Debate Grows Over AB 1889

Jul 31st, 2016 | Posted by

Literally the very first post on this blog back in March 2008 was about concern that high speed rail could be broken up into pieces as regional agencies and groups try to pry apart the HSR project’s funding.

Fast forward eight years and it’s clear that concern has never really gone away. Caltrain electrification is an HSR-related project, and it makes sense for Prop 1A funds to help build that project. An electrified Caltrain corridor is one that can carry high speed trains to San Francisco as an interim solution until a full HSR buildout is done on that corridor.

There are still some legal questions about how to do this, and so Assemblymember Kevin Mullin of South San Francisco introduced AB 1889 earlier this year to try and clarify matters. However, this bill has raised concerns among some – both HSR supporters and opponents – that it could produce further fragmentation. And along comes Ralph Vartabedian to stoke those worries:

After a long delay in selling bonds, the bill, AB-1889, was introduced in February in an attempt to break up the legal logjam. It would allow the rail authority to determine whether the electrified track in the Bay Area or any other investment would be suitable and ready for use by bullet trains, opponents say. It is scheduled for a hearing Monday by the Senate appropriations committee, likely the last stop before the full Senate considers it.

HSR opponents don’t like it:

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.

“They are changing the meaning entirely and tremendously weakening it,” said Flashman, who sent a letter outlining his concerns to legislative leaders.

Flashman has threatened to sue, which at this point should be considered an empty threat given how poorly all his other anti-HSR suits have fared. But there are also HSR supporters who are concerned about AB 1889:

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), an original author of the High Speed Rail Act and one of its most stalwart supporters, has asserted that the move will break up the bullet train system into a series of regional projects, said Bob Alvarez, the senator’s chief of staff.

It is a fear that veteran transportation experts say is a realistic outcome and may reflect a breakdown in support of the statewide system.

“It would fracture the statewide nature of the project,” said Art Bauer, a longtime Senate transportation staffer who played a key role in drafting the taxpayer protections in the 2008 bond act.

Sen. Galgiani’s concern is valid and should be taken seriously. Vartabedian is wrong to see this as a “realistic outcome” in part because there has not been any “breakdown in support” of the statewide system, at least not among Californians. There’s nothing realistic or inevitable about it.

My view is that a new law shouldn’t be necessary in order to get HSR funds to help build the Caltrain electrification project, given that it actually is part of the overall route – and that the blended plan pretty much requires it. But I would hold the line there. The Southern California Association of Governments has not always been staunchly pro-HSR, and they’re quoted in the article as wanting more of the HSR money for SoCal projects. But those projects aren’t on the SF-LA mainline.

Maybe a trade is possible: AB 1889 in exchange for renewed cap-and-trade and other state funding to provide all the dollars needed to build HSR from SF to LA. I think that would be a fair deal.

  1. synonymouse
    Jul 31st, 2016 at 21:50
    #1

    PBCAHSR was born fractured:

    San Jose Area Rapid Transit
    Fresno Area Rapid Transit
    Palmdale Area Rapid Transit

    Aarond Reply:

    funny how California managed to have two FART networks (Fairfield and Fresno)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Funny how syno manages to link everything (related or not) to BART…

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you had lived in the Bay Area for the past 50 years you too would know BART as the “Octopus”. In Chicago I believe it would be called the Outfit.

    Joe Reply:

    They call it the CTA.

  2. Roland
    Jul 31st, 2016 at 22:27
    #2

    @Robert: Kindly help me understand which part of “the PCEP as envisaged by Caltrain does not qualify for Prop 1A Bonds” it is that you do not understand:

    o The PCEP terminates at 4th & King instead of Transbay (Streets & Highways Codes Section 2704.04 (b) (2)).
    o 79 MPH speed limit makes it impossible to achieve a travel time of 30 minutes or less between Diridon and Transbay (Streets & Highways Codes Section 2704.09 (b) (3)).
    o The PCEP does not support 12 trains/hour (Streets & Highways Codes Section 2704.09 (c))

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgibin/displaycode?section=shc&group=02001-03000&file=2704.04-2704.095.

    Clem Reply:

    30 minutes is a frivolous requirement. It’s the law, but it’s a frivolous requirement (with concrete-happy implications for the transportation industrial complex) that is totally unnecessary to meet 2:40 SF to LA.

    Roland Reply:

    Au contraire, mon ami:
    There is nothing “frivolous” about SJ to SF in 30 minutes. Not only is it the Law, but SJ to SF is the only section of the entire system that is totally achievable with the available funding.

    Kindly step off the soap box and leave the (totally unachievable) remainder of the program to the transportation industrial complex.

    Joe Reply:

    THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT

    The courts have been particularly attuned to the fluidity of the planning process for large public works projects. In fact, the Supreme Court has allowed substantial deviation between the preliminary plans submitted to the voters and the eventual final project, admonishing: “[T]he authority to issue bonds is not so bound up with the preliminary plans as to sources of supply upon which the estimate is based that the proceeds of a valid issue of bonds cannot be used to carry out a modified plan if the change is deemed advantageous.” (Cullen v. Glendora Water Co. (1896) 113 Cal. 503, 510.) Similarly, the court broadly construed the purpose of the proposition approving the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and sanctioned the relocation of one of the terminal stations. The court wrote, “Obviously, the statutes, the notice of election and the ballot proposition itself contemplate a broad authority for construction of a three-county rapid transit system. In the wide scope of this substantial transit project, the deviation of
    1 1/2 miles in location of a single station is but a minor change in the tentative plan which was relied upon only to forecast feasibility of the project as a whole.”
    (Mills, supra, 261 Cal.App.2d at p. 669.)

    The development of a high-speed rail system for the state of California is even more complex than a regional water or transportation system.

