Sacramento Superior Court Hears Anti-HSR Lawsuit

Feb 11th, 2016 | Posted by

Today Judge Michael Kenny, no stranger to high speed rail litigation, is hearing the case brought by John Tos, Aaron Fukuda, and the Kings County Board of Supervisors against the California High Speed Rail Authority. This is the last major piece of litigation facing the project out of the numerous lawsuits that were filed in an attempt to derail the project starting in 2009.

Tim Sheehan at the Fresno Bee does a great job summarizing the main points that the anti-HSR forces are making:

This portion of the lawsuit focuses on assertions that the rail authority’s plans violate the proposition in several key areas:

▪ That the proposal for a “blended” system in which high-speed trains would share upgraded tracks with the Caltrain commuter rail line between San Jose and San Francisco is inconsistent with what voters approved in the ballot measure.

▪ That the proposed route will be unable to meet Prop. 1A’s requirement to provide a nonstop 2-hour, 40-minute ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles under “real world” travel conditions.

▪ That the system cannot be expected to meet the law’s mandate to cover its operating costs without any public subsidy.

The last point is utterly speculative. The first two relate to the “blended plan” adopted by the CHSRA several years ago. That plan is simply a phasing method designed to enable operations between San Francisco and Los Angeles to take place before all of the tracks are built. Prop 1A envisions a phased process, and what the Authority has proposed here meets that standard.

At least, that’s my view. And I’m not alone in believing the “blended plan” conforms to Prop 1A: the Governor, the state legislature, and the Attorney General’s office all agree that it does.

The question now is, will Judge Kenny? We will find out soon, though we will probably not find out today.

UPDATE: Juliet Williams of the AP summarized the hearing:

Deputy Attorney General Sharon O’Grady said all the rail authority’s decisions are in voters’ best interests. She said engineers remain confident about the claims, including the ability for trains to travel between San Jose and San Francisco in 30 minutes, despite a so-called blended system in which high-speed rail would share tracks with Caltrain commuter trains.

“It’s saving $30 billion to go with the blended system, which should be in the interest of the taxpayers, the voters and everyone,” O’Grady said.

Flashman argued that the rail authority is changing the premise on which travel times are calculated, such as counting arrival in San Francisco at a Caltrain commuter hub rather than the Transbay Terminal referenced in the initiative. The extra span adds about 5 minutes.

Travel times are a sticking point, as modeling shows the rail travel is only competitive if it can rival air travel between the two hubs, which means it should not be more than 3 hours.

The judge seemed to agree that the ballot initiative only mentioned Transbay Terminal, but he agreed that state officials should have some leeway in planning a complex rail line.

The hearing didn’t really give any clear indication of how Judge Kenny will rule. He has 90 days to hand down his decision, so we should get our answer by mid-May.

  1. Joe
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 12:57
    #1

    This is the crux of the argument.

    Deputy Attorney General Sharon O’Grady argued the rail authority is legally allowed to rely on its own experts, who say the travel times are possible.

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/business/article59819156.html#storylink=cpy

  2. Joe
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 13:08
    #2

    Fundamental argument by opponents today conflicts with past successful arguments the State made to the Supreme Court.

    “A finding that Prop. 1A’s requirements have been violated need not kill the HSR project, which the voters intended to move forward if properly planned and executed,” wrote attorneys Michael Brady and Stuart Flashman

    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article59437321.html#storylink=cpy

    Brown’s Successful petition to the Supreme Court to quickly accept the states appeal argued this:

    “Since the project’s inception, opponents of high-speed rail have tried to block its construction. Now, two rulings of the Sacramento Superior Court-which are otherwise unreviewable as a practical matter-imperil the project by erecting obstacles found nowhere in the voter-approved bond act. These erroneous rulings tum the requirements of the high-speed rail bond act on their head, threaten state and federal funding for the project, and urgently warrant review by this Court in an exercise of its original writ jurisdiction. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.486(a)(l).)”

    It does not make sense ( to me) to pretend the consequences of the lawsuit, if successful, do not threaten the project.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, there is zero chance this lawsuit will be successful. Think Huey Long’s Louisiana.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Nope. It won’t be successful on the merits not because the judge is bought off. Besides which, you already know that Kenny rule once before against the Authority (although it was reversed) so how can you argue that. Stupid again, @synony.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There’s no arguing with the kingfish. But can he get term limits thrown out? Hey, maybe I am the first to broach it.

  3. Peter
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 13:17
    #3

    OT: Deutsche Bahn looking into purchasing Chinese HSR rolling stock (German only)

    Eric M Reply:

    Wow

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yeah, wow. I guess I “miss-overestimated” Germany’s (or at least DB’s) made-in Germany pride.

    Eric Reply:

    the all-mighty deutchmark

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Nonsense. This is just an attempt to wake up Siemens that they are not guaranteed DB tender contracts, with the goal to force homegrown Siemens into becoming more price competitive. Maybe, just maybe, DB would sign a contract with the Chinese for some generic part(s), example wheel sets but in no way do I ever see the Germans rolling out pure Chinese rolling stock onto the state railway. Too much self interest and pride.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, according to the article, DB is serious about buying wheelsets from Chinese manufacturers. However, the article does not specify the kind of wheelsets, and their use.

    The hook of the article is that DB has opened a purchasing agency in China … which does make sense; that would get them much closer to the vendors, compared to a bunch of intermediaries.

    swing hanger Reply:

    old news apparently:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/deutschebahn-china-suppliers-idUSL8N13C3AH20151117

    DB has gone outside Europe in the past for railway components, for example in 2009-2011 to Sumitomo Metals to supply approx. 7000 wheelsets for its ICE fleet:
    http://www.nssmc.com/en/news/old_smi/2009/news2009-06-24.html

  4. Car(e)-Free LA
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 13:19
    #4

    Makes me wonder if Synonymouse is Aaron Fukuda’s alias.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s not.

  5. synonymouse
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 13:21
    #5

    The lawsuits are simply window dressing, going thru the motions. This project is strictly a political phenomenon and its future rests solely on the willingness and the ability of the State to come up with very large and ongoing subsidies.

    The Party mandarins after Jerry departs are likely to favor social spending, especially under longterm recession. Transport taxes fall mainly on the 99% and reduce income. Ever lower disposable income is a real problem in a consumer economy. California has many more in the low income bracket than, say, Taxachussetts. I assume there will come a point when even BART-MTC propaganda will fall on deaf, broke ears.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Fortunately, all the reliable scientifically supportable estimates indicate that the CAHSR will be at least as profitable as the (less HSR) Acela, unlike the highways which only return half their costs and need massive subsidies to keep in their current state of collapse.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Get rea -l no highways means transport collapse. Evidently rr’s continue to give up market share to trucks.

    The California boonies outside of SF and LA are hardly like the Eastern Seabord. JerryRail will require major subsidy, and BART-MTC will be fighting to take that money away, on the grounds of much greater need and greater utility.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    That’s why we need to build up the alternatives first, before completely destroying the highways.

    It’s OK to destroy a few immediately though.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Never been on the Delaware Turnpike have you? IIRC 4 bucks to go 11 miles.

  6. John Nachtigall
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 13:56
    #6

    “That plan is simply a phasing method designed to enable operations between San Francisco and Los Angeles to take place before all of the tracks are built”

    ??

    Did I miss the part of the business plan beyond blended. Because I have seen no plan beyond blended since they killed the original 4 track all the way plan as too expensive.

    So just for the record, answer these 2 questions

    1. Is the blended system the final configuration of phase 1?

    2. Does the final blended system (current end point of the 2014 business plan) have to comply with the time requirements in prop 1A? Specifically the 2:40 overall and 30 min SF to SJ.

    StevieB Reply:

    The court should decide those and other issues by this time next year.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The issues are already decided:

    carte blanche

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Diners Club.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    even under the the original plan the speeds on the sf sj segment would have been limited to 125 if I recall.

  7. James Fujita
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 14:26
    #7

    Today’s lesson: Make compromises to satisfy political opponents, get sued by political opponents for making compromises.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Exactly. Or, more accurately, make compromises to satisfy political opponents on the Peninsula, get sued by political opponents in the Central Valley who get legal advice and help from those same political opponents you attempted to satisfy on the Peninsula.

