Tuesday Open Thread

Jun 21st, 2016 | Posted by

Sorry for the long delays – been dealing with a sick kid (he’s better now). I’ve got a few other items to cover in upcoming posts this week, but use this as a new discussion thread.

  1. Jerry
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 12:35
    #1

    Kids come first. Good to hear that he’s better now.

  2. morris brown
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 12:42
    #2

    Without Cap and Trade Funds, where is the funding?

    Dan Walters: California cap-and-trade emission auctions could face bleak future

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris, where do YOU suggest that the money come from in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the WORLD???

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nah.

    California is not like Taiwan or Morocco. California does not have that kind of money.

    Steven L. Reply:

    Taiwan’s 2015 budget was $65 billion. Just the General Fund portion of California’s 2015 budget—so leaving out stuff like bonds and designated money—was $115 billion. Taiwan also has to spend part of its revenue on a military and universal healthcare. So you’re right, California doesn’t have that kind of money: it has 2-3x that kind of money.

    JBinSV Reply:

    The way hyper-successful companies keep money off-shore then the Bahamas and Cayman Islands have our money and should be able to afford HSR for every citizen. California -does- not have -that- kind of money.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Either other countries have some way to keep their companies from offshoring their profits (then the US and/or Cali should do that too) or they have some other way of getting money (then Cali should look into that)…

    synonymouse Reply:

    You must be dreaming. That’s why Tim Cook is all kissy-huggy with Paul Ryan these days.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Marx said something about government being a committee of those who own the means of production or something like it, didn’t he?

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris. Even if you totally forget HSR, where will the funding come from for CalTrain and the necessary grade crossing improvements on the Peninsula? ? (SRO on the trains.)
    Menlo Park (Facebook employees) and this blog needs your answers!

    Roland Reply:

    Prop1A bonds and local match except San Mateo County which does not have any money.

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris. We know that you and PAMPA are against HSR. And that you all just, “want it done right.” So tell us, where will the funding come from???

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris. Burlingame has one of the entire state’s most problematic grade crossings at Broadway.
    Cost of fixing it – $250,000,000.
    Where do YOU suggest the money come from???

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Suggestions:
    * “Value engineering”
    * “Giving a fuck”.
    * “Not robbing the public blind”.
    * “Not colluding with contractors”.
    * “Not having your public agency run by in-house perma-temp contractors with every interest in cost maximization.”
    * “Not skimming massive agency overheads off the top of every contract, with perverse incentives to maximize costs”
    * “Reducing agency (ie in-house perma-temp consultant) planning and design costs by a factor of 10.”
    * “Prioritizing capital projects according to a concrete and public service plan, with quantified and verified and continuously re-evaluated metrics which feed into that prioritization.”
    * “Cancelling projects whose costs spiral out of control, rather than killing off more effective and small projects instead to feed the beast.”
    * The list goes on, and on, and on.

    Oh, and you forgot the quotation marks around the “cost” of “fixing” this simple grade crossing.

    What on EARTH could make you, or could make anybody remotely rational, believe that this is a quarter of a billion dollar undertaking? It’s elevating a mile of double track about 15 feet. People do that sort of thing in their sleep with both hands tied behind their backs.

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe rebuilding the 880-101 interchange which is estimated at ~1 Billion dollars.

    Roland Reply:

    You forgot Caltrain “electrification” @ $22.5M/mile between SJ & SF vs. $2M/mile between Boston & New Haven and the very special EMUs @ $8.5M a pop vs. $3M for the same railcars in Europe.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    You won’t get a 4 car bi-level EMU in Europe for $3M … not even from Pesa (if they would build such vehicles)

    Peter Reply:

    Shhhh, don’t burst Roland’s “I know better than everyone else” bubble.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I recently talked to an official of a local transit authorities…

    According to him buses and light rail vehicles have risen extremely in price, partly due to new regulations requiring lower emissions, better accessibility and so on…

    Roland Reply:

    @Max, we are talking about $8.5M/car, not for a 4-car EMU set:
    http://mtc.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=fcf41f39-1c96-4bba-a174-6a9a77c96fdd.pdf
    (table 1.3 on page 4)

    Peter Reply:

    Sorry, but your own comment is not a reliable source. What is your source?

    Roland Reply:

    Click on the links in the table.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That kind of would get in the line; two days ago, Stadler got the final OK for a contract with the Swedish Mälab operator over 33 4-car KISSes, at an unit price of SEK 100M (which corresponds about to $12M). This order is with an option over additional 110 trains.

    HOWEVER, with EMUs, it is horrendously stupid to compare price on a “car” base, because a “car” is not operable on its own. Reasonable comparisons would be passenger capacity, or price per seat (but even that is not conclusive, because the number of seats depend on what the customer orders).

    Roland Reply:

    Agreed but you can realistically use an average cost per car when you order 16×6-car train sets (96 cars).
    BTW, did you notice that I counted two Omneo cars as one (because of the Omneo architecture) and that the Omneos still came in at $2.5M for 2 cars (because of the massive SNCF forder for 860 cars?)

    Peter Reply:

    An additional issue not considered in your comment is the maintenance agreement that may be incorporated into Caltrain’s procurement. How many years at what cost for Caltrain’s order versus the other procurements.

    Alan Reply:

    New Haven to Boston was finished, what? 10 or 15 years ago? Apples-to-oranges comparison if you don’t account for inflation since the NEC project was finished. And the Europeans don’t have US FRA crashworthiness standards to deal with, among other things.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    We is speshuil. Now giv us yer moneez.

  3. car(e)-free LA
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 13:40
    #3

    I was just perusing the CAHSR website, and I found this: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/fresno-baker-eir/drft_EIR_Vol3_sec_e.pdf which I thought was rather interesting. It shows plans for stations to be built along the Fresno-Bakersfield route. The station buildings do seem okay, if a little heavy on stairs (necessary because the station includes entrances on both sides of the UP tracks in Fresno, and the station is suspended above them. However, what really stood out to me was the ridiculously large amount of surface parking planned. While some of the surface parking could be turned into TOD, and others could be concentrated into parking garages, one very strange plan I noticed for the Fresno station was that a 5 story parking garage is planned several blocks away from the station entrance, with surface parking in between the garage and station, which seems to be the inverse of ideal. I think a thread about plans for stations would be warranted in the future.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Also, it seems like the authority is planning side platforms instead of superior island platforms, which should be changed.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    In a high-speed line, it is actually better to have outside platforms.

    The through tracks can be laid as if there were no station, in other words, just as a continuation of the regular double track line.

    The platform tracks can then be placed on the outside of the through tracks, with the switches diverging to the outside, and that leads to outside platforms.

    Otherwise, the through tracks have to be realigned so that there is enough space between them for the platform tracks and the platform. In an assumed straight stretch, that means adding additional curves.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Having HSR pass at speed on tracks next to a platform requires quite some infrastructure…

    By the way what is the max speed for modern switches? Back in the day the limited max speeds, but I think that’s not the case any more, right?

    William Reply:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/eir_memos/Proj_Guidelines_TM2_1_8R0.pdf

    CHSRA already have 150mph switched designed.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Maximum speed over deviation is in the 160 km/h range. Higher speeds are theoretically possible, but the tips get very long, as well as the moveable frogs. Both would require very strong and stable actuators.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So in general less switches = higher speeds & lower costs.

    Joey Reply:

    My recollection is that the highest speed switches in operation today allow around 250 km/h in the diverging direction and no limit in the straight direction.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct about straight direction but the maximum turnout speed contemplated for HS2 is 225 KPH (140 MPH). Can you provide a link to 250 KPH switches?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Google “no. 50 turnout Germany” and you’ll find a publication that gives info about these type of switches. Btw No. 50 allows 220km/h on the diverging line. That’s a heckuva long switch though. Even a No. 38 switch is 135 meters long.

    Joe Reply:

    Max

    Blended HSR with Caltrain commuter be best with island, no?

    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-island-platforms-rule.html?m=1

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe Clem posted somewhere else the idea of Fast-Slow/Slow-Fast as the ideal station design for high speed rail. I didn’t agree with him at first, but now I do.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I know that article, and what Clem states is absolutely correct _in that particular situation_ (on the peninsula where the through speed is low (200 km/h or less).

    Things are different when the station is at a place with high through speed (280 km/h and more), where the curve radii get bigger and bigger.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have recently been to Büchen (in the North of Germany) which – for reasons passing understanding – is an important(ish) interchange station with the occasional ICE in addition to the Eurocities and regional trains. It has two tracks running through it where the ICE passes at – I guess – 230 km/h (possibly less, but not more). The station has a unique layout but it still manages to avoid having to use stairs for most connections you could conceivably have there…

    Roland Reply:

    So you are advocating for trains blowing by platforms @ 125 MPH?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That’s standard in the UK, in France (for example, Mulhouse – Strasbourg), in Germany (for example, Hamburg – Hannover), and probably elsewhere.

