GOP Attack on HSR is an Attack on the Environment

Nov 20th, 2015 | Posted by

The LA Times’ California politics columnist George Skelton takes a look at the Republican ballot initiative to divert funding from high speed rail and Delta tunnels, and concludes it’s actually an attack on the environment:

Now two Republican state politicians are backing a proposed ballot initiative to make that a reality. Scuttle the train and store more water.

But there’s significantly more to it.

While high-speed rail certainly will draw the headline focus, the proposal’s primary purpose apparently is to reduce water for the environment and provide more for agriculture.

It would amend the state constitution to make domestic use and crop irrigation the top priorities for California water. And those would be the only listed priorities.

What this initiative would do is upend water rights and laws that in some cases date back to statehood in 1850. No more water for fish, for wetlands, for preventing further seawater intrusion in the Delta.

It’s rooted in a longstanding Republican desire to destroy the Endangered Species Act. They are happy to preside over one of the largest mass extinctions in the planet’s history in order to prevent residents and farms from having to find ways to use less water:

“We’ve made a lot of decisions to protect species that are struggling to stay alive,” says Sen. Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), who will be termed out next year and is running for Los Angeles County supervisor. Huff and George Runner, a member of the state Board of Equalization, are co-sponsoring the ballot initiative.

“The average person believes he should be high on the food chain” for water, Huff says. “The reality is he’s not. Of all the species that ever existed, 95% are now extinct. We didn’t do that. How much do we spend on nature when it has a way of adapting to the times and evolving?”

Huff is wrong; most scientists believe that humans are the cause of the Holocene mass extinction.

He’s also missing the fact that the lack of water itself is likely caused by, or at minimum made worse by, human activity.

If Huff and Runner actually cared about getting water to farmers and homes, they’d be fully backing high speed rail and every other effort the state is undertaking to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change is expected to dramatically reduce the Sierra snowpack and thus will reduce the overall amount of water available to everyone. Even if Huff and Runner succeeded in taking water away from some and giving it to others, the beneficiaries will still have less water overall thanks to declining rainfall and a smaller snowpack.

It remains to be seen whether their proposal makes it to the ballot. Even if it did, it raises significant constitutional issues, as existing water rights are guaranteed by the state constitution, other state laws, federal laws, treaties, interstate compacts, and more.

  1. J. Wong
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 14:33
    #1

    The Republicans really believe that you should never let a crisis go to waste to get your completely unrelated agenda in place. As it is with the drought and HSR nothing they are proposing actually deals with either but simply is a vehicle for getting their preferred environmental policy enacted. They’re trying to do the same with the Paris attack.

    Completely cynical.

    Donk Reply:

    That’s a great point J. This goes with everything they do. They go after the wrong target for everything: Planned Parenthood, Dream Act, HSR, Syrian refugees, etc etc. Too bad there are so many imbeciles that buy into what they are saying without taking a second to consider the core assumptions that are being made.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Wrong target for everything, indeed. Remember the Iraq War? Republicans used 9/11 as an excuse for the TOTALLY UNRELATED invasion of Iraq. Evil.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Will review “The Kite Runner” again to see -that- Taliban Shiria Law leader dispense justice in public and in private, molest children, to see him having another victim slingshot his right eye out to protect another victim. What are these Californians bickering about again? Electricity? Water? Each other?

    The HSR is coming to California.
    You can frickin bet on it.

    Coal/oil/gas BOYS don’t want another fight bigger than the last.

    Lewellan Reply:

    HSR is coming to California.
    Such confident leadership.
    Congratulations to ALL
    parties and participants involved.
    Talgo LA/LV/SLC/Denver.
    National Parks, nuf said.
    SLC-Portland Pioneer Talgo.
    Don’t slow down now.

  2. keith saggers
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 14:35
    #2
  3. les
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 15:06
    #3

    I wonder what shape California’s basins are in. I know places like El Paso, Tx, where there are high levels of salt left in their depleted basins, have resorted to solar powered desalination plants to extract fresh water.

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/82315/new-groundwater-regulations-taking-shape-california

  4. J. Wong
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 16:34
    #4

    O.T., Clem reports on a possible solution to “Berlin Walls” on the Peninsula:

    The U-Shaped Grade Separation

    Also in a related note his Focus on: Burlingame post includes a photo simulation from the Authority that would seem to imply that the Parsons-Brinkerhoff recommendation for 40′ to 60′ aerials through Burlingame was never intended by the Authority, itself.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Link to image: Photo Simulation.

    Also, at the time Clem noted that actual elevation of the viaduct would be slightly higher than shown, but with the possibility of U-Shaped grade separations perhaps this is no longer true.

    agb5 Reply:

    The new Dubai light rail line uses a very low profile U shaped guideway prefabricated and built from above.

    The new TGV Bordeaux line uses traditional box section, but they did use this innovative temporary cable stay bridge technique to hold the prefabricated pieces in place while the glue was setting.

    The length of the span between supporting pillars would be a key variable.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hgLxbq9DPU

  5. morris brown
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 16:50
    #5

    I have posted on this before. If you don’t like the constitutional change to water usage, but want to kill HSR there is a second, pure ballot initiative to just stop HSR you can support.

    Thus, State Senator Huff and George Runner are actually sponsoring two Initiatives. The one Robert writes about here is the constitutional initiative known as,

    (“The Water Priorities Public Interest and Public Trust Constitutional Amendment and the New Surface Water and Groundwater Storage Facilities Bond Act of 2016”) requires 585,407 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, and does tie stopping HSR with diverting funds to water measures.

    The second Initiative Huff and Runner are sponsoring is a statue initiative and will be known as

    Stop the Train to Nowhere Act of 2016

    only requires 365,880 valid signatures.

    Both initiatives are now awaiting clearance from the Secretary of State to begin gathering signatures, which should start around the beginning of Feb 2016

    LA Times columnist, George Skelton, in his article did not mention the second initiative. He certainly gives the impression he is not enamoured with HSR.

    “What Californians voted for on high-speed rail isn’t being delivered,” Runner says correctly. “It’s so different, they should have a shot at stopping it.”

    Joe Reply:

    Voters will understand that there are two anti-environmental propositions. Both are an attack on cap and trade spending. These propositions are backward looking and two more nails in the coffin for the GOP and conservatism.

    Zorro Reply:

    Both Initiatives take the HSR Bond money from the CHSRA, the 2nd gives the Bond money to Water, while the 1st guts the CHSRA, whereas the 2nd does not do so, the 1st says that the Authority can only study HSR and can not buy or sell anything at all, plus if HSR is not Finished by 2025, the CHSRA is to be Dissolved.

    Stop the Train-to-Nowhere Act of 2016(1st)
    The Water Priorities Public Interest and Public Trust Constitutional Amendment and the New Surface Water and Groundwater Storage Facilities Bond Act of 2016(2nd)

    Termed Out Senators Huff and Puff, er Runner, have launched both initiatives in an attempt to hoodwink the Voters, after not being able to do that to the State Legislature, who just looked at and then shredded the bill to gut and relocate the HSR money to Roads.

    Jerry Reply:

    And yet again, opponents of HSR insult the CV by calling it “nowhere.”
    Plus, they add that the “most efficient use of the train” will be to transport prisoners between state prisons in the CV.

    john burrows Reply:

    Huff-Runner have also found that “Technology advances have made obsolete the design concept approved by voters”. Quite a number of voters in the CV and throughout CA may find that statement to be an insult to their intelligence.

    Michael Reply:

    I’d assume they’re alluding to HSR vs Hyperloop when they discuss technology, since that’s almost ready to break ground. ; )

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    To be Safe and Reliable, 2008 Prop 1A goals, HSR must be securely fenced and grade separated. HSR on Caltrain tracks as proposed would be vulnerable to accidents, suicides, sabotage, and resulting train delays. It would be NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. Yet the planners talk of raising the maximum train speed from 79 mph to 110 mph, and adding many trains at the higher speed. Maybe the CPUC, which has safety oversight responsibility, will end HSR at San Jose until Caltrain is grade separated.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Then there is the “Water Priorities” Act in Article 2 Section 79804 adding the creation of a new water bureaucracy. The “we don’t like the current water regulatory body so lets create a new one” bit is an amusing touch.

    Then they have that new Water Authority board consisting of 2 people nominated from each of the current 4 water regions shown at this link:
    http://www.water.ca.gov/irwm/resources/
    It should be interesting to watch the politics and fights over who to nominate from a single region like between the Bay Area, Sacramento, Napa/Sonoma, and Tahoe area water interests; Central Valley vs Central Coast vs Sierras; or Los Angeles vs San Diego vs Santa Barbara vs Imperial.

    john burrows Reply:

    I personally think that the Huff-Runner “Drive a stake through its heart initiative” has a near 100% chance of failure and that if Huff and Runner could have stood back for a moment and thought things out they could have written a measure that would have effectively achieved the same goal with a higher chance of success.

    If I have this right and the “Stop the Train to Nowhere Act” does pass on November 8 2016 the following would happen almost immediately—

    1. All work stops, contractors and private parties are paid off and let go.
    2. The Feds are reimbursed for all funds spent on the project.
    3. Any state funds not actually spent are clawed back, including funding for bookends.
    4. All state bond money spent on the project to date would effectively be wasted.
    5. Disposal of partially completed infrastructure would have to be dealt with.
    6. What to do with parcels seized by eminent domain?
    7. Potential lawsuits from dissatisfied private contractors and from local residents whose way of life has been disrupted.

    If I were giving Runner and Huff advice on how to write this bond measure I would have told them to put aside their negativity toward high speed rail before writing the measure. I would have suggested that they allow Construction Packages 1 through 5 to be completed before shutting the project down. The cost to the state would be about $2.6 billion which could be financed with matching cap-and-trade funds if they didn’t want to spend any more Prop 1-A money. By spending $2.6 billion they would have ended up with 120 miles of usable rail which then could be used by Amtrak or by some other agency to run higher speed trains with the possibility that someday this usable segment could be expanded. I would have pointed out that their proposition to kill high speed rail would probably end up costing California taxpayers more than if they let the initial construction segments be completed—But they didn’t ask for my advice.

    What I think will happen is that this measure will be easily defeated if it does make it to the November ballot. If it should be defeated by a substantial margin, the voters will have spoken in their renewed support for high speed rail.

    2016 is going to be an interesting year for CAHSR.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ John Burrows:

    Since both Huff and Runner are very experienced politicians, I am sure they thought long and hard about what these initiatives would do and how they would be best written to pass at the ballot box.

    This may all turn out to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. There is a steep funding hurdle to get these both of these measures on the ballot; I would say around $3 million. I do know that the law firm that drafted these measures is extremely well respected, and thus most likely will withstand legal challenges if they pass.

    The Feds will never be repaid for funds they have committed. That is not the way things work, it will never happen. There was a provision made that if the project wasn’t completed, the Feds would pay for integrating what had been built into existing Amtrak tracks. Hardly much of a value for money spent, but certainly better than disposing of existing structures.

    The whole credibility of the Authority and this project has been shattered by the Times reporting on the “hidden” PB report, which revealed the $9 billion escalation in costs. It is a fair assumption the Authority withheld this information from the 2014 Business Plan, because they were lobbying to get Cap and Trade funding approval from the Legislature, and they certainly didn’t want any revised upward costs for the project to be revealed.

    I sent a letter to the Authority Board, asking that at the Nov 17th meeting, the agenda have an item wherein the Board would vette and discuss this issue. Chair Richard did respond to me, with his explanation, but no discussion of this issue took place at the board meeting. It is very disturbing that the Authority Board, which was unaware of the PB report has not stepped up and demanded an explanation. No indeed complete silence on the issue. One wonders why have Board meetings at all!

    joe Reply:

    The Tos filing refers to a presentation. Here you call it a report.
    The LATimes editorial refers to a draft presentation, not a report.

    Why the discrepancy?

    I appears Ralph’s credibility has been “shattered” for misrepresenting a draft presentation as a report.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The “discrepancy” is based on the perceived significance. To @morris brown it is significant and thus must be a report. To the Authority, it was never significant because they thought of it as a draft presentation (which is why they were confused when it was referred to as a report and they were questioned about it).

    I don’t think Tos, et. al. will get what they want, which is a permanent injunction.

    Jerry Reply:

    John Burrows #3
    So it will be called the, “Stop CalTrain Electrification” act??

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Electrification and fleet replacement for Caltrain (a small, under-used, low-ridership, very-low-service, high-overhead, low-efficiency regional rail line in the SF Bay Area) was a regional and local project which had regional and local funding that was supposed to deliver its highly hypothetical regional and local benefits.

    As far as “Stop CalTrans Electrification”, Caltrain and its contractors have done a magnificent job on that for the last decade, and have had huge amounts of aid from Bay Area agencies and Bay Area engineering/construction corporations over the last three decades. Don’t worry, they’re seasoned profesionals — America’s Finest Transportation Professionals, as it turns out — at Not Electrifying and Not Improving Service, and don’t need any help at all from the Koch Brothers, Satan, or Satan’s most foul henchman Ralph.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Quite correct, RM. Similarly here in SoCal we have had an anti-regional rail agenda, disguised by consultants reports and 2 decades of bumbling to avoid delivering LAUS run through and less than 20 miles of double track in the SFV. But the checks keep getting written to the same people. meanwhile the freeways are widened and the ramps rebuilt and expanded.
    Almost time to call to mind the LaHood Dyson exchange of February 2010.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Richard, don’t scorn Caltrain. Even though I hope San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties annex to BART, Caltrain plays a major needed role in Bay Area transportation until we get BART around the Bay.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You’re planning to rip up the standard gauge tracks on the Peninsula? Even BART doesn’t plan that

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, @Robert S. Allen is not proposing replacing Caltrain service with BART (at least in the short term). Having a common agency that coordinated fares and transfers wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    morris brown Reply:

    And CalTrain is now led by, JIm Hartnett, a person who met none of the requirements that were posed when the search for a replacement for Scanlon was started. Yes indeed, Hartnett knew all of the politicians on the Peninsula and got the plum job paying over $400K per year. Expect changes for the better?!!

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain is accommodating HSR platform heights by purchasing DMUs with dual height doors.

    The cost is supposed to be about 5% more to the cost of the DMU.

    It’s going to improve efficiency at transbay by allowing both to share platforms while allowing for a gradual transition in platform height for the Caltrans stations.

    Clearly you are upset at this too. Rick is so upset he’s completely ignore it.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBeUGqeYsQg

    J. Wong Reply:

    Politicians propose things that never have a chance of passing all the time (or they believe in the righteousness so much they’re always disappointed when no one else agrees).

    They’re taking a shot, which is a long one because they need to first get funding to collect signatures. Plus they’re going to start collecting during the height of an El Nino rainy season! How much are casual voters going to be thinking about the drought then? Or how likely is someone to sign the petition in the pouring rain?

  6. JimInPollockPines
    Nov 20th, 2015 at 18:02
    #6

    Southern californians live in a dry ugly desert wasteland. They don’t even know what a wetland looks like. That is why they don’t have any sense of what is being preserved. Those of us in the north who grew up in the Sacramento Valley/cascade/northern sierra where water is abundant year round, and where during the winter its often nothing but a giant wetland, know otherwise.

