I’m Thankful for California Voters

Nov 25th, 2016 | Posted by

The votes are in – most of them, anyway – and Californians have delivered some big, if indirect, victories for high speed rail. Let’s review:

Prop 53 goes down to defeat. Prop 53 fell behind on election night, but it took two weeks of counting until defeat became official. The numbers as of November 25 are 49.1% yes, 50.9% no. This ensures that future high speed rail bonds will not be subject to constant public votes, which would make it harder to successfully sell those bonds. It’s a big defeat for HSR deniers, and a big win for Governor Jerry Brown.

Democrats retake a 2/3 supermajority in Sacramento. Democrats won back several Assembly seats they had lost in 2014, ensuring they picked up a 2/3 supermajority in the lower chamber. It took a bit longer for the Senate supermajority to be declared, but earlier this week Joshua Newman passed Ling Ling Chang and has secured the 27th Senate seat for Democrats. This doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing for Democrats, especially as the Assembly mod caucus remains intact. But it sure helps, and makes a renewal and extension of cap-and-trade a lot easier.

Local rail measures pass. HSR needs local rail connections to thrive, and voters north and south approved measures to address both. In LA, 70% of voters approved the massive Measure M package, which will help bring rail to many more corners of LA County – with the HSR station at LA Union Station at the hub of the system. Bay Area voters approved Measure RR to invest in much-needed BART maintenance, and Santa Clara County voters approved Measure B, ensuring BART will reach downtown San José and Santa Clara.

That’s the very good news. Unfortunately there’s bad news as well, and it starts as the top, as everyone knows.

Rail projects face a Trumpocalypse. Sure, Trump talks about infrastructure spending, but the combination of a Republican Congress and a lunatic right-wing president does not bode well for any federal money for rail, including high speed rail. You can pretty much kiss federal matching funds for urban rail goodbye. It’s possible that a deal can be reached to set up an infrastructure bank but I would not be surprised if Congressional Republicans refuse to allow it to loan to California HSR. Worse, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration and the Surface Transportation Board will come under the control of right-wing ideologues, causing new headaches for California HSR. While one might try to find some comfort in positive things Trump has said about HSR, the fact is that this administration’s domestic policy is largely being run by Mike Pence, with a heavy assist from Reince Priebus (and thus Paul Ryan). So those key federal agencies are going to fall into very anti-HSR hands.

Anti-HSR Congressional Republicans survive. It’s not over yet, but Darrell Issa is hanging on by a hair in his race against Doug Applegate. Jeff Denham and David Valadao won more easily over their opponents. It would have been nice to see them lose their seats, removing big obstacles to HSR and putting Democrats closer to a renewed House majority.

The lessons of the 2016 election are clear, and they’re not new. It’s the same lesson as every election since 2010: California is on its own, and should start acting like it. HSR will have to funded solely from state and private sources.

In fact, everything that makes up a modern 21st century civilization in California, from public schools to health care to infrastructure, is going to have to happen on the state level now. Judging by this powerful anti-Trump statement from California’s legislative leaders, the state’s government is up to the task.

So who wants to talk about the 2018 governor’s race?

  1. Robert Cruickshank
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 20:09
    #1

    Also cleared out a small backlog of comments that had been held for moderation.

  2. Aarond
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 20:16
    #2

    It’s worth mentoring that Pence is probably the most pro-rail of all the Republican candidates. This isn’t a high bar but as Governor he kept the Hooiser State alive, as opposed to Cruz and Jeb who supported FLHSR dying and Kaisch who himself killed OH HSR (the latter of which will have long term consequences).

    I’m cautiously optimistic about Trump because it’s clear that he’ll at least fight for projects in his home town. This means new Gateway Tunnels, Empire Station, and perhaps a Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel. He’ll need votes for this and California has 55.

    joe Reply:

    I had a pack of peanuts on my SW flight. That is a meal as Pence is pro-rail.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-saving-the-hoosier-state-line-st-0208-20150207-story.html

    “Indiana lone holdout in long-term deal for Amtrak lines”

    Aarond Reply:

    Pence had the option of killing it entirely but didn’t. An extremely low bar but it’s head and shoulders above the other options. And again, Trump himself will make it rain money on his hometown so he will need 218 and 51 votes to do it.

    Also, to be perfectly clear, he could still prove me wrong. But we haven’t reached that point yet.

    joe Reply:

    Point: Pence is not the most pro-rail Republican. Waiting to the last minute out of all the states and not killing all service isn’t pro-rail.

    Trump wants to rain money on Trump. He’s got a long track record …

    Aarond Reply:

    He’s the most pro-rail of the candidates. Specifically, remember that Trump wanted Kaisch to be his veep but he rejected it.

    Again, not a high bar and I qualify everything I said with the fact that nothing is decided yet. Once decisions come in, they will stand for themselves.

    Joe Reply:

    Like saying airline peanuts are a meal. What’s the point ? Realistically, it’s a misleading conclusion. We’re dealing with people with known preferences and track records. Fraud bankruptcy budget cuts and privatizing.
    We’ll see privatization of Amtrak’s profitable routes and the rest will spiral down with service cuts and ridership losses.

    Aarond Reply:

    Or Trump could step on all of that because he wants NYDOT under him, remember that he’s going to be 74 or 78 when he leaves office which leaves him at least a decade more of working in the background. And this is assuming he really is corrupt and doesn’t actually believe the things he says.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Or Trump could succumb to Alzheimer’s disease like his father did.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Less bad doesn’t equal good.

    Roland Reply:

    I drove by Cowschwitz (twice) and did not stop for steak until I hit Denny’s. Costco gas was $20 each way. Adrenalin would not be the same with a third lane…

    Jerry Reply:

    Trump owns 1/3 of a building in San Francisco’s financial district. Would HSR to San Francisco help his business? Or HSR to Las Vegas? A new football stadium for the Raiders received a $750 million dollar vote. Would HSR help more people to travel to the games there? And to gamble at Trump Casinos?
    If California is going to be on its own, it could use the threat of legalizing gambling in the Palmdale area plus it’s 55 votes, to leverage some help for HSR.

    Aarond Reply:

    Thank you for reminding me, now that Trump is President I’m willing to bet that NVHSRA will require whoever builds HSR in Nevada (private or public) to put a station near (if not connected directly into) Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.

    Jerry Reply:

    And DT has already said that, “In theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100%.”

    joe Reply:

    Already written up: Xpresswest possibly to casinos and or a proposed LAS Stadium.

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/traffic/high-speed-rail-plans-may-include-station-near-proposed-raiders-stadium-site

    Adelson is behind the Stadium.
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/stadium/adelson-commits-personal-wealth-back-stadium-plan

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The stadium will have eight home games (tops, they might sell one to London for the first couple of years) a year and maybe a dozen or so other events like concerts (that don’t, however attract as many people as NFL home games). Casinos are open way more often. I don’t quite see the logic in serving the stadium explicitly…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    If only the stadium was in a less stupid location….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Move San Quentin to Palmdale, freeing up some space for tenements.

    Jerry Reply:

    Plenty of room in the Mojave Desert for a lot of things.
    Space ships land there. At Edward’s Air Force Base.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You really don’t know how Marin County works.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Kasich killed the 3-C project, one which was not in any way HSR, nor necessarily a project which would lead to or enable HSR. What he killed was more like the san joquains service, if anything.

    Cruz wasn’t involved in FLHSR… maybe you’re thinking rubio?

    I’d say Cristie, even with the ARC thing, is likely as pro-rail or more than Pence.

    Aarond Reply:

    Chicago has to route through Ohio to access both DC and NYC, that’s why any improvements (or lack thereof) to Ohio’s rails have such a major impact. Already 500,000 people take the Capitol and Lakeshore Limiteds, that number could easily double if service was reliable. Which would lead to HrSR and HSR like the Keystone did.

    Also: you are correct about Cruz, I did in fact mean FL Senator Marco Rubio.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Chicago is too far away from the East Coast. Ohio, with more people than metro Chicago, isn’t

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Chicago is too far from the East Coast, but Chicago isn’t too far away from Indianapolis, Indianapolis isn’t too far away from Columbus, Columbus isn’t too far from Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh isn’t too far from Philadelphia, and Philadelphia isn’t too far from New York. That right there is a high speed line. Perhaps divided into two sections, with trains going from Chicago to Pittsburgh, and with trains from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to NYC, if you want to divide it into two segments as part of a Midwestern train franchise, and one segment as part of a Northeastern train franchise.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I don’t disagree with the reckoning of connecting three pretty good intra-state HSR systems (Philly-harrisburg-pittsburgh, Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati, Indianapolis-Lafayette-Michigan City-Gary/South Bend) then a few last-mile things (one of those being the NEC). But three-C wasn’t even a good intra-state system, it was a proposal for a 39-mph average speed system. It was like if there was a proposal to make the hoosier state three times a day instead of four times a week. It’s too little to be useful.