    No big deal.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s the protection on the platforms for that?

    Joey Reply:

    There’s no platform edge doors or any other physical barrier, if that’s what you’re asking.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah that was what I was getting at.

    Oddly I seem to not have been to a train station where trains pass at high speeds close to the platform, yet…

    swing hanger Reply:

    Bahnfreund, platform barriers with sliding doors are the common solution in Japan. At Atami Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Bzi2_eU9ow

    telso Reply:

    There are some barriers at local stations on the Hamburg-Berlin line, which has had a lot of work done since reunification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin%E2%80%93Hamburg_Railway#Platform_security . Some stations don’t have barriers, just warning paint.

    Here’s a video of an ICE train passing at speed, probably close to 200 km/h (with what I assume is the announced warning, though I don’t speak German): https://youtu.be/L3r1xBTw7-E?t=44s . (There is also a freight train at fairly high speed around 3:00, and a few more passenger trains at speed.) A few others at other stations, some slower due to nearby curves: https://youtu.be/LKAe78lElu4?t=39s , https://youtu.be/fA9kIqF42y8?t=3m1s , and another freight passing at speed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWw_WjRGOb0

    Joey Reply:

    Actually, it happens in the US too. You can find videos of the Acela going through Kingston, RI at 150 mph

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does it need buff strength to do that?

    Peter Reply:

    I doubt even the FRA cares about buff strength when the issue is colliding with pedestrians.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You mean they are mushy and in the way for only a very short period of time before they are… yaknow… Not there anymore…

    R Ruiz Reply:

    I looked at the PDF you linked and was appalled. Terrible urban design, truly terrible architecture. Everything a transformative project such as this should not be. The answer of course, is that this was a preliminary scheme cooked up by the engineers. The Fresno depot illustrated in those drawings was a soulless post-modern mausoleum.

    I believe these boards from 2015 (hopefully) better represent the design aspirations of the project:

    http://fresnostationdistrict.org/about_files/Display%20Boards%20from%20Fresno%20Station%20District%20Open%20House%20-%20October%2014,%202015.pdf

    Initially, there probably will be seas of parking in Fresno, but the designers involved in putting this presentation together seem to know what they are doing.

  4. Bahnfreund
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 14:38
    #4

    All the best to the sick kid from me as well!

  5. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 14:48
    #5

    Dallas-Fort Worth HSR plan draws worldwide interest

    French and Chinese officials were among several dozen people who attended a high-speed forum hosted by the Texas Commission on High-Speed Rail in the Dallas-Fort Worth Region.

    […]

    Texas Central Partners, a private company armed with technology from Japan’s largest rail provider, has already proposed building a high-speed line from Dallas to Houston. That project, which could cost $10 billion or more but would be privately funded, is on course to be completed in 2022

    […]

    [The] commission is working on expanding the system beyond Dallas and Houston, to also include stops in Arlington and Fort Worth and eventually Austin, San Antonio and possibly cities in adjacent states.

    […]

    North Texas officials, including Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, said Monday they are looking for private-sector partners to bring their own dollars to the project and bring down the public’s cost.

    “The private sector has a great opportunity here to move this ahead and make a lot of money and make a real difference in our community,” Williams told the foreign guests.

    […]

    Texas needs trains that can fill a void left by airlines, who are putting more emphasis on international and other long-distance flights and less emphasis on intrastate travel, Williams said.

    […]

    Alain Leray, president of SNCF America, said after Monday’s meeting he is concerned that if Texas officials allow Texas Central Partners to build the Dallas-Houston line using the same technology found on trains in Japan then Texas’ system won’t be compatible with trains built by other companies.

    Rail companies in other countries use “neutral” technology that can be used by competing companies, but the Japanese technology isn’t compatible, he said.

    If Texas goes with the Japanese technology, it will create a monopoly in the process,” Leray said. “Anytime you need to replace train sets, you will have only one supplier, and that will drive up the price for Texans.”

    […]

    Reality Check Reply:

    Anti-HSR Lawmaker Launches Texas Central Railway HSR Profit/Loss Calculator

    State Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. launched the Texas High Speed Rail Calculator. It is the first publicly available tool to measure the profit/loss of Texas Central’s proposed high speed rail. The high speed rail will run from Houston to Dallas/Ft.Worth, with one stop in Brazos Valley. The rail calculator gives Texans direct and intimate access to determine the train’s viability, answering these questions:

    • How much will people pay for a one way train fare?
    • How many travelers will have to use the train at that fare to be viable?
    • Can TCR entice frequent flyers to take the train, instead?

    The rail calculator can be found on Rep. Bell’s website.

    Is the train profitable? You be the judge.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    On your third bullet: Just look over at Europe and compare it to lines like Frankfurt-Cologne, Berlin-Hamburg, Madrid-Barcelona or even London-Paris and you have the answer.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    This “calculator” is highly manipulative (of course it is). Among other things the lowest interest rate you can enter is 10% (Which investment currently gives such a rate of return?) and the highest amount of time for the loan is 30 years, even though other large scale projects (e.g. powerplants) work with 40 year loans or longer…

    But of course this is not about information, it is about propaganda…

    Now if you could enter your own numbers, we might be talking, but the way it is…. pfffttt….

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Also no way to account for choice passengers added by removing car trips. Imagine that. The state rep really plays the part though, no? Apparently he’s a a far right sovereign citizen nut. Surprise surprise.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Sovereign citizen?

    Oh boy…

    Useless Reply:

    Reality Check

    Texas Central Partners is a US subsidiary of JR Central. Of course it won’t use anything other than Shinkansen. The whole business proposition of Texas Central HSR is to graft the Japanese system to Texas as is, no modifications, and 100% funded by Japanese if that’s what it took to transplant Shinkansen to the US.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I’m not sure what people’s gripe is. I can understand rolling stock manufacturers that aren’t going to get the business being miffed, would anyone expect any different? The TCR will be a closed system. It seems logical that the compatibility issues on Shinkansen won’t matter because there is no need for it to be. As for the argument that TCR will be locked into a higher priced vehicle long term with a Japanese monopoly on parts and supplies, I don’t think the goal of the Japanese is to secretly swindle and bilk TCR with a competition free supply chain.

    Useless Reply:

    Faber Castell

    Texas Central High Speed Railway will be owned and operated by JR Central. They have no reason to swindle themselves.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Unless of course they are secretly in cahoots with the ancient BART conspiracy ™

    James Fujita Reply:

    The Shinkansen is standard gauge. Is the French train president talking out of his derriere, hoping to confuse the Texans?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Track gauge is just one aspect of compatibility.

    James Fujita Reply:

    OK then, can you name some? If it is signaling or electrical AH/Hz, then I suppose European manufacturers can learn to live with Japanese standards.

    swing hanger Reply:

    It’s just sour grapes with a side of fud from SNCF. If they want their system in play, they put money where their mouth is and pony up as JR Central and investment banks have done for TCR. If TCR establishes itself in the Dallas-Houston market, it would behoove SNCF or any other European operator to make their trains compatible with Digital ATC should they build a connecting line with TCR.

    Domayv Reply:

    isn’t the Shinkansen’s signalling system comparable to ERTMS

    Useless Reply:

    Domayv

    isn’t the Shinkansen’s signalling system comparable to ERTMS

    Comparable(Some say even better), but not compatible. ERTMS trains cannot run on Shinkansen track.

    SNCF must have a misunderstanding on the purpose Texas Central Partners; this is a JR Central owned subsidiary established for the purpose of promoting Shinkansen technology in the US.

    James Fujita Reply:

    Assuming that’s true, you say that like it’s a bad thing.

    Korea doesn’t have a horse in this race.

    Useless Reply:

    James Fujita

    Korea doesn’t have a horse in this race.

    Not in Texas, but Korea is the only qualified Asian bidder in California.

    Japanese and Chinese are unable to offer FRA Tier III compliant high speed trains, the very notion of high crashworthy high speed train is a heresy to Japanese and Chinese.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Decelerate suddenly from 125 mph/200 kph, it isn’t going to be pretty no matter what kind of tank is wrapped around you,

    Joe Reply:

    @Useless

    Korea unable to offer compliant trains. You are fooled by hearsay that Korea even cares to bid. Korea is exiting market and putting all resources into worlds first fusion power plant.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In German language circles there is often an argument regarding Jacobs bogies… (TGV has them ICE doesn’t) What’s your take on that?

    Useless Reply:

    Bahnfreund

    In German language circles there is often an argument regarding Jacobs bogies… (TGV has them ICE doesn’t) What’s your take on that?

    Jacobs bogie is safest and good for revenue service speed upto 320 km/hr. Above that you need to switch to conventional bogie, since the axle load must be kept below 14 tons to keep wear and tear of railways at an acceptable rate and that’s impossible with jacobs bogie.