    Southern californians don’t even know where water comes from.
    southern san joaquin farmers know exactly where it comes from and they are always trying to get their greedy filthy money grubbling little hands on everyone elses water and blaming the north for nor not giving them all the water they want so they can line their pockets.

    If I were to say “fuck these southern california repubican politicans and fuck those kern and kings county farmers” I would be speaking for millions of northern californians without a doubt.

    They are not going to get that water. So they can go suck it.

    Joe Reply:

    Fukuda.

    You gotta be grateful for him.
    He’s co-litigant on the HSR lawsuit and a vocal proponent of the subsidize farm water movement.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Make the welfare queen farmers pay the same market rate that I have to pay. for water. Am i paying taxes for the maintenance and operation of the various state water delivery systems? I don’t use them. I did the responsible thing moved to just miles from where that water originates and its delivered to me via a local system that I pay for in my water bill.

    This water subsidy is a scam. The same thing goes on locally in El Dorado where so called “farmers” ( any yahoo with an apple tree) get to pay a discounted rate while the homeowners are paying top dollar. Its a total scam

    I wonder how many kings county farmers support the legalized cultivation of weed in the north, along with the water it will require. Are they going to stand up for those farmers and demand they have discounted water because “the economy”?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You don’t want to send Southern Californians stuff that oozes out of the ground the Southern Californians don’t have to send you the stuff that oozes out of the ground down there. Ya can bicycle to work and get a wood stove.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    We can sit down and make a deal.

    Joe Reply:

    Yes.

    Most of our gasoline comes form cleaner, light crude from Alaska and imported. All is provided at a significant mark up. No favors there. We are paying.

    Nor-Cal provides subsidized, below cost water on public infrastructure. We’re paying for that too.

    Eric Reply:

    I wouldn’t mind subsidizing the farmer’s water, if we can guarantee the crop is sold domestically and not for export. They export it, they have to pay for all their water costs without a subsidy.

    Joe Reply:

    Massive monoculture of almonds are fragile and hard on pollinators.

    The nut trees are fragile. They are intolerant of low quality ground water and as drought intolerant trees, have to be watered every year with low saline surface run off.

    We can subsidize a diverse cropping to support robust ecosystem and wildlife but when the water goes to large monocultures, its ecologically risky and inflexible.

    EJ Reply:

    Interesting break from your usual recitations of things that you’re entitled to.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    such as what

    Aarond Reply:

    This isn’t a norcal vs socal issue it’s straight up corporate farmers trying to desperately save face as their entire industry falls apart. No free water means no crops period. It’s an issue that plauges both norcal in the Central Valley and socal. Both areas rely on BLM managed water sources from the east.

    I pity them more than anything else though. They, and regular taxpayers, could have prevented all this had the right investments been made 20-30 years ago. Instead that didn’t happen so the state is playing catch-up with Desalination right now. Their jobs are gone and that is objectively terrible. But, it was also the result of their own hubris. There are still Oakies in CA that remember the Dust Bowl, the farmers all got their warning in the 1930s.

    joe Reply:

    The proposition to hamstring bond spending over 2B iwas I troduced by a norcal farmer seeking to block the delta water project for benefit to socal farmers.

    Aarond Reply:

    They’re turning on each other. Water politics was never pretty. And these people, who are people, are now facing an extremely hard landing (some would call it a collapse) of their livelihood due to water infrastructure problems that can’t be quickly or readily fixed. This is true in both norcal and socal.

    My point here is that they don’t have many other options. I’m not trying to defend them though, we’ve had 50+ years of ample warning to prepare for the Drought. Ultimately they’re going to throw every hail mary they have before they throw in the towel. And this includes trying to screw over their own friends for their own benefit.

    Nathanael Reply:

    California is a terrible state for agriculture in general. I get why you grow citrus — it doesn’t grow in the Midwest or Northeast — but it was insane to grow almonds.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[T]errible state for agriculture”? When most of the country is unable to grow fresh food because of the season, California’s climate enables them to do so.

    “[I]nsane to grow almonds”? Maybe environmentally insane, but completely sensible given the premium paid for almonds. Capitalism! (Yes, water should be better priced to make this less sensible.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    He’s never heard of scurvy…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Lots of things with lots of vitamin C in them grow almost anywhere in North America. A glass of sauerkraut juice with breakfast might not be as appealing as a glass of orange juice but it has vitamin c in it…… orange juice comes from Florida….

    Eric M Reply:

    But it’s the probiotics in sauerkraut (among other fermented food) that kept scurvy at bay.

    Zorro Reply:

    I hope all 3 initiatives fail, I know only 2 at the moment are on the ballot, I hope they can’t raise the money in time for the HSR initiative to get on the ballot.

    State Government is doing alright, paying off bonds, has a surplus of $11 Billion I read, properties are being bought, HSR segments are being constructed, the first of more to come I hope. Then Repugs pull this stunt with these 2 initiatives to attack State Government, Repugs vote NO on everything they don’t like, except if the bill goes into a suspense file, then they vote YES.

    And yeah the Farmers Bond amendment to make voters, vote on any Bond authorized by State Legislature or that had already been approved by the Voters that is at or higher than $2 Billion in value, nothing is inexpensive in this state anymore, except the air, that is still FREE for the moment at least.

    And yes if HSR were stopped I think it would be a very expensive shutdown, just what Repugs want, guess who they’ll blame? Anyone but themselves, SOP for the GOP.

    Zorro Reply:

    And that Bond Initiative includes more than the normal GO Bonds(General Obligation) that voters have to vote on, they include Revenue Bonds, which so far don’t have to be voted on by the Voters, since they don’t get paid for with taxes or fees, plus other bonds, like for School Districts, Fire, Police, etc, etc, etc.

    Revenue bonds may be issued to construct or expand upon various revenue-generating entities, including:

    Water and Wastewater (Sewer) utilities
    Toll roads and bridges (see toll revenue bond)
    Airports, seaports, and other transportation hubs
    Power plants and electrical generation facilities
    Prisons

    Generally, any government agency or fund that is run like a business, generating operating revenues and expenses (sometimes known as an enterprise fund), can issue revenue bonds. An agency that provides a free service, such as a school, can not do so, as their only revenue is tax dollars.
    [snip]
    Revenue bonds are most often issued to finance a revenue-generating public works project such as, bridges, tunnels, sewer systems, education (e.g. college dorms and/or student loans). In the case of education or school systems, bonds issued for colleges and universities are generally backed by income or other progressive taxes. General obligation bonds may be backed by a variety of credits depending on the state and local law; those credits include taxes on local property (ad valorem), regressive taxes and/or all other sources of revenue to the municipality. As a general rule, revenue bonds are backed by the revenue generated by the municipal facility funded by the bond issue.

    Zorro Reply:

    Revenue Bonds are something for building more HSR segments, along with cap and trade, Prop1a even mentions Revenue Bonds.

    Donk Reply:

    Jim, your hyperbole is entertaining as always, and is mostly correct. However, one thing I need to correct you on is that many SoCaliforians are very familiar with wetlands. There are 28 coastal wetlands between Santa Barbara and TJ. San Diego is particularly well-endowed, particularly with the Tijuana estuary, and the San Dieguito (Del Mar), San Elijo (Encinitas), Batiquitos (Carlsbad), Aqua Hediona (Carlsbad), Beuna Vista (Oceanside) and other lagoons.

    Most people just drive past them on PCH or I-5. Others spend a lot of time running, hiking, kayaking, paddling etc on them.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Southern California wetlands are known for having very short estuaries, where salinity penetrates very high up into the water table.

    Much of the area you are talking about is highly endangered because of the diversion of water away from wetlands in Southern California. What’s left is only a fraction of what used to exist. However, not all of it was eliminated because of the thirsty city…some of the swamps were drained to encourage mosquito abatement and reduce the risk of malaria.

    Donk Reply:

    My understanding is most of them were just built on top of. Apparently UCLA was built on a large swampy wetland. Some of the others were literally trash dumps or oil/chemical storage facilities. The only reason the San Diego ones are still around is because nobody gave a rats ass about anything in coastal North County north of Del Mar until recently.

    StevieB Reply:

    The UCLA Westwood campus was built on a hill at the top of the Janss Steps.

    http://waterandpower.org/1%20Historic%20Photos%201/UCLA_1930.jpg

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Palos Verdes used to be an island…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The UCLA is built like a woman’s chest…the middle is actually a floodplain that used to merge into the Ballona Wetlands that are now paved over…or as they commonly called, Culver City, Venice, and Marina del Rey…

    nslander Reply:

    Yeah, if y’all up north let go your death-grip your tired notions, I’ll refrain from labeling Northern Californians as pretentious middle-children.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well that label is somewhat accurate.

  7. Eric M
    Nov 21st, 2015 at 10:29
    #7

    Moving Forward: Faster Trains Propel the Economy, and our Middle Class, Forward

    Construction alone is estimated to create 20,000 new jobs annually for the next five years, and increased economic activity associated with the project could generate an additional 400,000 permanent jobs. By 2035, high-speed rail in California will lead to an estimated $7.6 billion in new business sales and $3 billion in new wages.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The important question for infrastructure projects is not: How many jobs will their building bring but rather: What’s the benefit of it being built… Given the way ridership on similar corridors has developed (and the fact that SFO-LAX is the second busiest air route in the US) the benefits of the completed route are so obvious that the temporary jobs during construction should not really matter all that much…

    StevieB Reply:

    The many benefits of High-speed Rail are in the article if you read further.

    While the rest of the world moves forward with innovative transportation solutions that have the ability to easily connect people with major economic hubs, the U.S. is still relying on decades-old transportation systems — and it’s middle-class Americans who are paying the price. By not investing in faster trains, we’re missing out on a critical opportunity to transform communities, create high-skill jobs and improve the quality of life for millions. An economic impact study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows that in communities large and small, high-speed rail would increase economic development by improving market access, offering greater geographic connectivity, easing congestion and increasing tourism and business development.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s what I said…

  8. Donk
    Nov 21st, 2015 at 10:37
    #8

    OT: A good story about the triumph of progress over NIMBYism: LA Metro vs Beverly Hills. We have seen this story already in LA with the Expo Line vs Cheviot Hills, and this will continue with HSR vs the Morris Browns of the state.

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/budgets_grow_tempers_shrink_as_beverly_hills_metro_fight_continues

    Danny Reply:

    a while back they got sued for not spending any of the money on earthquake retrofits–y’know, because there’s earthquakes

    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/04/beverly_hills_schools_could_collapse_and_the_school_board_just_voted_not_to_fix_them.php

    they’ve turned themselves into that Florida woman who was raving on YouTube because her son was learning them Ay-rab numerals (but with frank embezzlement, and even blaming Metro for BH’s claim there was a fault)

    meanwhile the three new Purple Line stations are already big pits

  9. Elizabeth Alexis
    Nov 21st, 2015 at 16:36
    #9

    From what I can tell this is a water measure. At first glance, it seems weird to add in HSR – generally the more complicated a proposition is, the less likely it is to pass.

    They must have decided to throw in HSR because of some polling they have done that tells them they will gain more voters from the left who don’t like the project than voters they will lose who want HSR more than they want water.

    If the math is something like
    60% dems (45 – 15 against water measures)
    40% repugs (35 – 5 for water measures)

    In this case – you are 50/50

    If you add in HSR – maybe you get 10 from the dems side and lose 5 from the repugs.

    One of the issues is that if you live outside of the Central Valley, the knowledge of water issues is pretty minimal – other than we don’t have enough and damns are good / bad. It is not clear to me that most people in the state understand the full ramifications of the proposed constitutional change.

    Zorro Reply:

    Polls are based on landlines, mostly older people have landlines these days, Me? I have a smart phone, I cut the cord years ago. So I wouldn’t take a Poll as gospel.

    Obvious News Is Obvious: Polls That Only Call Landlines May Be Biased

    I remember, way back during the 2004 election, reading stories about how the rising number of people cutting the cord when it came to their landline phone meant that phone-based surveys were not all that accurate any more. So now, six years later, research has come out saying exactly the same thing. It is true that the number of people who have done away with their landline has increased (now over a quarter of the population has ditched their landlines). Apparently, the study found that landline-only election surveys tend to overcount Republican voters and undercount Democratic ones. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise as, generally speaking, the older generation skews more Republican and are also the least likely to ditch their landlines.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Keith Olbermann said a similar thing recently with regards to the dropping ratings of MSNBC… Too many people cutting the cord…

    Unfortunately many people pretend this isn’t a democracy but rather a poll-o-cracy…

    EJ Reply:

    Pretty sure most modern polls use cell phones as well. People who use polling data figured out long ago that polls without data from cell phone only users are worthless, and pressured polling companies to update their methods.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m pretty certain that most cellphones automatically block calls not from people on your contact list now. Or at least that’s *my* experience.

    As for skewing polls towards the GOP, their control over Congress doesn’t lie. They have a motivated, energetic (though not necessarily intelligent) base that the Democrats simply don’t have at the moment. Even here in CA the GOP can still wield the ballot box effectively as long as Democrats don’t show up to vote. Which is why they’re using that tool right now. If it weren’t for Brown (who’s objectively a good leader) the Democrats here wouldn’t have a supermajority.

    This is one of the reasons why I’m against an open ballot box, it’s a tool that lends itself to abuse too easily.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m pretty certain that most cellphones automatically block calls not from people on your contact list now. Or at least that’s *my* experience.

    LOLWUT? You mean nobody can call you unless you enter their number into your contact list? That’s not how my phone works, and I’ve never heard of that on any phone.

    If you look at a lot of modern published poll results, you’ll even see a breakdown of how many people polled were contacted by landline vs. cell phone. Look, I’ve worked with a lot of polling data. Other than a few small-time political operators doing push-polls, which aren’t really polls so much as disguised campaigns, polling companies put a lot of effort into trying to get accurate results, and modeling and weighting the results if they can’t get a truly representative sample. If they can’t do that, they won’t keep their customers. The rapid abandonment of landlines caught them flat footed for a while, but it didn’t stay that way.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Errrr….. The GOP controlling the House? That’s mostly gerrymandering… Unfortunately the GOP does have a mobilizing advantage in midterm and local elections, though. Mostly for demographic reasons…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Republican control of the House is *entirely* through gerrymandering. As everyone knows, Democrats got more votes overall in the House election than Republicans, and have done for decades on end.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah….no. The Democratic Party for a long time has been evolving from a populist broad tent into a more urban and liberal organization. The Iraq War kept many more conservative “blue dog” Democrats around Congress than would have survived otherwise up to that point. Democrats had been hoping the housing boom would have anchored more Democratic voters to the suburbs, but they were dispropriationely affected by the mortgage meltdown.

    Democrats, moreover, underestimated how unpopular Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama would be in blue dog districts. With Bush gone, the left doesn’t have as good of a bogeyman…

  10. Roland
    Nov 21st, 2015 at 20:58
    #10

    OT: Parsons Brinckerhoff’s “Rail Delivery Partner” (AKA playmate) update:
    – “Network Rail has lost its grip on managing large infrastructure projects.”
    – “Severe planning and budgetary failures caused delays and could double the budget.”
    – “The industry had been “overly ambitious” about what could be achieved with the money available.”
    – “The Department for Transport will have to pay up to £400,000 pounds a day to rent new trains that will not be used until the line is electrified.”
    http://www.stardailystandard.com/uk/rising-rail-electrification-prices-staggering-say-mps-information/12175/

    Nathanael Reply:

    Extremely off topic.