    The idea of a high-speed line from the NEC to chicago that doesn’t hit all the major population centers on the way is DOA. The idea of all the midwest investing in decent intrastate HSR systems and the feds making final connections for interstate commerce works- but it takes more buy-in than even the bluest of the states on the way have shown.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fact of the matter is that there was a rail improvement plan and Kasich rejected it. It was not a perfect plan, but how often do you get perfect in this world?

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Some plans are worse than nothing. I don’t think a train that is less frequent and slower than a greyhound bus would be the best ambassador for rail progress in Ohio. I could be wrong.

    Aarond Reply:

    Chicago is only about 600 miles from DC and 700 from NYC. At 125 mph that’s a six or seven hour trip and at 220 mph that’s a three or four hour trip. Plenty of people will ride if it’s provided, given that NYC is America’s largest metro area, Chicago #3 and DC #6.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No it’s not, unless you are on an airplane.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, how long is the airplane trip? Let’s say one and a half hours airborne, plus thirty minutes boarding, thirty minutes security, one hour getting to the airport and half an hour of buffer time in case something goes wrong. so you have a four hour flight a train trip of similar length. However, the train will have to charge a lot extra for being a nonstop or limited stop express along a route with some major cities along the line. Kind of like the ICE Sprinter (which usually takes three to four hours) is more expensive than the regular runs which take half an hour more.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The tunnels under Lake Michigan and Lake Erie to make that possible would be very expensive.
    It’s 790 miles on I-80. Through lots of very hilly barely inhabited forests in Pennsylvania. 907 on the route of the Broadway Limited – via Pittsburgh and Philadelphia or 959 via Buffalo – the 20th Century Limited or the current Lake Shore Limited.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    What tunnels?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The ones under Lake Michigan and Lake Erie to make the trip between Chicago and New York close to 700 miles. Its somewhat longer if you detour around them. Even longer than that if you wander off course to pass through cities along the way.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think adirondacker says that said distance is not possible while going around the Great lakes instead of above/below/through them…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Got it.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    The largest and particularly the fastest growing (or rather, non-shrinking) population centers in between make for a much longer route.

    Each of the best routes is closer to 1000 miles than it is 600. Either you have Pennsylvania/Ohio/Indiana or you have Upstate NY-Ontario-Michigan.

    Basically, you either have to depend on midpoints (like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, or Albany, Hamilton, Detroit, South bend), or hope for a major technological shift against air travel.
    If you have the latter, there’s probably more opportunity in increasing top and average speeds while still serving the midpoints, than in bypassing them for a shorter route.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s shorter go from Niagara Falls Ontario to Windsor Ontario than it is to swoop around the south shore of the lake. Detroit is along the way. It’s the way to go for Chicago-Toronto. It’s a stretch for Chicago-Montreal but it’s good for Detroit-Montreal. There will be a line around the south shore too. Boston-Cleveland is a stretch but the rest of New England that isn’t Maine makes sense. 7 million New Englanders, 4 million Upstate New Yorkers and almost 12 million Ohioans are going to generate a lot of traffic. On the same tracks that connects them to Toronto and Montreal. That the 20+ milliom people in metro New York, 6 million in metro Philadelphia and 10 million in metro Baltimore-Washington will find useful.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes, but you have to calculate for the average speed, including deviations from a direct route to hit intermediate destinations, not maximum speed. I would expect about 8-9 hours, assuming 125 MPH on a line through Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, though daytime HSR trains would likely require a transfer in at least 2 of those 3 cities. What could be intriguing would be overnight direct HSR, leaving at about 10:00 PM, and arriving at about 7:00 AM. There could be a big market for something like that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I would be very very silly to make people change from one train to an identical train in Pittsburgh.
    The train from Minneapolis would fill up with people who want to go to Milwaukee, Chicago and Indianapolis. In Milwaukee some of them would get off and be replaced by people who want to go to Columbus. It would almost empty out in Chicago and fill up with people who want to go as far as Pittsburgh. Or Buffalo. Rinse repeat until the train gets to Boston, New York or Washington D.C. Or Houston or Miami.
    Trains that are empty from 8AM to 9PM don’t earn much money during the day. The fares on the sleeper would be too high.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes, but in a real high speed system, there would be at least 16 trains per day in each direction. Its not like any train would be empty. Also, extremely long routes are prone to getting off schedule. Finally, unless you want to run trains between every possible city pair at a low frequency, you have to have a few transfers, which is okay. For instance, for the Chicago to DC journey you would have a few options.
    Take a Midwest high speed train towards Buffalo via South Bend, and get off at Cleveland. Transfer to a northeast high speed train towards New York via Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Get off in Philadelphia and transfer to another northeast high speed train from Boston towards DC.
    Alternatively, you could take a Midwest high speed train from Chicago to Pittsburgh via Indianapolis and Columbus, and transfer there.

    You have to think about the large scale layout of such a system, not in terms of every possible line. Think subway system, not Amtrak.
    Finally, I divided the system into two parts–Midwest and Northeast, which could be integrated with their respective low speed intercity, commuter rail, and metro systems, making everything more seamless for the average rider instead of having each mode be spread too thin across the country.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or you could just sit in your nice warm seat and the train from Chicago to Pittsburgh magically changes into the train from Pittsburgh to New York. Which was nice and warm when you got on in Columbus because the last of the people from Milwaukee got off in Columbus. Or the Detroit to Pittsburgh train magically changes into the Pittsburgh to Washington train. The Chicago-Cleveland train into the Cleveland-Boston train. Or the Cleveland-Toronto train.
    If the train from Chicago to Buffalo is late you miss your connection to the Cleveland to New York train. If you want to get from Toledo to Pittsburgh it makes much more sense to get on the train from Detroit to Pittsburgh. You don’t care that it magically changes into the the train to DC when it gets to Pittsburgh.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    If the Chicago to Pittsburgh line goes to New York, you have to cut frequency on the Detroit/Cleveland to DC/NY line. If the Chicago to Cleveland line goes to Boston, you have to cut frequency on the Toronto to Boston line. I would assume every line would operate every 15-60 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about connections. You have a choice between a simple and frequent system with convenient connections, or a complicated system with a lot of infrequent one-seat-rides. I choose the former.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are enough people in Detroit that that there will be fairly full trains from Detroit to New York. Extend it Boston and people in Pittsburgh can use it to get to New Haven and Providence and even Boston. If I want to go from Cleveland to Philadelphia I don’t care if the train started out in Minneapolis or Detroit and will be going to Boston or Richmond.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I didn’t realize timed, cross platform transfers were so evil. The fact is, demand isn’t there for trains on every line every 10 minuites, and until it is, we should focus on having a handful of frequent lines with good connections, not running trains between every possible city pair.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People don’t take three hour train trips on a whim. Twice an hour from Detroit to Pittsburgh would be adequate. One can go to Boston and the other one to DC.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    There is no logical way to turn trains south from Philadelphia.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, the vast majority of all HSR trains run eight to ten hour courses instead of three to five hour courses. So the Hamburg-Berlin run is almost certainly part of the train that goes on to Munich (even though as of 2016 Hamburg Munich is faster via Hannover). And the Zurich Stuttgart train will almost certainly go on northward. Why shouldn’t it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Zoo Interlocking. Though something could probably be arranged with former Reading lines.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    But not with a 220 MPH Keystone line and the Acela tunnels to Suburban Station and Philadelphia Airport.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Everything is going to stop in Philadelphia except maybe a super-super express in the morning and afternoon on weekdays. It would be really stupid to build tunnels across Philadelphia so trains can stop a few blocks away from where they stop now. Or across Baltimore.
    Equally stupid to take a train past BWI or EWR to get to PHL.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    My point is that a 220 MPH Keystone Line would need to approach Philadelphia south of Philadelphia Airport coming from Lancaster, and thus turn north to reach Philadelphia proper. Since no Keystone train should skip Philadelphia, there is no way to bring high speed trains from Keystone to DC without skipping Philadelphia, which is idiotic. You could turn trains around, but that is inefficient and no better than a cross platform transfer to a southbound 220 MPH Acela.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Assuming someone was crazy enough to carve tunnels between the airport and Harrisburg there’s enough demand that the train to Philadelphia can go to New York and Boston and the train to DC can go to Baltimore and Richmond.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think a low hanging fruit right now is to extend electrification all the way to Pittsburgh and to increase the speeds along the Detroit-Chicago route (which is already owned by Amtrak and states to an appreciable degree). Ultimately investment in Ohio will have to happen, but it will be easier with Kasich out of the governor’s mansion and service between Philly and Pittsburgh on the one hand and Detroit and Chicago on the other hand already showing why Ohio improvements are a good idea.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Adirondacker. The only way you need tunnels like that is if you don’t come in south of Philadelphia to avoid the urbanization. Take a look at this map to see: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/edit?authuser=1&mid=15y55_Zzsql4KQ-pDbAw7DBNsiWI&ll=39.95594732524331%2C-75.53741326377383&z=10

