Dan Richard Slams Anti-HSR Lawsuit Filers

Aug 18th, 2014 | Posted by

Dan Richard has been a revelation as chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority board. He has consistently and effectively pushed back against critics of the HSR system, and his most recent effort is a classic example. In today’s San Jose Mercury News Richards slams Stuart Flashman and Michael Brady, two of the most litigious anti-HSR people in the state:

Along the way, these self-interested opponents have adopted high-minded rhetoric that they are they keepers of the faith for the ballot measure, wanting only to ensure that the system is built as intended. In fact, their actual motivation is more basic: “If you build it at all — and we’d rather you didn’t — build it in someone else’s backyard.”

Residents of Atherton and Kings County who oppose high-speed rail have had one consistent theme to their opposition: the rail line belongs somewhere else. With respect to the Bay Area, the litigation aims to avoid Atherton and Palo Alto, directing the train north over the Altamont Pass. In the Central Valley, the battle cry is that the train should be along Interstate 5.

Flashman, in an op-ed piece for another newspaper and disingenuously failing to identify himself as a plaintiff’s attorney, claimed the I-5 alignment was the right way to build high-speed rail. But Proposition 1A is clear that high-speed rail is intended to “connect the population centers of California,” specifically calling out Central Valley cities as well as San Jose.

If the plaintiffs had their way, Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, and Palmdale would be left out, bypassing some of the fastest-growing areas of the state that also face major environmental and economic challenges. Their plan would also relegate San Jose to second-class service, splitting trains so that only a few served California’s third-largest city. Those trains would have to reverse course in the station, meaning longer trip times. Is that what the citizens of San Jose who backed Prop. 1A thought they’d get?

All of this is intended to keep the rail line far away from their clients’ backyards.

The whole thing is worth reading. It’s especially nice to see Richard point out strongly that the Peninsula NIMBY approach would screw San José, the state’s third largest city and a major economic hub.

As the HSR project builds new momentum, with billions of new funding in hand and having overcome recent legal obstacles, it’s important to use this moment to hammer the NIMBYs who have spent the last six years trying to stop California from addressing its climate, transportation, and energy needs.

Flashman and Brady are hypocrites who will not rest until the HSR project is destroyed. After six years, however, all they have to show for their efforts is a losing record. It’s taken longer than it should have, but California HSR is finally overcoming the obstacles these NIMBYs have thrown in its path.

  1. Alan
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 17:00
    #1

    A well-written op-ed. Richard should have added a comment about the amount of time and money that Laurel and Hardy have cost the taxpayers. At any rate, it’s about time that those two were revealed for who they are.

  2. Reality Check
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 18:38
    #2

    US railroading at its finest:
    2 UP employees killed, 2 more injured in Arkansas train collision
    VIDEO: Trains Carrying Toxic Chemicals Crash Head-On
    The collision that happened outside Hoxie at about 3 a.m. killed two crew members and sparked a fire that lasted for seven hours because one of the train cars was carrying diesel and another was hauling booze.

    “We don’t know the cause of the accident. We have no idea why these trains were on the same line,” Williams said, noting that no local residents were hurt.

    It’s at least the second head-on collision involving UP trains since 2012, when two collided in the Oklahoma Panhandle that June, which killed three crew members and injured a fourth.

  3. Robert S. Allen
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 18:45
    #3

    Californians in 2008 approved Proposition 1-A, “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century”. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHRSA) plans for “Blended Rail” – HSR on Caltrain tracks between San Jose and San Francisco – would be neither safe nor reliable.
    —–
    HSR needs right of way that is secure: fenced and grade separated. Instead of demanding that, CHSRA and its local partners promote a “one-seat HSR ride” to an ill-named “Trans-bay Transit Center” in downtown San Francisco oriented only to trans-Bay bus, not rail, transit.
    —–
    We fence and control access on freeways, where a common speed limit is 65 mph. Caltrain runs up to 79 mph past commute stations and grade crossings. Wikipedia Bourbonnais train accident to see what can happen on 79 mph track at a grade crossing. Increasingly passenger trains run in push mode, without a locomotive shield in front.
    —–
    HSR would boost that speed to 125 mph on Caltrain tracks. Enhanced grade crossing safety is logical as a “bookend” connector use of HSR bond funds, but HSR cannot safely run on those tracks. Don’t let CHSRA squander HSR bond funds electrifying Caltrain or extending it to the TTC on track unsuitable for HSR.
    —–
    Initial HSR to the Bay Area should end at San Jose, with near seamless transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, VTA light rail, and BART.
    —–
    A later phase should upgrade the UP/Amtrak route from San Jose via Santa Clara,, Newark, Mulford, and Oakland to Sacramento with added track, fencing, and grade separations. From a new transfer station at the BART overcrossing in Oakland, downtown San Francisco’s Embarcadero station is six minutes away, with trains every 4 minutes or oftener.
    —–
    This would be far better for the region, much safer and more reliable, and less costly than what CHSRA has offered.
    —–
    Robert S. Allen
    BART director, District 5, 1974-1988
    Retired, SP (now UP) Western Division, Engineering/Operations

    Zorro Reply:

    The idea of grade separating Caltrain means no grade crossings, just underpasses most likely.

    Joey Reply:

    Underpasses are disruptive because they block off driveway access for hundreds of feet on either side, are difficult to construct in a constrained environment, and are prone to flooding. Raising the tracks is a much simpler proposition even if NIMBYs don’t like it much.

    Eric Reply:

    Raising the tracks involves a lot of earth moving. Roads can navigate the rises and falls in less horizontal distance.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    How about a little bit of each? Raise the tracks ass much as tolerrable, then lower the road the rest of the way.

    Jim

    Derek Reply:

    Enhanced grade crossing safety is logical as a “bookend” connector use of HSR bond funds, but HSR cannot safely run on those tracks.

    Please elaborate.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You won’t get an answer from a robot, and anyway you shouldn’t encourage it/him.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Grade crossing improvements for Caltrain would enhance the safety of linked HSR/Caltrain trips. HSR is still vulnerable to accident, vandalism, or even terrorism at grade crossings. HSR needs a secure right of way.

    Clem Reply:

    Grade separation of the peninsula corridor is a decadal undertaking that is already 62% complete.

    HSR will be no more vulnerable to accident, vandalism or terrorism than Caltrain: same speeds, same safety systems, same crashworthiness. Grade crossing collisions can and will occur, as they have many times already on foreign HSR systems, with no great loss of life.

    The idea of running HSR up the SP Mulford line suffers from two fundamental flaws, one ethical and one logistical. First, if grade crossings are such a terrible risk, why even continue operating Caltrain; it should be shut down tomorrow before one more person dies. Second, the SP Mulford line requires just as much grade separation investment as Caltrain to become viable as a sealed HSR corridor.

    HSR grade crossing safety is a red herring.

    Jonathan Reply:

    It is a red herring. And that matters to BARTisans, how, exactly?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “Grade separation of the peninsula corridor is a decadal undertaking that is already 62% complete.”

    Thank you for the link which explains in non technical terms the current situation and future plans.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Terrorism? At grade crossings? Oh my! What do you think the terrorists are going to *do*? Leave a Ryder truck full of ANFO on the track?

    Oh, I forgot, you *can’t* think. Hint: HSR trainsets aren’t going to fall 30,000 feet out of the sky if their engines stop. And they also aren’t gigantic, fragile containers full of highly inflammable kerosene.

    Clem Reply:

    Nor are they thin-walled pressure vessels ready to rupture at the first provocation.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The more the robot repeats itself the more confirmation it provides that BART has never had the region’s transportation interests in mind, as many have tried to warn it is a self-serving BORG.
    It makes it all the more urgent to invest in and strengthen Caltrain and all viable standard gauge alternatives, and to immediately stop all further extensions or investment in BART. As the Allen-robot repeatedly proves, BART cannot be trusted.