    Joe Reply:

    Context sensitive solutions !!

    Maintenance Facility in Kern Co!!!

    synonymouse Reply:

    A piddling compromise compared to the Capitulation at Lebec.

    And after all CAHSR was invited to the Peninsula to slow down the BART offensive. And that might be the best, maybe the only decent argument for the North IOS, to nail the coffin of Ring the Bay, but at the price of a fiscal and thus political scandal.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually the lesson is…

    When you make widly unrealistic and un-atainable promises to get a law passed, you end up making a lot of people made when many years later you ignore those same promises

    The total cost was never realistic
    The thought that CA only had to put in 9 billion was beyond ridiculous
    And the promised times were unrealistic except for very expensive systems (see above lack of fund).
    Add in stuff like no subsidy, initial segments but be usable, and the other straightjackets built into the law as “protections” and you have the current situation.

    You cant build a HSR system between urban SF and urban LA that runs at 2:40 for the amount of money they have available. Not in the US.

    People are mad because 1 thing was promised and another is being delivered

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The problem is people like you imagine things were promised that weren’t.

    It’s rational to require that a railroad have at least two stations. Why do you find that offensive?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i do not find that offensive. At no point did i say anything about stations.

    – I find it offensive that the times required are clearly stated and they will not be met
    – I find it offensive that voters were told the total cost would be 40 billion when they knew that was wrong
    – and I find it offensive that voters were told that the money for all segments would be identified before the segments were built to ensure no stranded investment when that is not being followed.

    All of those things are clearly identified in the law.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What segments are they building that don’t have two stations?
    It’s pity that you weren’t paying attention the hundreds of times it’s been explained that the 40-ish billion estimate was in then current dollars and the 68 billion is in year of expenditure dollars.

    morris brown Reply:

    @adirondacker12800 and others:

    I am certainly one of those who is incensed about the lies that were told before the 2008 Prop 1A was passed. Yes indeed the $32 billion was in current at that time dollars. It was only inflated to YOE $40 billion dollars later, when the FEDs insisted estimates be done in YOE dollars.

    But don’t be spewing crap about the current $68 billions current YOE dollars estimates is on the same base line. Back in 2008 the promise was dedicated tracks and included going all the way to Anaheim. The Authority keeps using the $68 billion projections, but never explains how it is so arrived. In point of fact the apples to apples cost projection for SF to Anaheim was shown to be $98 billion, not the $68 billion be used today.

    It is a big fraud period; these is no other explanation.

    If you care to go back and look at early postings on this blog, you will find, numerous attacks saying the $42 billion was not real, that the true cost was much higher. Robert for a long time kept saying there was no evidence that a higher cost was correct.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ morris brown

    I wrote


    saying the $42 billion was not real
    </b

    I meant to say $32 billion was not real — sorry.

    Let me add that currently not including the tracks and tunnel to TBT is also a deviation from what was promised back in 2008.

    Jerry Reply:

    $40/$42/$68/$98/ Billion – All chump change, compared to the $1 TRILLION dollar Iraq War.
    Yet, you, and many others, get all worked up over a new HSR which will benefit this state and this country. As opposed to getting worked up over a $TRILLION$ dollar WAR which benefited NO ONE.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so you can ignore the law because of the Iraq war

    Perfect logic

    Jerry Reply:

    Iraq War II itself ignored the law. In the most unnecessary, unreasonable, and unjustifiable manner possible. It cost over 100,000 lives. And over ONE TRILLION dollars. And the waste from it all continues.

    The illogical ones are those who see no harm or do not object to the wasting of money for war which benefits NO ONE, but will argue over three or four minutes of time, and where the money will come from. And oh, heaven forbid that there should be a subsidy.

    But if you want “perfect” logic see Leibniz.

    Joe Reply:

    John’s delicate sensibilities are out of proportion.

    Prop1a was not a design document.

    Prop1a was written and passed to build HSR. Interpretations to use Prop1a to stop HSR have and continue to fail.

    Today the cost is 43b. There are over 10b in contingencies and costs are year of expenditures which raises the project to 68b.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Prop 1a has specific requirements and restriction

    I expect people to follow the law and they are not. The cost, btw, was not one of those restrictions. They just lied about it to get it passed because 68 bill is not based on the original estimate being converted to year or expendedure. It is brand new based on blended system.

    But no subsidy and time requirements are not negotiable. Which is why in this trial, the CAHSR are arguing they will meet them, not arguing to ignore them (like you are)

    PS. Iraq war was not illegal. Congress voted to authorize. They were lied to about WMD to get them to vote, but per your logic that is ok because the ends justify the means. How does it feel?

    Anandakos Reply:

    John Natchigall,

    Do you “follow the law”? Every time? Every place? On every stretch of road, regardless of the “too low” speed limit? At every traffic signal, regardless of the “yellow time”? At every cross-walk at which someone is waiting to cross?

    If not, then STFU, you hypocritical excuse for a human being.

    Joe Reply:

    The law provides great latitude to the authority and Kenny acknowledged that fact in his hearing.

    Your reasoning why the Authority is breaking he law is bogus.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Anandakos

    1. Yes I do
    2. By your reasoning, if 1 person does not follow the law that excuses everyone else. I dont think you want to live in that society, the name for that is anarchy (no laws)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And a system where you alone get to decide what is right and what is wrong isn’t the one we use.

    Jerry Reply:

    And I found it to be very very offense that we were told that, ‘the war would pay for itself. ‘
    And. We would be welcomed with open arms.
    Now. Who do I sue?

    Joe Reply:

    “The best defense is a good offense”. I think it meant something else.

    The crazy train proponents keep getting elected. That’s pretty important.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[N]ot be met”. Evidence @John Nachtigall? Kenny already disallowed dueling experts. They can only argue from what the Authority has already published. Maybe he’ll find for them but I’m guessing not.

  8. Mac
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 15:39
    #8

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/article59729756.html

    Jerry Reply:

    “It’s actually going to take longer to get that distance than it would to drive your car,” plaintiffs’ attorney Stuart Flashman argued.

    Really??

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It sounds like they just picked some random segment, presumably the slowest one (lots of grade crossings?), and are saying a car can cover that distance more quickly. It wouldn’t be surprising if there’s some segment where that’s true… it’s just that it’s unlikely to be meaningful.

    Joe Reply:

    Who knows what he references ?!

    Caltrain has several consecutive years of 10% annual ridership growth with express trains at 150% capacity. They ferry people between SF and SJ stations at speeds far slower than HSR.

    datacruncher Reply:

    This article sounds like Flashman was talking about the entire SF-LA time.

    On Thursday, the Kings County plaintiffs picked apart the authority’s notion that riders could be shipped from Los Angeles to San Francisco at speeds of 220 mph in under three hours. The same trek through the Golden State can take six hours or more by car via Interstate 5.

    Flashman said the authority’s official documents don’t include braking delays as bullet trains whisk passengers through the Grapevine and its steep grade, or take into account delays caused by stops in Central Valley towns such as Bakersfield and Fresno.

    Digging further into the headway estimate, Flashman submitted evidence from an authority PowerPoint that pinned train speeds through urban areas at between 90 and 125mph – far from the 220 mph originally sold to voters.

    “They can’t possibly make 2 hours and 40 minutes regardless of which alignment,” Flashman said.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The above quote was from this article.
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/02/11/high-speed-rail-promises-insane-county-claims.htm

    Mac Reply:

    And further, ” Appearing peeved by Flashman’s second-guessing of authority estimates, O’Grady told Judge Kenny the PowerPoint was from a “very high-level presentation” and that plaintiffs were simply disagreeing with authority experts.
    “Oh, I think he’s doing more than just disagreeing with the experts,” Kenny responded. “I think what Mr. Flashman is also doing is highlighting certain assumptions that the expert provided upon reaching his conclusions.”

    Clem Reply:

    I agree that they can do SF – LA in 2:40 even with a 110 mph speed limit on the peninsula and downhill speed limits in the mountains. What busts the trip time budget is any speed restrictions through thickly settled areas in the Central Valley.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    instead of slowing down the trains in thickly settled areas just mitigate the noise. That could mean sound walls, or extra special acoustically treated sound walls or even covers over the track if needed..

