Californians Support Action on Climate Change

Jul 28th, 2016 | Posted by

The Public Policy Institute of California is out with a new poll that found strong support for AB 32, for cap-and-trade, and for other actions to tackle climate change – even if those actions aren’t cheap:

Ten years after California enacted AB 32, the landmark law mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, strong majorities of residents support its goals and favor a proposal to expand on them….

Californians couple their support for reducing emissions with an expectation of higher costs. Most adults and likely voters (59% each) say state action to reduce global warming will cause gasoline prices around the state to increase. Among Californians who say gas prices will rise, 64 percent favor AB 32’s goals and 63 percent favor expanding them. Also, majorities of adults and likely voters (56% each) say that, to reduce global warming, they are willing to pay more for electricity if it is generated by renewable sources like solar or wind. Democrats (68%) and independents (51%) are more likely to be willing than Republicans (38%) to pay more.

And specifically, Californians support cap-and-trade and the list of projects it would fund:

A majority of Californians (55%) say they have heard nothing about the state’s cap-and-trade system— a major part of the effort to achieve AB 32’s emissions reduction goal. After hearing a short description of the system, 54 percent of adults say they favor it. Transportation fuels have been included in the cap-and-trade system since 2015, and the Legislative Analyst estimated earlier this year that this has added 11 cents per gallon to the price of gasoline. After hearing this cost estimate along with a brief list of programs that receive state cap-and-trade revenues, 52 percent of adults and 49 percent of likely voters favor including transportation fuels in the system (36% adults, 40% likely voters oppose). A portion of cap-and-trade revenue is required by law to be spent on projects to improve environmental conditions in lower-income and disadvantaged communities. Half of Californians (51%) and 46 percent of likely voters say it is very important to spend some of the revenue this way.

That “brief list of programs that receive state cap-and-trade revenues” included high speed rail.

This is pretty clear support for action by Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature to protect, extend, and expand the state’s action on climate change, including cap-and-trade.

It’s also a warning shot across the bow of the Western States Petroleum Association, the lobbying arm of the oil companies that would love to roll back these policies. They love to warn legislators that voters will freak out at higher costs due to climate action. Some of those legislators, like the so-called “mod squad” in the Assembly, have bought those arguments. But the polling proves those claims are nonsense.

After all, voters rejected the effort to repeal AB 32 at the 2010 election – and that wasn’t a close vote.

Californians take climate change seriously, want to do something about, expect to pay to do something about it, and are fine if that something includes high speed rail.

That’s a clear mandate for completing HSR and more.

  1. synonymouse
    Jul 28th, 2016 at 21:06

    There’s no mandate; only brainwash.

    There is no smart growth; only growth or no-growth. Urbanization and population multiplication are global warming.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    and soylent green is people

    Wells Reply:

    And change for the better reaches inequitably.
    The worse off suffer inhumane fears homeless.
    Self-driving car jokes no longer funny.
    Tesla murders Florida trusting driver.
    Google legal defensive arguments abounding.

    synonymouse Reply:

    organic, non-gmo and gluten free – kale flavored

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Are you kidding? It is way better for the environment to live in cities than in the countryside.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Which is of course why China is less polluted now than 50 years ago.

    Eric Reply:

    The Chinese factories are making stuff that used to be made in the US. The US is way less polluted than 50 years ago, partly as a result of this. China, despite higher pollution levels, has a way higher overall standard of living than 50 years ago.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Some parts of the US are less polluted because of lost jobs. And higher costs from depleting natural resources reduces activity.

    “a higher overall standard of living” plus exploding population equals global warming.

    The Chinese government controls population growth.

    Urbanization is noise and light pollution. For starters.

    Joe Reply:

    Of course Chinese pollution is awful because industry is under-regulated.

    Highly regulated California per capita data shows a higher standard of living can coincide with reduce impacts and still produce economic growth.

    Depopulated cities like Butte are still heavily polluted from mining and smelting.

    Poverty isn’t a solution. You avoid regulation because you seem angry and direct it at other people.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You cannot have a modern technological civilization without mining and smelting, etc.. So the less demand – a smaller population – the less the pollution.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Smelting maybe. Mining, though? Do you need new iron ore dug out or can’t you make do with existing steel?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I actually know the answer to this question

    If you are making rebar or Ibeams then then recycled steel works fine.

    If you want to make car body panels, however, you need virgin steel. See when they recycle steel they do a rough sort and remove the other metals, but some slips through. The copper from the electronics get melted in and contaminates the steel. When you try and roll it out for body panels, it leads to a wavy appearance. The panels are ironically stronger and better than virgin steel, but they are not smooth it is is pure aesthetic issue. No one will buy a car with non-smooth panels.

    So you have to keep feeding virgin steel into car manufacturing. And that is a significant portion of manufacturing. Add in specialty steels like stainless and superalloys and you see the need for continuous virgin steel. It is way less than in the past, hence the decline coke plants, but it is still required.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Makes sense

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I did not know that.

    Having more pure feeding material is not economically feasible or are there technological hurdles?

