrats, out of the Democratic Assembly caucus of over 50, is hardly impressive. The bill is going nowhere. It is simply a political move by these 16 to keep favor in their districts, by showing resistance to raising Gas prices to pay for the Cap and Trade revenues.

    When their votes might have counted was when SB-862 was being passed.

    Donk Reply:

    Morris, this is one of you most logical, rational posts you have ever had here. Thank you.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    From what I hear in Sacramento this is more of a threat than the 16 signatures would appear.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    16 Democrats plus 25 Republicans is a bare majority in the Assembly, Morris….

  2. John Nachtigall
    Jul 6th, 2014 at 23:27
    #2

    “The public won’t notice a cap-and-trade related increase.”

    So we all agree there will be an increase because of cap and trade, we just disagree that the public will notice?

    May I remind you that previous democratic governors have been recalled for lesser one time taxes? I think the public notices more than you give them credit for.

    As a GOP supporter I hope they more forward wholeheartedly. When they explain this new tax will be used to build low income housing and HSR I am sure the public will rush to express their support

    Derek Reply:

    We might not need to fund low income housing if not for laws that prevent the market from building it. It’s ironic if not hypocritical that the GOP is even more totalitarian than the Democrats when it comes to zoning laws.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Tearing down 500,000 dollar tract houses to build condos isn’t a formula for building affordable condos.

    Derek Reply:

    The only ones that would be torn down to build condos are those that would be torn down anyway. Otherwise it wouldn’t be cost-effective to tear them down and then you would be right that it isn’t a formula for building affordable condos.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It isn’t very often that half a block burns almost to the ground, all of the owners are ready to retire and are ready to move away.

    Derek Reply:

    Are there no other incredibly narrow set of circumstances where $500,000 tract houses might be torn down to build condos?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What, other than, “oops, these houses burned down. You might think about retiring and moving to Florida”?

    Where is that the normal approach, anyway … New Jersey, maybe?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How else are you going to get the owners of ten tract houses to all agree it’s a good time to sell?

    Derek Reply:

    In a run-down neighborhood, it won’t be hard.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Run down neighborhoods tend to be densely populated already. Buying four $250,000 houses on quarter acre lots cost as much as buying two $500,000 houses on half acre lots.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am 100% sure I am going to come to regret this question, but I am curious. What zoning laws prevent low income housing. For example, in SF they build expensive housing because the land is so expensive it is the only way to make a profit, but that is not a local zoning law, that is just the laws of economics.

    Can you give some examples, because I am unaware of this argument.

    Joey Reply:

    This may not be what Derek was referring to, and I don’t think it’s a particularly partisan issue. Height maximums mean that you can’t fit as many units onto the same amount of land. Of course, building taller also costs more, but in places with expensive and scare land like SF, vertical restrictions become important. Additionally, parking minimums increase the cost of construction.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The most common ones are setbacks in order to force a requirement for larger lots, height restrictions, single-family, single use requirements and restrictions on multiple use professional/residential and commercial/residential properties.

    Its a normal bias in zoning, since restrictive zoning tends to push up the value of new properties which can have a spillover effect on existing property values, which is something more of interest to existing residents, who vote in local elections, while the availability of affordable housing is something more of interest to people who might move in, who tend to not vote in local elections.

    Derek Reply:

    In addition to what Joey and BruceMcF said, there are also minimum dwelling unit sizes and prohibitions against granny flats and boarding houses.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How do any of these discriminate against low income housing?

    None of them would restrict low income any more than high income. If you wanted to build a 5 story low income building in downtown SF how would any of these stop you?

    Still seems like just economics

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They seem to think if you tear down enough million dollar two family houses and put four million dollar condos on the lot it will make the apartments that used to be in the two family houses cheaper to rent.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    Who said anything about tearing anything down. Most development happens on vacant land. Restrictive zoning curtails supply of housing resulting in higher prices.

    Most residential urban land in California is zoned for single family housing. If multi-family housing could be built the cost of land per unit would be reduced. Unit sizes would also typically be smaller reducing per unit prices.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    how many condos at 16 to the acre do you have to build out at the edge of town before some of the people living in them want to take the bus downtown where it’s easy to park? If you want to build four story condos a short walk from a BART station or a Metro station there’s 500,000 dollar houses sitting on the land.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    Who said anything about condos? Affordable housing is typically rental. Poor people don’t get to be so picky. They walk.

    You can cherry pick hypotheticals all you want, but the fact remains that California has some of the most restritive building regulations in the country. The market left on its own would supply much more housing than is currently allowed. Even then the prime locations would be expensive, but overall prices would be cheaper and the crappy, small apartments would be affordable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How may rental units at 32 to an acre do you have to build at the edge of town before there’s enough people out there who want to take the bus into downtown where it’s easy to park?

    Derek Reply:

    I don’t know what you’re asking, but here is a real-world case where zoning laws substantially raise the price of housing.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It depends on the quality of the bus, but a two mile corridor along the bus route a quarter mile from the corridor on each side would be 20,000 units service from four bus stops at a half mile spacing, so that would be a good start.

    Obviously providing the transport alternative has to lead the infill development using the land in the local destination presently wasted on subsidized parking, since the infill development cannot happen unless you have a way to get feet onto those square feet.

    Joe Reply:

    Granny units up to 600 sq ft are not restricted.
    I can put one up without any restriction if I choose to infill.
    Santa Cruz decided to offer free designs to encourage quality.

    http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1150

  3. Reality Check
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 00:07
    #3

    First regional, then high-speed rail

    The high-speed rail route that has been selected between the Bay Area and Southern California is over the Pacheco Pass between Hollister and Chowchilla.

    That route makes sense if serving both San Francisco and San Jose is the overriding consideration, but it would be expensive and difficult to construct over rugged terrain.

    The Altamont route was given auxiliary status in the 2008 bond issue and is the favorite of environmental groups. It could very well be the best and most cost-effective way to connect the Bay Area to the San Joaquin Valley and then to Los Angeles in a hybrid system. The connection to the existing Cal Train route on the San Francisco Peninsula could be at San Jose or even Santa Clara. It’s something worth considering, especially because ACE would use the same tracks, shortening commuter travel time between the Central and Silicon valleys.

    I’m sure there are a number of problems involved with concentrating on regional rail and using both existing and newly constructed dedicated tracks as a first step toward a full high-speed rail system. But considering the options, it just might be the only way to go.

    Read more: Tracy Press – First regional then high speed rail

    EJ Reply:

    He’s of course wrong about Japan, who did build their network from scratch. But his larger point is nothing more than what Clem and others have argued for years, that starting with regional connections and building toward the middle is the way to go.

    Joe Reply:

    Aaaaaaaaaltamont.

    Retired Tracy newspaper writer pens column justifying more ACE investments. Speculates Jeff Denham will change his mind to support ACE. He should have asked why Jeff isnt making any counter proposal to HSR.

    The more alternatives proposed to the HSR rail project, the greater the support for rail.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If California wants to fully fund it from state resources, then obviously California would get to start it out as a package of local rail upgrades and save the “intercity” part of the “intercity rail” until “real soon now”, if Californians want a bundle of regional and local rail projects with intercity rail as the cover story.

    If California wants to get Federal support for it as an intercity transport service, then a project plan of postponing the intercity part until later isn’t likely to attract much support. After all, there are lots of places around the country that would like to have Federal money for a bundle of regional and local rail projects, and so any pie that can be baked for that purpose is going to end up getting split into a lot more slices.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the Federal government offered money to places where Real Americans(tm) live and they turned it down.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Only three applications by three newly elected governors for intercity rail money … and plenty of other places were willing to take what was turned down for actual intercity rail projects.

    If Californians wants to build local and regional rail projects now and put off the intercity rail until some later date, that’s fine. If Californians want to take advantage of whatever opportunities there will be in 2017 to get intercity rail money as the only genuine Express HSR project underway, that’s fine.

    But Californians should expect that if they are asking for federal money for an intercity rail project, they don’t have unlimited leeway in diverting that money into funding regional rail projects instead.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes it’s lovely the way Amtrak is using it to replace catenary that should was promised to be replaced 40 years ago and upgrading the switches west of Penn Station in New York from 15MPH switches to 30MPH switches.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Did Amtrak get money from that budget line for the NEC? I thought they got money from their own capital spending budget line for that. But that’s the Northeast which is typically defined out of any RealAmericans^TM definition if its even remotely restrictive.

