Jeff Denham Trots Out the Circular Logic Again

Aug 15th, 2014 | Posted by

It’s really unfortunate that more members of the media don’t call out people like Jeff Denham when they make misleading statements like this:

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said that if California can’t find $55 billion its high-speed rail project is a “pipe dream.”

“The California High Speed Rail Authority faces a $55 billion funding gap and has yet to demonstrate any ability to generate the funds required,” Denham said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, they can’t work around their funding gap, and without $55 billion, the high speed rail project remains a pipe dream.”

The only reason why there is a funding gap is because Jeff Denham created one by denying future federal funding. This is like a bully stealing someone’s lunch money and then complaining that the victim is too poor to afford lunch so they should starve.

Thankfully there is one member of the media who saw through Denham’s nonsense:

Let’s hope more reporters call out this kind of BS when they see it.

  1. jimsf
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 20:31
    #1

    How is that guy holding that district. Have you been to Modesto? He must be hanging on by a thread.

    Clem Reply:

    The next Eric Cantor?

    Travis D Reply:

    He won the last election by relying on two things: 1) the strong support of farmers 2) the continued abstention from voting by liberals.

    If liberals in Modesto would stop playing video games and vote in November the guy would be out of a job and the farmers would all be pissed. So a win, win.

    Jesse D. Reply:

    Excuse me? I’m one of those video game playing liberals from Modesto, and I’ve voted every year since I turned 18. I’ve been whipping up my friends to do so, as well.

    It’s the dumb xtians with “I’m Catholic And I Vote” and various “Obummer” bumper stickers that cancel and beat the liberals out. Hopefully enough old duffers have died out this year…

    James Fujita Reply:

    The trouble with “Throw the Bums Out” is that the bums are always in somebody else’s district, not your own. People tend to hate Congress much more than they hate their own representative. This is a bipartisan problem.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to kick Denham out of office; but it does illustrate the sort of inertia that a challenger has to overcome.

    Donk Reply:

    I am embarrassed to say that Darrel Issa is my representative. So the bum is in my district. I’ll give it my best shot in November.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You live in a nice area then. I’d like to get a vacation/retirement home there and would be very grateful if you can dislodge Issa :)

    Joe Reply:

    He single handedly pushed women voters to the Dens with his all male review of women’s health.

    Completely ineffective oversight on phoney scandles. Issa has been an irritating but ineffective tool.

  2. Travis D
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 21:54
    #2

    Incidentally Modesto is pushing for a downtown station. I find that interesting. It would be quite the complex challenge to run the tracks through there.

    Jesse D. Reply:

    Wasn’t that directly in violation of Union Pacific’s ban on HSR to use their rails?

  3. Derek
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 22:00
    #3

    It’s hypocrisy to pretend to be concerned about the cost, while driving the cost up.

  4. Drunk Engineer
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 22:09
    #4

    Why would a voter in Denhem’s district support HSR? With the decision to detour trains through Pacheco, the HSR is of little use for them.

    Joe Reply:

    Kinda of a stupid argument. They’d be on the HSR line to Sacramento – which is what every Altamont advocate insists is immensely important. Also on a direct line to LA.

    So why didn’t Denham get involved in influencing the alignment rather than worked endlessly to stop the project?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    HSR to Sacramento is not realistically part of the plan anymore. At least in our lifetime.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I don’t agree. 115 miles of flat land from Merced could be ~$5m to reach 2m people in metro Sac plus 1.25m in metro Stockton and Modesto. It pencils out. You just have to live 20-25 years more, which I plan to do.

    (And the TracyLogic cheerleaders here will certainly support it — rural Livermore grape growers can transfer from their Super ACE and be in LA in no time.)

    joe Reply:

    HSR to Sacramento could happen immediately if Jeff Denham, chair of the rail subcommittee did his job.

    Just sponsor legislation to fund the CV from Chowchilla to Sacramento. Kevin McCarthy could shepard it throughout the House and Reid’s Senate would sign it.

    He can introduce bills.

    [Jeff Denham] introduced the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, a.k.a. the Lily Denham Act, that would require Amtrak to allow passengers to travel with cats and dogs. “My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California all the time,” Denham said. “If I can take her on a plane, why can’t I travel with her on Amtrak, too?”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who wants to go to LA via Mojave?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The real reason there will be no HSR in the upper San Joaquin Valley is that BART doesn’t want competiton in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. HSR from San Jose to the East Bay to Sacramento is still in the cards, but has to wait for revenue service to start.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART does not want hsr anywhere nearby as it will make the IBG cattlecars look bad in comparison.

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR on Altamont pass? Dream on, it ain’t happening & you can’t make it happen, you don’t have what it takes. HSR will be on the Caltrain ROW, from San Jose to SF, you can take that to the bank as there will be no deviation on this.

    Travis D Reply:

    Not everyone is so selfish. I’m not going to be anywhere near the first phase and yet I still voted for it. Heck I even have no problem paying taxes to help OTHER people.

    Incredible!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There’s a difference between the preference of an individual voter and that of an elected politician.

    Travis D Reply:

    Drunk Engineer was claiming no voter would support the HSR system unless they would immediately benefit from phase one.

  5. Eric M
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 22:10
    #5

    If you want to voice your displeasure with Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and his logic, here are his public media accounts to do so:

    Facebook

    Twitter

  6. Donk
    Aug 15th, 2014 at 23:19
    #6

    Call me an old curmudgeon, but I just don’t understand the point of Twitter. What the hell is the value of that tweet from Chris Megerian? You have to click on another link to get the details, and he links to the page written by someone else. Where is he actually saying anything meaningful against Jeff Denham? And he has 6 retweets and 2 favorites??? What’s the point? I don’t think that “one member of the media” really has any measurable impact. My incoherent comment on this blog probably has a larger impact.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The value of Twitter is that each tweet is short, which makes it reasonable to have a large feed and read all tweets in reverse chronological order, and also have easily visible comments.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    But are they worth reading? Consider the source.

  7. les
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 00:55
    #7

    I think Dumbham is no longer a concern, but knowing him he would show for a groundbreaking of a Modesto station if he was still in office….such a jack*$#@. Him and his evil-doers have done all the damage they could inflict and now it is only a matter of clearing up the bonds and/or attaining loans to finish the job. I think CHSR was smart in utilizing C&T money at the bookends first because they can mix the 25% in with other C&T transit money, say maybe sharing a tunnel or two possibly.

  8. Alan
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 02:38
    #8

    Denham is trying to put a brave face on his stupidity–remember, he’s the one who complained to the STB and caused them to assert jurisdiction. He thought he could stop the project that way, only to end up having the STB give HSR its stamp of approval…

    joe Reply:

    Here’s Stupid, recommending the 6 B CA will spend on HSR be sent to the NE.

    He’s the chairman of the railroads subcommittee in the House of Representatives speaking at a Aug 2013 Hearing. He doesn’t know WTF he’s talking about.

    A California congressman said Friday that billions of dollars in federal funds should be spent on high-speed rail – just not in his state.

    “I believe the $6 billion that was given to the California High-Speed Rail Authority could be better spent on such upgrades, as these projects are both clearly identified, and necessary beyond dispute,” Denham said.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/07/193341/california-gop-rep-jeff-denham.html#storylink=cpy

    That 6 B includes billions of California State money matching the 3+ B federal funds. Yes Denham wants CA to send State money to the NE because he’s too Stupid and busy to know how much money is federal and how many Billions is State Money.

    Alan Reply:

    Denham’s opponent needs to latch onto this–point out that Stupid wanted to send their state taxes to the east coast…not to mention the California jobs that are being created by HSR.

    Joe Reply:

    Eggman probably lacks the cash to knock him off.

    Adam Reply:

    Just sent him $100: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/eggmanvf

    Alan Reply:

    Maybe, maybe not. Once in awhile, a candidate with the right message can still prevail over money…

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, it does not work that way.

    With enough propaganda you can inveigle California voters to go for anything. I should know; I was one of them in re Prop 1a.

    JCC Reply:

    No, it was just the hangover and haze from the wacky tobaccy that you were smoking.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA wants to bribe votes with free lottery tickets:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0816/Why-Los-Angeles-may-turn-voting-ballots-into-lottery-tickets

    But I suggest free crack would motivate Jerry’s mob more effectively.

    Zorro Reply:

    Denham won by a slim margin the last time, I think it was about 1-2%, not a lot really, it could happen. Since according to Calitics, Denham is in a Majority Democratic District.

