Fresno Bee Wishes Its Leaders Would Fight for HSR As Merced Did

Apr 26th, 2016 | Posted by

Yesterday we looked at how Merced’s elected leaders fought to stay in the HSR project as part of the Initial Operating Segment. The Merced Sun-Star and its sister papers, including the Modesto Bee, ran editorials praising those elected leaders for that work.

That caused their colleagues at the Fresno Bee to look on with envy and quite reasonably wish that their own elected officials – particularly their Republican legislators – would do the same and fight hard for HSR funding for Fresno:

If you want to see what real political leadership looks like, head north in the Valley, where it’s on display.

Lawmakers and supervisors in Merced, Modesto and Stockton want to be part of California’s high-speed rail project….

Their logic and their passion for the project were so impressive that the rail authority bought into the idea of the Merced segment.

Now here comes the strong attack on Fresno-area electeds who are opposing HSR:

Now compare the vision and teamwork of those officials to what’s going on in our neck of the Valley.

We are saddled with the likes of Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno, state Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford and Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau, who are doing everything in their power to kill the high-speed rail project.

These three apparently don’t want thousands of well-paying construction and rail system jobs. They apparently don’t want our part of the Valley to quickly connect with the Bay Area. They apparently don’t want Fresno State’s engineering school to become a world leader in high-speed rail.

Their can’t-do attitude, obfuscation and parroted talking points are reminiscent of the infighting and failure to unite that killed any hopes Fresno had of landing the newest University of California campus, which went to Merced.

Patterson, Vidak and Brandau aren’t leaders, they’re followers. Instead of having the courage to stand tall for their region, they pander to those loud voices whose biggest dream is that Fresno turn back the clock to 1950.

Well, the world is moving ahead – with or without Fresno.

The folks up north understand how important high-speed rail is to their future.

Too bad that Patterson, Vidak and Brandau are oblivious to what it means to Fresno.

Ouch. That’s damning. And of course, completely accurate. Patterson, Vidak, and Brandau are just a few of the Republicans in the San Joaquin Valley who have consistently put their own extremist views ahead of what’s best for Fresno, its people, and its future.

California’s unemployment rate is 6.3%, half of what it was at the peak of the recession in early 2010. Fresno, however, still has an unemployment rate of 11.1%. That’s also nearly half of where it peaked, but it’s still much too high. And that unemployment number might well be higher were it not for the HSR project and the economic activity it has created.

The Fresno Bee has its finger on the pulse of the city and the region – as well as its needs for the future. Let’s hope these elected leaders listen to what the editorial board is urging them to do – and focus on getting HSR to Fresno so that it can thrive in the years and decades to come.

  1. Spencer Joplin
    Apr 26th, 2016 at 16:06
    #1

    All those newspapers are owned by the McClatchy Company, which has been consolidating as many staff as possible from the Valley’s major newspapers into its Sacramento office.
    http://mediaworkers.org/fresno-bee-copy-editors-move-to-sac-bee/

    JJJJ Reply:

    You mean the same McClatchy which was the only US organization invited to view and report on the Panama Papers? Thats some strong praise.

    And your consolidation statement requires some light reading:

    “The “move’ affects eleven hourly employees at the Fresno Bee. While the Fresno copy editors will not be required to relocate, they will transition to the Sac Bee Editorial Production Center (EPC) payroll, and they will have different managers. None will experience loss of seniority or pay.”

  2. Spencer Joplin
    Apr 26th, 2016 at 16:15
    #2

    With diverse media, it’s possible for politicians to send an anti-HSR message only to HSR opponents. To HSR opponents, the representative then becomes the person who fought the good fight. To everyone else (who didn’t hear), the representative remains associated with a shiny new bit of infrastructure.

    Aarond Reply:

    Funny you mention microtargeting,

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/what-trump-saw-and-cruz-did-not/article/2002126

    tl;dr Cruz demonstrated that it doesn’t work very well outside of extremely localized contests

    Danny Reply:

    a veritable panpipe of dogwhistles–“I’m the X candidate” to each audience (no matter what they may be)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why do people still think dog whistles work?

  3. JJJJ
    Apr 26th, 2016 at 16:22
    #3

    Jim Costa brought home the bacon by guaranteeing construction started in the Valley. Republican Mayor Ashley Swearengin has pushed hard for rail and downtown revitalization, even though I strongly disagree with her on the Fulton Mall plan.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the Republican gang is too busy lining up talking points for talk radio to care about the residents of the Central Valley. Obama likes rail, so rail bad. Obama likes clean air, so clean air bad. Obama likes a strong economy, so strong economy bad.

    Zorro Reply:

    Obama likes breathing, so breathing is bad…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, what if Obama were to release a video of himself shooting a gun….? oO;

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The White House released photos of him skeet shooting years ago.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Which just goes to show that you cannot win trying to pander to Repubs. So don’t even try. Own your liberal elitism. In fact, call yourself socialist and be done with it. After all the worst words the left ever came up with to hit the right over the head with have mostly been appropriated by them…

    Aarond Reply:

    In all fairness, the skeet shooting image didn’t help them. One of the reasons for the GOP going totally insane was the very real betrayals they’ve had by their own party on many issues, including gun control. It’s a matter of trust and people took Obama’s words (namely his push for a second AWB after Sandy Hook) over his PR photos.

    Frankly the only way to appease them is to be steadfastly against gun control. Then you can sell anything to them. See Jim Webb.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Well this post will probably get red flagged by some NSA supercomputer, but I’ve always said the ONLY thing that could get incorrigible NRA puppet R’s to pass gun control legislation would be a mass shooting on the floor of the Capitol itself. Only then would the concern over there own asses be greater then the concerns over reelection.

    Aarond Reply:

    That would only result in them getting booted in the next midterm. If there’s one thing that can be legitimately admired about the right, gun owners are organized and know how to push their issue. It’s very impressive. I’d go down in a similar manner as Sumner’s Caning.

    Tom A Reply:

    I mean a Congresswomen did get shot, but I guess since she was a Democrat they didnt care.

    Eric Reply:

    I think that would only result in them wanting to bring their own guns to the chamber. “This would not have happened if…”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The funny thing is: Even the majority of gun owners want some gun control… But the NRA would not want you hear that…

    Edward Reply:

    Yup. The majority of NRA members want background checks on *all* gun buyers, no matter where bought. You don’t have to be irrational to like guns, just to be on the NRA board.

    Aarond Reply:

    Well you are right, but it’s more intricate then that. Most gun owners are ok with background checks and registration of machine guns. However, and this is where the fangs come out, there’s many people who use gun control (like any other issue, like drug control) to further their careers. Which means you get more gun control then what they want.

    After about a decade of compromising, we got the Federal AWB in 1994. That was a red line for a lot of people, especially as in the same time frame many other countries (Britain, Australia, etc) banned handguns and semiautomatic weapons entirely. Likewise many states, California included, went along with anti-consumer gun control laws that helped certain gun companies (Ruger) more than others. And since the AWB expired in ’04, it’s basically become impossible to regulate AR-styled rifles since they have proliferated. Then Obama (and the Dem Supermajority) happened.