    @Bahnfreund. It doesn’t make sense to electrify to Pittsburgh yet because the line is owned by freight and is very windy. There is no way to avoid a big, greenfield HSR project for this route.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Suburban Philadelphia stretches all the way to Maryland. Delaware isn’t very wide.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, however it is done, Philly to Pittsburgh is a worthwhile HSR route and should absolutely be considered.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The almost 12 million people in Ohio and the 5 million in metro Detroit would be able to use it to get to Philadelphia and New York and the over 20 million in metro New York would be able to use it to get to Ohio and Detroit….

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Plus all the people in Philly that will be able to go to Pittsburgh and vice versa. You could even give a tacky new name to the NFL rivalry between the two cities…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    One thing worth noting about the Pittsburgh-DC journey is that it would likely be faster to transfer to southbound 125 MPH service in Harrisburg than to continue on 220 MPH HSR via Philadelphia.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But you would have to have an electrified line enabling such speeds…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which should be built under any circumstance.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Regarding demand for an overnight HSR service, we’ve got a somewhat decent idea of how much (or little demand there is for that). There are chinatown buses doing that route that leave around 9pm and arrive around 10 am. The fares are $60. Last I checked it was one or two per day.

    Jerry Reply:

    The old Twentieth Century Limited ran the 958 miles from NYC to Chicago in 16 hours. In the late 1930s.
    It departed New York City at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and arriving at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station the following morning at 9:00 A.M. Central Time, averaging 60 miles per hour.
    Imagine if in the past 80 years the route had been upgraded to HSR standards.
    PS. Even back then, next day mail delivery was taking place.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Columbus does not even have a streetcar. It is a vampire that thrives off the blood of the rest of a State in decline.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Of course, streetcars are utterly pointless. Also, while much of Ohio is in decline, Columbus is actually doing quite well.

    synonymouse Reply:

    off the backs of the rest of the state. Columbus has always been run by a handful of families and corps.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    It has the university, which is big.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Columbus is absolutely a parasite, but Ohio’s growing faster than either Michigan or Illinois, and comparably to Pennsylvania.

  3. Michael A.
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 20:43
    #3

    As bad as the Trump victory is for high speed rail, in the longer term it might be a good thing for the Democrats and infrastructure spending on high speed rail. A third presidential term for the same party is rare in American politics. And now that the Democrats are out of power, the odds are that Democrat turnout will be much higher in 2018 and 2020.

    In 2018 alone, there are 36 governors races. This is an off year election which usually favored Republican turnout. (And this is why most of the 36 governors races in 2018 are held by Republicans). But now that Trump will be President and Republicans control Congress, Democrat turnout could be impressive. If Democrats sweep of the Congress, Governors races, and state Legislatures in 2018, the politics of High Speed Rail would be completely REVERSED. Many states would be saying YES to high speed rail and lobbying Congress for matching funds. States would be lobbying TOGETHER to support regional high speed rail. This would be truly a sea change in governmental attitudes toward high speed rail and grease the skids for some major investments in a rapid build out of new systems.

    Progressive groups should begin to think about this possibility now, and be prepared to seize the opportunity should the 2018 election result in a Democratic realignment.

  4. Aarond
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 20:46
    #4

    Also on the 2018 Governor’s race, it’s clear that Villaraigosa is the pick over Newsom due to Measure R. Though the CA GOP might run someone pro-HSR, but that would depend on what Trump does and whether or not they feel like evolving their antiquated social policies.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The CA GOP is under no circumstances going to win a statewide race. The most likely scenario includes either Garcetti v Villaraigosa, Newsom v Villaraigosa, or Garcetti v Newsom.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I don’t think Garcetti will run for governor in 2018, though I’d love for him to do so. The three main Democratic contenders will be Newsom, Villaraigosa, and John Chiang. Delaine Eastin can’t be counted out but she’ll have less money than the others. It’s quite possible that we see another all-Democratic top two.

    Joe Reply:

    Top two is bad. It cost us Mike Honda.

    StevieB Reply:

    Top two produces more moderate candidates and ameliorates the polarizing politics recently prevalent throughout the country. If more states adopted top two runoffs it would be better for the country.

    Joe Reply:

    It gave us two Dem senate candidates, blocks out third parties and yes it favors “moderates” which always means corporate backed candidates.

    Polarized isn’t bad. I have little in common with the KKK.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a patronage machine scam and easily worked. In the case of the Democratic Party in California annoint your favorite, Harris, but simultaneously slip enough campaign funding to a shill, Sanchez, and you have rigged the ballot. After a while many will realize the futility of voting and not bother any more. Win win

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I think it’s almost inevitable that we see a democratic top two unless there are four or five viable democratic candidates, and just one Republican. Personally, I’m supporting Villaraigosa.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If enough vote splitting is going on (California seems to be the only state that is likely to produce a presidential contender for 2020 whose name is not yet floating around) we might even see a third party or insurgent candidate getting into the top two.

    Aarond Reply:

    Schwarzenegger, Christie and Rauner proved otherwise. It’s about going with the flow. If Trump works, that will have a trickle down affect to the state level.

    But I’ll admit that this more pertains to the CA GOP than anything else. If Trump vetos a national gay marriage ban but greenlights CAHSR, what would that tell Republicans here in CA? It’d tell them to build a better platform.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Trump is the opposite of the brand of GOP that sells here in California. I have relatives living here that hadn’t voted for a Democrat in decades that were happy to vote for Clinton over Trump. If the GOP wants to succeed here, it needs to be pro but, pro infrastructure, pro trade, pro immigration, anti racist, socially moderate, and somewhat hawkish. Think Jeb bush.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Mabye an Eisenhower Republican could win too.

    But even with a bush/Eisenhower Republican, the Democrats would have to be waaaay leftist/protectionist to lose. Or corrupt.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Or split the vote so that two Republicans (or a moderate Republican and an open Socialist) get into the runoff. It’s unlikely, but so was Trump.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Exactly. That scenario is the only way I see GOP winning. Think Ashley Swearingen vs (insert socialist that I’m unaware of here).

    Aarond Reply:

    They tried that with Whitman and Kashkari, it didn’t work. The CA GOP needs a populist, especially one that can get seats in cosmopolitan areas. See Schwarzenegger.

    Many people want an alternative to the Democrats now, the CA GOP could tailor their platform (clean energy, infrastructure, nixing h1b programs, neutral social policy etc) and fit the gap. It can be done but requires a major restructuring of the party. Workers instead of farmers.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    California is possibly the last place in America the populism can sell (if we are referring to the protectionist, nationalistic, based-on-anger version.)

    Aarond Reply:

    I reckon not as Measure R and Prop 1A are both populist measures, at least on paper. Also California’s open ballot is itself a gaping open door to populism.

    As for candidates though, it all depends on the platform and the person delivering it. Ever heard of Rocky Chavez? He could handily crush Newsom (assuming it comes down to a norcal vs socal vote).

    Aarond Reply:

    Note: Chavez voted against AB 1889 and I’m not endorsing him. I’m only saying that he’s probably the CA GOP’s better options going into 2018. He’s a true dark horse candidate but it’d turn heads and that’s how elections are won.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I guess we have different definitions of populism. I think of populism as the Trumps, Farages, and LePens of the world, trying selfishly and self-defeatingly to prop up a few declining areas of their nations at the expense of the world.