    I know steel in its entirety is a cents for the ton market, so costs are important. Lakshmi Mittal built his empire (which is now disintegrating) on being cheap.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The materials are cheep, iron ore and coke coal. Both plentiful in regions around the world.

    But they both require mining which is a bad word in these “green” times. It’s regulation and environmental controls that make them expensive, not the mining itself.

    The bigger issue is the capital investment. Steel plants are expensive to run (no one is building new virgin steel plants). The “coke” plant can’t be turned on and off. Once it is hot it has to be run full time. If it cools off the steel cools and it’s a solid 20 story chunk of you will never restart. That is why “shutting down” a steel plant is Stan a big deal, the capital is destroyed.

    Steel is a commodity. It is actually cheaper than milk on a weight basis. So when prices fall, you have to keep producing at a loss. Until a plant goes offline permanently.

    Plus the plants are dirty. Very dirty. They are the definition of industrial.

    So combine cheap commodity with large capital investment and unique production challenge and then add in environmental regs and now you now why every steel maker in the world has gone bankrupt multiple times in the last 30 years

    Joe Reply:

    John are you sure cars can’t use recycled steel since ore itself is impute and it’s 2016.
    Steel-to-steel recycling means that a steel can is just as likely to become part of a bridge, a car, or a ship, in its next life. Steel is 100% recyclable. It can be recycled any number of times without loss of quality. It is one of the only materials that does not lose its properties when recycled.

    And point source pollution like steel mills is easier to reduce and has been reduced which is why we are now mitigation the more difficult non point sources like farming and automobiles.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes, I am sure. I wrote my thesis on the subject (for the US steel research center).

    Steel is 100% recyclable, that is one of its cool properties. As I said if you are making rebar or ibeams (anything non aestetic) it will not matter. That is the majority of what steel is used for. In fact, copper makes it stronger so there are specific uses for copper infused steel.

    The car frame can be recycled, but the car body panels cant use it for the aesthetic property alone. Personally I think it looks pretty cool. it gives it texture, but 100+ years of influence tell us that smooth = new = good. Both Saturn and Fiero (if you remember that car) tried to use plastic body panels to get around this but it never caught on.

    So virgin steel is needed for those panels and making specific alloys like stainless steel. Things with a very low tolerance for impurities. Is a minority of product but enough to matter.

    As a result, most of the industry has switched to melt shops (recycling) but there are just a few true steel mills left.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Until they decide to use plastic for the outsides.

    Joe Reply:

    Not true. We have reduced pollution while our population increased with a large improvement in point source pollution like smelting and developed capability for land reclamation for mining. It’s a matter of regulation and enforcement.

    California provides a quality of life while reducing per person impact.

    Pollution is worse where the wealth is most concentrated.

  2. Aarond
    Jul 28th, 2016 at 21:58

    If Brown was smart he’d just tax oil/diesel, and allow natural gas fracking. The state gets more tax money for HSR, RRs get a larger competitive edge over trucks, Co2 emissions decline, and oil companies get to frack in CA. Everyone wins.

    That said, speaking more broadly it’s going to take a lot more than just Co2 taxes to bring Co2 down. The state will continue to rely on coal and CNG power until PG&E gets a reliable stream of subsidies for it.

    Zorro Reply:

    Fracking pollutes ground water where people, animals & plants get fresh water from…
    Can you drink fracked water? NO, not & live, it’s POISON…

    Joe Reply:

    and Fracking emits methane which is approx 30 times more potent in trapping heat.
    Equivalent CO2:
    eCO2 of CO2 = 1
    eCO2 of C4 = 30

    It’s not cleaner.

    Zorro Reply:

    Oops missed that, thanks Joe.

    agb5 Reply:

    Is fracking in California’s complicated geology profitable with oil under $50? Many experts think oil will stay around $50 for the foreseeable future.

    Aarond Reply:

    Not unless there’s an oil tariff, which is bound to happen no matter who wins in November. Democrats want it to pay for transit projects, Republicans want protectionism. Exploit the holes available.

    joe Reply:

    Obviously there is some text on how the Dems will raise revenue to support transit.

    … claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies, and crack down on inversions and other methods companies use to dodge their tax responsibilities.

    …eliminating special tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies as well as defending and extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy

    We will then use the revenue raised from fixing the corporate tax code to reinvest in rebuilding America

    reducing oil consumption through cleaner fuels, vehicle electrification increasing the fuel efficiency of cars, boilers, ships, and trucks. We will make new investments in public transportation and build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across our urban and suburban areas.

    No mention of Tariffs.

    CA can also tax the oil extracted from CA to fund transit — like AK and TX and OK and etc. It has 0.0 impact on the pump price whereas a tariff is intended to increase oil prices.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Both Democrats and Repubs want more transit projects known as freeways.

    Wells Reply:

    Complicated geology studies consider the result of hydrological ‘alteration’
    to normal groundwater flows during/after fracking fluids alter
    sensitive groundwater/ecosystem normal conditions.


    Aarond Reply:

    Fracking is banned in CA and has been since 2013. Right now it’s a bargaining chip the state has in their pocket against the oil lobby.

    Joe Reply:

    Dumping raw sewage is also illegal and another bargaining chip.
    Maybe some chips should not be bargained.