    JB in PA Reply:

    THX 1138

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART’s Job #1 is to protect and propagate its Bechtelian legacy eccentritech. They refuse even to modernize their wheelsets.

    The BART mindset has profoundly infused PB; you can see it at large in AmBART aka LAHSR.

    JB in PA Reply:

    By modernize do you mean bring it up to the 90’s technology? As in 1790 and flanged, tapered wheels.

    synonymouse Reply:

    yep

    And solid steel.

    Zorro Reply:

    The first steam locomotive in the USA was run in 1830, it was the Tom Thumb.

    By 1830, the B&O Railroad had extended its track from Baltimore to the village of Ellicott’s Mills thirteen miles to the west. The railroad was also ready to test its first steam engine – an American-made locomotive engineered by Peter Cooper of New York.

    It was a bright summer’s day and full of promise. Syndicate members and friends piled into an open car pulled by a diminutive steam locomotive appropriately named the “Tom Thumb” with its inventor at the controls. Passengers thrilled at the heart-pumping sensation of traveling at the then un-heard speed of 18 mph. The outbound journey took less than an hour. On the return trip, an impromptu race with a horse-drawn car developed. The locomotive came out the loser. It was an inauspicious beginning. However, within a few years the railroad would become the dominate form of long-distance transportation and relegate the canals to the dustbin of commercial history.

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    Just a footnote: For those who are interested, this account was from recollections of John H. B. Latrobe in 1868, 38 years after the event purportedly took place. Latrobe was 65 years old at the time this particular account was made public.

    Jonathan Reply:

    How is this relevant in any way?

    JB in PA Reply:

    Some scenes from THX were filmed in the Bart tunnels. BART’s single-mindedness reminds me of teh movie.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t see much difference between the “Allen-robot” and the Cheerleaders. Both developer tools.

    agb5 Reply:

    The people have already voted to make the Transbay Terminal the terminus for SF.

    Why have you not put a proposition on the ballot to change the legal requirement for HSR to terminate at the Transbay Terminal?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Screw the people. BART will “Anschluss” them as necessary to support the growth of BART. Mr. Allen has said so.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now you have the right idea. There’s no one to stop us this time! BARTLand, BARTLand, uber alles…uber alles…

    Next stop, Reno!

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB lebensraum.

    Alan Reply:

    How much is UP paying Mr. Allen to post these scare-tactic screeds?

    Walter Reply:

    Oh, come on, Alan. He’s trying to save us from terrorism!

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    I don’t understand how a person with Mr. Allen’s experience can espouse the sort of uninformed rhetoric that he has espoused via his comment. Is he not familiar with the operating arrangement along the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak Acela Express trains regularly travel at speeds in the 125 mph range and at times faster? Not only is the NEC a dual-use corridor shared by both passenger (commuter trains included in that mix) and freight trains, I distinctly recall there being at least four, four-quadrant, gate-protected, level crossings at that. I have traveled along that corridor pre-Amtrak and post-Pennsylvania Railroad owned and operated – I have some first-hand experience, in other words. What’s more, on certain corridors in Europe, blended operation is common. I once worked in the Bay Area for a freight railroad in the signal department and this has not prevented me from doing research, research, incidentally, outside of my field/trade to learn the ins-and-outs of high-speed rail operation. I make no claims to be an expert, but I know enough to know how the system at its most rudimentary level – and then some – works.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As I recall, there are eleven level crossings on the NEC, but the maximum speed limit on any of them is 110 mph.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wikipedia says they are all in New London County Connecticut. Which would be bypassed when an HSR route is built….

    agb5 Reply:

    I think his logic is:
    The “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century” has the word SAFE in its title, so the public expects it to be SAFE-er than other trains, like Caltrain or Acela, which don’t have the word “safe” in their title.

    William Reply:

    Regardless of East Bay HSR route, moving Capitol Corridor to Mulford line could be a good thing because it decreases travel time between Oakland and San Jose due to shorter route and less station stops.

  4. synonymouse
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 20:23
    #4

    LAHSR should indeed follow I-5.

    Brown and Richards work for developers.

    joe Reply:

    if you have weed in your system, there’s no telling what you’re incapable of doing

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Syn, that’s OK from Anaheim to Burbank. Will that satisfy you?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It doesn’t matter. Synonymouse is forgetting that Californians think transportation is this shibboleth that magically causes development. Access to water is 100 times more important. If you want to suppress more develop, vote against the water bond not HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Good point but the California electorate is so stupid and susceptible to propaganda they will will approve Jerry’s LA Water Grab.

    jimsf Reply:

    They are not that stupid. And the tunnels will not be approved. The north is 100 percent against the tunnel plan. And while the south may have more votes, the support will be eroded there due to cost concerns. The same way the peripheral canal was defeated. And everyone up here is well aware that this is nothing but a rehashed peripheral canal plan. Northern farmers are against it, delta farmers are against it, people who get delta water are against it, environmentalists are against it, and the general population in the north, who are still look upon socal with a combination of suspicion and disdain, are all against it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Unfortunately, this water bond is a heads-LA-wins, tails-NorCal-loses proposition. Either way, the South is going to siphon more water from the North. The only question is how big the straw is. Although I grew up in Southern California, I share the Northern concensus that more development down south will have more long term consequences.

    But the real dilemma is that no pipe or tunnel or reservoir can rescue the State’s native agriculture. It’s lost GDP as well as lost food that will raise the cost of living in the Golden State even more.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a done deal.

    The same morons who demand the DogLeg demand NorCal water for Palmdale. The Tejon Ranch Co., PB-Tutor, Jerry and his obsequious judiciary, et al.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, much of the diverted water in Northern California is going to Santa Clara County. The need in Southern California is to offset groundwater that is being depleted in Orange County and elsewhere that is being exhausted from a lack of local rainfall and lower deliveries on the Colorado.

    LA has much bigger water problems than two tunnels can solve.

    Zorro Reply:

    Desalinization by Reverse Osmosis like being constructed in Carlsbad CA would help, if they were scaled up. A desalination boom in California could help it deal with ‘exceptional’ drought But of course in the $7.5 billion Dollar Bond no mention is made of this, I guess they are not willing to do more than to conserve and dig more empty holes in the ground, hoping to catch some rain drops that might or might not come for a long time.

    Zorro Reply:

    Then there is this Here(Desalination Could Be the Solution to California’s Drought), using solar thermal to heat the water into steam, which can work 24/7, since heat energy is stored for night use.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Factoid for the day: Reverse Osmosis requires only twice as much electricity as water conveyed to San Diego along our various aqueducts (proportionally to its typical sources).

    jimsf Reply:

    In the north people also understand it as much of the water being for southern san joaquin agriculture so the big agribusiness can profit by growing crops in the desert for sale and profit in the international market

    jimsf Reply:

    californians arent the ones consuming all the raisins, almonds and cotton. In fact californians would rather buy from the small farmers in the north with high quaility and organics per the farm to fork movement which continues to grow.