    Network Rail is doing very well. The electrification scheme was very large and it took time to nail down the costs (which are due to some really weird things, as it turns out, artifacts of the Brunel broad gauge).

    The major financial problem is the idiotic renting scheme which was required by the Tory government. They could just buy the trains.

    Roland Reply:

    “The potential near-doubling in cost of the electrification of the Great Western line is a symptom of seriously flawed control and planning. Another is the continuing uncertainty over electrification of both the trans-Pennine route and the Midland Main Line.”
    http://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2015/11/19/network-rail-accused-of-severe-planning-and-budget-failures.

    With regards to “they could just buy the trains” do you mean like SamTrans who are about to park a bunch of brand new EMUs until they figure out how to “electrify Caltrain” while they are straightening the northbound track accordion created by America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals over the last 15 years?

  11. morris brown
    Nov 22nd, 2015 at 11:26
    #11

    Rep Mar DeSaulnier speaks out on the disasters of the Bay Bridge and HSR.

    Zorro Reply:

    Whoop de doo, only a Repugnican would care about what a Repugnican says.. This is a Blue State, not a part of Red Occupied America.

    john burrows Reply:

    If every California Democrat supported HSR and every California Republican opposed HSR, the project would be much further along and we would not still be having this fight. Among politically well known California Republicans I can think only of Schwarzenegger and Ashley Swearengin who support HSR. A considerable number of Democrats, including Mark DeSaulnier are opposed to the project in its present form.

    Joe Reply:

    He’s in Congress now and in a position to do something positive for CA at the national level. He could get the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, to investigate whatever he’s worried about.

    Going on tv and hand wringing over state government projects seems cheap. In particular since congress isn’t going to put a penny into the HSR project.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Zorro

    Representative Mark Desaulnier is a Democrat. When he was a State Senator, he was one of only 4 Democrats who voted against the HSR SB-1029 appropriation. It passed with a majority of only one vote.

    john burrows Reply:

    The vote was 21-16 with 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats voting against. All of the 25 Democrats voted that day but 3 of the 15 Republicans did not vote at all.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ john burrows

    I don’t know if you are trying to cloud the vote on SB-1029 or not, but the fact is, approval required a majority vote of the whole membership of the State Senate, of which there are 40 members. Thus 21 votes were necessary and that is exactly the number they got. The fact that 3 Republicans did not vote is not relevant; to pass the appropriation required 21 yes votes.The Democrats voting against were Simitian, Pavley, Lowenthal, and DeSaulnier, all members of the State Senate T&H committee; the committee which really had studied the issue and knew for what they were voting. Gpv Brown pulled out “all stops” to make sure it would pass.

    Joe Reply:

    The fact that 3 Republicans did not vote is not relevant; to pass the appropriation required 21 yes votes.

    The three Republican non-votes means something. They didn’t want to go on the record opposing HSR.

    Why?

    john burrows Reply:

    I realize that the 3 Republican votes were not relevant, but I have wondered why they didn’t vote
    as did all of the Democrats. Were they sick that day? Or were they worried about the political implications in their districts if they did vote no? But at this point all of this is old news—SB-1029 passed.

    morris brown Reply:

    Sort of silly getting into such detail, but Senator George Runner was one of the three non-voting Republicans. This is the same person who along with Senator Huff is now sponsoring the 2 initiatives for the 2016 ballot. He was also one of the three signers on the original Prop 1A in 2008, who wrote the arguments against the measure. He certainly did not hide his opposition to the project.

    joe Reply:

    Well, has Huff ever voted against the project?

    morris brown Reply:

    Huff consistently voted against the project — can’t you read?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Simitan, Pavley, DeSaulnier, and Lowenthal were all given a pass because of they were all rumored to be headed to Congress and wanted to side step a controversial issue. As luck would have it, DeSaulnier and Lowenthal did go to Congress and Simitan went to the County board of Supervisors in Santa Clara.

    As for studying the issue…all four had deep ties (as you can imagine) to other powerful transportation interests who were less sanguine about HSR. It’s impossible to know if they were taking a principled stand or not.

    Roland Reply:

    “It’s impossible to know if they were taking a principled stand or not.” How about trading in your soap box for some enlightenment?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW3Rwa5JzdA?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Wow. Great floor speech. Blew my mind that a legislator would make an impassioned plea right before they lose a vote…

    Clearly, you don’t understand what signal Simitian is trying to send here.

    He’s protesting the vote because unlike Lowenthal, DeSaulnier, and Pavley, he wanted the HSR dollars on the Peninsula. The rest of them wanted the Prop 1a funds for another purpose. When the Authority programmed the funds for the Central Valley, suddenly Simitian turned all Quentin Kopp saying we were paying $6 billion for a faster Amtrak in a “low ridership area”. Then he’s trying to allege that a vote for disbursing the bond funds would endanger Prop 30’s passage…(which of course it didn’t).

    Roland Reply:

    Clearly, you don’t understand what signal Simitian is trying to send here.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Clearly you are not aware how cryptic you sound to the rest of us when you say things like that. Is Simitian the Manchurian Candidate talking in code?

    Roland Reply:

    Here is Senator DeSaulnier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3RCD2jprK8

    EJ Reply:

    Can we stop with the “Republicans are liars, no one cares, this is a blue state…” crap? I’m no fan of the Republican party, but this contributes nothing to the discussion.

    If he’s wrong, say why he’s wrong.

  12. Bahnfreund
    Nov 22nd, 2015 at 12:32
    #12

    Another thing, why is there no rail service in Central America? Take San Salvador (El Salvador) and Managua (Nicaragua). There are several buses that take 11 hours or a flight that costs upwards of USD 200. And the two cities are just 500 km apart. Surely there is some way to introduce a “disruptive” travel service to that market? Or is the problem the amount of money you’d need up front for such a thing?

    EJ Reply:

    You could raise the money if there was a business case, but it would be hard to make it pay. Nicaragua and El Salvador are both poor countries, most people couldn’t pay a high enough fare to make the service profitable. It wouldn’t be a cheap line to build, there’s a lot of mountainous terrain and unless you could afford a lot of tunneling the train wouldn’t likely be any faster than the bus.

    A lot of rail lines in Central America were abandoned in the 1980s and 1990s since it was not economical to keep them maintained, let alone build new ones. Even Mexico, which is a lot more prosperous than any Central American country, abandoned its passenger service 20 years ago, and now there are only a few tourist lines, a small commuter network in Mexico City, and urban metro/light rail lines that carry passengers. There was a plan in the early 2000s to build a railroad from Panama through Central America to Mexico, but it was primarily conceived as a freight line, and never got past the planning stage.

    Danny Reply:

    many of the rail lines there are just “cat’s-whiskers” going from the port to the plantation zone or mine–sometimes many in parallel; the system and the management aren’t set up to connect all the capital cities: that would be a tall order even in Mexico or Brazil

    EJ Reply:

    Well, Mexico has a pretty comprehensive rail network. Before privatization, they had an intercity system comparable to Amtrak – it wasn’t super-fast or luxurious, but it connected most major cities. But just like Amtrak it faced competition from cars and intercity buses as the Mexican highway network expanded. When N de M was privatized in 1997, none of the private operators were interested in operating money-losing passenger trains, and the government wasn’t interested in subsidizing them or creating a system like Amtrak.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Texas Department of Transportation is studying the prospects of passenger rail as far north as Oklahoma City and as far south as Monterrey. Texas Tribune

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.texastribune.org/tribpedia/high-speed-rail/

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.idothsr.org/
    St. Louis to Oklahoma City, 500 miles

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    For a second there I read “idiot”… Unfortunate name…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A further aside: Even low service airlines never took off in Central America… If you compare fares, it’s cheaper to fly from LA to New York than from any given Central American capital to any other one… That’s not a thing you can explain by people being poor… And if you look at the growth of tourism in recent years in the region, maybe there is a market for a solution faster than the bus (for those “Central America in two weeks” types) but cheaper than the plane (Central America outside Costa Rica is mostly visited by frugal travelers)

    EJ Reply:

    Income inequality is the answer. If you’re well off in Central America, you can easily afford those prices. If you’re poor, they can’t make flights cheap enough that they’re still affordable to you. And there isn’t a big enough middle class to justify more discounted fares.

    EJ Reply:

    And, I should add, broke-ass backpackers from more prosperous countries aren’t enough of a market either. Again, while there are flat parts, there are a lot of mountains in Central America. Train routes that are faster than the bus will be extremely expensive to build.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well I don’t know about the mountains, given this http://open.mapquest.de/?q1=12.14612,-86.27372&vs=directions map (with the nifty “avoid hills” tool for cyclists enabled) does not differ too much from the route that does not “avoid hills”… As for the demographics… Yeah they exist… But Tegucigalpa used to have no direct flights to Managua until recently… And it’s still a six hour drive. Across an OPEN border… What do businesspeople do in the area?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    As for me getting the money for a business case…. Not with the amount of money to my name and my age I won’t… And as for mountainous terrain… The West of Nicaragua is rather flat if memory serves… Would have to read up on El Salvador, though…

    Donk Reply:

    There is another transcontinental rail line in the Americas. It is in Panama. It is only 48 miles long – not quite the 3000 mile effort that these lines were in the U.S. and Canada.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Canal_Railway

    joe Reply:

    In a bout a deiced we’ll have another route form the Atlantic to Pacific – an ice free northwest passage.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Didn’t one of the US class I acquire that route recently? BTW it also has passenger service… Making it probably the only transcontinental commuter line in the world ;-)

    Eric Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmaray

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s an INTERcontinental commuter line, though…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Central American rail projects have repeatedly been stopped by
    (a) war
    (b) vandalism — looters stealing the tracks for scrap value

    The absence of functioning rule of law in all of Central America except for Costa Rica is basically the reason there are no Central America rail projects. Now you know. Costa Rica might build something eventually but it’s quite small.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nicaragua has been at peace (and growing to the tunes of 5% p.a.) since 1990. Honduras has not had a war in decades and El Salvador has been at peace since 1998. With the former guerrilla democratically elected to the presidency. Those countries do have problems, no doubt about it. But they are mostly in the past, not the future. And actually Costa Rica IS building new commuter lines… They are even building one from San José to SJO airport in Alajuela…

  13. Domayv
    Nov 22nd, 2015 at 22:24
    #13

    and now JR Central’s $40 million backing onto HouDal has been cleared for approval: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/11/22/national/japan-to-plow-40-million-into-plans-for-texas-high-speed-rail/#.VlKEFnYrKUl

    Jerry Reply:

    From the article:
    “This is the second time this month a Japanese-style high-speed train project in the U.S. has won government backing. A plan to build a maglev in Washington won $28 million in funds from the U.S. government two weeks ago. Both projects would use JR Tokai technology.”

    Aarond Reply:

    If Amtrak can’t even get the ARC tunnels done, how do these people expect to get a new maglev built? I’m not against the idea, but look at the mountain of NIMBYism even All Aboard Florida had to fight through. And that’s using existing track with off-the-shelf diesels. Where would a maglev station in DC even be located? Amtrak certainly isn’t including them in their Union Station plans.

    Regardless it’s good that TC is going ahead. It’s my dream that at the end of it in the mid 2020s both Texas can work with Illinois and California on a proper Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wait…. Maglev on the NEC? Why didn’t I hear about that?

  14. Anandakos
    Nov 22nd, 2015 at 23:56
    #14

    Trying to convince Republicans of the value of any infrastructure other than free roads is like arguing with a pig. There’s no way a pig will understand your words and so you just irritate it.

    Aarond Reply:

    Toll Roads has become much more palatable to them in the past few years. Many GOPers, especially Tea Partiers, objected to the “bailouts” of the Federal Highway Administration. If it weren’t for the standoffish politics that plague DC we’d seriously probably get the Interstate system privatized (or, at least opening the option to states to toll them).

    It’s also worth remembering that the GOP is why Amtrak still exists. Amtrak certainly isn’t a perfect creature, but it’s better than nothing. Rural districts keep their conservative legislators voting in favor of Amtrak (the current cuts are the result of the 9% Sequestration imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011).

    GOP =! NIMBY. There’s plenty of liberals, especially in places like Atherton or Belmont, that are against transit (especially when uber will supposedly automate everything). It was a Democrat, Harry Ried, who blocked the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository Project for a decade thus severely inhibiting the ability for states to adopt nuclear power. Meanwhile conservative states, such as Michigan and Missouri, are investing in rail and others like Georgia and South Carolina are still pro-nuclear.

    My point I’m trying to get across is that the GOP is not some giant borg and that there’s different parts of it, much like the Democrats. Some of these are open to compromise, some are not.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Amtrak certainly isn’t a perfect creature, but it’s better than nothing.

    $290 billion for 720 km of HSR is worse than nothing. It’s setting large amounts of money on fire.

    EJ Reply:

    Seriously, for $290 billion you ought to be able to build a tunnel all the way from Boston to DC.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Whoever got up with 290 Billion number needs to get fired ASAP! For that amount of money, we can rip out the Panamericana (including the bit between Panama and Colombia where there is no road), replace it with Maglev and get a winning sports franchise for Cleveland! Twice!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    290 Beeelllion? That’s only 40 billion more than what the Hyperloop would cost…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    [citation needed]

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It was a joke. :)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Ah okay…

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, I don’t think you can get a winning sports franchise for Cleveland for *any* amount of money. :-)

    Next you’ll be suggesting that the Cubs can win the World Series with enough money.

    Domayv Reply:

    and this is all caused by scope creep, which is something that a lot of Americans (and to an extent, the Anglosphere) people believe in a lot, as they steadfastly abide by the idea of “Go (Spend) big or go home (don’t spend)”, which is, simply put, if your transit project is priced at levels comparable to Europe when it comes with size (which is how a transit project would normally be priced at), it would be considered too expensive for local funding and too cheap for state & federal funding to be taken seriously, so the people involved artificially inflate the prices in order for it to be taken seriously.

    Aarond Reply:

    I agree completely.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Though to be fair, running over initially scheduled budgets is par for the course for transit projects in France and Germany as well… Even the Spanish (who are remarkably good at getting transit built on the cheap) have had projects run way over budget… An exception however is the Gotthard base tunnel in Switzerland, that came in a year ahead of schedule and under budget…

    Domayv Reply:

    yeah but America does that way too often and way too severe compared to Europe

    Clem Reply:

    It’s a straw man that will indeed be set on fire to illustrate just how cheap and affordable the project will be at $190 billion. Just imagine, $100 billion saved!!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Just enough to afford Quentin Kopp’s space elevator to Mars….

    synonymouse Reply:

    For $290 bil we can just about build BART to Fresno.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I hear the planners are excited about another tube…to Hawai’i.

    Zorro Reply:

    Aarond Do you know what a poison pill amendment is? That is why Sen Harry Reid cancelled a number of otherwise good bills, a poison or wrecking amendments are designed to make a bill and a law useless, it would be as if the bill was never signed into law and yet was, if the bill had been signed that is…

    In legislative debate, a wrecking amendment (also called a poison pill amendment or killer amendment) is an amendment made by a legislator who disagrees with the principles of a bill and who seeks to make it useless (by moving amendments to either make the bill malformed and nonsensical, or to severely change its intent) rather than directly opposing the bill by simply voting against it.

