Anti-HSR Bond Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot

Jun 30th, 2016 | Posted by

Well, this is unfortunate:

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s favorite projects — building a high-speed rail system and a pair of massive tunnels under the Delta — face a serious threat if California voters pass a measure heading for the November ballot.

The “No Blank Checks Initiative,” bankrolled with $4.5 million from Stockton farmer and businessman Dean Cortopassi, would require a public vote on any state project in which $2 billion or more in revenue bonds would be issued. And since both the bullet train and twin-tunnels projects would most likely require that kind of financing, voters could ultimately get a chance to decide their fate.

The reasons Cortopassi gives for this are patently absurd:

“I am concerned about my grandkids’ generation,” Cortopassi said. “There’s too much debt in our state. I’m 79 and my wife is going to turn 80. This isn’t about us. It’s about the red ink, the pension liabilities and the fact that the state doesn’t pay its bills.”

The problem that young people face isn’t debt, it’s that old people like him have benefited from a generous public sector that they now seek to destroy. Old people like him have taken away the free college and affordable housing they enjoyed. Now they want to deny young people opportunities and infrastructure that can help them build a better, cleaner, more sustainable future.

Cortopassi says he’s worried about debt. What he’s actually going to leave is drought, rising sea levels, pollution, and joblessness.

Let’s hope this proposition goes down in flames this fall.

  1. JimInPollockPines
    Jun 30th, 2016 at 21:14
    #1

    Ive had it up to here with “conservatives” blocking progress. These miserable people are hell bent on making sure that no one else ever gets what they had.

    joe Reply:

    “Voters shouldn’t lock into law any proposition leaving this much uncertainty, especially since it would require two-thirds approval to change or overturn it, even though it can pass initially with a simple majority.

    Eric Reply:

    The 2/3 requirement is indeed a problem. Without it the last LA transit referendum would have passed. That’s likely more important to CA’s future than is CAHSR.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What kind of ridiculous rule is that?

    Reminds me of the Bullshit rule that a team can win in overtime of UEFA matches by scoring the same amount of goals as the opponent if only they happen to play on the road…

    Aarond Reply:

    “conservatives” take the heat but we both know that “liberals” and other “normal” people vote for these things as well. That’s why they pass. It’s more a battle between home/property owners and renters.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    That doesn’t make sense. Only renters support investment? I own and I support hsr.

  2. Drunk Engineer
    Jun 30th, 2016 at 21:30
    #2

    CHSRA is not planning on issuing revenue bonds. However, the measure could affect water projects. Ironic that a farmer would propose such a measure.

    Zorro Reply:

    Plus Revenue Bonds are not paid for by Tax Payers, just by those who use water or something like that, If HSR were to use these Bonds, then only the paying Customers would pay for this, I’m voting NO on this in November.

    Pensions have nothing to do with Revenue Bonds, this is an Attack on HSR and on Water Procurement, Pensions are a matter of Contract Law, States can not go bankrupt.

    Roland Reply:

    Right: Revenue Bonds are not paid for by Tax Payers, just by those who use gas or something like that.

    Zorro Reply:

    Um that is not supported by the Wiki, so your assumption is False

    A revenue bond is a special type of municipal bond distinguished by its guarantee of repayment solely from revenues generated by a specified revenue-generating entity associated with the purpose of the bonds, rather than from a tax. Unlike general obligation bonds, only the revenues specified in the legal contract between the bond holder and bond issuer are required to be used for repayment of the principal and interest of the bonds; other revenues (notably tax revenues) and the general credit of the issuing agency are not so encumbered.

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

    Aarond Reply:

    He’s ready to cash out and sell to a developer.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Like Jerry.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Whatever

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe Jerry was also involved in the ancient BART conspiracy ™ ?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    CAHSR has already stated they are going to turn Cap and trade into revenue bonds.

    Zorro Reply:

    Got a link to that??

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    [citation needed]

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gB1tE3Avw

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Page 74 of business plan

    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/2016_BusinessPlan.pdf

    We will use the $500 million of annual Cap and Trade proceeds received after 2024 to repay financing. The financing proceeds will be used to fund the remaining construction costs for the Silicon Valley to Central Valley line. There are a number of financing tools available including federal programs, revenue bonds and other sources. Depending on the mix of financing sources actually used, we estimate the amount of potential proceeds to be $5.1 to $5.3 billion to be repaid through 2050. We are using the midpoint of this range ($5.2 billion) for planning purposes (this does not include any Cap and Trade proceeds above $500 million per year).

    You don’t have to make your apology all elaborate and embarrassing, you can just say “well done, point to you”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What’s that…crickets….

    I prefer drop the mic

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You demand an apology for you taking three days to pony up the link?

    That’s a bit rich, innit?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    3 days? Look at the time stamp. It was 1 day. You took 2 days to respond just now.

    You just skipped over the fact I was 100% right. And I am not “demanding ” anything. I was raised to apologize when I was wrong. I thought you might have had the same upbringing.

    You were the one that raised the stakes with the sarcastic cricket YouTube video. Now that you got served you don’t seem to want to admit you were wrong. They are using revenue bonds. Simple as that.

  3. Jerry
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 01:10
    #3

    Does that mean all state projects hereafter will have to be divided up into smaller $1.5 billion dollar projects??

    Jerry Reply:

    Dem state projects would then be connected like Dem Dry Bones.
    As in the toe bone connected to the foot bone: Foot bone connected to the heel bone: Heel bone connected to the ankle bone: and so on……

    Zorro Reply:

    This initiative has provisions against that, this was crafted by a Republican Lawyer, paid for by a Corporate Farmer…

  4. Trentbridge
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 06:33
    #4

    There are seventeen initiatives qualified for the November ballot – including abolition of the death penalty, and legal use of marijuana – and a measure extending the income tax on CA high earners for twelve years to pay for education – plus you have Mr Trump heading the GOP ticket. Good luck getting attention for this issue and enough conservative voters to offset the Democratic tsunami in California.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And there is the LA county measure r2 sales tax increase (25% of CA population) the sandag measure, vta measure, and bart maintenancebond (also some of CAs largest counties)

    Aarond Reply:

    Don’t need conservatives to pass it. Most people will vote “yes” on anything if it sounds good enough. It just so happens that the average Hilary supporter (silent majority types) is also the type of person that would vote for fiscal restraint bills to keep their taxes as low as possible. Most of the “liberals” in California are DINOs that don’t like the social conservatism turn the GOP took in the 90s.

    Dumber things have gotten on the ballot and passed. Don’t write anything off.

    Joe Reply:

    Don’t write it off.
    Fortunately it’s got a liane title.

    The chamber of commerce and construction unions jointly oppose this initiative. We need an imitative to make initiatives more difficult.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We need to make it easier to place initiatives on the ballot so the electorate can have something substantive to consider. Voting for personalities is a joke, like a high school popularity contest.

    Is No Blank Check gonna shank Jerry and the Patronage Machine? Hell no – they just have to spend a little more on the propaganda and indoctrination campaigns. Good for the economy.

    Consider California with 200 million hapless souls in 50 years. And the rest of the world similar. Most likely a society of extreme distortions – a ruthless police state but still with rampant crime. Clockwork Orange – the worst of all possible worlds. Scampia.

    Wells Reply:

    Synon, why shouldn’t you concentrate more on things ‘to do’ instead of things ‘not to do’?
    You have enough imagination to foresee what we ‘should do’ no matter the supposed cost that those with less imagination can’t see should happen. The world is one way or another leaving an era of destructively excessive fossil fuel exploitation that cannot continue supporting an impossibly wasteful lifestyle of preposterously opulent travel and insensibly long-distance transport of basic household goods and commodities. What will your imagined best of all worlds future look like?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Streetcars on Katella.

    Wells Reply:

    No, that’s not wut I’m talkin about…
    Read or re-read “After the Deluge” by Bay area author,
    Carlson or something. “After the Deluge” future imaginationings….

    Ted K. Reply:

    Links :

    http://www.nowtopians.com

    http://www.chriscarlsson.com

    Ted K. Reply:

    Re : Katella

    The controversial Anaheim streetcar project is all but dead after the board of the Orange County Transportation Authority voted unanimously Monday to pull support for the 3.2 mile, $300 million transit project and explore other alternatives for the Harbor Boulevard corridor.

    and

    Although the agency has stopped planning for the project, a streetcar is not necessarily off the table. Monday’s vote means the Transportation Authority will go back to the drawing board with a study of Harbor Boulevard and consider all the possible transportation options, which, if viable, could include a streetcar.

    The study will be complete in January 2017, according to Transportation Authority staff.

    From : http://voiceofoc.org/2016/06/octa-votes-unanimously-to-end-anaheim-streetcar-project/

    Roland Reply:

    Is that the sweet smell of BRT wafting in or time for a new pair of nostrils?

    Joe Reply:

    No, someone farted.

    The street car project was supposed to anchor and, because it’s rail, be a commitment to a transit route fore coursing property development.

    BRT doesn’t achieve that goal.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Imagine if there was an article in the US constitution that allowed for leaving the Union like Art. 50 Lisbon treaty does for the EU…

    And imagine you could do that via ballot measure…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Are you actually stupid enough to believe that?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, and don’t forget trolley buses on Geary.

    Wells Reply:

    You ain’t never heard none better trolleybus
    arguing and argutational argumenatations that that son.
    Let me and us do them there trolleybus line stringing for all it’s worth.

    Wells Reply:

    Editted:
    You ain’t never heard none better trolleybus
    arguing and argutational argumentations that that, son.
    Let them, us, and others do that there trolleybus line stringing 4 all it’s worth.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Aarond

    The GOP has always been socially prohibitive; remember Prohibition and McCarthyism.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yeah, I mean a party founded on ending slavery, that is totally socially prohibitive.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Replaced by wage slavery, much beloved by the “mainstream” GOP.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Without “wage slavery” which financial system do you propose? I never pegged you as a communist. You can slave away in that system for no wage. There are a limited number of choices

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Ordoliberalism

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What does that even mean?

    Joe Reply:

    The alternative is “communism” because you can’t defend the current system proposed by one failing political all party.

    Rail and high speed rail represent “collective” thinking if I understood Amtrak patron George Will’s criticism.

    Public good isn’t communism.

    “promote the general Welfare ” isn’t communistic.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ John

    Yeah, I tend toward Stalinism when it comes to coping with the rich.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or to do a sloppy quote from a song by Leo Ferre:

    On coupe une tete par ci par la
    Vingt ans apres, tiens vous voila!
    Les rupins sont comme le chienlit
    Plus qu’on l’arrache
    Plus que ca produit

    Sorry about the accents – my keyboard goes crazy just with standard QUERTY

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I support taxing the rich at higher rates, but rich people aren’t bad people–they’re just people with more money to spare so they should have to pull their weight more. Most Americans don’t dislike the rich–they want to be the rich, and that is okay so long as they play by the same rules as everyone else.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If you think Marx said the problem is with bad people, you have not understood Marx. Capitalism does not give a crap about people. Change the current owners of the means of production for new owners and the system look exactly the same. Just like Feudalism looks the same no matter who the lords are and who the vassals are (the odd Ramsey Bolton notwithstanding). The problem really is in the system. That said, the socially authoritarian, economically populist (as such not all that different from what the High Sparrow does) system of the USSR sure as hell is no alternative, but it is not Marxist in any significant way, either…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Perhaps every worker gets some stock in their company.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Read Veblen’s _Theory of the Leisure Class_ if you want to understand what the problem is with the rich.

    Basically, under capitalism, (a) bad people rise to the top, and (b) social pressure is used to force good people to behave badly. He goes into detail, though.

    So a decent rich person is constantly fighting his (or her) own class.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Please, pick a system. I said communes because they are specifically against “wage salvery”. But if you prefer a different system go for it. There are just a few choices.

    Democracy
    Socialist/communist
    Monarch
    Anarchy

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Don’t forget fascism.

    Roland Reply:

    or aristocracy, oligarchy and theocracy.

    Jerry Reply:

    or Corporatism.

    Roland Reply:

    Fascinating: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism#Russian_corporatism

    Nathanael Reply:

    John, you know as well as anyone else that the Republican Party stopped being the Party of Lincoln sometime before William McKinley was elected.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The state was “the GOP has ALWAYS been socially prohibitive”. Now we can argue all day about what the GOP is now, but it is demonstrating false they have ALWAYS been social prohibitive. That is just flat untrue

    Danny Reply:

    Trump is a pro-infrastructure George Steinbrenner type (i.e., a horrifying dolt)–but as an isolationist populist he’s even yapped about rail
    meanwhile neoliberals (Newsom, Sanchez, sorta Harris) are basically about selling off the country’s assets, taking a nice whiz on blue-collar enterprises in favor of smart jobs (IT, PR, Wall Street, Hollywood), and lots of champagne galas
    the spirit of Brexit is strong in both parties!

    synonymouse Reply:

    The underlying mindset of “Brexit” is anticolonial.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    [citation needed]

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Brexit harms white collar, internationalist work most. Banks, business, etc.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Asking who is hurt most by Brexit is like asking whether I would profit from my neighborhood burning down if my house is a bit less of a charred ruin than the others…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No I know. I mean to be that way. I’m just saying that London has a LOT of professional jobs based on the EU market.

  5. keith saggers
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 07:13
    #5

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/bring-streetcars-fort-mason/

    Andy M Reply:

    I hope this finally moves ahead. It would be valuable asset.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The project study has some very interesting details about the interface of the Embarcadero line trackage and the Hyde St. cable. Complex.

    As the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line, with double ended cars, it had stubbed out south of the intersection.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Links :
    Natl. Park Svc. project page –
    https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/management/extension-of-f-line-streetcar-service-to-fort-mason-center.htm

    Marina Comm. Assoc. timeline page – http://mca-sf.org/historic-streetcar-extension/

    Historic Streetcar org. blog, 18 Mar. 2011 –
    http://www.streetcar.org/fort_mason_streetcar_a_step_closer/

    Mkt. St. Rwy. (aka streetcar.org) archived post from 28 April 2010 –
    http://sfmsr.wpengine.com/streetcar_extension_questions_answered/

  6. BMFarley of San Diego
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 07:35
    #6

    No for legalizing marijuana! I don’t like cigarette smoke. What makes people thinking marijuana is any better? Health benefits?

    As for HSR… Looking forward to it!

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Nicotine is poison while marijuana actually has health benefits- plus the smoke smells better and you can’t smoke out in public anyway

    Andy M Reply:

    Maybe you cannot officially smoke it in public but people still do. Marijuana smokers are no more respectful of others than cigaratte smokers. And the stuff they smoke smells far worse than tobacco. To me it smells of overripe rhubarb. It seems to me that after decades of struggling to push back tobacco, we have let a replacement in by the back door.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Legalize it all, but only in private locations.

    Prohibition does not work. We proved this in the 1920s. Prohibition just makes the drugs more popular.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    In an ideal world, both would be illegal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Aren’t we prudes?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I sort of am. Is that bad?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does it hurt you if someone poisons themselves in the privacy of their own home?

    Drug cartels kill way more people than pure drugs ever could.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I know. That’s why I tentatively support legalization, but in an ideal world, drugs would bust be banned and everyone would stop using them because they are awful, just not as awful as cartels.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m a complete teetotaler and I disapprove of recreational drug use, but it’s obvious that banning marijuana has just made it more popular and less safe while causing drug cartels to become rich. The same way banning alcohol in the 1920s made it more popular and less safe while causing ‘bootlegger’ cartels to become rich.

    Legalize all drugs. Tax them heavily, and use the funds to promote programs to help people stop abusing them. It’s counterintuitive but it works. Prohibition doesn’t work.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Legagilizing alcohol did not curb its use, it went up. You make anything cheaper and easier to get and you get more use of it. Econ 101.