    No one but wall street will miss the crops grown kings and kern counties.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Those small farms you are referring to will be obliterated by tracts, gas stations, strip malls.

    jimsf Reply:

    The farms of somona, napa, the capay valley and northern sacramento valley have decades to go before they are doomed as the wealthier counties can restrain growth and in the sacramento valley north of sac, most of the growth is on the east/foothill edge where you cant farm in the clay.

    people in the north will vote overwhelmingly against the tunnels. Even up here in the mountains where the tunnels are irrelevant, we have local water – the yard signs and bumber stickers are “stop the tunnels”

    in socal the opposition will cite cost and dilute the vote.

    joe Reply:

    J.G. Boswell is laughing at you.

    jimsf Reply:

    A Cotton Pickin’ Mess In California
    April 28, 1991

    The Corporation

    A COTTON-PICKIN’ MESS IN CALIFORNIA

    To outsiders, Corcoran, Calif., is known mainly for the maximum-security prison where Charles Manson is serving time. But to locals, this city of 7,775 in the San Joaquin Valley is the town that J. G. Boswell Co. built. Now headed by 68-year-old J. G. Boswell II, the founder’s nephew, Boswell Co. farms 160,000 rich acres–roughly twice the size of New York’s five boroughs. Most of Corcoran’s townsfolk owe their livelihood to Boswell, directly or indirectly. When the city needed a $1 million baseball field or a fancy new YMCA, Boswell picked up the tab.

    And when Boswell needed a favor, it always had the political muscle–and money–to get it. In 1982, when a proposed water project threatened to block its access to water from the north, Boswell spent more than $1.2 million to defeat the project. Says Steve Hall, head of the California Farm Water Coalition: “J. G. Boswell is not someone you want for an enemy.”

    Now, the secretive Boswell Co., the nation’s top cotton producer, has met an enemy it can’t beat: California’s five-year-old drought. After nearly seven decades of wheeling and dealing for the water it needed to grow from a small cotton-and-produce farm, the $200 million-a-year concern is nearly powerless, as many of its usual water sources are severely depleted or dried up altogether.

    The company didn’t respond to queries from BUSINESS WEEK. But even after a wetter-than-usual March, other farmers and water officials in the region say that Boswell has been forced to begin retrenching–a process that could ultimately mean the cutback of a third of the area’s work force. As many as 55,000 of Boswell’s acres may lie fallow this year. And the cotton that is planted is likely to yield a disappointing crop. Even March rainclouds had a dark lining: They flooded already irrigated lands, pushing back the planting season by three weeks and probably stunting crops’ growth.

    For Boswell, which has traditionally wrung large profits out of its highly automated operations and cheap water, that means lean times. In recent years, estimates the California Institute for Rural Studies, Boswell could rely on nearly $20 million in annual profits. That figure could drop by a third this year. And the prospect of another dry year ahead could mean tougher times in 1992. “You can have all the water rights in the world,” says Barrie Boyett, a Corcoran farmer with 6,000 acres of cotton land nearby. “But they don’t mean a thing if the river is dry.”

    Boswell’s iron grip on the region’s water supply was the source of its power. After arriving in California from Georgia, the Boswell family went into business in 1924 and shrewdly began purchasing water rights to local lakes and rivers. In the 1940s, the family, a branch of Los Angeles’ powerful Chandler clan, allied itself with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to dam the Kern and Kings Rivers. That drained a lake bottom, creating most of Boswell’s acreage. And it ensured access to cheap water for decades to come.

    After taking over in 1952, J. G. Boswell II zealously guarded those water rights, sprinkling political contributions where necessary to insure them. “Water rights are like democracy,” he once told a reporter. “Once you have them, you spend a lifetime protecting them.” That often meant shelling out huge amounts. In 1990 alone, the Boswell family contributed $236,000 to support statewide candidates and ballot initiatives, a vast sum for state races. The resulting political muscle was really flexed in 1982, when the family took on then-Governor Jerry Brown by contributing $1.2 million to environmentalists who were waging a campaign against construction of a state-sponsored, $11.6 billion Peripheral Canal. That water system would have blocked Boswell’s access to a Northern California river it coveted and would also have provided cheap water to rival cotton farmers.

    Boswell wasn’t content with simply defeating the initiative, however. When cotton farmers Jeff and Jack Thomson took out ads criticizing Boswell in local newspapers, the agriculture giant spent close to $1 million on a libel suit against the Thomsons and other family farmers who backed the ads. Boswell also pulled its $500,000-a-year business from a local fertilizer distributor whose parent company supported the Peripheral project. That put the distributor out of business, according to testimony in the libel suit given by James Fisher, then-president of Boswell.

    ‘LITTLE LOOPHOLE.’ Eventually, the Thomsons won the lawsuit and countersued, winning $10.2 million. Boswell is appealing the Thomson award. “Boswell has a long tradition of using its deep pockets to threaten people out of the political debate,” says Ralph B. Wegis, a Bakersfield lawyer who represented the Thomsons.

    The Thomson tussle was followed by another fight Boswell has picked with the Interior Dept. In January, 1991, an audit for the federal agency criticized Boswell for setting up a large trust to maintain subsidized water rights by selling 23,000 acres to its employees at artificially low prices and then operating the farms for them. By dividing up the land in parcels of 960 acres, Boswell was able to get federally subsidized water intended to help small farmers. It paid just $13 per acre-foot (an acre-foot represents 326,000 gallons) of water, far less than the $46 a large farm would be charged for federal water. “You open a little loophole and people drive a truck through it,” fumes Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr. Lujan has ordered Interior Dept. lawyers to review federal water subsidy practices. It appears that Boswell has run out of options. On Feb. 4, when Governor Pete Wilson ordered that water shipments to California farms must end, he took away nearly one-third of the approximately 60 billion gallons a year that Boswell typically needs for cotton. On top of that, the Kern, Kings, and Kaweah Rivers are still too low to supply another one-third of Boswell’s water needs they have traditionally provided. While the March rains provided some relief, Boswell spent much of the winter hustling to increase groundwater supplies. It has already drilled new wells throughout its property–an expensive process that could nearly double the $45 an acre-foot that Boswell was paying for much of its water in 1989.

    The company hardly has a choice. Even with income from a farm loan business and real estate development, Boswell depends mainly on steady cotton production. For years, the longer-fiber cotton it grows has made Boswell a favorite among such brands as Jockey underwear and Fieldcrest towels. Now, with California drying up, Boswell faces the possibility of losing market share to cotton producers in Mississippi and Louisiana. “For years, we’ve been using nothing but San Joaquin Valley cotton,” says Jockey International President Howard D. Cooley. Cooley says he is looking elsewhere for supplies “just in case” Boswell can’t deliver. And for the mighty J. G. Boswell, no amount of muscle or money can change that.Eric Schine in Corcoran, Calif., with bureau reports

    joe Reply:

    Here’s a enhanced picture of what CA’s Lake Tulare looked like before it was drained for cotton production.
    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/557-the-first-satellite-map-of-california-1851

    Small farms my ass.

    jimsf Reply:

    we need the “environmentalists” to get to work doing something useful and start a campaign to restore lake tulare and its watershed!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There is, of course, a whole book written about Boswell by that same writer for the LA Times article. The catch is that mega farming developed in the San Joaquin Valley as cheap labor from the Depression and Mexico became more abundant.

    What doesn’t change in the decrease of mega farming is the loss of exports that help the State’s trade balances. Boswell may have been running a 20th plantation, but he was adding more value than your local mortgage broker to State GDP.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Cotton has been on a steady decline in California since the early 80s, long before the current drought. It peaked at about 1.6 million acres devoted to cotton in the early 80s. Last year it was under 200,000 acres.

    The long decline also means much of the infrastructure, including many of the gins, was closed and dismantled over the years. I understand the Chinese bought a lot of the machinery as they grew their cotton production to fuel clothing manufacturing there. Other machinery was simply scrapped. But if you drive thru the old cotton areas you can see the old gin buildings still standing, now either empty or reused for other purposes.

    With the infrastructure gone, it is unlikely California will ever see a “King of Cotton” again.

    StevieB Reply:

    In terms of water efficiency cotton is a terrible crop. Cotton is a relatively low cash value crop with high water usage.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Joe, that image is pretty much bunk: Using Tahoe Blue to color the maximal extent (100-year flood extend) of a lakebed that was 90% shallow, stagnant marsh is grossly misleading.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    I don’t get why Northern Californians are so greedy about “their” water. The whole point to being a state is to share access to a mixture of resources for mutual benefit. But NorCal’ers would rather see pure, fresh water wasted into the bay in wet years while fish and farmland die in dry years, instead of banking water from wet years to keep the rivers flowing during the dry years?