    In the United Kingdom, a wrecking amendment can take the form of the words “this House declines to give the Bill a Second Reading” inserted into the text. If such an amendment passes, the bill is not reviewed any further and is removed from the list of bills in progress.[1]

    An important character of wrecking amendments is that they are not moved in good faith. The proposer of the amendment would not see the wrecked legislation as good legislation and would still not vote in favour of the legislation when it came to the final vote, even if the amendment were accepted. Motives for making them include allowing more debate, delaying the enactment of the legislation, or just sometimes a straightforward attempt to make the initiator of the legislation give up.

    Some opponents of particular amendments will describe them as wrecking amendments because they regard the amendments as undermining the unity of the original proposal. Proponents of the amendment may seek to deny the charge by saying that the original proposal brings together different steps, and while personally they oppose all the parts, some parts are even worse than others and legislators should have an opportunity to consider them separately.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m aware of what a Poison Pill is. But for Reid, killing Yucca Mtn was straight up capitulating to NIMBYs for a decade. Of course, he also helped push for NV’s HSR board if I’m not mistaken.

    And, in complete fairness, a lot of blame also rests on the DoE for not seriously considering any other disposal site (Yucca Mtn is in Clarke County, which as you’re probably aware is where all the power in Nevada resides). It’s very likely that nuclear heavy states, such as SC or GA, would be more open to a disposal site within them.

    My original point though was that, especially outside of CA, things are much more grey.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I hate to say it, but being against a nuclear waste storage facility in your district while not good science or good economics is certainly good politics… And politics is what gets you (re)elected. Not science or economics…

    Joe Reply:

    The science doesn’t support Yucca Mointain. If it did there would be better chance Reid would accept the project and jobs.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yep. It turns out that salt caverns are a *very bad* place to store dangerous poisons — they’re *LEAKY*.

    I could have told them that (I live near major salt mines), but they weren’t listening.

    The new disposal suggestion, which makes a lot more sense, is boreholes in deep granite. Granite is mostly waterproof… and is typically already radioactive.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the German idea was “put it into a salt mine” – at the then German-German border… Problem is… East Germany does not exist any more…

  15. Eric M
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 08:36
    #15
  16. datacruncher
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 08:38
    #16

    Huff and Runner in the Sac Bee about HSR vs water. It looks like this is their preferred approach since they do not mention their other proposal to simply stop HSR.

    California’s priority should be water, not high-speed rail
    What’s more important to you? Having reliable, clean and safe drinking water, or being able to catch a not-so-fast train between Los Angeles and San Francisco?

    In the midst of a record drought, to most Californians the answer is simple: Water is far more important than a botched bullet train.

    http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article45780555.html

    Zorro Reply:

    And embedded within both, is a section to take the bonds away from HSR, just like had been tried months before in the State Senate, only then it was to give HSR Bonds to roads.

    Polls Republicans rely on are skewed and do not reflect reality, since polls only call landlines are now mostly filled with old people, not cell phones that everyone else uses.

    HSR is only botched by those who are anti-HSR.

    EJ Reply:

    Maybe. Bear in mind, Prop 1a passed with, what, 52%? Not exactly a landslide. And that was when they were telling us the SF-LA line would cost $33 billion (or $40 billion YOE I think it was?) and be finished by 2018. I hope the voters don’t cancel it if given the opportunity, but TBQH I wouldn’t be terribly surpised.

    Zorro Reply:

    The ballotpedia says the amount of $40 billion was an estimate, but then there were no contracts back then to say one way or the other.

    No not exactly a landslide, at least HSR is under construction now, considering how events turned out at the Federal level, it just means a slight delay, unless the voters of CA want to approve of some more funding to make up for the lack of new Federal money, cause of GOP sabotage at the Federal level, then construction could proceed on the whole LA-SF system.

    Me I don’t think the GOP will lose the House in 2016, maybe in 2020, in the meantime the Democratic Party could gain the Senate back(maybe) and hold on to the White House.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s a huge bias in California against propositions. There’s a lot of people who reflexively vote no on ALL propositions.

    So if 52% voted for Prop 1a, then the percentage who vote *against* a proposition to kill HSR will be way more than 52%. Maybe 60%+.

    Zorro Reply:

    That voting No, isn’t always a bad thing of course, still I hope for the best for the ones I like.

  17. datacruncher
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 08:48
    #17

    Newsom, Villaraigosa and Westly all are looking to build support in the San Joaquin Valley for their campaigns. I found the SacBee’s choice of words for the subhead to be appropriate for this forum.

    Gavin Newsom making overtures to San Joaquin Valley – might go duck hunting
    Newsom and other Democrats expected to run for governor are laying tracks in inland California

    Firebaugh – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stepped down from a chartered turboprop last week and into the back of a borrowed van, rambling past melon fields and almond trees on the road to Joe Del Bosque’s farm.

    For a politician seeking to draw a connection to the San Joaquin Valley amid California’s withering drought, the farmer’s fallowed fields are a standard course. President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown visited last year. Newsom, Del Bosque would tell him, was not the first gubernatorial candidate to make the trip.

    ………….

    Far from population centers on the coast, the Central Valley and Inland Empire make up more than a quarter of the state’s likely voters, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. For the early frontrunners, Newsom and Villaraigosa, who have cultivated bases of support in San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, inland California offers competitive ground.

    “If this is a race between the (former) mayor of San Francisco and the (former) mayor of Los Angeles,” said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, “you need to find new territory to win in.”

    ……….

    Newsom searches for common ground. Last month, he introduced a ballot measure to strengthen gun control laws in California, including banning the possession of large-capacity magazines. Last week, after visiting a Valley wildlife refuge, he said he had been skeet shooting and might go duck hunting for the first time this year.

    At a reception at an Italian restaurant in Los Banos, Newsom lamented that issues especially significant to the Valley, including unemployment and poverty, fail to draw sufficient attention from California’s coastal-centric Democratic Party.

    “We have not done justice to the Central Valley and to the Inland Empire and to some of our rural communities, and I’ve often wondered why that was the case,” Newsom said. “Everything we claim to care about as Democrats, that drive our party’s passions – issues of income inequality, social justice, dealing with racial disparities and concentrated poverty – is manifested quite acutely in the central part of this state.”

    ……….

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article45655116.html

    If Newsom goes duck hunting it should make for an interesting photo-op to publish in the coastal cities.

    Aarond Reply:

    It won’t work in San Joaquin itself though. Newsom burned bridges with his recent NRA comments, he won’t find much support that he doesn’t already have now. Believe me, those comments (and his push for gun control next year on the state ballot) will bite him hard outside the bay area.

    All Villaraigosa has to do is stand back.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I hope the gun control ballot initiative wins. But I could do without a governor Newsom… He’s still anti-HSR, isn’t he?

    Joe Reply:

    He’s nuanced. He supports HSR but not the current design and cost.

    There’s ample room for him to qualify what he wants to “fix” and endorse the project.

    morris brown Reply:

    Joe writes:

    He’s nuanced. He supports HSR but not the current design and cost.

    Pure unadulterated BS Joe.

    Viewers look at:

    California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom’s about-face

    and

    Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom: Spend high-speed rail money elsewhere

    Joe Reply:

    He thinks other projects are more important. That’s not rabid opposition such as yours.

    He change his mind and of course will do so again.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m not commenting on his proposed gun control, just that it’ll nuke any potential support he might have had in the Central Valley. It wouldn’t matter in the general election, but it’s enough to screw him in the primaries.

    It’s also worth noting that most of the state’s population is in socal, so Newsom having questionable support up north is a huge problem for him.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Why can’t we get sane, Canada-style gun control (requiring that people pass gun safety exams in order to get gun permits?)

    Answer: the NRA is owned by the gun manufacturers, who want to make sure that inapporpriate people can keep buying their products. The NRA is opposed to the interests of sportsmen and sportswomen.

    Aarond Reply:

    >(requiring that people pass gun safety exams in order to get gun permits?)

    We do. Brown implemented such laws back in 2013. In order to purchase a firearm in California, you have to get a Firearm Safety Certificate. FSCs require a written exam and every time you purchase a firearm you have to safety demonstrate how to load and unload it. Under CA law you cannot buy firearms in other states, they must be shipped to CA first for the safety exam/transfer. This includes Internet sales.

    https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fscinfo

    https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fscpfaqs

    As for Canada, that logic there is pretty much why many on the right “stick to their guns” (ie, don’t compromise). Canada’s new PM is looking to fully ban semiautomatic rifles now, a thing that has already occured in Australia and the UK. The implication is that no matter what compromises are made, more will be expected. Already here in CA the state government has tried openly to ban pistols (thanks to arnold, of all people) which is now in the courts as Pena v. Cid.

    I’m not going to comment on the rightness or wrongness of any of this though. It’s worth remembering that Newsom’s new ballot bill doesn’t really do anything other than restate existing law. But regardless of that fact, it’ll enrage the right.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe that’s his plan? Lose some voters he ain’t gonna get anyway but hope to pick some more up in exchange?

    Aarond Reply:

    I don’t think he’s that smart. His ballot measure, while it doesn’t do anything new, destroys any support he might have had in the central valley. I don’t see him picking up any newer voters with it either so it’s a net loss.

    One of the very smart things Brown has done (or rather, didn’t do) is that he has been indecisive on gun control. In other words, Brown avoided a giant pissing match that wouldn’t have accomplished anything. Meanwhile Newsom kicked the hornet’s nest.

    Bear in mind, again Newsom’s new bill doesn’t do anything new. That’s the kicker here: this is all for mostly nothing. Nobody gains here, not even the far right.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So it’s basically just symbol politics?

    Aarond Reply:

    Pretty much. But branding is everything, and Newsom is making himself out to be a “bad cop” whilst Villaraigosa can be a “good cop”.

    This a dumb game to play. Brown hasn’t given the GOP any chances, he balanced the budget and paid prop 50 off. He also didn’t pass any new gun control so they are locked out of the gungrabber angle. Newsom is giving them a means of attack. The GOP itself probably can’t win the legislature back, but moderates (including RINOs) could easily decide who’s Governor. Also, there’s the matter of the federal government that will likely remain GOP for the foreseeable future. Brown moving Cap-and-Trade money to HSR was a means of future-proofing it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Newsom is another SF flyweight like Ammiano and Leno. Willie Brown taught them everything they know and they did not learn much.

    It is the Bluto phenomenon.

    Jerry Reply:

    And next – a guest appearance on the, ‘Duck Dynasty’.
    When John Kerry went duck hunting in Ohio, it didn’t help his campaign very much.
    Just a photo op.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s times like this I have to remind myself there’s only been one Democratic governor in the last seventy years not named “Brown”.

    These are uncharted waters for the California Democratic Party: while they have an unassailable majority in the Legislature, they are an awful big tent to try and hold the Governor’s Office with the same consistency. It’s very difficult for one candidate to embody the sort of political rectitude in election after election.

    Ten years ago, I saw this showdown between Newsom and Villaraigosa as inevitable. But that before Citizens United unleashed the nearly unlimited resources titans like Tom Steyer, Steve Westly, and yes, Carly Fiorina can bring to these races. 2018 is going to be like nothing you have ever seen before.

    This is merely the calm before the storm. Enjoy it while you can.

    Aarond Reply:

    The Republicans have no chance here, thanks to Gerrymandering. Also the state’s ballot could allow for two Democrats to face off, instead of a Democrat and a Republican. Fiorina would just be Whitman again.

    It’ll be norcal vs socal and in the end whoever gets the most swing votes wins. Of course, in theory this could cause the Democrats to split their votes and allow a minority GOP victory. But I doubt it and regardless the Democrats would still run the state legislature.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That is very unlikely for statewide offices. Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, now those states are so blue you could see a intra party general election.

    But if we ever get such a battle between two Democrats in California, it’s the Republicans that would provide the swing votes and put the more moderate candidate at a big advantage. Add in a low turnout primary and you got a self-perpetuating political machine without the graft. The Newsom-Villaraigosa isn’t about North versus South as much as whether social liberals or organized labor have more influence. There are religious and ethnic overtones that are blatant, but in the end it comes down to what matters more: the wealth of the socially liberal or the boots of the working class.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Let’s get this straight:

    Red is “commie”.
    Blue is, well, blue-blood. Monarchist.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s all NBC’s news fault in 2000. They used the reverse color scheme of the European parties with the left being blue and the right being red the night America fell into the electoral abyss.

    Dave Leip even uses the other color scheme. However, in a sense, the idea of blue as being associated with “cool, intellectual, urban” liberals and red with “volatile, aggressive” conservatives does have some currency. Neither of our parties really have European equivalents.

    EJ Reply:

    I actually had the opportunity to talk with one of the people who made the original decision to use Red=Republican, Blue=Dem. It was literally just because they wanted to use red and blue, and didn’t want to seem to be calling the Democrats communist.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If the Democratic Party cannot handle being labeled commie by the right what good is it?

    Limousine liberals and Reaganites pretty much the same in my estimation in re economic issues that affect the proletariat at large. Limousine liberals are as much motivated by culture war as the rightists and pander to special interest groups who are wealthy, such as trial lawyers.

    The Communist Party at least attempted to quash l’ancien regime and redistribute the wealth. The fact that it did not work undermines the left’s raison d’etre.

    Alternately economic and social royalism is the right’s most important product, to take a line from Ronnie’s primary sponsor after 20 Mule Team.

    The masses are as bad off as ever, with the prospect of AI and robotics taking away even more of the low level jobs they can qualify for. Online is killing brick and mortar retail. More jobs gone. Does it feel to you guys that this economy is better than 2007? The Gnomes and TARPers could pounce at any time.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The 11th Commandment is not “Thou shalt work a 40 hour week, 50 weeks of the year”

    EJ Reply:

    I was talking about NBC news, not “the right.”

    I guess the rest of that makes sense in your head, but it certainly doesn’t in mine.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s as if Synonymouse has his own limitless supply of peyote, I tell you…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wasn’t it that they switched for every election? Or something like “incumbent gets one color, the other guy the other” Of course the color scheme is kinda bizarre… But so are the color schemes of some other countries… in Nicaragua Conservatives have historically been green. Liberals red and Sandinistas red/black… in many places in Europe the conservatives are actually black, not blue…

    J. Wong Reply:

    The district lines in California are not Gerrymandered. They were set by an independent commission of citizen volunteers not based on partisan considerations.

    Aarond Reply:

    And who’s on that commission? Mostly Democrats. Gerrymandering is a tool both parties utilize for their own gain. Such is politics.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You should maybe back up your claims before spouting off: The California redistricting commission consists of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 non-partisan commissioners. How do you get mostly out of that?

  18. frozen
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 10:12
    #18

    Looks like LACMTA is changing their mind regarding a seperate HSR station at Union Station, as per this board agenda:

    https://metro.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2486700&GUID=565A0CBC-80E6-427D-919F-D9A099F97909&FullText=1

  19. frozen
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 10:31
    #19

    Off-Topic:

    Apparently LACMTA has changed their mind regarding the seperate HSR station at Union Station, and instead use the shared tracks. This was in the board meeting on Nov. 14:

    https://metro.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2486700&GUID=565A0CBC-80E6-427D-919F-D9A099F97909&FullText=1

    StevieB Reply:

    The CA HSR Authority has asked for two platforms and four tracks within LAUS and is in discussion with Los Angeles Metro I was told at a recent open house for the Burbank to LAUS segment.