    California can tax oil extraction. It’s what Texans and Alaskans do to pay for nice stuff. No bargaining needed.

    We now know fracking releases methane amounts that exceeds its benefit as a coal replacement. Methane is a greenhouse gas 30x more potent than co2 molecule for molecule.

  3. StevieB
    Jul 30th, 2016 at 03:33

    Brown says Trump is “a fraud” and “dangerously wrong” on climate change.

    Gov. Jerry Brown, addressing delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday, said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is “a fraud” and “dangerously wrong” on climate change.
    “Trump says global warming is a hoax. I say Trump is a fraud,” Brown said. “Trump says there’s no drought in California. I say Trump lies.”

    Brown, calling for a “revolution” on the issue, used his moment at the podium to pump up California’s actions on climate issues.
    “We have solar, wind, zero-emission cars, energy efficiency, and yes, a price on carbon,” he said. “We’re proving that even with the toughest climate laws in the country, our economy is growing faster than almost any nation in the world,’’ he said.

    Read more:

    Aarond Reply:

    We also have 8+ nuclear reactors, worth over $20 billion, shut down as the state would rather go for a *presently* lower cost solution than a more expensive one.All those solar plants and “zero emission” cars use minerals mined in abhorrent conditions in China and Africa. Meanwhile, nobody seems to notice that PG&E is expanding it’s CNG use as well as their coal power purchases from Arizona.

    Brown’s revolution hasn’t happened yet. It’s obtainable, but presently the money isn’t there. The state needs to itself pump money into it, like we’re trying to do with HSR. Even Democrats are uneasy about doing things without federal subsidy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    As if coal mines itself. Or gas just springs to the surface without any help.
    Nuclear plants are closing down because they can’t compete with cheap natural gas. Cheap natural gas is having a hard time competing with wind. Solar prices keep dropping, cheap natural gas is going to have a hard time competing with solar.

    Aarond Reply:

    Regardless of my opinions on nuclear power, it’s $20+ billion worth of wasted capital. If the state is willing to flush all that away because it’s “not cost competitive”, then it’s clear that the state isn’t committed to zero-carbon energy. Additionally this is the problem inherent in privatized utility services.

    That said, Brown’s wish is certainly obtainable if he’d give the state some teeth here. Cap-and-Trade only goes so far, and also makes the state dependent on carbon revenue long-term.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    20 billion if you wanted to go out and replace them. They are used reactors and worth a lot less.

    Edward Reply:

    You do know that the reactors are not owned by the state don’t you?

    When a power company looks out ten years and sees the handwriting on the wall they owe it to their stockholders to do what is right for them. So they will continue to run the station, but won’t bother with updates and relicensing as there are better uses for their capital.

    This not just a California issue:

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m aware of that. This is the problem inherent in privatized utility services.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    At the private companies got some electricity out of them. Public companies not so much

    Aarond Reply:

    Meanwhile, the TVA (30% nuclear) is 83 this year.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Makes me wonder how much this white elephant is costing ratepayers.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’d be nothing compared to if the state killed CAHSR right now (as many want to do). It’s more proof that going halfway satisfies no one.

  4. Roland
    Jul 30th, 2016 at 05:17

    OT: Caltrain Quarterly Electrification Quarterly report: (click on item 7.a)

    The fun starts on page 11 Table 8-1 Electrification Budget & Expenditure Status which shows that we have blown a total of $ 64,050,729 before we even got started including:
    $5,732,467 for “Project Management Services” (can you spell LTK?),
    $13,300,202 for “Electrification Engineering & Management” (can you spell LTK?) and
    $25,122,004 “Prior Costs 2002 – 2013” (can you spell LTK?)

    It should also be noted that we have blown a total of $57,264,144 so far in “Project Management Oversight” (PMO) out of a budget of $142,814,987 but that is totally OK because we have $276,970,649 in “Contingency” standing by to provide “Professional Oversight” (PO) of the “Project Management Oversight” (are we having fun yet?)

    Moving on to the CalFranKISSenTrains (table Table 8-2 on page 12) which could not possibly have carried a Caltrain passenger load back in 2014 let alone in 2020, we find that we have already blown $12,791,844 out of the $62,150,192 “Management Oversight” budget which includes:
    – $4,715,388 for Dave Couch (remember him?) who has already managed to pocket $1,278,990 after less than 2 years on the “job”.
    – $3,763,096 for “Project Management Services” (can you spell LTK?)
    – $5,686,034 for “EMU Engineering & Management” (can you spell LTK?)