    I know that the Pacific Northwest got more money, Michigan got money, Virginia got money. Anyone who assumes that doesn’t include any RealAmericans^TM somewhere in there has a broken RealAmericans^TM definition.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Real Americans(tm) live everywhere. Sorta like missionaries wander the heathen places outside of the US Real Americans(tm) wander the heathen places inside the US. Just like they don’t use trains and drive their SUV everywhere in Real America(tm) they don’t use trains and drive their SUV everywhere in the heathen places. You can see them on the news on slow news days when they send the reporter to one of the crossings and they tell the reporter, with a straight face, that waiting an hour to get across the river is faster than getting on one of the buses whizzing past or on a train.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is that what Clem has argued for years? I thought the argument was that the phasing should start with minimal regional infrastructure (electrification, overtakes) and a connection to the CV (e.g. Altamont to Stockton/Modesto).

  4. EJ
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 01:32
    #4

    The public won’t notice a cap-and-trade related increase.

    A little less contempt would be nice. You might be surprised to find that people in Fresno can read, write, add, and subtract, the whole bit.

    Derek Reply:

    But they’re probably conservatives who, as we all know, can’t correctly interpret spiky data.

    EJ Reply:

    If you really think they’re going to ignore a politician voting for an extra fuel tax (that’s what this is, no matter how you define it), you’re crazy.

    Joe Reply:

    What matters is the variability in gasoline price compared to the modest CnT tax and the fact it’s a tax proportional to pollution to build less polluting infrastructure.

    Were also in a severe drought and climate warming factually proven.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    None of which the average voter cares about. Everyone is an environmentalist until the taxes go up. You think if it adds $.20 a gallon anyone will care if it is “modest”?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know, there are countries where there are fuel taxes equivalent to about $4 a gallon.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes, and I think it’s been conclusively proven that the American people have less tolerance for taxes and are more politically conservative than Europe. Smaller government (proportionally) smaller safety net, smaller taxes, compared to Europe as a whole.

    You lament this on a regular basis Alon, with you admiration and love for the Swiss.

    No I think if the coming increase in gas can be successfully linked to the Dems it would be quite damaging to them

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yes and no. During the 19th century, Bismarck designed his social services network on the premise that Germans could leave for higher wages and free land in the US. This self-selecting the people and the situation where less government intervention would be popular.

    However, given that Americans no longer get land for free or have higher wages than Europe, it is possible especially with other demographic changes to see America embrace a more European structure. In fact I would argue this gets more an more likely as each Republican administration sees the economy flub haplessly.

    Socialism’s biggest ally in the US isn’t Barack Obama it’s George W. Bush.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Interesting, because I would argue that the US has become more conservative in the last 50 years not less.

    More than 50% of the state governments are GOP controlled which 50 years ago would have been unheard of.

    On social issues like crime and punishment the “lock them up” conservative solution has won the day ( and has lead to unprecedented drops in crime)

    GOP control of the House of Representatives was unheard of in the Tip O’neil years.

    I think if you compare 1965 America to 2014 America it is hard to argue we are more liberal

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    50 years ago Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon were considered to conservative. They would be denounced as pinko pansy traitors by today’s conservatives.

    Zorro Reply:

    More conservative? Only among people 68 and older, who are always dying off, the young are not into conservatism, Millennials are out to destroy the GOP.

    1) The obvious lede — every election Millennials have voted in, they’ve skewed Democratic. Almost as important? Ditto for young Gen Xers (who turned 18 under Clinton) — in every election except 2004 (when they skewed GOP) and 2000 (when they tracked with national averages), they skew Democratic as well.

    2) Millennials and young Gen Xers deviated from the norm in 11 of 12 opportunities. This wasn’t the case for all cohorts, many of whom often followed (or more likely, made up) the overall national average. Not these kids. They’ve happily departed, election after election. They’re not falling in line with the average.

    3) Fascinating difference between Gen Xers who came of age under Reagan/Bush vs. those who came of age under Clinton. The former group (today age 38-49) skewed Republican in 7 of 10 elections, and Democratic in only one (their earliest election in 1994). But the Clinton group (today age 30-37) skewed Democratic in 5 of 7 elections and skewed Republican in only one. Powerful argument that this is the fault line: voters age 37 and younger, vs. those 38 and older. Not Gen X vs. Millennial. Everyone born after Star Wars came out is basically a Democrat.

    4) The idea that young, idealistic, naive voters tend to side with progressives until they age into mature, worldly realists and start voting for conservatives seems to be (at least partially) debunked by this chart. Only the Reagan/Bush Gen Xers exhibit anything like this behavior. Other groups were either a) more consistent over time, or b) inconsistent but in unpredictable ways, not just “older = more conservative.”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    John,

    Remember that as a generation, Boomers are larger than Generation X or Millenials individually. So this trend isn’t translating into electoral victories until enough Boomers die off as to make the playing field even.

    But that notwithstanding, your reference to 1965 is telling. The voting age population at that time had all lived through the Second World War I and the Depression and some the routine financial panics at the turn of the century. Note that as Boomers enter the voting booth in 1968, suddenly the high tide of liberalism crashes.

    All this bad socioeconomic karma is already taking a toll on Millenials who will repay the favor in short order with policies straight from the Roosevelt Administration–Teddy Roosevelt.

    flowmotion Reply:

    @Zorro — Keep in mind the Democratic party is much more “conservative” than it was when Star Wars came out. Or at least much more pro-war, pro-free trade, pro-big business, and pro-wall street.

    What you’re seeing is mostly the big generational split on social issues, not necessarily a bunch of liberals who want to pay higher gas taxes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Both of them, in 1968 most Baby Boomers were too young to vote.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It seems like you are all agreeing that in the last 50 years the US has gotten more conservative. We disagree on if it is going to continue, but the last 50 years have clearly seen a rise in conservative power

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But remember that for you, changes compared to anything less than a hundred years ago don’t count for gasoline prices, so you are being inconsistent if you make a comparison to any time more recent than 1914. And compared to 1914, the US has definitely got less conservative.

    joe Reply:

    We have moved to the right and it coincides with a deceasing standard of living and more work hours per family.
    California is moving to the left.

    There’s hope! Kansas cut taxes and spending to Grroooow Jooobs. Move there now and beat the rush !!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “I think if the coming increase in gas can be successfully linked to the Dems it would be quite damaging to them”

    Exactly … if people can be conned into thinking a gas price increase that is mostly a crude oil shock can instead be blamed on Cap and Trade, that will do some damage at the polls.

    Joe Reply:

    Cap and trade
    Prop 30

    These are taxes people support.

    Even conservatives come to Cali to work and enjoy the benefits of the state.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Prop 30 passed because Jerry held kids education hostage (and it was a brilliant but in my opinion unethical political move)

    Cap and trade bill is now coming due and we will see how people like it.

    This is still the land of real estate taxes that are held artificially low, like 50 years too low

    Joey Reply:

    This is still the land of real estate taxes that are held artificially low, like 50 years too low

    Yes, but repealing or even reforming Prop 13 is probably going to be at least as hard as raising gas taxes. A good idea definitely but very difficult.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    As people on this blog love to remind everyone, the Dems have a supermajority in CA. With those 2/3rds and the Govenor they could repeal prop13 tomorrow if they wished. Apparently the Dems are not prepared to do that…I wonder why?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No. The Legislature cannot nullify a voter initiative. The 2/3rd majority was to pass a budget and raise taxes, now only tax increases require a supermajority. But they can’t repeal Prop 13, at most they could require assessments more frequently. But even if they did, they have lots of other initiatives that would have to be repealed, like Prop 98. Now you see why Brown pursued realignment; way easier than the alternative.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They could institute a new tax…with the 2/3 majority. They could also put an initiative on the ballot to repeal. They have done neither.

    And for the record, I would support repeal. Prop 13 is the worst kind of initiative. It had no thought for short or long term consequences, just lower taxes no matter the cost. It’s the kind of thing that makes conservatives look like greedy stupid fools.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s not that easy, John.

    In 1971, the CA Supreme Court struck down traditional property tax funding for school districts as being unable to guarantee a universal quality of education. Even if you zap Prop 13, tomorrow, the State would still have to shift money around from richer places to poorer ones. At least with low property tax, people can be expected to pay a higher income tax. But with a higher property tax, that money stays put in local coffers and we would pay even more money to underperforming districts.