    Aarond Reply:

    The idea for Measure R and Prop 1A was so that regular people could retake control over their commutes against the car lobby and NIMBYs. At it’s core, it’s a populist message which is why people vote for them.

    It remains to be seen if Trump does similar, but at least his campaign message -“make america great again” (ie, rebuilding something like LA has done with Measure R) strikes the same cords.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    *sarcastic* Because America definitely used to be better than it is now.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trump Farage and LePen are right wing populists. There also is left wing populism.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Left wing populism is still nationalistic and protectionist.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Ashley Swearengin is a possibility for the GOP in 2018. Kevin Faulconer is a maybe. The action will be on the Democratic side (see above).

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Peter Theil

    And it will be fun to watch everyone call the homosexual intolerant.

    Joe Reply:

    Why nominate someone just to troll?
    Oh, Never mind.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well Theil’s first amendment credentials are not exactly stellar…

    Anandakos Reply:

    Good! What is Newsome but a pander-bear? The man has no spine. Antonio Villaraigosa will step from Governor of California to President in 2024, and it will be damn good thing for America.

  5. synonymouse
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 20:48
    #5

    So California voters have demonstrated once again how susceptible they are to indoctrination and will toe the Party line. Are there any limits to their dumbness – will they ever revolt at forever blowing a fortune on BART and the Bayconic Bridge and get at best mediocre crap for all their money.

    But it is a strange world all over, not just in paradise with a lobotomy. The Russians evidently plan to incorporate stealth nuclear ICBM cars into passenger trains. “Russian Roulette” for the unknowing passengers who will become a military target.

    https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-tests-nuclear-train-missile-56245

    Edward Reply:

    The mouse’s reflexes are slowing down.

    Darrell Reply:

    This one? Lionel Trains 1961 http://www.davestrains.com/ap3665.html

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Being as these would be moving missiles, might it better be called “Russian ROLLette”?

  6. Roger Christensen
    Nov 25th, 2016 at 21:19
    #6

    Measure M demonstrates how acceptance of rail has evolved in LA over decades of sales tax initiatives.
    1968 45%
    1974 47%
    1976 40%
    1980 54%
    1990 50.4%
    2008 67.2%
    2012 66.1%
    2016 70.5%
    And the opposition has changed from “Rail is Boondoggle” to “Our part of the county isn’t getting enough”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You could run your curve backwards as well. Prior to WWI rail was not considered boondoggle and support for urban rail transit was quite high. From there on the support systematically declines on a downward curve.

    The difference in opinion between those born in the 19th century and the Ronald Reagan generation was quite noticeable. The latter had drunk the highway lobby kool-aid.

    joe Reply:

    GIF illustrates the impact of Measure M

    http://la.curbed.com/2016/8/29/12687320/la-metro-map-gif-measure-m-sales-tax-ballot

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    except the gift includes some really stupid route choices.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    That, yup

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I rather have some less than stellar route choices than no progress at all…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes. Thankfully, the GIF doesn’t actually represent any absolute plans by Metro.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Mostly, I just hate any Crenshaw North routing that doesn’t go up LaBrea (and no, the Crenshaw line wouldn’t affect my daily life no matter how it is built.

  7. agb5
    Nov 26th, 2016 at 01:29
    #7

    If he is serious about spending $100bn a year for ten years on infrastructure, it is going to be difficult to avoid CA HSR. Other shovel-ready mega infrastructure projects don’t add up to $100bn and Trump won’t want his money disappearing into anonymous pot hole filling.

    Obama’s stimulus package also suffered from lack of shovel-ready projects.

    webster Reply:

    That ARRA was a front-loaded bill, anyways: the lion’s share of spending was on tax incentives [cuts], state and local fiscal relief, healthcare, and low-paid and unemployed workers.

    Transportation was about 6% of the total package…

    Ostensibly, it suffered from not being able to allocate enough to transportation/infrastructure.

    webster Reply:

    I’d also point out that, as the funding was authorized over ten years [’09-’19], the fact that we see more “shovel-ready” transportation projects, now, is likely attributable, in part, to the bill.

    The question is whether all the blood and sweat that went into getting localities, states, and regions to begin long-range, regional planning efforts on, say, passenger rail will pay off in the final hour.

    Considering the new administration keeps saying “airports, roads, and bridges” should say all there is to say.

    Aarond Reply:

    Personally I chalk that up to ignorance and not malice, Trump also made that offhand comment on China’s HSR and to be frank I doubt he has any clues about transportation beyond his metrocard, his driver’s license and landing fees.

    Which is why HSR lives or dies inside the legislature and why calling them is so critical right now. There’s enough moderate Republicans and Democrats willing to fund rail as part of a larger infrastructure package.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Will be an interesting early test. The conservatives want know if the structure funding without matching cuts. The Democrats are on the fence about supporting anything from Trump, and will not agree to all the required cuts. You think Trump will prevail with deficit infrastructure funding?

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s a question of whether or not he truly believes the things he says. If he really does bring trade back home, rail investment will become a priority regardless as cargo traffic shifts.

    Even just double tracking every STRACNET route would cause demand for 4+ million tons of steel, about 12% of the US steel industry’s yearly output. This is how he could permanently make OH and PA Republican. That’s a thing even the regular GOP wants, it’d even make existing Amtrak service in their districts more reliable.

    There could also be an oil tariff, a thing Obama proposed a year ago and something which the US oil industry desperately wants. And it’s completely flush with Trump’s protectionist platform.

    But again, it all remains to be seen.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He will say things that directly contradict what he said earlier in the day. On good days, he’ll take a third position.

    Joe Reply:

    Exactly. A conman will say whatever you want a to hear and then say contradicting things to another.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And his surrogates will then give a dozen explanations, some claiming he really meant the first thing, others claiming he really meant the second then another batch saying he didn’t mean the third one either. He really meant something totally different.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The one thing he has been (relatively) consistent on is his hatred for “Mexicans”…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    ….and muslims

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah, and Mexican Muslims (which Trump probably does not think to be a real thing)

    Eric Reply:

    And his love for Putin

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Almost all rail is imported from japan, at least for the western states (UPRR, BNSF).

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    There are dozens of current and former Amtrak routes that could be upgraded in speed and frequency, at the cost of giving several $ Billion per year to the railroads. Most Amtrak riders would be satisfied with ⅓ faster trains, fewer delays, greater frequency, and better management. This would also help prepare the railroads for the day when there will be less money to be made moving coal and oil around the country.

    High speed rail systems take decades to plan and approve, if California’s is any indication. But railroads add track, fix bridges, and build trains all the time.

    And at this point, California’s HSR can be considered ‘shovel ready’.

    Bdawe Reply:

    The problem is that once public money is involved in fixing up the railroads, it becomes subject to much of the same procedural drag that direct public spending is subject to.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    There are loads of incremental projects out there. Incrementalism isn’t sexy. The reason we have such an insolvent road situation isn’t some issue exclusive to roads- it’s that maintenance doesn’t have groundbreakings, repairs don’t have ribbons to cut.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Unless you shut the road down and more or less rebuild it from scratch…

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    That’s one reason (other than cost savings) I wish more projects were done cut-and-cover. Now you can have a ribbon cutting for the re-opening of the street as well as for the subway!

    Roland Reply:

    The first (and last) C&C subway line built in London dates back to the 19th Century.

    Danny Reply:

    Trump’s also working to remake the GOP: they’ll fight him, he’ll primary or otherwise replace them–he wants to remake it in his own image, an efficient BIDness
    the Whigs spent two years high-fiving about how their repeatedly-bankrupt pied piper was going to lead the GOP to ruin, and now only 13 states have Whig legislatures: lose one and the Republicans can push through whatever Constitutional amendments they want; they hold 69/99 state chambers and 33 governors (the most since 1922): Trump has plenty of pols to choose from
    he already won the primaries (in the teeth of the RNC) by shredding Reaganomics’ central tenets http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-trump-big-government-20160301-story.html
    of course it’s the same old cut-and-spend, but he took away the post-1980/94 Pubs’ main electoral driver: flattering dolists who’re pretending to be cowboys

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    One of the reasons the GOP has so many states is that we have a bunch of stupidly tiny states that shouldn’t exist (some blue ones in the Northeast, but mostly red ones in the middle of the country.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Um…there are no tiny states in the middle of the country. What states are you referring to?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Tiny in population… Wyoming, the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada used to belong in that group. They were altered in part by migration of Californians elsewhere. Idaho and Montana could follow.