    But the biggest name that jumps out on me on that list is Jeff Denham who is still in a district with a Democratic registration advantage, and who won by a fairly slim margin in 2012. If Denham draws a well funded challenger, he’ll need to answer for this vote.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    It’s a little late to be talking about “drawing an opponent” – we know who his opponent is, and he’s not particularly well funded with less than a third the cash-on-hand as the incumbent.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?id=CA10&cycle=2014

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The House Democratic campaign arm is running Spanish-language advertisements against GOP incumbents on immigration in the wake of votes on the border crisis.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced Monday that they were airing Web advertisements geared toward Spanish-speaking voters in districts with large Hispanic populations.

    The DCCC is targeting six incumbent House Republicans in the online push: Reps. Jeff Denham (Calif.), Joe Heck (Nev.), David Valadao (Calif.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Steve Pearce (N.M.) and Mike Coffman (Colo.). Valadao, Coffman and Grimm are considered among the most vulnerable House Republicans this election cycle

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/214258-dems-seize-political-opportunity-in-house-border-votes#ixzz3AlinzaXD
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    joe Reply:

    2011-212 Jeff Denham sicced the GAO at HSR.

    http://www.marinij.com/ci_19588707
    Congressional Republicans on Tuesday escalated their case against the California high-speed rail program, with calls for an independent audit by a nonpartisan watchdog agency.

    The GAO seems likely to heed the request, whose backers include Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Fresno, and two House committee chairmen in addition to McCarthy. Separately, McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to mandate a GAO study.

    The Republicans’ request identifies seven specific areas for investigation. For instance, the lawmakers want the GAO’s assessment of the “accuracy of ridership projections” prepared by California high-speed rail planners.

    The positive April 2013 GAO review helped to shut up critics. For one, the GAO concluded the ridership model and revenue estimates were state of art and will be improving as the project advanced.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/29/187296/calif-high-speed-rail-report-fuels.html

    http://www.america2050.org/2013/04/gao-report-validates-california-high-speed-rail-project.html
    The report found that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has produced “reasonable” ridership and revenue forecasts in its Revised 2012 Business Plan, while also pointing out that the project’s cost estimates could be improved and that future funding for the project remains uncertain. Jeff Morales, CEO of the Authority, called the GAO’s report, “an important validation from a highly respected government watchdog.” “This is a very good, very strong, report card.” Dan Richard, board chairman of the Authority said. “It’s not straight A’s, but we will aspire to improve in the areas where the GAO tells us we can do much better.”

    Alan Reply:

    For the record, here’s a link to an AP story which mentions Denham’s role in instigating STB oversight of the HSR project:

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_23834195/feds-say-environmental-law-does-not-apply-california

    There’s a pattern here… Denham asks for a GAO review; GAO gives HSR a good review. Denham asks the STB to stop the HSR project; STB grants approval for construction on two segments (thus far)… Maybe we should urge Denham to sign onto the TROLLDEF suit against CARB. With his luck that’ll get the case tossed before trial–not that the suit has any merit to begin with…

    Joe Reply:

    Denham’s constituents ride ACE to San Jose.
    He’s been AWOL on influencing HSR to help his constituents.

    As Drunk Engineer mentions, the alignment isn’t suited to commuters from Modesto. He’s done nothing.

    Denham will try to pit ACE against HSR. That is to accuse HSR of starving ACE. He’s quite vulnerable in 2016.

    Eric Reply:

    Maybe we should try to teach Denham about the wonders of Altamont…

  9. les
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 11:24
    #9

    A little off subject, but I’m curious to know to what extent the US should subsidize HSR? We don’t want to be like on overbuilt Spain system (3rd largest HSR nextwork in world after China and Japan) and subsidize out systems dearly, and I doubt if every line can be like Lyons-Paris and pay for itself. But I don’t think Congress should freak if ridership projections don’t appear high enough to payoff RIFF loans. So far the Las Vegas line has been cancelled and now maybe Florida’s 3rd attempted HSR will fine the same fate. It just shows how important Obama’s seed money was and how we can’t let goons like Denham dictate policy. Airports and highways receive billions in subsidies why not a little love for HSR too. http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/bill-posey-and-patrick-murphy-team-against-all-aboard-florida

    Alon Levy Reply:

    None. Intercity travel is not a core necessity that the government needs to subsidize, and although it’s a market failure (huge capital costs lead to natural monopolies), the government can run it profitably.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Concur in part, dissent in part….

    HSR can’t be subsidized operationally unless you want a real inefficient product. I agree with Alon that regional rail should be subsidized to ensure adequate service. However, in the US, there is a a strong bias against government enterprises being run for profit, so it’s more likely that airlines get into the HSR game and leave low speed rail to Amtrak.

    joe Reply:

    Subsidy is a religious decision. Define the system that is subsidized. Draw a boundary around the fare box and operation costs and you miss measuring the full benefits. Draw a bigger box and measure the full benefits. Then layer on top what is the role of government.

    When Alon writes intern city travel is not a core necessity he’s directly contradicting a core responsibility delegated to the United States government.

    Inter city travel has been subsidized since the US was a small nation. It keeps us united and allows us a high quality of life for a middle class. We have a right to move about the nation freely and to have it affordable.

    From the early highways to the policies that established our railroads to the highway systems we all drive and depend. All subsidized.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    For once I mostly agree joe. The problem I see though is that inefficient managements use the “they all lose money” excuse to hide them own failure and shortcomings.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    their own

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Every time I point out that the US subsidized intercity travel specifically as a genocidal imperial policy, you flame me. So of course now you just say the US has always subsidized intercity travel.

    The railroads in the US that were built to connect established cities were not subsidized. There was cutthroat competition on markets like New York-Chicago, since there were multiple private companies that built infrastructure on their own dime, leading to frequent bankruptcies. In the UK, where all cities preexisted, there was private funding as well. The parts of the US rail network that relied on federal subsidies are precisely the ones that existed for nationalist goals like the Manifest Destiny genocide rather than for economic development goals.

    joe Reply:

    Every time I point out that the US subsidized intercity travel specifically as a genocidal imperial policy, you flame me.

    The parts of the US rail network that relied on federal subsidies are precisely the ones that existed for nationalist goals like the Manifest Destiny genocide rather than for economic development goals.

    That’s why you get flamed. You write such childish things and your standards to make this interpretation apply to every tribe/society/nation state on the face of the earth.

    A rail subsidy is totally dependent on the way the costs and benefits are measured. A subsidy can include bestowing power and priority to the development of a ROW.

    Bankruptcies are better explained by economic swings related to the unregulated financial market including multiple currencies issued by differing banks.

    Joshua Cranmer Reply:

    The B&O railroad was funded by, in part, at least $3 million in stock subscription from Maryland (that’s only one of the issuances; I’ve forgotten the total). Another stock subscription was partly funded by Virginia. I call that US government subsidy, although it’s admittedly not a federal subsidy–in the 1820s and 1830s, the prevailing view was that the states should be funding internal improvements, not the federal government.

    Of course, if you want a federal subsidy to the B&O railroad, how about the waiver of duties on imported iron rail? The B&O got that by claiming (probably truthfully) that there weren’t enough rolling mills in the country that could produce rail in the quantity that the B&O needed. The B&O also used Army engineers to survey the line, they being the only civil engineers in the country.

    Oh, I almost forgot. The B&O was also exempted from taxes in Maryland. It kept that exemption for over 150 years.

    I write about the B&O railroad only because I recently read an early history of that railroad. It is by no means the only railroad to receive such largesse: see http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/rrhtml/rrintro.html. The first railroad in the US was built with government subsidies to compete with canals built with government subsidies. Later railroads would be built with subsidies to compete with other railroads, built with subsidies.

    StevieB Reply:

    Railroad Land Grant subsidies were first used in 1850 for the Illinois Central from the southern tip of Illinois to the northwest corner. The checkerboard land grant system had previously been used to build canals in Indiana. The railroad was built for economic development as were many land grant railroads subsequently built throughout the area of the Louisiana Purchase.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The land grant system was, too, a tool of encouraging westward migration; the Feds’ primary concern was filling all the land they’d gotten with white settlers, and not raising per capita income or anything like that.

    joe Reply:

    A concern was to occupy the land since there were multiple claims to the land form other European powers.

    The idea these were policies for white settlers comes from your 21st century reinterpretation of “white”. What do mean “white”.

    The government motivation to encourage people to go west was personal economic gain – the polices encouraged people acquire land and wealth – economic motivations.