    Oh and it gets better–Prop 98 requires this shifting use General Funds, not a new or special tax. If that happens other government programs would likely get shifted to other sources of revenue, like the gas tax.

    joe Reply:

    The implied point to this harping about a Dem super-majority is they are no better than the
    “LOOK!! THAT FOREIGN LOOKING PERSON ON WELFARE IS VOTING!! ” Party.

    J. Wong Reply:

    All they can do is vote to place an initiative on the ballot to repeal all or part of Prop. 13. There has been some movement to repeal the commercial aspect of Prop. 13 where businesses have gamed it so that commercial property is never reassessed in the positive direction. (Businesses ask for reassessments to lower their value all the time.)

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s not contempt at all. It’s just true. Gas prices fluctuate regularly. Any cap-and-trade related change would be part of that fluctuation. Most people won’t really know what’s seasonal change and what’s AB 32 change.

    EJ Reply:

    They’ll know as soon as an opposition politician points it out.

    Zorro Reply:

    I doubt people will even care, they’ll just pay for their gasoline.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    As I showed in the last log post, gas prices are not any higher than they were 100 years ago (adjusted for inflation). But even with that you get these kinds of articles

    http://nypost.com/2010/12/14/what-you-can-do-about-outrageous-gas-prices/

    People are irrational when it comes to gas prices. It’s weird. It’s even more sensitive than food prices in my opinion. I think it is because you see the signs advertising the price every day.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    None of us were around 95 years ago to buy gasoline and store it until now. It wouldn’t make sense to do that if I was inclined to store gasoline because prices have been lower, much much lower since then.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I know you were around 25 years ago. It was just as expensive then also. (Inflation adjusted).

    And the point is storing that gas would have got you 0 because it is just as expensive as inflation. Not growing faster than inflation. You really don’t get it do you? Gas is cheap…always has been

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And between 1919 and 2000 it had gotten much cheaper. If you go out and buy a house in 1999 because the price has been trending down for your whole life the price in 1919 is only interesting to sock puppet sycophants.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    In 1985 it was just as expensive as 1919. But I agree. Gas is cheap. We agree

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    BTW…what is the difference between a regular sycophant and a sock puppet one?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A plain old sycophant licks boots in person.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    aidrondacker: “And between 1919 and 2000 it had gotten much cheaper.”
    John: “In 1985 it was just as expensive as 1919. But I agree. Gas is cheap.”

    The tense, “is”, implies that John believes it is presently the year 2000.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s in a place he thinks is 1955 that people in 1955 would have found unrecognizable.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Has is currently cheap. It also is cheap (when adjusted for inflation) for the last 100 years.

    When I first said this you called me a liar flat out. Then I proved it and now you just switch to personal attacks. So sad.

    If you want an example of something that is outpacing inflation, here is SF housing prices. Going back more than a 100 years just for Bruce.

    http://www.aboutinflation.com/inflation-adjusted-charts/us-real-estate-index-inflation-adjusted-charts/san-francisco-ca-real-estate-inflation-adjusted-index-chart

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No it isn’t John and you citing John Galt doesn’t make you any less full of shit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    that we are pumping more oil now doesn’t make gasoline more expensive in 1999.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “As I showed in the last log post, gas prices are not any higher than they were 100 years ago (adjusted for inflation).”

    Though what you inaccurately claimed in the last long post was that prices have remained at that level over the past 100 years, which is absurd for a record of being substantially below that prices and on a downward track, when not interrupted by war, for over half of that time.

    What that stat really means is that a century’s worth of technological and productivity gains in the exploration, drilling and refining of petroleum has been canceled out over the past decade a rising scarcity value for oil, due to the failure to find new cheap sources of oil as fast as already pumping cheap sources of oil are exhausted.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Cool right. Technology overcame a 100 years of use. Worked on nat gas also. Just another example of Malthus thinking being wrong and technology winning the day.

    Like I said, if you want to argue gas is cheaper than it was a 100 years ago that just enhances my point. Gas is cheap.

    Paul H. Reply:

    I can’t wait for the day when all of the major fossil energy companies go bankrupt. It’ll happen in the blink of an eye. And you want to know who’s going to sink these businesses? Other companies whose supply chains will be reliant on a climate that hasn’t been completely destabilized by those fossil energy corporations you admire so much. It’s going to be one hell of a rude awakening for these companies and their political allies. If you thought this country was trending conservative wait till critical mass on climate change is reached among the American public, there will be people in the streets demanding the government do something about the predicament, and sitting on the other side of the barrel will be exxon, shell, bp and every other company that profited on the destabilization of the planet’s climate.

    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Hypocrite

    Who do you think supplied the energy to move the electrons in your post
    Or the power for whatever transportation you use (car, bus, train)
    Or the power for the transportation for building your house, getting the food to your store, etc.

    Go off grid then you can rail against the companies. Until then you are just a guy using all the comforts provided while complaining how they are obtained. When I was in school, we had a bumper sticker saying got people like you

    “Don’t like mining?, Freeze in the dark!”

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So your argument against changing the status quo sources of energy is that people must rely on the status quo that they wish to change to get things done?

    When we see a perfect argument for never changing anything, we know that the argument is but sophistry.

    Paul H. Reply:

    @John Nachtigall

    I’m fully aware how energy is supplied in America and it’s going to bring much more economic pain to this nation than needed to happen. We could have changed things, but we made choices to invest more into our fossil fuel based energy systems over the last 5 decades since we’ve known about the problem of global warming and the effects it would have on a multitude of necessities for everyday life. I use fossil energy because their is no alternative to these energy sources. The industry has been too powerful, but now that people are waking up to the effects this industry is having to the stability of the planet’s climate, which ultimately determines how much food and we can produce and how much water is available to us, which is the bottom life for any country anywhere, people want alternatives. I also admit it will take fossil energy to make these alternatives possible, but once the project of transition has begun, that’s the beginning of the end for the fossil energy industry. It’s going to be very messy. The industry won’t go away quietly, but it’s going to happen because we have no other alternative. If the fossil energy industry lives, the rest of us perish in a misery of drought sicked lands and failed harvest for centuries to come. That’s game over for civilization.

    joe Reply:

    Paul

    Possibly a the shift will be a combination of technologies improving the efficiency of solar generation and battery storage and cost effective manufacturing. USA pushing solar technology and Chinese pushing solar manufacturing and IT & automobile industries pushing battery technology and manufacturing.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am fine with people changing the world. In fact, I encourage it. And if the US switched to carbon free electricity generation then that would be just fine with me.

    But, there is a difference between supporting that switch and arguing that energy companies = evil. Those companies and the technologies they have developed allow literally billions of people to live and not starve or freeze or live in the open.

    Is global warming bad…yes. Is letting a billon people starve to death worse, yes.

    You can believe in change without hypocritically stating energy companies are evil why enjoying the benefits they provide.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People managed to not freeze to death, starve or live out in the open before there were energy companies or automobiles. Most people managed to do that thousands of years ago.

    jimsf Reply:

    well speaking of fossil fuel engergy in california see who tops the list on the “biggest company in every state” chart

    Joey Reply:

    All that says is that Chevron is the biggest company (by revenue) which is headquartered in California. It says nothing about which companies do the most business in a given state.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Your “remained at the same price” story is akin to someone looking at Russia over the past century and saying, “Russia has had a system of crony capitalism for a century”.

    And now you’ve got this one backwards: 100 years of technological development overcome by 100 years of resource depletion.

    Of *course* the price of gasoline was high a hundred years ago. We had just started using it for transportation, where previously the primary object of petroleum refining was kerosene for home lighting, and had not yet achieved the economies of scale or developed and put into place the gasoline production and distribution technology and infrastructure that would allow gasoline to be cheap in the period where we adopted the policies which made the automobile the dominant passenger transport mode.

    The entire period when the US put into place those policies which made the automobile the dominant passenger transport mode saw gasoline prices below the “hundred year ago” price.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Thanks for proving my point. We use lots of gas, use up lots of oil, but the price does not keep increasing as the oil gets used up because technology makes up the difference. What is untrue about what I said?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No it goes up and down and that’s a lot different than it being the same price as it was 100 years ago.