    The facility here is that drug use needs to be 0% for the policy to be “working”. We don’t hold that standard on other crime. Homocide is not 0% but no one says we should legalize it, Or robbery or rape. Illegal drug use will always be happening. The purpose of the law is to make it hard, expensive, and not worth the effort.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t work.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Alcohol prohibition also created our nation’s worst organized crime, including many murders. With marijuana, it puts otherwise law abiding people in touch with an underground distribution network that does not check IDs or validate product quality but does offer access to many stronger and less healthy substances. If pot is at the corner store, it’s much more difficult to obtain harder drugs or for kids to get pot.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually yes. They inevitably don’t contribute to society (job, taxes, etc) and use up society resources (hospital, police, welfare).

    And as a side note, those lives lost to “pure drugs” are also caused by drug cartels so they get credit for both

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If addicts weren’t able to hold jobs there wouldn’t be a drug testing industry.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually that is exactly why there is drug testing at hiring. Because addict don’t make good employees. Thanks for making my point

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People get drug tested after they are hired.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually, lots of addicts make great employees. But feel free to keep spreading stereotypes.

    There’s a reason coffee makers are located at many workplaces: to supply caffeine addicts.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Please, give me one cite from a study that says active illegal drug users make good employees. Because that is what people get tested for, illegal drugs, not caffeine. Until then, I will continue to,spread the stereotypes.

    Joe Reply:

    Does beer drinking make you a good employee?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If it was so obvious there wouldn’t be a need for them to pee in a cup.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you are admitting that illegal drug addicts “make great employees” because I am still waiting for that cite?

    Joe Reply:

    Illegal drug addicts.

    By definition an addict would likely not be a good employee.

    Addiction is a brain disease that is characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.

    Illegal drug user. Testing for pot use flags use that occured over a long time period and not impairment. What’s the point ?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    @John N
    If there was any perceptible performance issue from recreational pot smokers there would be no need for drug testing. Testing is a solution in search of a problem

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t say they make great employees. Neither any one else. It’s difficult to tell them apart from non-drug using employees. Which is why everybody has to pee in a cup.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Outlaw tobacco!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’d sort of like to. I don’t support marijuana legalization in that I despise marijuana growers and smokers and dealers, but I don’t believe it is okay for the USA to pass laws that screw over other nations (Mexico), causing murder and corruption, and I fear that outlawing tobacco would have a similar effect.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Marijuana doesn’t have health benefits.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Errrr….

    Yes it does. Maybe not if you smoke the whole plant, but there are compounds in hemp that are proven to have health benefits in double blind medical trials with a control group. One of those compounds is THC aka the thing that makes you high.

    That is not to say hemp is a panacea or that there is even a single disease it is the best or even only remedy for, but the plant and substances contained in it clearly does have health benefits.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Smoking is bad for you. Some extracts from marijuana are good when consumed in tablet form, but breathing smoke isn’t healthy.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually, when used for severe nausea caused by cancer… the patient usually can’t keep pills down, so the THC has to be delivered in the form of inhaled vapor. Either raw smoke or purified vapor.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The LD 50 (in layman’s terms: Amount at which 50% die) of Nicotine is lower than it is for cyanide – you need to take less Nicotine to die than Cyanide…

    Aarond Reply:

    At this point the state can’t even afford keeping it illegal due to the prison costs. And, like guns (and gambling, and prostitution) there is a huge amount of sales taxes that could be picked up from it. It’s all inevitable, most people don’t want to drive out of state to buy things and the state is able to take 8% (if not more) off each sale.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Prohibition failed. Mass incarceration and organized crime has failed. Taxes could be invested and law enforcement redirected to violent crime

    synonymouse Reply:

    A patronage machine is legit organized crime.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Mass incarceration has succeeded. Crime is at 40 year lows

    J. Wong Reply:

    The crime rate was already headed down before mass incarceration started happening. I don’t believe that there has been any studies that have shown that mass incarceration is the reason behind the lower crime rates.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf

    Estimated to count for 1/3 of decrease

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    this guy said it was the only reason

    John Nachtigall Reply:
    July 1st, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Mass incarceration has succeeded.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How do you get”only reason” from that statement. I said it succeeded, it did. We like that 33%. We tried more than 1 thing to reduce crime and a lot of them worked. I never said mass incarceration was the only thing that worked.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You didn’t say “partly” or “influenced” or “helped” or ….
    You picked the thing that gives you the jollies.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I said it succeeded. It did succeed. Mot reduced crime by 1/3 of the subsequent drop. How is that not a success?

    Joe Reply:

    The article you cite says mass incarceration isn’t cost effective, adding more police is more effective, and mass incarceration has social implications he didn’t measure. He clearly does think it’s successful.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Europe has way lower crime than the US. And way lower incarceration rates and maximum penalties. I am not even talking about the death penalty. Even “life” rarely means more than 24 years in Germany… Yet amazingly people don’t shoot each other dead in the streets every other day…

    Why?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Europe has a lower homocide rate, the rate of violent crime is the same or higher depending on who you believe since the statistics don’t match Apple to Apple.

    Eric Reply:

    The demographics are different. Ethnic Germans have similar crime rates in the US and Germany.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Are you implicitly saying crime is genetic or am I reading something into what you said?

    Remember that the single biggest crime in the history of humanity was planned and executed by Germans and people acting on their behalf. Sorry for the Godwin, but this is perhaps the best argument against Germans being “less genetically inclined” towards crime…

    Mr. Nachtigall I’d like to see those statistics. One of the reasons why people like to analyze and compare the homicide rate is the fact that homicides tend to have similar reporting rates throughout the world, whereas certain crimes tend to not get reported in certain areas…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am using this link specifically because his bias is towards Europe

    http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/01/12/fact-checking-ben-swann-is-the-uk-really-5-times-more-violent-than-the-us/

    Due to fundamental differences in how crime is recorded and categorized, it’s impossible to compute exactly what the British violent crime rate would be if it were calculated the way the FBI does it, but if we must compare the two, my best estimate‡ would be something like 776 violent crimes per 100,000 people. While this is still substantially higher than the rate in the United States, it’s nowhere near the 2,034 cited by Swann and the Mail.

    The truth is there are no apples to apples comparisons because everyone collects the numbers differently. Probably the safest best estimate is roughly equal. Since you said “way lower” that is easily proven wrong. In no way are the numbers “way lower” except for homocide

    Nathanael Reply:

    Mass incarceration failed completely.

    If you want to know why crime declined, read Rick Nevin.

    http://www.ricknevin.com/

    Yes, there was a period when the UK had much more violent crime than the US — guess what, it was when the US had gotten rid of lead in gasoline and the UK hadn’t.

    Joshua Cranmer Reply:

    Ah, the lead theory of gasoline. It looks reasonable if you point to a graph of correlation in the US, but if you look at other countries, the correlation breaks down a lot more quickly. The putative causative effect in the theory (leaded gasoline exposure in children causes them to grow up to become criminals) sounds plausible given what we know about lead, but it implies that the rise and fall should be very strongly localized to age groups–and both the rise and fall in violent crime is pretty much equal among every subgroup of criminals, including age.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Old people don’t commit many crimes. They aren’t able to.

    Joe Reply:

    Read it!

    The Article doesn’t support mass interation.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I did specifically the top of page 179 that said 1/3 of the reduction was due to incarceration. I also read the part that talks about the diminishing returns, which is true, you can’t eliminate crime altogether, that was never the goal.

    The article totally supports that it reduced crime, it worked great.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The article is a pile of bullshit. You don’t know how to evaluate articles in the social sciences. I do. This one is junk.

    This one is particular junk because it’s written by a fool working outside his field. Levitt is an economist and knows ZERO about methodology for the actual social sciences. I don’t have time to go through his incompetencies, but suffice it to say the article is completely and utterly worthless.

    You want a solid result, look at lead poisoning. Strongest result I’ve ever seen in any of the social sciences. Rick Nevin has *some* links; there are others.
    http://www.ricknevin.com/

    Joe Reply:

    Did not say their are diminishing returns. “Mass incarceration” isn’t incarceration. Mass incarceration is not cost effective.

    You’re trolling and race baiting.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It is not cost effective
    It reduced crime

    Both are true, they are not mutually exclusive. The point of the policy was to reduce crime, it did that

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The point of the policy was (and is) to make money for private prisons and to screw over black folks. It dd that spectacularly.

    If the point had been to reduce crime, there are way more effective ways to do that. One of them is a “treatment not punishment” approach to drugs. Look at Portugal or the Netherlands.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I think it’s because we brought prayer back into the schools. Oh wait, we didn’t.
    How about the universal adoption of color television? Those monochrome TVs were making people go out and commit crimes.
    Or the leaded gasoline.

    Joe Reply:

    White guy trolls.

    Doesn’t bother to read the evidence he cites.

    Annual expenditures on incarceration total roughly $50 billion annually. Combining this spending gure with the cost of crime to victims and elasticities noted above, expenditures on prisons appear to have bene ts that outweigh the direct costs of housing prisoners, subject to three important caveats. First, a dollar spent on prisons yields an estimated crime reduction that is 20 percent less than a dollar spent on police, suggesting that on the margin, substitution toward increased police might be the ef cient policy. Second, it seems quite plausible that substantial indirect costs are associated with the current scale of imprisonment, such as the adverse societal implications of imprisoning such a large fraction of young African American males. Finally, given the wide divergence in the frequency and severity of offending across criminals, sharply declining marginal bene ts of incarceration are a possibility. In other words, the two-millionth criminal imprisoned is likely to impose a much smaller crime burden on society than the rst prisoner. Although the elasticity of crime with respect to imprisonment builds in some declining marginal returns, the actual drop off may be much greater. We do not have good evidence on this point. These caveats suggest that further increases in imprison- ment may be less attractive than the na ̈ve cost bene t analysis would suggest.

    StevieB Reply:

    The article concludes that incarceration is one of four factors the author finds led to a decrease in crime during the 1990s. In the subsequent 16 years there have been many problems with mass incarceration which lead to the conclusion that it is not the most effective method of crime prevention. Treatment of drug addicts rather than incarceration may have a greater public benefit regardless of the high rate of recidivism.

    Joe Reply:

    Right. Also he concludes incarceration is not cost effective and his analyis excluded social factors in cost benefit.

    Cities in Missouri relied on incarceration, fees and bail to fund government. Not the kind of world I want..

    Nathanael Reply:

    As an economist, Levitt may be capable of demonstrating that mass incarceration is not cost effective.

    He is *not* capable of demonstrating that it reduced crime; that’s outside his field of expertise, and his claims would have been thrown out of any serious sociology journal for failure to examine confounding factors. But it wasn’t *published* in a sociology journal!

    Joe Reply:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57100da1e4b06f35cb6f14e8
    Mississippi Jails Are Losing Inmates, And Local Officials Are ‘Devastated’ By The Loss Of Revenue
    “If they do not send us our inmates back, we can’t make it,” said one county supervisor.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What you wrote may be true. No one has really proven treatment actually reduces crime. Mass incarceration is a sledgehammer it is not elegant, it is not cheap, and it has laws of diminishing returns, but it worked. Crime was reduced.

    If they want to try a different policy now then go for it, but millions,of people were saved from the effects of crime because of that policy. It Ordoliberalismorked

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No idea what happened there. It should have just ended

    It worked

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Correlation is not causation. No one has proved that incarceration reduces crime either.
    How come murder rates are lower in states without the death penalty?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. The study above proves just that.

    2. Because the death penalty does not reduce crime. Most studies show that.

    Joe Reply:

    Here the quote – again ! Can’t you bother to read !?

    First, a dollar spent on prisons yields an estimated crime reduction that is 20 percent less than a dollar spent on police, suggesting that on the margin, substitution toward increased police might be the ef cient policy. Second, it seems quite plausible that substantial indirect costs are associated with the current scale of imprisonment, such as the adverse societal implications of imprisoning such a large fraction of young African American males.

    No diminishing returns.

    Prison is not cost effective.

    Impact on young African Americans…..you don’t care.

    You insist mass incarceration is a success.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    All true.

    More police is more cost effective
    Impact on families especially minorities is not good
    Diminishing returns.

    All true, and it was a success because as the study states, it is responsible for a 30% reduction. That was the point, reduce crime

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In general my view of human psychology tells me that putting humans in a situation where their best case scenario is basically “death” is not a smart move. Desperate people tend to take desperate means.

    If you are on the run from the law and are cornered do you really want to be in a situation that the answer to the sentence “Don’t make it worse” is “How could it possibly be worse?” and this actually makes sense?

    Criminals are not deterred by harsh sentences. They are deterred by efficient police and a justice system that gets the big fish as well as the small.

    And deterrence is if anything one stone in the mosaic. Prevention is way more effective.

    But sadly, more and more western societies seem to just have given up on certain subsets of the population.

    BMFarley of San Diego Reply:

    I support capital punishment and the death penalty. The DP would reduce incarceration costs by putting to sleep criminals – the ones that have proven to not abide by major crimes. There is the solution for that problem, should it in fact be real.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The DP costs more than incarceration, and has no benefits for society, while being very immortal towards inmates

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    If they were immortal the death penalty wouldn’t be very effective

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I hate spell check

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Immortal until proven mortal

    EJ Reply:

    “putting to sleep criminals”???

    Wow, you’re creepy.

  7. Neil Shea
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 08:09
    #7

    O/T: This eBART looks nice. And at just $50m per mile, AaronD et al. you can envision these going wherever you like – over the Dumbarton, under the Bay, along Stevens Creek, along Geary, etc.

    Compare BART technology at $150-200m/mile, plus unfixable control systems and unaffordable rolling stock. BART mentions cost-saving factors of standard gauge, no electrical rail, but prob they have exceptions to that old rule of No Grade Seps.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_30077070/local-pols-get-sneak-peek-at-ebart-train

    Aarond Reply:

    My only beef with eBART is that it exists because BART couldn’t pay for a full Antioch extension. In lieu of that though, this now gives everyone two options for 680 rail (and a realistic means of doing a RWC-Concord route, as crazy as that sounds).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Indian Broad Gauge to Fresno!

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Aaron – you are rational on many other topics. But when you pay $200m/mile for routes that should cost $50m/mile, them taxpayers get fleas and many other routes don’t get built.

    Meanwhile of course BART technology is rotten in the core. It’s GM admits they don’t know the cause of the signaling and electrical problems. They can’t support proper headways, or speeds >70mph or express routes or operation if ANY at-grade crossings remain. They’re noisy as hell. The BART agency wants help to wean off their addiction. If they can get operational costs anywhere rational, let them build this along 680.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Fleeced or fleas :)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Big fleas have little fleas, on their backs to bite ‘um,
    Little fleas have smaller fleas, and so ad infinitum.
    That’s how we all get fleeced in the end.

    Aarond Reply:

    I agree completely, by 680 rail I meant with standard gauge. eBART makes that option more possible, because it’s BART admitting that their older tech (at least right now) is too cost prohibitive/problematic for any more expansion.

    Using your $50m/mile guide, it’d only cost about ~$2 billion for the 35 miles between Pleasanton ACE and Bay Point BART. Compare this to the 25 mile BART Silicon Valley extension at $7 billion.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Yes I think 680 rail was always going to be eBART, but I expect the current eBART line will route through Martinez to Richmond , under the bay to TBT, and interline with Caltrain.

    Aarond Reply:

    That role is already provided by the existing BART system, a new standard gauge Transbay tube would also have all it’s capacity taken up by ring-the-bay Caltrain and HSR. eBART is more for the “back end” of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, places that don’t have a lot of money but a lot of need for transit. Same for the North Bay with SMART.

    BART’s biggest problem is that they are splitting the Bay Area into three different networks (Caltrain/VTA/ACE, SMART/GGT and Muni/BART/ACT) which is what they were designed to not do. eBART is (hopefully) an admission that BART will have to look beyond their indian gauge system.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    There isn’t any reason for Caltrain to ring the bay. Nobody wants to travel around the bay in circles.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s more of an operations thing: ring-the-bay means no switching needed at terminals which means lower headways. Also, ring-the-bay would also have the bonus of hitting up all three big Bay Area cities in a wheel. Which means going from one to the other wouldn’t require a transfer or going through another city. Ring-the-bay Caltrain also means Capital Corridor trains can terminate in Oakland. It’s a much more efficient operation altogether.