    Roland Reply:

    “It appears, at this time, that the Authority does not have sufficient evidence to prove the blended system can currently comply with all of the Bond Act requirements, as they have not provided analysis of trip time to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and cannot yet achieve five-minute headways (even allowing for the definition of “train” to include non-HSR trains).

    However, as Plaintiffs acknowledged during oral argument, the Authority may be able to accomplish these objectives at some point in the future. This project is an ongoing, dynamic, changing project. As the Court of Appeal noted, “because there is no formal funding plan and the design of the system remains in flux.. .we simply cannot determine whether the project will comply with the specific requirements of the Bond Act…” (California High-Speed Rail Authority, 228 CaI.App.4th at 703.)”

    http://www.thehamiltonreport.com/downloads/TOS-RULING-KENNY-3-4-2016.PDF (page 16)

    Joe Reply:

    There is a Hierarchy.
    Appellate Court rules on HSR when over turning Kenny and cites Supreme Court ruling. Kenny has not yet blocked HSR and thus this opinion been not been challenged.

    agb5 Reply:

    There is nothing in Prop1A that requires the construction of a complete high speed rail system from San Jose to Transbay as a single project.
    The minimum unit-of-construction for Prop1A funds is: some components of a high speed rail system with two stations and independent utility.

    Roland Reply:

    If that was true, why do you think that they introduced AB1889 at the last minute?

    agb5 Reply:

    To foreclose on a time wasting frivolous lawsuit from the anti-HSR crowd who defiantly insist that SJ to Transbay is an indivisible unit of construction.

    Roland Reply:

    So which 2 stations do you have in mind?

    agb5 Reply:

    If one interprets Prop1A to mean the stations must be high-speed stations, and therefore have off-main-line paltforms, San Jose and Brisbane maintenence yard might be the least expensive stations to configure. The stations don’t need to be at the end of a usable segment, so electrification could continue to 4th&King.
    In any case, clearly the first usable segment to be built is not going to have Transbay as one of its stations, unless Trump cuts a check for the extension tunnel.

    J. Wong Reply:

    SFO San Jose

    Alan Reply:

    The transit projects funded under 2704.095 do not need to be Prop 1A compliant. Cable cars are eligible for funds under .095–tell me how they can comply with Prop 1A?

  3. Clem
    Jul 31st, 2016 at 22:43
    #3

    The root cause of this debate is that there simply isn’t enough money to build HSR as envisioned. Everything else is a shell game involving what little funding there is.

    Roland Reply:

    Please feel free to speak for anything south of San Jose.
    The San Francisco Peninsula and the whole of Silicon Valley appreciate your support.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Roland, are trying to be Richard M lite? It not effective either substantively or stylistically.

    Roland Reply:

    Baa-Baa

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    http://inception.davepedu.com/noflash.php

    Wells Reply:

    FYI, it will be too expensive to save human kind from environmental collapse,
    therefore, placing the issue of funds ahead of other concerns like optimal routes
    (ie Altamont) is a red herring. Moreover, the blended operation on the Peninsula
    may be a wee bit slow, but is otherwise sufficient to begin service.
    Frankly, I can’t see CAHSR running every 4 minutes at any hour.

    Roland Reply:

    “CAHSR running every 4 minutes”. Quote, please.

    Wells Reply:

    You’d just interpret any quote in your favor.
    I meant every 5 minutes, up to 12 an hour,
    the stated operation needed less than speed.
    Altamont needs electrification, not merely more commuter-rail.
    A 3rd HSR corridor SF-to-Sac via Altamont is no hay feed.
    And I’d say Dumbarton to Redwood City crossing is most ideal.
    Oh well.

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you. Typo excused.
    Point of clarification: the system must indeed be capable of supporting a minimum of 12 trains/hour/direction but there is nothing that says that any of these trains have to be “HSR” regardless of what the definition de jour of “HSR” might be.

    Wells Reply:

    Whatever. Nevermind how much speed costs.
    You’ve heard speed is faster and shinier therefore better.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: the only way a blended system can work if for all trains to travel at the same speed (including freight).

  4. morris brown
    Jul 31st, 2016 at 23:21
    #4

    @Robert:

    Sir, you don’t understand AB-1889 at all!

    I thought my article in Fox and Hounds made the issue crystal clear! AB-1889 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    You write:

    Flashman has threatened to sue, which at this point should be considered an empty threat given how poorly all his other anti-HSR suits have fared

    If indeed AB-1889 becomes law, it will be a “slam dunk” in the courts to be ruled illegal. The lawsuit would not be an “anti-HSR” lawsuit, but a lawsuit upholding the rights of the voters of California to keep the Governor and/or Legislature from “tampering” with a voter approved bond measure (Prop 1A).

    Robert, you really should write Senator Pavley and suggest the now unspent Cap ant Trade revenues (believe about $1.4 billion) and all future Cap and Trade Revenues be used to fund HSR. I am sure, she and all the other legislators which are so strong with saving the environment, will immediately jump on board.

    Robert you are right the So. Cal. projects aren’t HSR projects. There are vultures everywhere looking for funds. If AB-1889 isn’t killed, than there will be AB-XXXX to approve money for Metrolink. Then there will be AB-YYYY to approve funds for BART etc etc.

    Joe Reply:

    THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT

    The courts have been particularly attuned to the fluidity of the planning process for large public works projects. In fact, the Supreme Court has allowed substantial deviation between the preliminary plans submitted to the voters and the eventual final project, admonishing: “[T]he authority to issue bonds is not so bound up with the preliminary plans as to sources of supply upon which the estimate is based that the proceeds of a valid issue of bonds cannot be used to carry out a modified plan if the change is deemed advantageous.” (Cullen v. Glendora Water Co. (1896) 113 Cal. 503, 510.) Similarly, the court broadly construed the purpose of the proposition approving the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and sanctioned the relocation of one of the terminal stations. The court wrote, “Obviously, the statutes, the notice of election and the ballot proposition itself contemplate a broad authority for construction of a three-county rapid transit system. In the wide scope of this substantial transit project, the deviation of
    1 1/2 miles in location of a single station is but a minor change in the tentative plan which was relied upon only to forecast feasibility of the project as a whole.”
    (Mills, supra, 261 Cal.App.2d at p. 669.)