  5. Ted Judah
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 07:32
    #5

    The larger problem for members like Perea is that this increase would be on top of a federal gas tax hike AND higher oil costs. $5 a gallon is not as unthinkable as it used to be.

    Perea also has pointed out the in his district, very few people have enough income to finance a hybrid engine car or full electric, even with rebates.

    Moreover, the real risk isn’t what Perea will do. It’s that the tax hike will hurt borderline Democrat seats in the Legislature and extinguish the Democrats’ supermajority.

    StevieB Reply:

    Is there a Democratic supermajority currently in the California Legislature? I remember that ending with the loss of three legislators several months ago.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Only the Senate has vacancies which have pushed the Democrats below the supermajority threshold. None of the seats, however, are likely to flip because of the vacancies. Two are in central L.A. while the other one is being eliminated by redistricting anyway.

    Perea’s district and others away from the coasts are way more vulnerable.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    $5/gal is coming no matter what. Dems should get out in front and fund alternatives rather than running away from the inevitable.

    Observer Reply:

    I totally agree. Sad that political opportunism, and having to appease the carbon energy industry gets in the way.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No matter what? I don’t think so. The economy will fall into a recession before we get to $5 a gallon without gas tax increases.

    joe Reply:

    First that is only a 25% increase. Second, our oil intensive economy might slip into recession but the global oil market will not care. There is enough global demand to pay $5 per gallon.

    Observer Reply:

    Well $5/gallon will happen someday. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Adjusting for CPI, something that costs $5 today was $4 ten years ago. So in nominal dollars, yes we will get there. However, with wages stagnant I think that just means that higher gas prices = lower spending on everything else.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s been right around the corner for years and years.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I would like to see CARB require a set number of cars sold in CA to be all electric or plug in hybrid within the next decade. I would aim for 50%.

    flowmotion Reply:

    CARB routinely has made such rules only to find out they’re impossible to implement. There’s a whole class of electric “compliance cars” which are only available in California. You rarely will see one being driven.

    Eventually, it will be possible to sell a $30K electric car at a profit. Until then there’s not much regulators can do given that 98% of the state was developed around the automobile and not transit.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It appears that the EPA denied CARB’s waiver to establish more aggressive targets back under the Bush Administration. Given the bent of the Roberts Court, I’d unilaterally impose the rules and wait to be sued.

    flowmotion Reply:

    You wouldn’t have to wait that long. As soon as businesses started leaving because their workers can’t afford a Tesla, your proposal would be toast.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like they have because real estate prices are so high?

    flowmotion Reply:

    Yes, real estate prices have driven businesses out of the state. As has cap-n-trade and a gazillion other regulations.

    No problem, everyone in California can just get a job at Twitter or Disney.

  6. Observer
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 09:47
    #6

    If you postpone Cap and Trade for energy retailers for 3 three years; they will make the same argument after 3 years also. If Perea postpones it now, it will be postponed permanently. Perea’s district is filled with large SUVs that people do not need, they could afford those!

    Observer Reply:

    Three years time (2018) will also be an election year. Does anybody believe that if Cap and trade is postponed until an election that it will be implemented?

  7. J. Wong
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 10:07
    #7

    Amtrak ridership

    Neat map showing Amtrak ridership per station.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    From the same site, and equally informative:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/3/31/5563600/everything-you-need-to-know-about-boarding-an-amtrak-train

    Amtrak’s insane train boarding rules
    1) How do you board a train?

    In general, once one knows on which track a train will arrive, one
    goes to the adjacent platform and waits. When the train arrives, the
    doors will open and people who need to disembark will get off. Then
    you go through the open door and hop on the train. This process is
    seen at train stations around the world, including intercity trains
    everywhere from Brussels to Shanghai and mass transit trains such as
    the 1, 2, 3, A, C, and E New York City Subway lines at Penn Station
    and WMATA’s Red Line at Union Station in Washington, DC.

    2) How does Amtrak think you board a train?

    At smaller stations such as New Haven, New Carrollton, or New
    Rochelle, Amtrak uses the same boarding procedure used by foreign
    intercity railroad operators and by commuter rail and mass transit
    rail systems in the United States.

    This makes sense, since that’s how one boards a train.

    However, at larger stations, Amtrak chooses to ignore 150 years of
    accumulated human wisdom about boarding trains. So at Boston’s South
    Station, New York’s Penn Station, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station,
    and Washington’s Union Station, people wishing to board intercity
    trains must go through a more elaborate process. You wait for your
    track to be called and then need to queue up — with each passenger
    presenting a ticket to an Amtrak staff member before you are allowed
    onto a platform. This is roughly how one boards an airplane in all
    countries, but it is not normally how one boards a train.

    3) Why is standard boarding procedure different for planes and trains?

    Airplanes typically only have one door, which makes single-file
    queuing unavoidable. What’s more, trains typically use either
    turnstiles at station entrances (for mass transit) or on-board
    conductor checks (for intercity trains) to verify payment. This makes
    a ticket inspection queue unnecessary, while the multiple doors factor
    makes an inspection queue burdensome.

    4) Is Amtrak unaware of the differences between planes and trains?

    They seem to be aware. As noted, Amtrak employs standard train
    boarding methods at many stations, offering a clear indication that
    they are aware that trains have multiple doors. What’s more, Amtrak
    employs conductors who check tickets on trains, indicating that they
    are aware that there is no need for pre-boarding payment
    verification. The queuing is limited to a handful of stations that
    happen to be located in major cities and thus happen to account for a
    very large share of total boardings.

    5) Why does Amtrak think the queuing system is a good idea?

    Amtrak officials have represented to me that the ticket check is a
    necessary security measure. They have not been able to point to a
    specific legal directive instructing them to employ this method, but
    they gesture in the direction of airport security procedures.

    [... and more good stuff ...]

    PBQD=CHSRA is, of course, firmly wedded to the Amtrak/Soviet model of maximal passenger inconvenience and maximal travel time, to the tune of many hundreds of millions of private profiteering dollars for “mezzanine” construction and multi-level intergalactic Flight Level Zero airline terminal construction. Win-win synergy for America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals!

    It’s a wonderful thing (just ask Robert!) that California Cap and Trade carbon taxes are going to pay to make rail travel an Amtrak/Airline Vaterlandssicherheitsdienst shitshow.

    Derek Reply:

    I took an AVE in Spain that had an X-Ray machine for luggage, so queuing was necessary even though the train had more than one door.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You forgot the “ironic” quotation marks around “necessary”.

    Joe Reply:

    Just post “PBQD=CHSRA”.

    Joey Reply:

    Spain is unique to Europe in this regard, but Spain also does not share AVE platforms with any other services (other the ALVIA gauge-changing trains which extend into iberian gauge and even non-electrified territory).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    China and Israel at least have security checks at train stations as well. However, once you’re inside the station, you can board the train from any door, without additional corralling. This is a less onerous version of airport security theater, without the element of single-file plane boarding.

    Derek Reply:

    I like that, but it only moves the queuing around that the author thinks doesn’t belong at train stations.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It does move the queuing around, but at least it puts the queuing at a place that’s logical based on security concerns (and in neither China nor Israel have I ever seen the long security lines that form at airports).

    EJ Reply:

    I always thought that the theoretical reasoning behind having everyone queue up was to reduce fare evasion. If it’s really security, that makes even less sense. The only time I’ve ever seen a similar system in Europe is during big events like football matches, where if they didn’t have some sort of orderly system you probably would have a bunch of drunks just piling on trains willy nilly.

    It do always find it funny how they try to make everyone queue up at LAUS when you can literally just walk right by the line. They’ve no way of knowing whether you’re an amtrak or metrolink passenger.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they made you wait in line decades ago.

    Donk Reply:

    Yes, it is comical when they try to ask you to line up at LAUS and San Diego Downtown. At LAUS Amtrak trains board at the same platform every time, so you just need to look for the sign and linger. At San Diego, you just need to speed-walk past the masses when they announce that the train will board.

    I thought the reason for this was because they think train passengers are dumb and they need to corral them like cattle. It might be as simple as that. The only people that generally wait in the lines are the vacationers with kids and the Tommy Bahama shirts – the ones who are generally clueless about the logistics of boarding a train. The corralling is pretty insulting to regular passengers, and I couldn’t imagine how much it would piss me off if I was a commuter on the NEC.