    It’s the holy grail of Bay Area transportation, which is why SF is inching towards it with the new TTC and why BART built down to Milbrae and is building up to Santa Clara.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I still think two longer lines intersecting in hercules, Richmond, and San Jose would be better: Stockton-Antioch-Hercules–Oakland-San Francisco-San Jose, and Sacramento-Benicia-Hercules-Oakland-Union City-San Jose. More direct routes, less transfers on most trips, and results in fewer total lines.

    Roland Reply:

    How about turning CC around @ Bayshore? Would that not be a much more efficient operation altogether?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why not CC to Salinas?

    Roland Reply:

    No spare capacity in the Peninsula. The East Bay is OK for CC now and will support more capacity after double-tracking. Everything will be clear once you see the cross-platform transfers @ the new Bayshore station.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I mean CC should go down eastbay to Salinas, not along peninsula to bayshore.

    Roland Reply:

    “Compare this to the 25 mile BART Silicon Valley extension at $7 billion”.
    Quote, please. The last time I checked, the last 16 miles clocked in at over $8B:
    http://vtaorgcontent.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/Site_Content/svrtpwc_050216_agenda_packet.pdf (page 39)

    Roland Reply:

    BART “technology” between Warm Springs and Berryessa is $350/mile and will rise to $750/mile between Berryessa and Santa Clara. This was the primary rationale behind the Sprinter concept: adding 6 stations (total 8 between Blossom Hill and Alviso) for $1B less than Diridon to Santa Clara: http://vta-sprinter.org/santa-clara-ebart/

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Sprinter is a great concept. BART costs are insane even without tunneling, it can no longer be justified on cost terms alone. But it’s also very unfortunate that our largest system that goes to many key locations has such deep-seated and largely unresolvable technology issues.

    While it’s preferable to leverage consistent technology, because of the mistakes made 50 years ago in planning BART, and the continuing problems, it is inevitable that we migrate to standard gauge and standard technology. Since we need to add capacity in so many locations this will ease the tech migration to some extent. Just like in software, when old technology reaches the ‘end of the road’ we have to intelligently adjust as we move forward.

    To Aarond’s earlier comment, $50m per mile for eBART comes from the $500m total cost for 10 miles. For that cost range (plus land acquisition, tunneling, bridges, etc) we could execute on a dense network of interoperable routes. Ideally most routes could be electrified to a common standard (the HSR/Caltrain standard).

    Aside from the special child of BART, most of the rest of the network could interoperate as needed, eg SMART via Richmond Bridge to I-880 mainline. Then trains and services can go wherever passenger demand takes them.

    Joe Reply:

    BART to SanJose is the last gasp.

    IMHO electrified Caltrain and HSR establish the statewide standard for commuter and intercity rail. Platform height standard for interoperability and level boarding.

    Any future bay crossing will be to the HSR / Caltrain standard.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Agree. It’s a risk even with that teetering tech. Here’s hoping that BART can keep their shit together for their existing routes.

    Joe Reply:

    Keeping their shit together with maintenance. That will require more money.

    Facebook will report on Dumbarton bridge and make a recommendation on what to do with the old rail bridge. Any thoughts ?

    synonymouse Reply:

    That would be wunderbar. Over Hemminger’s dead body.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Why should Santa Clara to the SJ Flea Market (too late for Fremont to the flea) be BART tech at all?

    Wouldn’t this be the time to implement “statewide standard” Caltrain technology in this oh-so-vitally-important “missing link”?

    And just think: the tunnels would be larger, and hence more expensive and more profitable to build! Plus the Flea Market BART station would become a Panglactic Intermodal Multirailular Space Portal Facility. It’s a win-win-win synergy.

    Come on Joe, just say it: “Statewide standard for commuter and intercity rail to the Flea Market.”

    Joe Reply:

    BART should end at Diridon.

    San Jose gains access to the BART system and catchment / ridership. It will bring people into HSR and transfers to electrified Caltrain.

    You’re too angry to admit it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Why should BART 1955-tech go part as far as SJ Cahill Street station?
    Why not run what you proclaim is “statewide standard for commuter and intercity rail” between SJ Flea, SJ Civic, SJ Cahill and Santa Clara?

    Joe Reply:

    Avoid a system transfer from BART to reach San Jose Diridon HSR and Caltrain.

    It’s like your attraction to BART Livermore and have HSR transfers off Altamont HSR Livermore.

    I’d stop BART at San Jose Diridon.

    Roland Reply:

    We advocated for running “blended” (Sprinters & light rail) traffic in the subway tunnels with a Sprinter/BART transfer station @ Berryessa similar to the Pittsburg transfer station (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_ywvCJ-k00I/ViYu9blWFgI/AAAAAAAAIgk/npS89z1K57k/w1200-h630-p-nu/eBART%2Bposter%2B1.gif) but the motion was denied.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    As it should have been. Sprinters are great, but leave certain corridors to BART.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    BART tech should also connect to Livermore, and have a second tube to receive congestion on existing lines, but beyond that–no more broad gauge!!!

    Neil Shea Reply:

    No 2nd tube with BART tech, only std gauge (when we scrape together the $Billions for that).

    No BART past Diridon in the S. Bay.

    In Livermore maybe a short extension to a transfer station for std gauge may be ok if we hold our nose

    Joe Reply:

    Right.

    They estimated, in press, 12B for a tunnel with Bart and HSR. No way that’s ever going to happen.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Syn, Mly, Morris, Nacht — we all stand together against $12B for another BART tube

    Joe Reply:

    Will Facebook champion Dumbarton Bridge rail or will they grab some of the ROW for a bike trail ?

    Roland Reply:

    Watch what happens to DTX. If all the ducks line up, we will end up with a “freebie” Transbay tunnel to Emeryville & Oakland.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    SF is not getting state and federal funds for a $5B bay rail crossing before Southern California gets their HSR Mountain crossing

    Roland Reply:

    “freebie” means from the private sector (no state or federal funds).

    Neil Shea Reply:

    If you really believe in ‘freebies’ we should have you pee into a cup

    Roland Reply:

    The TJPA is proposing to add a $3 passenger charge between Townsend & Transbay (new Caltrain zone) and $8 for HSR between Millbrae and the TTC.

    Paging John N: What would be the potential bond capacity for 200k passengers/day @$5 a pop (+/- $300M/year)?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Maybe $3B based on your generous pax and revenue assumptions.

    That would be largely used up for the tunnel to TTC with little left over for a bay crossing

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you (I guessed north of $2B).
    As you correctly pointed out, this model does not work for DTX but it should be a no-brainer for a new tube between the TTC and the East Bay (as long as we keep the usual suspects out of the way and let the private sector get on with the program).

    Roland Reply:

    If there ever is another BART tube, it will be the third transbay tube (not second).

    Ted K. Reply:

    Here’s another bay crossing that people keep ignoring : Hayward – Foster City. The eastern end could continue on to Livermore and beyond. The western end could continue on to San Mateo, San Mateo CC, and Half Moon Bay.

    Roland Reply:

    A Dumbarton tube will happen a long time before that.

    As far as Foster City is concerned, how about a REAL high-speed line on the PG&E ROW between Alviso & SFO (SFO to SJC in under 20 minutes)?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Rail to Half Moon Bay? Really?

  8. Bill
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 08:26
    #8

    Give Mr Social Security some dynamite so he can blow up the structures that have already been built. It also sucks when states are running in the black, debt-wise.

  9. john burrows
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 08:28
    #9

    One thing young people might do to help solve the problems they face—Vote more often.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I am young and never not voted on a single ballot where I had the chance to do so.

  10. Sierrajeff
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 09:42
    #10

    What’s patently absurd is that we’re not building infrastructure left and right at this time of incredibly low interest rates. We can build something now and pay for it 20 years later for virtually the same cost.

    So he’s 79 and his wife is 80, eh? Between this and the Fox News wingnuts, I’m starting to think that there should be a cutoff age for voting!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Democracy is such a downer. All these “wrong” people keep thinking they can participate and their opinions count. Three ought to be a law….

    Danny Reply:

    like those doddering twats who voted Brexit, and then either Googled “what is Brexit?” or immediately regretted it? who sold their country’s future away for ridiculous and obvious lies?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There are several political systems that dispense with such “doddering old twats”

    Monarchy
    Dictatorship
    Anarchy

    Of course there are a few downsides. Feel free to pick off the list.

    Joe Reply:

    And Republic.

    A Democratically elected Republic is purposefully indented to stop bad democratic outcomes.

    Not only does a Republic put responsibilities into elected officials hands but the initiative process and this initiative to remove Repuclic taxing powers directly undermines our Republic government.

    Maybe you’re not the informed patriot you think. Happy July 4th.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Republic is just a subset of democracy. They elect the people who enact the policies they want.

    Good news, however, you can use the initiative process to get rid of the initiative process. (Irony included). With a simple majority you can change the state constitution to eliminate that process. Plenty of states don’t have it. I am not a fan myself, I would prefer there was not direct initiative process also. We agree on that

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Republic is an inherently meaningless term. In some places it just means “not having a monarch”. This would include Nazi Germany, the USSR and Switzerland, but exclude Sweden, Britain and Canada…

    What you seem to use it as might be more appropriately called a parliamentary constitutional democracy or an indirect democracy…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I just don’t like people who vote on emotion, not logic. (Like brexit voters.

    Aarond Reply:

    There’s plenty of logic in voting against the EU: see the EU’s total failure to fix the trade imbalance between northern and southern europe, and the total failure to handle the migrant crisis.

    It’s mostly a matter of trust at this point, and the EU better hurry up and make solutions before someone else does. Also, the recent Austrian election vote just got overturned and there will now be a re-vote:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36681475

    which is hugely advantageous to the Austrian euroskeptic Norbert Hofer given the successful BRexit vote

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The problem is the EU needs more power. (The power to overrule any federal government below them.)

    Aarond Reply:

    I agree, that’s what makes the US a functional country. The problem is that time is running out for the EU to actually push for it, without it seeming like a desperate power grab (which is exactly what europeans do not want).

    Whether or not the point of no return has been passed is a debate for future historians.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Nobody will give the unelected Eurocrats more power. And they shouldn’t.

    The problem is that the EU never transferred power to the European Parliament. If they had done so, the EU would have had enough legitimacy to *ask* for more power. But they didn’t.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That was a “feature”. They thought they could run a functioning “federal” level government without an executive branch head, the rotate the presidency every 6 months, are you kidding me? Can you imagine the US where state governors take turns each 6 months being president? WTF?

    They also said they could do it without countries giving up their sovereignty. Not possible.

    If they had just left it as a trade zone they would have been ok. When they started to pretend to be the “United States of Europe” without explicitly forming a political union where the cede sovereignty to a common government they were doomed.

    The reason they can’t deal with Greece or migration is because no one is empowered to impose a solution.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, it gets worse. They eventually created a European Parliament, but they didn’t give it any power.. They kept the power in the hands of councils of unelected bureaucrats. This was bound to make them unpopular.

    Or even *worse*, they legislated the rules permanently in the treaties and made them impossible to change. In particular, “hard money” was enshrined in the treaties, which made it *completely impossible* to deal with the 2008 economic crisis.

    This is what actually killed the EU. If they’d been allowed to pursue Keynesian economic policies, they might be fine. But they mandated a policy which was effectively like the gold standard.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If it was a United States of Europe moving from Greece to the Netherlands would be the same as moving from Oklahoma to California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    English – of a sort – is spoken natively in both Oklahoma and California.

    Ted K. Reply:

    There even are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven’t used it for years.

    “Why can’t the English” from My Fair Lady

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You can move from Greece to the Netherlands and work their without needing a permit. And as for language: The US and several European states are actually the odd ones out in only having one language. Most countries in the world have a lot more linguistic diversity or historically had it before nation states fucked that one up…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Besides worldwide English we have several major languages in the world including Spanish, German, Russian and Arabic. So of course people can and use their local language at home and for shopping but for business people always make themselves understood.

    Joe Reply:

    I dare you to avoid Spanish while living in the US.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Ditto for at least one variety of Chinese.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah but there are way too many Americans that (still?) think you can’t be “truly American” if you speak more than one language or speak another language to a (near) native level besides English…

    The same is unfortunately also true in Germany. I don’t speak Turkish but many people say the German of the “Turks” living in Germany (thanks to military service and odd provisions for dual citizenship many of them are actually only German in the eyes of the law) speak German way better than Turkish and are considered “German” in Turkey…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I guess I’m not a real American then, and I’m proud of it.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Ditto on the importance of foreign language studies (in my case German plus dashes of a couple of others). Besides a broader worldview I have found such knowledge usefull when studying History (WWII = Weltskriege Zweite) and catching subtitle glitches at the movies or watching TV.

    Those so-called “true Americans” are ignoring the melting pot nature of our country. Also, “English” is only a convenient label on a mongrel fusion of German (Saxons) and French (Normans) with a pot-pourri of useful bits from dozens of other languages. That’s part of why Spanish is so comfortable to non-Latinos – French is from the same family of languages as Spanish (Romance). Big Julie (Gaius J. C.) would laugh at how his words (“veni, vidi, vici”) keep on being relevant (from Latin to lingua franca [Fr.] to lingua franca [Anglais]).

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_languages

    Zorro Reply:

    The main problem with the EU is immigration, the EU does not directly control the external borders I think, I think the EU member countries do this, so people in the EU have it backwards, here the National Government is responsible for immigration, not the States, that would be a total failure, instead of a lackluster one(Read not a kill’em all on sight like East Germany was ordered to do to those wanting to leave, minefields and all)…

    The EU doesn’t even have an Army, each member state does that, the closest the EU comes to a Military like the US has, is the NATO alliance…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is coordination on those issues at the EU level.

    And external EU borders are supposed to be treated differently from other borders…

    But the devil is in the details…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    It’s not as bad as you make it sound, we have databases of questionable passports, Interpol, Europol, and national immigration officers doing their job. Meanwhile Belgium is keeping a closer eye on certain neighborhoods of locals.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And those,3 million refugees just slipped in a door? Is there even a border station?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    God help us! People fleeing ISIS! I am sure they are just like ISIS!

    That’s the same insane troll logic that led the US to turn down refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the late 1930s because of the BS reason that they were “spies”…

    Yeah, right. Isis (or 1930s ISIS aka the Nazis) wants to kill me, but I wanna spy for them. Seems legit. Not.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I can sympathize with those people, but the unconstrained acceptance of those people has contributed to the destabilization of the EU which has managed to prevent European wars (along with some,other policies) since WWII.

    Now you have the rise of ultra-nationalist parties in Europe and they are effectively using this and fear of globalization to get votes

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36130006

    So you are the one that likes to talk about how hard governing is vs just “trolling”. Look at the map in the link. You willing to admit the refugees if it means the end of the EU? I don’t think that is a good bargain.

    You see Joe, they ran the experiment you wanted. You like to talk about the trillion dollars wasted in Iraq and Afganistan. In Syria no one intervened. He released poison gas and no one intervened. All cities fell to disaster and no one intervened. 3 million refugees and no one intervened.

    Are they terrorists….no
    Are they poor and unfortunate….yes
    Are they worth destabilizing Europe???

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Merkel overreached but the EU will adjust and do just fine

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The problem was that Merkel did not go far enough. She should have kept the borders open and fought the right wing of her party more openly.

    Unfortunately she went back to the usual Merkel style of leading from behind the rear guard…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    She still did better than most other European leaders.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Every bandwagon is fueled by emotion.

    Jerry Reply:

    Cutoff age? Tell that to the old folks on the US Supreme Court.

