Catching Up on HSR News

Feb 23rd, 2016 | Posted by

I have a bunch of open tabs, and the previous post has nearly 500 comments (and I removed the pagination!), so it’s time for a new post. Here’s a bunch of items I haven’t had time to get to yet. Enjoy!

• Anaheim continues to debate the value of HSR and ARTIC. While there’s no doubt that ARTIC was built too soon, it also doesn’t make sense to use Metrolink or Surfliner ridership to judge HSR ridership potential. And Mayor Tom Tait is simply wrong to trot out the old “cheap flights” canard – especially when, in case he hasn’t noticed, ARTIC is a hell of a lot closer to the Disneyland resort than is John Wayne Airport, and that’s before you factor in the traffic on the 55 freeway.

• Assemblymember Jim Frazier is proposing a bill to allow two legislators to become members of the California High Speed Rail Authority board. One Assemblymember and one Senator would sit as ex officio members. I don’t see either a big downside here or much upside. The legislature already has plenty of oversight power over the project.

• Last week, SPUR came out with an excellent plan for how to build a second transbay rail crossing. Most of the options are focused on BART, but some include a conventional rail link that could bring Amtrak and even high speed trains across the bay to or from downtown SF.

• Experts tell the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority that HSR, not more I-15 lanes is what Southern Nevada needs to keep the pipeline of people coming from Southern California.

And some reactions to the news of a Northern IOS:

• The Sacramento Bee calls it smart, if politically tricky.

• Morris Brown is featured in the right-wing Fox and Hounds Daily calling the 2016 Business Plan “a huge fraud.”

• And the Bakersfield Californian is not very happy about the idea of the Northern IOS terminating near Shafter, rather than in Bakersfield – unless of course the Authority is able to find the money needed to get all the way to Bakersfield itself.

  1. Nadia
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 13:24
    #1

    Phew! A big “THANK YOU ROBERT” for fixing the blog. I felt as though we were all prematurely aging just trying to figure out who was saying what!

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yeah, now at least it’s right back to the crappy “no preview & no edit” way it was before ;-)

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    At some point, maybe on the 10th anniversary of the blog in March 2018, I might be willing to revisit this. But for now I’m just going to stick with the status quo. I’ll never go to FB comments or Disqus comments. I know of a few sites that do use some version of editable comments, where you have like 5 minutes after posting to make changes. Might be worth looking at that.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s probably the way to go. Support enough structure to stop bots from taking over without capitulating to Mark Zuckerberg’s dystopian vision for the Internet.

    Although, you might want to consider the change this year, given that the election is likely to drive a lot more users to the site….

    Jon Reply:

    What’s wrong with Disqus?

    Aarond Reply:

    up/downvote buttons

    at least in my view upvoting/downvoting isn’t productive

    Jon Reply:

    You can disable those in the settings

    JJJJ Reply:

    A 5 minute edit window would be fantastic

    Joseph E Reply:

    Why not Disqus? They are based in San Francisco. Streetsblog uses it. I see some concerns about privacy on the Wikipedia page about the service, but that’s also a benefit for the ability to limit abuse and spam.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Disqus is great.

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    At a minimum I’d like a way to collapse threads, such as one can do on reddit. I appreciate the diverse and lengthy discussions here, but sometimes I’d like to just collapse an entire thread and move on to the next topic, instead of scroll scroll scroll…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yeah, sorry about that. If you ever need to get a hold of me, feel free to contact me via email or social media. Avery got in touch with me about it today and I was able to fix it quickly.

  2. William
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 15:23
    #2

    CHSRA should prioritize Bakersfield downtown extension over Caltrain corridor improvements if it cannot get the all the extra $2.9 billion from Congress or other sources. SJ-Bakersfield HSR will be more useful and avoid the need to build a temporary terminal near Shafter.

    john burrows Reply:

    But in the worst case, if we did end up with that temporary terminal, how would bus trips from the terminal to points south compare time wise to bus trips starting from the Bakersfield Station? I can see why Bakersfield is not on board with this, but for passengers making the transfer, does it add much extra time on to their trip?

    Mac Reply:

    The location Poplar Ave near Highway 43 in Shafter is very isolated. Highway 43 is a two lane rural highway. It would take at least 30-40 minutes to get to downtown Bakersfield. It would be a blow to any potential ridership ending the IOS at this location. It is too far and too isolated for most Bakersfield residents especially at this juncture—-it will only go as far as San Jose. Driving to San Jose is under 4 hours. Not a bad drive, and you can take a car full of people to boot.

    Joe Reply:

    To the victor go the spoils.
    You reap what you sow.

    The CV GOP, Kern Co and Bakersfield opposed HSR and lost. They refuse to help the project so let them reconsider thier negtive politics and do something to bring money and to earn their share of the benefit.

    The Pennisula politicians helped HSR and will reap the benefits.

    William Reply:

    I’d bet if the appropriation bill doesn’t contain “HSR” wording it would be easier for GOP to stomach :)

    Jerry Reply:

    Conestoga wagon?
    :)

    Neil Shea Reply:

    It’s great that the Bakersfield local newspaper is pointing out how fubar this is. Let Kevin McCarthy find more than $2.9B, maybe $5-7B to get started on the southern mountain crossing, now that people there are having a change of heart.

    Obviously it was only built to the county line because that’s exactly what Kern county asked for

    joe Reply:

    Gregg popovich:

    “Because you were born to these parents or this area geographically, or this situation, you deserve more than somebody else? … That’s the most false notion one can imagine.

    “But I think a lot of people forget that. They think that they’re entitled to what they have … So we talk about those things all the time. You have no excuse not to work your best. You have no reason not to be thankful every day that you have the opportunity to come back from a defeat, because some people never even have the opportunity.”

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    #2 William: Presuming Caltrain electrified, running HSR as Caltrain from San Jose to San Francisco should require little extra cost. Just run the HSR train under Caltrain rules, control, and supervision north from San Jose. Any more HSR plans to spend on the peninsula could go to the Bakersfield end.

    joe Reply:

    Easy to understand. By hook or by crook – What’s best for BART.

    By State Law requires 600M of state funds be spent on peninsula blended HSR. They did this to prevent scheming to move the funds to the CV.

    Zorro Reply:

    Currently the $2.9 Billion sure won’t come from the CA State Legislature, why? Democrats have at least a 2/3rds majority in the CA State Senate, but are 3 votes short in the Republican dominated Assembly, an Appropriation requires a 2/3rds Majority in both the Assembly and in the State Senate and the $2.9 Billion is or would be an Appropriation.

  3. Car(e)-Free LA
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 15:52
    #3

    Politically, that would be the best course of action.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Bakersfield before SF, I mean

  4. Reedman
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 15:53
    #4

    A turn of events concerning the Oxnard Metrolink train crash/derailment. The “truck” driver (it was apparently a dual-wheel pickup hauling a trailer) whose vehicle was stuck on the tracks is being charged with manslaughter.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-driver-manslaughter-oxnard-metrolink-crash-20160222-story.html

    https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1967853,-119.142499,114m/data=!3m1!1e3

  5. morris brown
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 16:39
    #5

    Robert wrote:

    Morris Brown is featured in the right-wing Fox and Hounds Daily calling the 2016 Business Plan “a huge fraud.”

    Thanks for the pitch Robert. Your characterization of Fox and Hounds as being “right wing” is a bit unfair.

    Do you consider Chair Richard “right wing”? He on occasion writes an article there.

    On the Forum program on KQED radio this AM, Carl Guardino said Palo Allto will not get a trench “just too expensive” I’m sure CARRD and a whole lot of PA residents were overjoyed at hearing that. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for PA. Instead of supporting the new transportation tax, they should see the handwriting on the wall, and just say NO.

    Guardino and others are way way off, when promoting HSR as a commuter line to the Central Valley.

    As I wrote before, what commuter can afford over $30,000 annually in commuter fares, to live in the CV, and commute to Silicon Valley? Very few will buy there and commute.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The operator could always charge BART-level fares to commuters and airline caliber tickets for SF to LA.

    The bigger challenge would be threading through those express trains with commuter ones on the various ROW. And that doesn’t even contemplate conventional commuter rail using these tracks, which is probably going to *also* happen.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Exactly Ted. Commuters buy monthly/season passes, which are priced differently (i.e. lower) than say, a standard r/t fare x 31 days. That pass also allows weekend travel, for when you want to go to the city for leisure activities. Good point about the pathing issues on shared track- most of the delays will be caused by commuter trains running behind schedule due to the inevitable everyday incidents that happen on any commuter line (sick passengers, fights, extra-long loading times and whatnot)- passing track/quad track placement will be critical, as will be loop lines in the bigger stations.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Ted Judah

    Just remember, California has to run without a subsidy. Bart, Amtrak, CalTrain all require subsidies. HSR is a premium service. The costs for HSR to operate are higher than slow commuter lines face.

    Joe Reply:

    You are awere that local employers pay to bus people into work and offer free food. Is it so difficult to imagine alternative commute subsidies by these employers ?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Just remember, California has to run without a subsidy. Bart, Amtrak, CalTrain all require subsidies. HSR is a premium service. The costs for HSR to operate are higher than slow commuter lines face.

    Actually you just made my point.

    Even with higher costs, premium pricing allows a higher margin for express HSR which can be reinvested on other services which are provided at a loss. Prop 1A doesn’t require each HSR train or route to be self-supporting…it only mandates that there cannot be a permanent subsidy to operate the system itself.

    Joseph E Reply:

    “Amtrak” gets government funding, but the single High Speed route in the Amtrak system, the Acela on the Northeast Corridor, makes an operating profit, despite being barely high speed by international standards. This is the case in most developed countries: slow trains and regional trains receive subsidies, but high speed trains make an operating profit, and the best have actually repaid their construction costs after 20 to 30 years (eg Paris-Lyon, Tokyo-Osaka, etc).
    (Urban transit systems and intercity trains in many Asian cities are also profitable, but those cities do not have extensive motorways without tolls)

    jmc Reply:

    Agreed Joseph E. beginning to end.

    Amtrak dominates the NEC corridor travel compared to airlines despite years of underinvestment and ancient infrastructure. Too much dates to the 1800s. The curve alignment where the accident happened was engineered in the 1850s. Pennsylvania RR acquired the property and engineering for a correction of that curve in 1900, but never followed through.

    No one asks about how much profit is made on the Interstate Highway system. A segment of the Katy Expressway in Houston was widened to 23 lanes in a fairly small segment at a cost of $1.4 Billion, which is almost exactly what Amtrak funding was for a national system. Of its actual $1.348 billion appropriation, $905 million is for capital investment.