    The development of a high-speed rail system for the state of California is even more complex than a regional water or transportation system.

    A Bond Act is not a design document. Transbay to 4th and King is 1.2 miles

    There is ample evidence in the appellate court ruling that HSR **can** have a temporary station (or permanent station) at 4th and King and be compliant with the bond act.

    Notice the Supreme Court “admonished” that a preliminary plan put forth to voters is not definitive.

    morris brown Reply:

    Joe wrote above:

    THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT

    The courts have been particularly attuned to the fluidity of the planning process for large public works projects. In fact, the Supreme Court has allowed substantial deviation between the preliminary plans submitted to the voters and the eventual final project, admonishing: “[T]he authority to issue bonds is not so bound up with the preliminary plans as to sources of supply upon which the estimate is based that the proceeds of a valid issue of bonds cannot be used to carry out a modified plan if the change is deemed advantageous.” (Cullen v. Glendora Water Co. (1896) 113 Cal. 503, 510.) Similarly, the court broadly construed the purpose of the proposition approving the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and sanctioned the relocation of one of the terminal stations. The court wrote, “Obviously, the statutes, the notice of election and the ballot proposition itself contemplate a broad authority for construction of a three-county rapid transit system. In the wide scope of this substantial transit project, the deviation of
    1 1/2 miles in location of a single station is but a minor change in the tentative plan which was relied upon only to forecast feasibility of the project as a whole.” (Mills, supra, 261 Cal.App.2d at p. 669.)

    The development of a high-speed rail system for the state of California is even more complex than a regional water or transportation system.

    Not knowing if Joe is an attorney or not, but if he is, he is not a good attorney:

    From a good attorney who knows the law:

    As the California Supreme Court ruled in O’Farrell v. County of Sonoma, the legislative body can make the bond measure’s requirements as narrow or broad as they desire, but once the measure has been submitted to and approved by the voters, the measure’s requirements cannot be changed without returning to the voters. In the case of BART, the requirements in the bond measure were broadly written, and the court concluded they allowed movement of the terminus. In the case of Prop 1A, a specific travel time was required between San Francisco and San Jose, and the San Francisco terminus was specifically designated as the Transbay Terminal [now Transbay Transit Center]. Likewise, the bond measure specifically required not only that the CHSRA certify and demonstrate that a usable segment, when completed, would be suitable and ready for HSR operation, but that a neutral financial expert review and submit a report indicating that the condition would be satisfied. Making CHSRA’s determination “conclusive” essentially eliminates the expert’s report, and would therefore substantially modify a material condition in the measure. The two situations are very different.

    I have been advised that at the Senate Appropriations hearing this AM, AB-1889 was sent to the suspense file. If true, I believe AB-1889 is essentially killed, since it is highly unlikely that with the Aug 31 deadline for approval so near, there won’t be enough time for it to proceed through the whole process to reach the Governor’s desk. ( you never know for sure about this however — with enough support it is amazing how quickly a “dead bill” can suddenly be resurrected. )

    Roland Reply:

    Joe is a systems scientist who looks at system level properties.

    Roland Reply:

    They have just started going through all the bills on the suspense file. All bills have gone back to suspense (so far).

    Roland Reply:

    They have now adjourned to the Senate session: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&event_id=2633.
    They will be returning to the Appropriations Committee at the conclusion of the Senate Session which has not yet heard AB1889 AFAIK: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&event_id=2634.

    Roland Reply:

    Senate Session is adjourning. Back to the Appropriations Committee momentarily (in a moment in Her Majesty The Queen’s English).

    Roland Reply:

    Right back to to the suspense file (no vote)!

    Roland Reply:

    Here we go!!!!

    Joe Reply:

    I’m quoting the court ruling in favor of HSR.

    Thier finding wasn’t not about broad latitude vs narrow – read the text. They specificity cited the case to assert a direction between preliminary system description for a bond act and final design.

    Precision in a preliminary system description like 30 minute travel time doesn’t alter the courts prior ruling that bond acts don’t drone a final design.

    Joe Reply:

    Note Morris that the text of a bond act need not be midfield since the system description is not a final design contract with the voters.

    Supreme Court has allowed substantial deviation between the preliminary plans submitted to the voters and the eventual final project, admonishing: “[T]he authority to issue bonds is not so bound up with the preliminary plans as to sources of supply upon which the estimate is based that the proceeds of a valid issue of bonds cannot be used to carry out a modified plan if the change is deemed advantageous.” (Cullen v. Glendora Water Co. (1896) 113 Cal. 503, 510.)

    The development of a high-speed rail system for the state of California is even more complex than a regional water or transportation system.

    CHSR should have the latitude to build a single seat ride to SF while saving several years and billions by stopping at 4th and King and/or not precisely making 30 minute times that save billions in ROW impacts and reduce residential impacts by effectively using existing infrastructure.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So we have finally arrived at the point were the fig leaf falls off. You are no longer going to,pretend that they will meet the provisions of prop 1a. Now we can have the real discussion, do the ends (a half ass system)’justify the means (ignoring the law)

    joe Reply:

    Follow the Laws: The Appellate Court issued a ruling that allows the Authority “to carry out a modified plan if the change is deemed advantageous.”

    It’s following the law which recognizes the Prop1a is NOT a design document.

    Also HSR to a “temporary” 4th and King station is permissible under Prop1a.
    That defines a usable segment within the SF – San Jose Corridor. The usable segment could be San Jose Diridon to 4th and King (with SFO station in between).

    2704.04 (b) (2) As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.