    A new generation came in with different views toward guns. Compare Republicans born in the 1920s and 30s to those born in the 50s and 60s, to those born in the 70s and 80s. Or, better yet, compare the image of the “gangster” from the 1930s, to that in the 90s, and the 2010s.

    Joe Reply:

    How many US households own guns ?

    Joe Reply:

    “Only 32 percent of Americans own a firearm or live with someone who does, compared with about half the population in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS). The survey is a project of independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, with principal funding from the National Science Foundation.

    The poll also found that 22 percent of Americans personally own a firearm, down from a high of 31 percent in 1985. The percentage of men who own a firearm is down from 50 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2014, while the number of women who own a gun has remained relatively steady since 1980, coming in at 12 percent in 2014.”

    — Newsweek

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The total number of guns seems to have hold steady, however. In other words, less and less people own more and more guns. A scary thought.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    yet the percentage of Americans who think gun rights outweigh gun control is up

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-a-tures/do-mass-shootings-like-ne_b_6328112.html

    which means people without guns still want the right to own them. If you believe the polls this is a majority now.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/21/politics/gun-control-poll-americans/

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is a wide range between “ban all guns for everybody” and “give demented people and toddlers guns and arm the insane asylums”. Depending on how you ask the question, you will get both majorities for “gun control” and “second amendment rights”…

  4. Jerry
    Apr 26th, 2016 at 19:02
    #4

    Patterson, Vidak, and Brandau???
    I’m surprised that they haven’t come up with some bathroom laws.

    Joe Reply:

    Like Prop8? Been there and done that.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well compared to those bathroom bills Prop 8 seems to be a quick dance in the spring rain…

    Joe Reply:

    Bullshit – prop 8 was far worse. The court argument for the discriminating law defined marriage as a state mechanism for procreating. If you cannot have kids in homosexual relationship and that means the marriage can be disallowed then the marriage of nonprocreating heterosexuals can also be invalid and is lesser in importance.

    Steven H Reply:

    As a gay North Carolinian, I would say the “bathroom bill” is far worse than Prop 8–though really neither is/was great–while Prop 8 defined gay couples as “lesser in importance,” the bathroom bill legalizes open discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Nobody’s gonna be getting married at all if they think they’ll get fired or get kicked out of their homes just for coming out (particularly now that social media guarantees that everything we do with one group of friends will be broadcast to our neighbors, landlords, and bosses as well).

    It’s true that Prop 8 implied that procreation management was a legitimate state interest, but the bathroom bills imply that ridding society of LGBT people is a legitimate state interest. Neither is great, but one is a bit more central to the lives of all LGBT people (and not just the ones who have the luxury to consider marriage). As Ted Cruz himself said just last month, the purpose of pro-discrimination laws is to make “the homosexual lifestyle” more expensive and costly by turning our neighbors, landlords, and bosses into agents of the anti-gay state.

    Joe Reply:

    Neither. I agree. It’s awful and unacceptable.

    Prop8 defenders argued in court that any non-procreating marriage was equally inferior and thus equally not protectable. Not implied but argued openly. Also argued the inferiority of nonbiological parenting and adoption.

    Prop8 seemed to be a far more dangerous power grab than was recognized. The proponents argued the state has a power over all marriage and bodies for purposes of promoting procreation.

  5. Joe
    Apr 26th, 2016 at 19:36
    #5

    People in Bakersfield feel cut out of High-Speed Rail Authority’s new plan

    http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/people-in-bakersfield-feel-cut-out-of-high-speed-rail-authoritys-new-plan

  6. Travis D
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 02:39
    #6

    Hypothetically a single track spur to Merced will be quite cheap. Most of the structures on that segment were to be associated with allowing trains access over and under to other routes but a single track on the western most edge would not need these. I could easily see the single track option being under $1 billion. Against this you have a station that would serve a three county region that currently lacks good rail transport to anywhere outside of the central valley.

    agb5 Reply:

    A single track doesn’t need grade separations? Explain.
    Bond funds can only be spent on permanent components of the final HSR system ( except connectivity funds, which seem to have been committed several times over already)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Single track thru Tehachapi.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why?

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    I was in favor of that at the start. Start with a single track with passing sidings and build the second track once the customers are riding and helping to defray the costs.
    Start the service as early as possible and as far as possible and then increase the capacity once we demonstrate that the need far outweighs the resources.
    Too many in my party assume that even though better countries can be successful at simple tasks, our own failure of a country is incapable of matching the superior technology of a more advanced country like Turkey.
    Or Morocco.

    Wells Reply:

    Single-track isn’t feasable with planned 5-minute service during rush hours; darn commuteratons. It might be possible with 15 minute service, but double-track is justified eventually. Here too, the main problem goes back to the assumption of a 2hr 40min trip time as an honest promise to voters. With mid-speeds, Amtrak’s Coast Starlighter could utilize the corridor to Sacramento (~5 hours LA-to-Sac) and continue north diesel/electric.

    Automobile-related business interests have enough control over US govermental agencies to maintain their Transportation Monopoly fortunes.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And who do you have in mind as the main clientele for a 5 hours LA to Sac train?

    Travis D Reply:

    It doesn’t need grade separation from other rail lines because they won’t exist yet. It would need grade separation from local roads of course. But there really aren’t that many on the route.

  7. morris brown
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 06:05
    #7

    Senator Vidak reacts with one word NUTS

    Reacting to the Fresno Bee Editorial:

    North Valley leaders fuel bipartisan fast track to success

    Senator Vidak issued the following response:

    Vidak Responds to Fresno Bee Editorial Board on High-Speed Rail

    The Bee editorial with the headline including “bipartisan” certainly conveys a falsehood. There is nothing about the 2106 Business plan that can be construed to having bipartisan support in the Legislature.

    The Authority has now morphed what was to be a HSR project, funded by the voter approved Prop 1A, to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, into a commuter line linking only the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.

    The Democratic controlled legislature refused to authorize an audit of the Authority, listen to the LAO and the now damning report on Cap and Trade from the Leg Counsel.

    Out of control — I would certainly say YES. Deserving of Senator Vidak’s response — Absolutlely

    EJ Reply:

    Well, “liberals support it, so I’m against it” is basically all the Republican party has for ideas now.

    joe Reply:

    Nuts comes form Siege of Bastogne

    To the German Commander.

    NUTS!

    The American Commander

    So HSR and Fresno Bee are Nazis.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Godwin!

    Aarond Reply:

    So Morris, ready to vote for Trump? You’d be surprised at how NUTS things are going to get in July.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Aarond

    I have no interest in Trump or Cruz for that matter. Not that it really matters. The GOP has already given away the presidency to Clinton. The only question is whether the GOP majorities will hold in the Senate (not likely) or House (much better chance to hang on).

    Joe’s comment saying “So HSR and Fresbee are Nazis” is just plain STUPID

    Aarond Reply:

    Trump can’t loose, he’s being endorsed both Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler AND Hulk Hoagan. Even Michael Waltrip is on the Trump train.