    That kind of spite really serves no one.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Divide the state and let LA deal with its own issues with its own resources.

    les Reply:

    I think it might be to cost prohibitive to move I-5 east that far. Maybe another bond. However about the dual water canals. :)

    les Reply:

    ie, How about after the duel water canals. getting late.

  5. Darrell
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 00:14
    #5

    Kudos to Dan Richard! That is so audacious, to on one hand claim bad faith with CHSRA’s following of Prop. 1A’s mandate and simultaneously demand throwing out Prop. 1A’s well-defined route.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A route well-defined by gross political corruption.

    Zorro Reply:

    Says the Emperor with no clothes on…

    jimsf Reply:

    syn how is it political corruption when voters approved the route. they could have said no to it. They said yes specifically because they wanted service to those locations. Had another route been proposed, the prop would have failed. The voters are getting what they wanted. Regardless of any aruguments, technical or otherwise, the only thing that matters is that they voted for this route and will get this route.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[V]oters approved the route.”

    Hmm, not quite. The voters weren’t offered a choice of routes. At best you can say the voters decided the route was good enough.

    Supposing there was any political corruption, then it was in the process of creating Prop 1A.

    jimsf Reply:

    its not corruption when local politicians are just trying to make sure the communities they represent get served. Thats democracy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s a boondoggle.

    Zorro Reply:

    So Democracy is a Boondoggle Synonymouse?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Democracy is not in the picture. Obsoleted.

    The same type of dictatorship we are installing in various places, say Egypt, will come home to us one day. The America of today is unlinked from the past. Forget the Founding Fathers and all that tradition. Pretty soon it won’t even be in the school texts.

    Dystopia and iron-fisted dictatorship is the fate of both old and new Cairos. Jerry and Nancy are already working on it in their own oblivious uniparty way.

    Alan Reply:

    Hmm, quite. The voters, had they not approved of the route, could have rejected Prop 1A. They did not reject Prop 1A, they accepted it, route and all.

    Joey Reply:

    The route wasn’t (explicitly) written into Prop 1A. That’s like asking someone “are you hungry,” and then when they say yes claiming that they wanted pizza.

    jimsf Reply:

    the route was well known at the time because this route map was widely available and so were the names of all the cities along the way including the options.

    Joey Reply:

    Fine. You asked them outside a pizza restaurant. A reasonable guess, but still presumptuous.

    jimsf Reply:

    what are you talking about? This route map was published well before the vote took place. What is your point?

    Clem Reply:

    That Californians, provided they even vote, are often uninformed or misinformed about the finer details of the measures put before them. And thus, claiming after the fact that they knew precisely what they were voting for, or that a majority of them wanted this or that route, is fallacious.

    jimsf Reply:

    Who said precise? Look I get that a lot of you here dont give a fuck about serving the majority of regular californians in areas that you dont deem worthy and instead would rather you get your little elitist railroad for the special class but the bottom line is that the public was aware of the the basic route map as I posted, and aware of the cities that would be promised service, including the optional tulare kings station. This was all published and they looked at it and said yeah that looks good to me. And that is all that matters whether you like it or not.

    get over it for christs sake.

    jimsf Reply:

    i just hope that all the complainers are so disgruntles that they will refuse to ride. That way I won’t have to risk being sat next to them to listen to them complain how it was all done incorrectly, for two+ hours.

    Clem Reply:

    And if and when the route is changed (because lack of money is the mother of invention) regular Californians will say again yeah that looks good to me. Prop 1A doesn’t matter, except when it matters. Prop 1A matters, except when it doesn’t. Yawn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assure you will not have to worry about sitting next to me on BART. The last time I rode it, from Powell St. to Millbrae, it was free. I could not believe how noisy it was. I guess Imperial BART is statutory exempt from nanny noise laws.

    I voted for Prop 1a amidst a general euphoria about seeing any catenary hung in California in my lifetime. I presumed smarter minds would sort out the best route. Boy, was I wrong.

    The learning process has killed off my time as a yellow-dog Democrat.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes clem, yawn indeed. same tired rehashing by people who can’t accept that politics are what determines everything. over and over and over. and over and over.

    Joey Reply:

    My point jim, is that plenty of people who might have disagreed with the route still would have voted yes on Prop 1A because either (a) they weren’t looking too closely or (b) they decided that HSR along a sub-optimal route was better than no HSR at all.

    joe Reply:

    So you argue that people don’t like the route but wanted HSR and some supported HSR but didn’t know they voted for a route so it’s okay to reinterpret the vote to mean it didn’t mean what it meant.

    This is fantastical.

    Michael Reply:

    Most people would like a high speed train in the state. They don’t care how it gets back and forth. The 74 or so of us who regularly post on this blog who like to debate this versus that route/train/station are in the minority.

    jimsf Reply:

    well some of us dont think that its a sub optimal route. And some of us think that sub optimal is like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. And some of just realize that perhaps even if the route is “sub optimal” according to some one elses idea of what optimal is ( and I assure you that 38 million out of 38 million californians each has his or her view of optimal)

    Teh bottom line is the general overall route per the map and cities mentioned was widely available and voters said yes and that is that.

    The only real controversy that is valid is the blended plan. But I recall many here on this blog calling for a blended incremental approach.

    In the end the result will be the same. And I must remind you that going forward, decades into the future, there is nothing to prohibit future expansion, and upgrades. In fact you can count on it not remaining static.

    Joey Reply:

    joe: Who’s reinterpreting the vote here? The language of Prop 1A, which is what was voted on, does not explicitly define a single route which must be taken, but rather defines endpoints and corridors which may be used to get between them.

    joe Reply:

    Re-read what you wrote. Certainly I accept the voters approved the project as described and don’t suggest voters wanted HSR but not the named segments or some meaningful fraction of voters were not paying attention.

    Joey Reply:

    And why not? I and plenty of others were firmly in the Pacheco/Tehachapi camp back then – it took a lot of digging through the details to formulate an informed opinion.

    And Michael’s probably right – most people actually don’t care about the route, but that’s what I’m trying to say – people voted on HSR not on the specific route.

    joe Reply:

    Informed opinions are formed by reading the proposition and voting.

    What you’re referring is designing a system using a set of criteria, some in and some not in in the proposition.

    If you say people don’t care about the route then drop it. The route’s selected. It doesn’t matter.

    If the implication is cities and alignments are now fungible then wake up dude. the Legislature voted for a very specific alignment.

    We’re done.

    Reality Check Reply:

    As others have so correctly suggested … nobody that has anything to do with this blog is anything like “the average voter”. It’s scary, but the average voter is more like my mother, who, barely — if ever — even cracks open her voter guide … if she can even remember where she put it. She, like most voters, decides how to vote based on sort of quick seat of the pants decisions by maybe reading the one or two line description, and maybe based on anything she may remember she heard about an issue from friends, family or media/ads. Most voters spend maybe a minute or maybe two — if that much — deciding how to vote on a proposition.

    Alan Reply:

    Jim, I disagree that the blended plan is a valid controversy, at least in terms of the current court case. Nothing in Prop 1A specifies that HSR on the Peninsula must have dedicated tracks or a 4-track alignment, so long as the system as built complies with the other specified requirements. The Authority has stated that the requirements will be met, and with Judge Kenny’s ruling, L&H will not be able to challenge that, or introduce their own evidence.

    jimsf Reply:

    Alan, I don’t personally think it is controversial either. But of all the “issues” that might be the one easiest to call an “issue”

    Alan Reply:

    Point taken, Jim. But as I’ve said before, Judge Kenny has already ruled once that the blended plan “…concerns the implementation of the project as described, and not the nature of the project itself.” As I doubt very much that the judge will overrule himself in the current 526a matter, the “issue” is pretty much dead. I think that L&H would have a better chance of hitching a ride on a Vogon constructor ship than they have of winning this case.