    There has to be other arrangements made to prevent jackknifing in case of accident if Jacobs bogie is to be abandoned for a higher revenue service speed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So you are of the opinion that a TGV derailing at Eschede would have had less dead than the real life ICE derailment?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yes, it is functionally similar to ETCS level 2 (without the GSM-R part) and is not only used on Shinkansen lines, but also JR East’s busiest commuter lines. JR East is currently installing a new system, called ATACS, on the busy Saikyo Line, with activation in Fall 2017. ATACS is functionally similar to ETCS level 3.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Are they compatible to each other?

    swing hanger Reply:

    No. It’s a different, proprietary system. You get around that by installing each system in rolling stock, like they do in Europe for cross-border trains. Of course it’s not perfect, but that’s the (political) reality. In the past, Japanese manufacturers were shut out of contracts in developing countries because European builders backed up by their politicians persuaded customers that their standards were “world standards”, regardless of actual merit wrt operating efficacy. They are not going to back down so easily today. Of course this kind of salesmanship is normal, it’s done by all nations for all kinds of infrastructure projects, and with the U.S., for defense and commercial aircraft contracts with foreign governments.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well I may be biased, but hasn’t the EU style become de facto world standard in many ways already? There seem to be few systems around the world that don’t follow this standard.

    I think I once read about a phenomenon of Japan inventing a thing rather early on, starting a standard in Japan that does not follow the world standard and is outdated once the rest of the world invents another standard that does the same. I think that happened with phones that do more than talking and texting and a similar thing is going on with Credit Cards… But I forgot the name of the phenomenon… France seems to have (had) it to a similar degree with “French Internet” being shut down quite recently due to the “global standard” overtaking it…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Addition to the previous post: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_syndrome this is what I meant

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Bahnfreund
    You can’t really say “Japan does not follow the world standard” when there’s no world standard at the time to follow…

    Maybe more accurately “Japan fails to export their system to the rest of the world and thus later ends up being ‘non-standard’ when somebody else comes up with something similar and does successfully market it internationally.”

    Of course it’s a problem, but it’s hard to see what to do… in Japan’s huge internal rail market, switching to ETCS or whatever would be very expensive and disruptive, and in the end yield little functional advantage. Now that the European system has a clear advantage in adoption, Japanese railroads should probably be trying to converge towards more compatibility in the future, maybe they’re not doing that enough, but… it’s not really surprising considering their past independence.

    Useless Reply:

    Bahnfreund

    hasn’t the EU style become de facto world standard in many ways already?

    Japan invented high speed rail, the European high speed rail came 20 years after Japan. Hence Japanese system was firmly in place by the time European high speed rail arrived and Japan had no reasons to switch.

    Japanese and Chinese have massive domestic markets to count on, so they need not care about exports or following international standards.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Incidentally, a more amusing example of Europe trying to play the “standards game” are the OSI networking standards.

    Basically the ARPANET and later the Internet, were based on TCP/IP (and earlier variants), but at some point Europe started trying to push a different set of protocols as “standard,” literally, by “standardizing” them… for a while, this kinda-sorta worked, but in the end TCP/IP proved simply too popular and functional, and the OSI alternatives too messed up, and OSI gradually died out. During that period, however, the “OSI is the standard!” mantra caused a fair bit of damage.

    [I spent a few years in the early 90s working at a UK university. The UK academic network (JANET?) was painfully dysfunctional, and TCP/IP an obvious and highly functional replacement, but because OSI “was coming,” progress in UK networking was stifled for quite a while.]

    Useless Reply:

    Miles Bader

    To give Europeans their due credit, HTTP and HTML are British inventions.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Useless
    Tim Berners-Lee is British, but I thought he developed HTTP/HTML while he was working at CERN, in Switzerland.

    So maybe call them “European” inventions…. :]

    swing hanger Reply:

    My understanding from news reports re. “world standard” arguments is that European manufacturers used it as a rationale to persuade customers to buy all-European equipment, not just signaling systems. So even if the Japanese manufacturers were willing to build trains equipped with European control systems, gullible (or well-bribed) customers were fooled (persuaded) into thinking only European trains could run on European-supplied track, signal systems, CTC, etc. Now, most of the big “from the ground up” projects in developing countries are bundled in complete all-in-one packages, so it is in the interests of the suppliers to keep everything under their own standards, and preferably within their own national supplier umbrella.

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    So even if the Japanese manufacturers were willing to build trains equipped with European control systems

    Japanese tried this with Taiwan HSR and it took a decade to iron out bugs. It doesn’t work well.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Japanese tried this with Taiwan HSR and it took a decade to iron out bugs. It doesn’t work well.

    No doubt it takes a lot of troubleshooting to support a system with which you don’t have extensive experience—but thanks to Taiwan HSR, they now have that experience, so doing so in the future should be much easier and smoother.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Apparently the Taiwanese hired German train drivers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lAlC19PEN8 (in German).

    Seems that exactly the things that make the German network difficult (mixing with freight, dense network, frequent stops) makes its train drivers among the best in the world.

  6. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 14:55
    #6

    China should solve the politics to export HSR technology
    There is no doubt about China’s expertise, but success also involves studying the legal and political environments of host countries before rushing into a deal

    […]

    China has built the world’s largest network of more than 19,000km [[11,800mi] of track and is eager to export its technology and expertise. More than two dozen countries have shown interest, but only a few contracts have been signed. The reason is simple enough: even the best of ideas need to be backed by understanding and preparation.

    […]

    China Railway International and XpressWest earlier this month disclosed the end of their alliance for conflicting reasons.

    US regulations require that high-speed trains have to be made domestically, a difficult proposition given that no such industry exists. The project was estimated to cost at least US$5 billion and importing manufactured parts from China and assembling them in the US would have raised the cost.

    […]

    Differing priorities were behind the collapse of a deal between Chinese firms and Mexico in 2014, another with Indonesia has got off to a bumpy start and been delayed while Thailand said in March it did not want Chinese financing for a project. China lost out to Japan last December for India’s first high-speed line, although it is bidding for its second. But such setbacks will not slow dreams to finance, build and operate systems in every part of the world […]

    Joe Reply:

    US regulations my ass.

    These are the terms for a loan. That’s access to Federal loans.

    China wants US taxpayers to Chinese partners below market, taxpayer guaranteed loans so they can buy Chinese products.

    Fuck it.

    I want China to give US manufacturing firms low interest, government backed loans to establish business in China. Hell freezes over.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Shades of the Donald.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    More like shades of Joe Biden…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Futures so bright ya gotta wear shades

    Reality Check Reply:

    China, Russia expected to sign multibillion dollar HSR deal during Putin’s visit to Beijing

    China has recently confirmed plans to provide a 400 billion-rouble (HK$48 billion) [US$6.2 billion] loan to build a high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Who or what is scmp?

    Useless Reply:

    Bahnfreund

    SCMP is a major Hong Kong newspaper. It was a major independent critic of Beijing under NEWS Corp ownership, but has become a mouthpiece of Chinese communist party ever since Alibaba bought it out.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    And I thought it was an abbreviation for shrimp SCMPI

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that’s the way the old Pokemon games with limited character storage would have abbreviated it…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I didn’t realize SCMP used to be owned by NEWS corp!

    I guess it’s a rare example of NEWS corp having a positive influence… ><

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I’m still not sure whether NEWS corp has any ideology besides making money…

  7. Faber Castell
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 16:42
    #7

    Tejon Ranch, Palmdale Doglegs, Bechtel and BART wheel profiles HAVE been known to make children sick. Just sayin…

    synonymouse Reply:

    And bus routes cut due to empty buses:

    http://www.francetvinfo.fr/economie/transports/communes-vers-la-suppression-des-lignes-de-bus_1510923.html

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    So what. Small French towns want smaller busses because they have small populations. How is that relevant?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The problem is one you find in every suburban area – low levels of transit use when most transport is by automobile. Tax money is going to something with a poor cost/benefit ratio.

    Smaller buses are no panacea. Where I live over the years they went from smaller buses, paratransit type, to the shorter length of the standard urban bus. Occasionally you might have enough passengers that overload the paratransit type bus and then the standard urban bus is probably a faster and easier ADA loader. Add on the desirability of one type of vehicle to simplify maintenance and thus costs. Either way you end up with the same low level of passenger traffic and the operator payroll is the same.

    The lesson is to prioritize transit spending to “ace” the trunk lines. Ergo trolley buses on Geary straightaway and shelve BART to the boonies and beyond. Gavin had a chance to do something with the centennial in 2012. Lee seems to very, very little transit aware, no better than Gavin. Feinstein was much more interested than those two.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    How to trolley busses on Geary improve the current situation? Also, San Jose isn’t the boonies, if that is the BART extension you are referring to.

  8. agb5
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 17:01
    #8

    Talking of massive, wildly expensive, controversial infrastructure projects.
    Construction of the world’s first commercial scale nuclear fusion reactor is underway, with massive concrete foundations in place and huge sub-assemblies being shipped in from around the world.