    In densely populated areas like the Northeast (and California) the cost of rail shrinks compared to that for continued land acquisition and highway construction and the other economic costs. For the average NYC Metro resident, it’s 1.5 to 2 hours by car to any of the airports, plus time for security etc. Those other costs are too rarely considered. The Katy expansion, despite being a tolled road, worked for only a few weeks before being overwhelmed by congestion. The tolls will have to be raised.

    Road tolls in much of Europe are high, expressways are not freeways. There is no easy way to get from central London to Marseilles by air. By rail, it’s 6 hours 15 minutes. If I land at a NYC airport, I can’t get anywhere quickly, whether it’s to Harrisburg, PA or Manhattan. From CDG I can take a train virtually anywhere HSR goes.

    Sprawl, growth. My observation convinces me HSR is anti-sprawl and pro-economic growth, especially if the number of HSR stations is rational. Metz, France and Lorraine lobbied for and contributed to TGV service. Rail on the 200 mile trip was more than 3.4 hours. Regional air was inefficient. Today, it’s 1 hour, 15 minutes. The link to Paris is a major factor in its economic rebirth. (A friend who runs a high tech business there was able to keep his business there rather than move to Paris). Alsace was slower to get the final leg of TGV rail, which covers the 300 miles Paris-Strasbourg in less than two hours.

    You make the point well that some lines have done exceptionally well. What I found discouraging was my most recent visit to Italy, where we took HSR from Rome to Naples, 142 airline miles, in 1 hour. In my earlier years, not that long ago, that would have been impossible. Again, there’s an economic cost to not speeding up connections.

    HSR is very business friendly. There are mentions of the fares on the NEC. Amtrak has raised fares considerably over time, in part to help fund the NEC corridor infrastructure and the rest of the system. The other factor is that traffic is very high. It’s beating the airlines despite their infrastructure problems. Despite the higher Amtrak prices, airlines have reduced service. And the NEC rail provides a vital economic link between the huge populations and the smaller cities.

    It’s not as if the money invested in CAHSR is disappearing from the state. Bakersfield made a mistake. The right wing is simply wrong.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    What is “airfare level”? Considering Surfair is $2000/mo, and people are indeed using it, I think there’s a market for commuter service on CAHSR, once we realize that between property taxes, HOA fees, extremely differing rents, cost of vehicle wear/tear and value of driver time, there’s a net savings to living in the CV and working in Silicon Valley. Amtrak charges $1,638.00 for a monthly pass wilmington-New York City, and $1,296.00 to DC (which is odd, as they’re nearly equidistant), so I’d imagine a ticket from San Jose-Chowchilla (to be exactly the same distance) or San Jose-Fresno (ballpark) could easily justify that price. San Diego-LA, similar distance, again, is $590.00 for an amtrak monthly pass.

    For San Jose to Los Banos, that’s the same distance as Sacramento-Oakland, or Baltimore-Wilmington. The former is $459.00, the latter is $1,080.00.

    I don’t think CAHSR should be charging BART-level fares, even between stations both served by BART.
    CAHSR may be able to get along with surfliner/capitol cooridor fares, but Metrolink has better farebox recovery than surfliner between the same stops, so I’d say that NEC-level fares make much more sense if we’re going for profitability.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well that’s just it…BART factors in mileage and offers no monthly pass. It’s still subsidized on the overhead and capital side, but operationally breaks even. That’s impressive when you consider they have their own police force subject to lots of State imposed pensions and salary adjustments imposed by Sacramento. Ironically, though, because fares are essentially a function of (unionized) labor costs, using their mileage formula for a trip to from SF to LA would be about the same as an off-peak plane ticket.

    Airline pricing is amazingly complex however, and carriers usually are forced to use averages per mile to make decisions…which is far from perfect. One of the biggest wild cards is the price of fuel, which HSR is insulated from because electricity rates are far more stable…(unless California repeats it’s experiment with one-sided deregulation again).

    Nevertheless, my point to Morris was that CAHSR’s operator can charge different prices for different routes and times and not all of ’em have to break even…

    Zorro Reply:

    Morris, Fox is not News, just a lot of Wrong Wing Noise, Fox is derided as Faux Noise, and Fox is a right wing GOP friendly channel, most of what Fox claims to be true, wouldn’t ever meet acceptance under the Standards and Practices rules in the 60’s, which TV news should be under once again, but that Reagan started to dismantle, then Fox came on line saying they were Fair and Balanced, which they weren’t once the final S&P rules fell away. Josef Goebbels would love Fox…

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Zorro

    Fox and Hounds is a blog; it is not Fox news

    Joel Fox, is the Editor and is a well respected author and professor…

    Jerry Reply:

    “Joel Fox, is the Editor and is a well respected author and professor…….”

    At Pepperdine University.
    Which is one of the top 20 conservative colleges in the country.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/rankings/20-best-conservative-colleges-america/
    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Pepperdine is one of the United States’ leading centers of conservative politics.
    Prominent conservatives on the Pepperdine faculty have included Ben Stein who has denounced the scientific theory of evolution.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that. :) Kenneth Starr did some time there as well.

    Joel Fox is also the former president of the Howard Jarvis Tax Foundation.
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/joel-fox-6403a92a
    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah, that’s enough to make me not respect Joel Fox at all. Right-wing ideologue.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    In the CV you can get a house much bigger and nicer than those here on the peninsula for one third of the cost or less. That can offset at least 10 years of $30,000 commuting, not counting expenses for gas, tolls etc. Plus with many jobs you only have to go into the office once or twice every week or two for meetings. If you “traded up” to the CV, you could top off your retirement account quite nicely.

    Joe Reply:

    Partner can stay at home.

    Day care for two children is 3,000+ a month. After school isn’t free and many teens do better with parent oversight which is difficult when both parents work and commute in the valley.

    Bdawe Reply:

    If the costs on CHSRA are not so high as to make daily commuting non-viable, and this opportunity is then blown on big-lot-buy-a-lifestyle sprawl, it will demonstrate that this state is incapable of learning from obvious past mistakes

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    HSR is, unless ardently planned otherwise, pro-sprawl. If you want a dense, walkable, human-scaled city, neglect your transportation system. Baghdad, Cairo, Mogadishu, Lagos, and Lahore are all more dense than any U.S. city. Cudahy is denser than San Fransisco, as is Greenspoint.

    If you want lots of people spread out over a truly massive area, built lots of very fast trains. Keihanshin covers an area of 5,000+ square miles (bigger than L.A. county), with 20,000,000 people, but only about 1 in 4 of them live in the four principal cities combined.

    People built omnibuses, streetcars, bicycles, commuter rail, and, of course, automobiles, so they could live on bigger houses with more greenspace farther from all the identified social ills, but spend a similar amount of time getting to work.

    I don’t think HSR will be all that different.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Good point but there are nuances. For instance Muni light rail or at the very least trolleybuses would be an improvement in quality of ride, in environmental in noise and fumes, and save quite a bit of money in deadhead time. BART au contraire would be vertically sprawling, which is why the Cheerleaders and SPUR types favor a BART subway.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Its not just the cost of the house but the higher value and cost of the house means higher property taxes and higher insurance premiums on top of the higher mortgage. And even with more housing being built in both SF and San Jose, no one is building homes or apartments that are affordable for the vast workforce that is making 10-15 bucks an hour. They are building high end condos for households with six figure incomes. I ioften wonder these days how the workers do it… I mean the sales person at Macy’s or the local bartender, or the waiter or the fast food worker, in SF where do they live? I imagine a few have been in rent controlled apartments maybe.

    Also people with families often don’t want their kids to be in the city. Its not just cost that drives them out of the bay area, but social issues and space in additional to house for the money.
    A house near my job in Davis would 3 times what I paid for my current home. And while I could have found a cheap home in Sacramento, the neighborhood would have been awful and Id would be subject to urban ills 24/7. Its work the 70 minute commute to get both the low price, the land and the high quality of life.

    There are places in the central valley that can be very nice for families and no doubt more will be built to continue to accommodate the demand.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Davis also has about as much charm as San Jose. Irvine is jealous at the sort of utilitarian character. (Both cities, it should be pointed out, have science-oriented UC schools and are built on wetlands that completely obscure their natural surroundings.

    The only reasons to live there are: a) you work or study at the university b) you were born there c) you really cheap, diverse restaurants and independent films d) you want to be an affluent town with cookie-cutter houses that is also commuting distance to both Sacramento and most of the Bay Area.

    Jim, on the other hand, lives in a community decidedly closer to nature…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    davis is pretty nice though. The grid has the old homes and plenty of independent businesses. The local restaurants are not really spectacular though. Its fairly crime free. Sacramento valley towns (except sacramento) seem to be more crime free in general, than san joaquin valley towns.
    But yes my location is amazing Iwouldn’t trade it for anything. Not be all sarah palin but, I can see the bay area from my house. ( well ok mt diablo from Pollock pines) Looking out from highway 50 across to the coast it gives you a real sense of how norcal is just one big really nice neighborhood.

    Jerry Reply:

    ” and just say NO.” ==== Right Wing.

    Jerry Reply:

    “As I wrote before, what commuter can afford over $30,000 annually in commuter fares, to live in the CV, and commute to Silicon Valley? Very few will buy there and commute.”

    So is your answer to build more housing in Menlo Park?? And Palo Alto??
    Or is your answer just to build more roads??

    Joe Reply:

    Error 404.

    NIMBYs have no answer.

    john burrows Reply:

    Median home value in Palo Alto———————————————————–$2.5 million
    Menlo Park is cheaper, Median home value———————————————$2.0 million

    Not sure that more housing in Menlo Park or Palo Alto will be much help to the many thousands who work in Silicon Valley, but are having trouble affording to live in Silicon Valley.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Looks like they are starting to include what I have said in the past about relocating some Bay Area jobs to lower cost areas.

    In addition to pivoting the end location, the Authority is also appearing to pivot the goal of the rail. High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales says the San Jose to Fresno link would let people living in the Central Valley have access to jobs in the Bay Area. “And companies in the Bay would be able to access the job market and build field offices in lower cost areas,” says Morales.
    http://www.wired.com/2016/02/california-bullet-train-changes-tack-to-silicon-valley/

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …that’s the hope…but it’s not that well supported by past experience. For example, Intel has satellite campuses in both the Phoenix and Sacramento metro areas. But it’s largest collection of plants is actually in Oregon because of tax incentives.

    That’s the wild card in a lot of this, because of Prop 13, local governments have relatively few ways to offer such incentives…even though California is administrately decentralized enough to make it viable in practice.

    Still, I think IOS is the right decision on many levels including whatever benefit can be gleaned from linking our most dynamic region economically to our most impoverished. But is it a slam dunk? No, not at all…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Excuse me, IOS North…

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Before this happens with HSR, I think this will happen with surfair (or other all-you-can-fly california services). Median rent in Fresno and Bakersfield, even in Sacramento, is lower than Phoenix, Austin, Portland, Denver, any of the other cities that these tech companies are housing their sub-six figure auxillary workforces. The campuses could be built this year, with mid-level management moving, and visits on a frequency of out-of-state offices, and with HSR they would become as accessible as Palo Alto is to a San Fransisco company/employee, or vice versa.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You have the relationship between labor and capital backwards though.