  6. Travis D
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 03:25
    #6

    A good rebuttal. Nice of him to point out that the aim of the lawsuit isn’t to correct project problems it is to try and stop the project.

  7. Travis D
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 04:04
    #7

    Potentially off topic but what are the odds that eBART gets extended to Tracy one day and has a joint station with a new DMU version of ACE?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Unlikely.

    BART will extend herself to Stockton and Modesto someday. eBART and ACE are placeholder strategies.

    jimsf Reply:

    I imagine bart will loop ebart around to connect at livermore eventually. There was a plan for this years ago.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “ACE is a placeholder strategy for BART” please explain?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    [citation provided]

    Clem Reply:

    A placeholder in this context is a transit project of precisely calibrated mediocrity, just good enough to keep a basic level of demand alive while preparing a grade separation here and there, and just bad enough so that BART compares extremely favorably when it comes time to demonstrate a clear “purpose and need” for a new BART extension.

    They really screwed up on the peninsula corridor in the early 2000s, where the incredibly fertile demand combined with slightly less mediocre service planning enabled the Baby Bullet to take off, throwing Caltrain’s mediocrity way out of the proper calibration. The purpose and need for peninsula BART became highly questionable, and the rest is history–to which the desperate ranting of Mr. Allen bears witness.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Spot on, Clem.

    Plus BART has drifted towards cattlecar ghetto with the passage of time. At its inception it was to be comfortable and classy with carpet and upholstered seats. As much as it wanted to deny its NYC subway roots, the potential for grunge was always there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A placeholder is also a way to curry political favor with the Senate Transportation Chair who wants BART in his district but can’t marshall funds to do it. BART is torn by suburban directors and riders who want longer service and farther flung stations and urban directors and riders who want more capacity close in.

    There is a solution, but so far no one will touch it. Namely, quad track BART lines in Oakland and San Francisco and the Tube in exchange for letting BART use tax increment financing to redevelop the land it owns and acquires around stations. Another strategy is to shift lines in express and locals that don’t stop at each station.

    Eric Reply:

    No, the next two tracks across the bay need to be standard gauge. They should be used to through-run commuter rail on the Caltrain and Capitol Corridors, while serving HSR too (quite necessary for SF-Sacramento trips if HSR uses Pacheco). Essentially this would mean building a second BART system, but almost for free since most of the tracks already exist. Ideally the system would use the existing Bay Bridge to cross the bay, taking one lane from cars in each direction, which would save building a very expensive tunnel.

    Eric Reply:

    To elaborate: the Pittsburg BART line should be taken from BART and converted for standard gauge for this new system. As far east as Pleasant Hill, it should be shared with HSR, from there HSR should follow I-680 to Martinez and the Capital Corridor to Sacramento. This would give a 1 hour SF-Sacramento HSR ride for extremely cheap. It would also remove Pittsburg trains from the BART tunnel, allowing higher frequency on the remaining BART lines to SF.

    joe Reply:

    A bay crossing using non-BART tech needs a strong organization behind it.

    1. Put Caltrain under HSR control prior to electrification. Peer review group and oversight kick in.
    2. Allow HSR to expand Caltrain as a HSR feeder & commuter system with HSR, regional and C&T funds.
    3. CAHSR would quickly run service across the Dumbarton Bridge linking east bay to RWC HSR Station and Caltrain ROW.
    4. Add ACE to the pot.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “the next two tracks across the bay need to be standard gauge. They should be used to through-run commuter rail on the Caltrain and Capitol Corridors”
    West Oakland to 4th and Townsend, via tunnel, with some trains looping around into the Transbay Transit Center.

    Joey Reply:

    Not that the TTC is going to have any spare capacity. I’d argue that Mission to 7th serves more destinations than heading directly to Mission Bay.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Please explain Mission to 7th

    Joey Reply:

    The tunnel lands at Mission St and continues under Mission, stopping at Transbay and Moscone Center, before curving south under 7th street to meet the CalTrain right-of-way (some stops in this section but I don’t know the best places for them). This allows trains using the tunnel to serve the Transbay redevelopment area as well as the already huge financial district and continue down the peninsula.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Here’s my position on BART and related land-use planning/development strategy:
    Although BART is commonly considered a ‘commuter’ system, (express bus, commuter-rail, freeways), the problem is that commuter systems create more demand for commuting than they can handle, neither can streets and freeways handle increased commuter traffic. Were BART to direct development of station area communities to complement their mostly ‘residential’ nature with other purposes, (services, institutions, jobs, amenities, attractions), the need for cross-county commuting would be reduced. This reduces rush hour traffic and the need for longer BART trains. The collective time saved by reduced commuting is spent travelling on BART during off-rush hours, thus increasing patronage during the hours that shortened BART trains run often with too few riders.

    BART expansions, according to this strategy, should maximize patronage via infill development potential, but not necessarily along the Altamont corridor, the development of which seems to be more dependent upon connections between BART and regional rail including HSR.

    Please, keep all smart ass answers to yourselves.

    Alan Reply:

    Um, no. “Commuter rail”, as the term is commonly known, applies to systems like Caltrain or Metrolink. BART is rapid transit–hence, the “RT” in “BART”. BART also has no authority, nor should it, to dictate land-use, business or any other urban planning decisions in the areas it serves. BART’s job is to run trains.

    The problem with your little Utopia is that is simply cannot happen. Like it or not, the region’s financial sector is centered in downtown SF, and that won’t change any time soon. Neither will the tendency of most businesses to observe 9-5 working hours. You’re expecting to change human nature, and that’s not going to happen.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Sounds to me like you’re twisting a turn of phrase into something it’s not. Obviously BART isn’t going to direct land use planning. But the cities it operates in can and should see it as a resource around which to develop future plans.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.acerail.com/About/Public-Projects/ACEforward
    more than a few grade separations

    Eric M Reply:

    It might. The next extension they are talking about is to a point around Discovery Bay. They are following the right away along Byron Highway, which does go south to Tracy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    with no WC’s.

    Jon Reply:

    Various groups have been pushing for upgrading Hwy 4 to a freeway from Brentwood to Stockton, and also creating a new freeway paralleling Byron Hwy between Brentwood and Tracy. If either of those projects go forward, BART will no doubt stake out a ROW down the median.

    Alan Reply:

    I can’t wait to see the backlash against a proposal to widen and strengthen the levees on which highway 4 crosses the Delta, sufficient to support BART and a freeway.

    Is there really that much demand for travel between Antioch and Stockton that the San Joaquins are insufficient?

    jimsf Reply:

    One thing about all these original bart maps… they show service to PA
    marin palo alto

    travelers will be able to move about the (bay) area regardless of growth, with assured travel times

    1961

    this is what sold the bay area folks on bart because it didn’t look like this

    jimsf Reply:

    note the 41 minute travel time from palo alto to the financial district – beating caltrain baby bullet even while via daly city.

    guess san mateo county really screwed up.

    Clem Reply:

    Sorry Jim, it’s another case of over-promise and under-deliver. The “assured travel time” was 20 minutes from SF Montgomery to Millbrae. The real as-built time is 32 minutes.