    StevieB Reply:

    There was a strong faction in the 19th century that set policies for white settlers. The feeling is evidenced by Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in a speech to Congress on January 4, 1848 on the question of annexing Mexico after winning the Mexican-American War .

    “We have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race…”

    Joe Reply:

    Calhoun set policy for the confederacy. This is the most extreme and racist segment of the Senate that argued States could nullify law. He beat a Mass Senator senseless with a cane on the senate floor. So no this Ass did not speak for the Union. He was arguing southern interests.

    Many Irish fought with the Mexicans and with the Nego because they were not white.
    White wasn’t what you think in today’s language.

    The US settled land to occupy and own it over British Russian and Spanish / Mexican claims. The west was pro union. Negro/black/ Irish went west.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Although I have to say I am deeply impressed with the degree of knowledge everyone has about the woebegon 19th century, both Alon and Joe are on the wrong track (no pun intended).

    The US originally sold federal land to settlers as a way to pay off war debt incurred by the American Revolution and to stabilize US currency. The problem was that it was never possible to ensure in those early days that settlers would actually be able to acquire enough hard currency to benefit the US government. So Washington would periodically offer settlers amnesty on land grants.

    However, during the 1830s, a new problem emerged: Andrew Jackson had let the charter of the Bank of US expire and simultaneously demanded payment for US land sales in hard currency (Specie Circular). The Depression of 1837 ensued as it was clear that credit was wholly overextended and in 1841 Congress passed the Preemption Act to prevent States from trying to sell settlers lands from underneath them.

    Laws also prohibiting states to sell charters for incorporation also deprived the frontier of needed revenue and encouraged states to levy a property tax. The chief beneficiary were nascent railroad corporations who wanted a tax base to pay for improvements in places with little or no government organization.

    Finally in the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln, as a lobbyist for the Illinois Central, hit upon the idea of issuing land grants to railroad corporations as loans (common misperception). The railroads could then go into areas devoid of human settlement, because the federal government allowed them to develop it as they went. Rest is history as they say, as the Pacific Railway Act incoprorated this tactic into national transportation policy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The other way around, really. The US first secured legal control of land within the European power system, by treaty (to the Mississippi), purchase (the Louisiana and Gadsden Purchases), or conquest (the Mexican Cession), and then settled it. The only places where settlement came first were Oregon County and Texas. And in Texas, this was about expanding slavery, hardly a compelling US interest. It’s the UK that settled Canada westward to avoid American encroachment. And every place settlement happened, there were preexisting Native Americans, and they were ethnically cleansed, killed off, or herded to reservations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When most people’s career options are farm hand or farmer giving people free land so they can move from being a farm hand to being a farmer is a way to raise their income.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    By the way… Spain’s AVE network is overbuilt, but RENFE still almost breaks even on intercity travel, counting both high- and low-speed trains. SNCF+RFF and DB are profitable. They all get subsidies to run regional trains, but that’s different from intercity trains. In the US, they wouldn’t even have the same logo: intercity trains have an Amtrak logo, regional ones have a state or regional agency logo (Caltrain, Metrolink, etc.) even if Amtrak runs them by contract.

    Reality Check Reply:

    The Economist: TGVs struggling to stay in the black — most lines running at a loss

    The 480 [TGVs] that radiate around France from Paris are struggling to remain in the black. Most of the lines are running at a loss and even the profitable ones are not earning enough to cover their cost of capital. This is forcing SNCF, France’s state-owned railway, to consider taking the axe to what has been a rare symbol of French technical and business success.

    Traffic peaked at 45 billion passenger kilometres (passengers times journey length) three years ago and results for the first half of this year show profits for SNCF Voyages (the part of the state rail group running TGVs) falling by a third to €259m ($347m) as revenues dropped 3% and the firm’s profit margin declined from 11.4% to 8.1% (three years ago this number stood at over 14%). Shortly before these disappointing results came out, Les Echos, a French business daily, was leaked the outlines of top management thinking on how to deal with what is now clearly a threat to business as usual for TGVs.

    […]

    joe Reply:

    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/03/economic-case-rail-subsidies/5007/
    One argument against government rail subsidies is that public transportation should pay for its own costs through fares. Setting aside the fact that road users don’t pay their own costs either, cities should certainly strive for user-pay transit systems with high farebox recovery rates. At the same time, many benefits of rail travel come from reducing road externalities — things like pollution or safety hazards — that are harder to calculate in strict financial terms.

    Germany recouped its public investment in rail through environmental and public health savings alone.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    “One argument against government rail subsidies is that public transportation should pay for its own costs through fares.”

    Um… Repeating the claim as the argument isn’t an argument. I’m surprised The Atlantic’s editors let that get through.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Charging transportation costs to users may be a worthy goal, but others benefit also. Until the BART bond issue passed in 1962, San Francisco had only two buildings over a dozen floors tall. Once the voters approved the BART bonds, high rise transformed the city’s commercial core.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, this is why I said RFF+SNCF. As noted by the Economist, track usage fees are increasing. As not noted by the Economist, RFF has a monopoly on infrastructure, whereas soon SNCF will not have a monopoly on running trains because of EU-mandated open access. The French state is just making sure to keep all the profit in state-owned companies so that it wouldn’t leak to Veolia, DB, etc.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    However, the other operators have to pay the same access fees, as these fees must be non-discriminatory by law. In any case, I don’t expect lots of non-SNCF operators coming up with much competitive services; see how much of a failure the German long-distance services competing against DB are.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Max,

    That is Alon’s point. The French government is raising track access fees, in order to make competition with SNCF … nonprofitable; or more accurately, pointless. SNCF can operate at breakeven (or even below); RFF will still make money. Multi-national corporations do this too; it’s called “transfer pricing”. (Hardly surprising that _The Economist_ missed that connection.)

    Corporations do it to avoid tax. France does it for the reasons Alon gives — and possibly for reasons of national prestige. And maybe to keep the rail-operator jobs at SNCF, and thus largely held by French voters.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s similar to how now network TV requires cable companies to pay them a “retransmission fee” for adding it to their programming stream over cable. It’s about avoiding risk.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you watch French tv you will see the coverage is on freeway bottlenecks during the August mass vacations. My take is that the SNCF has taken some licks due to the CGT strikes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When visiting parents, my hobby is to look at the license plate of each car and see how many are tourists. Surprisingly, this summer I didn’t see any Paris-area plates. Lots of random numbers, but few 9xs and no 75s.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    In my very touristy hometown, there are now (mid August) quite a few cars from the Ile-de-France (which is a superset of 9x and 75). But they are still outnumbered by Belgians and Dutch.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Reminds me of Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Tati#Les_Vacances_de_Monsieur_Hulot_.28Mr._Hulot.27s_Holiday.29

    JB in PA Reply:

    The comic railway station platform scene in Mr. Hulot reminds me of Caltrain. But it is not funny when you arrive at a Caltrain station and watch your train leave because of the barriers to access.

    Reedman Reply:

    Look at what subsidies California finds important. Specifically, CA presently offers $100 million in annual subsidies to film/video production (awarded on a lottery basis) to try to stem “runaway production”. It has now been proposed to increase the annual subsidy to $400 million, to compete with other states/countries which offer subsidies. The argument in Sacramento is that movies create jobs, good jobs, and those jobs are important enough to take money from taxpayers to subsidize those jobs (i.e. “Hollywood” belongs in Hollywood).

  10. les
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 12:04
    #10

    So your saying the Las Vegas line should not have been cancelled and it would have covered its RIFF obligations?

    “Congressman Ryan and Sen. Sessions, had written a a joint letter dated March 7 to Secretary LaHood characterizing the taxpayer risks as untenable”

    http://environmentblog.ncpa.org/las-vegas-high-speed-rail-federal-loan-application-on-indefinite-suspension/

    StevieB Reply:

    Congressman Ryan and Sen. Sessions based their letter on a Reason Foundation report on Las Vegas high-speed rail. Reason foundation high-speed rail reports are highly suspect since Florida Governor Rick Scott used a Reason report that was widely disparaged to base his decision to cancel Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Some “Reason” reports may be suspect but so was the business plan of XpressWest. That is why the author of this blog and others do the cause no good service by statements such as “High Speed Rail makes money”. There is no way that Victorville to Las Vegas made sense and the FRA, and Reason Foundation and a lot of other people agree.

    joe Reply:

    I never saw XpressWest’s full business plan – was it published?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I refer to the data incorporated into the FRA loan application

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think that is what killed the project. I think it was the fact that Republicans in Congress have successfully pit HSR projects at the state level against Amtrak, and the number of Senators that want Amtrak to survive is higher than the number of Represenatives in the House that are pulling for HSR.