    It can be done.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah Sound Walls could be done, but that is not the authorities problem, the CHSRA does not have a mandate to pay for such things, if cities want that, then it’s the cities problem to fund.

    Clem Reply:

    Sound walls make only a small reduction in the thunderous roar of a high-speed train.

    Michael Reply:

    Zorro- Sound walls are a required mitigation for any project that makes too much noise, like highways and rail projects, and it’s part of the project cost. Common and accepted practice.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You missed Clem’s point: HSR isn’t going to require sound walls because the noise isn’t particularly loud, and I might add, neither is it particularly continuous the way freeway traffic is.

    Joe Reply:

    Top speed can exceed 220. Some sections can support 250 mph to meet the time requirement and trains don’t have to stop at intermediate stops between the end points.

    His arguments show how pointless it is for the plaintiffs lawyers to presume to offer alternative analysis.

    Joey Reply:

    An operating speed of 250 mph implies a design speed of 280 mph. I have not seen such a thing anywhere in the planning documents.

    In any case, it’s really hard to save much time by going faster on the fast sections (for a number of reasons). You’re better off investing in the slow sections, i.e. re-aligning curves on the Peninsula.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    This article sounds like Flashman was talking about the entire SF-LA time.

    He clearly can’t be, because in that context his statement “It’s actually going to take longer to get that distance than it would to drive your car,” would be completely nonensical, even by the very low standards of NIMBYs and insane teabaggers….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe he has self driving cars that will be able to go through the 100 mph curves on I-5 at 150 in mind?

    Google maps says it takes 5:24 if there is no traffic to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And it’s 383 miles. Which means you have to ever so slightly exceed the state speed limit of 70 mph. For the whole trip. Even in the places where you have to slow down to 65 or less. And leave your kidneys at home.

    ….450 miles at 90 takes 5 hours.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah when I was much younger and dumber I drove West LA to Oakland in 5 hours flat a couple of times. It involved significant stretches well in excess of 100 mph. I’ll admit it was fun at the time, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    EJ Reply:

    I mean, a few years ago I had to get from Southern Germany to Vienna – much as I like trains, I wasn’t going to pass up renting a fast BMW and barreling down the Autobahn. But compared to the train it was absurdly expensive and fairly dangerous. If I had to do it on the regular the train is a much better option.

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t know for sure, but it’s entirely possible (and perhaps even likely) that Google gathers data from people actively using maps for directions in order to get realistic travel times. Speeding is commonplace on I-5, so perhaps Google’s data reflects people going faster than the speed limit.

    Joe Reply:

    Well it’s illegal to speed.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    huh?

    Joey Reply:

    Sure, but I doubt Google checks whether someone is driving at or under the speed limit before using their data

    Joe Reply:

    They do check speed. They have extensive data on roads including speeds as part of their level 4 autonomy effort – fully autonomous car. Partially you would do this compare as a QA check.
    Google also puts that yellow or red line on maps for HW101 when it has 30 mph speeds but not a red line on a side street.

    Its computationally easy and inexpensive. You know there’s been a numerical compare function in assembly languages since I’ve programmed the 70’s.

    Joey Reply:

    Knowing what counts as heavy traffic doesn’t require knowing the speed limit. You just have to compare current average speed to top average speed.

    And if Google is trying to compute realistic travel times, then it would make sense to include people speeding. It would certainly explain the oddity that adirondacker12800 found.

    Joe Reply:

    If you haven’t followed google automation and self driving cars you can speculate solutions that don’t include mapping road speeds. They however do map road speeds and build detailed models of the roads. Google is building level 4 automation which require the automated system to function as the only vehicle operator — their system is to be classified as the driver.

    I’m going to poke as a registered user and anonymously to see if the map travel times are user specific. That is if travel time includes knowing a user profile has a driving style propensity.

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t mean to suggest that Google is unaware of speed limits, just that they may not be taken into account when computing trip times on Google Maps.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most people don’t know how to insert catheters.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    that’s why that trip always takes longer than you planned. without fail.

    EJ Reply:

    If only they had some sort of facility next to the freeway where you could get gas, take a dump, and buy a sandwich in less than 10 minutes…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When did they start selling sandwiches at the pumps?

    EJ Reply:

    I have to admit, most times you pass the Turing Test, but times like these you can tell you’re a chatbot.

    joe Reply:

    There’s no way you can get on/off I-5 to gas up, buy food/drink do a bio-break in anywhere near 10 minutes.

    For long trips in the west, safe and reasonable travel rates come out to about 50 MPH which means estimate 500 miles will take 10 hours.

    We made Death Valley at that rate and it included a quick detour to see the Tehachapi Loop.

    That’s the right rate to compare to long HSR trips which let you stretch, walk, eat and drink on the train.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe if they build pissiors into the side of the sandwich vending machines? Well between the pump and the vending machines….

    Anandakos Reply:

    From what I understand they purchase anonymized but tagged real time location data from the cell companies and take derivatives of the average distance traveled over a standard time then refresh the display every few seconds. That’s how the red can change to yellow as you look at it on your phone. Pretty straightforward and also pretty amazing that they do it for free.

    Now they MAY just be addicting everyone to it and will start charging soon. “The first one’s free, chippie.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…bullet trains whisk passengers through the Grapevine…”(!) Say what?

    Clem, are you factoring in the “Antonovich” Angeles National Forest tunnels in your times?

    Travis D Reply:

    Yeah, when did this Grapevine routing come into play?

    Zorro Reply:

    Only in Cyno’s infantile micro brain…

    synonymouse Reply:

    VBobier, you’re back! We missed ye.

    Zorro Reply:

    Who?

    Anandakos Reply:

    Well, the “Antonovich National Forest Tunnels” would make the “downhill braking problem” MUCH less severe between Palmdale and LA, shorten the distance by several miles, and reduce the accumulated curvature by thousands of degrees of rotation, so I sure HOPE he’s taking them into account.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Still extreme curvature due to the political commitment to go to Burbank.

    Roland Reply:

    Palmdale (not Burbank) is the real problem, so the “extreme curvature” you are referring to is the wye connecting the LA-SF line to the Las Vegas branch (first stop: Palmdale).

    Zorro Reply:

    Palmdale CA elevation 2657′
    Burbank CA elevation 607′

    Elevation difference: 2050′
    Distance(straight line): 29.68 mi
    Driving distance: 52.12 mi

    Somewhere there ought to be something on the grades of those tunnels the authority needs to build, I just used what was available online and I can’t take into account the real start and end points of any of the proposed tunnels, just the known elevations of the cities and the distance mentioned online between the two cities.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Check out the proposed alignments.

    EJ Reply:

    What’s the curve radius of the proposed base tunnels? What’s the maximum curve radius that will allow full speed HSR operation?

    Anandakos Reply:

    I guess he got the name “Flashman” by driving 130 on I-5.

  9. datacruncher
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 18:04
    #9

    Tim Sheehan posted a new long article covering today in court.

    Kings County opponents of high-speed rail get their court date
    by Tim Sheehan

    Attorneys for and against California’s high-speed rail project made their final arguments Thursday to a Sacramento County Superior Court judge who will decide whether the proposed bullet-train system complies with the requirements set out in 2008 by Proposition 1A.

    It’s took more than four years for the lawsuit, filed in late 2011 by Kings County farmer John Tos, Hanford homeowner Aaron Fukuda and the Kings County Board of Supervisors against the California High-Speed Rail Authority, to reach Thursday’s trial. And both sides are going to be waiting a little longer, as Judge Michael Kenny takes time – possibly several weeks or more – to digest the arguments before rendering a decision. No matter how Kenny eventually rules, it’s a near certainty that whichever side loses will appeal the decision to the state’s court of appeal.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article59910086.html

    Joe Reply:

    Meanwhile in GOP controlled Nevada…

    ANALYSTS: BUILD HIGH-SPEED RAIL, NOT MORE LANES FOR I-15
    http://m.reviewjournal.com/business/analysts-build-high-speed-rail-not-more-lanes-i-15

    EJ Reply:

    XpressWest is not seeking public funding for the project, but has considered applying for loans through a Federal Railroad Administration program.