    2704.01. (g) “Usable segment” means a portion of a corridor that includes at least two stations

    4th and King is within the corridor and does not exceed the 24 station cap.

    2704.09. (d) The total number of stations to be served by high-speed trains for all of the corridors described in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall not exceed 24.

    It’s allowed.

    Surprisingly Prop1a is ambiguous about SF station destination. Prop1a calls out SF Trans Bay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station as a corridor several times in text and then specifically omits naming the SF Transbay station in the service time requirements while keeping the LA Union Station destination.

    2704.09. (b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that shall not exceed the following:
    (1) San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes
    (3) San Francisco-San Jose: 30 minutes.

    4th and King meets the travel time requirement as the SF destination in the corridor because the requirement is ambiguous. It omits naming the Transbay terminal.

    (g) In order to reduce impacts on communities and the environment, the alignment for the high-speed train system shall follow existing transportation or utility corridors to the extent feasible and shall be financially viable, as determined by the authority.

    (h) Stations shall be located in areas with good access to local mass transit or other modes of transportation

    4th and King meets these desire traits.

    Laws grant the Authority latitude to build the right system. That’s the Law,

    Roland Reply:

    @Judge Joece: your information is obsolete: Judge Kenny has since unconfused simple minds about the true intent of the Law:

    “Section 2704.04, subdivision (b)(2) provides that “Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.” Subdivision (b)(3) identifies specific high-speed train corridors, and lists, “(B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.” Subdivision (a) identifies that the purpose behind the Bond Act is “construction of a high-speed train system that connects the San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim…”

    Consequently, it appears that the intent of the Bond Act was for the system to extend, in San Francisco, to the Transbay Terminal, not stop 1.3 miles short at a 4th and King Caltrain Station. This specific language and indication of intent does not conflict with a general referral to “San Francisco” in section 2704.(b)(1) and (3). It is reasonable to interpret this reference to “San Francisco” as indicating the Transbay Terminal identified as the intended San Francisco location in section 2704.04. “http://www.thehamiltonreport.com/downloads/TOS-RULING-KENNY-3-4-2016.PDF (page 15)

    Conclusion: 4th and King does not meet these desire traits. That’s the Law, SNAP!

    Joe Reply:

    Rice crispy Roland.
    Kenny has been over turned and I think it will happen again on this point. For now the project doesn’t need to appeal and hasn’t.

    The appellate court ruling recongnizef there is latitude to make changes from preliminary project descriptions such as move a station. I believe they have latitude to adjust the station if it is shown to be beneficial.

    Roland Reply:

    @Judge Joece. Has it ever crossed your mind that there was no appeal by either side because there was nothing to appeal? Kindly get on with the program and we may consider extending the line south of San Jose after the IOS is operational.

    Joe Reply:

    That’s silly and not correct. The plaintiffs lost and decided to not appeal.

    Losing the lawsuit
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article64736672.html
    Cites concerns which HSR has not challenged since he did not rule against the project.

    Kings Co declines to appeal the loss.
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2016/05/kings-county-admits-defeat-in-hsr-lawsuit/

    HSR was not blocked and gained insight.

    Roland Reply:

    That is silly and not correct. The State lost and decided to modify Prop1A instead.

    agb5 Reply:

    They could also build to a temporary terminus at SFO.

    Fresno to Bakersfield is a “usable segment” on the San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station corridor, and nobody is complaining that the usable segment does not to go all the way to the end points or does not comply with the 2:40 end-to-end time, or extends north beyond Fresno station to end in a field.

    Why is the San Jose, SF corridor being held to a different standard?

    Roland Reply:

    The San Jose, SF corridor is being held to a “different” standard because “Caltrain” has no plans to increase the speed above 79 MPH, maintain the tracks above Class 4 standard (60 MPH) or increase the number of trains to more than six per hour let alone going anywhere near the Transbay terminal.

    The REAL reason for blowing $2.2B on “electrification” is to increase the number of stops in San Mateo County (can you spell Hillsdale and Hayward Park), not to improve travel times between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The end result is that “electrifying” the line now would effectively bronze it in its present state of decrepitude in perpetuity.

    As far as “They could also build to a temporary terminus at SFO”, do you know where “SFO” is and, if so, would you mind if we continue commuter rail operations while you play choo-choo?

    Roland Reply:

    With regards to “Fresno to Bakersfield is a “usable segment” on the San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station corridor, and nobody is complaining that the usable segment does not to go all the way to the end points or does not comply with the 2:40 end-to-end time, or extends north beyond Fresno station to end in a field.”, once again, Judge Kenny’s ruling provides the answer:

    “There is nothing in the Bond Act or in the voter information guide that dictates the Legislature cannot use non-Bond Act funds to construct or plan an HSR system absent a showing that the system complies with the Bond Act requirements. The Bond Act did not establish the Authority, the Rail Act did. The Bond Act is, consequently, not the source of the Authority’s responsibilities or “powers,” which are described in the Rail Act, via Public Utilities Code section 185034.

    The Bond Act is simply that: a Bond Act. The Authority may not spend any of the $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds absent a showing of compliance with the numerous requirements described in the Bond Act. Additionally, all parties agree that Bond Act proceeds have not been used in the challenged segments and are not currently at issue, as the Authority has not prepared the required funding plans pursuant to section 2704.08. (Opening Brief, p. 3.)”

    http://www.thehamiltonreport.com/downloads/TOS-RULING-KENNY-3-4-2016.PDF (page 9)

    Conclusion: the California Rapid Rail Authority can build whatever they like (and even call it “H-S-R” if that makes them happy) AS LONG AS THEY DON’T USE PROP1A BONDS.

    Joe Reply:

    No CRRA.

    Continuing to make up stuff is a indicator your ideas don’t sync up with actual conditions.

    Roland Reply:

    http://tinyurl.com/ngdek2s

    agb5 Reply:

    They are building Fresno to Bakersfield the way they are because they are following the language of Prop1A.