    Remember that for a long time the Southern California Association of Governments was pushing not steel wheel HSR for Los Angeles to Las Vegas but maglev…and they wanted an Anaheim to Victorville to LV alignment. My guess is when Marnell and others starting pitching their concept to politicians in Southern California, they found a big advocate in Antonovich who in turn, wanted to make sure that the Desert Xpress alignment would be compatible with his High Desert Corridor project.

    Thus, by ending at Victorville, you hedge your bets as to which route ultimately takes you into the LA Basin.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Except by ending at Victorville the project isn’t built….Not much of a bet.

    les Reply:

    I think it is insane that the Republicans are holding HSR to a higher standard then what it took to get Air travel going in this country. “In 1992, Prof. Stephen Paul Dempsey of the University of Denver estimated that the current replacement value of the U.S. commercial airport system-virtually all of it developed with federal grants and tax-free municipal bonds-at $1 trillion.”

    http://www.trainweb.org/moksrail/advocacy/resources/subsidies/transport.htm

  11. Keith Saggers
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 14:47
    #11
  12. jimsf
    Aug 16th, 2014 at 19:41
    #12

    The Merced extension would pass north of the existing Lathrop/Manteca ACE station where it will cross existing railroad tracks and then curve to the southwest for the stop at the 11,000 homes planned on River Islands and a new Tracy station.

    New trains would

    travel at 125 mph

    Existing ACE trains would be replaced with diesel multiple units.

    The current ACE diesel locomotives can pull eight coaches max with the train length affecting acceleration and braking performance. The top seed is 70 mph.

    The diesel multiple units can reach a top speed of between 110 and 125 mph since each train is self-propelled. Performance is not impacted by train length

    It would cost $161 million to extend ACE train service along the existing Union Pacific Railroad corridor through Manteca and into downtown Manteca as part of the first phase. The project includes 20.3 miles of track to essentially double track the corridor from Lathrop to downtown Modesto. The doubling tracking would cost $40.6 million for construction while the 250 acres of right-of-way required is expected to cost $50 million. Structures- such as bridges – would add another $30 million while a signal system would cost $40.6 million.

    Double tracking is deemed essential due to the heavy freight train movement on the UP line. Working on one track would make commute times longer as freight movements would slow down passenger service.

    Moving forward at the same time is the $77 million capital improvement project to the Altamont Pass corridor. The project being funded in part with $38.5 million in Measure K sales tax receipts would initially shave 10 minutes each way off the current commute from Stockton to San Jose that averages an hour and 40 minutes one-way.

    Additional improvements that are eligible for funding from the state high speed rail bonds would further enhance the Altamont Pass crossing. Currently trains go as slow as 25 mph at some points due to curving tracks. A straighter shot designed to accommodate high speed trains could get the running time between Stockton and San Jose down to 55 minutes.

    joe Reply:

    http://mcnerney.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/mcnerney-introduces-bill-to-create-new-rail-project-for-altamont-0

    Apr 10, 2014 Press Release
    Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) introduced The Altamont Corridor Rail Improvement Act of 2014 to help fund the ACEForward rail program, which will expand rail service between the Central Valley and the Bay Area.

    The Altamont Corridor Rail Project would establish a dedicated eighty-five mile track for passenger rail services, with a capacity to carry 35,000 people each way. The train would potentially cut the commute time between Stockton and San Jose in half.

    The legislation introduced by Rep. McNerney authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to provide up to $450 million in grants over the next decade for preliminary engineering, final design and construction of the Altamont Corridor Rail Project.

    jimsf Reply:

    If they are going to use DMU they should buy the same ones that SMART is buying and share the order.

    Winston Reply:

    SMART is buying terrible DMUs, slow, overweight and expensive to build and operate. BART made a much better choice for eBART going with modern equipment. Hopefully ACE does likewise.

    jimsf Reply:

    well why dont they all get together and choose one, and all use the same one

    Joey Reply:

    One of life’s persistent mysteries.

    Jonathan Reply:

    well why dont they all get together and choose one, and all use the same one

    jimsf, that would result in much, much lower payment to the private engineering consulting frms who actually make the decisions. (The various JPBs just rubber-stamp the engineering consultants’s reports).

    Richard M. may have the tact of a toddler throwing a tantrum, but his model *does* have explanatory and predictive power.

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t believe that eBART has to be FRA-compatible. SMART does.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    LTK Engineering Services decided in a “study” that SMART ought to be FRA compliant and high platform.

    LTK Engineering Services, by an amazing coincidence, was subsequently awarded a contract by SMART to “design” the Unique Special Californian Conditions DMU suited to the special “requirements” revealed of the LTK Engineering Services “analysis”.

    LTK Engineering Services is, of course, Caltrain’s World Class EMU procurement consultant.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Could it be that this “study” has been created before the new crashworthyness policy of FRA, allowing mixed operation of modern DMUs and freight?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Yes. But how is that relevant to Richard’s point? That (Bay Area) rail transit agencies have no in-house engineering competence; that they contract that competence out; which results in the contractors making decisions wich are sub-optimal for the transit agency; but which maximize the amount of “contracting” required?

    Max, just how do new FRA crashworthiness intersect with deciding on 51in-tall platforms, and crazy US gauntlet tracks?? Level boarding, okay; but a platform height of 129.54 cm isn’t even the same height as the NEC!!

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I was just thinking of the crashworthyness, not the other issues.

    But I agree about the dismal engineering competence of the transit agencies; with that, consultants run the show, and things may get suboptimal and more expensive…

    It might be worthwhile to look up the platform heights in Japan… could be 130 cm…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The cars used on the NEC have a platform height of 48″ and a floor height that’s nominally 51″. I think that’s where it comes from?

    Shinkansen platforms are 125 cm.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Alon, you may well be right. Reports say the platform height is 51in ATOR, and level boarding (ADA compatbility).

    Are you saying that the 4in NEC platform height *doesn’t* give level boarding? The actual floor height is 76mm higher?

    Clem Reply:

    There is no such thing as a fixed floor height, since suspensions sag under load and wheels wear to a smaller diameter. 51 inches on the NEC is with unloaded suspension and new wheels. Under normal operating conditions you eventually get level boarding.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, a secondary suspension using air bags allows to keep the floor level at the same height independent of the load in the car, and it is possible to do that as well with wheel wear.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Clem seems to be saying that NEC passenger rolling stock doesn’t have secondary airbag suspension.
    I recall NZ rolling-stock built in Hungary, in the 1970s, which had airbag suspension.
    Or maybe the NEC rolling stock doesn’t have individual car control of the airbags. I dunno.

    I’m pretty sure the Minden-Deutz MD52-derived bogies on Superliner Is have airbags ;)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No, Max, it wasn’t.

    http://www2.sonomamarintrain.org/userfiles/file/Vehicle%20LTK%20Study%20for%20web.pdf

    A truly classic example of fitting the “facts” to match the conclusion.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, doing their finest on their own behalf.
    They really all deserve to die in a fiery head-on FRA-to-FRA train collision caused by CBOSS.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Interesting document.

    Kind of catching that FRA compliant leads to almost 50% higher fuel consumption, with all its consequences…

    William Reply:

    No Richard, you should blame Stadler for submitting a bid that’s over $30 Million higher than Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo’s bid, a figure that still saves ~$20 Million after taking 30-years worth of fuel price into account.

    Joey Reply:

    William: and what about maintenance and rail wear?

    Marc Reply:

    William, you obviously are a newbie, the correct way to do this is to argue that a not yet built, FRA and Buy-America compliant Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo DMU will inevitably cost twice as much as off the shelf Stadler wonder machine, then when Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo actually manages to build and start delivering such a DMU for far less than the Stadler’s bid for non-FRA and non-Buy America units, insist that they are klunky and not cheap enough. Expert transit bloggers and commenters know that one can only be aroused by the Swiss elegance of Stadler products. You may safely ignore the fact that other transit operators in North America are also finding the Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo units to be a good deal, these operations are obviously run by complete idiots.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No Richard, you should blame Stadler for submitting a bid that’s over $30 Million higher than Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo’s bid

    William, I know that decades of feeding on MTC causes profound and irreversible brain damage, but you’re approaching “Joe”/”jimsf”‘/”zorro” levels of incoherence here. Careful, son.