    The project is solar power, but instead of capturing the natural suns energy, it will create a small artificial sun, with a temperature of 150 million °C, inside of a large container here on planet earth.

    The politics of building HSR in California are trivial compared to getting hundreds of scientists and politicians from dozens of countries to agree on what to build, where to build it and who is going to pay for it. As expected, there are plenty of opponents who say it is a waste of money, the wrong technology, incompetent project management etc.

    Latest cost estimate is €18 billion for first ignition in 2025. and perhaps by 2040 it could power high speed trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    By 2025 wind, PV and batteries will be cheaper.

    Roland Reply:

    and CRRA will takeover Tesla: http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-offers-to-acquire-solarcity-1466545551

    Joe Reply:

    No such thing as CRRA.

    Edward Reply:

    Of course there is…

    http://www.crra.com/about-crra

    James Fujita Reply:

    This needs to be the official definition on this blog. “California Resource Recovery Association”

    James Fujita Reply:

    as in, “the evil California Resource Recovery Association conspiracy.” “the California Resource Recovery Association boondoggle.” at least until they hand us a Cease and Desist order.

    Aarond Reply:

    The state did similarly complicated things 50 years ago when San Onorefe, Diablo Canyon, and Rancho Seco were put up. But CA isn’t interested in paying the added cost for clean energy when Arizona exists.

    Joe Reply:

    Not true.

    The nuclear solution isn’t sustainable and coal continues to decline.

    PG&E will decommission Diablo canyon and not for coal.

    Joe Reply:

    http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article84993992.html

    “California’s energy landscape is changing dramatically with energy efficiency, renewable and storage being central to the state’s energy policy,” PG&E’s Chairman Tony Earley said in a prepared statement. “As we make this transition, Diablo Canyon’s full output will no longer be required.”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Odd statement, given the experience Florida Power and Light has had using nuclear to support renewable energy (especially solar).

    Joe Reply:

    Forbes:

    Diablo Canyon enjoys the scale economies of a two-unit plant, is ably staffed, has a large and sophisticated owner, and is running well—rated in the top tier by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Persistent seismic concerns aren’t currently in the foreground. Rather, as PG&E acknowledges, market forces have made California’s last nuclear plant redundant. As customers use electricity more productively, solar roofs generate homebrew power, and competitive renewables flood the wholesale market, Diablo Canyon has become superfluous—and cheaper to close than to run.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    They better not close DiabloCanyon until they first close every fossil fuel plant in California first.

    Aarond Reply:

    Don’t forget: the “storage” are chemical batteries. Things which are absolutely filthy and are responsible for the Love Canal. The entire concept of “energy storage” is 100% greenwashing, there is nothing green about it. They are literal poison and ideologically-driven greens would rather have entire warehouses of it rather than a box of spent fuel.

    It’s sad to see Diablo Canyon go, especially when it has a functional desal facility on site (the type that could be used to generate drinking water). The state has also lost 1,500 Unionized jobs many of which will go to other states.

    Joe Reply:

    PG&E decision.

    Storage will use the Same batteries for cars and phones and laptops – didn’t know this was all poison..

    Love canal wasn’t anything to do with batteries. We didn’t even have the technology for consumer lithium ion batteries.
    Wikipedia:

    This dumpsite operated until 1953. During its 5-year lifespan, 21,000 tons of chemicals, products such as “caustics, alkalines, fatty acids and chlorinated hydrocarbons produced from the manufacturing of dyes, perfumes, solvents for rubber and synthetic resins”,

    Aarond Reply:

    Try eating a battery. Note: most of them contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    No skin off my back though, I’m lucky enough to work for the winners here. But mark my words, 20-30 years from now when all these energy storage places have to be replaced/renewed, disposal will turn out to be a major headache. Battery recycling are not nearly as controlled as nuclear waste storage. For example:

    https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/Projects/UpdateExideSuspension.cfm
    https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19388

    $176,600,000 so far in cleanup. 30 years from now, people will discover the bad side of solar like they did with nuclear.

    Joe Reply:

    The “eating test” isn’t serious. Don’t eat batteries or solar panels or turds.

    If you have these fears of solar silicon panels then how are you posting on a blog? Any tool you use is possibly a carcinogenic and can’t be safely eaten.

    In 30 years someone will not discover a latent toxic solar byproduct equal to plutonium.
    Well that’s an imaginary problem not rooted in physics or chemistry.

    Aarond Reply:

    I don’t mean solar panels themselves, I mean toxic batteries used as energy storage for them. When they have to be disposed of, people will then see the real cost of renewables. And this assumes there won’t be another Exide Tech screwup.

    Clean power costs money and once the hype for solar dies, people will be more susceptible for the cheap options. Will PG&E pay for battery disposal/replacement in 2046, or will they dump it like they dumped nuclear? The buck stops there. If the decision is predicated on the market, dirty power will be well positioned to come back.

    To be clear I’m for solar, but it’s not capable of replacing oil or coal unless energy storage is utilized. Which drives up the cost, and *will* make it less economically competitive in the future. Just like what happened with nuclear power.

    Edward Reply:

    Why do you assume that energy can only be stored in batteries?

    Aarond Reply:

    Because all the energy storage projects PG&E is doing uses them, except for a single flywheel plant. And 2/3rds of the selected projects also use lithium-ion batteries, instead of less toxic zinc ones.

    https://www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/newsdetails/index.page?title=20151202_pge_presents_innovative_energy_storage_agreements_

    Out of the initial 75 MW storage, 42 MW will be from li-ion batteries that will require special disposal. Which is a problem, as outlined here:

    http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/npl/PAD077087989.htm

    There’s just not enough data on

    (a) the real, long-term costs of energy storage,
    (b) the replacement/disposal or refurbishment costs, and
    (c) whether or not they are actually green (specifically li-ion batteries)

    In the same manner that 50 years ago, there was not much data on the long-term costs of nuclear waste storage. Even if it is actually 100% clean and green, what are the costs of replacing them? That could easily be a dealbreaker if the #1 factor is keeping power rates low. This is especially true if the far green left turns on high-capacity energy storage plants, and throws lawsuits and protests at them.

    Joe Reply:

    There’s not enough data on batteries so let’s fear monger to save nuclear power, a known high risk power source with no long term storage.

    We always knew nuclear was toxic and needed storage far longer than human civilization.

    What is the 10,000 year toxicity of a battery? There has to be an elemental, physical basis for fear mongering batteries. Try giving us one.

    And from an environmental perspective, it makes sense to reuse battery materials, as well. Though lithium-ion batteries contain none of the caustic chemicals found in lead-acid batteries, dumping them in landfills would be wasteful and could potentially pollute area groundwater, Weekes said

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lithium-ion-batteries-hybrid-electric-vehicle-recycling/

    Aarond Reply:

    My point isn’t so much saving nuclear as it is keeping California committed to fighting climate change. California is America’s sandbox, new things are tried here. That’s great, but it also leaves a commitment problem. In the 1960s we built three big nuclear power plants all of which are now (or slated) to be empty concrete shells due to refurbishment/licensing costs.

    The same logic will apply to all the solar and energy storage we’re building, at some point it will get old and PG&E/SCE will have to pay for refurbishment. And, should there be any issues with disposal (say, due to recyclers cutting corners) then that will cause people to turn against it. Meanwhile Chevron will be ready to sell the state all the “clean” NG power it wants.

    Commuting to clean energy requires fighting it on all fronts, and *committing* to it. Dumping one source of clean power (nuclear) because of money and obstructionism is not committing. One day it will apply to solar and energy storage like it already applies to wind and hydro. That’s what I mean when the buck stops.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ll sell the dead batteries and inefficient solar cells to recyclers who will make money recovering the already refined minerals in them? Like Exide did with lead acid batteries? In a plant with pollution controls?

    The big box stores have been accepting rechargeable batteries for a long time. They get recycled. There’s experience handling them.

    Joe Reply:

    Right.

    It’s not a sudden decommissioning of the Pge nuclear plant which produce waste and are not clean. they have a plan to invest into renewal sources and storage.

    PGE indicates it’s a shift due to the economics and not hippies opposing nuclear.

    Refurbishing a nuclear plant with finite life span isn’t the same as solar or wind or ….

    Google can refurbish a data center by removing old servers. PGE can update panels as they age or newer ones justify a swap to improve ROI.

    Reedman Reply:

    Thomas Edison “invented” the nickel-iron battery. It isn’t dense, it isn’t lightweight, but it is robust, reliable, simple, and low-toxicity. Jay Leno has a 1909 Baker Electric in his garage, with the original batteries. There are US manufacturers. It is something that can be considered for stationary power storage.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93iron_battery

    Aarond Reply:

    @Joe

    I reckon not. PG&E also had expansive plans for hydro, nuclear, and wind power. None of this has formed due to environmental problems associated with all of them. For example the Reber Plan would have provided enormous amounts of clean hydro power, at the cost of the Delta smelt.