    FFS. Low to no interest federal loans ARE PUBLIC FUNDING. Not that I’m opposed to public funding for HSR necessarily. But a bit of financial literacy among the press and the electorate would go a long way.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    how is public funding if the money is paid back and there is no cost to the taxpayers.

    EJ Reply:

    If I’m the government and I lend you money at a lower interest rate than what you could get from a private bank, that means I’m forgoing a return that I could otherwise get. Which represents a cost to the taxpayers.

    Joe Reply:

    The Federal reserve loans money to banks at below market rates.

    These rail loans are not as generous.

    EJ Reply:

    And the bank loans also cost money. Look, I’m not saying low interest federal loans to rail or other infrastructure projects are necessarily bad, just that you can’t pretend they aren’t taking public funding.

    Zorro Reply:

    Literacy among the press? Good luck, that is about as common as bricks made out of Kryptonite.

    morris brown Reply:

    O’Grady’s quote:

    “It’s saving $30 billion to go with the blended system, which should be in the interest of the taxpayers, the voters and everyone,”

    This should be viewed with some history in mind. In 2008, the voters were told the 500 miles from SF to Anaheim would cost $32 billion. Now here O’Grady is crowing that “blended is saving $30 billion for the SF tp San Jose (50 miles) section of the project.

    It all just points up what a fraud Prop1A was then is still is today.

    I thought her comment was very funny actually.

    O’Grady tried very hard to convince Kenny, that 4th and King satisify the need for the SF Station, and when timing SF to San Jose, it was ok to start at 4th and King. Pure nonsense and I don’t think Kenny was at all convinced.

    Joe Reply:

    O’Grady countered that the blended system is legal. “The Legislature has dictated a blended system on the peninsula,” she said. “The Legislature was empowered to amend this bond act … It’s not a substantial change in the project … This is a small piece of a very large system; it’s saving $30 billion to go with a blended system, which is in the interest of the taxpayers and the voters.”

    She added that a state appeals court already determined “that the bond act only governs bond funds.”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article59910086.html#storylink=cpy

    Kenney was admonished by his superiors in the Apellate Court for his unconstitutional power grab of Leglislative oversight. O’Grady is laying down some whoop-ass by reminding him of the Legislature’s role mandating blended and the limits of the Bond Act as stated by the Appellate Court when it overruled Kenney.

    Clem Reply:

    The 30 minute requirement for SF – SJ is stupid and unnecessary to meet the far more important requirement of 2:40 SF – LA. It was a mistake to put that 30 minute figure in the bond act. The only purpose it serves today is to play legal gotcha.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    its purpose was to get people to vote yes…

    Joe Reply:

    Not necessarily. Changes and triggers were added to get enough GOP votes to pass the initiative.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well there are only so many options

    1. They put it in because they actually want a train to run from SF to SJ in 30 minutes
    2. They put it in to get votes
    3. They just wanted to make the whole exercise harder to meet prop 1a
    4. They had no idea what they were doing and put it in for no reason whatsoever.

    What is you pick…mine, as I said above, is 2

    Jerry Reply:

    Regardless of the reason that the 30 minute requirement is in there, the Courts will make a determination as to whether it is relevant or not.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Relevant. It’s in black and white hard coded. Explain what you mean by relevant?

    Do you expect it to just be ignored?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The only proviso in Prop 1a that is of any import to PBCAHSR is Palmdale exceptionalism. Everything else is ignored.

    The only serious unknown is where they plan to get the subsidy for this scheme. BART provides the best example to draw upon. High fares, taxes and fees of all kinds including in the form of state and federal grants. It will have to compete with other powerful rivals, such as BART and highway interests for public money. Anticipate slower speeds and deferred maintenance to cut costs.

    Overall I suggest rail tech is closer to being maxed out than auto. Check out the Tesla 0-60mph ludicrous mode in a little over 2 seconds. The hsr blitz will play out and wind down and they will be forced to cut payroll, undermining support from the patronage machine and its unions.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synonymouse How does 0-60 in less than 2 seconds get you SF-LA faster than 5 hours?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Auto tech has been focused on the sub-100mph range for 100 years and ditto for total dependance on internal combustion and complex lossy mechanical transmissions.

    Passenger rail tech has been concentrating on 100+ speeds in regular service for some decades and is way closer to “Moore’s Law” than auto tech. High speed automated electric autos are going to be real competition to CAHSR in the future. And not BART cattle car riding conditions.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You’re still looking at 4 hours at a cost the average family cannot afford. (They’re not buying Teslas.) So how is it competitive?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can’t drive your 100 mph car, at 100, through 70 mph curves. Or through the traffic jam.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The next Tesla is supposed to be priced in the $35,000.00 range.

    The real news is how a Tesla can exist – the market for autos is so vast that a myriad of companies manufacture worldwide. No one believed that fast, reliable, safe electric cars could be deployed at all or 100+mph vehicles outside of the race track until just recently. The payoff is enormous so there will be plenty of private R&D money available. Unlike high speed passenger rail, which has been largely government backed, and aviation, which has benefited from massive military spending for a century.

    Joe Reply:

    I expect the fact the Leglislature passed a law requiring blended HSR to matter.

    You seem to be cherry picking laws.

    Demanding 30B be spent because you are offended when prop1a is put into a context.

    Joe Reply:

    http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-09-07-high-speed-rail-safeguard-bill-signed-law

    signing this bill, the Governor has made it clear that the State is in lock-step with local communities advocating that the high-speed-rail project should be phased to prioritize upgrades to our existing rail system and eventually accommodate high-speed rail service in a way that avoids impacts on local communities,” Hill said.

    Palo Alto Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd said in a statement that the city is “very pleased” with the governor’s signing of Hill’s bill.

    “Senator Hill’s bill allows us to both modernize Caltrain and keep any future high-speed rail system sustainably within the existing Caltrain right-of-way to protect our community,” Shepherd said.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yeah, $35k is still not affordable. And you’re still arguing the old fogey argument that everyone prefers cars when most people are going beyond that both on cost & convenience.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cars with wunderbatteries get stuck in traffic just as easily as cars with internal combustion engines.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “most people” loathe ghetto cattlecar. My 3 daughters all drive and look askance at a bus.

    And I don’t drive and rode transit all my life.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I don’t know to respond to that @synonymouse w/o calling out your daughters.

  10. morris brown
    Feb 11th, 2016 at 20:16
    #10

    Video of the Tos hearing today (2-11-2016) is now posted to YouTube.

    It is in 3 parts:

    Part 1

    https://youtu.be/fgfeZsBJZDY

    47 minutes

    Part 2

    https://youtu.be/Ca0oRlElTWY

    36 minutes

    Part 3

    https://youtu.be/DcaLaoGLLPo

    22 minutes

    The whole hearing took about 105 minutes. Judge Kenny issued a Tentative ruling on Wednesday afternoon, explaining what he wanted covered in oral arguments.

    You will hear reference to the questions he raises in the ruling, on the video. I copy the tentative ruling below.

    morris

    ———–
    (copy of Judge Kenny’s tentative ruling)

    The parties are ordered to appear at the hearing on this matter scheduled for February 11, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Department 31.

    Any party desiring an official record of this proceeding shall make arrangements for reporting services with the Clerk of the Department where the matter will be heard not later than 4:30 p.m. on the day before the hearing. The fee is $30.00 for civil proceedings lasting under one hour, and $239.00 per half day of proceedings lasting more than one hour. (Local Rule 1.12(B) and Government Code § 68086.) Payment is due at the time of the hearing.

    The California high speed rail project process is dynamic and evolving. Accordingly, on August 13, 2014, the Court ruled to limit the scope of evidence at trial to the administrative record for the Court’s writ proceedings of May 31, 2013, together with the administrative record before the High Speed Rail Authority (hereinafter, the “Authority”) for the 2014 Business Plan. Using this snapshot in time, the fundamental question in this case is: Has the Authority made a decision that precludes compliance with Proposition 1A?

    The Court requests that the parties be prepared to address the following questions:

    1. California Streets and Highways Code sections 2704.041, subdivision (a) and 2704.06 both provide descriptions of the high speed rail system upon which Proposition 1A funds can be expended. Does the blended system proposed for the San Francisco Peninsula (and mandated by S.B. 557) violate either of these sections such that the high speed rail project cannot qualify for Proposition 1A funding?