    The CA HSR Authority is also reevaluating its automobile parking needs at LAUS which in previous years had included building two large parking structures across the freeway south of LAUS and a pedestrian bridge connection.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Not remotely off-topic.

    But not timely or new.

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2015/10/chsra-resumes-planning-for-anaheim-la-segment/#comment-264221

    Clem Reply:

    This is all so deliciously logical.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well…Los Angeles ™ is not going to let any HSR trains pass the city by.

    200 years later, and the alcaldes still aren’t letting travelers on the Camino Real cross the LA River without pasing through LA itself.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Back in the 19th century, Local politicians would deliberately block the building of union stations or compromises on rail gauge, because that would have lost their towns and hamlets the lucrative transshipment business… And in in medieval times some cities had the right that all merchandise that came through had to be put on sale and display for x amount of time…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Today, some corporations use proprietary technology to squeeze consumers through economic rent seeking….I think it’s called iTunes or something….

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nothing new under this sun, indeed… There is also this gem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translohr of proprietary non-compatible engineering… How any city could ever saddle itself with the need to buy these vehicles for the next couple of decades baffles me…

    EJ Reply:

    They’re not ripping up the existing tracks along the river that would allow trains to bypass LAUS, if for some reason they wanted them to.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think any concept designs for any of the station’s envision true bypass tracks. I think even in Fresno and Bakersfield some trains will just blast through at 220mph…supposedly…

    Joey Reply:

    Most of the intermediate stations where not all trains will stop are planned to have four tracks – stopping trains divert onto sidings where the platforms are located, allowing express trains to pass at high speed (whether that means full speed probably depends on where the station is located). The express tracks are located between the local tracks. This is how high speed stations around the world are set up.

    Roland Reply:

    You mean like this? http://www.greencaltrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/newhillsdale.png

    Joey Reply:

    No. That’s two tracks serving a single island platform. I was talking about [url=http://www.vivireltren.es/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Estacion-AVE-Requena.jpg]four tracks with two side platforms[/url].

    Joey Reply:

    Augh. Too used to bbcode. two tracks with two side platforms

    Roland Reply:

    I was kidding Joey (we are on the same page) but what is it going to get Clem on board with the program? http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2010/01/football-island.html

    Joey Reply:

    Roland: The station requirements in Hanford or Palmdale are very different from station requirements on the Peninsula. The standard HSR station is optimized for areas of very high speed where you have HSR trains passing each other only at stations. On the Peninsula, top speeds are lower, and HSR trains will probably never pass each other. The stop penalty is much less which means that passing can’t be done at a single station without delaying the train significantly – you need an extended segment. FSSF absolutely makes sense in this environment.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    On the Peninsula, top speeds are lower, and HSR trains will probably never pass each other. The stop penalty is much less which means that passing can’t be done at a single station without delaying the train significantly – you need an extended segment. FSSF absolutely makes sense in this environment.

    Trains are going to pass each other all the time on the Peninsula. There’s an exceedingly good chance that TBT bound trains won’t stop at SFO and vice versa, for example. And it’s also in the realm of possibility that both SFO and TBT bound transfer will stop at either Palo Alto or Diridon, but not both.

    FSSF would actually work well in this arrangement.

    But be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. FSSF increases the argument to eliminate CalTrain and four-track the Peninsula for HSR alone. The central platform design also dovetails nicely with BART replacing Cal Train by building viaducts overhead along the median….

    Joey Reply:

    Trains are going to pass each other all the time on the Peninsula. There’s an exceedingly good chance that TBT bound trains won’t stop at SFO and vice versa, for example. And it’s also in the realm of possibility that both SFO and TBT bound transfer will stop at either Palo Alto or Diridon, but not both.

    Trains will pass each other, but not HSR train passing other HSR trains. Even comparing a train that makes both intermediate stops to a train that makes neither, the difference in average speeds isn’t large enough to justify an overtake that close to the end of the line.

    But be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. FSSF increases the argument to eliminate CalTrain and four-track the Peninsula for HSR alone. The central platform design also dovetails nicely with BART replacing Cal Train by building viaducts overhead along the median….

    Even if that made sense I wouldn’t think it likely. But it doesn’t – stations are going to be a small fraction of the overall ROW length.

    Nathanael Reply:

    GO LOS ANGELES.

    See, Clem, I said the crazy misplanning was mostly up in the Bay Area, and that we’d get sensible planning from LA. :-)

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That is stupid. HSR Tracks should emerge from a tunnel under Elysian Park, then emerge onto a viaduct that crosses local tracks and roads along Vignes Street, to an elevated station across the street from the existing LAUS, before continuing along the Los Angeles River.

    EJ Reply:

    Why?

  20. J. Wong
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 11:55
    #20

    O.T., Proposed Caltrain fare hike highlights funding and equity shortfalls.

    Basically, Caltrain is proposing to raise fares to cover operating expenses, but it makes Caltrain a service only the middle and upper-middle class can afford.

    joe Reply:

    Right.

    Complex and irregular funding commitments from local government transit agencies combined with high demand from tech workers.

    Many tech and other employers also offer discounted or free Caltrain passes. Stanford for example offers passes to staff and faculty in lieu of a parking sticker.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Insanely high agency overhead costs, out-of-control (quite literally out of control) perma-temp consultancy mafia, incredibly low labor efficiency, scandalously poor equipment utilization, completely unacceptable service levels (with no plans to improve), nose-bleed expensive capital projects that make service worse and actively sabotage future service needs, customer-last ticketing, customer-last scheduling, customer-last project planning, in-house (see out-of-control consultancy mafia) “signalling” project years late and hundreds of millions of dollars in pure fraud overhead scammery, every promised major service improvement deferred, massive kickbacks left and right …

    Yeah, Caltrain’s (100% self-inflicted for the last decade at least) problems are due to tech workers and discounted passes.

    NEED MOAR MONEE. MOAR MONEE FOR MORE STUDIES AND MORE GILROY.

    Joe Reply:

    What a sad little man.

    Unstable funding and the lack or dedicated funding are facts and it is inefficient. Instability makes planning more difficult and costly.

    This is true in any language and culture.

    You couldn’t do better because your solutions involve wishing away constraints.

    Obviously your temperament assures you’d never be hired for such a responsibility.

    Clem Reply:

    He does have a valid point, even if you think he’s sad.

    Joe Reply:

    the caps lock part right?
    Dude’s messed up.

    The think that set him off was true.

    Caltrain’s unstable, unpredictable budget creates inefficiencies no matter what native language the managers and engineer speak.

    And free Caltrain passes like ours mean the fare hike is no big deal.
    .
    No one, and I mean no one can point out an actual problem not created by Caltrain.

    The comment about no plans to improve services levels after electrification is a lie.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe, farebox income and well managed (i.e. greatly reduced) overhead will eliminate much of the need for your “unstable, unpredictable” budgets. Don’t give these drones and parasites a free pass just because it has become conventional wisdom to say that commuter operations lose money. That’s an alibi for waste and inefficiency, and all around bad management. In any event Caltrain is hardly a “commuter railroad” in the old sense. 2 way traffic, multiple origins AND destinations, reasonable traffic all day, and a market for much more if the service matched. Caltrain should be shitting money.
    Clearly the operation is unlikely to fund its own electrification, but it doesn’t matter so much if capex dollars are unpredictable, you grab them when they are available and cobble together what’s needed from multiple sources. But it’s shameful that OpEx is in deficit.

    Joe Reply:

    The Caltrain entity us is knee capped because they haven’t a dependable funding source.

    Why is this so hard to accept? And why not demand it get fixed so they’ve got one less excuse?

    It’s s litmus test. Anyone who can’t accept this is a flaw that wastes resources and hampers planning doesn’t know how to plan and it hasn’t been a manager in a dynamic budget environment.

    You write Caltrain should be shitting money. It’s fantastic to know if so many talented managers.

    Joey Reply:

    CalTrain needs a dedicated funding source, but I don’t see how that prevents them from working on overstaffing, messy, inefficient schedules, and other issues.

    joe Reply:

    ‘prevent’? It doesn’t prevent. You cannot prevent.

    You fix things by systematicaly improving the environment. You can simplify the budget planning environment for Caltrain. That reduces workload and allows for more efficienct resource (time and money) allocation.

    There are obvious organizational problems with caltrain that have to be fixed if one wants a better Caltrain.

    Any schedule change would need to be approved by three county reps and resource allication is constrained by the county contributors.

    Example?

    2010 budget problems lead to several publicly communicated proposed service cut options. (that costs money) The least impacting cuts would have maintained service for the county cutting their contribution. It would have penalized the county, santa clara, that was maintaining their contribution.

    A dedicated $$ source would have avoided the 2010 shortfall, eliminated the staff planning and out reach and also eliminated the political exercise to float these cuts to the public and force the system to propose cuts that were funding source based (san mateo) and not ridership based.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “That reduces workload and allows for more efficienct resource (time and money) allocation.”

    Or it just allows them to be lazier. Fixing the funding problem doesn’t necessarily fix the disorganization and lack of planning. And giving them money and hoping that they’ll then fix the latter may be just a fools game.

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe they get lazier.
    I can’t fix project or organization without redolving each issue.

    I’m fascinated at the excuses efficiency advocates use to leave the Caltrain system in the inefficient state it’s in now.

    It’s ironic that the excuse making is exactly what I would characterize as a lazy excuse to do nothing.

    Roland Reply:

    @Joe.
    You are getting mixed up between “Caltrain” and SamTrans, a dysfunctional bankrupt transit agency currently enjoying a year-to-year contract for $20M in Caltrain “Administration Services”. “Caltrain” is indeed shitting money out of every orifice but not enough to keep the SamTrans Titanic afloat. “Caltrain” will soar like an eagle (http://tinyurl.com/p3tyggv) as soon as it abandons ship, hopefully as soon as right after the Super Bowl.

    See “MTC augments contribution to SamTrans operating budget by $42,712,057 (SamTrans: $38,075,984 Caltrain: $5,046,388)”:
    – “Increases in staff pay and fringe benefits account for 30% of the budget increase”
    – “Caltrain contribution accounts for 4.6% of the budget”
    Issue: “Operating costs are growing much faster than hours of service provided”
    https://mtc.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2479571amp;GUID=ED33F8FF-E8B3-438C-9561-15FEB74C5AB3amp;Options=amp;Search= (click on attachment).

    What is truly remarkable is that not only have SamTrans so far milked $20M for “Administration” and $10M in overinflated fuel costs (http://tinyurl.com/ope33px) out of the FY16 Caltrain operating budget but the $11M in farebox revenue bonds for the Metrolink Bombardier railcars are also unaccounted for.

    Joe Reply:

    Sam Trans pays into Caltrain.
    It’s one of three agencies that pays a *voluntary* contribution to the service.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help the rest of us understand which part of “MTC augments contribution to SamTrans operating budget by $42,712,057 (SamTrans: $38,075,984 Caltrain: $5,046,388)” it is that you do not understand.

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe you were in high school back in 2010.

    I know the eventual proposed cuts were directed at San Mateo stations. Santa Clara’s position was to not accept cuts to their stations due to a San Mateo shortfall.

    I’m sure you have a really interesting story to tell. It’s a different story.

    Roland Reply:

    Someone found your pacifier and turned it in. Here is how you can be reunited: http://www.caltrain.com/riderinfo/lostandfound.html

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Roland and others, who do you propose to manage/operate Caltrain?

    There are some 27 transit agencies in the Bay Area plus the dysfunctional MTC. Each has its own management team, not to mention uncoordinated fares and schedules. And you are proposing another agency for Caltrain?

    How does Caltrain compare to that of other systems here and in other metropolitan areas?

    With all these agencies, how much $$$ is spent on overhead/administration that could be spent on serving customers?

    There does need to be some admin cost for managing the service, planning, procurement, lobbying for funding, etc. but how much, needs to be answered. Should the agency operate the service or should the service be contracted out?

    Some people see the 27 agencies as an advantage because it allows for better local control and better suited for local customers’ needs and best interests. Why would a transit user in Santa Rosa have to come all the way to San Francisco or Oakland to voice their concerns regarding local service in Santa Rosa?

    Why should San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose control transit service in Santa Rosa, Livermore, Pittsburg, Antioch, Petaluma, etc?

    These are some of the common reasons for opposition to consolidating Bay Area transit agencies.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Combine Caltrain San Joaquin ACE and CapCor into an efficiently sized operation. Probably still less than 100 trains per day

    Roland Reply:

    Q: “With all these agencies, how much $$$ is spent on overhead/administration that could be spent on serving customers?”
    A: http://tinyurl.com/ope33px page 2: CC (BART) and ACE (SJRRC) operating budgets.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul,

    That’s already the plan for the “Northern California Unified Service”, merging ACE, the San Joaquins, and Capitols into one Uber-Train. The San Joaquin Valley Railroad Commission was selected as the “managing agency” even though they are a tiny staff, work in Stockton, and would cost BART control of the Capitol Corridor service.

    As for Jeff’s question…no one really knows the future, so no one really knows how to link the various fiefdoms in the Bay Area together. But that overlooks the face that the feudalism of the Middle Ages evolved into the federalism of the industrial age. The same thing can happen here. Different agencies can share territory and provide different services.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, depends how you define plan. At present there is no prospect of BART relinquishing the CapCor for example.

    EJ Reply:

    Your link is borked. Isn’t Caltrain already pretty much a service for middle class commuters? If you’re poor, it ain’t exactly cheap.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Proposed Caltrain Fare Hike

    Roland Reply:

    The poor don’t qualify for these: http://www.caltrain.com/Fares/tickettypes/GO_Pass.html
    Q1: Is this socially equitable?
    Q2: How can a railway possibly support itself with this kind of dysfunctional fare policy?
    Q3: How do America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals propose to handle their self-inflicted massive overcrowding?

    Joe Reply:

    Social policy isn’t set by transit planners.

    Nor is tax revenue under their control or Caltrain’s governance.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Social equity is achieved through subsidies for low-income members of the population
    2) Why would a system like Caltrain need any tax revenue for operations??????????????????????????

    EJ Reply:

    1) And that’s an issue for the cities served by Caltrain, and to a lesser extent the state of CA. If they want to subsidize low-income riders, they need to figure out a way to do it. It’s not Caltrain’s problem.
    2) Over 500 employees to run one 125 km train line? Inefficient equipment usage? Richard M. has lots more….

    Joe Reply:

    2) Can you point me to a commuter line that runs on fare box revenue.

    Rick has many points: I know the pat response is native English speaking peoples are incompetent.

    Roland Reply:

    Q: “Can you point me to a commuter line that runs on fare box revenue”
    A: Take your pick: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/456373/rail-subsidy-indicator.xls

    Bdawe Reply:

    The West Coast Express in Vancouver funds it’s own operational expenses. Unlike UK examples is more or less FRA compliant.

    Probably helps that they carry 1/5 as many passengers in a tenth as many trains

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Caltrain is not a “commuter line”. Read my posting above.