    Section 10.0 on page 14 lists the “what could possibly go wrongs” as of this quarter:
    • If overhead utilities are not relocated on time the Electrification contractor may incur delays
    • Upgrades to the electrical service needed for the electrification project are dependent upon final agreement with PG&E for which technical and contractual l issues must first be resolved (sic).
    • Modifications to proposed catenary pole locations may need to be revised to avoid sight distance problems.
    • TASI may not be able to deliver sufficient staff resources to support the construction and testing of the electrification system.
    • Existing Caltrain processes for reviewing and approving site specific work plans (SSWP) are not sufficiently flexible to allow the design-build contractor to maximize efficiencies in the construction of the electrification system.
    • JPB’s current system integration and configuration program will require additional staff expertise and systems improvements to accommodate proposed electrification improvements (can you spell $$$$$$?)
    • The final configuration of the electrification system requires the installation of a duct bank under UPRR tracks requiring coordination with UPRR the negotiation of a broad range of issues that may not be completed in a timely manner.
    • Delays in locating and relocating underground utilities may result in delays to the installation of the electrification system (they have just dug up the entire 50 miles for the fiber installation and they still don’t know where the freaking utilities are).
    • All funding for the electrification program is not in place and will require agreements with all parties to the 9-Party MOU and FTA and may be affected by legal challenges associated with the CHSRA project (what could possibly go wrong with that????????)

    The Master schedule is on page 28.

    Clem Reply:

    Schedule line item 21, “electric loco”, is this their crazy plan to refurbish Amtrak AEM-7 locomotives? This has yet to be properly revealed to the board.

    The previous quarterly report (2Q FY2016) contained this sentence:

    As part of PCEP cost containment efforts PCEP contacted Amtrak with interest in purchasing several of its AEM-7 locomotives for use as test trains and backup.

    Roland Reply:

    Waddya think?

    Assuming these RSMFRs go ahead with these high-accelerating, toiletless, seatless and bikeless Stadler FranKISSenTrains, we will be down to 12×8-car EMUs each with less capacity than the 5-car Bombardier bi-levels back in 2015, so we will be stuck with 7×6 (soon to become 6×7) bi-levels with locos for the next 15 years at which point we might just as well buy brand new locos.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    From the minutes of July 7, 2016, JPB Meeting.

    Michelle Bouchard, Chief Operating Officer, Rail, said there was a communication that referenced the number of seats in the EMU train sets at 550 seats. That number was used in the original RFP document to provide for an apples-to-apples performance comparison. It was the idea that there would be 550 people onboard and staff wanted competing bidders to provide performance under those circumstances. Staff will work with Stadler to maximize capacity for seats and standees. That capacity needs to be balanced with space requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act passengers, bathrooms, and the 8:1 bike:seat ratio. It is likely that the number of seats in a six-car EMU set will be less than today’s Bombardier or Gallery consist. The true benefit of this project comes from increasing frequency. Caltrain is going from five to six trains per peak hour, and it is anticipated to result in 10 percent greater capacity. The true capacity enhancement of this program lies in the fact that it allows Caltrain to pursue these increases in the implementation of a more efficient service pattern with a higher frequency. The EMU technology will allow Caltrain to get from end to end in 60 minutes and to serve many more stations. This will allow staff to tap into the unused capacity in the service plan today. She said when measuring the true benefit of this program people should look at total system capacity, not just the number of seats on a single consist. This project provides more capacity than there is today and in the future the JPB will be able to extend train lengths without degrading reliability or capacity.

    A 10% increase in capacity? How does this work when many trains are currently operating at over 110% of capacity?

    Some trains are operating at over 140% to 150% capacity.

    New EMU sets with 550 seats and a single bathroom.

    Initially EMU trains were to have over 900 seats, as Roland has pointed out a number of times.

    Gallery (5-car) sets with 650 seats and at least 2 bathrooms per train.

    Bombardier (6-Car) sets with 762 seats and bathroom in each car.

    New EMU service is planned at running 6-car trains at six trains per hour in each direction, which is extremely shortsighted. Caltrain NEEDS more capacity NOW! And we have to wait at least five years before electrified service. Service disruption due to equipment failure is on the increase. Caltrain must consider longer and more frequent EMU trains and increasing current capacity now. Otherwise Caltrain is headed to a possible major meltdown…

    And for this privilege of riding overcrowded, infrequent Caltrain, we may have to pay higher fares…
    Click on: ITEM 12.Caltrain Fare Policy Study Overview

    Jerry Reply:

    You all keep writing about trains, size, frequency, etc. from San Jose to San Francisco. The distance from Baltimore to Washington DC is about the same. But I believe it is electrified.
    What are the comparisons regarding rest rooms, number of trains per hour, etc., etc., etc.

    Joe Reply:

    MARC has about 30k daily ridership compared to Caltrain’s 50k

    MARC operates 93 trains on a typical weekday over three separate lines of service: the Brunswick Line (18 trains/19 trains on Fridays), the Camden Line (21 trains), and the Penn Line (57 trains).

    Wiki re:Caltrain
    As of October 2012 Caltrain runs 92 weekday trains (22 Baby Bullet), 36 Saturday (4 Baby Bullet), and 32 Sunday (4 Baby Bullet).

    Roland Reply:

    As of February 2016 “the average weekday ridership (AWR) for 2016 is at an all-time high with 62,416 passengers, which is a 7.2 percent growth from 2015”

    Jerry Reply:

    So MARC has two separate rail lines between Baltimore and DC. With 78 trains per day. With the Penn line stopping at a major airport, BWI.
    Amtrak also has trains on the route, at HIGHER fares.
    Is there comparison information such as the number of cars per train, number of passengers per car, level boarding, dwell time, rest rooms, cost per mile, etc., etc. As in – – if they can do it, why can’t CalTrain? ??
    I keep reading about trains in Germany or England, but very little about comparable routes in the USA.

    joe Reply:

    Probably something can be calculated.