    That said, I expect the GOP to retain their majorities in Congress.

    Disclaimer: I’ve spent the past week phonebanking and campaign for Sanders. So you can probably guess my stance on Hilary.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Biff Tannen would do amazing things for America. Just think of all the pleasure palaces he’d build. They’d be loved bigly.

    Jerry Reply:

    Really really bigly.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The House majority will hold due to gerrymandering if nothing else…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Boo I’ve spent the past week campaigning and phone banking for Clinton.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    PS. If you don’t vote Clinton in November, then you’re no better than a Trump Supporter. (Remember Nader…that backfired)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    yeah screw free choice and voting.

    She is so loved by everyone.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/if-sanders-isnt-democratic-nominee-dont-blame-bernie-or-bust-trumps-victory_b_9769874.html

    Really interesting poll embedded in article

    https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2324

    Hilary is no more liked or trusted than Trump. That is AMAZING. I am shocked she cant get trust of likability numbers appreciably higher than him.

    Jerry Reply:

    Third party anyone??

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The last third party bids that got anywhere all relied on the Southern vote. With one open racist and one candidate who had her strongest showing in the primary south of Mason’s and Dixon’s line that is right out. And I don’t know whether sectional feelings are strong enough for a sectional candidate in any other part of the country. And a third party candidate with strengths and weaknesses spread through the country is not planned for in the constitution… In other countries such a candidate could force a runoff or even get into the runoff, but…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Third party hands the choice of President to the House, which results in President Paul Ryan. The way our government is set up means it is impossible to have more than two major parties. Now if we switched to a parliamentary system…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most states allocate their electors on a winner take all basis. You don’t need a majority to win those states. Just a plurality,

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Actually President Paul Ryan could not happen, the House can only chose between the three candidates with the most electoral votes.

    And a parliamentary system would still result in President Ryan. You would have to fix first past the post to change that…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The house is not restricted to anyone with votes. They can choose whomever they like

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Clap harder.
    Karl Rove was working for a permanent majority. Little did you know it was a permanent not-bat-shit-insane majority.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If you can raise turnout enough, you can create an unbreakable left wing supermajority. Most of the people who dramatically undervote today are or have historically been groups that vote for the left.

    Aarond Reply:

    Personally, I’d rather go down a saint than live a sinner. The only thing worse than 4 years of Trump is 4 years of HRC. The GOP are evolving, they’re learning. And if the status quo continues they’ll end up running the country on their own. Which is partially why I’m praying for an FBI indictment. The Democrats need to be looking at downballot races and HRC running things doesn’t help them there.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are going the way of the No Nothings.
    They are devolving. The autopsy of the 2012 election gave them a list of suggestions that boiled down to “don’t be assholes”. The front runners are the assholiest of the herd that started off the primary season.
    Only 6 months to go, to offend even more people. Who, even though they aren’t Real Americans(tm), get to vote.
    .

    Jerry Reply:

    They’re even offending each other. Former Speaker Boehner said Cruz is, “Lucifer in the flesh, ” and he is, “a miserable son of a bitch.”
    Satanists are forming an anti-defamation league.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Let’s not forget he has small hands. They’ve sunk that far.

    Lindsay Graham has compared to nominating either Trump or Cruz to “being shot or poisoned” and if comes down to choice between Trump or Clinton, alternately Cruz or Clinton, dishonest is better than crazy.

    Aarond Reply:

    Republicans have proven to be ruthlessly effective in getting out the vote. For all the fear and doom over Trump (mostly from neocons), he’ll wreck Hilary at the debates and win on on his name brand alone.

    The Democrats need to change, they cannot coast on a “we’re not gop” platform anymore. If they don’t write their own narrative, the GOP will (“America First”). Hilary represents the 90s era neoliberalism that doesn’t work anymore, and the Democrats need to be a true alternative if they want to remain relevant nationally. Supporting anti-labor policies like free trade buries their own base.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Clap harder. It’s not an episode of pro wrestling.
    The man is barely better than Sarah Palin at stringing together slogans. And little else.

    Aarond Reply:

    Debates are televised.

    All voters will see are a wrestling promoter vs a stodgy bureaucrat. Five second quips and snark reigns over actual policy positions. Notice how Trump’s amazing foreign “policy” speech was kept under 50 seconds (I timed it). You could pull out any 10 second bit and run it as an ad, or just the whole thing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

    Hilary may be the better functionary but Trump is the better speaker. Same applies to Reagan and Carter.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Aarond I’m a progressive and all, but seriously…do you oppose free trade too? That is the one thing I’m disappointed in Clinton for—opposing the TPP. There is a lot of misinformation out there about free trade, but it does benefit everybody. I encourage you to start reading the Economist.

    Joe Reply:

    Old white guy doesn’t understand women voters hear a masognist, black voters hear a racist and Latino hear a nativist.

    To an old white male the differences maybe be the candidate’s presentation. To others the content that riles up the base turns them off.

    The data are there.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The true believers who want to hear slogans from pro wrestling will be impressed. The other people watching, not so much.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Free trade clearly does not benefit everyone, but in any event I would submit for discussion the dangers of relying on others far away for vital products. Take a look at recent actions of the Chinese military in the South China Sea. We need a domestic set aside of say 10% or more of all goods that we currently import to maintain the industrial base and skills. This is as much a part of our defense needs as aircraft carriers etc.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trade tends to benefit many people. But not always everybody. And you can hardly call something “free” trade that involves things like US cotton subsidies…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And how is HRC so terrible?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    the GOP isn’t evolving. It’s getting worse
    From Nixon and Reagan to Bush to Bush and now the likes of Cruz and Trump? The GOP is more misogynist homophobic anti labor racist and anti immigrant then I’ve ever seen it
    With a generous sprinkling of crazy on top

    Aarond Reply:

    Well obviously yes. But, and the scary thing is that it’s working. In 1968 (the year Nixon took office) the Democrats had majorities in both houses (despite passing the Civil Rights Act, four years earlier. This is not a small feat). Today, the tables are totally turned especially looking at state races. California is one of the few, lucky, outliers.

    Trump is a backwards candidate but he’s selling himself, and the GOP. I’d rather deal with 4 years of him, rather than have Hilary continue the Democrats’ slide out of DC. If one thing is clear it’s that moderates don’t like the style of politics they perceive come from Obama and Hilary.

    Joe Reply:

    “Moderates don’t like the style of politics … coming from Obama or Hillary”

    Hokay.

    That moderate, Jim Webb wing of the Democratic Party could convene at an Olive Garden in Chevy Chase MD.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The important thing is to stay active and get a real progressive in the white House. And if you think Clinton already is one, activism will help her keep it. Imagine her saying “Look, I would really like to pass all those tax breaks to billionaires, but I got all those angry Bernie-Bros protesting and I want to win reelection”…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Fair enough. But I don’t find Bernie exciting at all. Having rallies of like minded people isn’t a revolution, beating the same one note drum for 30 years isn’t a movement, and getting a following of many condecending, self righteous individuals isn’t electability.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I think that’s about as unfair a description as saying Hillary is untrustworthy or crooked.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’m sorry Bernie supporters. I just get exasperated at times with the repetitiveness, aggressiveness, and irrationality of SOME (not all) Bernie supporters.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    I’ve got a full sweep of the election.
    So far I’m against everybody.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why don’t you run for office?