    The flash into solar will go as quickly as it came if the state treats it purely on economics. If it comes down to just economics, then (barring any tariffs) fossil fuel wins by default. Solar power is hot now, no doubt, but the real question is if in 20 years it will remain so as the technology matures and (expensive to mitigate) environmental hazards are discovered. The state has to be ready to bear this cost and not try to build an entirely new system with some hot new technology (like ethanol).

    Building up clean power is better than razing and rebuilding clean power every generation.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Much the best source is reduction in consumption. More efficient transmission, motors, appliances, lighting etc.

    Ted K. Reply:

    From link #2

    The salt, an environmentally friendly mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate, is able to be utilized as high grade fertilizer when the plant is eventually decommissioned.

    From link #3

    Overview

    It is particularly likely that pumped storage will become especially important as a balance for very large scale photovoltaic generation.

    Worldwide use

    Direct pumping

    A new concept is to use wind turbines or solar power to drive water pumps directly, in effect an ‘Energy Storing Wind or Solar Dam’. This could provide a more efficient process and usefully smooth out the variability of energy captured from the wind or sun.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Maybe the answer is that unlimited power available to any human at any time of the day or night at any time of the year for any purpose isn’t going to be how the future works.

    In fact, that’s about the rosiest future, and only if we’re very very very lucky and a lot smarter than there’s any evidence we’re being.

    Regardless of which:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    And more generally http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/category/energy-storage/

    Joe Reply:

    No one suggested unlimited power any time any where. We live with brown outs in peak summer demand.

    He gives a scenario with the US under clouds and peak wind so no power so we turn on our 3-4 day chemical batteries but can’t because “do the math physics”!!! I saw that movie, Day After Tomorrow.

    I prefer Indepenence Day.

    What happens if we all decide to flush our toilets at once ?

    I’m

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not cloudy and windless over the whole country for a whole week. Or even over a whole state.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/04/east-coast-winds-would-support-stable-power-grid

    Windless nights might be a problem if I have to recharge the car every night. Newer models need to be recharged once or twice a week. Assuming my car and the smart grid try to keep the car half charged, on windless night the car can skip charging.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or you could take transit…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Transit?

    Heretic!

    Real Americans ™ drive everywhere! Including from their bed to their car!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Bahnfreund

    I don’t, or mabye I’m just one of those unamerican left wing commie scum with USA citizenship that outnumbers heartland real Americans 2:1.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Like the America hating gun control fanatics that number over 90% in opinion polls?

    How come the real Americans ™ are able to cajole the “unreal” Americans in the big cities into their will all the time?

    Joe Reply:

    I took his “peak wind” estimate to mean they shut down turbines due to high winds. High winds can damage the equipment.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How often do winds like that occur?

    wdobner Reply:

    That’s all fine and well for Americans and Europeans wracked with guilt over our environmental misdeeds. But the other 80 to 90 percent of the world’s population want things that require energy, like easy access to clean water, and aren’t about to accept our pious words imploring them to conserve energy because we screwed up. We could slash our energy use in half, but if the rest of the world aspires to our standard of living at even half our current energy consumption then we still get runaway global warming because they’ll consume the fossil fuels we don’t to achieve that goal. Preaching conservation may be the worst possible approach to attempting to avert anthropogenic climate change.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fusion constant: Every ten years, fusion is fifty years from hitting the market…

    Or how was it?

    Useless Reply:

    Bahnfreund

    The first test fusion power plant is set to go online in Korea by 2037 according to ITER.

    https://www.iter.org/newsline/255/1481

    Joe Reply:

    Fusion power plant ? I call bullshit.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I believe it when I see it.

    Reedman Reply:

    As told in every Engineering school:

    “Fusion is the energy source of the future. Always has been. Always will be.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    According to French tv, the Germans are talking 2050. I’d have to think they need tech that has not yet been developed for such a long time frame. Sketchy.

    Useless Reply:

    First fusion power plant ‘most likely’ in Asia

    A leading expert from the UK’s centre for nuclear fusion development has said that China or Korea will be the first countries to build a prototype fusion plant capable of producing electricity.

    “If things all stay the same economically, the most likely places would be Korea and China. In Korea they have legislated that a fusion power plant has to be built within 30 years,” she said.

    https://www.imeche.org/news/news-article/first-fusion-power-plant-most-likely-in-asia

    William Reply:

    Will Gen4 Fission plant be ready for commercial service earlier than fusion plant?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Will either of them be ready before the price of alternatives is lower?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Will either of them be built before the alternatives are cheaper, better and more palatable politically?

    What about proliferation risk (I am not saying Iran, but I am saying North Korea)?

    wdobner Reply:

    That depends, do you mean the true price of these alternatives, or the highly subsidized price once the government and utility kick in their pound of flesh? Because for all the outlandish claims of grid parity, solar and wind remain significantly more expensive, than base power sources, especially if utilities are allowed to keep solar producers from being subsidized by selling at peak rates and buying off peak power., even when there is little demand of their power at peak periods.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Depending on where you build it new wind plants can actually deliver cheaper electricity than new fossil plants.

    Of course old fossil plants don’t have to comply with many regulations and are often depreciated fully…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Before incentives and assuming electricity costs don’t drop over the next 20 years I break even after 17 years. Panel costs and installation costs keep dropping.

    wdobner Reply:

    Why make the assumption that fusion is going to be any cleaner than any other form of nuclear energy? Deuterium-Tritium fusion has something like 80% of its energy carried off by fast neutrons. They’re effectively counting on those neutrons to convey the energy from the fusion reaction into the steam generator loop. The neutron flux is going to be incredible. And unlike in a fission reactor where the neutrons are moderated by water or graphite and stopped at the reactor vessel wall these will be flying through a vacuum and slamming into every bit of the reactor chamber. Neutron embrittlement and especially neutron activation are going to present tremendous problems to the commercial operation of fusion reactors. We’re going to be looking at tons of nuclear waste being generated by each fusion reactor, except that unlike the nice, orderly daughter products of uranium, the interior of a fusion reactor will eventually become a witches brew of activated elements. It’s going to be an absolute nightmare for long term storage. And then there will be the inevitable tritium leaks. You’re really better off just going Gen IV fission than pinning your hopes on fusion.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How about neither?

    wdobner Reply:

    In that case you get to turn off your computer, sit in the dark, and be someone’s slave. After all, the rise of fossil fuel is directly responsible for the economic unsustainability of slavery in the late 19th century. And we already know solar and wind, in addition to being ecologically damaging and an environmental mess to produce, are not acceptable base load substitutes for current fossil fuel, so your only choice is to sit quietly in the dark and await your assignment if you’re that committed to eliminating clean, carbon free energy sources like nuclear power.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Central and Western Europe got rid of slavery in their mainland territories long before fossil fuels started to be anything but home heating and metallurgical resources.

    Denmark is fast approaching 100% renewables and Germany is already past 25%. So far no doom and gloom, despite large page filling ads a decade or two ago about 3% renewables being the mximum technology would bear…

  9. Roland
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 17:36
    #9

    What commuters think of BART: “You’re overpaid, overweight, can’t manage your way out of a paper bag”
    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2016/06/bay-area-transit-crisis-fixing-gridlock-traffic.html

  10. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 17:57
    #10

    SMART in line to be first to start with new rail safety system [PTC]

    Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit is poised to be the first rail line system in the country to start service completely outfitted with a safety system to prevent potentially deadly accidents, according to agency officials.

    SMART has spent $50 million on implementation of what is known as a “Positive Train Control” system on the line from downtown San Rafael to the Santa Rosa Airport, which will see passenger service later this year.

    See also: Caltrain CBOSS Goes Sideways

  11. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 17:59
    #11
  12. Roland
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 18:05
    #12

    Caltrain “modernization” update (the liars keep on lying and the gift keeps on giving):

    “The CBOSS project is six months behind schedule (false). Although testing is progressing well, a lot of work remains to be done in order for the contractor to conduct the Revenue Service Demonstration (RSD) for the FRA by October 2016 (one year late). Part of the demonstration is to show interoperability, and the Back Office System provider has announced that it will not have a passenger-rail compatible software upgrade until July, and the possibility exists that the provider will not complete the upgrade as scheduled.”

    “In addition to the MOU subject of this request, the PCJPB needs to execute a series of funding
    agreements to secure full funding for the program on a timely manner. The State/CHSRA agreement is
    anticipated in the June/July timeframe (the CHSRA Board will not meet until August), the Cap and Trade award is anticipated for August 2016 (interesting), and the FTA Core Capacity grant is anticipated as early as December 2016, but could possibly take up to several months longer (until then they are “borrowing” (AKA “stealing”) $125M from the $440M FTA grant for the EMUs for “SOGR”).