  11. Danny
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 10:48
    #11

    this is NIMBY-related, I guess: it’s my piece, but they didn’t tell me it had published
    http://dailybruin.com/2016/06/23/submission-as-public-transit-moves-forward-remember-bus-is-no-substitute-for-rail/
    at least people are getting sick of rich NIMBYs who can’t even admit to the downsides of projects and just hate rail

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It’s well written, but I object to the Daily Bruin (go USC). (Just kidding–my dad went to UCLA, and it is a good school.)

    Ted K. Reply:

    A punster, like myself, would spot that cheering for USC is akin to cheering for Planned Parenthood (team vs. brand of male contraceptive).

    P.S. GO BEARS (UCB) ! GO NAVY ! (bumper sticker from the 1970’s)

    Danny Reply:

    now we got both ‘LA and ‘SC on the same line! that’ll be fun!
    it was a response to the Bruin’s greeting the Expo Line by saying that “we spend too much on rail and it’s for richie richies anyway: let’s make all the traffic be like the 720”
    obvious non-rider
    for heaven’s sake I got peroneal nerve damage from the Rapid bus: the first two little toes on my right foot “go out” sometimes

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Except the expo line actually goes to USC, not to UCLA

    Ted K. Reply:

    Per LAMetro’s trip planner the current routing is Expo Line west to Westwood and then a #8 north to UCLA. When the Purple Line is finished then it will be Expo Line east to downtown LA and then west on the Purple Line.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Current phase : https://www.metro.net/projects/westside/

    UCLA will get its connection in the next phase.

    P.S. Sorry about the split comment. My tablet has its quirks. The “#8” above in full is a “SANTA MONICA 8” via Westwood Blvd.

    Danny Reply:

    there’s new bus service between the Westwood station and UCLA; it’s still packed eastbound (still on 2-car trains)

    StevieB Reply:

    Good points about the benefits of rail even with the overuse of the word even.

    Danny Reply:

    the “evens” are in pairs, making them seem even more preponderant

  12. morris brown
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 14:23
    #12

    As usual I am at odds with Robert, who writes how “unfortunate” we will have the No Blank Checks ballot measure on the ballot in November.

    This is a wonderful measure and I surely hope it passes and passes with a large majority.

    Limiting discussion to HSR, this would surely require voter approval for using Cap and Trade revenues to provide a funding stream for bonds.

    In 2008 California voters were promised quite a lot. One big promise, now a big lie was “$9.95 billion provided by Prop 1A will be all the funding California voters will ever have to provide.”

    Of, course that was when SF to LA was said to cost $32 billion (another lie).

    Now the project has been degraded to nothing more than a commuter run from “nowhere” in the Central valley to San Jose. This pretty useless segment estimated to cost over $20 billion by itself. Finding the $20 billion is now to be partially funded with Cap and Trade funds — funds extracted from the California residents.

    With passage of the Dean Cortopassi initiative voters will have the right approve or reject such funding. What could be more fair?

    Robert you should fear not… your continued claims that HSR remains immensely popular would mean passage of such a bond measure by the voters will be no problem.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “One big promise, now a big lie was “$9.95 billion provided by Prop 1A will be all the funding California voters will ever have to provide.”

    You have a cite for that?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    http://vigarchive.sos.ca.gov/2008/general/argu-rebut/argu-rebutt1a.htm

    Proposition 1A is a $9.95 billion bond measure for an 800-mile High-Speed Train network that will relieve 70 million passenger trips a year that now clog California’s highways and airports—WITHOUT RAISING TAXES.

    As an aside, it is interesting to read the support and rebuttle arguments many years later. Things like

    Matching private and federal funding to be identified BEFORE state bond funds are spent.

    Still chuckling about that promise. Especially since the current argument is that we can’t identify private funds vibe fore we build it

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “without raising taxes” is a somewhat different concept “all will ever have to provide”
    The money they are spending now in the Central Valley is Federal matching money.
    It’s a pity you have such difficulty with English.

    Roland Reply:

    Federal matching what money? They have absolutely nothing (zero) to match it with and are going to end up giving whatever they can’t spend by the end of 2017 to Caltrain (who happen to have matching funds) as long as “Caltrain” promise to help them unlock Prop1A bonds (AB 1889).
    It’s a pity you have such difficulty with English.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can’t reallocate Federal money. Ask Governor Christie how well that works out. Or Governor Walker.

    Zorro Reply:

    The HSR Bonds are already unlocked, as of the closing of the TOS case…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is a 49 billion dollar hole in the budget at the moment. But, they are building. No private funds have been identified “before” they start building.

    And I am unsure how CA will provide money with “no taxes”. It seems a pretty same bet that further CA money will cost taxpayers in some way.

    I mean really, read the whole supporter argument and tell me it did not turn out like they claimed. combine the 2 and you are really hosed. With a 49 billion hole, you have to fill it without raising taxes and you have to identify the money before hand. Tell me how that is going to work.

    Zorro Reply:

    The CHRSA has not asked for Private money yet, they do have interested parties from overseas, who do have money… Saying there is No Private money is a MYTH…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Saying there is no private money is a FACT because there is no private money. “Interest” from overseas is a long way from writing a check. As XpressWest will tell you

    joe Reply:

    It’s misleading and inconsistent, which is why you insist on repeating yourself.

    with a 49 billion hole, you have to fill it without raising taxes and you have to identify the money before hand. Tell me how that is going to work.

    You refer to the entire project lifetime and insist there is no private money to pay for any parts of the project.

    Read what you write.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of Michael Rossi’s comments it is that you do not understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc6Y6XHJ4xU

    Roland Reply:

    Here is a superb overview of the challenges ahead by Dan Richard: https://youtu.be/6vnsoRjSQ3s?t=137. The question is whether he realizes that he is essentially describing what it would take to deliver a “freebie” Transbay tunnel(?)

    morris brown Reply:

    @ adirondacker12800, who asked I cite a promise to the voters, that other than Prop 1A funds, the voters would not be asked for more funding.

    There is in infamous interview from KCBS radio in Feb. 2008, of Rod Diridon. Diridon at that time was on the CHSRA board, and he was the chief PR person advocating for the project.

    The interview can be found at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_292DZvfYNU

    At around 1 min 45 sec into the interview Diridon says:

    And I David is there to make sure that we do have guarantee strong strong indication of federal funding and private funding so that once we approve the bonds of for California, the general obligation no tax increase bonds, on the November election in California we won’t have to go back to the voters in California for more money

    This interview contains plenty of goodies, which have been proven to never take place.

    I hope this will suffice..

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s promising that there won’t be another bond request. Not that the state won’t ever never spend no money ever. He could have promised you a pink unicorn too.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ adirondacker12800

    No, here and elsewhere, the promise was no more money to be asked from California voters.

    Why do I bother?

    joe Reply:

    adirondacker12800 is right. He promised no bond request.

    If something else was promised then please quote.

    joe Reply:

    Why don’t you bother to refer to the archived ballot summary.

    Ballotpedia Prop1a 2008

    Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.

    Summary
    The official summary provided to describe Proposition 1A said:
    ….
    Provides that at least 90% of these bond funds shall be spent for specific construction projects, with private and public matching funds required, including, but not limited to, federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, and local funds

    The prop1a official ballot summary mentions the need for more money from public sources.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Voters don’t approve the Caltrans budget. Or the USDOT’s budget. Or allocations from different pots of money like congestion relief and clean air spending.

    Danny Reply:

    we live in a Prop 13 world: Measure J failed with 66.11% of the vote
    bawling, histrionic NIMBYs have been able to split, divide, race-bait, and tantrum their way into freezing all infrastructure except their precious damn ever-bloating highways and 10-lane “parkways” for four decades
    it’s time we tell them “enough”

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I wish prop 13 could be declared unconstitutional for creating a minority rules system.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Could you pint me to that part of the constitution? I am unaware of that part.

    It could be eliminated with a simple majority. The problem is more than 50% of the people want to keep it. It is simply supported by the majority, not the minority

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’m saying I wish…because ideally a constitution in a majority rules system would insure that majority rules in every ballot measure. Also, the 2/3 vote was mixed in with the property tax thing, so people were more likely to vote based upon the property tax cap. (And many people, not understand tax code intricacies, didn’t vote at all, or fully understand what they were voting for.)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Your actual problem is that a majority of CA voters (Democrats and Republicans) support prop 13 “thinking”. For the record I don’t, I think it is stupid not to tax property at its true value, but I have to bow to the will of the people.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    If you don’t understand how prop 13 affects government finances, it sort of makes sense (the not forcing people out if their homes argument.)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i understand the pro side, but it’s not convincing to me.

    If you can’t afford to own property you can’t afford it. No one likes to pay taxes, but it is necessary. By shifting the tax burden to income taxes, which CA has done, the tax base is now very susceptible to economic wings which is why CA goes from broke to flush every 5 years. A good portion of taxes coming from property helps dampen the swings

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I agree, but many don’t understand the con so the pro convinces them.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Unfortunately, the elderly whose homes were taken could afford to own property – when they bought the house. Unfortunately, other people drove up the surrounding property value over time, so government continually raised the assessments on those who already owned homes and raised the rates on the assessments until people on fixed incomes were driven out through no fault of their own.
    It’s nice to be able to say the people should have foreseen what the property taxes were going to be in 40 years and if they couldn’t afford what the taxes might become they should be turned out into the Southern California blizzards to die, but some thought the unlimited power of government to simply take whatever they want from those who earned it was getting far out of hand.
    Taxes on primary residents is not the pro;em anyway. Those who buy houses can do so with the certainty that they can afford the taxes, not only now, but also in the future. And the tax basis is reset every time the property is resold. It works for everyone.
    The commercial property is the real problem. No one owns a store; it’s owned by its own holding company. The holding company can be sold and resold, but the property is still owned by the same holding company, so no matter who buys it it doesn’t count as a transfer. That needs to be changed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How is your argument any different when you use stocks. Both are “earned” by buying and holding.

    “Gee, I had no idea this Apple stock was going to rise 10,000%, now I have to pay a huge tax bill”

    The power of the government to tax (earning, land, sales, etc.) is never loved. I dont particularly enjoy handing over 50% of my paycheck and bonus to the feds and state, but I do it because it in necessary to run a functioning society. These “poor old people” are sitting on million dollar homes that have appreciated a huge amount, they just dont want to sell and move to a cheaper place because they are old. That is not a valid reason not to pay taxes anymore than saying I dont want to pay taxes on my stock because it appreciated.

    Because of Prop 13 the tax “mix” has shifted way too much to income taxes which is volatile. As a result, during the booms and bust you get huge swings. That is not an efficient way to run the government. Its ridiculous that my house has appreciated more than 100k, but my taxes have remained the same

    In short, it does not “work” for everyone. it works for long term homeowners, to the expense of everyone who is not a long term homeowner.

    PS, the people buying houses now have no better idea what taxes and property will be worth in 40 years than the people who bought them 40 years ago. Laws and tax rates change.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are other ways to assure the widows and orphans aren’t turned out into the street besides giving corporations perpetual tax breaks.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Strongly agree John. Current policy not only makes zero sense for commercial property, it distorts incentives for residential shifting taxes to recent buyers and locking people in to homes that no longer fit their needs. And shifts to income taxes.

    Your house tripled in value and you no longer want to pay 1% a year but don’t want to move? Boo-hoo

    Reality Check Reply:

    The problem with Mr Nachtigall’s stock-property tax comparison is that with stock you are not taxed until you sell at a gain, and then can pay with the proceeds of the sale.

    However, property tax is due and payable every you own the property/house. And pre-Prop 13, it is said appreciation was causing people to literally get taxed out of their homes.

    The notion of private property ownership doesn’t seems to clash with the fact that you’ve got to keep paying non-optional (and rising) property taxes to the county assessor’s office or there will be trouble …

    Reality Check Reply:

    The notion of private property ownership doesn’t seems to clash with the fact that you’ve got to keep paying non-optional (and rising) property taxes to the county assessor’s office or there will be trouble …

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The 49 other states in the U.S. found solutions to the problem of widows and orphans being taxed out of their houses. Without giving everybody, including corporations that never die, tax breaks.

    EJ Reply:

    What are those solutions? I’m genuinely asking.

    Joe Reply:

    In Chicago this week. No solution here. They tax property heavily.

    Rhambo

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/emanuel-defends-record-property-tax-hike/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    New Jersey has rebates on income tax which are available even if you aren’t subject to income tax. Only available on a primary residence. Florida has additional homestead exemptions. Again only available on primary residence. Illinois is complex… but it’s only available on primary residence.
    Ain’t it grand that people who can afford second and third houses etc., in California can freeze their propety tax assessment! Wouldn’t want to put Grandma out of her winter home leaving her with her primary, summer home and pied-a-terre in the city would we?
    … One of our neighbors decided to keep her condo in Los Angeles when she retired to the Adirondacks. I think it’s just peachy that other taxpayers in California are paying higher taxes so she can play snowbird…. Makes it easier for her to pay property taxes here. No kids in the school system, no garbage collection or emergency services in the winter.. just great how California taxpayers are making my taxes lower!

    EJ Reply:

    OK, so basically they fixed all the things that everyone other than people who benefit from it says is wrong with Prop. 13, so… good for them? Would be nice if California didn’t have a completely broken political system.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Let me be very clear. Yes, some people on fixed incomes were taxed out of there house. They had to sell (at a large profit) and move. So what. You can’t set public policy on a small portion of the population. The truth is that prop 13 passed because not old people didn’t want to continue to pay higher and higher taxes on property. The old person getting thrown out was a convenient meme to make people feel less guilty about it

    During the dot com boom people received options worth millions then then the stock crashed and they owed a tax bill on money they didn’t have. They could not even discharge the debt in backruptcy. They are literally ruined for life. So as a result should we discontinue taxes on stock options? Of course not, because you don’t set policy on small unique circumstances.

    Property tax does not clash with owning property. I have to pay (no optional) taxes on

    My salary
    My purchases
    My stock
    Gifts
    Inheritance

    So why would property be exempt? All taxes are non-optional. Who would pay an optional tax?

    It’s simple. No one likes taxes of any kind. They are a necessary evil. If you are going to allow people to avoid taxes because they are a “hardship” then the system does not work. Since I like a functioning society, I don’t agree with that.

    During the last recession CA revenues fell over 25% in a few years. You can’t functionally resolve a budget with that kind volatility. It’s just bad policy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if you have to pay inheritance tax, I’m sorry to hear of your loss. My advice is to put the remainder in no-load market-index mutual funds and retire.

    Danny Reply:

    it passed with only 63% of the vote, so it should’ve LOST!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The 2/3 requirement can be changed with a simple majority vote. If you think people hate it so much why is it not being repealed?

    Joe Reply:

    Because running a government at the ballot box is far harder than trolling.

    State Budget process with 2/3 was contentious and upset a majority of voters.

    The increasing obstructionism by the minority party created an opportunity to pass Prop25 which withheld salaries if a budget was not pass on time AND eliminated the 2/3 majority.

    Now CA passes budgets on time and with surpluses.

    Overplaying the 2/3 majority will result in the same backlash.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yet they didn’t choose to,eliminate the 2/3 requirement for increasing taxes at the same time. So you can still only pass a budget that does not increase taxes with 50%.

    I don’t like the 2/3rds, but it can be changed with majority rule and has not for decades. The reason si the majority of people in CA, including democrats, want it

    Joe Reply:

    Like I wrote before, governing at the state wide ballot is very hard.

    proposition 25 focused on the state budget. It took advantage of the increasing GOP obstructionism.
    People were fed up.

    Once CA restored majority rule and marginalized minority obstructionism, the state has surplus and budgets pass on time.

    Prop13 and 2/3 rule for taxes and this no-blank-checks are, I hope, building to another voter backlash.