    The reason company towns like Silicon Valley or Hollywood thrive today is not because that is where the labor force is plentiful…but because that is where the venture capital and big money investors are. Tech, like the entertainment industry, also has self-made people who eventually become investors and have zero incentive to up and move to Fargo.

    Moreover, the Bay Area has a lot of other very deep pockets who need investments with high growth potential (like start-ups) to keep the dogs at bay (no pun intended). These include CalPERS, Blue Shield, the UC system, and PG&E…

    Joe Reply:

    Of course people came first with the outstanding universities and merit based culture. Cheap land helped too. Stanford and UC Berkeley.

    You can move money anywhere real easy with the push of a button. It would be far cheaper to move elsewhere and all these people follow the money to a lower cost area.

    john burrows Reply:

    According to a 2014 report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of mayors, Santa Clara County had a median household income of $93,500, highest in the United States. 45% of all households in the county had a median income of over $100,000.

    For a 2 bedroom apartment the median monthly rent for San Jose is $2,700 per month which would be a struggle for a family of 4 with a $100,000 annual income.

    If that family could scrape together $40,000, they could buy a $200,000 3br-2bath house in Fresno with a monthly payment (mortgage and taxes) of about $950. In San Jose they are paying $32,400 per year in rent—In Fresno they are paying $11,400 per year for mortgage and property taxes, an amount that is tax deductible. Taking into account the mortgage and property tax deduction, moving to Fresno might save somewhere around $24,000 per year—And they would own their home.

    And that $30,000 per year for train tickets might drop substantially if the commute were less than 5 times per week, if a commuter discount were offered or if an employer picked up some of the tab. Another consideration would be the saving if the family could get by with one less car.

    Bottom line—I will have to disagree with Morris and predict that a lot of commuters will be riding those trains when they start running in 2025.

    Mac Reply:

    While housing prices in the CV are WAY lower than the San Jose area…you are not going to be able to find a NICE 3/2 house in a nice area in the CV for 200,000. Let’s not get too carried away.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    we looked at very nice 3/2 brand new homes in madera a couple years ago. There was a really nice floor plan starting at 159k

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    and for 228 new construction 4/2.5 pretty nice your looking at 11-1200 a month after taxes and insurance less than half the cost of a one bedroom apt in silicon valley.

    but the real advantage is going to be more jobs moving to the san Joaquin valley. If not the premier tech campuses, then at least the support services and other industries. HSR will make living in the central valley more attractive because of the easy access to the bay and socal. Not for commuting but simply for access.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    its pretty nice

    EJ Reply:

    Ssh, don’t tell Robert that HSR enables people to buy a house in the burbs and drive to the HSR station…

    Roland Reply:

    How else are people going to get to the Gilroy station and la Gare de Amandes?

    Roland Reply:

    “The idea is to speed workers to their jobs in unaffordable Silicon Valley and back again, to their homes in the more affordable towns of the San Joaquin Valley.”

    “It will be quicker for a Google worker to travel by train from Madera to San Jose than from the Amador Valley to San Jose at rush hour,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who joined rail officials in a meeting with reporters.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Proponents-in-Washington-promote-California-s-6852403.php

    Neil Shea Reply:

    South Bay leaders keep refering to the travel time to Madera, I’m guessing they got that from the authority. Guardino also mentioned Los Banos. There should be a station at least in LB. That will relieve the housing crisis here. Psst — land speculation tip

    Roland Reply:

    South Bay leaders need to familiarize themselves with the finer points of the Bond Act and Streets & Highways codes Section 2704.09(d) in particular: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=shc&group=02001-03000&file=2704.04-2704.095

    Elizabeth Reply:

    CHSRA just argued in court that none of those provisions apply if the legislature uses non-bond $$. This is their main defense against Tos lawsuit.

    If you think these are absolute prohibitions, then CHSRA will have a problem getting access to bond $$.
    If you don’t think so, yes – go buy some real estate but say goodbye to the Grasslands

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The Authority just posted its agenda for the next meeting. It includes an extension north to the Madera Amtrak station in Madera Acres. There is no reason to do this unless you are going to have a station there which could be transfer point from Amtrak to high speed rail.

    Details should be posted sometime next week (CHSRA has habit of posting on the Friday before the meeting at the close of business).

    Jon Reply:

    How did you get that piece of information? The agenda just says “northern extension of CP1”.

    joe Reply:

    If you don’t think so, yes – go buy some real estate but say goodbye to the Grasslands

    That’s wrong.

    If you think al locpopulation is the threat then you’re too late.

    Caltrans already planned an expanded lanes with a toll road from HW 101 to Los Banos.

    A HSR station would foster central growth around a station instead of auto sprawl development.

    More importantly the threat to natural lands comes form loss of water to Ag. not homes.

    The entire Lake Tulare was destroyed by Ag taking water to grow cotton, not people moving into homes.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Jon,

    Agreed that the Authority’s agenda item titles could be more informational, especially as supporting docs usually published so late (for non-Californians, California has a series of public meeting laws. State bodies are supposed to publish meaningful agendas 10 days prior to meeting).

    The capital cost doc for the 2016 biz plan says “The project limits have also been revised including a 2 ½ mile extension to Madera Acres in the north and ending at Poplar Avenue in Shafter.” – which confirms a lot of little mentions in the program manager reports and other items we have gotten through public records.

    It does seem like this should have been brought to the board a LONG time ago.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Madera Acres is at about Avenue 17 according to Google.

    The Wye studies have been from Avenue 17 north toward Chowchilla.

    Could this simply be aligning the end of CP 1 with the future construction package? I’m thinking that might be more likely instead of a transfer station location.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    last month’s operation report says “Schedule under review to incorporate input from regulatory agencies and extension of CP1 north from Ave 17 to Ave 19.” Ave 19th is just north of Amtrak station. Hard to see any other reason to extend. There are a lot of good reasons to incorporate a transfer station – Amtrak is not where HSR will be in Merced and Fresno. There are obviously issues with a Madera Acres one>> surprised the environmental review of this change not more public – maybe it will be?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Also from the September PB progress report: “Coordinated the location for a potential revised CP 1 limit, north of the Madera Amtrak station”

    Reminder: we request via public record the consultant progress reports for the different project sections (the ones the Authority used to provide in public meetings)

    They are available in our public google drive:
    http://tinyurl.com/carrdlibrary

    The program manager reports are under “Parsons Brinckerhoff”
    The regional reports under “Segment Detail”

    Note: The regional reports now contain very, very little detail after CEO Jeff Morales instructed staff to reduce information being released to the public (no joke, unfortunately).

    There is one interesting report – the October Palmdale to Burbank report has “track changes” in it – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bx5S0AJ0bopyNVJRVWZXOGJCMkE

    Check out what has been deleted. We confirmed with the CHSRA multiple times that it was okay to post this.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Thanks, knowing that they have said Avenue 19 (not 17) instead of just Madera Acres does mean they are not aligning with the Wye studies.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    You are paying attention!

    The snip I gave about 17th to 19th st was actually about issue with Wye study -> it will affect this. (sorry for not including more in original post -> this blog format hard to post larger snippets)

    Jon Reply:

    Well, there’s no evidence that they are planning on a transfer station. The new endpoint might simply be a more logical place to end construction due to factors that have emerged since construction began.

    That said, it would make sense for them to add a transfer station at Madera for IOS-North. Why have passengers from Sacramento travel an extra stop to Fresno Amtrak and then take a shuttle bus to the Fresno HSR station, when they could instead transfer a stop earlier at Madera where the tracks are right next to each other?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Elizabeth,

    http://tinyurl.com/carrdlibrary leads to
    “One account. All of Google.
    Sign in to continue to Google Drive
    Create account
    One Google Account for everything Google”

    Ah, no thanks.

    Is there some setting you can change to make The Borg design serve up your files without total assimilation of viewers?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Apparently not

    We have embedded the google drive library on bottom right hand side of our home page at http://www.calhsr.com Sophisticated user testing (ie my mother’s computer) says that this does not require google account. Let us know how it works.

    Roland Reply:

    Yes, this does work. Thank you.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well everyone needs to keep in mind that first and foremost HSR is transportation. simple as that. And the second, people are going to make use of it in many different ways that suit there needs. We aren’t building HSR because its going to reshape the state, stop climate change, get people out of cars, replace freeways, end the drought, or increase the monarch butterfly population. Its just useful transportation for a growing state population. The truth is we are going to have to increase all of our transportation infrastructure in order to keep the economy moving. HSR is one part of the states transportation portfolio. It isn’t going to cure cancer but it is going to be useful.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ideally, all public works would be developed with that sort of utilitarianism in mind.

    But…California has long associated itself with massive transformations through things as basic as transportation, water, etc.

    Even the name, California, as you probably know, harkens back to the zeitgeist of the Spanish Empire. It was based on the idea that as God had ensured their triumph over the (darker, and African) Moors in the Reconquista, He would also ensure the unified Spanish crown success in colonizing the rest of the world, including other distant with other, darker (and thus inferior) inhabitants.

    I just count us lucky that no one is expecting CAHSR to walk on water or feed 5,000 with two fishes…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The various sides of the Mediterranean have been fighting each other for control for millennia.

    Joseph E Reply:

    Re: Right-wing. It looks clear that this is true:
    According to Fox&Hounds about page, “Joel Fox worked for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for 19 years”. That’s an anti-tax, pro-proposition 13 group that also opposed cap-and-trade.
    Fox & Hounds is sponsored by the “Small Business Action Committee,” which got most of it’s money from Charles Munger Jr, a Republican who sponsored Proposition 20 (redistricting) and Proposition 32 (anti-union), and “Americans for Responsible Leadership”, a conservative organization incorporated in Arizona:
    https://ballotpedia.org/Small_Business_Action_Committee

    mike Reply:

    1. $63 is the assumed average fare from Fresno to SJ. It is silly to think that there will not be at least a modest (e.g. 20%) monthly pass discount. An Amtrak NEC monthly pass from Philadelphia to New York is $1,404, or about $67/day. Let’s assume CAHSR prices on the high end and comes in at $2,000/mo (about $95/day).

    2. There are already people commuting from the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley. According the Census ACS, even during the Great Recession, when rents and employment were much lower than current levels, there were 3,983 commuters from Stanislaus Co., 4,118 from Merced Co., 390 from Madera Co., 579 from Fresno Co., and 279 from Kings/Tulare Co. (9,349 total). For those already commuting, and paying at least $50/day in driving costs, the question is whether 1-2 hours of time savings is worth $50.