    Maybe Jim has a better answer.

    jimsf Reply:

    I have never seen this or worked in in a station where this is done. In my experience, trains arrive doors open people either saunter along or rush to board doors close, trains go away. The biggest complaint is from passengers who get left behind because the train ” didn’t give them time to get on” i usually try to emphasis that when you train is due at 4, you shouldn’t be lollygagging in the parking lot at 359. People often wait until the train pulls in and the doors open, to get up off the bench and saunter over, by which time the doors have closed. I think this is a california thing. With the exception of SF, californians move incredibly slowly at everything. Its like we are the south, but with nicer weather.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Plenty of people sauntered in Newcastle, NSW, its just that they started sauntering early enough that they were getting close to the yellow line when the train came to a stop.

    EJ Reply:

    San Diego at least has a situation where the passengers have to cross several live tracks, and it’s not always obvious which platform to go to. Though I live nearby and usually roll up 5 minutes before the train leaves so the line is a moot point by then.

    Jon Reply:

    This map shows the benefit of splitting Amtrak into regional rail operators, where a “region” happens to be roughly the size of your average European country. The four most obvious regions are:

    1) Northeast (Boston – DC and surroundings)
    2) Midwest (Chicago and surroundings)
    3) California
    4) Cascadia (Vancouver – Seattle – Portland)

    California is the only one of these regions that matches an existing political boundary, so it’s possible this might actually happen over here. It would be great to see Capitol Corridor + San Joaquins + Pacific Surfliner + HSR combined into a California state rail service.

    The three long distance Amtrak routes that serve California can remain with Amtrak or be cancelled. These routes will never be as fast as flying or as cheap as Greyhound, so will never have significant ridership.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “It would be great to see Capitol Corridor + San Joaquins + Pacific Surfliner + HSR combined into a California state rail service.”

    They already are. California provides the funding for all of them, and although integrated into Amtrak as far as ticketing is concerned, California contracts with Amtrak to run them.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Amtrak will never be regionalized because it would disadvantage certain Class I’s and benefit others.

    What is possible is having the airlines operate HSR networks on a regional basis anchored in NY, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco. Amtrak would continue to operate state-supported routes and the long distance trains in a partnership model with the states.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why would someone in California take the train to SFO, fly to EWR and take the train to Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia or Boston? Wouldn’t it be easier to take the train to SFO and fly to Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia or Boston? Why would someone in Charlotte take the train to Atlanta and fly to Chicago when they can just fly to Chicago? Or Denver or Houston or Miami or… If there’s a fast train to Atlanta chances are very good that there will be a fast train to Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Even less likely that they would take the train to Atlanta to fly to DC. Why would they take the train to Atlanta and fly to Birmingham when the train they are on goes to Birmingham? Why would someone in Wilmington take the train to EWR to get to Boston? Or Denver? When they can get to Boston by staying on the train and get to Denver from PHL or BWI?

    Joe Reply:

    Money.

    Fly to Heathrow
    Take a local bus to Stansted
    Fly to Ljubljana

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the three dozen people a day who don’t want to spend the extra 15 bucks aren’t going to be all that interesting to the airlines.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe is talking about flying Ryan Air. Presumably by flying from the US to Heathrow; then a bus to Stansted; then Ryan Air to … (map search) the capital of Slovenia.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah so someone from Fresno is going to go to SFO, fly to PHL, get on a train to go to EWR, fly to Heathrow, take the bus to Stansted and fly to Ljubljana. Wouldn’t it be easier to fly to Heathrow from SJC, SFO or PHL?

    jonathan Reply:

    No. No-one suggested anything even remotely like that. I find it hard to believe you are as stupid as your response indicates.

    Eric Reply:

    And how exactly are they going to get from Fresno to SJC or SFO? HSR works better for that segment than flying.

    Joe Reply:

    Fly Slovania to Stansted UK
    Bus to Heathrow
    Fly Heathrow to SFO
    And
    HSR SFO to Visalia, CA., 6th largest city in New York State.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @Jonathon ~ when you don’t have a real argument, and are in a naysaying mood, its likely that straw horse arguments are better than nothing.

    Its a three step process, suitable for naysaying almost any position:
    (1) Pretend suggestion A is going to be done by means B, which nobody would seriously consider using for suggestion A because means B is such a silly way to do things
    (2) Then mock suggestion A because means B is a silly way to do it.
    (3) Present it by stating means B as if it was what the other person was obviously saying.

    jonathan Reply:

    Bruce,

    Yes. I’m trying to short-circuit that dishonesty, between your steps#1 and #2.

    Joe Reply:

    You are bring lazy and making shit up.

    Donk Reply:

    But this is the fundamental business model of US HSR network – they plan to emphasize the connections with airports over connections with cities. This is what all politicians assume that purpose of HSR is.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s more of the French model to use HSR to anchor your state owned airline and global alliance. I think it’s the right approach, though I’m skeptical the Midwest and Southern states will actually build real HSR on dedicated tracks.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Looking at the California HSR system, it seems more like the Business Plan is to connect to cities, and the Marketing Plan is to tell politicians that it connects to airports if that is what the politicians want to hear.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The Business Plan is to minimize bidding competitiveness and maximize capital cost.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Ah, yes, I would have surely forgotten that was your view if you hadn’t repeated it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Thanks ~ for ~ your ~ contribution

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Hope you’re having a good July.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The Marketing Plan is “whatever you want to hear this week”.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Airport stations will be near parking lots and rental car facilities.

    Which are needed because HSR will not create the choo-choo utopia some proponents think it will.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It does keep the people who want to drive to the station because they live someplace without a bus line or people who will be arriving by train and want to rent a car because where they are going doesn’t have a bus line, out of downtown. Where there will be another HSR station where people who can take the bus to the station or from the station will get on and off the HSR trains.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Yes, the system needs both. I could take the Metro streetcar to the SF station, but once I get to LA, I’m probably going to need a car.

    Likewise, anyone going to “silicon valley” is almost certainly not taking transit on their last leg.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    In San Diego and SFO, that decision makes sense. For San Jose and Burbank it’s a total mystery why you would share space with something that you are going to drive out of business.

    joe Reply:

    Because we are not going to add new airport capacity and expect 50 M people.

    With impaired visibility, the SFO airport operates on one runway and they are not going to fill in the bay to fix the problem. One runway.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People fly to places other than San Francisco and Sacramento from Burbank. People fly from places other than San Francisco and Sacramento to Burbank. When it stops making sense for the airline to fly to San Francisco or Sacramento they can look around and decide if it makes sense to fly to Saint Louis or Baltimore. Or more often to New York. I hear there are lot of people working in Burbank for companies with headquarters in New York or Philadelphia. The people in Philadelphia who have a major operation in Burbank might find flying to Burbank intriguing.

    flowmotion Reply:

    BUR will be around for many decades because 1) CAHSR will take a long time to complete, and 2) even at full-build it’s only marginally competitive with airplanes. Even if BUR goes under, it’s still a convenient place for car facilities.

    San Jose Intergalactic is nowhere near the airport and probably will inspire it’s own set of parking garages and rental lots.

    flowmotion Reply:

    @adirondack – You can’t fly direct from Philly or NYC into Burbank. Western cities only:

    http://www.burbankairport.com/airlinesflights/non-stops.html

    But it’s worth noting that Bob Hope is about a million times times nicer to fly into than LAX. You just walk out of the plane and right into the rental car lot. It’s also much closer to most interesting LA destinations: wilshire, downtown, hollywood, pasadena, etc.

    Even with the CAHSR full-build scenario, I would expect BUR will still be very popular for regional travel just because of how convenient it is.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    80% of Burbank’s passengers fly to either the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, or Phoenix. Build HSR out and you have a Superfund site.

    Moreover, it’s not like these airports are going to share parking revenue with the HSR stations. Airports might be willing to shuttle passengers to the depot from long term lots but that’s it.

    And 50 million? We are going to be lucky to break 40 million by the end of the decade. 1% population growth is a good year these days.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Have they gone and moved the Statue of Liberty to Phoenix? And the Space Needle to Las Vegas? At least I think that’s the Space Needle under the picture of the Statue of Liberty next to the picture with the red bridge in the background and the cable car in the foreground.
    JetBlue flys to New York. When Southwest stops flying to San Francisco they aren’t going to pack up their tents and go away. They’ll look at JetBlue and decide that flying to Philadelphia might have some charm. Or flying to Newark. Or flying to Chicago. Those companies that have large operations in and near the San Fernando Valley have big operations in Chicago too. All sorts of interesting things will happen when they aren’t flying the regional flights anymore.

    joe Reply:

    BUR will gain passenger travel from CV counties and cities like FNO and BKS as well as due to population grown and demand as the economy recovers.