    The MARC I’ve ridden was single level and thus should carry fewer people per car and they run fewer cars per day and have about 1/2 the ridership oral lines.

    I’m sure Caltrain can always learn but “we” seem to carry more people per day and operate more trains per line.

    Dwell times are reduced with level boarding. Handicapped passenger delays will be greatly reduced. Schedule padding eliminated and more trains per hour.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Marc isn’t all single level

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Jerry: “You all keep writing about trains, size, frequency, etc. “

    How many (10-car) trains does BART run in each direction during peak hours on one set of double tracks?

    Yes BART does not have bathrooms on trains, but does have in station (paid area) bathrooms.

    Yes BART does have an all stop service pattern, unlike Caltrain.

    The typical person in the Bay Area sees BART as the comparison, the ideal transit system to which others such as Caltrain are judged.

    Comparisons to eastern systems may provide interesting data, but somewhat irrelevant. They have snow and severe weather that we don’t have. Those systems are the more traditional “commuter” systems in which ridership is primarily one (peak) direction. Caltrain has heavy ridership in both directions. The peninsula / Silicon Valley have worker destinations/campuses surrounded by acres of FREE parking, and many offer free “Google” buses.

    Caltrain could be carrying over 100,000 weekday riders, but the present service and proposed EMU service prevents such growth.

    Roland Reply:

    Minor correction: Caltrain MUST be capable of carrying 120,000/day by the time the DTX opens (less than 10 years from now).

    Joe Reply:

    The true benefit of this project comes from increasing frequency.
    The EMU technology will allow Caltrain to get from end to end in 60 minutes and to serve many more stations

    Combined, faster and more frequent service, “local and express” trains will run faster and there will be no need for bullet trains which are few, in great demand and most impacted. This should spread ridership into all trains. And you should see more service at 22nd st.

    Also I believe there is more room and easier to access standing spaces. Not idea but commuter systems should be operating at over seating capacity during peak demand.

    Roland Reply:

    Rather than just repeating the usual random crap you read on some obscure blog written by an electric bike rider you should try riding Caltrain to and from SF once in a while (something Jeff and I do).

    If you did, you would experience first-hand the fact that Caltrain ridership (officially at 66K passengers/day) is already at over 70K (something that MTC will very soon prove with the help of passenger counters).

    joe Reply:

    If you have a better idea you can’t articulate it. Ripping into Clem and Caltrain aren’t solutions.

    Clearly your skill level has you chasing per car seating and not thinking about system capacity. I’m systems scientist and look at system level properties. That’s why Clem’s simulation is more compelling than your insistence we per car seating.

    You own it to the people that share your ride to wise up and think at a system level – also to stop playing “What-If” on past decisions and writing Caltrain fan fiction.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Caltrain Fan-Fiction…


    Roland Reply:

    “I’m systems scientist and look at system level properties”. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!!!!!!!!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Combined, faster and more frequent service, “local and express” trains will run faster and there will be no need for bullet trains

    In Alternate Reality Parallel Universe Earth that might be the case. Also, Caltrain would have been electrified by 1990.

    Meanwhile, here on Planet Earth, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, many of them sucking mightily at the Caltrain funding teat, promise the exact opposite of the above.

    The future of Caltrain is the same as the last 30 years of Caltrain: Olde Tyme Commuter Railroading, with hour headways except at weekday peaks, and crazy service patterns during a few peak hours a day. Caltrain promise exactly this, in all of their “planning” and project justification documents!. The only thing that will change is that maintenance costs will increase to pay for the electrification infrastructure.

    World class!

    Roland Reply:

    Michele Bouchard is, always was and always will be full of shit.

    With regards to “That number was used in the original RFP document to provide for an apples-to-apples performance comparison. It was the idea that there would be 550 people onboard and staff wanted competing bidders to provide performance under those circumstances”, the truth is that “staff” (LTK) have known for over 3 years (BEFORE ISSUING THE RFI) that the KISS could not possibly provide sufficient capacity for Caltrain’s needs.

    At that point, rather than forgetting about the KISS and focusing on trains with the highest seat/bike/wheelchair/bathroom capacity per foot of platform (can you spell Omneo/Regio2N?), they blew a total of $12,791,844 “engineering” a Stadler FranKISSenTrain RFP specification designed to ensure that no other manufacturer could possibly submit a viable bid (they were successful!!!!)

    The end result was a single bid 70% over what the same trains would cost in Europe and $200M over the $400M that it would cost to replace the ENTIRE fleet (21 trains) with 8-car EMUs each capable of transporting 900 seated passengers (1,500 including standees), 110 bikes and 3 ADA bathrooms, including an OFF-THE-SHELF solution for incompatible platform heights (should we ever need to go there) that DOES NOT IMPACT SEATING CAPACITY and hybrid technology (should we ever ask).