    Roland Reply:

    Any “language of Prop1A” in particular?

    Zorro Reply:

    AB 1889 according to the Dept of Finance “is only a clarification of Prop1a”(as seen and heard on the Cal Channel), as do others, no need for some to get all huffy about it.

    As to spending the Bond money, some would object no matter what amounts of money were involved, It is HSR, people are not entitled to their own facts.

    Thankfully, Huff is a Lame Duck…

    Jerry Reply:

    Prop 13 specifically designated the terminus as, “the Transbay Terminal.”
    It is now being called the, “Transbay Transit Center.”
    I do not recall that change being submitted to the voters.
    Do I have a right to sue?
    :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How about we just name some other place Transbay Terminal?

    Joe Reply:

    SF’s TBLG station

    Ted K. Reply:

    Well, that rules out this TBLG station – it’s not in California.

    http://ears.iris.washington.edu/Data/Summary/gauss_2.5/GO/TBLG/station.html

    NB – The above is a seismographic station in Delisi, Georgia (ex-USSR).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Too many abbreviations.

    What’s a TBLG?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “There are vultures everywhere looking for funds.”

    That huge vulture lurking over the PBbunker is BART-MTC-ABAG.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Block Fox & Hounds already!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This is America, you can’t just block the speech and press you don’t like like Germany

    Jerry Reply:

    But the Donald can keep the press he doesn’t like out of his meetings.
    And he mimics and mocks their speech.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Neither of which is censorship. Trump is an idiot, but he does not have the power to censor the press

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nor is blocking a link on a private page.

    By the way, The First Amendment not applying to private businesses even where they hold something very close to a monopoly is often considered odd in Europe. Germany even talks about “internal press freedom” i.e. the possibility for an author at a media outlet to write something deviating from the overall slant of his outlet. That’s in sharp contrast to the open endorsements of political candidates found in American newspapers…

    Alan Reply:

    Morris, did you actually bother to read the bill? AB1889 does not amend Prop 1A at all. It interprets the law by making clear that it is the Authority’s judgement which is considered conclusive. It does so by adding a provision which adds a condition to the appropriation made in the Budget Act of 2012 for the Peninsula section. It doesn’t do a damned thing to Prop 1A, and you know it. Using your logic, SB 557 is also invalid, because it prevents the Authority from spending bond funds on 4-tracking the Peninsula and therefore amends Prop 1A. Both bills place conditions on the use of HSR funds. If AB 1889 is unconstitutional, then so is SB 557.

    So which is it? Either AB 1889 and SB 557 are both constitutional, or they’re both unconstitutional. You can’t have it both ways.

    Also, AB 1889 provides specifically that it does not relieve the CHSRA of its obligations under 2704.08. In words Morris can understand, IT DOES NOT AMEND PROP 1A.

    Once again, Morris is unable to tell the truth. He’s just po’d because his friends Laurel and Hardy won’t be able to file more frivolous lawsuits.

  5. keith saggers
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 06:27
    #5

    CHSRA MONTHLY MEETING AGENDA AUGUST 9, 2016 10:00 AM
    Main Meeting Location California Department of Health Care Services Auditorium 1500 Capitol Avenue Sacramento, CA 95814
    Satellite Location Caltrans District 11 Office 4050 Taylor Street San Diego, CA 92110

    2. Consider a Peninsula Corridor Improvement Plan consisting of: Funding for Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board’s (PCJPB) Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) via: 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.

  6. Reedman
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 08:41
    #6

    FYI, a residential tower in SF is sinking, and some folks are blaming the TransBay construction next door.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-s-landmark-tower-for-rich-and-famous-is-8896563.php?t=1ef0887a20

    agb5 Reply:

    The Transbay Terminal has the opposite problem, it is a mostly empty concrete tub, which, over time, wants to float to the surface.
    To tie down they drilled 70 foot long anchor rods into the ground beneath it.
    http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2014/04/Spring-2014-Newsletter.pdf#page=5

    Roland Reply:

    But, but, but. Wasn’t the $88M buttress supposed to take care of this problem?

    Peter Reply:

    According to the study completed before construction on Transbay began, the Millennium Tower had already settled 10 inches by then. The tower was built on fill with HEAVY construction methods with no columns built down to bedrock. No wonder it’s settling. Sounds like the owners are looking for someone with deep pockets to blame, no surprise there.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have read once that all of modern foundation construction is based on stuff someone came up with in the 1920s. Is this true?

    Roland Reply:

    Quote?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Sorry can’t find it. I think it was over at TVTropes and they did not quote a source either. They may have mentioned a name and stated that before that guy the last major advances in that field were by the Ancient Romans…

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah a residential Tower with no pilings going down to bedrock(unlike other tall buildings in SF, that are made with steel and that do have pilings going down to bedrock, instead of heavier unsupported concrete), cracks are supposedly appearing, plenty of rich people are thinking of suing the developer, the TBT had very little if anything to do with that CF, but the CF has had a lot to do with TBT costs climbing…

  7. Roland
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 10:06
    #7

    Senate Appropriations Committee live video link: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&event_id=2634

  8. Aarond
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 10:22
    #8

    Regardless of what happens it would be prudent for Sacramento to formally standardize passenger rail specifics in CA (Platform height, signalling, electrification voltage, etc). While this will come naturally, formalizing it ensures all future rail projects will be HSR compliant. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

    Also, the #1 problem CAHSR sets out to fix is the disconnect between Bakersfield and Burbank. The state, above all (including the rest of CAHSR) should make this their priority and aim to bridge the gap using whatever means necessary. How about funding a “grapevine multi modal corridor” in a separate bill? Rent it out to freight at night. Just make it happen and everything else will fall into place.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We have been down this same road numerous times over the past few years. I floated the idea of dual purpose but was quickly set straight by smarter minds that the demands of freight and HSR are too far apart to meld in re the Southern Mountain Crossing.