    Look at Midway as an example.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Ted Judah: “80% of Burbank’s passengers fly to either the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, or Phoenix. Build HSR out and you have a Superfund site.”

    Las Vegas and Phoenix aren’t on the HSR system, and it doesn’t hit Sacramento until Phase2. Taking the non-stop flights and taking out the flights knocked out by Phase 1 leaves: Denver, Las Vegas; New York; Phoenix; Portland; Sacramento; Salt Lake City and Seattle. Plus 30%-50% of their current Bay Area business, under the projected mode splits (under current fuel prices).

    Which makes it seem like “a Superfund site” is overstating it, unless we face the kind of jet kerosene prices that make lots of airports look like Superfund sites.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    usual back of the envelope number tossed around for longer distance flights is that one third of the ticket price is fuel, Price of fuel doubles and the ticket price goes up one third and fuel is half of the ticket price. Price of fuel triples and the ticket price goes up by two thirds and fuel is 60 percent of your ticket price. Price of fuel quadruples and your ticket price has doubled and fuel is two thirds of that. Someplace in there fuel from dead dinosaurs is more expensive than something semi synthetic, coal to liquid or biomass to liquid for instance.
    People don’t fly from NY to LA on a whim. Higher fares might deter some of them but they aren’t going to go away. Price of fuel quadruples that means it’s much more attractive for the free hotel shuttle bus to go all electric and the free shuttle bus from BUR to your hotel in the San Fernando Valley is much more attractive than the cab fare from LAX. Especially since the shuttle bus is running frequently to pick up the hordes of people getting off the train from San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Las Vegas or Phoenix a mile away. Or going back to the train from the hotel.

    Eric Reply:

    Personally I would get rid of San Jose airport and redevelop the whole area (the higher-density the better). It would be great for San Jose city tax revenues. If an airport is needed in the South Bay (and I’m not even sure of that), then Moffett Field can be redeveloped for commercial service. Hangar One would make a hell of a passenger terminal.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Sharing the grounds with NASA makes Moffett Field not very well suited for commerical aviation infrastructure.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s amazing to hear people think that long haul flights will replace short haul ones at Burbank. It works the opposite way–if there was additional demand for NY to Burbank, southwest would switch out other routes to Ontario and the like. But they don’t because there’s no such demand.

    As for SFO, I think they will solve the runway problem sooner or later.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Jet Blue has cut back to one flight out of BUR to JFK. AA/ US Air only goes to PHX with a regional, no DFW MD80 flight now. Southwest has 70% of the business at BUR (none to SFO however) and no one will take them on. I have been told that Disney and Warner send their execs to LAX so that they can fly first class. UA is now an Express station. The later (voluntary curfew to 7.00am) and slower flight to DEN has poor connections compared to the old 6.30am 737 flight that I took almost weekly. Southwest is eating their Denver lunch.
    Southwest has cut flights but probably not seats with the latest 737 version. Overall BUR is struggling a bit, most months show a small year over year decline. Will HSR bring passengers from the middle of the state? Perhaps we should all focus on Palmdale.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    @Ted Judah: I don’t expect that long haul flights will replace short haul ones at Burbank, but clearly Burbank is only going to lose a share of its business for some of its short haul flights, and it stands to gain additional business from medium haul flights, both from additional passengers on the medium haul flight it already has, as well as from picking up others based on its large catchment. It might, for example, poach the Dallas / Fort Worth flight that Fresno presently has.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    adirondacker12800: “People don’t fly from NY to LA on a whim.”

    Standard straw horse fallacy: addressing the observation in passing that a sufficiently high crude oil price spike may make many airports “look like Superfund flights”, he picks as his representative example NY to LA.

    NY to LA is as far from the margin for mode choice between flying and any other transport as you can get, as well as being a trip with sufficiently broad demand that it is viable on the premium end of the market demand curve alone. So it is taking the unrepresentative NY to LA flight as the representative flight and assuming that all airports get a sufficient share of their business from flights like NY to LA to remain viable.

    Focusing the response as far from the margin as possible means that the example says exactly nothing useful regarding whether “many” airports will lose a large portion of their business.

    It only a valid response to a claim that had ALL airports would lose ALL of their business, which is not the claim which was made. Only being a response to a misrepresentation of the claim it is replying to is what identifies it as a straw horse fallacy.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Which are needed because HSR will not create the choo-choo utopia some proponents think it will.”

    The need for parking at an airport depends on the local transport system. Even if the local transport system in LA were to be revolutionized over the next two decades, there will still be a need for personal transport vehicles of some sort powered by some energy source, so there will still be a need for some parking and for some personal vehicle rentals. After all, the replacement for a “one size fits all” local transport policy with all the material and energy waste that implies is not to adopt a different “one size fits all” policy, but rather to adopt a system with a range of transport options that each serve their primary tasks effectively and efficiently.

    Intercity transport does not determine the local transport system in the areas that it serves, so HSR cannot on its own create any rail or electric car or trolleybus or whatever mode some mode champion espouses.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just like jet fuel isn’t going to have the same price in 50 years how many hours a year people work, how much they make per hour isn’t going to be the same in 50 years. Unless you think we are going to put up with another 50 years of Republicans trying to solve every problem by cutting taxes on rich people, wages and hours will remain stagnant and the population will remain the same.
    If the San Fernando Valley experiences paroxysms of intense redevelopment instead of having 1.7 million people it will have 2 million, they’ll be making more money and have more time off work to do things like fly to Chicago to see grandma or fly to New York to see a show and grab some Kosher Cuban Cantonese.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, as you are well aware, Southern California is becoming increasingly bifurcated socioeconomically. It’s no accident that tech firms are buying up real estate in Venice and Santa Monica and leaving the Valley in the dust. Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach all have days that are numbered.

    Prop 13 might be the only thing keeping Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros north of the Holywood sign…

    Eric Reply:

    “Sharing the grounds with NASA makes Moffett Field not very well suited for commerical aviation infrastructure.”

    There is plenty of room for NASA north of Bushnell Road, and plenty of room for airport infrastructure south of it.

    Joe Reply:

    Of course there’s no room to turn Moffett to a civilian airport.
    Anyone commuting past that field knows the highway and surface streets are clogged.
    And pickup a newspaper – Google is expanding there with thousands of new employees expected in a year or two.
    It’s next to Google HQ.

  8. Larry Scheib
    Jul 7th, 2014 at 10:13
    #8

    If Republicans were interested in lowering Cali gas prices they would drop the push for Keystone, and instead push for a pipeline from West Texas. California’s major problem is it is more at the mercy of the middle east than middle america. Interesting read on the issue:

    http://www.growthenergy.org/news-media/ethanol-in-the-news/gas-prices-wallop-wallets/

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, yes, if only the US destroys the planet with domestic fuel production rather than with imported oil, it will be a strong nation again and all others will tremble before its nuclear might.

    Joe Reply:

    Troll

    Pick a country and own it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Did I make you uncomfortable again?

    Joe Reply:

    Not at all.

    You’re the guy in the elevator who thinks he doesn’t Fart.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And you’re the guy who has the stinkiest farts who tells himself everyone farts to make himself feel better.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Reaching a new peak in debate here….

    Joe Reply:

    Everyone farts Alon. Everyone poops too.
    It’s all stinky so stop pretending you’re above it all.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m the guy that farts, presses all the buttons, and gets off at the next floor, forcing everyone to wallow in my stink all the way up.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In short, you’re a 4chan regular?

    EJ Reply:

    You know it!

    (actually I’ve never once been to 4chan; I think I’m a little too old and too busy for that sort of thing. And I don’t fart in elevators if I can avoid it)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’ve heard of it. I peeked inside like once and didn’t see anything remarkable, but I’ve heard a lot of stories.