    Joe Reply:

    Vidak’s “NUTS” response to the Fresno Bee Editorial is a reference to World War II American Army defiance to a superior Nazi Germany force’s request we surrender.

    Zorro Reply:

    NAZI’s superior? Seriously?

    We were reading their coded transmissions, the Grand Admiral was shocked, the NAZI’s thought the enigma machine code unbreakable, it wasn’t, neither was Japans Purple Diplomatic code for that matter, the US was a foe that could not be beat, as our factories were near the center of a continent back then.

    James Fujita Reply:

    In this particular case, “superior” refers to the number of troops involved. All other issues aside, the Americans were outnumbered.

    Joe Reply:

    The German offensive pitted a superior German force in numbers. They surrounded the town and demanded a surrender.

    Joe Reply:

    Superior in numbers in that battle. The German offensive brought a large force that surrounded the town and demanded a surrender.

    Zorro Reply:

    It was the last gasp of the Wehrmacht, We had bombed Germany back to the Stone Age and did Fighter Sweeps of Luftwaffe bases, even their Me262a jets were being shot down by the Red Tails, in P51D’s no less, yes I do know some History of WWII and that includes the illadvised Battle of the Bulge.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The whole battle of the Bulge would never have happened if the Americans had not gotten sidetracked by secondary objectives. They should have headed for Berlin (almost) immediately after liberating Paris. Instead they chased some phantom of an Alp fortress in Bavaria. And trust me on this one: Bavaria is never important.

    Michael Reply:

    Bavaria- I know. Look how they dress! They use huge mugs that allow the beer to get warm, but I do love weisswurst.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Actually (and I have some authority on that in my family) the liter sized beer mug is a totally legit concept and it is designed so the beer doesn’t get warm. That’s what the thickness is for. Of course the idiots at Munich Oktoberfest with their glass mugs have botched the whole thing. A good beer mug is made from earthenware that is at least a centimeter thick and keeps the beer remarkably cool. That’s where the term “stein” comes from from the German word “Steingut” meaning earthenware.

    Basically Germans found out the problem with keeping beer cool and came up with two solutions: The piss sample sized glass they use in Cologne (0.2 liters if memory serves) and thicker skinned mugs in the South. The fact that a bigger mug allows you to sit down at the Bierkeller (or Biergarten) for longer before you run ut is an added bonus. I cannot say either solution is stupid, but I much prefer a decent sized amount of beer.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Sehr interessant

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Well, with 500 years (almost to the day) of experience with quality regulations, they definitely should have figured out such basic things (keeping the beer cool). I am not sure, but I think the Bavarian beer may also be a little bit less alcoholic (as said, I am not sure).

    On a side line, as you mentioned Köln; they are the only ones who drink what they talk (or talk what they drink) : Kölsch… (for the monoglots: you have to understand German, and Germany to understand it).

    Edward Reply:

    There is a bar in Berkeley that serves Kölsch by the liter. Sacrilege.

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ISpV8CD7L._UL1000_.jpg

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The beer connoisseur would probably be able to tell you the difference in taste this makes…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Ever seen Stephen Fry’s Germany episode? His north German guide couldn’t even understand what the Bavarian beer dancing guys were saying… It was hilarious

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The same could be done in the reverse as well. Back in the old days ™ almost every North German spoke “Platt” or Lower German, which is actually more closely related to Dutch than to High German. Today, sadly Low German is slowly dying out and most only speak tinged high German (“Missingsch”) which is presented as real “Platt” to tourists. The most indecipherable German dialects tend to be spoken in the mountains… Bavarian just as much as Swiss German or whatever it is they speak in the Saxon Ore Mountains…

    EJ Reply:

    My sister lived in Vienna for a few years, she said the hardest thing about learning German was that all the conversational German classes emphasized “high German,” which was sort of like moving to Texas and finding that the only English anyone was willing to teach you was BBC English. I mean Viennese German isn’t even the same as “standard” Austrian German.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s true. And “standard” Austrian German contains a few words that standard German German does not have. Surprisingly many of them derived from Slavic languages.

    People say the region whose dialect is closest to standard German is actually Hannover, so if you want to learn “proper” German, you’d have to go there… But than you’d be in Hannover…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    My family came from Saarland and the Palatinate 200 years ago. More like dirt poor farmers, not really the yodelayhehoo leiderhosen crowd thank goodness.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Lederhosen were actually commonly worn by little boys in the 1950s (I don’t know about prior eras) because they are rather sturdy. I am quite happy not to have grown up in the 1950s…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I think Lederhosen were either working attire, because of the sturdiness, or part of the “better” costume (with decorations, and again because of the good quality provided). So, they do/did wear “better” costume for festivities of any kind. Linked to these festivities are, understandably, folk dances and folk songs. Folk songs in the Bavarian and Tyrolean alps do include yodeling. An this did kind of create the association of Lederhosen and Yodeling.

    The yodelayhehoo lederhosen stuff, however is an invention of Hollywood (in particular one movie is responsible for that).

    Another thing: Lederhosen are pretty limited to southern Bavaria (essentially the parts which are in the alps) and Tyrol. BUT Lederhosen are essentially unknown in Switzerland (except maybe the young boys’ variant). The connection Swiss and Lederhosen (and yodeling) is (again) Hollywood, or incompetence.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the fact that most tourist hot spots (at least for American visitors) are or used to be in Bavaria certainly helps. Hofbräuhaus, Neuschwanstein and Oktoberfest are all in Bavaria and Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Franconia) and Heidelberg (Baden Württemberg) are in Southern Germany as well. Of course since reunification, Dresden Berlin and some other places also draw significant amounts of American tourists, but cliches are hard to kill…

    And just to be clear: Nobody in Rothenburg wears Lederhosen. In fact, you will probably find more people in American Football gear there than people in Lederhosen.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    My father was a lorry driver before WW2. He wore leather breeches, for sturdiness and for warmth. Cabs were drafty in those days. I’m talking about England of course.

    James Fujita Reply:

    Vidak is the one who invoked Godwin’s Law; Joe just commented on it.

    Zorro Reply:

    Vidak ought to know, He is one… So of course He’d want to shut that up.

  8. Roland
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 14:14
    #8

    OT: List of petitioners against HS2 Hybrid Bil (10X number of comments on the 2016 draft business plan): http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cmhs2/petitions/petcontents.htm

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Come on England. Get your stuff together. First wanting to get out of the EU, and now this.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Proof that myopic bellyachers are everywhere.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    wonderful description

  9. John Nachtigall
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 14:52
    #9

    well this is not good news for HSR

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-rail-bill-20160419-story.html

    Unanimous approval of the oversight proposal.

    “I am committed to stringent oversight of the high-speed rail project,” Assembly committee Chairman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) said, noting it had bipartisan support. “Adding more information to the authority’s business plan will increase awareness and understanding of the project’s scope and costs.”