    Joe Reply:

    Southern Idaho.

    I lived in N Idaho and Western Montana. Too remote. That’s why Nazi white Californians moved to Hayden Lake ID up north. Business moved to Boise ID in the south.

    Montana is cold and isolated geographically.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Colorado is remote, too.
    Denver is farther from San Francisco than Missoula and Billings are.
    Boise’s closer to San Fransisco than Portland is.
    Jackson, Wyoming is closer than any of the ones I’ve mentioned, and about as far from SFO as Phoenix is.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    oh…Less populous states.

    And what is the acceptable cutoff population for states please? Keep in mind, it will apply to the coasts also.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    3 million.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which would definitely include Wyoming (R), Vermont (D), Alaska (R), North Dakota (R), South Dakota (R), Delaware (D), Montana (R), Rhode Island (D), Maine (D), New Hampshire (Swing), Hawaii (D), Idaho (R), West Virginia (R), Nebraska (R), New Mexico (D).

    It currently also barely includes these states, but probably not for long:
    Nevada (Swing), Kansas (R), Arkansas (R), Mississippi (R), Utah (R)

    That gives you a total of 8 or 12 Republican states, 6 Democrat States, and 1 or 2 swing states.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And how did you arise at this scientific number?

    Better question, are you going to,melt them into bigger neighboring states or push them together?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Three million is less than half of the size of the average state.
    If I’m unrealistically playing god, here is what I would do:
    New Red State–population 3.27 million–formed from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
    New Blue State–population 3.29 million–formed from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
    New Red State–population 3.52 million–formed from Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
    New Mexico can join either Colorado (new safe blue state, population 7.55 million) or Arizona (new swing state, population 8.92 million.)
    Delaware can join Maryland, along with Accomack and Northampton counties in Virginia, because that just makes sense. (Safe blue state, population 7.01 million.)
    West Virginia’s Pendleton, Harvey, Grant, Mineral, Hampshire, Jefferson, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties can join Virginia. Marshall, Ohio, Brooke, and Hancock counties can join Pennsylvania, and the rest can join Ohio.
    Alaska can just stay Republican Alaska
    Hawaii can just stay Democrat Hawaii, with the additions of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

    The rest of the states will be over 3 million fairly soon.
    In short, you end up with 5 or 6 less red states (depending on if New Mexico joins Arizona or not),3 or 4 less blue states (depending on if New Mexico joins Colorado or not), and either 1 or 0 less swing states (depending on if New Mexico joins Arizona or not). Ohio may get marginally more conservative with the addition of most of WV.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or break California, Texas, Florida and New York into more manageable chunks. The yokels in hinterlands of those states wouldn’t go for it. All the juicy subsides they leech would go away.
    Or reform the Senate so that people in states with big populations get at least half as much Senator as people in the median state. The size of the House could stand to be increased too.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    True. I don’t know how you would split Texas.
    California I guess would be split into San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, Inyo, Mono, and the eastern half of Kern counties and everything else.
    New York just makes sense to have the metro area, southeast Connecticut, and half of New Jersey be one state, but even that is huge. It just makes sense based on how people actually liver their lives.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maine for instance only came into existence because another free state had to be added to balance out the addition of some slave state.

    The US needs some drastic reorganization. Unfortunately the Senate CANNOT be reformed by a simple constitutional amendment. All states would have to agree even if it only were about a third California senator.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ok then, well thanks for proving your own point wrong

    In your example you replace 14 states with 6. So you eliminate 8 states and therefore 16 senators. Rep counts based on population remain the same.

    The electoral college goes from 538 to 522 (triggering Nate Silver to have to get a new website)

    So the magic number is now 261. Trump won 306 votes so even if her lost all 16 votes that puts him at 290, and he still wins. Of course he would not lose all 16 votes, at most he loses 12 depending on how the swing states work out probably less.

    As for state governments, the country is reduces by 8 states to 42. Net reduction of red states by 5 (8-2), reduction of blue states by 3 (5-2) and swings stay even. So instead of the republicans having 32/50, they would have 27/42. They actually would achieve 2/3s of the states rather than being 1 state short.

    Your reorganization, if you fought through all the politics, problems, ect, would get you nothing, nanda, zip, zero.

    Hence, you original assertion is proven wrong…by yourself.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That’s because there are some blue states currently with republican governors, which isn’t normal. Furthermore, those governor’s aren’t even that beholden to the federal republican party, and need to please their democrat constituents to stay in power.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    States are way too powerful considering their borders are so totally arbitrary and random. I mean, would any of that fly anywhere else? Let’s say in Africa?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Louisiana currently has a Democrat as its governor…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Democrats are frequently elected to clean up the mess Republicans made.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And Republicans are frequently elected because Democrats are perceived as weak and cowardly.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am glad we agree it would do nothing.

    This whole political situation is not “normal” in that Democracts are historically weak in the states. Like have not been this weak for 100 years weak. They have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of 2008 victory.

    The state lines, BTW, are not arbitrary, most of them had a lot of thought out in. They were usually, however, political and not logical I will grant you.

    But of all of the comments you have made the comparison to Africa must be the dumbest. The USA is the most powerful nation on earth and every namtion in Africa is a variation of a dumpster fire. So if the states having “too much” power lead to the USA and not Africa, well then sign me up.

    The US figured out (over the course of the last 200+ years) how to balance the state and federal sovereignty . Hence people in Texas are willing to go to war and die when New York is attacked, but still consider themselves Texans. Europe, on the other hand, had this to learn from and will be lucky to make it 50 years before they blow a simple trade zone.

    When they come up with a better solution then you can criticize. Until then it is just sour grapes

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    But from a non partisan standpoint, small states have too much power. That is something California and Texas can agree on.

    Aarond Reply:

    Too early to make Dem/Whig comparisons. We won’t have an answer until November 5th, 2020.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I’m confused. I though the GOP were the Whigs….dying out like dinasours? When did the men change?

    Eric Reply:

    Both parties are having an identity crisis now, whether to run on economic issues or on racial identity.

    Anandakos Reply:

    You DO know that the Whigs formed the majority of the Republican party, right? The Whig party wasn’t defeated by the Republican party; it was subsumed into it. The common enemy of both the pro-business, internationalist, infrastructure supporting Whigs and the pro-business, internationalist, infrastructure-supporting, and anti-slavery Republicans was the addition of the Know Nothings (the National Party) to the Republican coalition.

    And, if you’ll recall, the rural, slave owning, isolationist Democratic party of the day stomped out of the country when it lost the election of 1860 (by running two candidates….) and proceeded to bankrupt and immiserate its base in the South for two generations. It didn’t win an election until 1880 and was the minority party until Franklin Roosevelt reformed it.

    So, if you’re just comparing the electoral results of 1860 and 2016, well, you have a point. But in actual fact, Donald Trump’s election is MUCH more like Andrew Jackson’s in 1832 than Lincoln’s. Today’s Democratic party really is rather more like the Whigs than are today’s Republicans. Trump says he wants a big infrastructure program — today, anyway — but the Yahoo’s in the “Freedom Caucus” are already tantruming.

    So enjoy your jury-rigged comparison.

  8. morris brown
    Nov 26th, 2016 at 05:26
    #8

    Robert wrote:

    The lessons of the 2016 election are clear, and they’re not new. It’s the same lesson as every election since 2010: California is on its own, and should start acting like it. HSR will have to funded solely from state and private sources.

    Robert — not quite right! By now everyone should realize there will be no private investment. We have been hearing the myth of private investment for 8 years now. It isn’t going to happen. It won’t happen so long as Prop 1A funding is to be the source of California’s funding.

    California — if you want HSR (and recent polls certainly indicate you don’t), then pass a different funding measure. Pass one that will allow subsidies. At that point maybe private equity can be induced to contribute.

    In the meantime, Chair Richard is attempting to use Prop 1A funds for regional transportation projects, Caltrain PCEP being the most prominent at the present time. How much longer the Authority can “hang on” is unknown at the present time, but the Governor only has about 2 years left and after that, the demise of the Authority will be forthcoming.

    In passing, Governor Brown really sank to new lows with his deception of what Prop 53 was all about. His assertions that passage of Prop 53 would cause the loss of local control of many projects, was nothing more than a plain lie. He should be ashamed!

    Aarond Reply:

    If the state figures out a way to toll the highways (a thing the GOP supports) CAHSR would easily become profitable.