    2. Is submittal of the funding plan pursuant to section 2704.08 a prerequisite to Plaintiffs’ claims of noncompliance for either (a) the entire San Francisco to Los Angeles line or (b) the San Francisco to San Jose segment? Is a challenge to (a) and/or (b) currently ripe for review?

    3. Does the decision to build a blended system in the “San Francisco to San Jose segment” preclude compliance with sections 2704.09(c) (operating headway timeframes) or 2704.09(b) (total trip timeframe)?

    4. How much deference should be given to the Authority in interpreting section 2704.09(g)’s requirement that the alignment for the high speed rail system shall be financially viable? Does Proposition 1A limit that deference?

    5. If the Court were to find in favor of Plaintiffs on any issue, does that preclude the Authority from continuing to utilize legislatively appropriated non-Proposition 1A funds?

  11. morris brown
    Feb 12th, 2016 at 03:29
    #11

    LA Times article on Tos Lawsuit Hearing of 2-11-2016

    Lawsuit contends the California bullet train project is violating state law

    Encapsulated here is certainly one of the highlights of the hearing yesterday.

    Roland Reply:

    According to the Authority’s attorney, the conflicts caused by the blended system can be easily solved once and for all by running BART & HSR ONLY in the Peninsula (no more pesky Caltrain interfering with HSR traffic): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca0oRlElTWY&feature=youtu.be&t=382

    agb5 Reply:

    This proves that the new caltrain ROW is designed to achieve a headway of 5 minutes or less, as required by the law.

    Zorro Reply:

    No one believes or has faith in that dirty old oily rag Morris.

  12. agb5
    Feb 12th, 2016 at 08:25
    #12

    The last question of the Judge is revealing.
    He asks if the Legislature could build a high speed rail system outside of Prop1A.
    Flashman says no, prop1A is not just about how bond money can be spent, Prop1A also ties the hands of the Legislature in perpetuity over the design of any future state wide transportation system it might want to build.

    This argument is unlikely to prevail, rendering his other arguments somewhat moot.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah, that would be an unconstitutional infringement of the CA State Legislature’s powers to make law, so yeah I think Flashman’s argument won’t work either.

    Joe Reply:

    Yes But …
    The Appellate Court had to overturn Kenny who has shown an affinity to both innovate new law and violate constitutional separation of powers.

    Plaintiffs have a very favorable Judge. Plaintiffs are trying to get Kenny to overreach once more. O’Grady is clearly reminding Kenny the blended system was not thier choice, it was Legislated and the Appellate Court limited Peop1a language to bond sales.

    Zorro Reply:

    Me I’m hoping the authority will win and We can then put this behind us…

    Peter Reply:

    Judge Kenny is a very well-respected trial court judge.

    Trial court judges know their rulings get overturned on appeal all the time. Comes with the job.

    joe Reply:

    All the time?

    http://www.californiaappeals.com/appeals-statistics.html ….. almost one in five of civil appeals succeeds in California, with about half that number achieving some modification of the trial court outcome (although such modifications are often on technical grounds offering little, if any, meaningful relief to the appellant).

    10% of civil case appeals achieve some modification (often on technical grounds).

    What happened on this HSR appeal was not typical. Brown appealed to the supreme court directly. The reversal of all of Keney’s rulings with the higher court noting Kenney’s ruling violated separation of powers by impinging on the Legislative Branch powers and He innovated new law where none existed. Not typical at all. Not the kind of reversal that one would want to repeat.

    Peter Reply:

    My point is that Judge Kenny is not some kook. He understands what he’s doing.

    The fact that he was corrected by the Court of Appeal does not mean that will happen again.

    Joe Reply:

    Never implied Kenny was a kook.

    Both descriptions above are accurate. He innovated law and presumed to tell the Leglislature how to legislate.

    I also believe Kenny is about a favorable judge as plaintuffs can find.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you had no problem with Kenny when he was ruling with the HSR in the cases before Tos. In fact I think you specifically said he would never rule against HSR…until he did.

    So now he is favorable to the plaintiffs?

    Joe Reply:

    He’s as favorable a judge as the plaintiffs could find.

    I thought the case was Rock soild and the appellate court agreed.

    Jerry Reply:

    The focus should be on the legalities of the decisions and rulings and not the Judge.

    Joe Reply:

    Both sides have to persuade and thus must consider the judge as an individual and also the evidence they can get into the record in case of appeal.

    Transdef Reply:

    You have no idea what you’re talking about, Joe.

    The Court of Appeal agreed that the Proposition created a financial straitjacket. All the Court of Appeal did was strike down the remedy. The fundamental rulings–that the CHSRA failed to comply with explicit requirements of Prop. 1A–still stand today.

    Joe Reply:

    Only strike down the remedy. ?! What do mean “only”?

    Under law the plaintiffs cannot litigate when success results in a meaningless remedy.

    The remedy Kenny created was unconstitutional and was WRONG. The plaintiffs argued over a meaningless technicality, the correctness of the initial funding plan of 2011. The courts cannot undo that favorable legislative vote.

    Appeals court corrected the mistake and we all moved on.

    Transdef Reply:

    So meaningless that, in fact, CHSRA has not submitted a second funding plan. They know they can’t write one that can survive a compliance challenge.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Whether it could survive a challenge or not it will be challenged . They’ve already said they’re going to release it this month so obviously they think they can.

    Joe Reply:

    The 2012 plan was the second funding plan.

    The 2011 plan was informational for the Legislature. Requirong the authority redo the plan is a meaningless act. Unlawful impose a meaningless act as a remedy. Also unconstitutional to interfere with how the Leglislature conducts business.

    It’s all in the appellate court’s ruling.

    TRANSDEF is spewing Obstructionist propaganda.

    It’s not your place to overrule decisions made in a democratic republic.

    Joe Reply:

    Here is a summary for TRANSDEF’s legal dept.

    http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/C075668.PDF
    Page 38

    Nevertheless, mandate does not lie to vindicate abstract rights. Mandamus is steeped in practicality. For this reason, there must be a present duty for a writ of mandamus to issue. Here the question is not whether the Authority had a mandatory and ministerial duty to issue a preliminary funding plan compliant with section 2704.08, subdivisions (c)(2)(D) and (K) at the time the plan was approved and then submitted to the Legislature, for that critical time period has passed. Rather, the question is whether the Authority has a mandatory ministerial duty to rescind the plan and redo it after the Legislature appropriated the funds for issuance of the bonds approved by the voters. It is the intervening appropriation by the Legislature that presents an insurmountable hurdle for the Tos real parties. We explain this practical impediment in light of the whole statutory scheme.

    Transdef Reply:

    You gentlemen continue to have no idea what you are talking about, while jumping on someone that does. There has only been one funding plan filed. J. is apparently referring to the imminent 2016 Business Plan. Joe is referring to the 2012 Business Plan. If you want to be credible, you have to know these things.

    Many disagree with Joe. They think that in a democratic republic, the decisions of unaccountable bureaucrats that do not comply with the will of the voters need to be overruled.

    Joe Reply:

    Majority agree it’s how. Try paying attention to election results.

    When did I ever get to vote or a say in TRANSDEF? You speak for yourself as you litigate to promote your personal ideals. That’s you right but it isn’t a mandate. You don’t speak for voters.

    I refer to the 2011 plan and 2012 plan.

    You claim the loss of remedy on the 2011 plan didn’t matter but it did. A yuuge loss for opponents.

    You claim the next funding plan can’t be met but the state always maintains they know it has to and that they can.

    Joe Reply:

    So meaningless that, in fact, CHSRA has not submitted a second funding plan.

    The federal funds must be spent first and by 2017. What purpose does it serve to put a prop1a funding plan with that deadline and money in hand?

    Joe Reply:

    The answer has huge implications.

    One other legal issue debated Thursday involved whether the legislation that authorized the bond act, AB 3034, applied only to the use of the bond money or restricted the design no matter what source of funds were used. Flashman contended the restrictions should apply to all sources of money, including federal grants and greenhouse gas fees that the state now taps.

    There is some precedent. President Bush banned stem cell research for all Federally funded medical research and supported infrastructure. CA was impacted and the state passed a bill to build dedicated state medical infrastructure and research. This act protected CA and established a safe haven for research.