    Seems like we have reached the end of the “I trust you” train.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So what exactly do you think this bill will do?

    Joe Reply:

    It’s never good news for HSR – of course if you bothered to read your own quoted comment you’ll see Frazier is not saying he doesn’t trust HSR.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    he does not trust them enough to continue to run without additional oversight. So yes, he has lower trust than before.

    If you recall, originally HSR was to report every 6 months to the legislature and that was changed to every 2 years. Now after having run that was for 8 years, along comes a bill to institute additional oversight.

    Go ahead, spin this Joe in how this is positive??

    Joe Reply:

    Try using a different word than “trust”.

    The man said he wants to “increase awareness understanding”

    You make up an explanation and ask how I can spin otherwise … I quoted him and not your fabrication.
    That’s how I can spin it as a positive – it’s wasn’t a negative to start.

    Jerry Reply:

    But not the end of the, “I trust you Donald” train.
    Data? John Nachtigall you always want data. But the presumptive Republican nominee doesn’t do data. And it seems most Republicans don’t care how the Donald will pay for anything.
    The H$R Donald Train moves on.
    Data? We don’t need no stinkin’ data.

    Jerry Reply:

    Oversight for Donald – I will sue.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Take some money out of his “fat ass pockets”. His tiny fingers won’t be able to catch you.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Believe me we’re gonna have the best data – Herr Drumpf

    Faber Castell Reply:

    He’s gonna data collect bigly.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    With his tiny hands?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This has nothing to do with Donald or the GOP

    But just for the record, I am on the “Anyone else” bandwagon. I would vote for Hillary or even Bernie before I vote for Donald

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Hear hear.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Never fear. The Jerry will veto.

  10. Jerry
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 15:36
    #10

    Commuters on the Peninsula?? On airlines??
    For only a $1,000 sign up fee, and $2,000 a month, commuters on the SF Peninsula can fly Surfair to Burbank, Monterey, and Sacramento airports.
    The commuter airline Surfair is so busy that Atherton residents are complaining. About the noise.
    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Mateo-Board-of-Supervisors-Considers-New-Surfair-Flight-Paths-to-Reduce-Noise-at-San-Carlos-Airport-377160811.html

  11. JimInPollockPines
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 16:12
    #11

    So if trump beats Hillary will a replicant congress cooperate with him considering that much of what he supports goes against them

    Jerry Reply:

    And will he support HSR in order to Make America Great Again?

    swing hanger Reply:

    apparently…yes
    http://time.com/4247162/donald-trump-trains-infrastructure/

    Jerry Reply:

    Good article.
    Trump says China has, “trains that go 300 miles per hour,”
    and “We have trains that go chug … chug … chug.”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If by “trains that go 300 miles an hour” he means trains that go 300 kilometers an hour in revenue service…

    Can this man ever not speak in hyperbole?

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Chris Mathews is always saying 300mph too. I’m not sure it matters to most people as they’re just painting a contrast to show how bad we suck.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well you can make a train run at those speeds. Just like you can run a passenger airplane at Mach 2. It will neither be very economical nor very sensible, but the engineering has been solved several times over already…

    EJ Reply:

    I’ve always assumed they’re talking about the Shanghai Maglev, which is almost that fast.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No…wuhan Guangzhou HSR runs at those speeds.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Not quite. While it can run at those speeds, its current operational top speed (only on some runs) is 431 km/h (268 mph) (according to WP)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Is that a new reduction? I seem to recall riding it at 300 MPH.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know. Possibly.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    They don’t need to exaggerate to make American trains look lame.
    Bangladesh might beat Amtrak.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    And for conservatives, it’s especially poignant when one is informed that even Uzbeki beki beki stan stan is building HSR.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A country you think about so little, John Oliver could be switching it around for five hours before most would get any the wiser…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Lol

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The only people who think Trump has a chance are the same ones that think Sarah Palin is coherent.

    Bdawe Reply:

    I would have figured that the fact that Donald Trump has gotten this far despite numerous sensible predictions of his collapse would have disabused people of the notion that he can’t possibly win by this point.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    He’s hard to pin down. Tiday he said a bunch of stuff that sounds really good to s lot of people. Even dems. The next six months will be interesting

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I didn’t hear any of that. Not a single sentence. And I watched him drone on for 45 minutes with that canned foreign policy joke of a speech. Geezuz this man is global embarrassment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republican primaries are attended by people who think Sarah Palin is coherent. Everybody gets to vote in general elections.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    People who could not possibly win political office and did:

    A crook (R. Nixon)
    A has been b-movie actor past his prime (R. Reagan)
    A senile World War I general (Hindenburg)
    A slimy media type who is obviously criminal and corrupt (Berlusconi)
    A has been ex mayor of Cologne who is like a hundred and eighty (Adenauer)
    An unemployed foreigner with no education to speak of whose biggest success in live was rising to the rank of corporal in the war (Hitler) (yes, Godwin)
    A man born out of wedlock who spent the war in exile and changed his name (Willy Brandt)

    I am not making a value judgment, but clearly “X could never be elected” has been proven wrong several times over. Let’s just hope people don’t make the same mistake with Trump

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You left tout the last dozen or so leaders of Greece.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    See, I have a distinct lack of knowledge about Greece. Which is a shame, really.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually I follow the debt crisis quite closely. Please, I am interested to know which of the Prime Ministers you admire so much.

    Lying about the country finances,
    Tolerating the rampant corruption
    Lack of law and order

    All elements of the last 20+ years a minimum.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    ” I am interested to know which of the Prime Ministers you admire so much. ”

    What do you mean by that?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You said I lacked a knowledge of Greece when I said the last dozen or so Prime Ministers were bad leaders. So I am asking which of the leaders you believe were good?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I said I have a distinct knowledge of Greece…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Fair enough I misread that. My apologies.

    Basically since WWII they have had a series of terrible leaders. From straight despots to corrupt idiots in modern times.

    This has lead to the public not respecting the government and therefor not paying taxes is an acceptable thing. So 50% or more tax avoidance, Which leads to higher taxes and more delinquency. Which lead to no respect for other laws leading to rampant corruption. So they use protections to shield people from competition. It takes months or years to just be a hair dresser. It’s so sad considering they are the birthplace of democracy. Very very sad.

    They are a real life example of being on the wrong side of the Laffer curve. If they cut taxes by 50% and actually collected 100% they would be much better off. Also cut laws and regulations to just those you can enforce and the same thing morally. Honestly I don’t see any way out for them until they are allowed to completly crash. Which the EU can’t allow so instead they are a combine, unable to help themselves. Really sad

    EJ Reply:

    Out of the bunch, Trump most resembles Berlusconi. And if we did have a parliamentary system, and Trump had the patience and intelligence to maneuver himself into party leadership, then maybe he might be a threat.