    LTK Engineering Services, Inc, gamed the bidding criteria so that anybody who proposed a non-FRA, non-LTK “assisted” bid was on the hook for all the regulatory work that LTK Engineering Services dba SMART had not only failed to do but outright refused to do.

    Controlling criteria of the “open” bidding process is the oldest game in the book. Excluding “foreign”, or just plain post-19th-century, technology by huge and artificial outright anti-competitive barriers to entry is very standard and very profitable operating practice.

    Just ask PBQD, Bechtel, and Tutor-Saliba.

    joe Reply:

    Shorter “Please be my friend or I’ll wish you to the corn field to join everyone else.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    SMART exists to provide NCRA-NWP and Doug Bosco with a free track rebuild.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Then why is Doug Bosco complaining vociferously about SMART removing customer spurs, passing truacsk, switches, and the 15mph speed-restrictions imposed by SMART gauntlet tracks?

    synonymouse Reply:

    They did not keep a tight enough choke collar on Mansourian.

    Bosco is going to run into yuppy-trendy opposition to his exploitation schemes and the grain elevators represent most of NWP business. Not enough.

    NWP should have complained when they opted for 115lb rail. This thing will fester for years.

    Jonathan Reply:

    So it’s all a conspiracy theory to benefit big, rich, established players. Except when it doesn’t, which you explain away as public servants getting “out of hand”. Egad, that public servant is probably a member of a union, and therefore inherently lazy and evil.

    But wait, maybe it’s *not* a conspiracy after all? Did you ever think of that?

    And what’s wrong with 60 kg/m rail for running DMUs? Even an obese, dog-slow-acceleration DMU? Are you saying that isn’t heavy enough for US drag freight? Where does *that* leave your conspiracy-theory that SMART is a boondoggle to give PNW a free track rebuild?

    “SMART is just a scam to provde NCRA-NWP with a free track rebuild. Except the free track is too light for freight! NWP should have complained!!”

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a developing situation and Bosco has his enemies. I don’t think there is much future for agriculture in Sonoma Co. apart from trendy wine grapes. The grain elevators will go in time, especially if they catch fire again.

    136lb is more durable for a low maintenance freight operation. SMART will prove disappointing and after much kvetching and trying to poach bus subsides I assume some changes will occur. BART, of course, wants standard gauge OC to fail. The legacy of the Bechtels and B. R. Stokes must be nurtured at all costs.

    Eric M Reply:

    synonymouse,

    Seriously, how many times do you need to be told the the weight of the rail is not the only factor when building a railroad. There are other things, such as the types of rail, like head-hardened, which SMART uses. The type of crossties (SMART uses concrete), the distance between the crossties, the type and size of ballast, the grade and subgrade.

    115lb rail is more than enough for SMART and NWP and will last 100 years before needing replacement, with or without an increase in freight. No need for 136lb rail, so please educate yourself and stop going on about 115lb rail not being adequate. Enough is enough!!

    synonymouse Reply:

    136lb had proven itself well for the NWP under SP management. And my presumption is that NCRA-NWP would have preferred wooden ties as well for what is effectively a short line. No surprises.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I may be wrong syn but I very much doubt the NWP had 136 pound rail. That is a fairly recent standard. There was a lot of 90 pound around on secondary lines when I was at SP. I can find out of you are an enquiring mind and are sitting on the edge of your bar stool for an answer.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When they did new stuff in later years, ca 1970. For instance Lakeville Hwy at Washington by what is now the CVS drugstore.

    I dunno about the extensive Morrison Knudsen rebuild after the disaster of winter 1964. It was very expensive for the SP(believe around $150mil) so maybe they cheaped out.

    To quote the geriatric dons in “Casino”,” Why take a chance?” Rail can never be too heavy but it sure as hell can be too light.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Lakeville in Petaluma.

    Eric M Reply:

    Paul, I have a couple of pictures of the old rail and it was 132lb from the 50’s and 60’s.

    synonymouse, give me a break about NWP preferring wood ties. As for 130+lb rail, the process of making steel has evolved and some of the 115lb rail made today is better than 130+lb rail 60 years ago. What the NWP has was a hodgepodge of rail from all over SP’s map. The new track and subgrade is above and beyond what has been there for decades.

    Just stop the BS.

    Eric M Reply:

    Paul, I meant to add there were various weights of rail up and down the line. Not just 130+lb

    Eric M Reply:

    synonymouse,

    The tracks in front of CVS were replaced as part of the Cirty of Petaluma Flood Control project during the period of 1997 and 2008. Not the 1970’s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Eric M

    Naah. That track was replaced when the shopping center was built, at least before 1979. What you are referring to is just the switch and the loop into Dairymens Feed. The rail just north of Washington has been there for decades.

    136lb rail looks good. A lot better than SMART’s homely-ass torpedo front doodlebugs.

    To quote Bo Diddly, SMART’s sorry stuff looks like “it’s been whooped with an ugly stick.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    “As for 130+lb rail, the process of making steel has evolved and some of the 115lb rail made today is better than 130+lb rail 60 years ago.”

    Is that the same great steel incorporated into the Bayconic Bridge? You don’t even need to bother testing it. Yeah.

    Michael Reply:

    Syn- the grain silos are for inbound grain, feed, not outbound grain. The cows of West Marin and Sonoma will be around for a long time.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ag in the NorthBay is in steady decline, including chickens and cattle. Yuppification and real estate exploitation. See your dude Brown about real estate development aka sprawl.

    Not enough traffic to justify a shortline. But, hey, OPM.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    You technical guys maybe bursting with Knowledge, but your not very good teachers, what the f… is a guantlet track?

    Clem Reply:

    It’s fucking 2014. Look it up by typing it into Google.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Will that tell me how it relates to problems with SMART?

    Eric M Reply:

    Gauntlet Track

    Eric M Reply:

    And California Public Utilities Commission General Order 26-D, because SMART is planning for level boarding alongside freight trains.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Eric:

    CPUC General Order 26-D, Sec 3 “Side Clearances” p.3, subsec 3.1 – 3.2:

    Minimum side clearances from center line of tangent standard gauge railroad and streetcar tracks, which are used or proposed to be used for transporting freight cars, except as in hereinafter prescribed, shall be as shown below.

    3.1
    description

    Jonathan Reply:

    I really, really *hate* the crappy user-interface on this blog. Click to proof a paragraph, misclick by a few millimetres, and it gets published. no edit, no review. Crappy.

    Jonathan Reply:

    CPUC General Order 26-D, Sec 3 “Side Clearances” p.3, subsec 3.1 – 3.2:

    3.1 Minimum side clearances from center line of tangent standard gauge railroad and streetcar tracks, which are used or proposed to be used for transporting freight cars, except as in hereinafter prescribed, shall be as shown below.

    3.2 All structures and obstructions above the top of the rail except those hereinafter explicitly mentioned… 8 ft 6in. (note: pipes, warning signs, and similar obstructions should have a side clearance of ten (10) feet).

    3.3 Platforms eight (8) inches or less above top of rail … 4 ft 8 in.

    [….]

    So. If SMART is laying tangent track next to high platforms, with diverging gauntlet tracks for freight, SMART is in violation of CPUC GO 26-D.

    (Apologies for not formatting as the original. have no clue if this piece-of-shit blog software allows tables, and since it doesn’t have either an Edit or a Preview functionality, I’m not even going to try.)

    Eric M Reply:

    SMART is moving freight away from the platforms, not towards them.

    Eric Reply:

    There are many good things about the user interface here. Physically compact comment layout. No waiting for external sites to load. Threads exist. Usernames work easily and transparently.

    It would be a good idea to have a “preview” button in place of the “submit” button, and once you see the preview, it turns in to a “submit” button. Or something like that.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My only complaint is that the textbox’s default width stays the same even if it’s a deeply nested comment, so it runs off to the right. TIL it can be resized, though!

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Heck, the only thing I want is a New Comments feature.

    Oh and an Ignore feature would be useful for synonymous. At least most of the other negative nellies have arguments that seem to logically devolve from some reasonable perspective.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Eric M:

    SMART is moving freight away from the platforms, not towards them.

    What CPUC GO 26-D regulates is the side clearance of tangent track. If SMART has tangent track that allows level boarding, and gauntlet tracks which move freight away from the level-boarding platform on diverging track, then SMART is in violation of CPUC GO 26-D.