    “In order to maintain the schedule, Caltrain staff anticipates issuing limited notice-to-proceed (NTP) to both contractors in line with the funding on-hand. Since both contracts have a significant design component (another $22.5M for LTK Engineering to design custom cow (AKA suicidal Caltrain patrons)-catcher derailers for Stadler KISS EMUs), work can proceed on that phase until all the funding is in place, at which time Caltrain will issue the full NTP.”

    http://www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Executive/Meetings/pnp/2016/06-Jun/Caltrain%20Early%20Investment%20Program%20supplemental%20MOU.pdf

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Roland

    Re: CalTrain “modernization”

    Here we see CalTrain trying to execute their project in a full “all speed ahead mode” disregarding the obvious funding short fall. (not to mention technical problems, they may or may not overcome).

    With Cap and Trade funding failing, there will be no funding from the CHSRA in the near future. The FTA core grant funding they seem to think is “in the bag”, but it requires congressional approval, which is to say the least not assured.

    It should be a appropriate to hold the CalTrain leadership “personally accountable” for trying to execute this project in this manner. It is easy to spend “other people money”, when the penalty for failure is really non-existent.

    Joe Reply:

    Hold Caltrain staff “personally accountable”.

    Roland Reply:

    So you are advocating for trains blowing by platforms @ 125 MPH?

    Joe Reply:

    Non sequitur. I have no idea WTF you are implying.

    Threatening to hold staff personally responsible for executing their professional duties is intimidation.

    I would not think to hold those unsuccessfully suing HSR personally responsible for the costs incurred and wasting other people’s money. They have a legal right.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Caltrain staff executing their professional duties?

    WOW!

    Where? When?

    Roland Reply:

    @Morris: Here is some light reading about the funding issues: http://mtc.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=fcf41f39-1c96-4bba-a174-6a9a77c96fdd.pdf ($1.3B in the hole before C&T).

  13. StevieB
    Jun 21st, 2016 at 22:46
    #13

    Link Union Station (Link US) is the latest name for run through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station. Previously the project was known as the Southern California Regional Interconnection Project (SCRIP) and prior to that name it was the Los Angeles Union Station Run-Through Tracks Project.

    Jerry Reply:

    There just seems to be no end to all that progress made on that project.
    I can’t wait for the next iteration.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s been 10 years since the EIS was originally filed with the EPA, hopefully the ball will get rolling if R2 is passed. And, hopefully, they go for 4+ tracks instead of the original planned 2. Metrolink would benefit greatly from being able to consolidate the Orange/Yellow, Blue/Green and Red/Purple lines.

    StevieB Reply:

    The Run-Through Tracks Project EIS did not include California High-Speed Rail. LinkUS must accommodate HSR and the new passenger concourse underneath the rail yard hence the need for a new EIR/EIS.

    Aarond Reply:

    Thanks for the correction. Now LA has the perfect opportunity to do 4+ tracks instead of just 2.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No, to do as many tracks as are justified by levels of service and given half-way intelligent train dispatch/control.

    “Organization before electronics before concrete” and all that.

    A single track can readily handle 30tph outbound from an all-stops station, which is what LAUS is.
    Inbound may or may not be trickier, depending on the the discipline of handling the upstream junction merge.

    Building bridges and laying tracks just so trains can park next to each other clear of station platforms is about as stupid an undertaking as one can imagine. (SF Transbay Terminal with it’s proposed PTG-“designed” sub-moronic and node-bleed expensive three approach tracks in a two billion dollar tunnel is a poster child for such insanity. America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, on the job!)

    EJ Reply:

    I think the subhumans want some degree of redundant capacity.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Perhaps “want” (for reasons which might have a lot to do with cost maximization than with “redundancy”) and “can remotely justify” aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    Nice that you’re personally willing to write blank checks, though, and to spend a billion on an underground train parking rather than, say, on anything that might serve human beings.

    Also: https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/redundancy-is-overrated/

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Richard is right, this can be done with two tracks and could be done relatively quickly except for the usual gold plating. PLUS of course Metrolink is determined to keep their ghastly diesel trains running and want separate platforms for them. This is now slated for 2024 or thereabouts, and about $3 billion, as it is all lumped in with the station redevelopment. Metro Board has not approved any of this and it’s hardly mentioned in the tax measure. Prospects now for a rational Metrolink system? Near Zero. If it were me I’d extend the Red Line to 1st street and put a Metrolink/Red Line/Gold Line interchange there by the river and keep Metrolink out of LAUS altogether. But of course that would be way to inexpensive and might even work,

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    too inexpensive.

    EJ Reply:

    So the answer is just make sure nothing ever breaks or goes wrong? It’s all so simple!

    EJ Reply:

    Less flippant answer: I’m willing believe that Caltrain/CAHSR could operate Transbay with only two approach tracks. LAUS is a different beast. There’s a mix of commuter, regional, and eventually HSR trains using it, many of which will be diesel powered for the foreseeable future and have to mix with freight trains. So they’ll get delayed, and things will break. That’s just the reality and yelling about it won’t make any difference.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    EJ there’ll still be plenty of access from the north if “something breaks”. I don’t yell, just show me where I am wrong about the time line and the likelihood of money. Metro has no interest in regional rail and all the counties wish Metrolink did not exist. It’s a money pit that kills people, in their view.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Metro has no interest in regional rail and all the counties wish Metrolink did not exist. It’s a money pit that kills people, in their view.

    Paul…are you starting to sound like me?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    EJ: there are three things that can go wrong:
    1. A train fails at the station platform. A billion extra approach or departure tracks aren’t going to help.
    2. A train fails while blocking the throats (interlockings) approaching or departing the station. The extra tracks are almost guaranteed to be blocked also, since all the crossing-over moves to and from them are on flat junctions anyway. Moreover, the odds of a moving train ceasing to be able to move in such a short section of track are remote. And if it stops moving because it is derailed, your entire station is out of commission anyway, guaranteed.
    3. Some turnout in the throats fails (equivalently, catenary damage). It turns out this is more likely the more track and more turnouts are involved! (I read an analysis somewhere about minimalist highly reliable low-redundancy Japanese station operation compared to some baroquely-filigreed Dutch (or perhaps German or Belgian) major stations making exactly this point.) These things cost time and money to maintain, and focussing that effort is better than pissing it around all over. And besides, the odds are excellent that you’ll have ended up blocking most of your hypothetically redundant and resilient extra tracks anyway, because in reality there aren’t multiple layers of independent and redundant turnouts allowing many routes between every pair of points in the track graph.

    Fundamentally, simpler is cheaper and more reliable. Assuming “reliability” is something which your organization is either capable of or even aims for. If not, then “more expensive” and “redundant” just equals “more expensive”, not “more robust”.

    EJ Reply:

    @Richard Mlynarik

    Assuming “reliability” is something which your organization is either capable of or even aims for.

    That’s the problem. TBT is going to only serve HSR and modernized, electrified Caltrain. Those should be able to be operated at a very high degree of reliability. We’ll take it as read at this point that the Coast Daylight is never going to get off the ground, and freight service on the peninsula will be very limited and time separated from passenger traffic. Metrolink and the Pacific Surfliner are totally different – longer distances, little prospect of electrification, and they have to mix with extensive freight traffic on many of the lines that come into LAUS from all directions. A very high OTP isn’t in the cards.

    EJ Reply:

    Also has it been established that this requires an extra $billion? This is an all new connection, is there a real estimate for quadruple track vs. double track? There’s no tunneling involved.

    Jerry Reply:

    Ye Gawds. StevieB posted three days ago on the run through project.
    His references included :
    The FIRST EIR/EIS was released in Nov. 2005.
    A new Draft EIS/EIR is expected to be released in Summer 2017.
    Eleven (11) years later and we are still just studying the project.
    So let’s come up with a NEW NAME for the project and start studying the whole thing all over again.

  14. Travis D
    Jun 22nd, 2016 at 02:03
    #14

    New animation shows how they will build under CA180 in Fresno. Interestingly they are using a variation of a technique that Dragados came up with as an ATC. Instead of using a jacked box they will shift traffic onto temporary bridges and just excavate down, build a box, then backfill.

    Ted K. Reply:

    “Fresno Trench & SR 180 Passageway”

    Ted K. Reply:

    The above is the project page for the trench in Fresno. Here’s the 3+ minute animation at YouTube :

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nvwph_scI0c

    CAHSR’s page at YouTube :

    https://m.youtube.com/user/CAHighSpeedRail

  15. Ted Judah
    Jun 22nd, 2016 at 08:03
    #15

    This plan would be a very good idea if Crenshaw was a subway…but as light rail? Doubtful…

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/livable-city/la-ol-metro-r2-green-crenshaw-20160620-snap-story.html

    Aarond Reply:

    LRT with a dedicated ROW and signal priority is good. They’re building rail and prioritizing it. A vision which is sadly not shared by either Muni or ACT.

    Though, personally I think the I-110 Silver line BRT is more fit to become separated metrorail service, given that they already have stations built and dedicated transit lanes built. This would work even better with both a Green line extension to it and a Green line extension to the Blue line in Long Beach.