    (I rarely fart. Or, as in the joke, it’s possible that I fart but there’s no smell or noise or any sensation that lets me know I farted.)

    jimsf Reply:

    as if the us in is the only consumer of oil. anyway it doesnt matter because regardless of politics, environmentalism, climate change and so forth, the energy companies are going to do exactly what they are going to do and that is is continue to squeeze profits out of fossil fuels until they are depleted and use some of those profits to make sure they also create and control the alternative energy supply to be put into use once the last of the petroleum is gone. Id be more interested in reducing local smog than worrying about global change

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Given the limited new oil fields being discovered, they are already putting profits into renewable energy. If they are allowed to use all of the fossil fuels they can get to, we’re all screwed anyway, so we may as well fight to stop it, even if it has less than a 50:50 chance of success.

    jimsf Reply:

    I noticed this with solar. In places like california and the southwest, where there is ample sun, one of the simplest things we can do is rooftop solar, which provides energy directly to the consumer, house by house. If everyone did this, it would be a big dent in our need to produce AND transport electricity. I often wondered why it has been so hard to incentivize this. Well lo ahd be freakin hold, now the engery companies have devised these solar plants where they use mirrors and create heat for steam, generating power that must be transmitted.

    Why? because that why THEY and not the CONNEDsumer, get to be the gatekeepers. The engery companies will never let go of their grip.

    If you just mandated that new homes built in cali, in areas where solor is feasable- be fitted with solar, and you gave people 20,000 dollar checks to retrofit their older homes with solar, you would reduce the need for transmission, and you would generate excess power to feed back into the gride.

    but then the energy companies wouldn’t be the boss any more.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Well lo ahd be freakin hold, now the engery companies have devised these solar plants where they use mirrors and create heat for steam, generating power that must be transmitted.”

    And in many cases which can generate after the sun has gone down, which makes them complementary with rooftop solar PV, not rival.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    nah, everybody is going to leave work at 2 in December and January so they can have dinner cooked and do a load of wash before sundown.

    Edward Reply:

    This will be a good market for slightly used electric car batteries.

    Once they can do only 70% of the miles, after 100k or so, they can be replaced and sold into the
    this secondary market, where weight is no problem. Stick two or three in the garage and cook at regular
    times. And if there isn’t enough sun in December, charge it at off peak rates.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t matter much to the battery if I cook dinner at 7 or 11.

    As far as I know once your battery starts to have significant problems taking a charge it doesn’t have much longer before it gets much worse and then stops taking a charge. On the other hand it probably has a significant scrap value and using scrap instead of virgin materials will lower costs for new batteries.

    If I’m not going to worry about weight and volume iron batteries are nearly indestructible and last forever with some minor maintenance every decade or so.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The US can’t destroy the planet with US oil production, we don’t have enough of it left to destroy that planet. Under an energy independence policy, we can only destroy the planet with our own coal and natural gas production.

    Larry Scheib Reply:

    News flash. Prices will go up with cap-n-trade. Not everybody has the luxury of nearby public trans or can afford or use an EV. Over 80% people drive. Price $3.5/gal Arizona. Average price $4.1 for Ca. 60 cent diff. Over 1/2 of California’s crude is foreign origin, over 1/2 of Arizona’s is Texan. Arizona tax per gal: 37.4. California: 71.3. 34 difference.

    26 cent difference between states.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Luxury? You’re making it sound like poor people all own cars and rich people all walk to work and take the bus. In reality, richer people own cars more than poorer people and drive more, both within countries and across countries.

    And no, not 80% of people drive. 80% of Americans, sure, but Americans are only 5% of the world. Some of us remember that the world doesn’t end at the US border. And in the real world, the one that doesn’t end at the US border, car ownership is about the same as in Manhattan: 150 cars per 1,000 people.

    Larry Scheib Reply:

    i made no such distinction. I used Luxury as a figure of speech is all. And 80% was for Californians, this discussion is about California Cap N Trade isn’t it?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Greenhouse gases are a global problem, requiring global solutions; the effects of global warming on California are small.

    But even in California, you’re wrong. Want to see low car ownership? Go to Oakland, East LA, and the poorer inner neighborhoods of LA and SF. The rich urban neighborhoods of SF and LA, with the exception of a handful of gentrifying techie blocks that get excessive media attention because ZOMG OUTSIDERS CHANGING OUR CITY, have high car ownership.

    Conversely, the parts of California that are vulnerable to global warming are Stockton (low-lying floodplain) and the agricultural areas of the Central Valley (global warming would expand desertification and reduce farm output), while LA and SF are hilly enough and have mild enough weather they wouldn’t notice less than catastrophic climate change. Hell, the third-world climate refugees are actually likely to boost incomes for existing landlords in those cities, while raising rents for poor renters. Practically every aspect of climate change hurts the poor more than the rich, in any geography.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s 99 percent in Real America(tm). Places like New York or Boston or Philadelphia or San Francisco where car ownership is lower don’t count because that’s not Real America(tm). Even Chicago is suspect.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Seems rather silly to pull the globalist card on a board discussing CALIFORNIA high speed rail. But yes, in the American context, being able to afford to live in Manhattan or San Francisco and not own a car puts you firmly into the “luxury” category.

    Otherwise not having a car puts you in the life-sucks category. Although I’m sure you’re arguments about “real world” third world ghettos would be quite convincing at the suburban zoning board meeting.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You know Keystone is from Canada right? Not exactly an unstable hostile foreign power. But in reality you could do both. They are not mutually exvlusive

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Unstable and hostile” pretty much exactly sums up Canadia’s rulers.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, Richard: actually, it turns out that Canadian democracy makes its oil production more politically unstable rather than more. An authoritarian regime would shoot environmental protesters, but Canada can’t, much as Harper would like to. This means there’s a plausible electoral scenario in which next year’s election bring a government that will restrict tar sand mining on environmental justice grounds. The NDP has taken to arguing that the oil exports are bad for Canada’s economy in the long term because of Dutch disease; I do not know the Liberals’ position, but the current polls have them needing the NDP for a parliamentary majority. Harper’s trying to sabotage the election in other ways, but he can’t outright cancel them or forge them the way Ahmadinejad did.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Extracting half as much at for twice as long at three times the price 25 years from now will have the same effect. We may have stopped burning it but plastic is too useful to go away. Once the oil runs out the Manitobans and the Quebecois, who have been quietly converting people who use resistance electric heat to heat pumps will still be exporting electricity to the stupid Americans. At higher prices.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Using it for plastic only leads to CO2 emissions if we proceed to burn the plastic. If we refrain from burning 80% of the fossil fuels in the ground, we have a shot … and if we make plastic with some of the rest and can hold ourselves back from burning the plastic, that’s not a GHG issue, that’s a Great Pacific Garbage Patch issue.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are other choices besides burning it or throwing it in the ocean.
    We’d need accountants with very sharp pencils to calculate this out. Making plastic out of the excess nuclear power at 3AM makes more sense than making synthetic fuel at 3 AM. Especially since I don’t need the synthetic fuel because the car runs on batteries and the house gets it’s heat or cool from a storage tank, made out of plastic and insulated with plastic, during peak. Plastic tank, made of of recycled plastic, because that has a lower carbon footprint than making it out of steel and insulating it with rock wool. And it’s more durable. It might make more sense to make the new plastic out of oil and use the excess electricity to sequester carbon. We’d need accountants with very sharp pencils to calculate this out.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Just as a nitpick, “at higher prices” is illegal based on the US-Canada free trade agreement from the Mulroney era. Canada can’t force its oil producers to sell to Canadians at lower prices than to Americans. That’s why Canadian provinces keep expanding electric generation capacity, building hydroelectric dams and such: they do not have access to subsidized Alberta oil.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I read “higher prices” not as enforced arbitrage but as “because of demand”.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Which ignores the fact that Canada’s economy relies on raw material extraction. People don’t vote against their own interests and the people of Canada need to sell their natural resources to keep their modern western economy going.

    In short, i would bet on Canada selling us oil as a higher probability than Iraq any day.

    Observer Reply:

    Does Canada have a Cap & Trade system? Perhaps they should.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No; Alberta‘s economy relies on oil extraction. The issue with Dutch disease is that these exports strengthen the currency, which hurts manufacturing as well as back office industries like Vancouver’s film industry. (The name comes from the fact that this happened in the Netherlands with offshore natural gas.) The Canadian dollar’s exchange value is much more than its PPP value, and at its peak was about 25% more, hurting Canadian industry. It’s much more expensive to do business in Canada now than it was in the early 2000s, entirely because of currency appreciation.