    3. For the 711,535 Santa Clara Co. workers who live in Santa Clara Co., the question is whether, for any of them, the dramatically lower cost of living in the Central Valley is worth the increase in commute costs.

    4. It doesn’t take a ton of commuters to help reach their ridership goals. The goal at opening is ~2,900 rides/day from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley, rising to ~6,200 rides/day right before Phase 1 opens. Even getting just 1,200 commuters (e.g. 5% of the Great Recession commuters combined with 0.1% of Santa Clara Co. workers relocating) gets you almost the entire way to the initial ridership goal, and 39% of the final ridership goal.

  6. Reality Check
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 16:47
    #6

    More idiotic Americans who don’t get POP:
    Freeloaders on board: Can Sacramento tackle its train problem?

    Anyone can just walk onto a Sacramento light-rail train. There are no turnstiles at the stations, no ticket checkers at train doors.

    Hundreds of fare cheats play “catch me if you can” on Sacramento Regional Transit trains every day. If they see a transit officer on board, they hop off and take the next train. Fare evasion is RT’s long-standing Achilles heel, costing the agency money, angering riders and discouraging potential customers who feel uncomfortable riding with rule breakers.

    […]

    General Manager Mike Wiley say they hope this summer to launch what could be the biggest crackdown on fare cheats in the system’s near 30-year history. […] The plan would involve hiring 30 additional people to do fare inspections and having them on trains by summer. Leong said that would allow the agency to check fares on almost every train.

    […]

    How bad is fare evasion? RT officials say they can only estimate. Leong said the number may range between 5 and 10 percent of riders. Some riders say they think the figure is much higher, especially on evening and other non-commuter hour trains, although most agree it is hard to tell for sure who has a ticket.

    […]

    RT officials also are talking about a change in the way fare checkers will deal with nonpaying passengers. Currently, transit officers issue standard $35 tickets. State court fees and charges pump the actual ticket cost up to $150. Most of that money goes to the state, not RT, local officials say.

    Leong said the agency has begun to look into whether its fare checkers can give nonpaying riders the option to avoid the $150 ticket by paying RT a fee on the spot when they are caught – possibly $18, which is triple the cost of a daily pass. The entire amount would go to RT. The passenger would receive a daily pass. That program may require RT to buy electronic fare payment devices, however, so that fare checkers will not have to deal in cash with customers.

    […]

    RT employees checked the fares of 775 passengers during an hourlong blitz at the Broadway station two weeks ago. They issued 52 citations to [6.7% of] riders who didn’t have a ticket or pass.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    SacRT’s problem isn’t fare evasion…it’s WHO gets cited for it…

    State employees who ride the train from the hinterlands to Sacramento proper usually buy monthly passes which are directly subsidized by the State up to a certain dollar amount. The people riding much shorter distances (who are the people who make up RT’s profit margin) have a much greater likelihood of not paying.

    Either way with the new arena coming in, civic leaders want to encourage more paying customers…however that is achieved…

    Reedman Reply:

    One of the stated reasons for the civil unrest in Ferguson, MO was that “poverty crimes” like tickets for not having POP on St. Louis Light Rail were said to unfairly target minorities. If you don’t pay the ticket, and don’t show up in court to contest it, it was a $125 fine for non-appearance, and a warrant ($50 added fee) was issued for your arrest. Plus, a $0.56 per mile fine for the officers who had to drive to be in court when you didn’t show. Ferguson issued 25,000 arrest warrants in one year in a city of 21,000 population.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So you have to go back to the farebox as more just?

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    I could comment here about the demographics of the people I see who board Muni busses without swiping – and the neighborhoods where I see it happen most often – but I’d be accused of racism and stereotyping, even though I’d simply be offering actual observations neutrally observed… Regardless, suffice it to say that if Muni policed POP on its busses with any degree of effectiveness, IMHO it too would result in a disproportionate number of citations to minorities, and within milliseconds there would be riots in Oakland and the Mission…

    Jon Reply:

    Has it perhaps occurred to you that these folks probably have a monthly pass, and so don’t need to tag their Clipper card every time they board the bus?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nevertheless, ticketing a transient under the threat of incarceration is not exactly a smart use of taxpayer dollars.

    Jon Reply:

    Sierrajeff isn’t talking about transients, he’s talking about young black men.

    I would actually support increased enforcement against transients, because they make the ride so unpleasant for everyone else. Writing tickets is pointless but they should at least be kicked off the bus. Problem is, who wants the job of doing that?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Fare agents (i.e. uniformed police) usually ticket everyone in the train car unless they are feeling generous. That means not only habitual scofflaws but also transients. It’s a stupid system because no the taxpayer is going to get hit for way more than the operating cost of a train trying to flush them all out.

    Jon Reply:

    The Muni POP police don’t bother ticketing the transients because confronting them is a lot of hassle, and they know they won’t be able to pay.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah in San Diego they just hop on the car as it’s about to depart a station, and go, “everyone please take out your tickets or passes” and sweep the whole car. Seems the only fair way to do it.

    Roland Reply:

    That’s pretty much how the VTA do it and that’s why they don’t have any onboard Clipper tagging machines.

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    Why you must be right, I’m sure that monthly transit pass ownership among 20-somethings boarding at projects is one or two levels of magnitude higher than middle-aged worker types boarding in other neighborhoods. /s

    Joey Reply:

    AFAIK all MUNI passes are done via Clipper now, so you still have to scan.

    Jon Reply:

    You don’t have to tag it, unless you are entering a subway station and need to open the faregates.

    I buy a Muni pass on Clipper every month, and I don’t bother to tag it when I get on a bus or surface light rail. I’ve been stopped by the POP police with an an untangled monthly pass; when they scan it with their reader, it shows ‘NO’ in big letters, but underneath says ‘Muni Monthly Pass’. And they just wave you on.

    Jon Reply:

    *untagged monthly pass

    Ted K. Reply:

    Please tag your Clipper card w/ an SFMuni pass ALWAYS. That act is a vote of support that shows up in the ridership statistics. Thanks.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Riders with Caltrain monthly passes on Clipper only need to tag-on and off on their first ride of the calendar month. This is so that the new month’s pass gets “loaded” onto the card. No tagging on or off is required for the rest of the month after that.

    Jon Reply:

    Correct. Muni is the same.

    Jon Reply:

    Given that Muni have a discounted low-income monthly pass available for purchase, and a discounted youth pass available for purchase, it is very likely that young people in the projects have high levels of monthly pass ownership.

    Low-income families will often share a single monthly pass among several family members, so it’s quite possible that the young people you’re seeing board the bus without tagging have their mom’s pass in their wallet.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well when wealthy bankers and wall street dwellers cheat and get away with it, why would poor people bother following the rules.

    synonymouse Reply:

    not to mention politicians, lawyers and insurance companies.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Just so we’re clear: contrary to popular belief, faregates do not “solve” fare evasion:
    Despite faregates, BART suffers LOTS of fare evasion.

    Aarond Reply:

    built properly they could, ala NYC subway style turnstyles. BART’s station design doesn’t easily lend itself to this though

    Reality Check Reply:

    NYC subway turnstile jumpers save loads of money, even when caught, study shows

    Fare-beating apparently pays, a report by MTA analysts found. They said the $100 scofflaw fine imposed by the MTA seemingly does not serve as a deterrent for those who regularly cheat.

    […]

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subway division estimated fare-beaters entered without paying 18.5 million times in 2009 — an astounding average of 50,684 a day. Cops issued just 120,000 summonses that year.

    […]

  7. JB in PA
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 18:00
    #7

    Second transbay tunnel with dual gauge track with both third rail and catenary. 4’8.5″ and 66″. Dual bore tunnel rather than quad bore tunnel.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Interesting concept, I doubt BART would go for it. I agree the SPUR report is BART orientated, here is another one.

    http://www.bayareaeconomy.org/report/the-case-for-a-second-transbay-transit-crossing/

    Roland Reply:

    BART is irrelevant. The FRA would never allow this.

    EJ Reply:

    By the time any of this gets built, there will be enough BART traffic to justify a second set of tracks all on its own. Adding dual gauge, dual-electric supply would just be unnecessary complexity.

    Besides, for standard gauge Bay crossing, Dumbarton should be the priority.

    keith saggers Reply:

    San Francisco to Oakland should be the priority for a standard gauge crossing

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Dumbarton could be done so cheaply and easily, compared to any tube, I don’t see why there’s any question of it.

    Here’s a question- is the golden gate bridge structurally able to handle SMART trains, should the gumption to connect Caltrain to SMART ever come along?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Caltrain is not light rail. It would be interesting to compare the weight of the Key System Bay Bridge units to SMART’s doodlebuggies. I believe the Key was limited to 35mh on the Bridge due to harmonics.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Each 110-foot Key System car weighed 137,625 pounds (68.8 tons).

    You can go see and ride (if you’re lucky) Key System cars at The Western RR Museum (on Hwy 12 midway between between Fairfield and Rio Vista).

    Their Wiki page contains an equipment roster, if you’re curious what else they have (and can run) out there.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I went there a few times in the sixties and helped out a little on the grounds. That was before married with children.

    I figured those cars were a bit heavy, being built to an early articulated design by a shipyard and some I think incorporated rebuilt motors and controls from other equipment.

    I missed the Key in action unfortunately. As far as the GG Bridge is concerned one suggestion was for a single track and I believe that has merit. Real light rail; forget BART 10 car broad gauge trains.

    Tho I have to say at least BART has not adopted that stupid torpedo back nose that is so in vogue at the moment. Even buses look like roundnose worms.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Bit heavy? The one at the Western Railway Museum incorporated concrete in its construction during WWII when materials were in short supply. And yes, its repurposed motors were under-powered for the weight.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suspect it was the better ones that went to Argentina in 1958.

    Jerry Reply:

    More cars travel the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge daily than the Bay Bridge, according to a CalTrans report.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Hey, I just made up some total bullshit, and look, I can press the “Submit Comment” button!

    Jerry Reply:

    As reported in the Daily Journal:

    http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2016-02-24/officials-search-for-traffic-congestion-solutions-local-revenue-sources-become-priority-after-funding-for-state-transportation-projects-runs-dry/1776425158994.html

    During a discussion Friday, Feb. 19, in the San Mateo office of Assemblyman Keving Nullin, D-South San Francisco.

    No decision was made at the recent meeting, Friday, Feb. 19, in the San Mateo office of Assemblyman Keving Nullin, D-South San Francisco,but officials discussed the variety of opportunities and challenges that existed as potential projects move forward.
    More cars travel the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge daily than the Bay Bridge, according to a Caltrans report, as the local economy continues to thrive and workers commuting from throughout the Bay Area rely on the thoroughfare to reach their jobs along the Peninsula.
    Mullin said he is committed to continue addressing the transportation concerns, as the congestion has become so severe along State Route 92 it has backed up onto the roads and neighborhoods in San Mateo and Foster City.