    IMHO as long as Prop1a funds are accessed and used, the system as described in prop1a that is under construction or operation with Prop1a money has to comply.

    Zorro Reply:

    AB3034

    Text of AB3034

    2704.08. (c) (1) [snip] a detailed funding plan for that corridor or a usable segment thereof.

    ‘usable segment thereof’ is all through out AB3034, there is no fully funded intent that I can see, someone is trying to kill HSR by conning people…

    Full Funding for each segment under construction is available.

    Joe Reply:

    The system under construction will need to be prop1a compliant to qualify for prop1a funds.

    Once prop1a money is spent, it’s holds no power over the project.

    Plaintiffs are dead wrong prop1a controls the system. It controls the bonds.

    I think we basically agree.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    explain how you seperate the “bond” part from the rest of it.

    For example, the 2:40 time requirement. Since no part of it will contain only bond money (even the current segment is using fed money) how do you judge the 2:40 time limit once the bond money is gone?

    just curious

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s the point. Once the bond money is gone and the system is (mostly) built, then what happens is no longer controlled by Prop 1A. The law says nothing about it. It only says what needs to be done to authorize use of the bonds.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So the requirements that have to do with the final system. Specifically no subsidy and times. Under your interpretation those mean nothing? Because the bond money was never the total amount and would be ‘used up’

    They were just a trick? Please enlighten me. How would they ever be enforced?

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s the point: How would they ever be enforced? They are a design and plan goal. The Authority has to have a plan that meets the requirements to authorize disbursement of the bond funds. You can argue about the plan, which is what the lawsuit is about, but what ultimately happens is not under the scope of the law. So the plan can assume barreling through downtown San Joaquin Valley cities full speed because technically nothing would prevent it. The same with subsidies. They can get a private operator to agree to no subsidies but nothing prevents them from coming back after it is operational and asking for subsidies.

    Joe Reply:

    “The bond act is intended to build a high-speed rail system, not to stop it,” O’Grady told the judge. “The authority is working as hard as it can and believes that it can and will comply with the requirements of the bond act. But fundamentally, this is a project that the bonds are supposed to get built, and not be halted.”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article59910086.html#storylink=coytavsl

    High-speed rail spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said outside court that the agency is designing and building a system capable of achieving the requirements

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    well at least you are honest. If you had your way the only part of the law that they would follow is the authorization of 9 billion. The rest was just a lie to get people to vote for it.

    thankfully the law does not work that way. Which is why the authority is arguing that they meet the requirements, not that they can ignore them.

    The ends do NOT justify the means.

    Jerry Reply:

    JN: “The ends do NOT justify the means.”
    That’s why they started in the Central Valley and NOT the ends. :)

    Anandakos Reply:

    Why do you hate the people of the Central Valley, John Lotsagall? Are you one of those “it should go down I-5”-ers? Actually, you’re probably one of those “Don’t build anything except roads for me to drive on”-ers, aren’t you? Well, you know, railroads actually perform better when they stop for people to get on and off.

    California is expected to grow to 60 million within fifty years; where are they going to live? Not in the LA Basin; it’s too expensive and will get more so. Not in the Bay Area; it’s too expensive and will get more so. No, they’ll live in the Central Valley south of Sacramento and this system will provide them quick reliable access to the Uber-expensive MegaCities at either end.

    Now that 60 million may not come to pass because of the water problems, but even if it doesn’t, what population growth does occur can be much better accommodated by having an HSR spine down the south half of the Central Valley. Trains take the “peak” off the “peak” better than ANY other mode of transportation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    60 million? hah

    Try 200 million. Sprawl is the California economy. Wake up, Cheerleaders.

    Zorro Reply:

    The Census says 60 Million, not 200 Cyno.

    Zorro Reply:

    There is also the political aspect of HSR going thru the Central Valley and what HSR will do to the area, demographics will change as people move in from outside the area, potentially changing the area from mostly Red to mostly Blue or even solid Blue, the GOP has got to hate this idea.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The low income people will be gentrified out of their places.

  13. Reality Check
    Feb 12th, 2016 at 14:59
    #13

    $25b Paris subway expansion is most ambitious in the Western world

    Several stories beneath the streets of the 17th arrondissement, a tunnel-boring machine 25 feet in diameter is grinding through the wet Parisian earth. After a few hours of gains, engineers pause the drilling long enough for the machine to lock together the curved trapezoids of concrete that form the tunnel wall. Dig, build, repeat. The cycle continues through the night, every night, with the whole sunken work site proceeding south 40 feet a day toward the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris’s second-busiest rail station. Seventy men on the world’s slowest train to Paris.

    Here begins the most ambitious new subway project in the Western world. The extension of Line 14 is but the first leg of the Grand Paris Express, a $25 billion expansion of the century-old Paris Métro. By the time the project is completed in 2030, the system will have gained four lines, 68 stations, and more than 120 miles of track. Planners estimate that the build-out will boost the entire network’s ridership by almost 40 percent.

  14. Reedman
    Feb 12th, 2016 at 15:09
    #14

    Speaking of California government and $9 billion in bonds ….

    A $9 billion school construction bond had collected enough signatures for the Nov 2016 ballot back in September. The sponsors (school boards, construction trades, state public school head, etc) had agreed to withdraw the bond if negotiations with Jerry Brown had generated an acceptable alternative. The deadline for withdrawing from the Nov ballot passed on Tuesday, and yesterday Jerry Brown announced he is opposed to the bond [Brown:“… a blunderbuss effort that promotes sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities …”] because it didn’t restrict money to poorest districts, didn’t increase the limit on school assessments on property taxes, didn’t increase fees on developers of new residential construction, increases California’s debt load, etc. Note that wording
    of the bond blocks the Legislature from changing its terms-and-conditions.

    http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/shock-confused-guv-brown-opposes-9-billion-school-bond-created-by-construction-industry/

    http://edsource.org/2016/no-compromise-reached-governor-opposes-california-school-bond/94690

  15. J. Wong
    Feb 13th, 2016 at 08:23
    #15

    Everyone on this blog has broken the law at some point in their lives. There’s a difference between the letter of the law and it’s application.

    Clem Reply:

    And there is a difference between its and it’s. :/

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yeah why isn’t my phone’s spell correction set up to tell the difference? ;-)

    Clem Reply:

    That’s actually one of my pet peeves about iPhones: they auto-correct its to it’s. Grrrr

    Zorro Reply:

    Glad I have an android then, though they can be frustrating too.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Android is no better since my post was from there.

    Joey Reply:

    I think it’s relatively well justified when you get used to it. It is a lot harder to type “it’s” because you have to go into the symbol keyboard, so by default it corrects because it’s easy (if you remember) to dismiss the correction.

    Clem Reply:

    I think it’s a fatal flaw when a well-intentioned spelling correction leads to a grammatical error. If your software isn’t smart enough to distinguish between the proper use of it’s and its, then leave it alone!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    iOS’s correction seems to be reasonably adaptive, and does use more than a single word of context… I ran into the its->it’s autocorrection problem when I first started using my ipad (free ipad!), but after a while it just sort of seemed to stop doing that.

    My android phone uses a different approach, which is to never correct anything by default, but to always display a menu of possible alternatives you can manually choose from. Unfortunately it’s also generally just worse at generating corrections, and they only apply to newly entered text, anything in the past needs to be completely re-entered.

    Given that it’s unfortunately pretty easy to fat-finger stuff using the on-screen keyboard, I’ve come to accept the autocorrection as being a necessary evil, and on balance, prefer iOS’s more intrusive/automatic method. Both need to be monitored, but the iOS method seems to yield better results for me.

    Jerry Reply:

    Sure hope the self driving cars have better software.
    And can recognize ambulance sirens and pull over.

    Clem Reply:

    Ha! Unlike spell checkers, self-driving cars are a stiff problem: 90% of the goal is achieved with 5% of the effort.

    Clem Reply:

    I meant to write 95% with 5%

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Where’s the phone that will fine people a million dollars every time they use an adjective instead of an adverb to describe a verb. TV newsfolk do this constantly. I guess they don’t teach English to “journalists.” Could they at least make them watch a few episodes of Schoolhouse Rock?