    One of the few advantages of our two party presidential system is in cases where somebody manages to get a significant enough minority of dumbshits excited enough about him to win the nomination of a major party, he’ll get smacked down in the general election.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh, and I should add, this is all by design. If you’re interested in the history of the US constitution, you should take a gander at the Federalist Papers. It’s a collection of editorials in support of the constitution written mostly by James Madison, with a few by Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Madison realized that democratic governments are subject to be taken over by highly motivated idiots, and a large part of the way our constitution is structured is to avoid that problem.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The constitution of the 1790s may be more or less the same document (if we ignore the handful of amendments for a second) as the constitution of 2016, but the way the constitution is lived has changed a lot.

    Not only has the vote expanded from white male landowners to all adults, the states have been deprived of many of their powers (which is for the better, as one of those powers used to be ignoring the bill of rights) and political parties are now institutions (newer constitutions even explicitly mention them). I doubt whether any of the founders would have meaningful things to say about primary elections…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The math doesn’t work. All Clinton has to do is win Florida. She can even lose the rust belt States (which she won’t). Get ready for Madame President Clinton.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    She’d better put a Hispanic male on the ticket

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How good is Clinton’s Spanish?

    How much Hispandering is she willing to do?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    She doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. Potential veep Tim Kaine on the other hand…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    My bet is Corey Booker, but Julian Castro is always likely.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Or Ricky Martin

    EJ Reply:

    LOL

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about Pitbull?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Kanye?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Kanye is not Hispanic to my knowledge…

    But he might deliver the West- Coast

    scnr…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Just thinking of obnoxious rappers who like tripping hints about being prez. I mean, that is Trump right there (minus the rapper part)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well this would for once make debates about the hindquarters of the first lady (is there a term for the wife of the VEEP?) somewhat topical if Kanye ever gets there…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I’m not a fan of Booker. He seems like a really good mayor…. And that’s about it.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    I hope they trot out Michelle Bachman. That’s entertainment

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nah, Sarah Palin would be the ultimate lightning rod….

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Oh yeah Bachmann can’t be beat. Palin is crazy because she’s stupid—fueled and fanned by money, attention and undeserving admiration. Bachmann is crazy because she’s crazy. Big difference.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Didn’t she use to be a witch?

    Jerry Reply:

    Used to be???
    Some say, “Still”.
    But she did use a High Speed Broom.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I think your thinking of Christine O’Donnell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxJyPsmEask

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well it’s not easy to keep track of those people…

    Danny Reply:

    and Bachmann’s one of the PRT pod people so that’d make transit into another culture-war polarizing issue

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It would be fun to trace her lineage and find out whether she is linked to German wannabe Nazi leader Lutz Bachmann of Pegida “fame”….

  12. Neil Shea
    Apr 27th, 2016 at 18:10
    #12

    CHSRA reduces contribution to DTX from $1.5B to $557m

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2016/04/high-speed-rail-san-francisco-transbay-caltrain.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search

    Understandable. SF has not managed the TTC well, and had taken very little action to put a DTX plan together. Meanwhile CHSRA needs to finish its IOS, to 4th and King if possible.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Trans Bay Terminal Center can operate without HSR.
    Getting an operating HSR segment to San Jose, and then to 4th and King, from the CV is more important.
    Work out the DTX plan later with a new Trans Bay Tunnel.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That could be a good idea, but we’ll be stuck with a billion dollar bus stop for a while.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I take a billion dollar bus stop over two thirds of German airports any day. Twice on Sundays and thrice when the NFL plays.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’m not opposed to billion dollar bus stops, but I hate for the train box to just sit there.

    Bdawe Reply:

    And there it will sit, awaiting a future when maybe they’ve figured out how to spend reasonable amounts of money on infrastructure in San Francisco

    Eric M Reply:

    Time to reopen Tempelfof Flughafen. LOL

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think its current function as a park is the best thing that could happen to it…

    Eric M Reply:

    I agree. I was in no way being serious

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Did you know that the Berlin CDU (the major conservative party nationally, a bad joke in Berlin) actually ran a ballot measure to keep it open as an airport?

    Eric M Reply:

    No, I did not. I mostly follow happenings in Bavaria-Tyrol-Austria as that is where I travel to frequently.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well Berlin local politics are really fun. In a dysfunctional slow motion train wreck kind of way… the “new airport” is just the last in a long chain of incredible blunders.

    But the city is nice. In a New York in its dork age but with less crime kind of way. Full of hipsters and creative types. And surprisingly affordable.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    That reference might be lost in translation…. What’s the beef with 2/3 of German airports again?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Look at a map of Germany. There is a need for four, maybe five airports (one in Berlin, one in Hamburg, one in Frankfurt, one in Munich and maybe another one). Most airports make hundreds of millions in losses a year. And they are completely and utterly pointless. You can cover the distance between the “major” airports of Frankfurt and Cologne/Bonn (CGN) in about an hour by ICE. Most airports have no traffic besides “low cost” airlines (whose business model is to fly to those airports because they have lower landing fees due to the losses the public sector makes on them) and charter flights to Antalya and other holiday destinations. For about 90% of tourists it does not make any difference whether they take a 39 € flight from useless airport X to Antalya or take a car or train ride to Italy like they did in the past. Even the European Union complains about German subsidies for airports. For one of the most palpably ridiculous examples, look no farther than Kassel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassel_Airport

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    You forgot Dusseldorf.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Which is literally right next to Cologne. But don’t tell the inhabitants of either city that…

    Edward Reply:

    Years ago I had to get to Cambridge from Germany for a conference. It was CGN to STN. At CGN I saw more ticket offices for charters than I have seen in the rest of my life. It was one of those 1£ plus taxes cheap flights. And in the UK the 50% bus discount starts at 50, which I had just turned.

    The conference gave each of us a long strip of tickets good in the college pub. Don’t remember much about the conference…

    Edward Reply:

    Make that 60. I’m getting old…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, if you’re so old that you can’t remember how old your are, are you actually old…? (–;)

    Michael Reply:

    I’m sorta leading a big group of friends heading to Germany this year because some of us are turning 50 and I got suckered into Oktoberfest. (It’s a lot of work. There are many easier ways to drink great beer in Germany, especially in Cologne and Dusseldorf, or Leipzig or Bamberg.) Anyway, when advising on direct flights from San Francisco to Germany, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam all make sense, as does Dusseldorf if one is OK with Air Berlin, which I heard is like flying Southwest transcontinental. Bigger international airports and HSR from there makes more sense each day as networks extend further.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    True. You can now even get a combined ticket (DB calls it “rail&fly”), which is flexible and usually costs less than 30€, so you can even get half a day in an additional city if you time it right…

    By the way, You do know that Oktoberfest is mostly in September, right? (Sorry, but many people are still surprised to hear that)

    I have flown Air Berlin once (I think when Hartmut “worst manager ever” Mehdorn was CEO). It was okay, but then again my standards about flying are not all that high…

    Michael Reply:

    Thanks for the warning. Yes, I know Oktoberfest ends on the first Sunday of October. I went before in 2004. What I want to know is if the tie-in for the Ebensfeld – Erfurt NBS will be completed on-time so I can take one last ride on the ICE-T from Bamberg to Berlin via Jena Paradies instead of going via Fulda.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    How hard can it be to dig a six block tunnel

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It depends on if you are in China or America.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Spain is where you want to be for that

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why are the Spanish so good at that?