    Joe Reply:

    Other sources tell me 270k for bay bridge and 90k for San Mateo bridge.

    You should be thankful Richard didn’t ask if you were still beating your [fil in the blank].

    Reality Check Reply:

    On page 7 of 2011 Bay Bridge Toll Evaluation: Final Report we see:

    Table 4. Traffic Volumes by State‐Owned Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2001 to 2011
    FiscYear Antioch Benicia Carquinez Dumbarton Richmond SF‐Oakland San Mateo
    2000‐01 2,115,873 17,158,684 21,193,743 10,948,299 12,276,754 45,168,355 14,072,286
    2001‐02 2,325,423 17,732,756 21,677,767 10,778,861 12,468,123
    45,117,544 13,725,980
    2002‐03 2,354,103 17,794,558 21,823,764 10,223,777 12,513,519
    44,995,916 14,342,756
    2003‐04 2,477,631 17,987,638 22,053,941 09,976,620 12,398,819 44,646,387 15,201,496
    2004‐05 2,472,267 17,116,312 21,344,225 09,297,568 11,758,224 43,357,197 14,789,420
    2005‐06 2,479,233 17,071,427 20,914,337 09,529,100 11,907,709 41,264,835 15,131,279
    2006‐07 2,517,369 16,974,626 20,722,097 09,516,215 11,912,958 40,134,300 14,880,956
    2007‐08 2,365,837 17,440,220 19,875,211 09,193,831 11,782,281 39,555,251 14,357,716
    2008‐09 2,208,357 17,426,414 19,440,890 08,707,943 11,541,829 40,118,033 13,628,691
    2009‐10 2,136,215 17,714,805 19,057,158 08,746,234 11,752,427 38,649,493 14,057,639
    2010‐11 2,121,747 18,013,438 19,631,384 09,646,766 12,002,435 43,370,110 15,225,880

    Reality Check Reply:

    Damn, no preview. So in FY 2010-11 it was 43.37M Bay Bridge vs. 15.23M San Mateo Bridge.

    Joe Reply:

    That’s 43:15 or about 3 to 1. 270:90 is also 3:1.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Why only four? Why not six or eight and really put the “mass” into mass transit.

    Edward Reply:

    This is in reply to?

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Oh no, are we already on page 2 again? ;)

    Neil Shea Reply:

    New Bay tunnel will cost $20B, money that can’t be found without at least half from the feds and a quarter from the state. So don’t hold your breath.

    Roland Reply:

    How about $1B financed and operated by the private sector? Would that work?

    Eric Reply:

    Don’t the tech companies have political pull for this kind of thing?

    Joseph E Reply:

    False. There is no reason for the tunnel itself to cost that much. Tunnels are routinely built for $200 million a mile for 2 bores. A normal bridge should cost even less than this (though I admit the Bay may have unusually challenging geology).
    It may cost $20 billion to build a new system to connect to the new tunnel, however, including new stations in Oakland, Alameda and San Francisco, electrifying the Capitol Corridor route, and so on. But the tunnel or bridge itself shouldn’t cost more than $5 billion, in any reasonable engineering solution.

    Joey Reply:

    Well, tunneling underwater also costs more. There’s also a lot of mud to tunnel through, unless you go really deep. Granted, I don’t think $20b is reasonable either, but it won’t be cheap regardless.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    why does it have to be a tunnel. why cant they build a bridge

    Joey Reply:

    Maybe possible, but

    (1) The western half of the bay is actually reasonably deep
    (2) I don’t doubt that the eastern span 500% cost blowout could be avoided, but it’s an indication that it’s going to be expensive regardless
    (3) A rail crossing really needs to be able to serve the Financial District/Transbay area, which will continue to be the most job-dense area in the city (and the entire region) for at least the greater part of the next century regardless of what other development happens.

    Aarond Reply:

    There’s no space for one, at least also allowing the TTC to be run-through. Given the existing alignments there’s not really any way to build a bridge.

    Joey Reply:

    There’s no room for the TTC to be run-through regardless. Not that it’s necessarily a problem, just that the through-running tracks would need a separate station. Running via 7th and Mission seems like a good option to me, but it’s definitely not the only one.

    But in general, what you say is true, it would be very hard to connect a bridge to any downtown trackage.

    Jon Reply:

    I thought that it was not possible for the existing Transbay platforms to be run through, but the recent SF Planning presentation shows options for doing just that.

    Joey Reply:

    If you shorten the southernmost platforms you can loop back those two tracks. But that leaves you with only 3 400m long platforms at Transbay. And it’s not ideal if all the SF-bound Transbay trains have to cross through the entire station throat.

    Joey Reply:

    Just looked at the alternatives. I’m not quite sure how they intend to get below the buildings at the end of the TBT – they’re not small and the tracks aren’t that deep.

    Jon Reply:

    Yeah, I’m not sure how they’re going to manage that either.

    Your suggestion of shortening the southernmost platforms and looping those tracks back appears to have been considered (see the alternatives marked as ‘Caltrain only’) but rejected as infeasible.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    you could have an elevated rail line alongside the existing skyway approach to the bay bridge or you could have a rail line under mission to a new tube or you could have a new rail tunnel or elevated rail line along king from 4th to a tube or bridge. you could even keep the existing 280 extension instead of tearing it down and convert elevated rail row continuing as el alond the center of 4th the bay.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think originally that was an great question, Jim. After Loma Prieta, however, I think it’s much harder to argue against a tunnel.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    There are also bridge tunnel options. you could have something like the flat section of the san mateo bridge from the shore of alameda extending across the mid bay until it reaches the ship channel then dive under the ship channel via tunnel to mission bay.

    JBinSV Reply:

    For example the Chesapeake bay bridge which dives under the shipping channel.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    this looks like pretty simple construction

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Joseph E, you acknowledge that it’s probably a $20B total project.

    The 2002 estimate is $13B in today’s dollars. Someone posted a figure that large infrastructure projects like this on average come in 45% above estimates – far more so in the case of the last Bay crossing, the bay bridge.

    I think the region needs the crossing, maybe a rail bridge could be more cost-effective?

    Re-instituting the Dumbarton rail bridge will not cost much, but does not really meet the need.

    If we were going to ask for federal funds for another SF rail crossing, the MTC and the region would have to pause all other requests for 5 to 10 years, no BART to Livermore, no central subway to fisherman’s wharf, etc. Presumably the $4B DTX would have to be done first.

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    I’d think a 2nd bay crossing for BART and heavy rail is about 10x more important that encouraging sprawl by extending BART to Livermore (and the incredible cost-per-passenger-mile that that entails). If anything, make BART to Livermore (and other “Tri-Valley” locations) part of – and contingent on – a 2nd tube that allows for increased BART capacity, so that near-East Bay residents are screwed. As it is, every morning train is SRO long before it gets to, say, MacArthur or Fruitvale, meaning commuters from the densest (and hence most transit-friendly) areas get the shaft on their commute to the city).

    And no, I don’t live in the East Bay; I don’t have a vested interest here; it just makes sense.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s almost simple enough to run a ballot initiative on…wait…did I say that out loud? :)

    Ferries also have to be part of the discussion and bridges too… (and thus also get some funding and raising the cost of such a tax or bond).

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs BART to Livermore when you have this: http://www.ktvu.com/news/94786521-story?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Livermore residents can now buy access back to the Bay Area, problem solved!
    (with none of those BART thugs crashing their wine tastings)

    Edward Reply:

    The BART tunnel was not bored. It was build in a shipyard.

    A trench was dredged across the bay and the individual sections were floated out and sunk into position. They were then connected and covered with a thick layer of gravel for protection.

    This is the same way the tubes to Alameda were built. In fact the Posey tube was the first to use this method of construction. It uses the ventilation system first used by the Holland Tunnel and is the second vehicular tunnel built in the US after the Holland. The Holland was cut through bedrock.

    Roland Reply:

    Steel hulls have a life expectancy of 35-45 years and they are not exposed to seawater during construction. What could possibly go wrong with the BART tubes?

    Edward Reply:

    Pinhole leaks. Quickly found and sealed. Are you forgetting the two feet of concrete and the fact that the external environment is essentially anaerobic? Here are more details saved from an abandoned site.

    http://sonic.net/~mly/www.geolith.com/bart/#tube-design

    Joey Reply:

    AFAIK an immersed tube was ruled out for a new crossing due to environmental disruption to the bay floor. You basically have to dig a trench, sink the tunnel into it, and then cover it again.

    TBMs have gotten better in the last 50 years too.

    JBinSV Reply:

    TBM video
    http://tinyurl.com/zjr7cke

    If I understand correctly, the liner sections are conical (tapered?). The sections alternate to cancel out the taper and make the tunnel straight. By shifting the placement of the sections the tunnel can be made to turn left/right or up/down.

    Roland Reply:

    You understand correctly.

    JBinSV Reply:

    If BART needs the equivalent of a 5m diameter tunnel and HSR need the equivalent of an 8m diameter tunnel, then four lines could be arranged inside one 16m diameter tunnel. Run the boring machine once for all four. Two HSR on the left and right quadrants, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock and two BART at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock.

    JBinSV Reply:

    Maybe it could fit into a 15m bore with support structure to clear the loading gauges and leave room for systems and emergency access. Every meter of diameter is a tremendous amount of digging.

    EJ Reply:

    HSR only needs a bore that big if it’s going to run at HSR speeds. The North River tunnels under the Hudson are only 18 feet in diameter IIRC.

    EJ Reply:

    And Crossrail tunnels are only about 6m in diameter – designed to support up to 100 km/h maximum speed.

    JBinSV Reply:

    This brings it down to 14m diameter.

    Roland Reply:

    Bertha is on the move, but for how long? http://www.king5.com/story/news/traffic/2016/02/23/bertha-resumes-digging-under-seattle/80813644/

    Travis D Reply:

    Relevance? Bertha ran into trouble but I don’t believe it was size related.

    Roland Reply:

    Bertha is arguably the most advanced TBM in the world: http://www.tunneltalk.com/TunnelTech-Dec12-Technical-parameters-of-the-SR99-Alaskan-Way-mega-EPBM-for-Seattle.php

    There are many issues associated with the project including hiring operators with insufficient qualifications: http://www.tunneltalk.com/Seattle-23Feb2016-Contractor-management-additions-enables-TBM-Bertha-restart.php

    Travis D Reply:

    Bertha was the first of a kind. I would expect future TBM’s of similar size to have learned from mistakes. That said her biggest problem was running into a steel casing liner. And that would have messed up any TBM that I’m aware of.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: Bertha’s big brother is equipped with robotic arms capable of inspecting and cleaning the cutter head (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnZ5tYePJ28) and replacing cutting bits without a hyperbaric intervention: http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item108473/Start-up-for-worlds-largest-TBM

    You are also correct about the steel pipe (12-inch exploration well leftover) which is the most publicized incident highlighting serious management issues with this project.