    William Reply:

    BART is paying $58 Million for 8 Stadler GTW DMUs, or about $7.25 Million per car. If configured similar to what Dallas has, Stadler GTW DMU seats 109 and stands 96. It takes minimal one car to make up a train.
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_25638066/bart-awards-58-1-contract-supply-ebart-cars

    SMART is paying $3.3 Million per car for the FRA Tier 1 compliant Nippon Sharyo DMU. It takes minimal two cars with cab at each end to make up a train, and each car seats 79 and stands 80, so a minimal length train seats 158 and stands 160.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Initial investment is one thing, but how would these vehicles look if you compare Total Livecycle Cost? I would not be surprised if the SMART DMUs have higher operating costs (mainly fuel), and that melts away the price difference quite fast…

    William Reply:

    SMART did find that compare to Nippon Sharyo DMU, Stadler GTW would save about $10 Million on fuel over 30 years, too small to offset the higher cost

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That would be roughly the equivalent for 20 trains (not units) (assuming that SMART runs two-unit trains).

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Choosing to run SMART as an FRA service entails a lot of other costs, not just fuel. Gauntlet tracks, FRA operating practices, quiet zones for grade crossings, etc, etc.

    Jonathan Reply:

    gauntlet tracks? False.
    Gauntlet tracks are mandated by CPUC General Order 26-D, not the FRA.
    And GO 26-D is important: we have to safeguard train-crew riding on the ouside of trains, and regulate the wooden gantries used to dump huge blocks of ice into wooden non-mechanical (ice-cooled) refrigerator cars.

    Could SMART really have kicked NWP off the line? I guess a cynic might say that building the gauntlet tracks with a *15 mph* speed-restriction was aimed at doing just that. Why on earth don’t the SMART DMUs take the gauntlet tracks at stations, and leave freight on the non-diverging track??
    The DMUs stop at stations, the freights don’t.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Why would CPUC require gauntlet track if there is no freight?

    Jonathan Reply:

    What magic pixie dust are you going to use, to get rid of PNW’s perpetual freight easement and freight service? Even Caltrain’s waiver for time-separated EMU operation still has to meet CPUC General Order 26-D.

    Please, let’s keep this reality-based.

    Eric M Reply:

    Jonathan, this talk about the gauntlet track has gone on at other forums as well and people are quick to blame SMART and Herzog. I don’t think people are really putting any thought into why they are installed the way they are.

    Currently, the gauntlet tracks installed from Petaluma south through Novato (at least to Ignacio wye. No gauntlets south of there) are having what people perceive as the correct installation. The gauntlet moves the SMART train to the platform, so the freight can pass (because of the CPUC order). North of Petaluma, people are accusing SMART of installing them backwards and incorrect. I don’t think that is the case. North of Petaluma, there is basically zero freight. So why not keep SMART trains parallel with the platform to keep wear and maintenance on both cars and switches to a minimum and move the freight around the platform at 15 mph, which again, is basically none north of Petaluma.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Eric,

    *If* there was a contract which says who gets to pay to replace the 25 km/hr turnouts with longer, higher-speed turnouts when and if freight traffic rises, I’d buy that argument. Or even a precedent.

    And what if SMART wants to run express or limited service? “Oops”.

    Eric M Reply:

    No need to raise the speed of the gauntlet track for a carload or two of freight a week north of Petaluma.

    As for SMART running expresses, they still can. It is the CPUC order that must leave clearance for freight, not passenger carriages. SMART train-sets can roll right through the stations, gauntlet track or not. No need for extra clearance as no one will be hanging on the side of SMART trains.

    William Reply:

    Stadler GTW would still require gauntlet tracks as its floor height is ~24” per CPUS GO 26d, so it makes no difference here in picking a 48” platform height per Nippon Sharyo DMU, or Stadler GTW

    Joey Reply:

    The gauntlet tracks and platform height are separate issues, but they’re both terrible decisions.

    William Reply:

    Unless there is a concerted effort to resolve the conflicting requirements between ADA and CPUC GO 26-D, local and state agencies will not spend time and money to petition for a change of the regulation and/or risk being sued by freight railroads. 48” platforms and gauntlet tracks is the path of least resistance for new passenger services on existing rail lines.

    Joey Reply:

    William: There has thus far been zero effort to fix the problem, even though every indication is that the CPUC would yield without a fight if someone in a position of power actually bothered to say something about it.

    And I don’t see how platform height has anything do with it.

    Jonathan Reply:

    William,

    According to the BART press release, BART cars cost two and a half times what BART is paying for the Stadler DMUs. On that score, the Stadler GTW 2/6 is a good deal. And they have significantly better acceleration than the clunky Nippon Sharyo FRA-compatible DMUs. Important, for a short-haul operation like eBART.

    William Reply:

    @Jonathan, I don’t know if you meant the new Bombardier cars BART order in 2012, but BART paid $1.5 Billion for 775 cars, or about $1.95 Million per-car.
    http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2014/01/bart-orders-365-more-bombardier-railcars.aspx

    Unless I missed some fine-print, BART is paying $58 Million for 8 Stadler GTW 2/6 DMUs, or about $7.25 Million per car.
    http://www.stadlerrail.com/en/news/2014/04/26/stadler-rail-delivers-trains-to-oakland/

    Jonathan Reply:

    William: nitpick: the SMART DMUs are Tier-4 compliant, not Tier-1

    Jonathan Reply:

    Oops. My bad, William, my apologies. The DMUS are EPA Tier-4 compliant.

    William Reply:

    Metrolinx DMU, which only has some interior seat arrange difference from SMART cars to accommodate more luggages, underwent test and evaluation by Metra last weekend (8/8~8/10).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcBxWLAm3bU

    jimsf Reply:

    they should look forward and swtich to level boarding.

    Jonathan Reply:

    jimsf, who is “they”? MTC??

    Michael Reply:

    The right of way requirements work out (43,560sq-ft/acre * 250) / (20.3miles * 5280ft/mile) to just over a 100′ wide additional right of way. I believe it is possible to double track within the existing UP row, so why do they need an additional 100′ for the double tracking? Looks more like they anticipate a separate row for ACE.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Electrification

    jimsf Reply:

    and look the san joaquins have a slogan now who knew!

    Jerry Reply:

    So why does the San Joaquins slogan go to tell the customers to, “Check it Out online:” at the ACE Rail web site??

    jimsf Reply:

    the link is from the ace site. its pertaining to the new jpa

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The wave of the future. New JPAs puffing themselves up because now they have their own personal Lionel sets rather than having to play with Caltrans/Amtrak’s toys. Look out for more expensive logos and marketing campaigns that forget that this is supposed to be part of a statewide network. We’re going to have to be vigilant to prevent the worst excesses. Let’s see if they actually deliver any improvement in the service, improvement that was not already in the pipeline.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Bugger the logos and marketing campaigns. The real costs are in buying equipment from different vendors; custom, per-JPA design requirements; different platform heights (and thus floor heights, and designs). non-interoperability; dedicated spares pools for tiny, incompatible fleets; and so on.

    Someone with a brain, and patience, needs to agitate to get Metrolink *and* Caltrain *and* MTC to agree on a CA standard: Standard-gaug. Standardized level-boarding platform height, compatible with international standards. Standardized FRA-compatibile “localization” requirements (grab irons, and painting a big “F” on one end of each EMU/DMU trainset).

    And then get CPU-C to update GO 26-D to match those standards. Standards appropriate for the 1970s, not the 1920s. If that happened, there’d be no argument to *have* about platform heights and so on. Imagine the public utility and savings to be had! (Hello, Clem??)

    Clem Reply:

    Hello yourself. What have you been doing in your copious spare time?

    You seem not to understand the entrenched interests that develop in a free capitalist economy when large flows of public funding can readily be directed into private pockets. All actors act in their own best interest, which is rarely the interest of the public (we leave that stuff to Communists). Good luck in your quest to dismantle the Transit Industrial Complex.

    Jonathan Reply:

    And to you, with your quixotic endeavours.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Common standards, however, have their own drawbacks. They encourage the supplier to raise prices and acquire competitors to maintain their grip. Moreover, it also decreases the impetus for a supplier to innovate on either cost or quality.

    The bigger issue is that platform height varies and cities have so much power in California it is hard to rein this in. Still, all AB 1779 does is reinforce that Amtrak state supported routes are closer in range to commuter operations than statewide transportation.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Please explain how a standard platform height locks in any supplier, or prevents innovation?