    Clem Reply:

    Think Different

    synonymouse Reply:

    Different could be seen as a direct object of think – an adjective being used as a noun. Happens with present participles all the time too.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    okay yeh Think Different is in that cute creative writing category where it could mean think DIFFERENT or THINK differently.
    The very real problem of using adjectives instead of adverbs has crept thoroughly into news and advertising. Sloppy personal speech, much like disposable internet writing, is one thing, but words on real paper, and professional people on television and radio should be held to a higher standard.

    Jerry Reply:

    And what ever happened to the Subjunctive?
    If I were king, instead of, if I was king.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    subjunctive now you’re really asking for too much.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “clairvoyant”

    The practice is not new. Languages drift. I think Italy should have retained Latin but it was too difficult for the barbarians. I have spent hours parsing one phrase.

    But at least English has not killed the simple past tense, unlike modern French.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    ly

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    it truly grates on my nerves.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There’s a nuance.

    EJ Reply:

    I feel like English tends, overtime to discard grammatical constructs that don’t convey any meaning, like noun genders. Adverbial forms of adjectives are similar – 99.999% of the time it’s perfectly obvious from context whether a word is an adjective or an adverb. And there are already a bunch of irregular words that don’t follow the rule. A fast train goes fast, for example.

    Besides, a lot of what we consider hard and fast rules are just the dictums of prescriptive 19th century busybodies. Split infinitives didn’t bother anyone until somebody decided that, since you can’t split an infinitive in Latin (seeing as Latin infinitives are one word), you shouldn’t ever split one in English.

    English really needs to get its act together and figure out phonetic spelling. Sure, English would look really weird for at least a decade until everyone got used to it, and we’d probably have to adopt a bunch of new vowels with accents and umlauts, and we’d have to figure out what to do about some regional pronunciations, but imagine if you could just teach kids a few phonetic rules instead of all the time we all spent learning how to spell. Almost every other language that uses an alphabet at some point bit the bullet and did this.

    Jerry Reply:

    Correct grammar in Russian requires a double negative.
    Do smart phones change grammar when you are in Russia?
    (Similar to changing time.)

  16. morris brown
    Feb 14th, 2016 at 22:56
    #16

    @joe

    Joe:

    You wrote above:

    The 2012 plan was the second funding plan.

    As is so often the case with many of your posts, you don’t know squat. As Transdef replied, there never was and never has been as of this date a second funding plan as defined in Prop 1A.

    The 2012 plan was a business plan not a funding plan.

    As specified in Prop 1A, before Prop 1A bonds proceeds can be used to fund construction, a second funding plan must be prepared and approved ….

    Section 2704.08(d) specs out the second funding plan.

    Quit writing nonsense on this issue…

    Joe Reply:

    TRANSDEF is confusing. You critics all are so confusing. You litigate one funding plan and lose on appeal.

    You then argue you won with absolute certainty on future funding events.

    So the final funding plan, which hasn’t happened, we don’t have the next business plan or know the sections to build, can’t happen because a few cranks know it can’t happen.

    Transdef Reply:

    Joe said above that “The federal funds must be spent first and by 2017. What purpose does it serve to put a prop1a funding plan with that deadline and money in hand?” The 2011 funding plan and the grant agreement with the Feds are based on using Prop. 1A funds for a 50-50 match with federal dollars.

    Institutions don’t change fundamental deals like that unless there’s a gun to their head. If they haven’t sought bond funds like they had planned, there has to be a compelling reason. The most logical one is that, as a result of the Tos Part 1 ruling, they know the project can’t qualify for bond funds, because they’re short of funding–in the tens of billions of dollars–and nowhere with environmental review for the IOS. You can be sure it’s not because they are so high on cap and trade funding…

    The same shortcomings apply to the IOS-North, if they pivot that way in the new Business Plan. How is Bakersfield-San Jose going to be self-supporting? There isn’t a market there that can support the investment proposed. They’re dead men walking. They refuse to lie down and be properly buried.

    Joe Reply:

    Federal funds are to be spent first. That is the agreement which is in place. You just arsonist of date with your understanding of how the authority is spending thier funding. There is no need to have prop1a money now or the next budget cycle give the billions in fed and cap and trade 500 million.

    Taunting that the authority cannot produce a budget is easily explained by the lack of need for the money at this time.

    Like Morris you refer to IOS which I Cannot find in Prop1A language. If you think prop1a impacts the IOS then show me by using language in the proposition.

    I see “Corridor” and “Useable segment”.

    A useable segment is two or more stations.

    “Gun to their head”, dramatic talk to inflate TRANSDEF and HSR opponents.

    Where in Prop1a is IOS defined?

    Joe Reply:

    You are just out of date with your understanding

    john burrows Reply:

    It is my understanding that before more Prop 1-A money can be spent, the Authority needs to have a usable segment upon which high speed trains must operate without subsidy— and the Authority must identify all of the funding necessary to build that segment.

    Including Cap-and-Trade, they should have around $14 billion to spend on this segment by the end of 2020. Beyond 2020 we are guessing, but if C&T is is extended to 2030 with a proposed 40% reduction in allowances from the 2020 level, I would think that a good estimate could be made as to how much this would add to the $14 billion. A steep decline in the number of yearly allowances will likely be accompanied by a steep rise in the price paid for each allowance as they
    diminish in number. Billions more in C&T funding is potentially available beyond 2030, but the further out you go time-wise, the more unreliable any estimate becomes.

    Cap-and-Trade revenue has been slowly and steadily increasing—$639 million in 2015. The next auction is on Wednesday and hopefully the trend will continue. If the auctions keep doing well they will likely, in future years, contribute more than $639 million per year toward high speed rail.

    When C&T proceeds are added in, the amount of funding available for that initial segment goes way up. Just how much, remains to be seen. In the meantime, by Authority projections, $1.45 billion in C&T funding will be available to match the Feds by fiscal year 2016-17—enough to keep the project going for now without any bond money.

    The 2016 business plan is supposed to be out in less than 2 weeks, and we will see what they have in mind for this initial segment.

    slow things

    Joe Reply:

    John

    Must operate?

    Is the authority *required* to operate service on a completed useable segment ? If they choose to operate service it must not have subsidy but say they build San Jose to Gilroy, are they required to run service when completed?

    It’s elective as I read prop1a. Service is not a requirement after construction. They can run service SF to SJ and build to Gilroy and on to Fresno without operating trains on those segments.

    Significant since optional service means a segment can be completed without fear of litigation as along accrue first corridor it belongs to can be shown to operate without subsidy.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    having no revenue, but paying maintenance, …..That math does not work.

    If they dont run the line, they will be paying maintenance (for example security to make sure people dont steal the copper) and with no revenue that means they will be subsidizing the line.

    Not allowed

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So you are back to arguing that it has to erupt instantaneously from the bosom of the earth as trains filled with revenue generating passengers glide down from the sky?

  17. morris brown
    Feb 15th, 2016 at 07:23
    #17

    @ john burrows (and others)

    You wrote

    It is my understanding that before more Prop 1-A money can be spent, the Authority needs to have a usable segment upon which high speed trains must operate without subsidy— and the Authority must identify all of the funding necessary to build that segment.

    Your understanding as stated here is correct.

    But let us really look at the financing. By the Authority’s own estimates, an Initial operating segment (IOS) will cost over $30 billion. I don’t agree with this low projection, but let us use it anyway.

    By the end of 2017, the Authority should have left from Prop 1A funds about $8 billion; all Federal funds exhausted and will be looking at only $640 million per year in new funding, using your numbers, from Cap and Trade (C&T) revenues. A reasonable estimate would be at that time that about $4 billion of the $30 billion cost will have been completed leaving say $26 billion to left to fund the IOS.

    So from 2018 on, the annual expenditure rate would be limited to $640 million from Prop 1A plus $640 million from C&T, or $1.28 billion per year. (remember all Prop 1A funds must be matched)

    Prop 1A funding would be exhausted in 12.5 years at that rate, so from 2018 to mid year 2030, spending at the rate of $1.28 billion per year would have amounted to $16 billion, leaving $10 billion ($26 billion minus $16 billion) left to fund and construct.

    Thus under your plan, using very very generous projections, by 2030 the IOS would still be only about two-thirds complete, and need another $10 billion to finish.