    Freight wants the connection to the east at Mojave and the most austere infrastructure to maintain.

    The smart move is to build a wholly new alignment optimized for high speed rail at Tejon. A project that has been 100 years in the works.

    EJ Reply:

    Re: the grapevine multi-modal corridor – we’ve been through this. Mountain crossings which can accomodate both freight and HSR are extremely expensive, since they need both shallow grades and very wide curves. You’re basically talking about a base tunnel between the grapevine and Santa Clarita.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clem’s proposed alignment does not entail a base tunnel. EMU’s can climb grades.

    Clem Reply:

    Sustained 3.5% grades do not accommodate freight.

    Roland Reply:

    True statement.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    At the very least not heavy freight done US style.

    You might be able to transport a few letters with a HSR trainset, though ;-)

    Roland Reply:

    Make that two base tunnels (unless you want an underground wye for the Las Vegas branch).

    synonymouse Reply:

    In truth the Santa Fe scheme for a Tejon rail line dates to about the exact time of M.M. O”Shaughnessy’s plan to extend the J line thru the Bernal Cut. Both stalled around WWI due to lack of funds, the United Railroads opposing the bond issue, which failed, and the SP cutting a deal for trackage rights with the Santa Fe.

    Finally in the 80’s the J was extended. O’Shaughnessy was vindicated – let’s do the same for the Santa Fe engineering visionaries.

    Aarond Reply:

    if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes

    My point is that the state must address this issue and has to figure out a solution. Freight is the most obviously available door. Another one (as both syno and car(e)-free note), is housing development in Palmdale. Perhaps the state passes an “LA Link” bill for tunnels under both the Grapevine and Tejon. Pick a direction and burn.

  9. Reality Check
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 10:27
    #9

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-s-landmark-tower-for-rich-and-famous-is-8896563.php

    This isn’t just an issue for the Millennium’s owners and wealthy inhabitants: It could be a headache for taxpayers as well. There are potentially big public dollars at stake, with the owners alleging that the massive hole dug next door for the new Transbay Transit Center is to blame for the building’s issues.

    Reality Check Reply:

    SF Millennium Tower sinking & tilting — TJPA blamed; may have to pay

    The [Transbay JPA] also signed an agreement with the Millennium developer in 2008 “to repair, at its own cost and expense … any damage to the development substantially caused by TJPA’s construction activities,” according a copy of the agreement on file at San Francisco City Hall.

    Records show the Transbay Joint Powers Authority pumped more than $58 million into an underground buttressing system to shore up the Millennium before beginning excavation in 2010. That’s one of the many reasons for the new transit center’s spiraling costs, which are now at $2.4 billion and counting.

    In its statement, the transit center authority said it “bears no responsibility for the tilt and excessive settlement.”

    Unlike some downtown high-rises, the Millennium isn’t steel-framed. Instead, the developer chose a concrete design more common to residential buildings. It relies on huge columns, shear walls and beams, and it’s much heavier than steel. What’s more, the building is located on unstable mud-fill, just off the bay’s original shoreline.

    The Millennium’s engineers anchored the building over a thick concrete slab with piles driven roughly 80 feet into dense sand. “To cut costs, Millennium did not drill piles to bedrock,” or 200 feet down, the transit center authority said in its statement. Had it done so, the agency said, “the tower would not be tilting today.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Any other buildings in the area using the Millennium Tower’s construction strategy?

    Roland Reply:

    No.

    Roland Reply:

    “Request under Planning Code Section 309 (Review of Downtown Buildings) for Determinations of Compliance and Exceptions, including:
    – an exception to upper-tower bulk limits (Section 272);
    – an exception to height limits for upper-tower extensions (Section 263.9)”
    http://208.121.200.84/ftp/meetingarchive/planning_dept/sf-planning.org/index.aspx-page=518.html (item 13.a)

    Anandakos Reply:

    Ooopsie. Soon they’ll be calling it The Leaning Tower of Greedsa

  10. Adina Levin
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 14:10
    #10

    Has anybody been watching appropriations for the last few hours – has AB1889 come up, and what happened. it wasn’t up between 10 and 11:45

    Roland Reply:

    See above 2:24 PM. AB1889 is on the suspense file (as of now) according to Morris.

  11. morris brown
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 17:08
    #11

    AB-1889 was just moved to the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations heairng.

    It might come back , but no vote today.

    morris

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the amended version of the Bill (I did not see this this morning):
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1889

    agb5 Reply:

    The new text is pretty much a summary of the existing definition of a usable segment:

    For purposes of the funding plan required pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 2704.08, a corridor or usable segment thereof is “suitable and ready for high-speed train operation” if bond proceeds are to be used for a capital cost for a project that would enable high-speed trains to operate immediately or after additional planned investments are made on the corridor or useable segment thereof and passenger train service providers will benefit from the project in the near-term.

    Roland Reply:

    So a rickety old 79 mph track with a dysfunctional overlay signalling system is “suitable and ready for high-speed train operation” as long as some rent-seeker says so?

    agb5 Reply:

    The “independent financial consultant” would verify that when “additional planned investments are made on the corridor” it would be “suitable and ready for high speed operations”.

    We know that there are planned investments in the corridor, it says right there in Prop1A, 30 minutes travel time!

    The “additional investments” thing is already the case with a “usable segment”, when diesel trains are using new HSR track which will become suitable for high speed trains after the planned investment to add an electric power system.

    Roland Reply:

    Everybody totally gets the 125 MPH “high speed” diesels through downtown Fresno but what about the Peninsula slalom course? Is the “independent financial consultant” recommending that the tracks be moved before or after electrification?

    agb5 Reply:

    It is outside the field of expertise of a financial consultant to recommend moving tracks.
    The financial consultant will verify that the electrical system component, paid with bond funds, is suitable and ready for high speed trains (and has two stations and independent utility)
    The then financial consultant will verify that plans are in place to make additional investments in the track and signaling systems.