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR is not going thru Altamont, it’s going under Pacheco Pass in a tunnel, if that is what you are saying. Altamont would cost too much and would keep HSR from linking San Jose to Merced via Chowchilla…

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    Seems like that would unnecessarily muck up the scheduling – assuming BART trains are running every 10 minutes during the day (and it could conceivably be more often), when you add in in safety lead time you have very few viable windows for interweaving HSR or other heavy rail runs.

  8. Jon
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 19:19
    #8

    SF Planning presents options for HSR/Caltrain approach into San Francisco: http://imgur.com/OMggDnq

    Edward Reply:

    SF planning web page on RAB:

    http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=3717

    It should be updated soon now that the meeting is over.

    Roland Reply:

    2-3 days including some technical stuff according to Susan.

    Jon Reply:

    Materials are up now

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly provide the link to the materials. Thank you.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s right above, provided by Edward

    J. Wong Reply:

    Not necessarily a bad idea. The question is how expensive will it be. There are several alternative routings proposed.

    Alternative: Routing from before tunnel #2 to 3rd Street: Requires eminent domain that will take some existing industrial and residential (loft/condo buildings) although I’m not sure about the latter; the route may avoid the residential buildings on Indiana Street about 2/3 of the way down from 24th to 25th in which case it is all low story industrial tilt ups.

    Alternative: Routing from just past tunnel #2 to 3rd Street: Tunneling beneath existing Muni yard and buildings plus existing historical buildings. I don’t know about the cost, but it isn’t very far and I believe none of the buildings have deep foundations. This seems like the preferred alternative.

    Alternative: Routing from past tunnel #2 closer to 22nd St Station to 3rd Street: Tunneling beneath existing historical buildings. This requires sharper curves than previous alternative, and I’m unsure of whether there are any buildings with deeper foundations along this route.

    3rd Street: I’m guessing no tunneling but cut-and-cover along 3rd Street. Down in the Mission Bay area, I’m guessing it might even be wide enough for some storage tracks.

    3rd Street to 2nd Street: Tunneling next to AT&T Park that looks to avoid the ball park’s foundations. Also, tunneling through fill beneath Mission Creek inlet. More problematic, tunneling under some multi-story buildings from King to 2nd Street.

    3rd Street to 2nd Street: Tunneling further down 3rd Street past AT&T Park that would definitely impact newer high-rises, which I assume have fairly deep foundations.

    The current idea is that this would mostly be funded by money from the development of the land under the existing 280 freeway (at least that not taken up by a new boulevard; see Octavia Street) and from the Caltrain railyards between King & Brannan and 4th & 7th. Of course, Catellus owns the railyards although Caltrain has a permanent lease so not all that money would be available since they’d split it up somehow (Catellus is a for-profit company).

    Ben in SF Reply:

    Tilt-up industrial or not, at least one of those routes goes under my printer’s plant, with two big printing presses as big as a house (or at least a railroad flat). The tunnel had better go pretty deep under it.
    At least they are no longer drawing stupid 90 degree streetcar turns for the HSR route.

    Jon Reply:

    Once again… it was the Chronicle that drew that map, not SF Planning.

    Ben in SF Reply:

    Thanks. Didn’t catch your earlier reply. Chronicle no longer goes to crime scenes; they link to a Google street view.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hopefully, your printer’s plan is on bedrock so that the TBM passing beneath won’t bother it when it passes beneath. By-the-way, the tilt-up industrial buildings are for the alternative of a surface route from the existing ROW to 3rd Street not any of the bored alternatives.

    More interesting is the variation in soil conditions that a TBM would need to handle: everything from solid rock to bay fill.

    Jon Reply:

    At the meeting, they said the Third St route would be dug by TBM. Apparently the street was already cleared of utilities for T-Third construction so tunneling should be relatively simple. I imagine the replacement 22bd St station would need to be cut-and-cover, though.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Interesting. I’m surprised that TBM would be cheaper than cut-and-cover.

    Roland Reply:

    By an order of magnitude. Using TBMS instead of C&C would reduce the cost of DTX by as much as $2B.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Source? And $2B cheaper isn’t an order of magnitude unless the total is now $200M.

    Roland Reply:

    DTX cost estimate: $2.6B for 1.3 miles ($2B/mile). Twin bore tunneling costs $200M/mile. QED.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The total TBM costs for the 3rd Street alignment need to account for the additional distance from say 23rd & Iowa.

    Roland Reply:

    You missed the Pennsylvania avenue alternative: http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/files/Citywide/railyard_blvd/rab_final-20160223_PublicMtg.pdf

    J. Wong Reply:

    As far as I can see, it’s going up Pennsylvania with a viaduct? Although possible, it’s replacing the 280 viaduct with a Caltrain/HSR viaduct.

    Joey Reply:

    A tunnel, more likely.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, almost certainly a tunnel … at least past 16th and Mission Bay Drive, and probably all the way until TTT.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: the Pennsylvania Avenue alignment used to be known as “DTX south” and was designed to achieve 16th street grade separation without any impacts on Caltrain operations during construction (http://tinyurl.com/h8l6ow9). This alignment starts with tunnel eyes between 22nd & 23rd and continues along Caltrain’s existing subsurface easement west of tunnel #1 (http://calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/01-TCCM-200-B.pdf).

    The Pennsylvania Avenue alternative will study connecting DTX south to the existing DTX alignment that ends at Townsend & 7th but a TBM would have a hard time negotiating the current 25 MPH curves on Townsend so it would probably end up being extracted at the proposed 7th Street “underground portal” (http://transbaycenter.org/project/seis-eir/tunnel-stub-box) instead of continuing on its merry way to the TTC :-( :-( :-(

    Roland Reply:

    Accurate reporting of last week’s presentation: http://hoodline.com/2016/02/planning-unveils-initial-study-on-rerouting-rail-lines-razing-portion-of-i-280 (Disqus anyone?)

  9. Donk
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 20:59
    #9

    The SPUR plan for Amtrak crossing the Bay looks a lot like “Ring the Bay”, if you link up Caltrain, Amtrak, and the new bay crossing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Looks a lot like Manhattanization to me.

    Jon Reply:

    Everything looks like Manhattanization to you

    synonymouse Reply:

    sadly too much is

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    There is no such thing as too much manhattanization, at least until every strip mall and surface parking lot in the region has been turned into a mixed user.

    synonymouse Reply:

    turned into high-rise offices and tenements.

    Joey Reply:

    Because people who work in high-rise offices definitely live n tenements.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    I went to manhattan this year. i was there for 8 hours. you can keep it. I found no reason to ever go back.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Like any city, it depends on the neighborhood.

    Aarond Reply:

    It does, and that’s a good thing. The Bay Area might (*might*) get a satisfactory transit network within our lifetimes.

    JBinSV Reply:

    Ironically the Bay Area had a satisfactory transit network a lifetime ago.

  10. datacruncher
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 21:38
    #10

    Article about Northern California opposition to the California Water Alliance/Huff/Runner initiative to move HSR funds to water projects.

    ‘Murky’ rail measure could hurt Sites

    At first glance, a proposed initiative to reallocate bond funds from the controversial high-speed rail project to fund water storage projects seems tailor-made for Northern Californian water leaders who have been pushing for such projects, particularly Sites Reservoir, for decades.

    But the North State has staunchly opposed the proposal being circulated for signatures to qualify for the November ballot, saying it would not only delay projects such as Sites Reservoir for years, but would also change the state constitution in a way that would jeopardize the Sacramento Valley’s mostly senior water rights.

    ……….

    But opponents of the proposed initiatives said dissolving the Water Commission would only delay an already sluggish process to approve, fund and construct necessary water storage projects.

    “It takes years for these new bodies to get up and running,” Guy said. “We just don’t have time for that. Now is the time to move forward with these important water supply projects.”

    Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake, agreed the initiative would delay water storage projects, but said the bigger concern was the change in the state constitution the initiative proposes as it relates to water rights priorities.

    “It changes the constitution in a way that would not be helpful to Northern California,” Gallagher said. “It would potentially take water away from the North State and put it to Southern California and corporate interests in the Central Valley.”

    http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/murky-rail-measure-could-hurt-sites/article_2540b0de-daa8-11e5-9ba8-535b413b4b19.html

  11. datacruncher
    Feb 23rd, 2016 at 21:42
    #11

    Opinion article from Fresno opposing the California Water Alliance/Huff/Runner initiative.

    Manuel Cunha: Save Temperance Flat funds; don’t sign petitions for dam initiative
    by Manuel Cunha Jr. (president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League)

    Don’t be fooled by the “Water Priorities Public Interest and Public Trust Constitutional Amendment” initiative being referred to as “the Dam Train Initiative.”

    The Central Valley has been ground zero for the hardest economic and social impacts relating to the lack of a reliable water supply. Unfortunately, this initiative will not advance water projects, but instead set us back years and possibly kill projects like Temperance Flat Dam.

    ……….

    However, this initiative proposes to take funding away and put it into a brand new process that potentially puts this state funding into court and effectively killing our water-storage projects, because it endangers federal funding. In other words, the initiative puts uncertainty on the state funding, which gives the federal government enough of an excuse to walk away from our project.

    Those who crafted this initiative never took the time to talk to those who were most involved with advancing the construction of this and many other water projects. The California Latino Water Coalition spent years leading our Valley’s water rallies in Sacramento, the historic march for water, reaching out to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators to engage them on the impacts of the drought and water waste due to lack of storage.

    They were never contacted. Major agricultural groups, water agencies and farm bureaus were not contacted. Who, then, were these “groups” that were meeting and developing this initiative? Clearly that leads us to wonder if there is another agenda.

    ……….

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article61826317.html

    Roland Reply:

    We need water to deliver affordable sprawl in Fresno and Bakersfield and Big Oil needs water to frack Monterey shale.

    Zorro Reply:

    The Huff and Puff(Sen Huff and Sen Runner) water bond initiative if voted in(that would be very unwise to do so of course), would provide big oil what they need and kill off state HSR bond funding as put in place by the Voters… Not to mention breach a few contracts, costing the state Billions of Dollars, not just the $3.2 Billion in ARRA funds, but $8+ Billion from the places actively selling the Bonds…

  12. morris brown
    Feb 24th, 2016 at 11:45
    #12

    High Speed Rail to Bay Area first – how will this affect the Caltrain corridor?

    Wonderful that by 2025 you can go SF to LA in 5 hours isn’t it. Note this calculation on costs to commute is even higher that what I have posted.

    Here is what Jim Patterson had to say yesterday at the KQED Forum Program regarding the new plan claiming reduction in overall costs from 68 billion to 64 billion.