    Clem Reply:

    That 70% premium is built into whatever Caltrain buys thanks to FRA regs, Buy America and LTK over-specification. Your Omneo (had Bombardier actually bid!) would’ve cost just as obscenely much. Your argument that it would have cost less is unhinged from reality.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Bombardier (and Alstom, and CAF, and …) couldn’t bid because the rent-seeking bid-rigging anti-competitive pig-fuckers at LTK Engineering Services did everything could (and continue to do everything they can) to maximize the ongoing revenues of LTK Engineering Services.

    Regardless of whether Stadler is one of the most qualified and innovative rail engineering organizations on the planet (it is) and whether Stadler products (which could have been any number of combinations of single-level, low-floor along with level-boarding except for the grotesque pig-fuckery of LTK Engineering Services and allied anti-competitive USA USA USA consultancies) would have been highly competitive in a technically and economically rational multi-vendor bidding environment (they would have been), you can’t pretend that the insanely and unjustifiably high costs of the “winning” (ie sole) EMU bid are unconnected from the grotesquely and fraudulently high overheads and profits of Caltrain’s permanent in-house sleazebag consultant puppeteers.

    Clem Reply:

    You’re basically agreeing with me (modulo the invective)… Bombardier and Alstom and CAF could have jumped all the same stupid hoops that Stadler did. The 70% premium is a result of industry regulation, protectionist policies and agency capture. The notion that Caltrain could purchase an off-the-shelf Omneo at SNCF prices is a delusional fairy tale–one that Roland inexplicably continues to promote.

    Roland Reply:

    @Clem: OK, let’s go there:

    1) There would be no need for Bombardier, Alstom and CAF to go through any loops or deal with LTK over-specifications if we fire LTK (and Dave Couch).
    2) Bombardier and Alstom have no issues with Buy America. CAF is another LTK/Dave Couch affair that nearly cost Houston Metro $900M in revoked FTA funding due to SYSTEMATIC BUY AMERICA FRAUD:
    3) The Omneo is the only known train with an OFF THE SHELF solution for different platform heights (just check the “Boarding height” box. DONE).
    4) The Omneo is the only known train capable of carrying 900 SEATED passengers (1,500 including standees), 3 toilets and over 100 bikes WITHIN 660 FEET OF PLATFORM).
    5) Caltrain have an FRA waiver to operate “non-compliant” EMUs.

    Lets now assume that (for some unknown reason), the exact same order as the STIF order were to cost Caltrain 50% more, the total cost would be the same as the CalFranKISSenTrains ($600M) with a couple of “minor” differences:

    1) We would have a COMPLETE fleet replacement (21 8-car EMUs instead of 16 6-car).
    2) Each train set would have 150 seats MORE than a 6-car Bombardier bi-level set instead of 300 LESS.
    3) Each train could carry twice as many bikes (100 instead of 50).
    4) Each train would have 3 times as many bathrooms (3 instead of 1).
    5) There would be no need to lengthen platforms ($400k/foot @ Transbay).

    Any questions?

    Clem Reply:

    No questions, but plenty of answers.

    1) Nobody will fire Dave Couch. Nobody will elbow LTK aside.
    2) Nobody will be caught red-handed trying to circumvent Buy America rules. Stadler is building an assembly facility in Utah and plans significant USA expansion to help with their strong currency issue across their large and growing worldwide business.
    3) The Omneo can serve one platform height or another, not both, unless you cut door capacity in half and increase station dwell times.
    4) The Omneo is a nice train that Bombardier chose not to bid.
    5) There is no such thing as “non-compliant” rolling stock. The FRA requires “alternate-compliant” vehicle designs to jump through all the same analysis and test hoops as “compliant” vehicles, just with slightly different criteria. Your imaginary Omneo would most definitely visit Pueblo, Colorado.

    Once again, here in our American reality, there is no conceivable way that Caltrain could buy an Omneo or KISS or any other European train at European prices.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Other operators in the U.S. manage to get world prices for stuff assembled in the U.S.

    Joe Reply:

    Which ? The MARC electric trains are standard model modified for US FRA Reqs. and subsequently are heavier and unique to the US.

  5. morris brown
    Jul 30th, 2016 at 10:04

    Roland wrote above:

    All funding for the electrification program is not in place and will require agreements with all parties to the 9-Party MOU and FTA and may be affected by legal challenges associated with the CHSRA project (what could possibly go wrong with that????????)

    Boy is that an understatement!

    Prop 1A funds ($600 million or so) can not be accessed until the required funding plans, dictated under Prop 1A, have been prepared and approved.

    AB-1889 (mullin), which is blatantly illegal, is an attempt to circumvent Prop 1A restrictions and is sure to fail.

    New political and legal battle is shaping up for bullet train

    Hijacking the Prop 1A High Speed Rail Funds

    The $400 million from the FTA has not been approved. Any Prop 1A funds, require matching funds. $600 million of the funding is needed to purchase the MOUs, which cannot possibly be funded from Prop 1A funds, because they are of no use for High Speed Rail. The same cane said for the funding of the CBOSS system, since HSR is not going to use this system. They simply don’t have the needed matching funds

    It is all a “shell game” Caltrain is promoting.