    Not the ideal way to build a rail line but at this point it is about muddling through within the straitjacket of prop1A.

    Roland Reply:

    Congratulations!!!! You have just exposed AB 1889 for the kind of garbage it really is. You should be promoted!!!!

    Here is a totally novel approach to “muddling through within the straitjacket of prop1A”. How about compliance? Would that work or do you have an even better idea?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How do you define compliance?

    How could it be verified?

    Clem Reply:

    Is the insinuation that electrified tracks are difficult or impossible to move?

    Roland Reply:

    The insinuation is that fiscally responsible (AKA “sane”) rail planners don’t go about electrifying a line until the tracks are in their final position (about one block off to the west in the case of Bayshore) let alone electrifying depots and stations slated for relocation (can you spell CEMOF, Hillsdale, Bayshore, South San Francisco and 4th & King?).

    How about starting in you own backyard? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XbahXM_YRqg/STdw_8AS6dI/AAAAAAAAACM/3c3wSBHRC0k/s1600-h/ineptitude.jpg

    Joey Reply:

    Why? The poles and catenary are all reusable and re-adjustable. The only thing that’s hard to move are substations.

    Roland Reply:

    Right:
    https://youtu.be/SMUneTTLp_U
    https://youtu.be/4jIpawmoeD8

    Peter Reply:

    You’re equating “takes work to move” with “hard to move”.

    Roland Reply:

    1) I did not say anything (are you a mind reader?)

    2) Did you notice that there were no trains running on the line while all this good stuff was going on (can you spell bus bridge?) and that, had the line been electrified to start with, the only trains that could possibly have gone through would have been diesels?

    3) Caltrain motto: why put poles (and signals, stations and everything else) in the right place to start with if you get to rip everything up and do it all over again every 2-3 years (can you spell San Mateo bridges?) Par-Tay, J-O-B-S!!!! https://youtu.be/_a-3nMwjtPI.

    Peter Reply:

    1) Joey: “The poles and catenary are all reusable and re-adjustable. The only thing that’s hard to move are substations.”

    Roland: “Right” plus two videos showing tracks being electrified.

    Given that you use videos to communicate on a blog (why, god, why?), it’s sometimes hard to know what the hell you’re on about, so some interpretation is necessary.

    2) Caltrain is at least double-tracked for the entire corridor. Minus Tamien-Gilroy. It can run single-track on weekends without a problem.

    3) I’m not going to deign that with a response.

    Joey Reply:

    Of course it takes time and effort to move anything, but the same could be said of the tracks themselves. If you need e.g. shoofly tracks for constructing a grade separation it’s not a good reason to delay electrification.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Always refreshing comments on a monday evening…

    Moving catenary masts is no big deal. It does require some planning, of course, but it is done all over the place, be it permanently, be it temporary for trackwork.

    As Joey states, substations are more difficult to move, but that is no big deal with real electrifications, because you may need a substation maybe every 50 km or so.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max. Welcome to California!!! We don’t waste time and money on planning here but we do have a lot of fun. We just do stuff over and over again every 2-3 years just for fun (and JOBS) :-) :-) :-)

    agb5 Reply:

    The advantage of making the Usable Segment San-Jose to Millbrae is that most of the awkward cases you list can be paid for by non-Prop1A funds. No more sane but less litigious.

    Joe Reply:

    Useable Segment is not necessarily defined with segment stations at each end points.

    They could use your usable segment and still be able to build to 4th and king for temp service just as they will build to Merced and Bakersfield vicinity which are also temporary.

    Prop1a is not a rail suicide pact. The project has latitude to assure the primary goal, rail system with no operational subsidy for state benefit.

  12. morris brown
    Aug 1st, 2016 at 18:12
    #12

    AB-1889, was indeed sent to the suspense file in the State Senate Appropriations hearing late today (8-01-2016)

    A 3 minute video of the hearing can be viewed at:

    https://youtu.be/T3KDA2gvnsE

    As Roland has noted above, Mullin amended his bill before it was heard and sent to suspense. Its still very much un-constitutional. Hopefully it never comes back. (the amended version certainly was not posted last evening)

    Roland Reply:

    Mullin is just trying to get this through by getting kissy-kissy with SoCal.
    This is deja vu: pretty much how they got SB1029 through 4 years ago.
    What happens next is definitely going to be interesting…

    Zorro Reply:

    AB 1889 according to the Dept of Finance “is only a clarification of Prop1a”(as seen and heard on the Cal Channel), as do others, no need for some to get all huffy about it.

    Thankfully, Huff is a Lame Duck…

    Zorro Reply:

    Also AB 1889 passed first 5-0, then in the CA State Senate Appropriations Committee, 7-0, even Sen Nielsen voting for 1889…

    Sure the bill is in a suspense file, so what? Many bills are in the suspense file, after that is a floor vote.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Zorro: What you write here is nonsense. Learn to correctly read bill information.

  13. morris brown
    Aug 3rd, 2016 at 08:57
    #13

    Update on AB-1889:

    At the Monday (8-1-2016) Appropriations committee, unknown to the public, but presented to the committee was a vastly amended version of AB-1889. The new version can be viewed at:

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1889

    It is greatly expanded and is now aimed at not only freeing up “bookend” funds from Prop 1A but expanded to possibly free those funds elsewhere, including the Central Valley.

    It will undoubtedly come out of suspense, most likely next week. It is considered to have been read twice and could more right along at the next meeting.

    Robert and others really should take notice. As the Times article and a Dan Walter’s article have noted, this may well be a plan to essentially gut HSR and spend all the Prop 1A funds on regional projects. This certainly is the aim of deLeon, Beall, Frazier and others.