    The good news is once simple majority is restored, the GOP will have to realign.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Because of the 2/3 rule which eliminates the ability of the state legislature to do its job, Prop 13 was quite clearly an unconstitutional “constitutional revision” which cannot be passed by referendum — not a mere “amendment”.

    Unfortunately the California Supreme Court has never been willing to rule that Prop 13 was unconstitutional (which it was).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And corporations never die, the assessment is frozen in time forever and ever and ever.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What is unconstitutional about it? They used one of the available ways to amend the constitution. That is just sour grapes. I don’t like it either but it is up not illegal

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except they’re not even maintaining the roads in New Jersey or Kansas. Do they really believe you can get something (good roads) without having to pay for them?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    New Jersey has very lucrative toll roads. The state and county roads get compared to the Turnpike and Parkway.

    StevieB Reply:

    New Jersey declares a state of emergency over its crummy roads. The state’s transportation trust fund will run dry this summer, leaving no money to pay for roads, bridges and transit.

    With No Deal on New Jersey Gas Tax, Christie Orders Shutdown of Road Projects. The governor directed the state transportation commissioner and the executive director of New Jersey Transit to submit plans by Saturday night for an “immediate and orderly shutdown” of most work funded by the state transportation trust fund. Any work that is federally funded or necessary for safety reasons could continue, Mr. Christie said.

    Joe Reply:

    Someone is auditioning for VP.

    joe Reply:

    Neverendum. Just keep on demanding statewide “yes” votes until you get the result you want.

    Caltrain depends on HSR so if this stops HSR commuter then be prepared for cars and raod improvements.

    People will vote to reconnect Sandhill road to Willow road.
    https://goo.gl/maps/KDfdnYmTPbG2

    You can’t put Facebook HQ in menlo park and expect no local impact.

    I see an overpass a many more car trips cutting across menlo park.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2016/06/15/menlo-park-how-zoning-change-could-affect-traffic-water

    For instance, at one of the worst-affected intersections, Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road, traffic is already considered at unacceptable levels at rush hour. In 2014, people waited at that intersection on average more than 80 seconds in the morning and evening. By 2040, with no zoning changes, projections show they’ll wait 142 seconds in the morning; with the proposed zoning changes, that would increase to a 156-second morning wait.

    On the other hand, by 2040, the University Avenue and Donohoe Street intersection, also badly impacted by traffic, could have an additional wait time of 31 seconds beyond the 129 seconds people usually wait, with no changes, compared to an additional wait time of 20 seconds with the zoning changes.

    Without commuter rail, they’ll be forced to improve automobile capacity on heavily congested Willow and connect it to El Camino and 280 (via sandhill) to offer alternative access to facebook campus.

    Zorro Reply:

    Cap and Trade are not Bonds, of any sort, so are exempt Morris.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    See above, they are turning them into,revenue bonds. Per the business plan. Quote above

  13. Aarond
    Jul 1st, 2016 at 21:47
    #13

    My bus was late today so I crunched the numbers on Turkey’s migrants:

    By train it would take 143 days total, assuming 48 trains (holding 80 people per car, in a 10 car consist) running hourly 24/7 to move all 2,748,367 official refugees. The trip from Berlin to Istanbul is only about 2,200 miles, rougly a 24-hour trip at 100 mph.

    A new Greyhound G4500 holds only 55 people, and moves at 80 mph. Assuming 48 buses, the same number of people would require 2,082 days (5.7 years) to move.

    But America can do better. Each Automax tri-level railcar (the FEMA trains) have three 141×9 foot decks, then each could hold about 630 people per level (assuming everyone gets 2×2 feet of space). This gives us about 1,890 per Automax unit. Only 1,454 units would be needed to move everybody. This is equivalent to 38 mile-long trains. AAR Standard S-4200 allows for trains up to 2 miles long, so only 19 are needed. At 45 mph, it would take 19 hourly trains about 50 hours to move everybody.

    Aarond Reply:

    For context: 1,890 Automax units can carry about 49,140 cars (assuming 26 per unit). Every year about 15,000,000-ish new cars are sold in the US, about 2,000,000 in California alone.

    Ted K. Reply:

    The Automax spec’s. I found (see link below) put a lower number (22) on the vehicle capacity. And the lowermost deck is shorter due to the trucks (3) of the articulated railcar.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20101106133701/http://www.gbrx.com/files/files/NAR/AutoMax/AutoMax2.pdf

    P.S. Have you been putting LSD cubes in your coffee lately ? Or the wrong variety of mushroms in your omelets ?

    Roland Reply:

    Nothing that cannot be fixed with sauerkraut: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/10/probiotics-gut-bacteria-a_n_7545942.html

    Faber Castell Reply:

    It seems we’ve come full circle

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Again

    Ted K. Reply:

    Is the British railroad worker with a fondness for cabbage a McKale’s navvy ?

    Joe Reply:

    100 years ago these immigrants were Turkish Subjects. They rule the region for hundreds of years.

    les Reply:

    Lets not forget the time at the Turkish border, it can be long and hellish. Maybe worse for entries vs exits but was still a major time component years ago when I went through.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A bus that can go 80 mph? Am I missing something here?

    In Germany they are limited to 100 km/h max and I am quite sure the same applies to many countries in Europe…

    Roland Reply:

    Yes: https://youtu.be/13f5Z3Kv-dg

  14. Jerry
    Jul 2nd, 2016 at 11:49
    #14

    Gov. Christie declares state of emergency in New Jersey and halts all public transportation road work. More at 11.
    PS With interest rates at all time low isn’t this a good time to sell bonds for any major project?

    Ted K. Reply:

    For links scroll up to the chunk of segment #12 authored by “StevieB” timestamped “July 2nd, 2016 at 5:35 pm”.

    StevieB Reply:

    New Jersey has the lowest gasoline tax in the contiguous 48 states. Gov. Christie wants to trade 1.1 billion in increased gasoline taxes for 1.7 billion in sales tax cuts. The State Senate said no deal.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Top N.J. lawmaker: Raise gas tax in exchange for 3 tax breaks

    http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2016/04/state_senator_would_swap_three_tax_breaks_for_a_ga.html

    Lawmakers: Swapping 23-cent N.J. gas tax hike for estate tax cut is a ‘shell game’

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/06/opponents_decry_23-cent_gas_tax_estate_tax_swap_as.html

    Ted K. Reply:

    Streetsblog article :

    http://www.streetsblog.net/2016/07/01/new-jersey-runs-out-of-transportation-money-christie-halts-all-projects/

    Joe Reply:

    Christie is auditioning for Vice President. That means confrontation and brinksmanship.

  15. joe
    Jul 2nd, 2016 at 12:34
    #15

    Fresno State Summer camp focuses on high-speed rail

    More than 70 middle and high school students will attend Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering Explore Engineering Camp this week, and the Summer Engineering Experience Camp June 27 to July 1.

    Camp activities will focus on high-speed rail and will include hands-on projects combined with academic lectures and talks with experts.

    Jerry Reply:

    Will synonymous be providing the lecture on Tejon?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Whoever is designing the TMV golf course.

  16. Reality Check
    Jul 3rd, 2016 at 00:53
    #16

    SEPTA: ‘Significant structural defect’ sidelines 120 Silverliner V railcars

    It wasn’t the first time that problems with the cars surfaced. Delivery of the cars, which started in 2010, was delayed because of workmanship defects and other problems; the cars also have experienced trouble with doors opening and closing during exceedingly cold weather.

    […]

    “SEPTA has identified a significant structural defect with its Silverliner V Regional Rail cars,” the SEPTA statement said. “All 120 Silverliner V cars, which comprise approximately one-third of the Regional Rail fleet, are currently out of service for inspection. This will not adversely impact service through Monday, July 4th, as the weekend/holiday schedules can be accommodated with the remainder of the fleet.”

    On any given day, some 15 percent of SEPTA’s 400 passenger railcars are off line for maintenance, upgrades, and other forms of service.

    […]

    The 120 Silverliner V cars were made in South Korea by Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of the automaker Hyundai Motor Group, and assembled in Philadelphia.

    During the assembly of the new cars at a South Philadelphia factory, there were repeated issues with the malfunctioning doors, which have caused problems during intensely cold weather when they have not opened and closed reliably, delaying trains throughout the system.

    The last of the cars were delivered in 2013, two years behind schedule. Work had been delayed by material shortages, design flaws, production problems, labor conflict, and workmanship errors.

    […]

    Reality Check Reply:

    SEPTA Silverliner V Defect is in the car’s trucks

    Matthew Mitchell, vice president and commuter rail committee chair of the Delaware Valley Association of Railroad Passengers, said he had been briefed by SEPTA officials about the nature of the defect.

    While he was unable to name a specific part, he said that the problem arose in the car’s trucks — the term used to describe the two-axle pivoting wheel assemblies at each end of the car. SEPTA first discovered the problem Friday evening, he continued, and ordered an urgent inspection of all the cars in the fleet after finding it. When the inspectors determined that only a small fraction of the Silverliner Vs would pass the inspection, agency brass made the decision to pull the entire fleet from service.

    SEPTA does have a small supply of replacement parts on hand to make the required repairs, but not enough to fix more than a few of the cars in the fleet. Most of the needed parts will have to be manufactured, Mitchell said, and as a result, “it will be weeks” before any trains can be returned to service, and “things won’t get completely back to normal until the end of the summer. But if there’s a ‘good’ time to have this kind of problem, the summer is it.”

    Mitchell noted that the trucks were not manufactured by Hyundai Rotem but by a third party.

    […]

    But as one-third of the Regional Rail fleet will be out of service at a time when ridership continues to rise and “some lines are stretched beyond capacity,” he said, there will be some cutbacks even after accounting for the seasonal dip in ridership. He predicted that some shorter lines would be replaced by shuttle buses, with “bustitution” just about certain on the very short, lightly patronized Cynwyd line. Some other shorter lines with good transportation alternatives nearby, such as the Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill East lines, might also be suspended in favor of shuttle buses, and some stations on heavily traveled lines that have alternate service near them might be bypassed.

    […]

    Eric M Reply:

    This is like deja vu with regards to high speed rail cars built in South Korea by Hyundai Rotem. Workmanship defects and other problems. Same story, different product, but all manufactured by Hyundai Rotem.

    Korea high speed rail cars, SEPTA Silverliner V cars, Metrolink cars, the list just keeps growing. Time to drop Hyundai Rotem from the list of California high speed rail bidders.

    Looks like a turd, smells like a turd, usually is a turd.

    Roland Reply:

    SEPTA update including a great slideshow of the LTK-designed dual-height SINGLE doors:
    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20160704_SEPTA__Serious_cracks_found_in_95_percent_of_cars_inspected_so_far.html

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I didn’t stumble over the door slide show, but I now understand the issues with the trucks.

    I may be wrong, but to me, that truck design looks really archaic. Who the heck designs such trucks in the 21st century???

    Roland Reply:

    The same people who “design” doors that don’t close and trains that don’t brake (the list goes on forever): http://www.ltk.com/projectexperiencedetails.aspx. Did I forget to mention CBOSS?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Apparently, I was in the past unjust to Hyundai Rotem, assuming they designed the trucks. Obviously, it is LTK designing crappy trucks with outside brake disks, lots of unsprung masses, etc.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max: here is what happens when LTK mess with perfectly well-designed brakes:
    “The Sprinter marked the first time the cars, hundreds of which are used on different lines in Europe, would be used in North America. The Sprinter is still the only North American line using the cars.
    Though roughly 600 cars of the same model operate in Europe, the Sprinter’s 12-car line was functionally unique, in order to comply with state and federal standards.
    Specifically, the Sprinter is the only train to use the now-malfunctioning brake rotors.”
    http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/explainer-putting-the-brakes-on-the-sprinter/

    The exact same thing will happen to the CalFranKISSentrains, the eBART GTWs and anything else LTK will ever lay their hands on.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I don’t see any reference to LTK in that article.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Ah, yeah, and another thing? What are brake rotors???

    Peter Reply:

    Bremsscheiben

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Thanks, Peter. I assumed so, although the term appears to me to be rather uncommon in rail use; common is brake disks.

    William Reply:

    LTK wrote the specification, not the final design. The fault still lies on Hyundai Rotem, who picked the truck design and supplier. The article did in philly.com did indicate the car was heavier than designed, possible contributed to the issue.

    The basic truck design seems to be fairly common on North American passenger cars:
    California Car: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Fresno_station_2425_26.JPG
    Gallery Car: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/CalTrain_double_decker_exterior.jpg

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Thanks for the pics. The main difference is that these trucks have outside bearings and (if they have disk brakes at all), the disks are inside, between the wheels.

    Exdessive weight should not really have such a big effect. My speculation (which may be completely off, of course) goes more in the sense of that they cut the pieces out of the sheet in the wrong direction (across instead of in the rolling direction of the sheet, or vice-versa).

    Clem Reply:

    These are castings. Welded trucks are rare in the US

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Thanks… well, from the diagram, it appeared to me that the equalizer beams are more or less a simple piece, cut out of steel sheet.

    With casting, OTOH, there is a lot of potential to mess up, especially casted steel (I doubt it would be cast iron… but one never knows).

    Roland Reply:

    “Another possibility is the type of metal itself. Welded to the end of each equalizer are plates where the beams rest on the wheel bearings, and added stress can arise if the metal used in the equalizers was incompatible with the metal used to make the plates or the welding wire, Lee said.”

    “The equalizers were made from a malleable type of steel in a category of alloys called T1, SEPTA officials said. They did not have details Tuesday on the types of metals used in the plates and the welds.”
    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20160706_The_mechanics_of_the_SEPTA_crisis__Why_cracks_can_form.html

    Roland Reply:

    Picture of the welds: http://media.philly.com/images/1200*850/070316_septapart2_1200.jpg

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: Thanks for these links.

    So, the steel used is a high-tensile steel, which has been heat treated in a specific way. They say that welding such steels requires high skills and knowledge of what electrodes to use. That said, it would sound plausible that the cracks initiated from the welding area, maybe by hydrogen brittleness, or by redidual slag in or under the weld.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max: You are correct (the crack initiated from the welding area). I have actually seen a picture of one of these cracks but I can’t find it. Here is a description (from memory): the crack was approximately 250mm long and ran roughly parallel to the weld (the distance between the weld and the crack varied between 15 and 25mm).

    swing hanger Reply:

    The bogies William linked to are an even older (gsc commonwealth or some like design)- very heavy and complex to maintain, but a proven, robust design. I have always wondered why agencies favor the inside frame, inside bearing designs like the ones found on the affected SEPTA cars- it’s as if thinking is frozen in the late 1960’s. Much more modern, but neverthless proven and quite orthodox in arrangement are these KW153 types, used on MARC bilevels, rated for 125mph running:
    https://global.kawasaki.com/en/mobility/rail/bogie/img/typekw153.jpg

    swing hanger Reply:

    And I see from the pdf below of the SBB Dosto rolling stock, the bogies share traits, such as *outside* frames, monolink suspension, yaw dampers, bolsters, and inside mounted disc brakes (i.e. what may be called industry common practice).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Indeed, this truck/bogie is pretty common design.

    Maybe a bit dated with the high bolster, but otherwise, all fine.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Here’s a diagram showing Silverliner V truck’s “drop equalizer” with cracking problems .

    Max Wyss Reply:

    My comment is based on this article.

    FWIW, I tried to find some drawings or renderings of the KISS truck; the best I found was a brochure from a component supplier (rubber/metal components), in German language: http://www.schwab-vc.com%2Fde%2Fdownloads.html%3Ffile%3Dfiles%2Ffreudenberg-schwab%2Fdownloads%2Fde%2FStudien%2FFS_DOSTO_de_END.pdf (sorry for that long link).

    Note: if you have Adobe Acrobat/Reader, you get the best view with the settings: menu View –> Page Display –> Two Page View PLUS View –> Page Display –> Show Cover Page in Two Page View (and deselect Show Gaps between pages.