    From then on, the spending rate is only at the $640 million per year from C&T, which would mean it would take an addition 15 years to complete, and this plan would finally have an IOS in year 2045.

    Absolutely hopeless and that’s why the plan is certainly not financially viable, at this time.

    Joe Reply:

    “IOS” is not defied or used in Prop1a. There is no mandate in prop1a to have an IOS built or funded.

    Maybe you need to read the law.

    It defines a “Useable segment” which “means a portion of a corridor that includes at least two stations.

    San Jose to Gilroy
    San Jose to redwood city
    Redwood city to Sfo
    Sfo to SF

    All useable segments.

    A useable segment is part of a “corridor” that includes at least two stations.
    Phase 1 corridor is SF to la union station to Anaheim.

    Proceeds for bonds are for the corridor or useable segment thereof.

    IOS isn’t in the law. Your whole argument about IOS is build on a misunderstanding.

    john burrows Reply:

    As Joe mentions a “usable segment” does not need to be IOS North of IOS South. I think that $20 billion in available funding for this usable segment is a realistic number. In two weeks we should know what the Authority’s plans are for this segment.

    Joe Reply:

    IOS was created by Van Ark’s team and defined in the 2012 business plan. It is an authority creation and unregulated by the proposition. The authority has to comply with prop1a but they are not required to treat the IOS as a “useable segment”.

    The next business plan can redefine and clarify the project. It will be done with full knowledge of the court rulings and opposition arguments.

    They are not mandated to write a plan with exacting prop1a language. 2012 didn’t so 2016 need not either. They need only identify what parts of the project are useable segments and the funding for them when they ask for funds.

    morris brown Reply:

    From page 11 of the 2014 business plan:

    ————-
    WHAT IS AN INITIAL OPERATING SEGMENT?

    The Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act (Bond Act) for the 21st Century establishes that Phase 1 of the high-speed rail system is the corridor between San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim. The Bond Act also defines a Usable Segment as a portion of that corridor that includes at least two stations.

    As part of its development of the 2012 Business Plan, the Authority laid out a plan to implement the system in a series of phases, starting with an Initial Operating Segment (IOS). The term Initial Operating Segment is not defined in statute, and its identification is not a requirement of the Bond Act. It was adopted as part of the Authority’s implementation strategy, and identifies the segment over which the Authority plans to initiate revenue high speed rail service, based on best available data and forecasts and other factors. The determination of an IOS is based on elements that are in statute, such as the requirement that it be a usable segment
    and that operations not require a subsidy, and also on factors including ridership, fare box revenue and operations and maintenance forecasts and the potential of private sector participation to help determine the best business case for initiating operations.
    In November 2011, the Board of Directors evaluated potential usable segments on the Phase 1 Corridor against a range of criteria, including an unsubsidized high-speed rail service, and selected two Initial Operating Segments for high-speed rail service, both of which are comprised of multiple stations:
    Ú IOS-North is the portion of the Phase 1 corridor from a San Jose station to a Bakersfield station; and
    Ú IOS-South is the portion of the Phase 1 corridor between a Merced station and a San Fernando Valley station. Both the IOS-North and IOS-South include the 130-mile first construction section in the Central Valley.
    Subsequently, in adopting the 2012 Business Plan, the Authority selected the IOS-South to advance as the Initial Operating Section as part of its phased implementation strategy. This decision was based on a number of factors, including the high priority given to closing the rail gap between Northern and Southern California and providing an early connection into the Los Angeles Basin through a high-speed rail/Metrolink connection at Palmdale. Consistent with the principles established in the 2012 Business Plan to advance the program in a flexible manner – and to deliver a high quality project as early as possible at the lowest possible cost and leveraging private sector participation – the Authority will continue to evaluate what is the optimum IOS.

    In June 2012 the Office of Legislative Counsel (a nonpartisan public agency that provides legal services to the Legislature and others) determined that the initial 130-mile section of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley qualifies as a ‘useable segment’ under the Bond Act.

    In July 2012, the California Legislature approved – and the Governor signed into law – Senate Bill (SB) 1029 (Budget Act of 2012) which appropriated almost $8 billion in federal and state funds to construct the first high-speed rail segments in the Central Valley and fund bookend and connectivity projects throughout California

    ————-

    Jerry Reply:

    So does that mean that the ‘baby bullets’ can be merged into CAHSR for the IOS???

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, because the ‘baby bullets’ serve more than what HSR would serve. People think of the ‘Baby Bullet’ as primarily a San Jose to SF service, but that is actually a minor part of its service. Other stops have higher ridership than San Jose.

    Joe Reply:

    It means the authority can build HSR and operate service from SF to SJ.

    les Reply:

    Or the Amtrak San Joaquin for that matter. This would draw 1 million plus riders and also not require a subsidy.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You must be kidding. Or if not, you failed to consider that not all of the San Joaquin passengers are traveling to or from HSR stops, and the San Joaquin service is subsidized.

    Some of those passengers will transfer to HSR when it is available. More will be induced to ride who either don’t go today or who drive. (Really HSR to Millbrae will be a no brainer to those flying out of SFO.)

    Zorro Reply:

    So they may or may not be going to some HSR stops, Amtrak San Joaquin traffic will be absorbed by HSR, most likely as a cost cutting measure by Amtrak. It’s all or nothing, I doubt with present gasoline prices and Amtrak wanting to cut costs, that Amtrak will keep the San Joaquin alive anymore.

    J. Wong Reply:

    A nice “f. you” to those passengers not served by an HSR stop. Amtrak isn’t keeping the San Joaquin alive, Caltrans is. More likely they replace southern San Joaquin service with buses connecting to HSR and the northern San Joaquin at Merced.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Dozens and dozens of them a day!

    https://www.amtrak.com/pdf/factsheets/CALIFORNIA14.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    WOW. Finish Pacheco and we have a HSR route from SF to Bakersfield.

    Jerry Reply:

    Go IOS North.
    I will ride.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So would I. Probably ride to Bakersfield and then rent a car tor drive to Bishop.

    Joe Reply:

    Prop1a does not define or recognize an IOS.

    The authority created the term in 2012 but is not legally bound to treat the IOS as a usable segment.

    The legal definition and what they need to show for funds is the “corridor” and “useable segment”.

    You have to demonstrate it is not possible to build a useable segment. That is some part of the pause one corridor containing at least two stations. Say SF and SK which contains four stations and runs express trains at 150% capacity.

    If anything you guys are pushing HSR to build and operate a Pennisula service sooner. Poetic justice.

    Zorro Reply:

    Correct Joe, this is on Pg 2 folks.

    Zorro Reply:

    Morris, the Business plans are not Law and the IOS is not in AB3034 or in Prop1a which was created out of Prop1 by AB3034. Don’t like that? Tough.

  18. les
    Feb 15th, 2016 at 10:18
    #18

    Will SJ to SF be considered non-subsidized?

    “(2) The plan shall include, identify, or certify to all of the following:
    (A) The corridor, or usable segment thereof, in which the authority is
    proposing to invest bond proceeds.
    (J) The planned passenger service by the authority in the corridor or usable
    segment thereof will not require a local, state, or federal operating subsidy”

    http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2008/general/pdf-guide/suppl-complete-guide.pdf#prop1a

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain’s SJ to SF Express trains run at 150%, on average. Packed standing room only. Seats are fills at San Jose Diridon.

    Expect a stop at a Mid-Pennisula Station, TBD, and possibly Milbrae as the SFO stop. That’s four stations.

    Roland Reply:

    There is absolutely no way a replacement for the Caltrain baby bullets would ever need an operating subsidy and that is precisely why Tripousis and his acolytes stopped Caltrain from adding 20 baby bullets/day to the schedule: http://tinyurl.com/ope33px (bottom of page 3).

  19. Richard Mlynarik
    Feb 15th, 2016 at 13:43
    #19

    Robert, “Paged” comments are still here. (“Comment pages 1 2 Next »”)
    These are unnecessary, stupid, and broken, and break links to comments. (I know. “Links”, not “likes”. How retro.)

    Please do what you can within your WordPress administrative interface to turn off this nonsense.
    (Googling the obvious terms “wordpress” “comment-page-1” etc looks like it might lead you in the correct direction.)

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