    This present version is still un-constitutional and illegal. If AB-1889 becomes law, HSR supporters here should damn well hope when it comes before the courts, they will immediately kill it. Otherwise Robert will have to rename his blog to something like “The Regional Commuter Rail Blog”

    Aarond Reply:

    More like the “norcal unified services” blog, as that’s where most of the money would go to. Amongst the state’s five commuter rail systems, four are in Northern California. Caltrain, ACE, CapCor and SMART would have a much easier time obtaining (and spending) money than Metrolink. LA will have R2 to build out their own MTA.

    Of course, that assumes this entire premonition is true in the first place. The true amount of statewide HSR support will be revealed in the next few years.

    agb5 Reply:

    The amendment does not change the fact that non-connectivity funds can only be spent on the high speed rail corridors defined in Prop1A.

    the
    Legislature may appropriate funds described in paragraph (1) in the
    annual Budget Act, to be expended for any of the following high-speed
    train corridors:
    (A) Sacramento to Stockton to Fresno.
    (B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.
    (C) Oakland to San Jose.
    (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station.
    (E) Los Angeles Union Station to Riverside to San Diego.
    (F) Los Angeles Union Station to Anaheim to Irvine.
    (G) Merced to Stockton to Oakland and San Francisco via the
    Altamont Corridor.

    Joe Reply:

    Right.

    (e) Of the amount appropriated, the Legislature dedicated $1.1 billion to passenger rail projects on the system’s Bookends that will ultimately be part of the blended system utilizing shared infrastructure

    (h) Consistent with Proposition 1A, these early investments will enable passenger train service providers to begin using the improvements on a corridor or useable segment thereof while additional work is completed to enable high-speed train service.

    (i) Furthermore, it is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in this act relieves the High-Speed Rail Authority from its duties under Proposition 1A, including the submission to the Director of Finance of the plan required pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 2704.08 of the Streets and Highways Code.

    This all goes back to NIMBY opposition along the Pennisula and the temporary HSR blended solution opponents forced on HSR.

    morris brown Reply:

    If AB-1889 passes into Law and is ruled legal by the courts (which won’t happen) then it is open game for anything. Already the So. California projects are clearly not legal, since they don’t involve electrification.

    “temporary HSR blended solution…” oh really

    Joe Reply:

    Open game is unfounded. Blended HSR was okay for Menlo Park and nothing has changed. Prop1a is not a straight jacket or Rube Goldberg act.

    Appellate court cite law granting state latitude with bond acts to build the system proposed.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Joe

    Just keep writing nonsense. At the Supreme Ct level in O’Farrell v County of Sonoma, is what is relevant.

    It is clear that proceeds of a bond issue may be expended only for the purpose authorized by the voters in approving issue of the bonds (O’Farrell v. County of Sonoma, 189 Cal. 343 [208 P. 117

    Joe Reply:

    I and the leglislature are wrong but your interpretation which blocks HSR is right.

    Prop1a was passed with the intent of building HSR and there is latitude in how the leglislature and executive best plan and fund the system. I haven’t seen one item incompatible with building towards a HSR system with service.

    joe Reply:

    CHSRA is complaint with O’Ferrell — all rail money for HSR relevant work.

    Why not continue with the ruling to the applicable law.

    Real parties in interest acknowledge that there is no published appellate decision denying validation of a bond authorization before there has been an actual bond expenditure for a project differing significantly from the project approved by the voters. There are, however, many cases in which the courts have broadly construed the purpose of the relevant bond act to allow projects to proceed that would appear to be either at odds with, or beyond the scope of, the articulated purpose of the act or the description of the project on the ballot.

    [The footnote is pretty damning too:]
    The cases real parties in interest cite, as well as an opinion of the Attorney General, are inapposite because they did not involve challenges to mere authorizations of bond issuance solely for purposes authorized by the voters in the Bond Act. (California Statewide Communities Development Authority v. All Persons Interested etc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 788, 795; Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. v. Amoroso (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 1083, 1086-1087; 92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1 (2009).) Nor do real parties in interest here raise any constitutional challenge to the authorization.

    Proposed Law references an HSRA/SoCal MOU with potential funding list here:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2012/April/brdmtg041212_item3_attachAB.pdf

    No unauthorized spending on a water project or road repair.

    agb5 Reply:

    Southern California projects are clearly not legal, since they don’t involve electrification.

    The people voted for a “Los Angeles Union Station to Anaheim high speed corridor” which by definition is electrified and has high speed trains, so there clearly are plans to electrify it.

    The authors of Prop1A understood it was not practical to build a complete “high speed corridor” in one step, so they created a “Usable Segment” as the minimum unit of construction.

    We know that a “Usable Segment” does not comprise all of the components of a “high speed rail system” because a “high speed rail system”, by definition, includes high speed trains.

    The authors of Prop1A knew that high speed trains would not necessarily be one of the components of a Usable Segment which is why they go to some length to describe ways to the make the partially built system “usable” using slow trains.

    (d) “High-speed train” means a passenger train capable of
    sustained revenue operating speeds of at least 200 miles per hour
    where conditions permit those speeds.
    (e) “High-speed train system” means a system with high-speed
    trains and includes, but is not limited to, the following components:
    right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and
    associated facilities.

    The amended text does not change any of this.

    Roland Reply:

    Make that the California Rapid Rail Blog. Too bad “Caltrain” will be stuck @ 79 MPH forever but that’s OK because uh… ACCELERATION!!!!

    Clem Reply:

    Increasing acceleration, i.e. power-to-weight ratio, is a far more effective way to reduce trip times than increasing top speed from 79 to 110 mph (which is planned as well). Homework: what’s the kW/ton of a 150 meter hybrid Omneo with 1000 passengers?

    Roland Reply:

    Not having to stop at every piss-poor ridership station in San Mateo County is an even more effective way to reduce trip times.
    Homework: What does kW/ton have to do with 150 meters and 1,000 passengers?

Comments are closed.