    Of course this assumes that the required tunnels are built to allow double stacks. If the state goes cheap then they screw themselves over.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I presume that the additional cost for double stack sized tunnels would have to be met by the freight operators, unless Aarond you have an alternative? And to what end? The freight operators are content with the infrastructure they have already invested in, and have plenty of other more rewarding places to invest their dollars. And what traffic would be handled through these wonderfully capacious tunnels? There is no terminal capacity at either end of the route to be devoted to short haul, very low margin intermodal business. And clearly these tunnels would only be available for freight for a limited period overnight.
    Add in of course the need to change to a high reach lower speed pantograph on the passenger trains to reach the catenary inside the tunnel and you reach the obvious answer to the question, Why bother?

    Roland Reply:

    1) Until proof to the contrary, properly designed 200 MPH high-speed tunnels should be able to accommodate double-stacked containers, so there should not be any need for additional costs.
    2) Same with catenary height: high-reach pantographs are already capable of 160 MPH.
    3) You are assuming conventional rail freight. How about trucks clogging up I5 crawling up and down the Grapevine @ 35 MPH?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    For the umpteenth time: Running freight over HSR means you can’t build as steep as you can usually build HSR. And that means your line just became a lot more expensive for little additional benefit…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The mountain crossing section west from Mojave over Tehachapi could be built to accommodate freight and replace the Loop. The class ones would only be using that section with trackage rights. Elsewhere they would be operating over their existing lines.

    There will only be a few HSR trains over that route anyway. Remember there is nothing in the way of passenger service there now and no serious calls over the years to run such. The raison d’etre of the Palmdale detour is to induce the State to pay for an expensive commute op to LA. An updated version of BART. LAART

    Roland Reply:

    For the umpteenth time, we would really appreciate if you could STFU until you have something to say that you actually know anything about (not a lot).

    EJ Reply:

    Stop saying “we,” you horse’s ass. You almost never know what you’re talking about, that’s why you spend most of your time acting like a bratty child.

    Roland Reply:

    And when was the last time you knew what you were talking about, you horses’s ass?

    agb5 Reply:

    Double stacked empty containers? Anything else would be too heavy to get up a 3% gradient.

    Roland Reply:

    Nobody is talking about 3% gradient to Podunkdale.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Tejon alignment would be strictly HSR-centric; Tehachapi-Mojave is a natively freight detour. Built to HSR specs it will prove way underutilized. Marginal return for a lot of money and a long window of exposure in seismic country. Remember 1952.

    Clem Reply:

    Any tunnel built for ~200 mph will be sized for aerodynamic and passenger comfort reasons to an internal diameter of 28 feet for each bore (containing one track). The question of whether HSR tunnels will have sufficient clearance for double stack container trains is moot, at least as far as bore size is concerned.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Is that including Japanese designs?

    Roland Reply:

    Would you care to elaborate?

    StevieB Reply:

    Lets talk about a subsidy as you have many points. The bond act makes little mention of subsidy. The Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century requires a plan without an operating subsidy be approved before bonds are sold which is not a very high hurdle.

    The law says no later than 90 days prior to the submittal to the Legislature and the Governor of the initial request for appropriation of proceeds of bonds the authority shall have approved and submitted a detailed funding plan for that corridor or a usable segment thereof. The plan shall include, identify, or certify the planned passenger service by the authority in the corridor or usable segment thereof will not require a local, state, or federal operating subsidy.

    I am certain the California High-Speed Rail Authority can provide such a plan to allow bonds to be sold.

    StevieB Reply:

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority is embraced by the most likely candidates to succeed as Governor. Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa have both expressed their support. The demise of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is highly unlikely.

    Joe Reply:

    Foregone conclusion is CA will absolutely expand the ROW and increase speed and frequency of trains outside Morris’s Menlo Park compound.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And, Joe, the Embarcadero Freeway will shortly be extended into the Marina.

    Edward Reply:

    You got the location right, but now they call it the E line. That tunnel will come in handy.

    Roland Reply:

    You forgot to mention the 4 lines of high speed oil train traffic through downtown Gilroy…

    Joe Reply:

    We’re counting on it. I didn’t buy a home on the ROW like Morris. The berm option should grade separate the UP track as well as the HSR track.

    Maybe I’ll get a job in SF and commute. It will be fast and smooth. How about you ? Thinking of moving down to be closer to work?

    Roland Reply:

    Closer to the blast zone?

    Joe Reply:

    Closer to the station ~1km if downtown.
    FRA noise model, mine and and Clem’s implementation, tell me the distance and noise mitigations will suffice.

    There’s no way to spin it bad – I’m skeptical the city will go ahead with downtown but if it does, I’ll be fine.

    Roland Reply:

    A downtown station will be just fine as long as the high-speed line stays east of the Outlets.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I often bike past train tracks… There also happen to be some major streets along that route. I usually listen to a podcast when I ride and the podcast is not exactly loud. I have difficulty hearing it when a freight train passes, I don’t even notice when an ICE or Eurocity passes (nor do I much notice the firing up sequence of the electrical locos hauling the S-Bahn) but if I am near the busy road and even a dozen cars pass by, I might as well mute the podcast…

    That’s of course no scientific assessment of noise levels, but it might reduce the fears of some people who think HSR is just a faster freight train.

    Clem Reply:

    The ICE you heard was going far slower than 220 mph. How do I know this? You could still hear your podcast.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @morris brown Caltrain PCEP directly benefits HSR because of the blend (which is what you got for whining against HSR). Can you point to any project funded by the Authority that doesn’t?

    Roland Reply:

    The Flashman mousetrap is positively drooling all over itself.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yup, they’ve got themselves a pretty good deal: Clients who keep on paying them to sue even though the courts have repeatedly ruled against the lawsuits.

    agb5 Reply:

    Prop 1A funds cannot be used for “regional transportation projects” and the Authority is not attempting do do so.
    Prop 1A funds can be used only to build components of a high speed rail system on the designated high speed corridor.
    And no, the recent amendment does not change this.

    Clem Reply:

    (*) argument to be settled in court

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: prior to the amendment, Diridon to Transbay in 30 minutes was not achievable @79 MPH but the recent amendment took care of this minor detail.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, subsequent to the bill, Diridon to Transbay in 30 minutes is still not achievable @79 MPH physics and all being what it is.

    I’m guessing what you meant is that they can now spend money on the corridor even though at 79 MPH they will never achieve the 30 minute Prop 1A requirement. However, this assumes that they will never raise the 79 MPH speed limit, or that it was illegal before to spend money that wasn’t immediately in the service of meeting the 30 minute time limit.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What is the current rail distance between the two points? And which constraints inhibit 125 mph speeds?

    J. Wong Reply:

    49 highway miles more or less an approximate equivalent for the train. Curves & lack of grade separations are the major constraints. Check out @Clem’s post for a discussion of the curves issue: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/01/top-10-worst-curves.html.

    Google say 2nd & Railroad in San Mateo to explore street view of the issues for grade separations.

    Edward Reply:

    Wikipedia gives rail distances from The Transbay Transit Center, which won’t have rail for quite a while, but:
    4th and King Station, San Francisco: 0.3 km
    Diridon Station, San Jose: 75.5 km
    So 75.2 km between the two.

    The route has several curves that limit the speed. Elimination of these will eventually require the taking of some properties and the expense of rebuilding right of way. There are also quite a few grade crossings, although these are slowly being eliminated. The last to be eliminated will probably be in communities that think by not doing so they can prevent the upgrading of the line.

    The equipment for Caltrain will have a 110 mph operating limit. Eventually, when service requires it, there is no doubt that this will become a four track main upon which HSR will operate at 125 mph. But before that happens there must be need, the money and the suffering of many delaying tactics by NIMBYs and BANANAs.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So train would have to average roughly 150 km/h which is certainly doable, but the road to achieving that is plastered with NIMBY lawsuits and political shenanigans…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well, they haven’t as yet actually filed any lawsuits although they keep threatening to do so. (I’m referring to Assembly bill 1889; they have filed numerous lawsuits about other aspects which the courts have pretty consistently ruled against).