    Clem Reply:

    At the August HSR board meeting, the State of California will commit to funding the PCEP from other sources if the use of Prop 1A funds is in any way impeded. Shrewd move to ensure cash flow.

    morris brown Reply:

    Clem wrote:

    At the August HSR board meeting, the State of California will commit to funding the PCEP from other sources if the use of Prop 1A funds is in any way impeded. Shrewd move to ensure cash flow.

    I see nothing to date to support this statement. The CHSRA certainly does not have any authority to commit the State of California to anything other then funding that the Governor and the Legislature have approved. The “high and mighty” Governor and Legislature have no right to amend the conditions embedded in Prop 1A. All case law says that in “black and white” The Mullin bill is dead in the courts, regardless of whether it becomes law or not.

    All I have seen is Caltrain will only commit to the electrification contract if the CHSRA approves the MOU and its required funding.

    What I certainly do see taking place is the beginning of abandoning HSR as a project, and in its place starting to strip funds from Prop 1A and instead fund regional projects. This was alluded to in the latest LA Times article cited above.

    joe Reply:

    Clem wrote the State of California will commit to funding PCEP if Prop1a are impeded. That’s reasonable given Obama Admin just added over 100M.

    Care about the Times. Ralph Vartabedian sees dead people.

    Stuart Flashman, an attorney who represents Bay Area opposition groups, says the state constitution prohibits modifying a bond act through legislation and that the bill would bypass all the key protections in the law.

    The Legislature can bypass the bond act then they can bypass the bond act. There isn’t any barrier to Prop1a money for HSR either.

    Right now CHSRA has ARRA money to use or lose.

    Roland Reply:

    @Morris: They are having an ARRA fire sale on invoices for as much useless crap as possible between now and next September:
    2. Consider a Peninsula Corridor Improvement Plan consisting of:
     Funding for Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board’s (PCJPB) Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) via:
    o Adopting Responsible Agency California Environmental Quality Act Findings, and Approving a Funding
    Agreement with the PCJPB and a Seven Party Supplement to the 2012 Caltrain Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Funding the PCEP

     Entering into an MOU with the City of San Mateo for Grade
    Separations and Passing Tracks

    SoCal will have their feast next month

    morris brown Reply:

    Roland who wrote:

    @Morris: They are having an ARRA fire sale on invoices for as much useless crap as possible between now and next September:

    The ARRA funds are dedicated to the Central Valley. They may be able to spend some on studies but they cannot spend the “big bucks” on construction, outside of the CV. They will do anything they can to spend all the ARRA funds, and apparently the FRA will even let them prepay for work not completed. I suspect the will succeed is zeroing out the ARRA account by Sept 2017

    Roland Reply:

    @ Morris
    Q: Where do you think the funding for the Diridon Station planning grant came from? (pages 23-25)
    A: (notice the end date)

    As far as “I suspect the will succeed is zeroing out the ARRA account by Sept 2017”, how about attending this meeting and learning all about the latest and greatest creative ways to blow ARRA funds?

    Joe Reply:

    I would attend the next meeting just to see the floor show. What time are you on?

    Peter Reply:

    Lol, if you go you’ll see Roland no matter what, he comments on every single item.

    Roland Reply:

    LOL. How about saying something remotely intelligent for a change?

    Roland Reply:

    You will be happy to learn that Caltrain Board meetings will be video recorded every month starting this month. The videos will be posted here after the meeting:

  6. keith saggers
    Jul 30th, 2016 at 10:54

    USA: RailPros has awarded CH2M a planning, risk assessment and vehicle procurement services contract for the Redlands Passenger Rail Project to modernise and introduce passenger services on a 14 km corridor owned by Sanbag and connecting to Los Angeles Metrolink commuter rail lines
    Railway gazette

    Ted K. Reply:

    Your quote is from the “USA:” section of this page :

    Also of interest is this page :

    USA: San Bernardino Associated Governments has awarded HDR an 18-month contract to provide preliminary engineering and environmental services for the Redlands Passenger Rail Project in California

    Ted K. Reply:

    From the previous entry (“Trump …”) in this blog :

    Aarond Reply:

    Perhaps the future of Metrolink, today? Hopefully they’ll pick up NS DMUs that are more expandable than the Stadler ones.

    Aarond Reply:

    Additionally I’m wondering why Metrolink’s cab cars don’t come with forward facing doors:

    Roland Reply:

    Because the Metrolink cab cars are equipped with LTK-mandated cow-catchers designed to derail the cab cars on impact:

    Clem Reply:

    Is there perhaps a mistaken notion that articulated trains can never be “expanded” ?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Caltrain’s World Class Rolling Stock Consultants, LTK Engineering Services, certainly appear to have believed that.

    One excellent mechanism used to eliminate competition from the “competitive” rolling stock “bidding” process was to disallow any proposal involving semi-permanently coupled train cars because of (I kid you not) Special Caltrain Operational Needs.

    Roland Reply:

    This one will definitely stick in Court. Where did you find this absolute little jewel?

    Roland Reply:

    You may be totally shocked to learn that this Stadler FLIRT was “selected” after many years of “conversations” with the manufacturers by the same “consultants” in charge of procurement for Caltrain, SMART, eBART, etc.