    As-built Baby Bullet time SF to Palo Alto is 35 minutes. BART would need to do Millbrae – Palo Alto in three minutes or less in order to beat Caltrain (well, six minutes or less starting from the future Transbay stop for an apples-to-apples financial district origin)

    I am always amazed at how easily people drink the BART Kool-Aid.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Your surprise is healthy American optimism, Clem. A good thing. Camus liked that about us. As for me I picked up on the pessimism. A habit that does not kick.

    jimsf Reply:

    trains were suppose to have 90 second headways too which didn’t happen. My point was simply that bart had always planned to do down the peninsula, and should have done it and been done with it. And two, that people in california were wary of subways as crime ridden new york things that were old outdated and dirty but bart was promised to be sleek and clean and modern and run by computers and it was this futuristic vision that captured the bay areas imagination the same way that tech still captures, almost rules, the bay areas collective imagination.

    Im not saying right or wrong, just what was and is.

    And you took a bay area poll as to whether bart should ring the bay Ill bet the bay area would still overwhelmingly support that goal.

    Clem Reply:

    Those polls will turn upside down in 2019 when the public’s mind is blown by how a modern train actually looks and feels. European and Asian visitors, rather than snicker at our backwardness, will take everything for granted as how it ought to be.

    The horse has left the barn.

    Jerry Reply:

    Agreed. Just so the horse isn’t California Chrome. But then again, 2 out of 3, ain’t bad.

    jimsf Reply:

    actually speaking of modern trains, the public prior to 2019 will be getting a new modern up to date fleet to enjoy and will like bart even more once the modern design is put into service.

    jimsf Reply:

    comfort

    modern

    Jonathan Reply:

    “modernl” yields a 414, Request-URI Too Large

    The requested URL’s length exceeds the capacity limit for this server.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    That’s what happens when someone knows JUST enough to get into trouble :-D

    Jonathan Reply:

    if the existing BART counties want BART ring-the-bay, then the existing BART counties can pay for it.
    Good luck with *that*, after BART-to-San-Jose-Flea-Market becomes another BART-to-SFO.

    Michael Reply:

    Of course, Millbrae to Powell, today, in reality, is 32 minutes (according to the iBART app). It’s not likely it would only be another 9 to Palo Alto. Maybe the pitch back in 1961 doesn’t reflect the reality of 2014?

    Also, maybe post photos of the NYC subway from 1960 instead of the 70’s if you want an apples to apples comparison without distortion, since the BART vote was in 1962.

    You can find older BART maps that show extensions to SONOMA. Doesn’t make it so…

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks jimsf for the history lesson on BART in the 60s. I once heard that the BART trains were suppose to run without operators. Is that true?? If so, it would mean that BART was really dreaming ahead of its time.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes but the public did not trust driverless and wanted someone on board for safety

    Joey Reply:

    Driverless technology wasn’t yet mature when BART was built. It is today.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is the technology more advanced for driverless trains or driverless cars?

    Joey Reply:

    Driverless cars are much more complicated and the technology is not mature. Driverless trains are comparatively very simple – they follow fixed paths and are routed by a central computer. They don’t have to align themselves or negotiate obstacles. Driverless metros have been operating all over the world for decades safely and reliably.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    And that not only with simple single-line configurations. London’s Dockland Railway has a relatively complex network and has been operating driverless since day 1. And in Nürnberg, they have/had mixed operation; one train with driver, the next one driverless.

    It is all a question of reliable communication between the control center and the trains.

    To get to the original question, driverless (subway) trains are not very sophisticated technically; they essentially get the speed information from the control center (via signalling). Local intelligence may operate the doors, and then, it is just another interface for setting the speeds (a control box instead of the throttle).

    Jerry Reply:

    The Morgantown, WV People Mover with 5 stations has been operating since 1975 without operators and with 98.5% reliability. Even in the snow.

    Reality Check Reply:

    After weeks of using it, I can say São Paulo Metro’s (relatively — first opened in 2010) new driverless Yellow Line 4 is very impressive. According to this Siemens Line 4-Yellow fact sheet, it’s South America’s only driverless subway line. It carries 700k riders a day (the system carries 3.2m per day). Platforms edges are lined with a heavy plate-glass walls automatic elevator-style doors which only open to provide access to the interior of stopped trains. The trains are frequent, spacious, continuous with no wasted space between cars (you can see down the length of the entire train interior when there aren’t standees and in a straight-away), high-performing with great acceleration, AC, PA and flat panel monitors with infotainment & commercials.

    It’ll probably never happen … but I’d love to see BART trains and stations run this way.

    jimsf Reply:

    The new fleet won’t have everything, but there will be many improvements in lciding quieter cars new features

    Reality Check Reply:

    Further, Vancouver’s SkyTrain 43-miles, 47 stations on 3 lines, 362k daily riders) is fully automated.

    J. Wong Reply:

    BART has always been computer controlled. The BART operators have never controlled the movement of the train itself. They just open and close the doors.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They also carry picket signs and slip campaign contributions to the bosses.

    joe Reply:

    Uh, “the bosses” refers to video game characters at end of each level.

  8. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:26
    #8

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/aug/18/preliminary-construction-california-high-speed-rai/
    Preliminary Construction For California High-Speed Rail Begins
    Monday, August 18, 2014

    “We’re clearing the area,” says California High-Speed Rail Authority President Dan Richard. “A number of buildings have been demolished. There’s been soils testing and sometime in the next two months, we think the design for some of the first key bridges will be finished and that that construction will start.”

  9. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:36
    #9

    They write letters:

    To the [NY Times] Editor:

    European and Japanese governments have explicit rail passenger programs because they know that public transport has public benefits beyond the direct services to riders. They are willing to identify and pay for such benefits as reduced pollution, reduced congestion and better safety. A result is stable plans, reliable funding and responsible management.

    Not all public transportation proposals, including high-speed rail, yield enough public and financial benefits to justify the cost. For those that do, however, the country needs a better approach to identifying all impacts and deciding what the public and private roles should be.

    The approach must include a stable and adequate source of funding from public authorities involved at all levels; ad hoc approaches will not work to generate large and multiyear investment projects.

    This is, by the way, just as true for the proposed “private sector” high-speed rail projects in Florida and Texas as it is for the Northeast Corridor and California. When projects have manifest public benefits and costs, there is always a public role. The question is whether public authorities actively do their planning and maximize public values or begin with what they are promised initially and play catch-up later in the project.

    LOUIS THOMPSON
    Saratoga, Calif., Aug. 13, 2014

    The writer is chairman of the Peer Review Group for the California High-Speed Rail Project.

  10. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:39
    #10

    What Texas sez:

    But as Texas’ plans move ahead, we must also make sure that we get it right the first time.

    Rail projects have to be cost-effective and show a return on investment. For private projects, that means profit for shareholders. For public projects, that means benefits in time savings, convenience, connectivity and the resulting economic development that keeps our state growing.

    ,http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/18/6051409/the-case-for-high-speed-rail-in.html#storylink=cpy

    That’s why CA HSR isn’t running along I-5. For public projects, getting “it” right with a return on investment is not the same as a private funded system. The CV alignment is right.

    les Reply:

    It’s good you make this distinction. This is something guys like Gov Rick Scott of Florida should read. For him it is all about corporate welfare and trying to pass off as private enterprise.

    Derek Reply:

    Growth is unsustainable and not even a virtue. Therefore, public projects need a better reason to exist than growth.

    Time savings? When quantifying that in dollars, don’t make the common mistake of assuming that every minute spent commuting is a minute not spent working.

    If people feel that the other benefits are worth the cost, they will pay enough in fares that the project won’t need a subsidy. Therefore, getting it right with a return on investment is, in fact, the same as a private funded system.

    Joe Reply:

    Life is unsustainable. Nevertheless you live. Your foundational argument is flawed.
    Ideas compete in the marketplace of politics. CA is building HSR.