    The truck is the non-driven truck of the KISS, but its configuration is pretty much standard.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max: the link does not work

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Sorry, Roland, my fault. I tried a few things, but was not able to get a direct link to work. So, instead go to http://www.schwab-vc.com/de/downloads.html (which is their documents download page), scroll down and download one of the files under “Studien”. The file should then download directly to your computer.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    If you want to have machine translated crap, the easiest is select the text copy/paste it into a text editor document and run that through one of the “translation” sites. Chances are that there will be a few comprehensible words in the result.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Just click the “translate a document” link on the Google Translate web page … or download and use live image translation feature of the Google Translate app on your phone or iPad and point the camera at the text.

    Roland Reply:

    “LTK engineers assisted with the technical specifications and prepared a report detailing Silverliner V car performance characteristics, including interior layout and seating arrangements (where have we seen these seats before? http://www.septa.org/service/rail/silverliner-brochure.pdf), DOOR CONTROL, auxiliary power, PROPULSION SYSTEM”.
    http://www.ltk.com/projectexperiencedetails.aspx (search for “Silverliner”).

    These are truly exciting times and I just can’t wait for the LTK-designed $500K-a-pop extra sets of doors on the brand new 450-seat Caltrain KISSes.

    Clem Reply:

    $500K a pop? The cost of extra doors + internal lifts for the 16-train fleet was listed as $30M. Do you have a cheaper transition strategy to achieve level boarding?

    Roland Reply:

    Yes: https://youtu.be/xEX8vADhncU

    Clem Reply:

    Oh, I’m sorry, I should have asked: do you have a cheaper transition strategy to achieve level boarding that is ADA compliant? Because that sure ain’t it… nice train, but illegal under ADA.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly focus your considerable talent on fixing the CRRA mess and keep your hands off Caltrain. May I suggest this as a starting point? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/23/plan-to-put-double-decker-trains-on-hs2-rail-line/

    Clem Reply:

    What many advocates can’t seem to wrap their head around is that a high speed train, unlike a commuter train, offers different amenities that are distributed throughout the train. ADA requires accessibility to all of them, which means a wheelchair must be able to move throughout the train. This is true of the Acela Express, and the upcoming Florida Brightline trains. It will be true of California HSR. There are no grandfather clauses or existing conditions to get a free pass on this one.

    Short of an in-car elevator, there is no way to build a Duplex high-speed train in the USA.

    And that is before you consider the inconvenient fact that 90% of the worldwide HSR rolling stock market is single-deck. HS2 may be no different if the Brits value competition.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The TGV Duplex has all level (more or less) on the upper level. So, wheelchairs could circulate through all the train; “all” they would need a lift to the upper level.

    But of course, thanks to the totally over the top ADA regulation, such a lift would probably have to be put wherever a wheelchair “advocate” would want to go upstairs.

    Note: I may sound harsh, and I am to some extent disabled, but it is not necessarily the disabled people pushing ADA regulations that far; it’s advocates or “organizations”. FWIW, to such “advocates”, for example, helped delaying the delivery of the SBB Twindexx (Intercity/Interregio bi-levels) by more than 2 years (well, Bombardier and the SBB are also guilty).

    Clem Reply:

    When you hear the apoplectic complaints about in-vehicle wheelchair lifts for Caltrain, I doubt an in-vehicle wheelchair elevator will elicit any support among Duplex HSR fans. They want it both ways, which is to say they wish the ADA away.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max. This is precisely the rationale behind this concept: https://youtu.be/XYFv5No2bZk?t=59

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: Yeah. However, those guys have the privilege to not have to consider real world operation. Some computer generated images are easy to sell… And then, some things show the background of those institutes (where terminals are rebuilt in order to accomodate a new aircraft type).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Clem: …which means the least efficient and most expensive way…

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland: meanwhile, back in reality…

    Roland Reply:

    @Max. I am not suggesting a second level platform or removing the internal stairs. How about a door on the second level for wheelchairs only and an external lift on the platform. Would that work?

    Clem Reply:

    forget accessibility law, what an operational nightmare! What’s next, a jetway?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: Nope, it would not work. The wheelchair “advocates” insist on being using each and every entrance available in the train.

    @Clem: the video, Roland referred to, actually shows jetways for accessing the upper level (again, keep in mind the background of the institutes involved).

    Roland Reply:

    OK. Back to square one: how the hell do you get a flat floor in the lower level of a double-decker unless you forget about bogies and switch to maglev or hyperloop?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    There is no point in having duplex in the first place. Shorter, single level trains that run very frequently (like KTX) are infinitely preferable.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Disregarding (as one should not) TGV Duplex, California High Speed rail is so many decades away that the only equipment that is needed or can be justified for electrified service anywhere in California is almost exactly the same equipment that will run on the Caltrain line.

    Stadler KISS. Stadler FLIRT. Siemens Desiro. Bombardier Onmeo. Bombardier AGC. Alstom Coradia. Whatever. Whatever. etc. etc. Lots of choices.

    The top speed (200kmh) and capacity (a handful of buses would actually meet the “demand” in reality) needs of the mighty pre-2050 state-spanning San José to Wasco $100-ish billion “operating” segment of California “High Speed” Rail can readily be met by Caltrain-type equipment (or slight minor top-speed souped-up and lower passenger capacity variants of Caltrain-type equipment.)

    Some time post 2050 (long post 2050, given the rate of implemetation by PBQD=CHSRA), when the new-to-us Caltrain fleet, and likely its second generation followon, are past retirement, there might then be some need to “transition” to some radical new station interface demanded by some hypothetical radical new high speed super-trains. (Of course we’ll find that in the meantime there have been many hundreds of high speed trains built specifically for level boarding in European market for sub-900mm platform heights.)

    But the for next few decades it’s idiotic to even think about “compatibility” with 2015’s idea of what High Speed Trains must be. Given a grand total of FIVE — count ’em, FIVE — state-wide “High Speed” Rail stations in the entire state (Gilroy maybe, Merced, Fresno, Tulare, Wasco) — the correct thing is obviously to build those stations to Caltrain-equipment-compatible level boarding standards (ie 760mm ATOR) while allowing passive provision for rebuilding them to Japanese-HSR high level at some time in the latter half of the 21st century.

    Clem Reply:

    My argument used to be that the next chance to do this transition would be around 2050, with the understanding that 2050 would be way too late. But you may be onto something; we may be doing it a generation too early given the glacial pace of rail development (slowed as it is by the cut taken by the percentage-men… like having a retirement fund with sky-high fees)

    Joe Reply:

    Both sound like a generation too old, not too early.

    Roland Reply:

    760mm ATOR may be a good compromise between high and low but 550mm really helps with headroom in double-deckers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_platform_height#/media/File:Map_Europe_railway_platform_height.svg

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Think outside the UIC box.

    Roland Reply:

    I am thinking inside the head I smashed multiple times on Gallery bulkheads.

    Joey Reply:

    When the bottom floor is ~1200 mm above the track level, compromises have to be made. 760mm would leave a lot more headroom.

    Roland Reply:

    As long as all passengers are under 6 feet tall.

    Joey Reply:

    There are ways of mitigating it. Some European units I’ve seen have a smallish ramp down from the entry door to the floor of the lower level.

    Roland Reply:

    Which “European units” in particular are you referring to (link?)

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: for example All bi-level TGVs, or the SBB IC2000 cars. The ramp/slope is maybe 5 cm in height.

    Clem Reply:

    TGV Duplex has two steps down from the door vestibule to the lower level.

    Joey Reply:

    ADA regulations wouldn’t allow steps, but a ramp is probably fine.

    Roland Reply:

    According to CRRA’s top honcho, “The lower floor of the Duplex can be elevated to provide level boarding at a 550 mm (21.7”) platform height” http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-05-20+JPB+BOD+CHSRA+Trainsets.pdf (slide 17 on page 8).

    Now that we have this settled (including full and completely unbiased CRRA endorsement), would anyone care to elaborate on this definitive masterpiece https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/chsra-platform-fail/ and the solution for the Duplex internal steps in particular: https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/chsra-platform-fail/#comment-12713?

    Clem Reply:

    Sweet. Now remind us where the elevator goes? Because confining the wheelchair to the lower floor might fly under European law, but not here under ADA. If there’s a snack car or a first class car there needs to be equal access.

    Roland Reply:

    Same place as the FranKISSentrain elevator.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s simple enough to put a lift on a half flight of stairs. An entire level is much more difficult.

    Clem Reply:

    Ok, I’ll grant you (for argument’s sake) that California HSR adopts a Duplex train architecture made possible by an unprecedented internal two-floor wheelchair elevator, welcomed to great acclaim by the same folks who now decry in-vehicle wheelchair lifts for Caltrain. What is the new platform interface? Let’s say 25 inches, again for argument’s sake.

    How do you configure a new Caltrain EMU that can:
    (1) dock at an old 8-inch platform
    (2) dock at a new 25-inch platform with <3" gap (no bridge plates, ever!)
    (3) run past a new 25-inch platform at 110 mph (without hitting it, ever!)

    What's your solution? Welding won't work!

    Roland Reply:

    Where did “2) dock at a new 25-inch platform with <3" gap (no bridge plates, ever!)" come from? Quote?

    Clem Reply:

    From an operational requirement for the blended system that can be stated as: “Caltrain dwell times shall be short and predictable” and its derived requirement that “wheelchair boarding shall not require assistance from the train crew”, which in turn spawns the requirement that “the horizontal gap between the platform edge and door threshold shall be 3″ or less with a vertical mismatch of 5/8″ or less”. Without this the blended system will be an unreliable, inoperable mess.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    If you are that worried about platform strikes, then I fail to see why you want to build higher platforms!?

    There is really nothing unprecedented at all about disabled access with TSI compliant rolling stock. I don’t understand why you try to over-complicate it. This is not 12th-dimensional string theory or something.

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland, as a check for understanding, do you even realize the high doors on the Caltrain fleet will have deploying gap filler steps to achieve unassisted level boarding (no bridge plates, ever) ?

    The extra $30M buys non-recurring engineering of the car shell, 384 extra pairs of doors, 384 gap filler mechanisms, 16 wheelchair lifts, and hardware and software to make it all play.

    Clem Reply:

    @Drunk: It’s America, the land of ADA. Where TSI don’t apply.

    EJ Reply:

    @Clem why worry about ADA? If you simply throw a big enough tantrum, you don’t have to worry about it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    If there’s a snack car or a first class car there needs to be equal access.

    If you’re the sort of rent-seeking pig-fucker (LTK Engineering Services, or any of the equivalent unqualified non-competitive Buy American percentage skimmers, Potemkin village erectors and scumbags) then of course “snack cars” drive everything. EVERYTHING

    If, on the other hand, you’re somebody remotely interested in profitability, or remotely interested in value delivered per public dollar spent. or in any combination of the twoany combination! — your answer to the made-up, artificial, rent-seeking “question” of “what about the snack cars?” is “fuck you, sub-3 hour trip, no snack cars, buy and bring your own damn snacks”.

    Joey Reply:

    Logistically, it’s probably easier to keep food delivery in the stations anyway.

    Clem Reply:

    Hey I don’t make the rules around here, I just read them. Try it sometime: 49 CFR Part 38.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    You know, for someone who always accuses Roland of being obtuse, you are being pretty vague.

    I’ve ridden all over Europe on new TSI rolling stock — with disabled persons, luggage, children, and even an ADA compliance expert — and those trains were light years ahead of any ADA compliant train I’ve used in the states.

    Roland Reply:

    @ Clem
    1) “The vehicles must also be capable of providing level boarding for passengers with disabilities (See section 3) when low level platforms are utilized. JPB currently has „mini high‟ platforms at 22” at a single location on the low level station platform and will allow the use of ramps or bridge plates from the mini-high platform to the lower level doors”
    PCEP EMU RFP – Vol 3 – Tech Specs – issued 8-2015 (page 34)

    2) The additional cost is actually +/- $230M (70%) over and above recent Stadler KISS procurements (not $30M) and that is before the mandatory 10% LTK “design” overhead (another $55.1M).

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland: yes, the low doors on the EMUs will function just like the Bombardier cars. Which, by the way, cannot dock at a 25″ platform–at all, unless all the existing platforms are raised to 25″ simultaneously overnight, and even then, forever with a bridge plate since the horizontal gap cannot possibly meet the 3″ ADA spec. That is “level boarding” the way Utah’s FrontRunner provides it, not a good enough solution for a successful blended system with short and predictable dwell times.

    As to the excessive costs, I share your dismay about US rail vehicle acquisition (Buy America protectionism, ironclad labor agreements, extreme over-specification, federal and state acquisition red tape, agency capture by perma-temp consultants, onerous testing and acceptance protocols, larded agency overheads, slush fund contingencies, etc). Just be sure to realize that you are picking the one feature of these new trains that you dislike and pinning the entire shit show on that. I’ll look forward to your recorded comments on Thursday.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: When comparing prices, we would also have to compare what they all contain. If, for example, maintenance for two decades were included, it could explain a lot of the difference to a contract without maintenance.

    To another message: Maybe Mr. Spuhler should acquire LTK… (or infiltrate). But I can understand it; there is no more knowledge around in the USAn industry, so overspecification may be the way to go. With global industry (at least with the ones who know what they are doing), you tell them what you want, and they do the specification and engineering.

    Roland Reply:

    @Clem: Kindly help me understand how we could possibly cram 1,050 passengers and 80 bicycles in a 6-car FranKISSentrain with 450 seats, 24 extra pairs of doors, 24 gap filler mechanisms, 1 wheelchair lift and hardware and software to make it all play.
    http://kron4.com/2016/07/06/caltrain-involved-in-collision-with-car-at-whipple-avenue-in-redwood-city/

    Clem Reply:

    What’s the use arguing over something that was already settled?

    Roland Reply:

    Settled by who????

    Peter Reply:

    Settled by, you know, the people who actually make the decisions?

    Roland Reply:

    Such as?

    Roland Reply:

    Does anyone know the exact height of the second step ATOR?
    https://twitter.com/MariSchaefer/status/750657321001480192/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
    A link to a profile would be most appreciated. Thank you.

    Clem Reply:

    I don’t know the exact height ATOR, but it looks like 8″ up from the asphalt strip at rail level.

  17. Reality Check
    Jul 3rd, 2016 at 01:18
    #17


    Palo Alto adds motion detection to Caltrain corridor

    Pilot program seeks to spot suicidal people who are near the tracks

    […]

    [CSC Integrations company owner Jason Jenkins] says the electronic-surveillance system is highly promising. It understands the different behaviors of pedestrians and bicyclists who are legitimately crossing the tracks and persons who are contemplating suicide, the latter who do such things as loiter.

    When the cameras and sensors recognize the pattern of behavior, they send out either a high alert or low alert, depending on how imminent the danger is. The information goes to the city’s 911 dispatch center and to train controllers, who can respond or stop the train, Jenkins said. The system can also send a photo of what it detected.

    […]

    Reality Check Reply:

    Situational Awareness and Identifcation System (SAAIS)

    SAAIS uses a plethora of advanced camera technologies, such as thermal imaging, infrared, pan, tilt, and zoom, and static cameras, coupled with high-tech intrusion detection systems to identify when a person approaches the train tracks with the intent to commit suicide. In the backend, SAAIS operates a wide variety of advanced analytics with direct human-free auomation to notify the train control center and local law enforcement when an incident is occuring. This early warning system allows the train engineer to slow or stop the train in time to prevent a suicide and law enforcement to respond to the scene and get the victim the much needed mental health assistance that they deserve.

    Joe Reply:

    They’ll need to program this system to avoid false positives from the Atherton watchdogs.

    Atherton: ‘Quiet zone’ still producing Caltrain horn noise.

    ATHERTON — That lady sitting quietly for hours on the bench at the Atherton Caltrain station earlier this week was Nerissa Dexter, the member of the town’s Rail Committee who had done the initial research that demonstrated that a “quiet zone” could be established for rail traffic at the Fair Oaks Lane crossing.