    “At its June 29, 2006 meeting, the Board approved a motion authorizing the initiation of a feasibility analysis of the use of DMU technology (a self-propelled rail car for commuter rail or intercity rail service) on existing rail rights-of-way we own. At its November 29, 2007 meeting, the Board awarded a contract to LTK Engineering Services to conduct the analysis”

    Fast-forward to 2016:
    “Investigations made throughout the preparation of this proposal indicate that the Stadler 2/6 GTW vehicle would be the best match for the Redlands Passenger Rail service. However, recent CONVERSATIONS with the manufacturer indicate that this vehicle cannot be made Buy America compliant, to meet FTA funding requirements, at a reasonable cost. STV now believes that the Stadler FLIRT vehicle would be the most logical choice, ALTHOUGH ITS EXTRA LENGTH MAY POSE A CHALLENGE” (who cares if it is a GTW, a FLIRT or if is capable of carrying any passengers as long as it is a Stadler, right right, wink, wink?) (page 123)

    Q: When was the last time we heard that the “length of a Stadler train may pose a challenge”?
    A: Calmod 2.0. AKA longer trains, longer platforms, nothing that another $2.5B and 209,600 JOBS can’t fix. Par-Tay!!! :

  7. morris brown
    Jul 30th, 2016 at 13:36

    Robert titled this thread:

    Californians Support Action on Climate Change

    He then tries to convince readers, that this support means the voters support HSR. As I have mentioned before, HSR was last on the list of 20 priorities that the voters are concerned about.

    Even more to the point, recall the LAO 2012 Report

    which highlighted

    …. HSR….

    Would Not Help Achieve AB 32’s Primary Goals
    High–Speed Rail Would Initially Increase GHG Emissions for Many Years
    Other GHG Reduction Strategies Likely to Be More Cost Effective.

    Jerry Reply:

    There will be a reduction in the use of jet air travel between San Francisco/Jose and LA due to HSR.
    Did any of the GHG Emissions studies take that savings of rail versus jet air pollution into consideration?

    Joe Reply:

    And of course more roads and other construction needed to accommodate growth if HSR is NOT built never gets counted.

    CHAR funds tree planting which will offset construction emissions.

    Anyone truly caring about emissions would know other construction would happen anyway and would not omit tree planting and the full carbon footprint.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You with your logic and facts…

    Don’t you know that the one and only thing true Americans ™ care about are feelings?

    Roland Reply:

    Did any of the GHG Emissions studies of rail versus jet air pollution take this into consideration?

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t think it should.

    One can extrapolate aircraft fleet efficiency and train efficiency and electrical generation shifting off carbon but I don’t think the entire nextgen r&d should factor into today’s data.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Do we factor in fusion power?

    No. Because it is the technology of the future. Always has been. Always will be.

    Non combustion based airplanes are the same category…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Non combustion airplanes are more likely than PalmdaleRail or BART non subsidy.

    Roland Reply:


    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Elon – real life Bond villain – Musk…

    synonymouse Reply:

    JerryRail is not designed to compete with air SF to LA; it is to sprawl the high desert.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Yo, Morrie, you’re beating a dead horse again. The “Trump …” post just before this one had this same bit of roadkill in it. And this poll was cardio-staked back in January 2016 :

  8. les
    Jul 31st, 2016 at 09:24

    Now I understand the opposition to HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We are not talking about HSR here meant to reduce air traffic. It is commute op to encourage real estate exploitation. Ergo increased air pollution.

    Does air pollution explain stupidity and corruption that permeates the political and enforcement class? The scandal of the Bayconic Bridge?

    les Reply:

    If you say so.

    Danny Reply:

    I thought it was an Agenda 21 plot to stop sprawl and get everyone into hi-rises

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s both at the same time!

    That’s the beauty of conspiracy theories: They account for a thing and its exact opposite.

    Just like Schrödinger’s foreigner: lazy, unemployed and stealing your job…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, my experience with HSR (Japan, Italy) is that they don’t allow standing passengers, i.e., your ticket comes with a seat. How a “commute” run operates w/o standing passengers is beyond me.

    Edward Reply:

    You’re certainly right about standees on commute lines.

    BART was originally designed to have a seat for everyone, and at first that worked. To do it today would require 1,500 cars and a lot more track, and it would suck money. They have acknowledged the truth of the mater with the design of their new cars, only a few fewer seats, but considerably more standing room and more amenities for standees: air conditioning for the area near the ceiling as well as more convenient handholds and more of them.

    Unless somebody is willing to donate lots of cash there is really no way to build a system that will satisfy everyone. You only have to read the comments to this blog to understand that.

    Edward Reply:

    My mother has nothing to do with this…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Who mentioned your mother?

    Edward Reply:

    I mistyped “mater” for “matter” in my first post. Latin for mother. And as there is no way to correct…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Latin, eh?

    Sic transit gloria mundi…

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART sucks money.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    France also has mandatory reservations on its TGVs. Germany does not. You can board an ICE without a ticket (though buying on the train is freaking expensive) and reservations are an extra 4.50€ in second class. I have had to ride an ICE without a seat for myself back in the day…

Comments are closed.