    Construction of both the 25th Ave grade separation and electrification is slated to begin in 2017 (both projects including funding from the Authority). Anyone with any insight as to why they haven’t? (My personal bias is that they realize that the courts are likely to deny them almost from the beginning; they’ll have to request a stay against construction starting, which I doubt that the courts will grant given its impacts, meaning what’s the point of the lawsuit.)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What would the lawsuit argue about any way? “We oppose rail in California therefore we argue against construction of rail”? Or “The construction results in a faster train and we want a faster train, but this train is not fast enough”? It’s frankly absurd on its face…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Although the ulterior motive for the lawsuit is basic opposition to HSR, the stated reasons would be that any funding that doesn’t directly result in an HSR segment violates the requirements of Prop 1A based on the (IMO) fantastical argument that it requires HSR to erupt tabula rasa. (They’ve already tried to argue this in other lawsuits that have been denied.) They’ll also have to argue that bill 1889 doesn’t apply because it nullifies the requirements built into Prop 1A, which is illegal under state law (modification of voter-approved propositions).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In short it would not have a leg to stand on nor even half a toe to hop on…

    Mark Duncan Reply:

    On the Peninsula, HSR as part of the blended system will be changing the signal spacing from 79 mph to 110 mph operation, along with the installation of quad gates and fencing along the entire ROW. There are some curves along the ROW such as San Bruno that require lower speeds, but total travel time from SF to SJ will be substantially reduced.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Roland believes that they both can’t & won’t do anything to raise the speed limit sufficient to achieve the 30 minute travel time. (He seems to believe that quad gates are insufficient.)

    Roland Reply:

    And where did you get this information may I ask?

    J. Wong Reply:

    From your posts on this blog.

    Roland Reply:

    Quote required.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Quad gates at every Caltrain level crossing. Hallelujah!!!!

    I assumed you were being facetitous.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m sorry if I was wrong and you actually believe that they’ll raise the speed limit and be able to operate trains on the Caltrain ROW at up to 125 MPH with the necessary curve straightening and grade separations.

    Roland Reply:

    How about helping people who do not have your vast expertise in railway construction understand how to grade-separate and straighten curves and AFTER electrification?

    Joey Reply:

    Roland: yes, it’s a bit cheaper to realign before electrifying, but not much, and in the grand scheme of the sums of money we’re talking about probably not even worth worrying about. Or did you think no one ever moves tracks in places with electrification?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Move the electricity along with the tracks etc. ?
    They were offered “build it all at once” but the Berlin Wall was going to make the chicken cream curdle. They can sit in traffic until someone gets around to grade separating and straightening things.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Cheaper but not much Joey? Based on what experience? Think closer to double.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    How many curves do we need to straighten, realistically?

    Michael Reply:

    An example of portable electrification in Germany… Note the poles are anchored in large concrete blocks while they rebuild the station.
    http://highspeedrailnow.com/HSRPhotos/IMG_0474.jpg

    Roland Reply:

    Looks more like double-tracking than just rebuilding the station(?)
    BTW, did anyone else notice the nice red light while the nice quad gates are raised?
    Wouldn’t that be nice in the Peninsula BEFORE we start raising speeds above 79 MPH?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Clem has a list of the top 10 worst curves. He also posted a simulation made for the Authority where they assumed a minimum of 2 curves being straightened (Bayshore & Palo Alto) to achieve a 30 minute run time. (They also assumed barreling through Redwood City & San Mateo at close to 200 kph, which I assume means grade separation.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    As others have pointed out, it isn’t impossible to temporarily reroute both the track and the catenary while curve straightening or grade separating. (The track known as a “shoofly” as @Roland so helpfully pointed out; so he knows that’s how this works.)

    While not ideal, it is pretty SOP for infrastructure like this for both public and private construction. (Yes, private companies build and tear down stuff all the time too.) Another consideration is that whatever grade separations and curve straightening ultimately happens, they will not happen all at once, and they are only a small percentage of the total trackage being electrified.

    Michael Reply:

    @ Roland- Was two tracks and electrified previous to photos. I don’t know ifs they’re changing the tracks centers or what, but I do know there’s a station rebuild project going on. The crossover just south of the station has already been rebuilt. I took the photo in September and have been to the same station in previous years.

    Roland Reply:

    @ Michael. So they are single-tracking through the construction zone (no shoofly)?
    Going back to the red light, can you verify that they will not turn green until the grade crossing is clear and the quad gates are down when a train approaches? Next, pay a visit to Menlo Park and watch the lights glow a bright green (I did last year, right after the lady got killed).

    Michael Reply:

    @ Roland- I believe (but don’t know) that the signal controls the junction south (past) the grade crossing and has nothing to do with the position of the grade crossing gates.

    And yes, they are single-tracking through the station. I assume they will eventually raise and improve the platforms. Here’s an article. The photo is looking from the crossing towards where I took my shot from.
    http://www.lvz.de/Region/Altenburg/Neues-Stellwerk-bei-Lehndorf-geht-am-Sonntag-in-Betrieb

    Roland Reply:

    @ Michael, look at the white box on the opposite site of the tracks: it is the radar that scans that the crossing is clear after lowering the entry gates and prevents the secondary gates from coming down until all clear. The light won’t turn green until the crossing is clear and the exit gates are down.
    https://aerospace.honeywell.com/en/products/navigation-and-sensors/honeywell-radar-scanner

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Morris

    Jerry Brown knows no shame – he is the Tejon Ranch’s lawn jockey.

    As for the courts and the farce of oversight, expect no judicial interest whatsoever in the pile of scatta that is Prop 1a.

    As with BART, the Insiders’ plan is no matter how poorly conceived and sited is their scheme, with 200 millions teeming souls somebody will end up riding it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, with 200 million (right!) living in California, obviously (a lot of) somebody would be riding it.

    More interesting to me @synon, is HSR a cause of 200 million living in California so that preventing HSR would prevent the 200 million? Or is 200 million inevitable with or without HSR, in which case we really should build HSR?

    Alan Reply:

    By now everyone should realize there will be no private investment

    More of Morris’ lies and distortions. There has been no private investment yet because the project has not reached that point. The informal request for expressions of interest was promising.

    But in Morris’ fantasy land, facts are not important.

    California — if you want HSR (and recent polls certainly indicate you don’t),

    Bulls****. Prop 53 was sold as a “stop the bullet train” measure, and it lost. A majority (however slight) of California voters, therefore continue to support HSR.

  9. J. Wong
    Nov 26th, 2016 at 07:07
    #9

    Actually let’s talk about Republicans trying to kill Medicare and losing the House in 2018.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ JWong who writes and along with others live in a dream world:

    Actually let’s talk about Republicans trying to kill Medicare and losing the House in 2018

    I fully agree with Paul Dyson all this political crap should be directed in other blogs. But this kind of pure nonsense needs to be addressed:

    Political Reality:Washington Post Video

    In the 3 minutes to view, it should suppress any such nonsense dreams.

    We are stuck with Trump. Elections have consequences not only now, but well into the future.

    StevieB Reply:

    The Senate rules require 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Republicans may try to change the rules but may not have the 51 votes required as some Republican senators also benefit from lax Senate rules. Killing off filibusters to secure the Trump agenda is not a done deal.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trump received 2 million less votes than Hillary Clinton, a figure that is likely to increase with recounts in three states and ongoing counting of absentee ballots in several states.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m not living in a dream world, @morris brown, I just know that Paul Ryan, Speaker, really, really wants to kill Medicare. His current budget proposals make that clear although he tries to spin it by claiming that current enrollees wouldn’t see any changes by limiting the changes to future enrollees.

    I also believe that many of those who voted for Trump would absolutely not have done so if they thought that he would end up killing Medicare.

    Finally, I remember what happened when George W. Bush proposed to privatize Social Security. Past behavior is not a predictor of future behavior and all, but what do you think would happen if the Republicans actually tried to enact Ryan’s budget?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Also note that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress when Bush proposed to privatize Social Security.

    joe Reply:

    You forget that SS taxes went up and retirement postponed to 67 pretty easily.

    This is a 3 sigma environment. That we have gotten this far with the least amount of push back and massive disinformation should concern everyone more than it does.

    A radical Supreme Court, which will soon be a reality, can rule most of the New Deal programs are unconstitutional. Citizens United is a good example.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it’s only radical when the decision is one Republicans don’t like. When it’s one Republicans like it’s stalwart jurists defending the original intent and protecting the yeomanry from tyranny.

    Alan Reply:

    A radical Supreme Court

    President Obama has one trick left up his sleeve: When the current Senate adjourns sine die on January 3, he could appoint Merrick Garland via a recess appointment. That buys us a year, which should be enough time for the GOP to impeach Trump.