  18. Joe
    Jul 3rd, 2016 at 09:46
    #18

    Caltrain’s inexperienced-political-crony-insider CEO Jim Harnett seems busy bringing in money for HSR electrification.

    Caltrain Modernization Program secures additional funds
    The need for additional funding was identified in 2014 when the project’s budget was updated from 2008 cost estimates, and funding partners agreed to increase the amount budgeted for project contingency.
    ..
    “Our region, along with our federal and state partners, has demonstrated a deep commitment to this project,” said Jim Hartnett, Caltrain’s executive director. “The Caltrain Modernization Program is the most transformative project this corridor has ever undertaken. It offers unique economic, environmental and mobility benefits to the region and it is a key link in a high-speed rail network that will transform the way we think about transportation in California.”
    ..
    In February, the Obama Administration allocated $72 million in prior year funding to the project and asked Congress for an additional $125 million in the 2017 Federal Budget through the FTA Core Capacity Grant Program. These funds are part of a larger $647 million request for a Federal full funding grant agreement that is expected to be finalized in 2016.

    High-speed rail still off the tracks
    Matt Robinson, representing Caltrain, which understandably endorsed the proposal, argued that the “$600 million proposed to fund the Caltrain corridor … will ultimately be used by high-speed rail trains as part of the blended system.”
    Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who authored Prop. 1A, was notably skeptical of the proposal, which would free up $1.1 billion in bond funds to finance upgrades at both ends of the proposed high-speed rail system to make them suitable for use by the high-speed trains.

    Hard to see how some can think this guy is failing on the job.

    Soon after his hire Caltrain modified their plans to require HSR compatible platforms with level boarding and dual height doors.

    He’s still connected to CHSRA and might cut CBOSS loose if they continue to slip and miss technical milestones at integration.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    100% over cost, and climbing.

    Heckuva job, Brownie!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Compare and contrast two orders coming in within a couple weeks:
    America’s Finest Transportation Professionals: USD 551 million for 16×6 (the number keeps creeping down, because, well, LTK and the other perma-temp consultants are skimming a lot off the top. America’s Finest!) boring everyday suburban double-deck EMUs from Stadler. And despite Caltrain being “at capacity”, it “can’t afford” to actually buy a full fleet of electric trains which might provide more service, because, well, Special American Overhead Costs, you know. Better cry wolf and demand more more more more more more more money because “at capacity!” “state of good repair!” “CBOSS!” “unique service needs!” “unique everything!”

    High-cost northern European country: USD 414 million 33×4 boring everyday suburban double-deck EMUs from Stadler.

    Somebody’s taking it in the ass and paying 80 percent over the going rate, and I don’t think it is the Swedes. Or the Swiss. Or the Germans. Or the Russians. Or the Hungarians. Or the Dutch, Algerians, Poles, Norwegians, Italians, …

    Heckuva job, LTK! Nice work only managing to get a single bid on a “globally competitive” rolling stock contract, too. I happen to believe that Stadler, a very fine and innovative engineering organization, would be competitive even in a non-insane, non-fucked-by-LTK, remotely technically competent, non-kitchen-sink, non-total-bullshit procurement, but, Jesus, way to go on the cost control, America’s Finest Transportation Planning rent-seekers and percentage men.

    Michael Reply:

    When they ordered the trains, the price was similar to other orders, but they clicked on “Next Day AM Delivery”, and we all know what that can set you back… Oops!

    Roland Reply:

    @Richard. Do you have the link to the tech sheet for Mälab?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I know nothing more than teh googles reveal to me.
    http://www.malab.se/33-nya-tag-bestallda-for-trafiken-i-malardalen

    Roland Reply:

    Thanks… Just confirming that there is NFW that 340 seats within 105 meters is ever going to work with Caltrain.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Richard Mlynarik: Compare and contrast two orders coming in within a couple weeks:
    America’s Finest Transportation Professionals: USD 551 million for 16×6 (the number keeps creeping down, because, well, LTK and the other perma-temp consultants are skimming a lot off the top. America’s Finest!) boring everyday suburban double-deck EMUs from Stadler. And despite Caltrain being “at capacity”, it “can’t afford” to actually buy a full fleet of electric trains which might provide more service, because, well, Special American Overhead Costs, you know. Better cry wolf and demand more more more more more more more money because “at capacity!” “state of good repair!” “CBOSS!” “unique service needs!” “unique everything!”

    High-cost northern European country: USD 414 million 33×4 boring everyday suburban double-deck EMUs from Stadler.

    So Caltrain is getting a total of 96 cars at $5.74 million a pop. Sweden is getting a total of 132 cars at $3.13 million a pop. That’s $2.6 million, 83% per car LOWER than the Caltrain procurement, unbelievable!!! Nothing can be that special or unique!!!

    Will the Sweden trains have bathrooms?

    Will the Sweden trains be ADA accessible?

    What is the entrance height ATOR on the Sweden trains?

    It’s amazing that we can’t do anything efficiently here, why not just build the freaking thing and be done with it?

    I remember seeing reports/proposals for electrification, downtown extension, outside boarding, level boarding, etc. in the early 1980’s at the Caltrans District 4 Offices on Oak Street in SF which at the time was managing Caltrain along with the three counties. This was during Jerry Brown’s first tenure as governor, and things were looking good. But in 1983 George “Dukes-A-Hazzard” became governor. He was anti rail, especially Caltrain. Caltrain was always under constant threats from Deukmejian and was forced to be turned over to the three counties and to lose state support/funding. Adding to all this was San Mateo counties (and many other Bay Area politicians) fixation on BART to (Colma) SFO (Millbrae). Caltrain was thrown a few table scraps, with the intention of eventually extending BART further down the peninsula. Their mantra was that Caltrain ridership will never amount to much, it will never carry more than 18,000-20,000 a day, but there are 90,000 that just can’t wait to jump on BART south of Daly City from Colma to SFO/Millbrae, we need BART now!!!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Now we have to contend with Mayor Ed Lee and his developer buddies that want to commandeer the Caltrain Station, yard, and right-of-way, and tear down I-280 north of Mariposa, divert Caltrain near 22nd, and run underground Third Street. How many billions are the consultants and contractors going to make on this fiasco?

    What’s going to happen to traffic in SOMA/Dogpatch/Bayview streets and on 101?

    Lots of new on-street parking/gridlock, I imagine.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Are you actually opposed to this terrific plan?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Yes, and so are my co-workers.

    Michael Reply:

    Once the plan goes from a dot on a map on Third Street in Mission Bay to an actual plan for a functional underground station I’ll form an opinion. If it’s going to be the spot where arena and ballpark crowds board trains, it has to be more than two tracks, two platforms. Once it gets wider than that, with a through track or two, it gets really complicated, because Third Street isn’t that wide. The add some significant space to queue people and lavish vertical access required for peak crowds like that and…oh, the soil condition is horrible.

    A magical tunnel machine could probably dig a nice two-track bore along the line they’ve drawn, but adding the necessary station opens a big can of worms.

    Roland Reply:

    And that is precisely why the new 4-track station needs to go under 7th (between Townsend and 16th), not within walking distance of the TTC.
    @Jeff, would that work better for you and your co-workers?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    No it would not. I work at Pier 70, which is slated for huge development. Dumping all the I-280 freeway traffic at Mariposa or Army is going to create gridlock on surface streets, especially during events at Pac Bell Park or the new Warriors facility. Diverting Caltrain may kill 23rd street station, making Caltrain useless for myself and many others that use that station. Having a station under 7th makes Caltrain less useful for Pac Bell since it would be unlikely to have another station near the existing 4th & Townsend station.

    This plan is not about making transit useful or efficient for actual riders, it’s all about making developers and contractors and rent-seekers more wealthy.

    Aarond Reply:

    Let Lee do what he wants. The jobs are south in San Jose now, if SF wants to screw themselves over let them. It’s in their best interest to promote Caltrain accessibility.

    In ten years Diridon BART will be complete and SJ will be stealing SF’s lunch (East Bay workers). It’s up to SF to decide if they want to remain the economic center.

    Joe Reply:

    Really. It’s Blazing Saddles hostage taking.

    Like Palo Alto’s Mayor deriding SJ Diridon, I don’t think the Mayor’s understand there is no permanent entitlement. Cities provide services for companies to attract and retain employees. Both are too expensive. They need more transit.

    San Jose BART has too few stops but it’s going to help along with infill along VTA rail and the development sin N SJ and Santa Clara.

    HSR San Jose is closer to CV and LA by 30+ minutes. What’s within a 30 minute circle around Diridon?

    Joe Reply:

    Apple HQ is 2 B over budget on a 3B estimate and it’s late.
    Heck of a job Brownie. SFO will spend 2.5 B for a refresh of SFO terminal.

    Caltrain CEO is acquiring funds, overseeing a transition to HSR compatible, interoperable system.

    Now Caltrain plans for level boarding and HSR compatible platform heights. Transition over to new platforms with dual height cars.

    This helps Capacity constrained TBT and is worth billions in cost avoidance.

    Not perfect but far from the clusterfuck you forcast.

    I see good news makes Gollum sad.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

    You forgot to mention the cost of the Gulf War. And widening Highway 99. And the Koch Brothers.

    Get with the full GiroyLogic™ non sequitur word salad program!
    Must try harder.

    Capacity dual height Apple gollum HQ constrained SFO CEO.

    Joe Reply:

    I mention a few positive developments and you literally flip-out, recover and call them a non-sequitur.

    EJ Reply:

    “This unrelated other thing is also behind schedule and over-budget” is not actually an argument that Caltrain shouldn’t be criticized.

    Joe Reply:

    Right.
    Caltrain Should be criticized for specific failings and there is a context.

    Seems way over the top to pretend this is unique to Caltrain and people need to be lined.

    There are examples of overruns and large expenses such as 2.5 B to modernize a terminal and 3 B HQ a year late and 2B over budget.

    Roland Reply:

    There is nothing wrong with “Caltrain” (nobody works for “Caltrain”).
    The real problem is here http://www.smctd.com/ AKA a bunch of useless rent seekers incapable of installing a new front lobby in less than 6 months (and counting).

    Joe Reply:

    Okay Neo. There is no spoon.

    You play games about what’s real and not real. Caltrain isn’t real because.. pedantic!! You then invent CRRwhatever to refer to CHSRA. Kewl.

    It’s called gas-lighting and fucktards gaslight.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Hmmm.

    Stadler.
    Underground.
    Capacity constrained.
    Level boarding.
    Interoperable.
    Acquiring funds.

    Oh, my head is spinning!

    Sounds waaaaaaay too hard!

    Better call in the finest rolling stock, infrastructure and project management expert that can be found on the Redwood City City Council and get him right on the case, pronto! There’s not a minute or a dollar to spare!

    Oh, hang on …

    Jerry Reply:

    ” and might cut CBOSS loose if they continue to slip and miss technical milestones at integration.”
    I already forgot as to why they had to have separate PTC systems in the first place.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I already forgot as to why they had to have separate PTC systems in the first place.

    Consultant and contractor profits.

    There’s over a hundred million public dollars gone missing compared to any comparable utterly trivial PTC procurement anywhere in the civilized world, and there’s guaranteed to be nearly as much more to come.

    It’s bonanza time at Caltrain and has been for some time. And hey, look, the state just threw more money onto the bonfire! Whoo hoo! PAR-TAY!

    Clem Reply:

    Interestingly, the massive cost overruns on the CBOSS program have been easily hidden by larding up the scope, overheads and contingencies on the much larger electrification contracts. Watchdog organizations will do well to keep a very close eye on those finances, assuming CBOSS doesn’t turn into a total failure to deliver anything useful. I would bet that CBOSS integration forms a big portion of the EMU contract (>15%) but I have yet to see a detailed WBS and cost breakdown.

    Roland Reply:

    The only logical explanation for the staggering $700M for electrifying 50 miles of tracks ($14M/mile vs. $2M anywhere else in the world) is that the bid includes a complete I-ETMS replacement for CBOSS (as per the RFP).
    The only problem with that “solution” is that what is currently out there is not worth resignalling (it will add zero capacity to the line). Having said that, there is nothing that cannot be fixed by Billions of Prop1A bonds at a later date…

    Clem Reply:

    I thought the ETMS thing was a harmless typo fixed in an addendum?

    Roland Reply:

    Link?

    Clem Reply:

    For example, RFP Addendum 6 correction to Volume 3, Part A, Section 1, Paragraph 4.13.2.1

    Roland Reply:

    Duly noted. BTW, they are going to try to skip the CBOSS presentation again on Thursday (item #18). They never posted it last month but the slide about the Arinc interface with the Wabtec BCCF is fascinating (it’s a duplicate of what happened at Metrolink 2 years ago).

    Roland Reply:

    Found the slides:
    Slide 5 (BCCF)
    – “There appear to be interoperability challenges”
    Slide 7
    – “CBOSS System Acceptance scheduled for April 2017”
    – “Schedule delay will require additional funding for the project”
    “Funding for extension of Owners Team ($14.7M for FY17)”
    Slide 10
    – “Further internal discussions on interoperability on UP controlled tracks (Gilroy to Tamien)”
    – “Interoperability may be the long pole in the tent for completion of the project and is the responsibility of the JPB (in terms of what the solution is)” I am NOT making this up!

    Clem Reply:

    Our worst nightmares coming true. This will make the $80 million pissed away on BART’s aborted AATC look like chump change. What an epic failure.

    Roland Reply:

    The CBOSS fiasco will be a rounding error after the hundreds of millions they are about to piss away on the LTK-designed FranKISSenTrain “special” doors which will still be bolted down by the time the trains ready for the scrap pile.

    Reality Check Reply:

    It seems unlikely, but what if Caltrain went for level roll-on, roll-off, ADA-compliant level-boarding well before and independent of HSR blended operations? The high doors would be used for that, since going with low doors would preclude blended platform sharing. UNLESS they decide to only use the high doors for shared platforms and low doors everywhere else … hmmmm.

    Clem Reply:

    The low doors won’t have gap fillers and as such will forever be unsuitable for unassisted boarding, even if platforms are raised to 25″. Besides which there is no reasonable transition strategy to keep operating through an interim period with some platforms at 8″ and others at 25″… that sort of thing would have required even more complicated vehicle borne systems.

    The dual doors are a technically sound and flexible way to operate through a transition from 8″ to 50″ with gap-free unassisted level boarding as the end state.

    Roland Reply:

    “The low doors won’t have gap fillers and as such will forever be unsuitable for unassisted boarding, even if platforms are raised to 25″.
    False. See http://www.tillier.net/stuff/caltrain/EMU_RFI.pdf (middle bottom diagram on page 12).

    “JPB EMUs will interface with existing platform heights and mini-high at 8‖ and 25‖ above TOR. The JPB’s current plans call for EMUs to be compatible with existing platform heights and existing mini-highs.” (section 6.4 on page 5).

    Clem Reply:

    I would caution against using an obsolete document (May 2014). The RFP and addenda take precedence. Only the high doors will have deployable gap filler steps to enable gap-free ADA compliant unassisted level boarding.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Roland: “Duly noted. BTW, they are going to try to skip the CBOSS presentation again on Thursday (item #18). They never posted it last month but the slide about the Arinc interface with the Wabtec BCCF is fascinating (it’s a duplicate of what happened at Metrolink 2 years ago).”

    It’s a very full agenda, plus closed sessions, there is also a big packet regarding their revised DBE Program. They will probably try to hurry through everything, after all can’t let this pesky Caltrain/JPB Board of Directors Meeting intrude upon their lunch time, lunch is all too important to them.

    None of the presentations are posted online yet. They did post presentations a few days prior to the meetings the last two months. Now for July 2016, some 14 hours before the meeting, they have yet to post anything

    One of their recent “Updated WebPages” was they are conducting an online survey about storm water of all things, WTF really?