    And once we get an answer to that question: What should we copy?

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I thought the stereotype was the Swiss were the tunnel builders and the Spanish were the bridge builders.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If the numbers are right, the Spanish are remarkably good at cheap HSR. The blog Pedestrian Observations has run several pieces on that…

    Domayv Reply:

    and how come the Spanish are masters at building HSR for cheap

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know.

    I would like to know, but even the aforementioned blog has only speculations as an answer…

    Bdawe Reply:

    Spain generally has cheaper construction costs than other rich countries

    Roland Reply:

    It depends if you are in Fresno or in SOMA.

    agb5 Reply:

    If they are going to build the runthough loop tracks one day, can’t the DTX be reduced to two tracks which would make it easier/cheaper to build as a TBM bored tunnel or Cut-and-cover trench?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    There will never will be runthrough tracks from the Transbay Catastrophe. That ship sailed (or, more accurately, was torpedoed, thanks, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals!) over a decade ago.

    There is today, never has been, and never will be, a need for more than two continuous tracks from the Mission Bay station to Transbay. Again, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals at work, maximizing costs, minimizing utility, enriching themselves, actively harming the public.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    There may need to be some day. Currently, HSR and Caltrain can both operate every 15 minutes. Tracks can handle trains every 7.5 minutes. This figure would decrease with run through tracks, but if Caltrain wants to operate every 7 minutes, or HSR every ten (likely with Vegas HSR) the DTX, like the rest of the Caltrain corridor, would need to be four tracked.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No it wouldn’t. Amtrak, Amtrak, is proposing to turn 25 trains an hour in the stubby terminal they want to build for NJTransit.

    Domayv Reply:

    what terminal is it

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    This one

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

    Jerry Reply:

    Gateway Project – $20 Billion
    OK with me.

    Domayv Reply:

    what they should do with NY Penn is rebuild the tracks and platforms and give them the Spanish Solution type platforms (thats what Japan does and that’s how they’re able to handle lots of trains with less tracks)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If all the commuters that use it stay home for a decade.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A station can be rebuilt and still in use while being rebuilt…

    Jerry Reply:

    Public and/or Private investment.
    In Iraq – No problem.
    In HSR – Big, big problem.
    All from today’s headlines. VP Biden visits Iraq.
    Needs more money for infrastructure.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well infrastructure is one of many things Iraq needs…

    Joe Reply:

    Ignore the bridge troll. He’s a distraction. The 2009 article predates the Caltrain shift to level boarding.

    Clem’s written an analysis in 2012 that addresses track and capacity.
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2012/12/transbay-update.html?m=1

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Am I the bridge troll?

    Joe Reply:

    Richard

    keith saggers Reply:

    A spokeswoman for the CHSRA denied that funding was being cut. A reference to $2 billion in an earlier version of the 2016 business plan was “erroneous,” she said. “Our commitment to the extension remains intact and as it was — for $557 million”. http://www.bizjournals.com

  13. morris brown
    Apr 28th, 2016 at 08:17
    #13

    The High Speed Rail Peer Review group issued a comment to the latest revisions to the Draft 2016 Business plan.

    Very negative on the funding, and this is from the Authority’s own usual “cheer leading” group.

    Authority Board meets today at 3 PM to vote on the final plan.

    Joe Reply:

    They aren’t and never were cheerleaders.

    les Reply:

    They haven’t said anything new so I’m not sure what comments are so damning.

    Jerry Reply:

    Everything in their statement has been mentioned on this blog many times.
    Thanks for posting it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    this one especially

    The Authority should make clear that its business model ‐ in which the State plans and builds the system, after which it will franchise or concession the system ‐ also means that the entire cost of building the system, including rolling stock, must come from public sources.

    As of right now the business plan states and most supporters believe the 1/3 of the money will come from private sources. This quote indicates that at least privately, they are admitting that private money will not participate before the system is up and running.

  14. keith saggers
    Apr 28th, 2016 at 12:03
    #14

    However, extending the initial line to Bakersfield and into San Francisco (by making initial investments between San Jose and San Francisco that would allow high-speed rail trains to operate on existing tracks) would generate significantly higher ridership and revenue. It would also command higher prices for a concession agreement with a private operator and position us to use those additional funds to continue extending the system CHSRA 2016 business plan

    keith saggers Reply:

    Over the next twelve months, we plan to begin the procurements for rolling stock and an early operator. As highlighted above, rolling stock requires a significant lead time due to the design and manufacturing processes and an operator should be engaged as soon as possible to ensure that the perspective of a train operator is considered in the planning and design of the civil works, infrastructure, rolling stock, and facilities. Therefore, we plan to initiate procurement activity for the rolling stock and early operator within the next twelve months. CHSRA 2016 business plan

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Hopefully AMTRAK can bid.that would make for a more seamless integrated state system

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Amtrak (except for long distance routes), needs to get out of California. Metrolink should absorb the Coaster, Sprinter, and Surfliner, and a new company (Call it Clipper Transportation, after the card), should absorb Caltrain, BART, SMART, San Joaquin, and Capitol Corridor). The Surfliner should extend North to San Francisco, and the Starlight should be pulled back to terminate in San Jose. This would significantly improve on time performance, as well as make the times more humane (IE not depart Sacramento at midnight).

    Domayv Reply:

    Surfliner extension to SF (as awesome as that may be) isn’t happening any time soon because it could conflict with Caltrain and CHSR. Also, new rolling stock would be needed

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Bilevel trains should be going avaw eventually, with electrification. Surfliner could potentially go to SF if they were single level, if trains are timed right. With four tracking, they easily could. Of course, they could always go up the East Bay to Roseville.

    Peter Reply:

    Bilevel trains should be going avaw eventually, with electrification.

    Huh? Bi-level trains run all over the world under wires. Even in the U.S. See, for example, NJT or Metra.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    If you want identical electrification, then they don’t. Also, the tracks for the Surfliner north of Burbank hve plenty of capacity. However, trains along this route are generally low, partially due to low frequency. Therefore, running more frequent, smaller trains is the answer. IE, instead of running 3 trains from LAUS to SLO per day, that can carry 2x passengers each, run 7 trains along this route, with x passengers each. There is plenty of capacity for it, and ridership would go way up with more frequency. Additionally, you have less empty seats, because you increase the total number of seats only marginaly.

    Peter Reply:

    If you want identical electrification, then they don’t.

    What are you talking about?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    If you want electrification to be the same height as single level HSR, Peninsula Caltrain etc. That way, train networks aren’t isolated.

    Peter Reply:

    Check page 20.

    They’ve already planned for differing contact wire heights in different areas (dedicated HSR vs shared corridor).