    Derek Reply:

    Life is only unsustainable if we make it unsustainable. There was life long before humans arrived, and there will be life long after humans are gone, if we don’t completely destroy the planet.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Indeed Capt. Kirk, in an original Star Trek episode, did encounter a doomsday machine capable of chewing up whole planets. It was composed of “neutronium”, I guess the sixties version of unobtainium.

    joe Reply:

    You misunderstand me Derek. We don’t control life, you didn’t choose to be born. You cannot monetize life. CA grows to accommodate it’s people. HSR is about encouraging growth. It’s a core service of government. HSR is not about returning a profit to a shareholder.

    Derek Reply:

    CA grows to accommodate it’s people. HSR is about encouraging growth.

    Then by both encouraging growth and also accommodating it, HSR creates a vicious cycle. That’s a tragedy.

    It would be better for HSR to only accommodate growth. To encourage anything is to use social engineering to manipulate the masses, and that’s too much government intrusion and too close to Communism for my taste.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, Jerry Brown, not “California”, is building LAHSR.

    Alan Reply:

    Yeah? Is Jerry going to be out there in Fresno driving a Caterpillar? Thought he had other things to do up in Sac.

  11. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 21:52
    #11

    More documents in the CAHSRA lawsuit.

    Case Number: 2011-00113919
    Case Title: John Tos vs. California High Speed Rail Authority

    OA Entry: Correspondence (Letter dated 08/07/2014 RE Proposed Order Granting Respondents’ Motion for Order Limiting the Scope of Evidence at Trial is the Administrative Record) filed.

    ROA Entry: Order After Hearing (Order Granting Respondents’ Motion for Order that the Scope of Evidence at Trial is Limited the Administrative Record) filed.

    Alan Reply:

    Good news. The title suggests that Laurel and Hardy will not be able to parade their “expert” witnesses and introduce new evidence at the 526a trial. Which basically means it’s game, set, match for the Authority. Too bad that that the Sacramento county courts have put the peoples’ court documents behind a paywall.

    joe Reply:

    This Judge had his highly visible and important case appealed by the Governor.
    The State Supreme Court directed the Appellate Court to review the decision.

    The higher court found he not only created new law where none existed but he also violated constitutional separation of powers.

    Now the Judge has a hearing over admissibility of evidence.

    Alan Reply:

    In this case, by limiting the evidence to the existing administrative record, the judge did exactly what the law requires. We’re not going to see “experts” coming into court to argue that their simulations are better than the Authority’s.

    Maybe the judge learned something from the Court of Appeal.

    joe Reply:

    Did he? I haven’t heard what he ruled. Case law supports the administrative record.

    Alan Reply:

    The title makes it pretty obvious. The state wanted the evidence limited to the administrative record; L&H wanted to introduce all of their extra-record evidence. The title indicates that the judge ordered in favor of the state, and as you say, the case law. It appears to me that the judge learned to observe previous case law in his rulings.

    nslander Reply:

    Is it wrong that I such delight from an otherwise bland docket-entry like the emboldened text above?

    Alan Reply:

    Not at all. I’m doing the same, especially after reading L&H’s desperate plea to the court to not issue the ruling.

    nslander Reply:

    “Well, Stan and I were up late last night hashing this out, and we feel it’s actually more of a win.”

    joe Reply:

    “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

    nslander Reply:

    Now what exactly is a pellet brief?

  12. synonymouse
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 11:04
    #12

    I see the King of TARP will have one debate with Moonbeam. But I suspect Kashkari is as afraid of the Tejon Ranch Co. as Jerry so whatever exchange occurs about the crazy train will likely be trivial.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 12:49
    #13

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/high-speed/single-view/view/tendering-starts-for-high-speed-line-to-queretaro.html

    Eric Reply:

    Since Mexico City has been unable to build sufficient air capacity, there is really no choice there except HSR.

    “To relieve the demand on Benito Juarez Airport, the Mexican Government laid the groundwork for a new airport to be built on the outskirts of Mexico City. After decades of planning a $2.3 billion airport, peasant farmers who owned the property where the airport was proposed, took several hostages into their hands, refusing to give up their land at any cost.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Ju%C3%A1rez_International_Airport#Lack_of_capacity_and_slot_restriction

  14. jimsf
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 18:11
    #14

    o/t but of interest of anyone who earns money or pays bills.

    how far does 100 dollars go in your state

  15. Reality Check
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 19:05
    #15

    Caltrain considers level boarding, car design

    Caltrain is about to make decisions about the design of electric rail cars that will affect the service for many decades to come. At the last board meeting, David Couch, who is managing the electrification project, talked about the set of decisions that Caltrain will make this year. For more about the decisions, and opportunities to weigh in – including a Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting tonight – read on.

    […]

    Mattie F. Reply:

    The slides say they’re targeting 25″ platform heights, and HSR is targeting 50″. But I thought most HSR was closer to 25″?

    William Reply:

    No, all currently in service HSR trainsets (Shinkansen, TGV, ICE) have door heights of around 48”.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, the Japanese high speed network (and their exports) are using high-level platforms (120 cm, as stated elsewhere in this discussion).

    The European trains are set to work with platforms either 550 mm or 760 mm above rail top. The single-level trains have steps to get up to the actual floor height, whereas the bi-level trains (TGVs) provide level entrance with 760 mm (I think).

    In general, that has been discussed some time ago, for single-level trains high-level platforms are more suitable because they provide level boarding to the floor height (unless the train is low-floor), whereas for bi-level trains, low-level platforms are better, as they provide level boarding to the lower floor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The TGV Duplexes are a step down from 550 mm, as far as I remember.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I could not quickly find some information about the lower floor height of the TGV Duplex, but by looking at a video showing a TGV Duplex leaving Zürich HB, I would say it is 550 mm, so I would say level boarding at 550 mm.

    Clem Reply:

    Lower floor height is 321 mm above rail, two steps down inside the vehicle from the 611 mm vestibule boarded from a 550 mm platform.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its ridiculous that the state or feds can’t force caltrain and hsr to agree on a common platform height. is any one paying any attention?

    synonymouse Reply:

    You need to talk to Brown & Richards, PB & MTC.

    Joey Reply:

    Its ridiculous that the state or feds can’t force caltrain and hsr to agree on a common platform height.

    To me, it’s more worrying that CalTrain never even considered it – it’s not that it was studied and rejected, it’s that they actively and repeatedly refuse to study it – the idea has been floated at public meetings multiple times.

    is any one paying any attention?

    Perhaps now you understand why many of us are so frustrated.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do you think the King of TARP would have the nerve to publicly bring up hsr issues like this and show up Brown’s disconnect?

    Or just more platitudes.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There’s no law such as CEQA or such that would force them to do so. Nor any law that authorizes a Federal or state agency to do so.

    There is one thing that could force Caltrain to agree to a common standard: CAHSR itself. I’m supposing that the Prop 1A funds being disbursed to Caltrain to pay for electrification comes with restrictions; namely, whatever is built must be compatible with HSR. CAHSR could probably also require that Caltrain must use a compatible platform height, but I doubt that they would since it doesn’t appear to directly cause any operational problems the way incompatible electrical supply would.

    Oh, well.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You don’t need a law for force transit agency employees to provide transportation service to the public.

    What you need is one single person anywhere in the transit-industrial complex who gives a fuck, isn’t just looking out for lifetime under-achieving employment and/or consultant enrichment, and has a single functioning neuron in his or her head.

    Laws don’t address the real problem.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The problem, @Richard Mylnarik, is that no one gets rewarded for giving a fuck outside the bounds of their job description. And nowhere is it in their job description to provide general transportation service to the public. Yes, their job description is to provide specific transportation service to the public, e.g., through Caltrain. Nowhere does it say they must also facilitate HSR service. And yes, you do need laws otherwise they wouldn’t even do their job if they could get paid w/o doing it. The laws delineate the responsibilities up the chain of command.