    Joe Reply:

    State Law REQUIRES a city’s specific plan to include and then build a determined amout of low income housing.

    Surprise. Palo Alto is not in compliance.

    That’s not Caltrain’s responsibility.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m not sure, but I think charter cities might be exempt from enforcement of those provisions. It’s an old, and nasty problem in California…

    Edward Reply:

    The counties in the ABAG region can opt out of having ABAG determine where the housing must be built. Several counties did exactly that. This does not change the amount of housing the *county* as a whole must build, but it does allow the county to determine where it will be built. For a financial consideration the county is building some of Palo Alto’s required housing on county land.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain has evolved into a middle class system. It has gentrified along with the areas near the stations.
    “Dogpatch” in SF for example.

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Cant we ever unify all Bay Area transit agencies under a new Clipper Transprtation, and get consisten fares (same for bus, BART, Caltrain….)

    Edward Reply:

    At the moment Clipper is working on just getting all the districts to *use* clipper. At the beginning of this month three agencies in Contra Costa county joined. The technology of the existing cards doesn’t really adapt well to a consistent policy, either fixed fee plus distance or zone. There will be a replacement for the present Clipper system at some point in the future and (with luck) that system will allow a consistent system. It is being studied.

    It would certainly be nice to have a single card for all ground transportation in California. If The Netherlands can do it, with luck we should be able to. It’s not like we are a low tech area.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Annex San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to BART, and get Caltrain people on the BART Board. Although this could lead to BART around the Bay, it might be decades away. BART incorporates different types of rail, e.g., eBART, OAC. No reason they couldn’t continue Caltrain as it exists today. A single governance of regional rail transit in the five major Bay Area counties with six million residents is worth exploring.

    Roland Reply:

    Mr. Robert S. Allen: has it ever occurred to you that linking two cities 50 miles apart with a subway system running off a third rail is an incredibly stupid idea, so how about having Caltrain take over BART and start converting it to standard gauge instead of the other way around?

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Roland: Your answer is incredibly stupid and not to the point. I proposed a single elected governing board for rail transit ringing the Bay. A single management could make regional rail transit nearly seamless, linking the disparate operations more effectively than what we have today.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    It just starts with annexing the two counties to BART and creating a single management responsive to the voters to serve the five counties.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s not gonna happen.

    You have to repeal Prop 13 and AB 8 to end the fiefdom structure of the Bay Area. (Which might I add, is working out better these days than what’s happening in Southern California.)

    About the best we can get is BART replacing CalTrain but keep the ROW intact for other, non-commute train services. Then you continue to have BART manages the JPA commuter services like ACE and the Capitols. And you let BART control the ferries and the Bridges.

    The counties and their specific transit agencies retain control of MUNI, VTA, AC Transit etc and work it out with the cities. The BART board stays elected, but each mode gets its own subcommittee.

    Roland Reply:

    Anyone dreaming of “annexing” Santa Clara County is smoking some really good stuff. The cost of BART to Berryessa (so far) is $350M/mile including basket-case “campuses” @Milpitas & Berryessa (the “seamless” transfers between BART and the VTA light rail @ Milpitas evidently originated from the same rentseekers who designed Millbrae and OAC)…
    BTW, you did not answer the question about the current location of Freemont BART: why did you not consider an ACE/CC/BART multimodal transit center @Shin???

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Is it possible for the Bay Area transit management/MTC to do anything that is not a basket case?

    Look at their track record…

    The Bay Bridge fiasco, years late and billions over budget, water intrusion into the deck, rusting/cracking support rods.
    BART to SFO/Millbrae, far short of projected ridership. And don’t forget the cost overruns.
    VTA light rail, near the top of underperforming light rail systems.
    BART to Silicon Valley will be no different and may bankrupt VTA just as BART to SFO/Millbrae nearly did to Samtrans.
    Who knows how the central subway and the Transbay Transit Center will turn out???

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Bay Area transportation policy:

    “Always late, but worth the wait!”

    Roland Reply:

    “BART to Silicon Valley will be no different and may bankrupt VTA” definitely caught the VTA Board’s attention and may well result in BART terminating at Berryessa on a permanent basis…

    With regards to the MTC, they are actually “the Good Guys” but they have their work cut out keeping the kindergarten under control and, yes, I do know that I am about to get crucified for what I just typed…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I think “annexing” is a bit an unfortunate choice of words.

    But I believe to see in which direction the statement aims (but please, Mr. Allen, correct me if I am wrong): Build up one organization which has the authority and responsibility for the service levels provided, and which has the authority and responsibility for the fare structure. It does, however, not mean that that organization is actually operating; operating is contracted to the various operators.

    In German, that would be a “Tarifverbund” (consolidated fare structure) and/or a “Verkehrsverbund” (consolidated definition and control over the service levels).

    The question does remain, whether BART would be the ideal organization, because the tasks of such an organization is above operation, and it does need a wide political support (but must be independent in its structure and processes from direct influences (actually, better would be interferences) by individuals. BART would be an operator in such a construct. BART may actually also have the role of a “leading operator” in some (geographical) areas. But IMHO, BART is not independent enough to fulfill the tasks required by that organization. And BART can no longer be considered to be a leader in technology; it was (some would say “may have been”) so 40 or so years ago.

    J. Wong Reply:

    He means “annexing” by adding them to the existing BART transit district.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With BART anschluss is exactly the right word.

    joe Reply:

    Roland’s right

    The Bay Area isn’t going to ring with an incompatible system and it surely isn;t going to find billions ot build a BART exclude Bay crossing.

    Caltrain going to interoperate with California’s HSR and conventional rail system. As will ACE.
    Nevada is also standardizing on this system for compatibility and interoperability.

    BART is too niche and incompatible with all other rail systems.

    Transitioning the BART ROW to standard gauge is inevitable.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe,

    Any massive investment in Bay Area transit will have to include a tax increase passed by voters. And that means using much of any revenue on projects that have popular support. BART could carry a ballot measure all by itself…CalTrain??? Not so much…

    Roland Reply:

    Sad but true: http://www.envisionsv.org/results

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, BART technology has already won. Lee has turned his back on Muni and TWU 250A. He may turn his back on Caltrain and the TBT tunnel to snatch all that real estate.

    SF is obsessed with becoming a manhattan and the latter does not have hsr. But it does have roads, airports, and subways. Remember Willie Brown, Lee’s mentor, sold out Caltrain for BART. BART owns MTC and soon ABAG.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    San Francisco has to become Queens first. Then the Bronx and then Brooklyn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Roland

    BART 3rd rail subway to Fresno!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Roland, yes it is a stupid idea.

    He knows that annexation would be the first step in replacing Caltrain, ACE, etc. with BART. He knows that a properly run, electrified Caltrain would end any hope of extending BART south of Millbrae. He wants to dump HSR passengers onto Caltrain in San Jose and we know Caltrain is at capacity during peak hours. Or he wants to dump HSR passengers onto the most crowded point of BART in West Oakland.

    Meetings would be in Oakland, very inconvenient for Caltrain customers.
    No more monthly passes.
    No more express/bullet service.
    No service in the Bayshore corridor.
    No service to ATT Park.
    Fewer seats, more customers would have to stand.
    Less room for bikes.
    It would be a disservice to current BART customers as trains would fill up much earlier.
    More wear and tear on the BART system.
    This is what we get with BART replacing Caltrain.

    J. Wong Reply:

    BART is not a “subway” system. Most of its track is above ground. And as for third rail over that distance, do you realize that Long Island RailRoad is also third rail along the over 50 mile length of Long Island?

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or at least they could unify fares, tranfers, and produce a single map.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What. Like Europe?

  21. morris brown
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 14:51
    #21

    The TBT just another over cost, delayed project. Rumors have it that it will be at least another 20 years before CalTrain can possibly gets access. Lee definitely wants to discard present plans for his own vision. Its only other people’s money afterall.

    Ed Lee extends S.F.’s reach over new Transbay Transit Center

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Ed-Lee-extends-S-F-s-reach-over-new-Transbay-6650638.php

    keith saggers Reply:

    The Lee administration has said publicly that it is exploring putting the tracks closer to the waterfront — the idea would be to run them underground along Third Street starting at about 22nd Street — so fans could take trains to and from the planned Warriors arena and AT&T Park.
    Falvey, however, said boosting Public Works’ control over the Transbay Transit Center construction had nothing to do with the train route. “That’s absolutely not the case,” she said.
    San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener agreed. He has asked the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission to conduct a full review of the transit center’s escalating construction costs.
    “I don’t think the city in any way is itching to take control of the project,” Wiener said. “But there is a concern about the the cost — and the cost overruns — and that things are properly managed

    Clem Reply:

    This is just another step in the redevelopment of Mission Bay. TJPA doesn’t like it because it sets their plans back by years, and Caltrain doesn’t like it because they are in the long standing habit of parking out-of-service trains in what has become a primo location.

    Roland Reply:

    The TJPA “plans” are not worth the paper they are printed on so how about turning Transbay into a through station with 3 northbound and 3 southbound tracks with the middle island platform dedicated to northbound/southbound HSR and parking the 3 Gilroy trains in Oakland?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    And how and where would they transition from the current row over to 3rd street at 22nd? And how and where would they transition from 3rd to 2nd for the transbay approach which has already been built in with the demolition of the buildings at 2nd.
    Its too late for this kind of change.

    If they wanted to use 3rd they should have planned that from the start.

    Further, its not HSR’s role to bring people to games. Mission bay already has muni 3rd service.

    Unless they want to just send caltrain up 3rd and terminate it in mission bay south of the creek.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “And how and where would they transition from the current row over to 3rd street at 22nd?”

    The “wave your hands” idea is to dig a tunnel from the 22nd/23rd St cut (probably transitioning from the tunnel) under the existing Muni yard and Dogpatch buildings to 3rd Street. See I-280 near Mission Bay would be razed in Caltrain tunnel plan.

    J. Wong Reply:

    It wouldn’t be HSR bringing people to games, but Caltrain. They just happen to share tracks there.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s actually a fairly sensible plan, given that it straightens the alignment and eliminates two sharp curves (7th to Townsend and Townsend to 2nd). The curves on the new alignment would be much shallower than the sharp angles shown on the map in the SF Gate article, with the transition to 3rd St being a smooth S-curve from the north end of Tunnel 2 (near 23rd St) to roughly 3rd & Mariposa. When 3rd St hits the water, the alignment would curve under the ballpark to join 2nd St. The approach under 2nd would remain the same, so none of the work currently in progress would need to be re-done.

    One open question is whether the support columns for I-280 between 23rd and 22nd, which would need to be removed for the alignment, would be replaced, or if they would simply end the freeway somewhere south of 23rd St.

    The existing DTX plan is $2.6bn for 1.3 miles of tunneling and one new station, which is insanely expensive. If they can build this new alignment as a two-track alignment using TBMs and bring construction costs down even to (still insanely high) Central Subway levels, the new 2.7 mile alignment might come in below $3bn. The draft report should be published early next year, so we’ll soon see how this all plays out.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Well there’s no money to get from king to tbt as is it, who is going to pay to tunnel under dogpatch tunnel under 3rd and then tunnel under the creek and the ballpark?
    The mayor is in the pocket of the developers. If they want this then they need to fund it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I think the plan is to fund it with the sale of the former I 280 right-of-way. Valuable SF real estate.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Please explain how a TBM could possibly “transition to 3rd St being a smooth S-curve from the north end of Tunnel 2 (near 23rd St) to roughly 3rd & Mariposa” without removing I-280 (and its piles) all the way to 23rd first (your “open question”). See http://www.spur.org/publications/article/2013-06-06/taking-down-freeway-reconnect-neighborhood for why this is important.
    2) Please explain how Caltrain would possibly be able to continue operations while all this is going on (bus bridge for 2+ years?).
    3) Your assessment that $2.6B for 1.3 miles of tunneling is “insanely expensive” (10x more than the Crossrail tunnel contracts) is correct but you are comparing apples to oranges: first, the Central Subway tunnel is 1.7 (not 2.7) miles long and second the Central Subway adds four stations vs. one for Caltrain/HSR (the Central Subway tunnel contract, including the TBMs & the 4th Street portal, was for $233M which is in line with Crossrail).
    4) The 2nd street DTX alignment is fatally flawed because it makes it impossible to tunnel across the Bay without blowing up MUNI & Embarcadero.
    5) How would you like a “Bertha-like” intervention under the Ball Park in the middle of a World Series?

    Jon Reply:

    Please explain how a TBM could possibly “transition to 3rd St being a smooth S-curve from the north end of Tunnel 2 (near 23rd St) to roughly 3rd & Mariposa” without removing I-280 (and its piles) all the way to 23rd first

    The open question is not whether they would need to remove the piles supporting I-280 between 22nd and 23rd St to build the new alignment – that’s a given. The question is whether they would add them back in afterwards as straddle bents, supporting the freeway deck while straddling the new track, or simply end the freeway south of 23rd St.

    Please explain how Caltrain would possibly be able to continue operations while all this is going on (bus bridge for 2+ years?)

    TBMs would likely be deployed from Muni Woods yard and recovered at 2nd & Howard, or visa versa. You could dig the entire tunnel between those two locations, build the Mission Bay station, and lay the new track, without impacting Caltrain operations or I-280. Once you’ve done all that, you can remove the I-280 pillars between 22nd and 23rd St and connect the north end of Tunnel No. 2 to the new tunnel starting at Woods Yard. Such a short connection could be built in a couple of months, not a couple of years.

    first, the Central Subway tunnel is 1.7 (not 2.7) miles long

    Read what I wrote. I said the new alignment would be 2.7 miles long, not that the Central Subway is 2.7 miles long.

    second the Central Subway adds four stations vs. one for Caltrain/HSR

    For a guesstimate, I took the per mile cost of the Central Subway ($1bn/mile including stations), multiplied it by the length of the new alignment (2.7 miles), rounded up to the nearest billion, and used that as an upper bound. Hence, “below $3bn”.

    I never claimed it was an exact costing. The fact that there are fewer stations on the Caltrain/HSR tunnel will bring down the cost relative to the Central Subway, but the wider diameter of the Caltrain/HSR tunnels will increase the cost relative to the Central Subway, so the guesstimate could move in either direction.

    The 2nd street DTX alignment is fatally flawed because it makes it impossible to tunnel across the Bay without blowing up MUNI & Embarcadero.

    Given the (mis-)design of Transbay, and the fact that it is surrounded by skyscrapers, 2nd St is the only viable approach from the south. The new alignment doesn’t in itself solve the lack of Transbay connection, but with either the current DTX plan or the new alignment you could find a way to provide a future East Bay connection.

    For example, you could add a pair of tracks that split off from the 2nd St alignment just south of Transbay and head east under Howard. (You might have to demo a few low rises on the southeast corner of 2nd & Howard, but no high rises.) A new pair of platforms under Howard parallel to Transbay would serve trains continuing on to the East Bay, essentially expanding Transbay to eight tracks. These two new tracks could then connect to a new tube at the end of Howard, or curve south under Main and connect to a new tube at piers 30/32.

    How would you like a “Bertha-like” intervention under the Ball Park in the middle of a World Series?

    Fine by me. I hate baseball.