    They are supposedly doing a fare study, where is the public input/online survey for that?

    What about increasing capacity/service?

    They can’t even tell me how ridership is calculated, particularly for the Go-Pass, I have asked numerous times. I know it’s based on ticket sales and there is a report at each month’s board meeting, yet they can’t tell me how the report is calculated. The monthly report doesn’t go into any real detail. Years ago, they used to provide a much more detailed report that tracked ridership for five years and actually provided more detailed ticket sales for the current month.

    Joe Reply:

    No legitimate reason. It’s a sunk cost.

    Roland Reply:

    There were 3 bidders: Alstom (ACSES on the NEC), Wabtec (I-ETMS on 20,000 miles of UP/BNSF tracks including Metrolink) and Parsons (I-ITCS).
    Staff report: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2011/100611+JPB+Agenda.pdf (item #12 on page 58)
    Presentation: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2011/10-6-11+Award+of+Contract+for+CBOSS+PTC+System.pdf (the scores are on slide 7).
    Minutes: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2011/10-6-11+Final+JPB+Minutes.pdf. Karen Antion’s response to public comments starts 1/2 way down page 9.

    Wabtec would have been the lowest bidder in absolute terms because they did not need the $100M SamTrans rent seeker overheads (they just needed to replicate what they did for Metrolink).
    ACSES would probably have been a better solution for HSR (it is very similar to ETCS) but would have required temporal separation (it is not “interoperable”).

    Clem Reply:

    Temporal separation would have been (and still could be) a great solution. Between 1AM to 5AM, the peninsula corridor would effectively operate as “dark territory”. Integration costs: zero.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Forgone payola to Karen Antion Consulting LLC: non-zero.

    EJ Reply:

    They’re not doing temporal separation for freight trains? I mean, I just assumed…

    Roland Reply:

    There is an 80MPH cannonball special that blasts through Palo Alto around noon headed SOUTH on MT-1 (no, I am not making that one up).
    Here is another one headed south on MT-2 (the “correct” track).

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/Phx2josce2Y

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Freight trains run on the NEC, at all hours of the day.

    Roland Reply:

    That’s the short story. Here is the long version: http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/high-performance/hsr-in-the-northeast-what-next.html.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t think I needed a much longer story. ACSES, SES, I-EMTS are interoperable since there are freight trains on the NEC at all hours.

    keith saggers Reply:

    NEC is four track, Caltrain has about one freight train a night, sand and gravel to the cement works in SF.

    Joey Reply:

    The less-trafficked parts of the NEC are still 2-3 tracks.

    Roland Reply:

    Q: Ever wondered why they did not touch the old siding when they built the new apartments @ Paul Avenue?
    A: https://youtu.be/PO7m0-7fFBw

    Marc Reply:

    It’s misleading to say there is “one freight train a night”. There is usually one long northbound train to the yard in SSF late afternoon or early evening, and a long southbound train (I assume using the same locomotives) in the late evening. There are a good number of shorter freight movements to break and make these two long trains and take the cars to their destinations. These mostly happen between and just after peak commute hours, using the 5 or 6 locomotives currently assigned to the SSF yard. If you miss an off-peak hourly train (like I have on a number of occasions) you’ll see them go by.

    Marc Reply:

    And, it’s not just sand and gravel. I’m no expert, but in the SSF yard one sees strings of refrigerator cars (as in the above video), lumber, cement or other bulk cargo, food grade tank cars (corn oil and/or sugar I assume), trash containers, scrap metal cars, etc. There isn’t enough time between 1 and 5 am to move them all. Each of those cars is probably equivalent to 10 or so trucks rumbling through someones neighborhood, I imagine the EIR suits will be lots of fun when Caltrain finally tries to kill off freight service.

    Joe Reply:

    Why is an EIR necessary to end freight service ?

    Roland Reply:

    “There isn’t enough time between 1 and 5 am to move them all. Each of those cars is probably equivalent to 10 or so trucks rumbling through someones neighborhood.”

    Joe Reply:

    So you don’t know. Okay and thank you for not posting a random link.

    Michael Reply:

    Figure 3.14-7 of the PCEP (Caltrain Electrification) document has a schematic of freight movements on the Peninsula.

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/FEIR/3.14+Transportation.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    Dear Joece, kindly help me understand which part of STFU it is that you do not understand.

    Joe Reply:

    @Michael page 3.14.30, last bullet. trackage right agreement allows Caltrain to terminate freight service by petitioning the STB if they choose to run substantially different commuter service. UP cannot object.

    No EIR seems necessary.

    Aarond Reply:

    They’ll never bother. The current agreement keeps everybody happy. Should SF ever actually become a profitable railfreight destination again, the only fights will be over where to put a new transfer station in SF.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Why would Caltrain want to “kill off freight service”

    EJ Reply:

    Because there’s very little of it, and PTC, grade separation and electrification are all cheaper and simpler if they don’t have to accomodate freight.

  19. les
    Jul 5th, 2016 at 07:33
    #19

    Hyundai Rotem has taken another hit. It will be interesting to see if Denver’s cars start cracking up in a few years.
    http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-philly-septa-rail-car-defects-0705-20160705-story.html

    Ted K. Reply:

    Previous links are in segment #16 –

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2016/06/anti-hsr-bond-initiative-qualifies-for-november-ballot/#comment-285186

    les Reply:

    Oh you mean the splam post.

  20. morris brown
    Jul 5th, 2016 at 18:29
    #20

    Dan Walters: Jerry Brown will try end run to extend state’s war on carbon

    This is really going to piss off a whole lot of the legislature as well as the judiciary

    Joe Reply:

    He’ll piss off republicans for the bizillionth time.

    Brown is a leader. He’s acting to protect cap and trade.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Joe

    With this action he pisses off many Demos as well. Deflections from the Democratic party line, in the Assembly especially were what killed off SB-32 last year. Apparently Brown unsuccessful at changing their minds this year as well.

    Joe Reply:

    We’ll show us the quotes from pissed off democrats. Start with the leadership in senate and assembly.
    They should be all over the newspapers be based they are ‘pissed’.
    More likely they are glad he’s leading.

    Opposing stuff is easy – no plan what to do – just oppose. Easy to find consensus. ‘NO’ and blame the majority for everything.

    You ‘NO’ guys get lulled into thinking unanimous votes of NO mean governing the state and moving forward on climate change is easy. ‘Oh, they’re fighting he he.’

    Doing stuff, governing, is harder and yes people will not all agree. That’s not pissed off.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Joe

    You obviously have not been following what has been going on with regards extending Cap and Trade as well as other issues. Read this older article:

    https://www.pifpac.org/california-campaign-spending-boosts-business-friendly-democrats/

    November 2014…
    ………….

    A group of 16 Democrats last year, for example, signed a letter urging the state to hold off on requiring oil companies to purchase emissions permits as part of the state’s cap-and-trade scheme, warning about higher gas prices. Other bills that have exposed divisions sought to ban single-use plastic bags, limit hydraulic fracturing and punish large stores whose employees’ wages are low enough to qualify them for public assistance.

    Last year the Governor was unable to pass a series of bills relating to Climate change and Cap and Trade.

    As you can see from here, a number of Democrats not willing to go along with his plan, and this executive order(s) (sure to be ruled illegal eventually), will not sit well with this group.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The drought will resume and increase now, after El Niño, while the Burn Baby Burn contingent continues to die off. California will not support unfettered increasing carbon emissions for long.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With 200 million they will burning dried cow dung. And twigs to fuel homeless campfires.

    EJ Reply:

    What is your source for 200 million?

    Joe Reply:

    Like I wrote, governing is hard.
    Saying “No” is easy.
    Oil money is power. A number of Dems collect oil donations. It’s hard to take on big oil.

    This has nothing to do with the constitution or rule of law or opposing cap and trade. It’s about protecting big oil for the sake of money.

    And those Dems that get pissed, still nothing given as proof, they’ll be standing tall for big oil.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The legislatures own lawyers say it has to be extended. No way he pulls this off.

    And it’s not even a good strategy. If it’s not a law, the next Govenor can not enforce it at will.

    Joe Reply:

    A non-binding opinion sought by the minority, opposition party.

    The State AG disagrees. That’s the final legal authority for the Gov.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The Legislature is controlled by the Democrats, and the office is non-partisan anyway. the final legal authority for the legislature says it is not valid past 2020. They have just as much heft as the AG.

    Speaking of which, I have seen no article that says the AG disagrees. So post that, because I dont believe they have stated that.

    Joe Reply:

    A republican lawmaker opposing everything and anything asked a question. Whom knows how it was posed and answered?

    Non-partisan is irrelevant- it’s not their job to advise the executive. The AG decides. If it’s litigated the the AG will make the arguments in court.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    wow Joe, the black list is getting long isnt it?

    First the GOP
    Then the Dems who were “bought” by big oil and big business who would not extend the law
    Now the non-partisan lawyers who dont agree with you interpretation of the law

    The conspiracy runs deep here. Better watch out, the judiciary is deciding cases on this law now and in the future. If the Illuminati have gotten to them it may be all over for cap and trade. Break out the aluminum foil hats and the anti-bugging hardware

    or

    There is no conspiracy and reasonable people of all political beliefs think that the law runs out in 2020 as it is clearly written…….

    HAHAHAHAHA. Just wrote that for fun, of course there is a grand conspiracy.

    Joe Reply:

    Lobbying happens.
    Passing major leglislation is difficult.
    Lawyers don’t all agree.

    The Gov consults the AG, not the leglislature and not a minority party opponent of his policies.

    In a few weeks Trump will be nominated and head the Republican Party.

    Laugh all you want.

    Joe Reply:

    Trump raised enough money in June to assure he’s the nominee.

    HSR lawmaker/haters have a new boss-man.

    Aarond Reply:

    @Roland

    If a delegate revolt happens, their vote will be split against 5+ other candidates (Jeb!, Romney and Cruz). Even in the worst case scenario Trump will win by plurality. The only candidates that could possibly face him 1v1 are Cruz (who screwed himself over by being in favor of free trade), and Romney (who lost in 2012). Neither are capable of actually beating him.

    Ultimately, Republicans want Trump. The “moderate” ones have failed to convince people to continue to support them.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But after the first round of voting none of the delegates will be bound to do anything…

    Aarond Reply:

    @Bahnfreund

    Delegates won’t fight the popular vote, otherwise they dump the election. Even in the event of a runoff, Trump will still win because a majority of Republicans like him. He is exactly what the GOP base wants.

    Remember why Trump is here: because the GOP failed to provide a better option. Twelve months ago we were seriously looking at Hilary vs Jeb. That idea was so repulsive to Republicans that over half cast their votes for Trump. Rubio couldn’t even win his home state of Florida. Cruz couldn’t win the rust belt. Kaisch is irrelevant outside of Ohio.

    Trump is the victor, attempts to screw him means screwing the party. Only Evangelicals want that, but they don’t have 51% of the vote.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My impression is that the evangelicals don’t dislike Trump any more than the others. They have to know by now they have lost the culture war, which is all about money and voting blocs, and the best modus vivendi they can hope to achieve is honing their special constitutional status and being excused from some secular laws and requirements. Trump may be in the best position to pull that off.

    Aarond Reply:

    In my personal experience, they’re not giving up (the culture war) without a fight. Trump, if successful, will steer the GOP away from social conservatism in lieu of secular nationalism. A lot of evangelicals would rather burn the GOP down so they can retain control of the ashes.

    When pushed into the corner, a lot will double down. But they don’t have the votes for it at the convention, and their states will probably vote GOP anyway. This is the same problem greens and progressives have.

    That said, we’re not even at the convention yet. Nothing is set until that (and veep picks) are done.

  21. Reality Check
    Jul 5th, 2016 at 21:36
    #21

    Syndicated columnist Tom Elias: HSR will make “brownest cut” bite harder

    For farmers whose Williamson Act contracts have either expired or are about to, [HSR] could mean big money when developers move in even before all the tracks are laid.

    But ill effects are obvious, too. There will be far less sequestration of greenhouse gases when housing tracts eat up farmland. Urban sprawl could spread as never before.

    All because of two governors who have billed themselves the greenest ever, anywhere, and their hand-picked appointees.

    morris brown Reply:

    Elias is spewing a lot of nonsense. As PA Mayor pointed out in a meeting, commute times not at 1 hour. The jobs are not at Diridon station. Commuters will still have to get to their jobs from there, and that will add 30 – 45 minutes. Then the commuting fares will be $30000 – $35000 a year. The volume of commuter traffic will be small.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not with the California Establishment’s 200 million wretched souls jammed into highrise hovels in 50 years.

    Jerry Reply:

    People commute all the time from Sacramento area to the Bay Area. Even slow ACE has commuters from the Central Valley.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Amazing configurable web-based animated mapping tool which shows you from-to and to-from commute patterns for any county in the US: ACS COMMUTER DATA VISUALIZATIONS

    Here’s an article about it: This Map Shows You Where All SF Commuters Call Home.

    Joe Reply:

    Entitled.

    Palo Alto fights growth and transit and the Mayor thinks increasingly long, difficult commutes makes them a desirable workplace.

    Roland Reply:

    Nothing that a nice “it only lasts 4 seconds” 250 MPH viaduct through the middle of downtown Morgan Hill can’t fix:
    https://youtu.be/NUdGg3GiAbg
    https://youtu.be/g8CpwywUsI4
    https://youtu.be/wMfahONeT2k

    synonymouse Reply:

    Urban sprawl is the raison d’etre of JerryRail.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    What happened to all the high rise hovels? Will these be sprawling low-density high rises?
    I’m not asking for consistency in politics, but maybe a little space so the two mutually exclusive posts aren’t sitting back to back.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    sprawling low density high rises..

    I chuckled.

    synonymouse Reply:

    horizontal sprawl; vertical sprawl – both rampant with 200 million, which may be a low figure since the commercial Establishment and the Party want ad infinitum population growth.

    Jerry Reply:

    Elias added:
    For the High Speed Rail Authority, it could assure a full passenger load, something that’s been very uncertain from the original conception of this massive project. That could help the authority lure private investors who so far have not put up a nickel.
    For high-tech companies, it resolves the problem of finding affordable housing for employees, because land is exponentially cheaper in Central Valley locales like Merced, Chowchilla and Madera, all hard by the bullet train route.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    And the improved transportation makes it practical for the major companies to take advantage of the cheaper land by building satellite facilities that can hire locally from the CV colleges.

    Joe Reply:

    People with 2M+ dollar bungalows are mocking the high cost of transit.

    Aarond Reply:

    What makes or breaks private investment is how much TOD the state can incentivize in the CV. That is something which is totally outside the authority’s power and resides in the legislature. As for tech companies, they get better value per dollar with VTA and ACE, since they go to the places where the cheap norcal housing is at the moment.

  22. Reality Check
    Jul 6th, 2016 at 13:14
    #22

    Of interest to Syno and Tejonistas:

    Outdoor enthusiasts get to roam Tejon Ranch — for a price

    Tejon Ranch to offer public access — for $2,500 per family

    Jerry Reply:

    Synonymous will be happy to give, “Old Ranger” campfire talks about Tejon. And the Chandlers.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “You think you know what you are dealing with here, Mr. Geddes, but believe me you don’t.”

    Oh, I see what remains of BR is finally getting to wiring Glasgow-Edinburgh. When I traveled it in 1970 they were running dmu’s and I was thinking the Scots are getting the usual shaft. Makes one think of dumb SMART.

    http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/main-line/seven-month-delay-for-edinburgh-glasgow-electrification.html

    EJ Reply:

    Traveling the world, finding things to complain about.

  23. Eric
    Jul 7th, 2016 at 05:10
    #23

    Off topic but cool:

    Electrochromatic windows that turn opaque when a train passes near residential buildings, to preserve privacy for the residents
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0whS1r1cNw8

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