    No laws don’t address the real problem in that people in general are short-sighted fucks always looking out for themselves even at the expense of others often including their own family or even at the expense of their own long term interests.

    William Reply:

    There is little to no advantage for Caltrain and CHSR to share platform, thus “force” to pick a common platform height. Daily scheduled train would stop at the same platform and track everyday, negating the biggest advantage of sharing platform: any platform, any time, because this capacity will be very rarely used.

    Joey Reply:

    This is wholly incorrect. Perhaps at the intermediate stations it doesn’t matter as much, but at the endpoints, San Jose and especially San Francisco, it matters a lot. The Transbay Transit Center is going to be the single most constrained station in the entire system. Not only must it be able to host a yet-to-be-exactly-determined number of HSR and CalTrain trains on a small number (6) of platform tracks, but it must be able to reroute trains in the event of problems to avoid cascading delays. In San Jose shared platforms could mean not having to build miles of viaduct and an expensive multi-level station: everything could be accommodated at-grade.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Or….just don’t have CalTrain serve TransBay….

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Wrong.
    Perhaps correct in abstract, but wrong in real world practice.
    Wrong.

  16. Reality Check
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 19:44
    #16

    High-Speed Rail Muddies Florida Governor’s Race

    So the unusual November race is beginning to stack up like this: A Republican in (cautious) support of AAF [All Aboard Florida] against a Democrat in support of high-speed rail generally but not the project in the works. The question, then, is how their back-and-fourth sound bites will play out in the polls — and whether November’s winner will actually shape AAF’s future.

    Lance deHaven Smith is a professor of public policy at Florida State University. He believes AAF could swing the election for two reasons: the southeastern concentration of opposition and Florida’s split-down-the-middle politics.

    A vocal group that Smith calls NIMBYs comes mostly from Florida’s Treasure Coast, in communities where the train will not stop — its goal being to move people quickly between densely populated urban areas — but pass through. Residents worry about property values, noise, quality of life and rural character, and have formed a coalition called Florida Not All Aboard.

    The advocacy group is non-partisan (its tagline “Stop Big Choo Choo in His Tracks,” has a right-sounding ring), but Smith says many of the areas impacted actually have a sizable Democratic base. The district encompassing Martin and St. Lucie counties, for example, currently has a Democratic representative.

    And while Florida has gone blue for Obama in the last two national elections, it tends to go red during off-year state elections, Smith says, because Democrats tend to stay home. But if an issue like AAF mobilizes the left, even in a small corner of Florida, their vote could swing the gubernatorial election.

    “Even a slight change in turnout” could affect the race, he says. “That’s how very sensitive and changeable the political wind in Florida is.”

    […]

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t want to write a long comment in case Robert uses this for his next piece. But this writer doesn’t know that much about Florida politics, I can see.

  17. jimsf
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 23:30
    #17

    BART to San Jose: Celebrate Phase 1 and get ready to plan line to Santa Clara
    By Michael E. Engh, S.J., and Jamie Matthews
    Special to the Mercury News
    Posted: 08/19/2014 04:00:00 PM PDT3 Comments

    BART has transformed the way many Bay Area residents commute and travel throughout the region, effectively shrinking distances between homes and jobs while also providing an efficient and more sustainable mode of transportation.

    The missing link has been Santa Clara County. The fix is on-track, with the BART to Silicon Valley Extension — a 16-mile, six station line from south Fremont to Santa Clara — underway. When completed and connected to Caltrain, San Francisco Bay finally will be ringed by rapid rail that will improve commuting for tens of thousands every workday, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    There is good news to report. Construction is under budget and ahead of schedule on the first phase into Santa Clara County, which extends BART 10 miles to Milpitas and into the Berryessa area of North San Jose. It will include two stations. Now slated to open in August 2017, it is a remarkable example of Silicon Valley problem solving with funding and planning efforts involving tech leaders, voters, and local, state and federal governments, not to mention patient motorists inconvenienced during construction.

    The final 6 miles from the Berryessa to downtown San Jose and ending at the Santa Clara Caltrain Station will need a similar level of vision and cooperation. Private and public sector leaders are exploring a transportation tax to fund this final link and to find additional local, state and federal funding. We are optimistic and urge your support.

    During the next 20 years, the entire 16-mile BART to Silicon Valley extension is expected to add more than 90,000 average weekday riders to BART’s current 360,000 weekday riders on its 104-mile system. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will again lead the planning effort.

    In the meantime, it’s important to do something Silicon Valley doesn’t do well: celebrate.

    On Wednesday the California Transportation Commission will deliver $39.6 million for the Berryessa extension, its final payment on a $768 million commitment. The $2.3 billion first phase is more than $70 million under budget and nearly one year ahead of schedule When completed it will reduce almost 3,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is a remarkable achievement.

    Also worthy of celebration is the special Silicon Valley partnership of multiple entities coming together to connect BART to Santa Clara County. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group led two successful local tax measures, with two-thirds of voters stepping up to help pay for the construction and operating costs. The BART-VTA partnership is unique, with VTA responsible for the funding, development and construction of the project and BART responsible for the operations and maintenance.

    The project also required agency coordination among Fremont, Milpitas, San Jose, Union Pacific Railroad, the California Department of Transportation, Santa Clara County Roads and Airports, the Santa Clara Valley and Alameda County Water Districts and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, as well as public and private utilities.

    VTA is also taking measures to improve the local bus, light rail, and other feeder systems around the future BART stations, leading to a network of transportation services to make the BART to Silicon Valley Extension a success.

    This first phase progress truly is a reason to celebrate. But we’re only two-thirds of the way there. It soon will be time to roll up our sleeves in Silicon Valley style again to complete Phase 2. We hope you’ll join us.

    joe Reply:

    Not enough stations in San Jose. Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose/SJSU, and Dirdion Station.
    http://www.arounddublinblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/bart-to-san-jose-route.jpg
    SF BART has closer stations. San Jose should have one maybe two more.
    http://www.vta.org/bart/stationsfuturephase

    Caltrain Diridon underground station http://www.vta.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069A0000001ELcSIAW

    Caltrain Santa Clara station with pedestrian overcrossing HW101 for a transfer. Ugh.
    http://www.vta.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069A0000001ELcXIAW

    Here’s today’s Caltrain / BART Milbrae station.
    https://goo.gl/maps/6xymW

    Joey Reply:

    101? It’s just the tracks.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Regarding the Santa Clara BART station conceptual site plan drawing, I wonder if it might make more sense to swap the locations of “future transit facility/surface parking” and parking garage. This way the garage would abut Coleman and the future transit facility would be adjacent to the bus terminal and closer to Caltrain, BART and future airport people mover (“by others”). They way they have it now, the future transit facility is separated from all the other transit by a huge multi-story parking garage. Transit first … or parked cars first?

    Clem Reply:

    Two thirds of the way by distance, one third of the way by cost.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Absolute 100% unmitigated outright lying from the shills “Michael E. Engh, S.J., and Jamie Matthews”

    The BART extension FROM FREMONT TO SANTA CLARA was supposed to be ompleted in 2009, to have entered service in 2010, and COST A TOTAL OF $3.8 BILLION for everything, and to be carrying 78,000 riders per day today.

    Because that is exactly what VTA promised.

    Anybody who claims that the truncated extension from Fremont to the SJ Flea Market — a 2/3 the distance, 1/3 of the total extension cost, none of the tunnelling, only two stations — which set to open in 2018, at a cost of over $3.2 billion, is even remotely “under budget” or “ahead of schedule” is simply and unambiguously a liar. Whether such a person is an idiot, on the take, so grossly ignorant they he should not be allowed to speak on any subject, all of the above, or some combination of them, is something that they’ll have to sort out with their personal spiritual advisor.

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