    Roland Reply:

    “Given the (mis-)design of Transbay, and the fact that it is surrounded by skyscrapers, 2nd St is the only viable approach from the south.”
    Has it ever crossed your mind that Transbay could be approached from the west with separate bores under Minna & Natoma?

    Jon Reply:

    There are a forest of high rises to navigate through if you approach from the west, not least MoMA, which straddles Natoma. I don’t believe there was every a viable approach under those alleys, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t viable anymore now that the Transbay supporting piles are in place and the curve south to 2nd has already been constructed.

    Even if it is viable, it doesn’t help you connect Transbay to the East Bay. The issue is how you exit the station to the east given that the 400m platforms stop dead at the foot of a high rise building.

    Roland Reply:

    “The issue is how you exit the station to the east given that the 400m platforms stop dead at the foot of a high rise building” is not the only issue. The other issue is that the eastern tip of the TTC platforms (as currently “designed”) is too close to the Embarcadero to dive back to a minimum of 60 feet above the TBM crown by the time you hit the bottom of the bay, courtesy of the buttress which in turn was courtesy of the 80-foot piles under the Millenium building (a legacy of the Willie Brown administration).
    The Mina/Natoma alignment resolves this challenge by making it possible to shift the TTC platforms one block west towards Second street. With regards to MoMa, the Moscone & SFMOMA piles are 100 feet deep so there is no conflict because the DTX TBMs have to be deep enough to go under the Central Subway when they cross 4th street.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    First connect to TBT, not to mention Los Angeles. Worry about beyond TBT later. How about getting to the east bay from San Jose via a 110mph corridor shared with CapCor?

    Roland Reply:

    “Worry about beyond TBT later” is precisely what go us into this mess (nobody in their right mind plans getting into a station without planning how to get out of it at the same time).

    With regards to “How about getting to the east bay from San Jose via a 110mph corridor shared with CapCor?”, this makes perfect sense as long as we can share the same corridor with HSR (the HSR maintenance facility is in Oakland and the 125 MPH Transbay tube is designed to connect to it).

    Roland Reply:

    @Paul: MTC will get an update on the Transbay core capacity study on Monday:
    https://mtc.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=4146782&GUID=F01F084F-A622-4AAA-85F6-BB86A2633EA3
    Here is the score so far:
    – Bay Bridge: zero increase in capacity for $5.5B and counting
    – TTC: 50 more buses for $2.3B and counting
    Meanwhile the clock is ticking: 100-140K new jobs in the SF Core between 2015-2040 (slide 5)
    How do they propose to address this mess? $10-12B of BART tunnels and stations (slide 13)…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Move the jobs to Oakland.

    Roland Reply:

    @Syno. Moving the 15,000 HMF jobs from Brisbane to Oakland is definitely a step in the right direction but what his your plan for the SalesForce Tower? Affordable housing, hotel or ???

    synonymouse Reply:

    I wish I had a plan, but it looks to this amateur eye the access to the TBT has been screwed up greatly since the 1990 effort and now the City wants to “rechannelize” a large part of the rest of the SP ROW in SF. Add another BART broad gauge tube in the vicinity and then proceed to trash Geary. A nightmarish vision I would prefer not to contemplate.

    My problem is I remember another City, making this scene all grotesque to me.

    Seems SF is tending to side with BART, at least since Willie Brown, and if Lee is not up to something disruptive to Caltrain’s plans why all the byzantine schemes out of the ether? Mining complex tunnels in that bay muck and fill should be fun and they bitch about a trench thru PAMPA, terra firma by comparison.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    syn says move the jobs to Oakland. What about Fresno? Heck, we’d take some in Burbank, we have two towers planned at the Burbank Studio and room near the airport.

    J. Wong Reply:

    22nd/23rd Street is a cut so there is no transitioning necessary for a TBM there.

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    In fact, it is a necessary plan. The current planned curves for the DTX are waaay too tight. I do also agree about the need to bring HSR to Oakland eventually. The current planned 4 tracks for HSR would only allow for one train to depart every 30 minuites, assuming a two hour dwell time for each train at the station, and assuming that the instant a train departed a track, a new train came in to replace it (which is impossible). One train every 30 minuited would likely suffice at first. (That is roughly the peak frequency of trains between Paris and Lyon on the TGV sud-est. However, I eventually expect CAHSR to far exceed TGV in terms of ridership, due to a larger population base seved. In addition, more service will be required oce the HSR to Las Vegas opens-peak service of SFO-LAS of one train per hour. Also, I don’t see how Caltrain is expected to only have two tracks at a terminusstation, especially with their planned far higher frequencies. Therefore I propose a new 6 track transbay tube. Yes, I know it will be very expensive, but there is trally no other option. Two tracks will be needed for HSR, two for conventional rail, and two for BART. I suggest that two new lines be added to BART, resulting in three lines per tube, resuting in increased coverage, and higher frequencies. I think a new BART line needs to be routed from El Cerrito del Norte to Vallejo, and a new line needs to extend southeast into oakland, roughly along the 580 corridor. Thd new railway station fro HSR and commuter rail would be locatdd on the sight of the removed 980, near 14th st, in Oakland. There would be 8 HSR tracks, and 2 Conventionalrail tracks along the Berkely-San francisco routing, and 2 along thr Berkely-San Jose Routing. A new rail tunnel from Emeryville would be needed to bring trains to this new station. I beleive that this expensive and ambitious solution is truly the only way to fully solve the Bay Area’s rail mess.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Another way, Car-free: HSR from San Jose to a new San Francisco Bay Rail Hub under the BART trans-Bay line (I-880 at 7th Street) in Oakland. Far less costly.

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    But we wi) eventually want to link the caltrain/capitol corrridor lines and a second bart line is crucial and is currently actually being planned.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    2 hour dwell time? Surely you jest?

    Eric Reply:

    “a new San Francisco Bay Rail Hub under the BART trans-Bay line”

    On the other coast, that’s called East Side Access. It will cost $20 billion and financially ruin your transit agency for decades to come.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Car-free: how about this? https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI

  22. Roland
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 15:54
    #22

    Guess who did not think that this was such a good idea?
    http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=24104 (click on #16)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No idea. Who the hell wants to waste time watching a video (or ATTEMPT to watch on a skanky web site) when 40 bytes of plain old text/plain would convey the information?

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the link to the transcript: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/TranscriptViewer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=24104. The vote is at the end but the relevant bits above it have been edited out. Watch the video carefully and you will see that it was also edited.

    Jerry Reply:

    You doesn’t hasta call me Johnson.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoYsfbq3vMc
    Sorry. No transcript.

    Ben in SF Reply:

    Transcript is sorta like reading “Howl” while looking for the dog that didn’t bark. I’m with Richard and Jerry.

    Roland Reply:

    The reason you think that the transcript “is sorta like reading “Howl” while looking for the dog that didn’t bark” is that the dog that barked was removed from the transcript.

    EJ Reply:

    Why won’t you just summarize what you’re talking about for us?

    Clem Reply:

    It has to be a cryptic riddle. We’re not smart enough to figure it out.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kqyev46qyI

    Adina Levin Reply:

    Marian Lee of Caltrain voted against it. There was no information provided ahead of the meeting, and no detail about the scope authority they were delegating to the Mayor’s office, or how the shared responsibility would work <- all of these things were discussed at that TJPA board meeting.

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking News: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2015/2015-12-03+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf (item 5.B)

    Reality Check Reply:

    The “breaking news” Roland is referencing in “Item 5b” of this week’s Dec. 3rd Caltrain JPB Board Meeting Agenda reads:

    Appointment of Jeff Gee to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority

    I’m guessing Gee, Harnett’s good friend and longtime Redwood City Council colleague (Hartnett’s council colleague wife Rosanne Foust was also a Gee council colleague until her recent unelection) played the kingmaker when it came to the following shocking surprise announcement:
    SMCo. Transit District names Jim Hartnett new GM; will lead SMCTA, Caltrain and SamTrans

    […]

    “The selection committee, reflecting the stakeholders of San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco counties, agreed: Jim has the skills and experience we need right now for this job,” said Jeff Gee, who chaired the SamTrans search committee that unanimously recommended Hartnett to the full SamTrans board.

    […]

    Jerry Reply:

    C’mon man. Like I don’t want to read the book.
    And I don’t want to watch a long movie. So just tell me already.
    Like what was not such a good idea that someone thought it wasn’t?
    And who was it, and why didn’t they think so?
    And tell me in 40 bytes, or less.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kqyev46qyI

  23. Donk
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 20:56
    #23

    Slight update on the LAX People Mover

    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/11/lax_people_mover_transportation_plan.php

    Jerry Reply:

    Price tag – $5 Billion.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Isn’t that what LGV Paris-Lyon cost?

    Nathanael Reply:

    I really feel like LAWA is trying to make sure the people mover does not get built. But I can’t figure out why. Airport authorities which actually want to build these things get them built (a) cheaper and (b) quicker and with (c) stops at every terminal.

    They’re usually still crazy-expensive, but like $1.2 billion not $5 billion, and they get built fast.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    SFO spent just $430m on their 6 mile system, with stops at each terminal and the RAC center

    Roland Reply:

    If SFO had spent $200M more going across the freeway with a station above Caltrain, there would have been no need to spend $1.5B extending BART to SFO, people would not have to walk/transfer to a domestic terminal one they get to the airport, SamTrans would not be bankrupt, the SFO connection would be frequent and free, people coming from the south would not have to take 2 different BART trains to get to the wrong terminal, Millbrae would just be another Caltrain station and the World would be a better place. America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals….

    Michael Reply:

    In 2000, or earlier dollars.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The fight is over who pays.

    The City and LAWA are sitting on a mountain of cash from never using their airport landing fees to pay for new terminals.

    Metro has a vault full of money from all their successful ballot measures. Even though the City has the most votes on Metro’s Board, they don’t have enough weight to shift all the cost.

    In the end, it’s still about getting the other guy to pay for it.

    Jerry Reply:

    ‘getting the other guy to pay for it’, seems to be a problem everywhere.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s that whole “democracy” thing…other people’s money is the best kind of money there is…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Metro has other things to pay for. Huge other priorities. Like the Subway to the Sea.

    The City has other things to pay for. Huge other priorities. Like fixing all the sidewalks.

    LAWA has… really, LAWA has absolutely nothing useful to do with its money other than build this people mover. It’s obvious who should pay for it.

    Peter Reply:

    The $5 billion price tag isn’t just for the people mover, it’s for the complete overhaul.

  24. David M
    Nov 23rd, 2015 at 21:26
    #24

    Hey it looks like someone at Saturday Night Live has been watching CAHSRA board meeting streams.

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/town-hall-meeting/2941776

    Jerry Reply:

    And the NIMBY is played by Matthew McConaughey.

  25. john burrows
    Nov 24th, 2015 at 15:38
    #25

    Off topic—again

    Results for the October 2015 cap-and-trade auction were announced today and the news is good for CAHSR although certainly not front page news. All of the 85.5 million carbon allowances sold for a total of $1.09 billion, up about $40 million from the previous auction last August. This was the last auction for calendar year 2015 and the portion of proceeds going into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund should exceed last August’s $645 million. If we add up proceeds for the four auctions held in 2015—

    February—————————-$629 million
    May———————————-$627 million
    August——————————$645 million
    November (estimate)————$660 million
    TOTAL
    (estimate)—————–$2.56 billion

    HSR gets 25% or about $640 million for calendar year 2015. As of now cap-and-trade auction proceeds are HSR’s only source of future funding. The fact that this revenue is more that the $500 million per year that the Authority has projected, and the fact that it appears to be slowly increasing may, if the trend continues, help to give some assurance to the private sector as to the depth and the stability of cap-and-trade as a funding source.

    Joe Reply:

    LAO projects strong economic growth and budget surpluses.

    According to the analyst’s office, the state will end the current fiscal year in June with $7.9 billion in reserves, $3.3 billion more than lawmakers expected when they approved the budget for the current year last June. And the state would have reserves of $11.5 billion in June 2017, the end of the 2016-17 budget year, barring any new budget commitments.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article45364977.html#storylink=cpy

    Donk Reply:

    $11.5B!!! They should plow it all right into Diridon Intergalactic Station!!! And they can hire the same people that designed ARTIC.

    Roland Reply:

    Or these clowns: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/doing_business/HSR15_93_Final_StationIDPreBidFlyer.pdf

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t forget the LAO also published in the same forecast a scenario where revenue falls by $60 billion over 2 years….

    Car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or give it to Metro to make the Subway to the Sea actually go to Santa Monica.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If BART can Ring the Bay for 6 billion, there better be a damn good reason Metro needs 11 to finish one subway…

    les Reply:

    They should use it for water. Make a deal with farmers that if they give unobstructed HSR ROW then Brown will build a canal along the route.

  26. keith saggers
    Nov 24th, 2015 at 19:50
    #26

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/france-announces-security-checks-for-international-rail-passengers.html

    Donk Reply:

    Sweet:

    “Suggesting that access to platforms would in future be limited to ticket holders, she said that security checks similar to those employed at major public venues would be rolled out at stations, employing mobile scanners to examine luggage.”

    EJ Reply:

    They’ve always done this in Spain, or at least ever since the Madrid train bombings. It’s not full-fledged airport style security – they just scan your luggage.

    Eric Reply:

    As long as the check takes 5 seconds (like at other European train stations) not 45 minutes (like at airports), and doesn’t involve nudie pictures or groping, I’m fine with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In France at stores and malls they are stopping entering shoppers to examine their bags. This will discourage business so I doubt it will last long, but all depends whether urban guerilla war develops.

    Lengthier security delays on passenger trains are possible, as with the airlines.

  27. Roland
    Nov 25th, 2015 at 11:03
    #27

    OT: Meanwhile in Malaysia: “The project attracted expressions of interest from 98 companies and consortia from around the world, including construction businesses, rolling stock providers, consultants and financial institutions” http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/kuala-lumpur—singapore-high-speed-rail-project-attracts-european-interest.

  28. Roland
    Nov 25th, 2015 at 13:07
    #28

    OT: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2015-11-24/grade-separation-on-track-for-25th-avenue-san-mateo-caltrain-collaborate-on-project-nearing-construction-after-decades-of-planning/1776425154076.html. Here is the link to the doctored CTC figures: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M152/K723/152723979.PDF

    How did they end up with a priority index of 1639.3 for 25th Avenue? Simple: first, they added estimated future vehicle traffic across 25th with estimated future vehicle traffic across 28th & 31st (28th and 31st do not currently exist!!!) total 11,928 and then multiplied that with the future(?) number of trains (96) et voila! (that’s precisely how the 4 San Mateo bridges that did not need replacing also ended up at the top of the CTC list). So what is really behind all this? San Mateo is expecting the rest of the world to pay for a brand new Hillsdale station under the pretext of grade-separating 25th Avenue which AFAIK never had any accidents or fatalities with a 2-track station with a freaking island platform (just like SSF): http://www.greencaltrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/newhillsdale.png

    Meanwhile, they are closing 3 bridges (Quint, Marin and Napoleon) between Bernal Heights and Hunters Point (Quint was supposed to be the underpass for the future Oakdale Caltrain station).
    Does anyone else see anything wrong with what is going on here?