    As for “people don’t vote against their interests,” indeed, Alberta is a deep blue province (in Canada, blue = Conservative, and red = Liberal). The rest of Canada, not so much. The last time the Conservatives had a majority was in the 1980s; Harper only got 40% last time, and got a majority because of vote splitting.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Your white collar bias is showing. The 200,000 people in Alberta who make their living doing something other than manipulating symbols are less important that the 2,000 in Vancouver who make theirs exporting flickering images.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The NDP’s support base consists of organized labor, chiefly industry in Ontario, which has been bleeding in the last few years.

    Eric Reply:

    “(in Canada, blue = Conservative, and red = Liberal)”

    As it should be. The blue-bloods vs the communists. Could anything be more intuitive? How on earth did the US media got it backwards?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The US media alternated between the two color schemes, but the prolonged 2000 election process made people more familiar with the color scheme used then, and it stuck in subsequent elections.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Conservatives also embraced rather openly the concept of a “red state” in the years after 2000. Senator McCarthy was unavailable for comment.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Incidentally, the actually socialist party in Canada, the NDP, uses orange.

    StevieB Reply:

    Keystone benefits Texas which is currently Republican but is heading for a Latino majority which tends to vote Democrat. Why would Republicans be interested in lowering gasoline prices in California which is Democrat controlled?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why do the Texans who make lots and lots of money selling oil they pump out of the ground in Texas want cheap oil from Canada get cheaper because it’s coming by pipeline?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its not the Texans who only own oil fields who want it the most … its the Texans (and Kansans) who own oil refineries. There’s money to be made processing Canadian dillbit into petroleum products for export.

    wdobner Reply:

    Oil is nothing more than energy storage medium. And it’s a medium we’re remarkably good at producing on an industrial scale given sufficient quantities of energy. Don’t bother sucking fossil fuels out of the ground, just use solar thermal and high temp/low pressure nukes to produce carbon neutral fuels.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just use the electricity, it’s more efficient.

    Donk Reply:

    How many people that call it “Cali” are actually from CA? Not many.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nobody from here calls it “Cali”….

    Donk Reply:

    The only time I hear the word Cali is when I go to a “Doyer” game or when I am in Nevada.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That sounds about right, given that I usually only hear douchebags use the term publicly.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What is “it”? The subgenre of hip hop? Or the state?

    I can see why the rappers do it sometimes, it can be a lot harder to make California scan in a lyric than Cali. But I hadn’t been aware that it was common enough for rappers to own service stations for Cali gas prices to be its own category.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont here cali much in speech, but it is faster for typing. especially on the web. On real paper, one would never forego proper english, grammar, punctiation. etc. but the web is trash and not tangible so anything goes.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Goodness knows that tweets often look like a mix of slang and some kind of secret code.

    Eric Reply:

    For typing, “CA” is even faster.

    EJ Reply:

    I frequently call the state Cali, and I’ve lived here all my life. I probably learned it from listening to hip-hop though.

  9. Derek
    Jul 8th, 2014 at 07:39
    #9

    Transit Projects Are About to Get Much, Much Easier in California
    By Eric Jaffe, CityLab, 2014-07-08

    Ganson told me OPR was planning to recommend “vehicle-miles traveled” as the new “central metric” under CEQA. He says VMT meets all the state’s major criteria for a traffic evaluator: fewer greenhouse gases, more multimodal networks and urban infill developments, a general boost to both the environment and public health. Where LOS encouraged public projects to reduce or eliminate driver delay at city intersections, VMT would encourage them to reduce or eliminate driving at all.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Epic news, thanks to everyone involved.

    StevieB Reply:

    Transit projects “about to” get much easier in California is a bit of an exaggeration as the VMT metric might be adapted by 2016.

  10. jimsf
    Jul 8th, 2014 at 10:12
    #10

    completely OT but I can’t stand the new google maps. why do they have to keep changing stuff.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Click on the bubble with a question mark in it, on the lower right and then click on “return to Classic… “

    jimsf Reply:

    oh ok thanks.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    thanks from me too ..

  11. Reality Check
    Jul 8th, 2014 at 14:11
    #11

    ‘New Silk Road’ rail line to link E. Turkestan and Turkey

    A Chinese firm announced that is it preparing to spend up to $150 billion on a huge high-speed rail project which will link China’s autonomous province of East Turkestan (Xinjiang) to Turkey across Central Asia.

    CSR chairman Zhao Shiaoyang said that the 6,000 kilometer-long [3,728 mile-long] train line will cut across Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran all the way to Turkey, the China Daily newspaper reported.

    Saying that most of the line will be open to service by 2020, the CSR chief said it would be complete by 2030, calling the project the ‘New Silk Road’.

    The line will enable commuters to travel up to 200 kilometers [~125 miles] an hour across the Asian continent, while freight trains will have a speed to 160 kilometers [~100 miles] an hour.

    Joey Reply:

    I’m pretty sure “commuters” is not quite the right term here…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah, seems like a mistaken translation which should have been “passengers”.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Uzbekistan is a basket case, this project will not proceed anytime soon.

    EJ Reply:

    What happened to the tunnel to Alaska that the Chinese were going to build earlier this year?

    Lewellan Reply:

    The tunnel under the Bering Straights was an insider joke.
    Priorities for it were low from the start.
    Bertha BORE tunnel cynicism and more importantly criticism growing.
    Microsoft wizards trusting Silicon Forest elflings with technology.
    Big mistake. Self-driving cars? 220mph Zipp trains that bulldoze and squeal directly to the sports arena!
    Why not first phase electrifying Sacramento/Altamont?
    “Don’t bother us whilst we’re calculating speed between our dear madera and her fresno friend whose name we do not understand. Grapes of Wrath? Early old age? Hard Rock Cafe?”

    EJ Reply:

    Word salad?

  12. Reality Check
    Jul 9th, 2014 at 12:07
    #12

    If it passes this time, does Dumbarton Rail get the funds MTC gave to BART back because it failed the first time?
    Alameda County transportation sales tax back for a vote

    Alameda County voters will get a second chance at extending and increasing a transportation sales tax, two years after a similar measure failed to gain the needed two-thirds approval – by just 721 votes.

    The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a nearly $8 billion spending plan for the transportation tax and to place it on the November ballot. All 14 of the city councils in the county have also voted unanimously to back the plan, which will allot funds to transit; affordable fare programs for youth, seniors and the disabled; street repairs; and bicycle and pedestrian projects.

    [...]

    Alameda County transportation officials said they were confident the measure will pass this time, especially since polls show 72 percent support. Support for the measure was weakest two years ago in Livermore, but Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who represents the area, said circumstances have changed.

    “Times are better, and Livermore is again stuck in congestion,” he said. “We have to do something about it.”

  13. datacruncher
    Jul 9th, 2014 at 12:39
    #13

    California’s big issues center on San Joaquin Valley
    It’s not clear if Gov. Jerry Brown and his challenger Neel Kashkari will debate each other this fall. But if they do, there should be no doubt about the proper location: the San Joaquin Valley.

    In this very quiet California election year, our state’s most overlooked region has emerged as the center of every single major debate about California’s future. As we fight over high-speed rail and water and prisons and fracking and unemployment, we are really debating the future of the San Joaquin.

    The San Joaquin ­— the southern Central Valley stretching from the Delta to the Tehachapi Mountains — only looks small compared to the rest of California. With 4 million residents across eight counties, its population is as big as Oregon’s — and bigger than that of 24 states (Nevada, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Connecticut among them). In square miles, it’s larger than Maryland or Massachusetts. And for all the talk about the power of the San Joaquin’s agriculture, most of its people live in cities. Fresno has more people than the cities of Atlanta or Miami.

    And the San Joaquin’s problems may be even bigger than the place itself. So now, without quite realizing it, we are having different policy debates that turn on the same question: Just how much does the rest of California want to do for the San Joaquin?

    This is the real question of high-speed rail, even though it’s obscured by debates over the project’s cost and whether it will ever get people from L.A. to San Francisco in less than three hours. High-speed rail is less about connecting north to south — and more about connecting the San Joaquin, where rail construction is to start, to our coastal mega-cities, and boosting the San Joaquin economy by attracting new people and jobs to the region. That’s why so many California leaders are still backing the train despite the collapse of public support for it.

    The article continues at:

Comments are closed.