    He is right on target.

    Patterson audio on projected cost reduction

    ————–
    text of this audio

    Krasny:

    The authority did say publicly that this would drop the overall price tag it would save four billion dollars and it would attract new investors. The’re very public about that.

    Patterson:

    Yes I’m going to be kind but firm about this I do not believe them for a minute. If you look at what they have suggested they are reducing, by four billion dollars, a route. For that that includes going into southern California drilling the tunnels and that sixty four billion dollars has absolutely no concrete cost estimates about what that route south is going to cost. If you don’t have in your business plan the concrete estimates the numbers of what it’s going to cost, to drill the tunnels to go the Tehachapi route do all of those kinds of things how do you call that a business plan that you can trust and how can somebody like me charged with being a member of the legislature with oversight of responsibility of up of a project like this how can I trust that it’s going from sixty eight billion to sixty four billion when the biggest section and the biggest potential for cost, is not even estimated in the plan.

    ———————-

    Why won’t the Authority allow an Audit by the non-partisan State Auditor?

    Roland Reply:

    This won’t be necessary Morris. Not only did my friend Carl announce that Gilroy would have a 15-minute connection to Diridon courtesy of a 20-mile viaduct that cuts right through downtown Morgan Hill and San Jose District 2 but Diridon to LA Union will take 2 hours and 15 minutes which means that we now have our work cut out to connect Diridon to Transbay in 25 minutes (Yikes!!!)

    Jerry Reply:

    Meanwhile, the new 400,000 sq.ft. development on El Camino in Menlo Park will increase traffic congestion at Menlo Park intersections by OVER 25%.

    Roland Reply:

    No problem: the Menlo Park bypass tunnels will reduce train traffic through Menlo Park by over 40% :-)

    Domayv Reply:

    and what is the Menlo Park bypass tunnels

    Peter Reply:

    Why won’t the Authority allow an Audit by the non-partisan State Auditor?

    Forgive my ignorance, but is it even UP to the Authority to “allow” an audit by the State Auditor? Who initiates an audit and who has the authority to say no?

    Roland Reply:

    A: The legislature: http://calhsr.com/california-state-legislature-oversight-hearings-for-high-speed-rail-project/

    Roland Reply:

    Here is how the last audit request was nixed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G0xyoqUnhE&feature=youtu.be&t=936.
    We’ll see what happens in the Transportation Committee now that the 2016 business plan is out…

    Zorro Reply:

    Who has the authority to say NO? The State Legislature oversight Committees, they said NO.

    Isgota Reply:

    In 2025 people will travel between SF and LA the same they are now, by plane if they want to go “fast”. What matters is how travelling to the Central Valley is affected.

    By the way, Jim Patterson is wrong, there are concrete costs estimates about the south route. Maybe you 2 should check all the documentation given next time.

    Zorro Reply:

    A majority in the State Legislature said NO to an audit of the CHSRA. What are you going to do about that? Nothing, It’s done morris brown.

    Travis D Reply:

    What would they even find? They are publishing their new estimates, do they think they are lies and that there will be a paper trail all the way back to PB’s volcano lair where the leader is laughing while sitting on a pile of documents saying it will definitely really cost $300 billion while stroking a white cat?

    Joe Reply:

    They’ll trick Jeff Morales to monologue his intentions.

    “When everyone is over budget, then no one will be over.”

    Joe Reply:

    Oh, ho ho! You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can’t believe it…

  13. morris brown
    Feb 24th, 2016 at 13:02
    #13

    @ Peter

    Clearly the Authority can’t legally prevent an audit. However in this case, the Authority wrote the Joint Legislative Audit committee saying there was already plenty of oversight, thus an audit not necessary.

    The committee along party lines, voted to deny the request by Senator Vidak for an audit. The Authority won.

    Zorro Reply:

    So you are willing to accuse the CHSRA of Fraud without anything but a suspicious mind to back it up?
    That is not enough, otherwise you are trying to get a Witch Hunt started, all cause you don’t like HSR.
    The state legislature had an oversight hearing recently that was on TV.
    We already know you Morris Brown were and are against HSR from the Beginning in CA.

    Joe Reply:

    Absurd.

    Federal ARRAmoney is being spent right now. Congress has the oversight responsibility and the House’s primary role is budget. ARRA has even more stringent controls for waste and fraud.

    Darrell Issa R-CA Chairs the Oversight Committee. Jeff Denham R-CA is the Chair of the Transportation SubCommittee for Rail. Kevin McCarty R-CA is the House Majority Leader.

    Why haven’t any disgruntled citizens or outraged state legislature members been able to convince one of California’s republican congressional delegation to audit or investigate the project (or someone) for waste fraud abuse or do anything that would get Morris to STFU?!

    Who or what is stopping the House Majority and CA House opponents from doing their constitutional duty ???

    The criticisms and demands for an audit are all bullshit.

    Every congressional attempt to investigate or evaluate the project backfired on critics.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    All the House committee chairs and leaders receive mail at:
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515
    Fax numbers are in the online directory.

    The DoT Inspector General also investigates fraud and malfeasance.

    Probably worth sending them all a printout of your Fox & Hound piece Morris, that should get them pointed in the right direction.

    For my part, since I bought my home near an existing 150-year old active rail line, I’m excited to get electrification, grade seps, PTC and some increased service on it. It will be great to get to other parts of the state — and to transfer at GLY to the Monterey Peninsula.

    Joe Reply:

    Darrell Issa R-CA

    https://issa.house.gov

    His website has a big button on the left

    Looking for a Congressional Oversight Investigation ?
    Click here.

    It’s as easy as ordering a pizza online.

    Zorro Reply:

    Or a Kangaroo Kourt? Yep, Issa ya man… Though I’d trust the Pizza, and not a Republican these days.

    Joe Reply:

    I agree.

    If opponents throwing fraud charges around can’t excite Issa then they got nothing.

    Zorro Reply:

    A majority in the State Legislature said NO to an audit of the CHSRA. What are you going to do about that? Nothing, It’s done morris brown.

  14. Jerry
    Feb 24th, 2016 at 13:11
    #14

    California tax board lowers gas tax 2.2 cents per gallon.
    Gee. That will surely help things.

    jwb Reply:

    Ridiculous but I believe it is required by law.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Maybe the people wanting water storage money should have a referendum to pay for it by raising the gas tax.

  15. Eric M
    Feb 25th, 2016 at 09:53
    #15

    Good article on the project:

    Don’t Like California’s High Speed Rail Plan? Then Stop Complaining and Fix It

    As always happens when there is an adjustment, the change drew long-term High-Speed Rail opponents right back out, and they wasted no time lambasting the project with the same misinformation they’ve sowed from before 2008, when voters authorized HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    balderdash

    Zorro Reply:

    Aww, too bad Cyno, HSR will be built, don’t like that? Leave CA…

    Danny Reply:

    heck, let’s COUNTER-proposition: they say to take 8 bil from CAHSR and give it to some water scheme? let’s launch an initiative that the water scheme has to give 10 bil to CAHSR that’ll run simultaneous with its rival: that’ll cause some heads to spin

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …you do realize that redirecting the 2014 water bond to HSR would cripple both the political and environmental balance between the two projects, right?

    Joe Reply:

    What exactly is being balanced?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You can’t open up more areas of California to HSR/sprawl (i.e. development/affordable housing) without water rights. And 90% of California cannot rely on local sources for water, but instead has to transport it through large infrastructure projects which the water bond was intended to fund.

    But the *other* issue is that the two bond measures represent a political compromise between San Francisco (which really, really, really wants the bullet train) and Los Angeles (which really, really, really, really, wants new water infrastructure).

    Such a compromise though, is not just geographic, but also the cornerstone of the broad church that is the California Democratic Party. The initiative is nothing more than an attempt to drive a wedge between the North and the South by splitting both babies and forcing the Party to choose which priority is more important.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A pox on both of their houses.

    Joseph E Reply:

    That’s not true. California has plenty of water for residential and commercial development. New houses are getting more water-efficient, and by far the biggest use of water in residential development is lawns and landscaping; not necessary. More water infrastructure is needed if we want to keep growing more almonds and other high-value crops for export.
    I think it is probably worthwhile for the state to support farming, but even without new water systems there is plenty of water for projected population growth.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Read my statement more carefully.

    There is no shortage of water if you can build a pipe or dam to go get it. Thing is, our biggest cities happen to be located in the most challenging places statewide to get this water to. So someone has to pay that cost, and decide who gets priority to this new supply. That is where the political element comes in.

    And might I add, this is what happens even if conservation measures “free up” existing water resources.

    Joe Reply:

    Water used outside the home exceeds what’s used inside as joseph wrote. Las Vegas estimates 70% of their use is extra all to the home.

    We in CA use 40% for ag, 10% residential and 40% is left in rivers and SAMs for recharge of ground water maintain wetlands (The remaining 5% we haven’t yet destroyed) maintain estuaries and flow.

    If we want to support farming it should be done at no subsidy. Farmers should not be able to resell water to the public at great markup.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    California, without ag, could easily support twice its population, AND remove dams (hint: Hetch-hetchy.)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There is the problem of feeding this doubled population.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Stop shipping so much food out of the state?

    Joe Reply:

    CA Ag water is used to grow cash crops for max profit. Tree nuts like Almonds, wine grapes, packaged salad in salinas. It would be nice to have the cost of providing the water recovered when an acre of tree nuts produces $5,000 of income.

    Feeding people isn’t water limited, grow food for nutrition and calories isnt the objective.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe, I’m not sure how you think it can work otherwise.

    The price of water to M&I (municipal and industrial) customers is a function of demand. The farmers play a very critical role in using excess water supply toward a secondary use but also ensures market equilibrium since farmers can just plant fewer or different crops if urban water demand grows. You can’t do the same on the urban side because some water use is not as elastic as agricultural use.

    The accusation is that California’s appropriative water rights system pushes out small family farms less likely to act only as water brokers is also a tad misleading. It’s actually because the railroads unwittingly created very urban land use in the West because of the a train’s uniform need for supplies like coal and water.

    As it is, the TPP will likely change California agriculture again, similar to the impact that the SP had exporting subtropical fruit at the end of the 19th century…

    Joe Reply:

    water rights Ted. You can’t type three paragraphs on water/Ag and avoid the topic.

    farmers with legacy rights to Colorado water CB profitably grow alfalfa in the desert.

    Supply and demand do not explain water access in CA.