    Same goes for painting an “F” on one end of a trainset, standards for grab-irons, etc, etc.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    First, there’s no reason for any sort of “standards” for lines like SMART, which are guaranteed to be isolated (for all practical purposes) and guaranteed to be low- to (at best) low-medium ridership forever, any more than there is any need to BART to be reguaged to 1435mm. It’s irrelevant.

    Moreover the fantasy of common state-wide or, god forbid, nation-wide rolling stock procurement is utterly wrong-headed, because the guaranteed result is that of excluding smaller and innovative suppliers, innovative solutions, and locking in forever the worst historical nonsense, because “the worst historical nonsense” is the only thing that the know-nothing state-wide and national railroad industry professional bureaucrats have ever know or could ever consider.

    At least with devolution to regional operators there’s a minute possibility that sanity might prevail. That was the case at SMART until LTK Engineering Services took over the agency and ensured that yesterday would be put in the future today. Likewise there was a possibility, at one time in the last decade, that Caltrain might have been modernized, rather than, as is the case, spending $2 billion of public money to continue to be a shitshow of Olde Tyme Commuter Railroading forever.

    With Californian or US-wide diktats on design procurement those ultra-crap outcomes are guaranteed, rather than being (as they are, absent the remote possibility of an informed public agency official not listening to America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals but instead serving the public interest) 75% likely.

    As for a “standard platform height”, at least the guaranteed wrong height, as advocated by America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, does indeed lock in suppliers (to those who don’t build in quantity based on flexible designs for the hugely larger European market) and does indeed actively prevent innovation, by locking (effectively) green field western US local, regional and inter-city rail into historical train and station configurations that are not only irrelevant but actively harmful.

    If you want to see what forcing adoption of stupid platform heights and not actively seeking out but instead actively locking out competent rolling stock suppliers does, check out something successful and useful such as the reactivated Venosta Valley (Merano to Malles) line in the the Alto Adige (Südtirol) of Italy. If you want to see the exact opposite, see SMART. There’s no regulatory of physical reason SMART couldn’t have been the former. It’s entirely and unambiguously due to shit-level rent-seeking olde tyme commuter railroading consultancies who seek to keep things in-house, un-competitive, expensive, useless, and crap forever.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Old Tyme Commuter Railroading would have been a credible option for SMART given that the insiders crafting policy had already limited themselves to doodlebugs or loco hauled. They have not got clue one in hell how this operation is going down. Their passenger counts, their fares, their connections, their long term funding are strictly vaporware. The question is how many months it will take SMART to blow thru the operating funds they have been stashing away.

    And they will probably have to go to the mat with their union like GGT in 1976(six months on strike). I anticipate some pretty severe buyers’ remorse and an eventual rapprochement with GGT and some focus shifted back to south of Larkspur.

    Once they had caved to the power brokers like Doug Bosco and his Island Mtn. scheme and to the nostalgia challenged NWP back-to- Eureka fanboys anything like modern transit was kaput. Might as well go with bare-bones, lo-ball loco hauled daycoaches.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Syn, quite so. There are unused Metrolink coaches parked outside LAUS. Plenty of used locos available for lease, use an old freight loco as a cab car if you have to. Responsible people would have done it on the cheap since it’s a high risk business. Buy new kit when you can justify it. Problem is that FTA and other geniuses will buy these morons new cars but won’t subsidize operations. Free cars vs higher fuel consumption? No brainer, so we see dumb choices like these “state of the art” dmus. To hell with the taxpayer.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    However, new rolling stock does get over-proportionally more passengers on the trains. This has been shown in several cases in Germany, where private operators took over rural lines. Of course, they did improve the timetables, but also got new DMUs (and, of course improved general operation, stations, etc.).

    Therefore, using run down super heavy, super inefficient hand-me-downs would be highly counter-productive.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Max, you can re-do the interiors and make them look like new. We’re not talking wooden seats here.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul. It’s not the same. I have seen what Sacramento Regional Transit calls “refurbishment” for its rolling stock.

    Michael Reply:

    The Comet cars on the San Joaquins are working just great!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    $100,000 plus about $500,000 for a re-do is not the same as $7 million, but its better than pissing money away. Readers of Steel Wheels and earlier posts may have seen my idea for the Comet cars.
    It’s easy to spend other people’s money, not so easy to give value for money. With used equipment you could put together multiple sets of equipment for the price of one, have spare capacity ready for growth and/or special events, and have it available in months instead of years.

    joe Reply:

    “It’s easy to spend other people’s money, not so easy to give value for money.”

    Yet you write with used equipment it is easy to give value.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Richard, Richard, Richard. You crossed over into Synonymouse territory, with the illogic and blindness of your reply to me.

    if California had standards, then the… (what was your charming term?) “rent-seeking mafioso” like LTK Engineering *COULD NOT* pick arbitrary and capricious platform-heights for each customer. They *could not* engage in the craft-the-requirements-to-maximze-consulting-fees-and-minimize-public-utility, which you explicitly call out.

    Clem has the brains to recognize that. I wish you did.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Paul Dyson writes:

    $100,000 plus about $500,000 for a re-do is not the same as $7 million

    That’s about what Amtrak California paid *per ex-Arrow/Comet IB car* Comparing that to ~$7m per two-car DMU trainset is mendacious.

    And with what is SMART going to haul these life-expired dinos? F40PHs leased from Caltrain??
    Or EPA Tier-IV compliant diesels?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    jonathan, seats per Bombardier bi-level (depending on pitch of course) about the same as for a two car SMART dmu, so comparison not mendacious. You are the one that brought Comet cars into that comparison, not me. I referred to the Metrolink cars parked at LAUS, Bombardier bi-levels. As for locomotives, F59PHs are available. If you want them cleaner they can be brought up to just below tier 4 with some retrofitting for about $2M or you can run them as is.
    You like the feel of Cummins diesels rumbling under your feet be my guest. I’d rather have loco hauled with those grade crossings. In my view SMART was always at best a marginal case for passenger rail. So start it off on the cheap, especially if you’re spending my money.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The wave of the future. New JPAs puffing themselves up because now they have their own personal Lionel sets rather than having to play with Caltrans/Amtrak’s toys

    You speak as if that is a bad thing.

    Some of the most interesting and innovative and successful rail operations in the world are conceived and financed and operated locally. Nothing wrong at all a glorified bus agency with local priorities getting into the locally-relevant, locally-useful rail passenger transportation business.

    In contrast, some of the crappiest rail operations in the world involve Amtrak or other hopeless national or mega-regional self-perpetuating hyper-ossified bureaucracies.

    Surfliners for the San Diego Trolley! They’re The Amtrak Californian Standard!

    Mattie F. Reply:

    As long as they stay more like San Diego (using off-the-shelf vehicles and standardizing as much as possible) than BART (designing completely new standards), right?

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Diego had its own money unlike SF with the Klauder fiasco and subsequent Boeing Vertol. I am sure Jack Woods would have liked to buy some Duwags straight from the factory but that was not politic.

    And the Duwags were underpowered, still used resistance switching, and the monomotor design did not meld with Muni maintenance.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I take SMART as my example.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The problem is, as you well know, that “light rail” in California is this highly amorphous product that imitates everything from a streetcar to a subway to all points in between.

    Although Richard downplays this, the issue with standard boarding platforms is that there are ADA requirements that affect “light rail” that tries to integrate new stations with stations that buttress existing streets and highways.

    What’s gotten lost in this thread (predictably), is that Amtrak devolved to States support and design for state-supported services in PRIIA. Not to be outdone, the Brown Administration has devolved state supported services in California to regional and local authorities because there is no Amtrak California service that spans the entire state.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Link please

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Meant for jimsf

    Aug 16th, 2014 at 19:41#12

  13. Keith Saggers
    Aug 17th, 2014 at 13:50
    #13

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/17/two-dead-arkansas-train-crash-toxic-cargo

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    UP spokesman Brandon Morris, said he did not know where the trains had originated or where they were headed. It was not immediately known how many cars the two trains were pulling, but he said there were no other cars leaking any materials.

  14. joe
    Aug 17th, 2014 at 17:26
    #14

    San Jose Mercury News covered Transite to/from Levi Stadium pre and post 49ers game.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/southbayfootball/ci_26337769/live-coverage-traffic-issues-first-game-at-levis
    Fans queue up along Tasman Drive to catch a VTA trains outside Levi’s Stadium, whichempties in the final quarter of the San Francisco 49ers 34-0 loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

    VTA using twitter
    https://twitter.com/VTA

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Jose 49ers

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many decades have the Jets been in East Rutherford?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Lee should have offered Candlestick to the Raiders.