    Danny Reply:

    I want a San Clemente-Long Beach-Torrance-LAX-Westwood-Valley Metrolink!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That doesn’t make sense as a Metrolink line. The best you could hope for would be an extension of the green line from Torrance to ARTIC

    James Fujita Reply:

    Underground light rail. No different from the Regional Connector. It will be underground when it reaches the Expo Line in any case.

    Donk Reply:

    This is an article by two local politicians who picked their pet projects and wrote a combined article arguing that those two projects should be accelerated. They didn’t give a compelling argument for why their pet projects should be accelerated, and by extension, two other projects be decelerated. Which two projects do they propose to move down the list?

    There are many important lines that have to get done asap. The most important are clearly the Regional Connector and the Purple Line to Westwood. After that I would argue that the 405 Line and filing the gap on the Green Line and the Norwalk Metrolink/Amtrak/HSR are most critical from a regional standpoint. Unfortunately they are going to do it in a more politically palatable way, where they waste time building out lines to Whittier and SE LA County before they work on either of those lines.

    The Crenshaw Line to Hollywood sounds great, but how many minutes will it take to get from Hollywood to LAX on that line? 1 hr? This is just not viable.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Hollywood to lax on that line, assuming it is built via labrea, would not exceed 30 minutes. I would argue that crenshaw northern is the most important project after Westside subway and sepulveda pass subway. It links together so many east west lines, cutting a transfer downtown.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The broken clock is right twice a day. The value here is a to create a core subway spine that arcs around the urban core of Hollywood.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Kind of like the Ringbahn of the Berlin S-Bahn?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Ringbahn

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Crenshaw is being built as a LRT subway, at least from Hyde Park north.

    Danny Reply:

    Goodmon’s trying to win back his anti-LRT “movement” by calling WeHo racist http://www.wehoville.com/2016/06/07/weho-attacked-racist-battle-crenshaw-metro-line-extension/
    alas for him Cheviot and Westwood NIMBYs aren’t gonna pay for his clown-car rally in Southwest LA

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Light rail is racist?

    Or am I missing something here?

    Danny Reply:

    that’s been LA’s core anti-rail argument since 1996: of course it just means taking white neighborhoods’ money to keep any neighborhood (black or white) from getting rail …
    Goodmon was (in)famous for fighting the Expo Line and saying that LRT was deliberately engineered to kill off Black kids

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wait? A train designed to kill along racial lines?

    Don’t get me wrong, I probably don’t know much about the debate on race in the US (trust me it is very different in other countries and languages and racism is very much a thing that exists in Germany), but… Doesn’t a train hit whatever is on the tracks no matter whether it is human or non-human, black or white, blue or red? Or am I missing something?

    Even the partial argument that a Light Rail line naturally serves a certain line first whereas bus systems are usually already “serving” most of the city falls apart once you look at the history of every successful transit system. Over the decades lines were built that people never thought of when the first line was built. I am pretty sure you can say the same about LA Metro or the NYC subway (probably two of the most successful urban transit systems in the US that did not just “happen overnight” like Washington DC Metro)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Yes, of course. It is foolish and false, but some wealthy NIMBY homeowners who only ever drove decided to campaign on the notion that rail was racist because some routes went through predominantly white neighborhoods and missed predominantly black neighborhoods with heavy bus riding populations. (Which makes no sense, seeing as we’re building the Crenshaw subway)

    Danny Reply:

    actually Goodmon is rabidly against surface rail in Black neighborhoods: viz., he wants nothing but deep-bore from Union Station to Santa Monica, and from Aviation/Imperial to Expo/Crenshaw; he’s just another noisy crank that America loves to produce, from Patricia Pulling and Jack Chick to Darby Monger
    thing is, he was able to hold up the Expo line for 3 years, but his antics are over and done with and the Crenshaw’s on schedule
    Eric Mann took the opposite tack and said that LRT was only through White (and Korean) hoods so its ridership would have to be White too–so of course he takes money from the White hoods to keep rail out of them while Black and Latino volunteers do all his work for free and have die-ins in order to keep nonwhites “in their place”–on the bus; he even says to shut down the rail and replace it with 3,000 more buses

    James Fujita Reply:

    I have a hard time painting Goodmon as a bad guy because technically speaking, he’s correct. Subways everywhere would be faster and safer.

    It’s just that given the political and economic reality of the situation, demanding subways when there’s no money for it is a guarantee for no action, which is what the NIMBYs want. He’s more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, to borrow a TV Tropes definition.

    Danny Reply:

    if you take doubtless millions from SM and Cheviot Hills’s openly racist NIMBYs, file suit after suit without caring if they’ll win (after being seen nowhere during the yearlong public-comment process), sue Metro for giving you exactly what you asked for, have arguments that are 99% obvious lies, do nothing for transit other than fight LRT, and implicitly call Black opponents house n—–s, “well-intentioned” seems to be somewhat … perverse

    James Fujita Reply:

    Hence the Extremist part of “Well-Intentioned Extremist.”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Light Rail can be converted to full on subway later on. But first you have to establish a “rail constituency” as it were. In just a few years L.A. will have gone from a car centric city to if not a transit city at least a city with a string transit constituency. And once you have that constituency that cannot be ignored, you will be able to move money and policy your way. It may be frustrating, but that’s how politics work.

  16. morris brown
    Jun 22nd, 2016 at 18:08
    #16

    Here is one of these “gut and amend” bills:

    AP: Bill would authorize high-speed rail bonds for Caltrain</a

    You can read the bill at:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_1851-1900/ab_1889_bill_20160621_amended_sen_v97.pdf

    Joe Reply:

    Gut and amend the protections nimby’s use to tie up the project.

    This bill would provide for the purposes of that appropriation that the approval by the authority that a corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and ready for high-speed train operation is conclusive

    Magically Prop1A triggers are bypassed. This is certifying the Pennisula segment is ready for HSR service and expenditures. Nice precident.

    morris brown Reply:

    Prop 1A was a voter approved initiative. The Legislature has no legal right to change conditions of such an initiative, without approval of the voters — that is it requires a re-vote.

    Sure to be struck down by the courts, if it become law.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I like it. The jackals want their share of the carcass.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A “precedent” in which BART would be most interested.

    Joe Reply:

    BART is sentient. That’s the only way to grock your posts. Picture BART as a sentient organism that eats brains. You’re one of the few left but don’t know it.

    Donald Sutherland will point, shriek and you’ll be found out.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    BART is secretly a fifteen thousand pound gorilla from Japan that was created by a nuclear experiment…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Next up Godzilla Va. BART-MTC Kong.

    synonymouse Reply:

    VS.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about the Shanghai Metro, though?

    Joe Reply:

    The bill will certify the segment is HSR ready.

    They can do this anywhere as they wish by simple majority vote.

    How this bill guts HSR eludes me.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Legislature is _not_ changing Prop 1A. They are changing the wording of the measure that approves sale of bonds, said measure required by Prop 1A, which the Court already found to be within the purview of the Legislature.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Look at what you wrote. “Gut and amend the protections”. Gut the protections.

    Does it bother you at all that the system promised to voters need to be “gutted”? Does it bother you that people have so little faith in CAHSR that they are looking to jettison the requirements before they even build it.

    And you wonder why people won’t support large capital project. I will say this, the total money is not yet identified. If you gut the requirements before the money is gotten, I don’t like the changes of getting it later. People don’t like bait and switch

    Joe Reply:

    I fully understand what I wrote. It’s not a way to stop the project but direct it by law.
    No less intrusive or meddling then the “Moaaare Oversight” fanboys perfectly fine with micromanage the project.

    Your extended physiological analyis is typical and projection of our prejudices.

    It’s a bill to certify a segment is rest for HSR.
    Imagine all the posts dedicated to arguing the meaning.

    Prop1a is Over presctiptive and difficult. Politicians want to short circuit the law to release bonds.
    It’s a change to Prop1a, not HSR management.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Those persciptions and difficulties were specifically used to sell it to the voters. We are not talking about some mismanaged language or mistake is grammer, these were specifically sold to voters as protections on the project so it would be passed.

    No subsidies, no stranded investment, time requirements so it is really HSR. They are reasonable restrictions. But now that they can’t be met, well people are willing to settle for “almost” HSR. That is not right

    Jerry Reply:

    But it’s “almost” right.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Prop 1A also included language that stated that Legislature must certify the requirements were met before releasing the bonds for sale. They did that (and that certification is what is being amended and “gutted”). The California Supreme Court ruled when prompted by an appeal that Judge Kenny’s ruling against this certification was invalid because he would thereby have been “legislating from the bench”, which violates separation of powers.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Nope, it doesn’t bypass Prop 1A. Per Prop 1A, sale of bonds can occur when the _Legislature_ determines that conditions have been met per the requirements of the proposition. When opponents sued, the Court ruled against them based on separation of powers, namely, the Legislature is within its rights to certify the requirements met.