    Clem Reply:

    Peninsula Caltrain will be bilevel even after electrification. Not sure what your point is.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @clem really? I had assumed it would be single level, just like HSR.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Even if it was, such is the nature of pantographs that they can reach multiple heights.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You can run bilevel cars under catenary. The Leipzig City Tunnel is designed for them and has about the breadth of a hand of space between the kind of third rail thingy in the ceiling and the carriages…

    Domayv Reply:

    shall I bring this up again http://testplant.blogspot.com/2013/09/electrification-clearance-for-double.html?m=1

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Sure you can, but bi-level cars are a poor solution in any case. It’d be better to just give up on them.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Worst case you have 2 pantographs on the HSR stock, high level lower speed for blended track, shorter for high speed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why do you say they are a poor solution? It enables you to have more capacity without longer platforms, which usually works out to be a significant cost saving…

    Bdawe Reply:

    Probably dwell time and weight

    Bdawe Reply:

    What right decision has Metrolink made in the last ten years?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Opening the IEOC line.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Actually, that was opened in 1995, but opening the 91 line, in 2002 (still more than 10 years ago, but not that long ago) was smart. Also, the Union Station run through tracks, Perrs Valley line, and $3 station to station fares are smart.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The run through tracks are essential, but unlikely to be built until at least 2024. Metro fails to deliver passenger rail infrastructure. It’s a low priority because it benefits other counties at least as much as L.A. Unfortunately LACMTA just doesn’t understand regional or intercity rail.

    Joey Reply:

    The Peninsula is going to be too crowded of an environment for this sort of train. Schedule margins at peak hours are likely to be less than a minute, and that’s no place for a train that’s lucky to arrive within an hour of its scheduled time. It won’t be as bad as the Starlate sure, but anywhere UP is involved it’s quite difficult to guarantee OTP.

    Joe Reply:

    Which is why there will be transfers from south county Santa Clara Caltrain and CC service at Diridon.

    Joey Reply:

    I think splitting off South County service is the best outcome for everyone involved. Attaching it to the CC maybe less so.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain was non-responsive to Monterey Co so CC stepped in.

    It makes sense to extend CC in place of Caltrain for this reason. The CC goes up the east bay and offers riders both access to the Pennisula via Caltrain transfer and access to the east bay – more ridership.

    The transfer penalty at Diridon can be made up by faster electrified Caltrain service. We already transfer in the AM at Tamien with an express train to Palo Alto/university.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    No
    Maybe you should get out of California

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It is silly to seperate urban, suburban, and regional railways into different systems.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Agreed, especially as small as the operations are here. A couple of dozen trains a day or fewer requires a Board, a management team to oversee and duplicate the contract operator, ditto a marketing organization etc. Add up the number of trains of ACE, Caltrain and CC and you are beginning to get to the size of an operation that makes some sense and can employ some economies of scale.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @ Jim I P P, there are a lot of dedicated Amtrak workers in CA, but as an institution it is simply not equipped to operate a modern commercially driven operation. Indeed they would almost immediately find a way to funnel money out of California to the NEC, as they have for at least 24 years.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak spends a lot of money in the Northeast. They have a lot of passengers too.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That is true. I know they use NEC corridor profits to subsidise long distance routes. I think all farebox revenue here in California goes back into Amtrack California, because it is caltrans owned, not amtrak owned. Consequentially, amtrak doesn’t invest here because they aren’t amtrak trains…they are caltrans trains with amtrak branding. (Why someone wants to be associated with amtrak…I don’t know.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue is the rate Amtrak California pays the mothership for running its trains. Note that as soon as Congress began to enforce PRIIA’s requirement to have state-sponsored routes cover their costs, the Brown Administration almost immediately began to spin off each route in California to a JPA…subsidiarity at its finest.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There are no NEC profits. Only by ignoring GAAP and fudging the books by ignoring costs do they claim a very dubious operating profit. Look at the numbers and amtraks own statements. They say they would not save any money if they closed down the l/d trains.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, read PRIIA. There is no such requirement, only that a uniform formula be applied. When the San Diegans started going to Santa Barbara they made an operating profit under 403b so Amtrak rapidly changed the formula

    Jerry Reply:

    @Paul Dyson
    A growing problem is that more and more big companies are ignoring GAAP. Their annual reports point out their non-GAAP numbers. In order to make themselves look more profitable. So far the SEC is only taking note of it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Government doesn’t use GAAP guidelines. If they did roads, schools, sewer plants etc. would have serious problems. Airports, parks, hospitals….

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sorry Paul, I know your 11th Commandment is “thou shall not speak ill of Amtrak”.

    You’re splitting hairs by saying PRIIA doesn’t call for it statutorily. You still know damn well that is what Amtrak did and what the purpose of PRIIA was and that the statute was left to be vague in the event the level needed to be adjusted over time.

    EJ Reply:

    Metrolink is a basket case. Why on Earth would you want them running the Surfliner? And there already is an extension of the Surfliner to the Bay Area. It’s called the Coast Starlight and it takes 12 hours. There’s not more than a 1 train a day market for that.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You can rest easy: OCTA was selected managing agency for the Surfliner. The agency will probably use it to pull out of Metrolink altogether and help subsidizeOrange County’s overall transit funding.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I don’t care what agency takes them over. I just think it is more rider friendly for all rail service in southern California to be under one agency. Also the Starlight is often very late. Terminating it in San Jose would reduce delay impacts through the rest of the line to the north, as well as have it leave the bay area at a more reasonable time and not arrive in Seattle so late.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Also, it is inneficicient to carry the sleeper cars of the Starlight South of the bay during the day.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A lot of sleeper passengers ride all the way from LA and other southern stations. It could leave earlier with more double track to meet southbound trains.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Once CAHSR opens, every sleeper passenger going to LA will transfer at San Jose (Phase 1) or Sacramento (phase 2). It would be so much faster.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How are they going to bring their steamer trunks along?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    By taking it on HSR

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It won’t fit in the overhead

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Checked baggage then. That is a pretty minor concern.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It screws up your dwell time and needs more staff.

    Michael Reply:

    No high speed train I’ve ever been on has checked baggage. KTX, Eurostar, Thalys, DB. You carry it on. Here’s how Eurostar deals with non-carry on.

    http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/travel-planning/luggage/luggage-services

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think Car(e) Free LA has the right idea… in the post IOS world…the Starlight would get most of its use from passengers wanting a European style night train between either SF and LA or from Sacramento to Portland (which is probably never going to high speed service).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Checked baggage on HSR kinda defeats the purpose of the whole high speed part. If you have to spend half an hour in every station to load the baggage car, a lot of the speed advantage disappears. That’s of course no excuse for undersized luggage racks, but I have never had major problems with my stuff on trains (even German bilevel ones, which have tiny racks) and I usually have quite a big backpack…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Fine, no checked baggage then, but I know I would rather travel lighter and save hours, rather than continue on down the coast to LA for 10 hours.

  15. Bahnfreund
    Apr 28th, 2016 at 15:46
    #15
  16. Jerry
    Apr 28th, 2016 at 17:54
    #16

    A new poll was released by the Bay Area Council which shows that:
    84 percent of the nine county residents say they support stronger transportation networks between the Bay Area, Sacramento and other areas in the Central Valley to take pressure off regional housing supply.
    More information at:
    http://www.bayareacouncil.org/2016-bay-area-council-poll/

    .

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