    **** the San Jose 49ers.

    Joe Reply:

    49ers play in Santa Clara,CA.

    He’s stoned again.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I maintain, that synonymouse’s drug of course has always been peyote….

    EJ Reply:

    He’d be a lot more interesting if he was on peyote.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    He used to be much more delusional. He’s calmed down lately.

    EJ Reply:

    There was somebody who would just randomly post news stories about train wrecks – regardless of where in the world, or whether it was HSR. Was that him? I can’t remember.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.sfgate.com/49ers/article/The-race-to-Levi-s-Stadium-By-car-Caltrain-5694743.php
    Our race results: (1) Car. (2) Amtrak. (3) Caltrain. (4) BART.

    Driving a Prius from Mill Valley, leaving around 9 a.m., I won the race, arriving in my parking space in a zippy 1 hour and 18 minutes.

    Second place went to Mike Lerseth, whose trip from Martinez on the Capital Corridor Amtrak took one hour and 48 minutes, dropping him one block from the stadium.

    Finishing third was C.W. Nevius, who rode from the 49ers’ former home, San Francisco, on Caltrain then transferred to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency light-rail. His trip took just under two hours.

    The loser? Michael Cabanatuan took BART from El Cerrito to Fremont, transferred to VTA shuttle buses and was stuck in a backup for Great America Parkway on Highway 237. His trip took two hours and 16 minutes.

    Caltrain VTA service is limited by single track. VTA will double track to Caltrain MtView by 2015. SHoul disprove capacity and allow VTA trains to time Caltrain.

    Winston Reply:

    For all it’s bad points BART to San Jose will make East Bay to Stadium trips much easier.

    Joe Reply:

    The eventual Alum Rock BART station should allow transfers to VTA light rail and they will probably supplement with VTA buses to the game.

    Joey Reply:

    You mean Milpitas?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Caltrain VTA service is limited by single track. VTA will double track to Caltrain MtView by 2015.

    Remind me again how that — involving stealing part of the already-constricted Caltrain ROW and relocating the two Caltrain tracks — is in any way compatible with improving Caltrain service in the medium or long term or is any way compatible with the “blended” “plan” that PBQD=CHSRA and Caltrain claim they’re implementing?

    Oh that’s right: it’s 100% incompatible. Just like Caltrain giving away its ROW in Millbrae to BART, or to the useless VTA Toonerville Trolley at SJ Cahill Street, or to insane “TOD” on transit ROW in San Carlos, or …

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. Without question.

    Oh, and that stadium constructed for massive tax-evading multi-billionaires using several hundred milliion of public subsidy? The one you want to spend many more millions of public money on in order to “solve congestion”? (GilroyLogic™!) It’s used by the multi-billionaire’s tax-avoiding franchise of professional athletes a grand total of ten sundays a year. Talk about losing the plot.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/transit/light-rail-efficiency

    Joey Reply:

    Not to sound like an asshole, but if you’re going to reply with only a link, could you at least make sure it’s directly applicable to the post you’re replying to?

    As Richard correctly points out, the Mountain View double track project (which yes, is part of VTA’s light rail efficiency program), gives zero consideration to the future needs of corridor, which will include HSR and may or may not require four tracks on this particular segment.

    joe Reply:

    Let’s flip it around and have you experts explain these basic considerations they expected to see at the VTA site.

    I’ve seen Richard’s abysmal track record such as mis-reading a color coded BART schedule and rip into the VTA and then misrepresenting Caltrain’s Draft EIR schedule as their electrification schedule (which he’s done at least twice ignoring the correction).

    So no I’m not taking the dumb-ass’s word for it.

    So what should the VTA plan ahead and expend funding for accommodating changes not yet legally approved under the statutes. Fuck the laws youse guys haz engineering skilzzz. So what’s missing?

    Joey Reply:

    What’s missing is a consideration of whether future HSR will require four tracks in that segment, and if so, where they are going to be put given the additional ROW taken up by VTA.

    joe Reply:

    Consideration? That’s meaningless.

    You might want them to spend funds to plan the full build ROW for CAHSR and possible property acquisition and publicly release that information for transit hobbyists? Hmmm I smell a lawsuit.

    or do you want them to consider the full ROW and expend funds to accommodate the expansion such as moving central expressway or the Caltrain station. That’s expensive and out of scope for the EIR.

    Joey Reply:

    I want them to consider it. At least one mention.

    Maybe I’m getting upset over nothing here but a lot of the complaints I have about transit planning aren’t things that are evaluated then rejected, they’re things which aren’t even considered (level boarding? shared platforms? off-the-shelf PTC?). So I will continue to argue for thorough forward-thinking, even if it wouldn’t necessarily lead to action in every case.

    joe Reply:

    Forward thinking for an organization is bounded by liability and scope of authority among other things.

    Mention it and they’re making a statement which is a legal record. Now let’s see that helpful consideration find its way into the HSR lawsuit.

    The plus is this forward thinking satisfies Richard’s obsession to second guess and stroke his ego. Dude is awesome because he magically wishes away constraints like the angry boy in the twilight zone.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Richard reminded of the infuriating security theater of closing the San Tomas Aquino Bike/Ped Path for hours before and after games — because, um, SAFETY! — it gets potential bicycle bombers too close to the stadium!

    So much for riding, walking or jogging to the game via the bike path! Real 49ers fans drive, so who cares about those panty-waisted cyclists. Let them drive & pay like any other self respecting football fan slob.

    joe Reply:

    There’s a bike plan which stats the Tasman lanes are closed for games. The blogger you cite might want to read it.

    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2014/santa-clara-levis-stadium-bicycle-plan/

    The EIR process for the new stadium required a transportation plan that encouraged “multi-modal” access to the new stadium. For capacity events, 50,000 people are expected to arrive in 20,000 cars. Another 18,000 are expected to arrive via mass transit. Fewer than 1,000 people are expected to arrive by bike.

    Stadium bike plan contacts
    The Stadium EIR process that established a lot of this stuff is years complete, but if you feel the need to say something about the bike diversions on the San Tomas Aquino Trail, the appropriate contact is the Santa Clara Stadium Authority. The Stadium Authority owns and operates the stadium and manages the transportation plan.

    fire away http://santaclaraca.gov/index.aspx?page=1880

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, indeed, as you ever so helpfully point out, Richard Masoner, the original blogger the Systemic Failure blog post was referencing, is well aware of what’s up:
    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2014/open-letter-to-the-santa-clara-stadium-authority
    http://www.cyclelicio.us/2014/bicycle-directions-to-levis-stadium

    I’m still with those who think closing the path for “SAFETY” is fucking nuts. It’s the equivalent of closing the San Francisco Bay Trail along the back of AT&T Park and China Basin/Mission Creek … for “SAFETY”. What Santa Clara elected pussies allowed Levi’s Stadium to get away with that!?

    Again highlights the huge difference between SF and South Bay … I doubt AT&T Park would be allowed to get away with closing the SF Bay Trail for “SAFETY” — and there’d be a major protracted public showdown over it if they were stupid enough to try.

  15. Joe
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 13:49
    #15

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_26358504/high-speed-rail-california-plan-will-fulfill-ballot

    Dan Richard pens a column. Calls out Flashman.Trolls for Altamont and I-5 advocates.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Dan Richard actively funnelled $2 billion of public money into the pockets of PBQD/Tutor/Bechtel for the unambiguous, proven failure of the BART to Millbrae scam. Everything that all the critics of the project predicted — miserable ridership, massive subsidies, decimation of SamTrans, poor quality construction, massively inefficient operation — came to pass.

    Why isn’t he in jail?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Because he didn’t break the law.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Dan Richards should mull over his own involvement in blowing up San Bruno and then attempting to deny any responsibility.

    joe Reply:

    Mlynarik’s Law
    All Mlynarik comments contain a noun, a verb and reference PB.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I am curious to know Richard if you were born in this country, of if you had the experience of growing up outside our borders…

    As a general rule, I have found that government in the US is inefficient by design. In part, it is a reflection of the suspicion of government that our founders had, and the desire to have a stable, stagnant elite.

    But there’s another, oft overlooked consideration. Government is also inefficient because efficient market participation by government is an insuperable monopoly. You think BART is powerful and easy to revile now, imagine if it also could raise issue stock on Wall Street.

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