    What the bill does is “gut” the original bill certifying the sale of bonds with new text that supposedly clarifies that the sale of bonds can go through to fund Caltrain electrification. It has nothing to do with “gutting” Prop1A.

  17. Jerry
    Jun 23rd, 2016 at 13:32
    #17

    Cars v. Trains. Mountain View surrenders. Trains win.
    Mountain View City Council voted 5-2 to close Castro Street at Central Expressway. Its main business district street was considered a dangerous intersection. The adjoining Transit Center will be improved.

  18. Faber Castell
    Jun 23rd, 2016 at 20:58
    #18

    Well it looks like the Brits are going to leave the EU. I think you can kiss HS2 goodbye cause its probably going to slug their economy.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I wonder what this means for Scotland?

    Faber Castell Reply:

    If the exit goes through, they’ve said you can expect another Indy Scotland referendum in the future.

    This is going to be wild to watch…

    I guess the pound is falling fast as we speak…

    Aarond Reply:

    I’d seriously put $100 down on another, but successful, Scottish referendum. They’d then leave and enter the EU while Britain becomes a defacto one party state under the Tories (since without Scotland, Labour can’t easily win 51% of MPs).

    synonymouse Reply:

    This comes as a surprise for me; I had the Brits so passive as to be practically paralyzed. I mean they cannot even abandon the monarchy.

    But it is a positive development in that the EC had gotten way off its core mission, which was to bring France and Germany close enough together to foreclose any more disasters. Foggy Bottom and NATO were trying to use the EC as a club against the Russians. Ironically as it seems Putin seems to be moving towards the ineffectual tin horn dictator type Foggy Bottom likes so much.

    Scandinavia really does not belong in it as they will just get pushed around. Germany, France, Italy and Iberia – the core of the Western Roman Empire.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know whether you include Denmark in “Scandinavia” (it certainly is a Nordic country), but Denmark is very dependent upon German tourists and they are in the process of building a new tunnel across the Fehmarn Belt to ensure more people can get to and through their country faster.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Zwei Punkte :
    1) Norway used to be unified with Denmark from 1397 until 1814.
    2) Malmo in southern Sweden is closely linked to Copenhagen thanks to the Øresund Bridge (road/rail/data bridge; opened 1 July 2000)

    Shades of the Kalmar Union (1397 – 1523).

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

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

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah but according to some guy on the Internet “Scania is basically Denmark” anyway…

    Scandinavia may well contain some Euro-skeptics, but they are very pro Skandinavian Union overall and Denmark would be suicidal to severe its ties to Germany…

    Ted K. Reply:

    Greater Copenhagen

    Pro : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/05/denmark-wants-to-rebrand-part-of-sweden-as-greater-copenhagen

    Con : https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/06/denmark-swedes-skane-greater-copenhagen

    Basically, it’s like Portland, OR trying to merge with Vancouver, WA. And the reaction to either merger from some viewpoints isn’t just “no” but is “HELL NO !” .

    More background : “Danes and Denmark” (text version of a blog thread)

    http://www.theapricity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-48169.html

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nuremberg and Fürth are basically one city and served by the same subway. But don’t tell anybody in either city that.

    Danny Reply:

    man, even Norsefire didn’t get rid of the monarchy–though by then the Queen was *Zara*
    and oddly enough Scotland often counts itself as Scandinavian

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Parts of Scotland were settled by Scandinavians and Nordic languages were spoken there until a couple of centuries ago if memory serves…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The term you’re looking for is “dominant party state” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominant-party_system Bavaria has been one for most of its parliamentary history…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And what does it mean for Northern Ireland?

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s not like the rest of europe is better off. That’s partially why this is happening in the first place. And a low Pound hurts Germany/France the most, because it means factories and services in Britain can outcompete them.

    That said, the larger question is if the vote will be respected at all (because there is ample evidence that it could not be). The duty of the actual exit itself (should it actually happen) will fall onto the next conservative government once Cameron resigns.

    Regardless, either way this is effectively a vote of no confidence on the current EU. If Brussels doesn’t want anyone else having second thoughts, they better hurry up and federalize. Here in the US, there was a reason why the Founders dumped the Articles of Confederation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If you look at the US, it really took two wars to consolidate a bunch of squabbling states into THE United States of America as a singular (1776 and 1861). Europe cannot afford that.

    But a good first step would be to elect more EU delegates on Europe wide lists.

    Aarond Reply:

    True, but the EU doesn’t have a hard split between the north and south *except* on the trade balance issue, which is solvable with taxes on interstate commerce and direct investment (ala our TVA).

    The larger problem is that the EU itself does not have total superiority over member states, the legislature is a Parliament (and thus biased towards larger states) and there is no clear leader (the EU commission rotates the President every 6 months). There is also no national criminal justice system or national police force.

    As a state, it is very weak and can’t act fast enough on a problem (refugees showing up back in 2013) or coordinate a unified response to it. It also cannot actually impose it’s laws on member states or arrest people for breaking their law. This doesn’t inspire confidence amongst people looking for leadership.

    Put bluntly, the only way to make a country of 742 million people work is if it’s an American styled federal republic. Otherwise, it’ll erode apart with each unsolved crisis.

    Aarond Reply:

    *508 million people

    Aarond Reply:

    (and, by “make a country of 508 million people work” I mean in the sense of an effective, competitive democracy)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The last EU elections established a (shaky) precedent of there being candidates for President of the Commission before the election and those candidates being respected after the election (even Merkel had to accept it) and Parliament has silently but noticeably acquired more and more powers from the member states and the Commission. The next step would be truly Europe wide elections instead of the current 28 (27) national elections on the same weekend. Ironically it was a Brit (Lib Dem) who proposed a European list to vote for 25 members of the EU Parliament… It died in committee, but if not now when will we reintroduce this proposal?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The idiots. It would serve Britain right to see hyperinflation, joblessness, a complete movement of industry away from the islands, and general economic collapse. Then the rest of Europe, seeing how leaving the EU ruined Britain, can join in ever closer Union and form the nation of Europe. I hate this ridiculous populist nationalist trend that is sweeping the world, but I am optimistic that internationalism will eventually prevail.

    Aarond Reply:

    Remember why all this is happening in the first place: the EU itself is not doing so good. Here’s a short list of major problems that the EU has not solved:

    – stagnant growth in western europe since 2011
    – huge trade deficit between the PIGS and northern europe
    – (as a result of the above) debt crisis with the PIGS (which lead to Austerity)
    – (German-pushed) Austerity failing in the PIGS
    – expensive bailouts (including quantitative easing within the ECB to support it) for the PIGS
    – the “boat people” problem, which has cascaded into the worst migrant/refugee crisis since ww2
    – Turkey being able to blackmail all of europe as a result of the above
    – Crimea being annexed by Russia, even though NATO and the EU promising to prevent such a thing (in exchange for Ukraine dismantling their nukes in the 90s)

    There’s a lot of fear and doubt vis-a-vis the EU’s long term stability and ability to solve problems. Again, there’s a reason why our Founders dumped the Articles of Confederation for the Constitution.

    One of the reasons why the US functions is because rich states like California pay into a system (SSA etc) which subsidizes life in poor states like North Dakota or Mississippi.

    The EU has a similar problem between northern europe and the PIGS, except that the former won’t subsidize the latter (again, see German-led Austerity). This has resulted in a long term strategic problem where the PIGS are not stable which is a problem given their immense debts. Should they default, the ECB (re: the EU) will be on the hook.

    But regardless, the vote came down to 48/51, basically a coin flip. And the part of Britain that feels the strongest for the EU (Scotland) will probably get a second referendum of their own.

    Aarond Reply:

    tl;dr: the EU has a major structural problem with the trade deficit between northern europe and the PIGS, and the migrant crisis. Both exist because the EU did not take the necessary preventative measures, and most of their post-crisis policies have been ineffective. Also, since both relate to Germany (their economy, and their open welfare system), people have a person to blame: Angela Merkel.

    But again, it was a 48/51 vote. And whether or not Britain actually does leave the EU is still an open question (the British Parliament may subject it to another vote but with a 2/3rds bar). Regardless, right now this is more a vote of no confidence in the EU than anything else.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Which of those problems could be better solved by no EU than by a reformed EU?

  19. Roland
    Jun 24th, 2016 at 03:22
    #19

    David Cameron announces resignation: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/europe/eu-referendum-live-blog/index.html

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Mabye Nick Clegg could become PM?

    Aarond Reply:

    It’ll probably be Boris Johnson (former mayor of London) who was in favor of leaving.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I know. Boris is a terrible person. David Cameron wasn’t all that bad, but my favorite party is the very internationalist, centerist Liberal Democrats (sort of like the new Democrats in the USA), traditionally the UK’s 3rd party. They are essentially polar opposites of UKIP.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    No doubt BJ has PM aspirations. That doesn’t mean he has a chance of being elected. Cooky mayors don’t necessarily make good PM’s.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Exhibit A of mayors making bad national leaders: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnoldo_Alem%C3%A1n

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