    Joe Reply:

    Ted. Grapes and tree nuts have fixed water needs so farmers cannot water less in a dry year. Nuts trees are sensitive to salts and cannot tolerate CV ground water. They require high quality surface water.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There would not be any food to ship out of state with no water to ag.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:
    February 26th, 2016 at 3:25 pm
    “California, without ag, could easily support twice its population…”

    and what would be the point of doing that? 80 million people living on top of each other. I don’t think so.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It would be a bit denser than Delaware. The horror! And less dense than Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island or New Jersey.

    synonymouse Reply:

    80 million? Day after tomorrow.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    getting from point A to point B in California is already a nightmare. Double the number of people trying to do that….. forget it. And what is the benefit to Californians to doubling the population? worse traffic? overcrowded beaches and state parks?

    Reedman Reply:

    If you believe Wikipedia: San Diego gets 90% of its water from outside the county, and desalinated water is cheaper than what it pays for imported water.

    Peter Reply:

    San Diego’s desalinated water is actually incredibly expensive. And, interestingly, San Diego has been getting too MUCH water supplied to it recently. So much so, that it has had to dump excessive expensive desalinated water (and other water) into reservoirs. http://www.sdnews.com/view/full_story/27084611/article-Report–San-Diego-has-twice-the-water-it-needs?instance=most_popular1

    Danny Reply:

    ah, I meant the money the 2016 proposition was proposing to steal from HSR

    Jerry Reply:

    I’m surprised that Mitch McConnell still hasn’t proposed that HSR be held up until after the election.

    les Reply:

    He is too busy planning for a 2025 justice nomination.

  16. Roland
    Feb 25th, 2016 at 11:56
    #16

    VTA BART update including the POC connection to Silicon Valley:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69VCBoTG1VI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U37eZmiClM

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Dude, if you have anything to SAY, then SPELL IT OUT.

    Posting a zillion random URLs to painfully low-content high-bandwidth context-free videos of random junk isn’t getting a message across to anybody. You’re wasting your time even more than the rest of us, which is saying a lot.

    Travis D Reply:

    I spend my free time training squirrels to perform HMS Pinafore….so far they have standing there eating nuts down pat…now to get them to stop ditching their cute little navy uniforms.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Personally, I like out-Richard Richard by posting snarky comments here while riding through Northern California’s elaborate mass transit system.

  17. Roland
    Feb 25th, 2016 at 22:59
    #17

    TJPA Update: http://transbaycenter.org/calendar-items/board-meeting-february-29-2016-special

    Joey Reply:

    There is essentially zero information in that agenda.

    Roland Reply:

    Approximately $150M-$160M. We will know the exact amount when they come out of closed session.

  18. morris brown
    Feb 26th, 2016 at 02:30
    #18

    The myth of the IOS north funding.. division in the ranks of the Authority’s directors

    The Mercury news article:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_29533635/bullet-train-battle-is-main-funding-source-fantasy

    Bullet train battle: Is main funding source a ‘fantasy’?

    has this section

    To finance the estimated $20 billion cost of the Silicon Valley-to-Central Valley segment of the rail line, the authority has proposed using a mix of voter-approved bond money, federal funding and as much as $500 million annually from the cap-and-trade fees. Those fees would fund up to half the cost of the segment.

    But bullet train foes say that unless the Legislature acts to extend the law that created the cap-and-trade program, the state may not be able to continue it beyond 2020. That’s the year Assembly Bill 32 — the groundbreaking climate-change legislation passed in 2006 –expires.

    And renewing the legislation would be a heavy lift because it would likely require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature –which most political observers say would be a nearly impossible hurdle to clear because it would require the votes of Republicans and even some moderate Democrats who staunchly oppose the cap-and-trade program.

    “If I were a lawyer advising a banker about this project, I would advise my client to tread with great caution,” said Brent Newell, legal director for the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment in San Francisco. “The state doesn’t have a funding stream to support construction of this project long-term.”

    Rail authority officials, however, insist that state finance officials have assured them that the funding is permanent. “We’re cognizant of the fact that there are some questions,” said Dan Richard, chairman of the authority’s board of directors. “But right now what we’re told is that this is a continuous appropriation that we can appropriately use in our planning.”

    Strengthening the argument that the Legislature must take a vote to extend the cap-and-trade program beyond 2020, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins last year carried a bill that would have deleted reference to the bill’s sunset date. But the bill as written never passed.

    So here you have Chair Richard at odds with Director Rossi, who on no uncertain terms said at a Board meeting, AB-32 sunsets in 2020, that is the law. Rossi is the Authority’s financial guru, heading up the Finance committee.

    morris brown Reply:

    The Board meeting where Rossi clearly stated AB-32 sunsets in 2020 was the May 12 2015 board meeting. From the Transcript of that meeting we read:

    BOARD MEMBER ROSSI: The problem you have is that Cap and Trade has a sunset date of 2020. So

    CHAIRMAN RICHARD: I want to make sure we’re careful that we’re not making a simple declarative statement around that. I think that there are some people who allege
    that the program was intended to be self containing.

    BOARD MEMBER ROSSI: It doesn’t make any difference. The law is
    what it says, so the people can allege what they like, but the law is clear.
    The question
    then becomes can you get beyond 2020? And I think that’s being addressed in a number of areas.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    By far the most cogent and comprehensive explanation of the Cap and trade issues is the Barclays RFEI http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/doing_business/EOI/EOI_Barclays_Bank_PLC.pdf

    Elizabeth Reply:

    page 12 (pdf) has a summary of the issues

    Joe Reply:

    Wonderful opportunity for climate deniers and HSR opponents to team up and stop renewal of cap and trade on 2020.

    Roland Reply:

    CTRL (HS1) Phase one was financed on the assumption that Eurostar would carry 40M passengers/year. Private capital for Phase two evaporated when the projected ridership did not materialize (less than 10M). The initial plan was 8 TPH with 2 Eurostars going to Waterloo International and the other six to St Pancras. The government had to step in to rescue the project at an alleged cost of $5B. Once phase two was completed, Waterloo International was shut down the same night St Pancras opened (approximately two years after they splurged $200M on Waterloo). The current ridership between London/Paris/Brussels is approximately $10M or 2 trains/hour with an average load of +/- 65% or approximately 25% of the ridership forecasts before the project started.

    Q: How can HS1 (the line and the stations) be possibly profitable?
    A: Freight and that’s why we need to ensure that we keep elevation changes below 1.25% everywhere including Pacheco pass (MTC recently estimated $60B in freight travelling between SV and the CV on Highway 152).

    Zorro Reply:

    Huff, Runner and the GOP will stop at nothing to kill HSR in California…

    agb5 Reply:

    All long term funding sources ‘fantasy’ because every four years new politicians take oven and can re-write any existing law. Even voter propositions can be reversed by new voter propositions. That is why Prop 1A is all about building HSR in a piecemeal fashion as resources become available.

    Joe Reply:

    Every year for the budget. Each year the state produces an annual budget. There are no guarantees and money’s can be redacted within a year.

  19. Hank
    Feb 27th, 2016 at 01:08
    #19

    If I may, If the IOS is ended at Poplar & Merced Ave’s north of Shafter as proposed, the authority is effectively giving in to LENNAR and feeding the same sprawl monster simultaneously. If a “Temporary” station is built I all but guarantee that brand new Tentative Tracts will be approved by either the Shafter City Council and/or the Kern County Board of Supervisors in the general vicinity before the 4th of July.

    Zorro Reply:

    So what? Sprawl is already happening, without HSR Hank…

  20. Elizabeth
    Feb 27th, 2016 at 11:28
    #20

    Joe,

    The continuous stealth widening of the 152 seems incredibly counter-productive to goals of HSR. Drive times to LA from South Bay getting shorter all the time.

    joe Reply:

    I’m saddened to read CARRD’s mistaken belief that CA can build more highways to improve travel times. Also surprised widening roads is “stealth”. It is the Status Quo and public knowledge.

    The responsible approach is to forgo highway expansion and build rail with centralized development around public transportation.

    Wetlands are most threatened by loss of water. Homes can be built and wildlife protected if we protect the water. The bay wetlands restoration project is an excellent example where wetlands are restored while growth occurs along the peninsula.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I’m saddened to read CARRD’s mistaken belief that …

    So sad to hear you’re sad.
    So unexceptional to read that you have no reading comprehension ability and no functional theory of mind of the type that might allow you to accurately attribute beliefs and mental states to other animals. It must be tough going under such circumstances to to survive in a literate society, let alone hold down any sort of employment.

    Our hearts go out to your morose and cognitively challenged self.

    Joe Reply:

    How fast are your fingers? Do the one-minute typing test to find out! Press the space bar after each word. At the end, you’ll get your typing speed in CPM and WPM. Good luck!
    Most recent score:
    8:34:43 PM PST, 89 CPM (18 WPM)

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Drive times to LA from South Bay getting shorter all the time

    I wish. Actually the 5 has become so bad that the 99 is now the better alternative. I-5 is completely inadequate.

    As for improvements to 152, which mainly benefit the valley to coast traffic, all of Californias state highways, especially those that run east to west, are in need of improvements with or without increased rail options.

    Building high speed rail has nothing to do with not improving the roads. California has a lot of road work to do in addition to high speed rail. This isn’t one or the other regardless of any propaganda you may have heard. it ALL needs to get done or no one is going anywhere and the Calfornia economy and quality of life are going to decline even further.

  21. Roland
    Feb 27th, 2016 at 14:15
    #21

    OT: Leo Express in the black for 2015:
    “Revenues from the operation of trains and buses surpassed not only the direct operating costs but also the cost of depreciation and interest on bank loans. Throughout the year 2015, we achieved growth in sales of tickets about thirty-five to forty percent”:
    http://sumpersky.denik.cz/zpravy_region/leo-express-meni-jizdni-rady-skonci-prvni-ranni-vlak-do-prahy-20160225.html

  22. Roland
    Feb 27th, 2016 at 19:55
    #22

    OT: How the rent seekers plan to blow another $50M on CBOSS (and get away with it):

    “The JPB’s existing railroad business and operations support services requirements are being performed by five firms. LTK Engineering Services, Nancy Whelan Consulting, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., Systra Consulting, and Transportation Resources Associates, Inc. provide the current services for an aggregate on-call total of $9,450,000.

    The increased contract capacity being requested pursuant to this procurement ($32,086,200 + $17,990,800) reflects the increased current and future railroad business and operations support services required by the JPB, particularly in support of the Caltrain Modernization Program as well as the implementation of the Caltrain Communications-based Overlay Signal System Positive Train Control system.”

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2016/2016-03-03+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf (click on #11)

  23. Anandakos
    Mar 7th, 2016 at 14:14
    #23

    The SPUR plan to build across the Bay for non-BART trains seems like a way to serve San Francisco with a true HSR line and avoid the BANANA’s and NIMBY’s on the Peninsula: run up the east side alongside the SP track which doesn’t have the BART extension.

    There is to be only one HSR station on the Peninsula so the vast majority of people will be driving or CalTraining to the HSR station. They can just go farther to Diridon. If they regret the longer total journey time to LA, well they can dislike their neighbors.

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