    Jerry Reply:

    The more than 100 year old 4 bridges in San Mateo could have been seriously messed up in an earthquake. And they did need replaced.
    The traffic from the TOD at Bay Meadows will generate much traffic with the new office buildings. Including traffic on the new 28th and 31st streets.
    This is in the ROW area which is considered for FOUR tracks for passing purposes.
    Hopefully the planning will include bridges for FOUR tracks.

    Clem Reply:

    What is wrong with freaking island platforms? Belmont is the nicest station on the entire system.

    Michael Reply:

    Actually, Tamien. Also an island, with both a (service requiring) elevator and escalator. But no on goes there…

    Roland Reply:

    There is nothing wrong with island platforms as long as every train stops.
    MT-2 & MT-3 essentially terminate at Tamien. MT-1 does not have a platform and anything that runs on MT-1 (Freight, Amtrak and ACE on its way to the yard) goes through there at 30 MPH, not 110.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Trains can not-stop at island platforms just like the don’t stop at side platforms. They can even not-stop at Barcelona Solution platforms.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except for 1 train an hour (the local) all the other trains do not stop at Belmont. What’s the problem in your mind?

    Roland Reply:

    Some people in this blog appear to be genuinely interested in connecting San Jose to San Francisco in 30 minutes or less and mid-line two track island stations kind of get in the way by screwing up the alignment so it depends if your vision for Caltrain is a 65 MPH BART-like subway or a VTA-like light rail system (Belmont does not come close to the really nice downtown VTA island platforms complete with Elvis-era chrome-plated artifacts).

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Roland, Stick to things you know anything at all about.

    Roland Reply:

    Richard, OK, let’s go there. Please explain to the rest of us how you are going to get past a level-boarding island platform at 110 MPH without platform strikes.

    Clem Reply:

    By having the platforms set back 72 inches from track center. Trains on the NEC routinely pass platforms at 110 mph, and those are only 67 inches from track center. You don’t hear of platform strikes at Princeton Junction. As for the ADA compliant level boarding bit, it is achieved by bridging the gap with a small step that extends from the train when stopped. Exactly as specified in the EMU RFP.

    Midline overtake should be fast-slow-island-slow-fast. Very un-British, I know.

    Roland Reply:

    So, if I understand this correctly, we are going to end up with curved island platforms comme ca http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XbahXM_YRqg/SxNaaBZdD_I/AAAAAAAAAS8/fB5FauIwvDU/s1600/football_island_extra_land.png? Stupid Brits!!!

    Max Wyss Reply:

    What’s the problem with inward curved platforms?

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ojomTUt0X4

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhi0qZIGZq8

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Both videos show outward curved platforms.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOPyGKDQuRk#t=68

    Roland Reply:

    “In 2007, the MTA Long Island Rail Road regarded an 8-inch (20 cm) platform gap as typical on its non-curved platforms” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_gap#Straight_platforms

    Clem Reply:

    Just like that would be very nice.

    The fatal flaw of side platforms is that a Caltrain incident (train stopped, coroner called, affected track closed for two hours) will delay HSR traffic statewide due to Caltrain occupying the express tracks. Island platforms FSSF allow single-tracking Caltrain around the incident location with zero impact to HSR movements.

    And as a bonus, only one set of ramps/elevators/escalators/TVMs/PA/benches/shelters/lights/train info screens is needed. Double everything for side platforms.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Right…but it also encourages the Authority to absorb the express CalTrain service (as Roland thinks they will do) and also raises the potential that not every HSR train will stop at each place along the Peninsula segment.

    BART will probably lobby against a train stopping at both SFO and TBT and San Jose might also protest an SFO train NOT stopping in Palo Alto before Diridon to protect demand at Mineta. In addition, if CAHSR is really efficient at absorbing the “baby bullet” style services, it raises the spectre of four tracking the entire Peninsula and running BART down the median of the ROW….

    Clem Reply:

    If we’re going to blend the two systems, we need to blend them all the way. It’s not just Roland’s concern that the HSR operator will seek to skim Caltrain’s most profitable riders; this plan is quite plainly described in the latest ridership and revenue documents, which raise the possibility of a split IOS with “HSR” between Gilroy and SF with no connection to the rest of the state. We’ll soon see if this idea makes it into the 2016 edition of the business plan.

    The fear of BART taking over the peninsula is increasingly unfounded, since it is a technology that is impossible to blend with HSR. Caltrain is quite close to the tipping point (if not already past it) where electrification and a new electric fleet will neutralize any threat from BART. The public’s idea of what modern rail transit should look like (currently, that idea is BART) will evolve quite rapidly 5 years from now when the new fleet enters service.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s not just Roland’s concern that the HSR operator will seek to skim Caltrain’s most profitable riders;

    What is a profitable rider? All three Caltrain, local, limited and bullet, charge the same fare.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So, Clem, this very desirable modal shift to standard gauge OC will stop broad gauge on Geary in its “tracks”? I like it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    As for HSR taking over the bullet service, the bullet serves more than San Jose and San Francisco. In fact, more riders come from Palo Alto. HSR will also be unable to stop at most Peninsula stations at least until the platforms are raised. Also BART will have no say in whether HSR stops at Millbrae (although they will have input as to how HSR upgrades the station ). Also TBT is so far out (by being unfunded ) making any assumptions about service is foolish.

    Clem Reply:

    @Joe: all riders pay the same fare, but a Baby Bullet train costs less to operate (due to shorter trip with fewer stops) and brings in 4x to 5x the revenue per available seat mile compared to a local (due to >100% load factor). Each rider is slightly more profitable and the entire train practically prints money.

    @Syn: Millbrae – San Jose, not Geary.

    joe Reply:

    @Clem

    Those attributes refer to the train operation costs and not to a set of riders paying more for a premium or in this case “freemium” service.

    CAHSR is taking over some of the currently profitable express routes between a few city pairs and they’re going to probably charge more per seat.

    Those HSR riders maybe the same riders using today’s bullet or maybe not if the fare is higher and or employers don’t offer some discount for HSR.

    Depending on demand and ridership for HSR services, Caltrain will probably not eliminate limited stop service which will have less time penalty with EMUs.

    The VTA Express Buses cost more and carry a very different rider than the VTA pass riders. It’s likely the HSR service will segregate and attract new ridership.

    Roland Reply:

    Great! Please remember to check the tilting box on the EMU procurement order sheet and nobody will ever notice the Peninsula Corridor slalom course.

    As far as “Caltrain incident (train stopped, coroner called, affected track closed for two hours)” is concerned, has it ever crossed your mind that trains could DOUBLE-track through incidents @ Lawrence & Bayshore (SFFS) if America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals had inserted TWO barriers to separate the slow tracks from the fast ones instead of screwing the mainline alignment?
    Stupid Brits!!!

    Clem Reply:

    What slalom? The curve radius would be too shallow to even notice. Tilting trains are designed to run at high cant deficiency; with flat track (zero superelevation) this deficiency would be two inches at 125 mph, barely enough to notice and most definitely not requiring a tilting train. Your arguments are truthy (they sound right but are physically wrong) which is what makes them dangerous if they ever reach the ears of America’s Finest…

    Roland Reply:

    Here are some more “truthy” arguments: how much more acreage are you going to need for this kind of alignment, how many bridges will need widening and how many grade separations will be forced if you end up with 4 tracks at a level crossing?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Giving it more thought, I realize that FSSF or FMSSMF or FFMMSSMMFF might be the solution for station design even outside the Peninsula. The only challenge is going to be those cities and stations (Diridon, LAUS, ARTIC) that demand that all trains stop there, and thus make it far less viable to enforce FSSF along the affected sections of track.

    As for siphoning off the best passengers, remember, HSR can’t have an operating subsidy…but it can pair with a service that does to provide it with a much larger amount of revenue than it would by offering just intercity service. That’s the reason you can expect to see BART and CAHSR become best friends…both rely on high farebox recovery and both can be configured to not compete with the other guy…

    As for the idea that CalTrain’s electrification will make it the gold standard of mass transit…it goes back to weight. FRA-compliant trains are really heavy because of crash-worthiness “standards”. Why would you create a system that has such additional strain compared to one that is far more efficient in using energy and carrying passengers?

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland: you previously linked my article on curved island platforms. I had incorrectly presumed that you had read it, as it contains the quantitative answer to your concern about the amount of additional land required.

    Roland Reply:

    I linked to the picture (not the article) to accentuate the absurdity of the concept.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XbahXM_YRqg/SxNaaBZdD_I/AAAAAAAAAS8/fB5FauIwvDU/s1600/football_island_extra_land.png

    BTW, I just re-read the article and it does not address the issue of having to grade-separate or widen bridges 400 meters (1/4 mile) either side of the football island.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Ted

    BART does not have “best friends”, other than sources of funding. But BART could take over the NorCal region of JerryRail and run it as a commute op.

    Cut down the speeds to save money and lock up the W.C.’s.

    Michael Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcBowx2xwTM

    Michael Reply:

    ICE train passing level platform at speed.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Baby-level arithmetic (only addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and square roots are needed) exercises for Roland.

    http://www.pobox.com/users/mly/caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/football-minor.png
    http://www.pobox.com/users/mly/caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/football-major.png

    Explain where the platform strikes occur.
    Explain where the speed restrictions occur and their magnitude.
    Explain where the platform gaps occur and their magnitude.

    Clem Reply:

    Explain where there is a slalom.

    Roland Reply:

    Paging Robert: I am trying to post multiple video clips showing the slalom but the post won’t go through. Is there a limit on the number of youtube video clips in a single post? Thank you.
    Example: Mountain View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwD2xOmNnqs#t=824

    Clem Reply:

    The video shows tracks wowing from the normal 15-foot spacing to 18 feet, allowing for clearance for the center fence. What is the relevance to island platforms or speed restrictions?

    Roland Reply:

    Atherton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwD2xOmNnqs#t=1314

    Roland Reply:

    Broadway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwD2xOmNnqs#t=2233

    Roland Reply:

    Belmont: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwD2xOmNnqs#t=1745
    Q for Clem: what is the plan for passing tracks in Belmont???

    Clem Reply:

    One more track on each side.

    Roland Reply:

    Case closed!!!

    Roland Reply:

    Platform strikes occur at random (do you understand the difference between static and dynamic envelopes and why it matters?). Clem’s “solution” is platform edges 72 inches off track center with bridge plates (a la MUNI Bredas). Good luck with that!
    Example of speed restriction: VTA express trains slow down to 45 MPH when they pass a station.
    The platform gap varies depending on the amount of swaying.
    BTW what is your solution for ballast shift/compaction? Slab track all the way from SJ to SF or just in the stations and, if so, how do you mitigate noise and vibration? Floating slab track all the way or ???

    J. Wong Reply:

    So 4-track it. HSR on the outer tracks. Of course Caltrain will be barreling through at 110 too.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s not my solution. It’s theirs and it’s in the RFP. I happen to think it’s a reasonably good solution. At 72″ the platform edge is well clear of the dynamic envelope. Platform strikes and “slaloms” are figments of your wild imagination.

    Roland Reply:

    “Higher pass-through speeds also increase railcar sway, requiring even larger physical clearances to avoid platform strikes”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_gap#Other_contributing_factors

    Clem Reply:

    Precisely why Caltrain has selected an unusually large platform setback, 5 inches greater compared to current practice on the Northeast Corridor. Your concerns continue to be unfounded.

    Roland Reply:

    So they are going to shave 8 inches off every outboard platform and 16 inches off the island platforms @ Diridon and the TTC???? Has it ever crossed their mind that with SFFS we can keep the gap down to 4 inches and bridge it with 2-inch striker plates (just like the VTA light rail) instead of retractable bridge plates and that we only need the extra real estate where the outboard platforms are???

    Clem Reply:

    Placing level boarding (high) platforms in such a manner as to limit train speeds on the platform track is operationally stupid, regardless of your opinion of SFFS versus FSSF. Generally speaking, “just like VTA” is to be avoided.

    Retractable bridge plates are a proven way to provide gap-free level boarding while preserving the ability of trains to pass platforms at speed. They are quite common in the latest (continental) European train designs. It ain’t rocket science.

    Roland Reply:

    Just so that I understand this correctly, are you saying that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq2IvvfU_sI is operationally stupid?

    Clem Reply:

    I am discussing the peninsula rail corridor, where maximum speeds will be in the 110 – 125 mph range. This is quite different from a station located on a 200+ mph high-speed line such as TGV Haute Picardie (gare des betteraves) or Gilroy (gare de l’ail). We do not seem to be understanding each other.

    Peter Reply:

    I’m also kind of confused what your point is, Roland. It’s normally better for your argument if you actually make an argument, versus posting an eight minute video and assuming that anyone will know what point you’re trying to make.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Has it ever crossed their mind that with SFFS we can keep the gap down to 4 inches

    It may have crossed “their mind” (ie America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, for whom physics, cost effectiveness, rationality, providing service are irrelevant) and in some bizarre way it seems to affect your mind, but whether the fast tracks are on the inside (operationally undesirable, passenger hostile, but 1920s Pennsylvania Railroad compatible, which is the only passenger choo choo line of which AFTPP have any awareness) or on the outside has no effect whatsoever on platform gaps, or of vehicle dynamic envelopes, or on crazy train-whacking-platforms-left-and-right hallucinations anywhere on the Caltrain line or anywhere on CHSR from Sacramento to San Diego. None. Local gravitational variation due to the depth of the continental craton has more effect on 8 inch vs 4 inch platform-train gap than does whether “fast” bypass tracks are inboard or outboard of “slow” station stopping tracks.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Obviously no one else here sees any problem with grade separation at 25th (and 28th & 31st) with a relocated Hillsdale Station with a center platform. If they’re expecting money from HSR 4-track also wouldn’t surprise or bother me.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/DocumentCenter/View/46228 (page 89)

    J. Wong Reply:

    Sounds fine to me. What’s your problem?

    Roland Reply:

    What’s your problem?

    J. Wong Reply:

    If it isn’t obvious to you, I don’t have a problem with the proposed grade separation in San Mateo. (I ride where it will be a couple of times a week.)

    So you keep on pointing at it as if there is a problem, but no one else seems to see what you see, so quite reasonably I ask for a more explicit statement of what you don’t like about the proposal. And rather than answering, you just keep dumbly pointing, which leads one to conclude that the issue you have is with any kind of improvement to the Caltrain ROW no matter what it is.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2015/11/san-mateo-sprints-ahead-for-san-mateo-county-grade-separation-funding-menlo-park-and-burlingame-advance/. Scroll down to the end.

    Jerry Reply:

    So San Mateo is moving ahead, while Menlo Park and Burlingame are dragging their feet.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ok we already knew you didn’t like the center island platform per discussion above, but nothing new there. So nothing to see, move along.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    This article does link to Burlingame’s Sept. meeting reviewing the grade sep alternatives for Broadway ave. It reflects the typical kinds of conclusions that Palo Alto, Menlo Park or any Caltrain city would likely reach for most grade sep projects once they remove their thumbs from the scale
    https://www.burlingame.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=12505

    Jon Reply:

    Roland, your inability to communicate your point clearly and concisely is no-one’s problem but yours.

    EJ Reply:

    Why should he? He gets more attention this way.

    Jerry Reply:

    Page 89 has no problems identified.

Comments are closed.