    I’d do it just to give a final middle-finger salute to Mitch McConnell…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    This is a possibility. I am hopeful, but Bannon may nix that.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Depends on whether Ryan and Preibus manage to convince Trump to go for it. Ryan will definitely get Congress to pass it. It will be up to the Senate & Trump to kill it when their constituents realize what is happening.

  10. Clem
    Nov 26th, 2016 at 15:40
    #10

    Trumpocalypse is overrated. On the generational timescales of projects like HSR, the Trump administration is a flash in the pan.

    J. Wong Reply:

    +1

    synonymouse Reply:

    HSR schemes pale in importance in relation to urban rail. Systems like BART or the NYC subway don’t have much effective competition; in BART’s case helped by MTC pulling strings to create a monopoly market by nixing highway projects like the Southern Crossing. HSR by comparison will face serious and ongoing competition from buses, aviation and private autos.

    Real technological breakthru’s in autombiles will have profound side effects and create a much more serious rival for HSR. For instance in August most people going on vacaton in France would rather sit in traffic jams in their cars than go SNCF. Alleviate the traffic jams and the driving and you have a more formidable competitor that does not go on strike.

    Just add up the little side effects but which could be profound for some. Think of all the people who would not be in jail or have their licenses lifted for DUI’s.

    Clem Reply:

    Driverless cars are overrated too. Technology doesn’t change geometry.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That is very true. However I look forward to them for various reasons, assuming we get exclusively driverless taxis, not privately owned vehicles.

    1. Waaaaaaaaay less auto-oriented infrastructure. This extends beyond parking lots to include drive throughs, auto body shops, and the like. Furthermore, certain less important streets could be pedestrianized, so long as they’re within a short walking distance to somewhere where a taxi could be picked up. Many parking lanes could be converted to protected bike lanes with minimal protest.

    2. Higher transit use: When people aren’t tied to their cars, it makes them less likely to use it for the entirety of a trip. For instance, a trip to an auto oriented suburb could be made in part by transit, because when arriving at the station in that suburb, one would have guaranteed access to a driverless taxi, and by taking the train part of the way there, one can cut out the expense and time in traffic for much of the journey.

    3. Revolutionized intercity travel. Like number two, if nobody owns their car, it would be extremely cost ineffective for someone to drive on trips like Santa Barbara to Los Angeles or Sacramento to Redding when people could pool together and take a train or bus for that distance instead with minimal inconvenience. Expect lots of new popular train and bus service to places with formerly minimal demand.

    synonymouse Reply:

    People will continue to own automobiles. As electric they will last a lot longer.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Why would you think people would choose automobile ownership. I can certainly see cities even banning it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s a non-sequitur. Of course some people will continue to own electric or even driverless cars. I think the reality is however that fewer people will choose to do so then at the peak of car culture at the end of the last century. So any hope that you have that life will be the same is impossible.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I hope to never replace my current vehicle by purchasing another.
    It was made it 1997.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The thing that will revolutionize travel in the near future is the return of sustained oil prices at or above 100 bucks a barrel. The Saudis cannot keep pumping out cheap oil indefinitely.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Electric cars are cheaper to own then internal combustion cars right now. Production is ramping up. Rational people are predicting that the last internal combustion powered automobile rolls off the assembly line in 2030. Sooner if battery plants can be built fast enough.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe you are right, but gasoline will still remain the fuel of choice for all those beat up Subaru taxicabs in Managua and by extension all the used cars that are unsellable in the “first world” will end up in Latin America, Africa and the poorer parts of Asia. Let’s all hope that by the 2030s there will be enough skilled mechanics to put electric engines into all those cars, because they are not exactly installing filters into them right now…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A quarter of the world’s petroleum gets burned in North America. A small part of the fleet goes electric, oil prices collapse worldwide. Especially if the same thing is going on in most OECD countries.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    We will see. Right now electric bikes are exploding on the scene in Europe, even though they get no government subsidies while cars do.

    Bicycle superhighways are all the rage now…

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Per capita income of much of the world is 20-30% of America’s.
    Collectivos have generally 3-4 riders and a driver.

    Even if fuel costs reach 20 cents per mile (that’s more like a $150/barrel oil price), divide that by 4, you still have a massive increase in mobility, at a price affordable by the folks in Africa, asia, latin america.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Utility scale PV is being installed at the equivalent of $10 a barrel oil. That doesn’t make third world roads any better. Or first world ones for that matter.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    To your point Car(e)-free, with self-driving cars auto related infrastructure can including parking, repair and even refueling can move away from people oriented uses, as the cars will drop off the people and them move out. This will create some virtuous feedback as car uses are replaced with additional housing and people-valued uses in increasingly walkable communities.

    True this does little for the geometry of boulevards, avenues, expressways and freeways. But to your point, mode sharing with light and suburban rail will greatly reduce the need to expand these further.

    I foresee significant overlap between self-driving vehicles and electric/hybrid ones, so ‘smart cars’ tend not to be gas engine. Some cities and regions will no doubt adopt policies to strongly discourage the sale of new gas-only vehicles by 2030, including politically progressive regions like Calif, Mass, Maryland, NYC, Germany, Netherlands, Nordics; centrally planned places like Singapore, Beijing, and HK; cities with congestion mgmt schemes like London, Singapore, HK and maybe NYC, Tokyo and Sao Paulo; cities fighting pollution including Beijing, Delhi, Sao Paulo, LA, Mexico City, etc.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In Germany the issue of phasing out gasoline powered cars has come up. Three guesses who supports and who opposes it…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Support…Greens, Merkel?
    Oppose…AFD

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Support (to my knowledge) SPD, Greens, Left Party

    Oppose: CDU, CSU, car lobby, AfD, FDP

    As the coalition treaty is silent on the matter, the SPD can only make this a campaign issue.

    A similar thing recently arose when it comes to tying traffic fines (which are a fixed Euro amount as of now) to income and or wealth. A state level SPD politician proposed it, but the federal CDU rejected it as a “tax on the rich through the back door”…

    The tragic thing is that SPD, Greens and the Left Party have a slight majority in the current Bundestag, which they are set to lose after the 2017 elections, eliminating one of the last few coalition options that suck less than eternal grand coalitions… CDU/CSU and the Greens would also form a majority at the federal level right now, and the Green led state of Baden Württemberg is currently governed by such a coalition…

    Eric Reply:

    If Germany phases out gasoline cars, then the electric cars will be powered by burning coal. Remind me again why exactly Germany is so anti-nuclear?

    Roland Reply:

    Make that natural gas from Russia.

    Danny Reply:

    a lot of the problems conceptualizing auto-cars (if they even work out) is that they’re still described in boosterist techno-utopian gadgetbahn terms–10% the price! nobody will ever die on the roads! no emissions!
    that doesn’t just badly misrepresent the technology and distorts how it unfolds, but also forecloses on all possibilities–everyone pretends it’s already a done deal, and anything else is an outdated boondoggle that’ll have to be torn down the moment they cut the ribbon: I in fact have archived similar arguments in 2000–don’t expand Metro, the automatic car will be here before the decade is out!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fact of the matter is that cars – even automated cars – will never be more efficient at moving big masses of people quickly than trains of all sorts.

    Eric Reply:

    “10% of the price” is pretty accurate. The average person nowadays is in their car less than 10% of the time.

    “Nobody will ever die on the roads” is an exaggeration, but easily 95% of deaths could be eliminated, which would be a huge deal.

    “No emissions” has nothing to do with automated driving, but it’s easy to imagine electric cars becoming dominant in the next few decades. And their electricity will increasingly come from non-fossil sources.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    On the generational timescales of projects like HSR …

    Much of the ROW will be under water.

    I am so genuinely sad for those of you who made the mistake of having children. Leaving aside(!) what they’ll be facing.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Sounds like you dodged that bullet

    Clem Reply:

    San Francisco will be saved by the Golden Gate locks ;-)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Honestly, I agree. The world will do whatever necessary to keep cities from flooding, whether that be massive seawalls, raising ground levels, or, you know, stopping climate change.

    joe Reply:

    A reference to the total loss of all Greenland and Antarctica ice.

    Illustrated here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map

    Nor sure this scenario is in any scientifically reviewed document.

    Edward Reply:

    As noted: This is the absolute worst case scenario. It will still take thousands of years to get to this state if (when) we screw up. The maps just show what would happen if *all* the ice melted, not that all the ice *will* melt.

    But if only Greenland’s icecap melted, not Antarctica’s, Miami would be history. Heck, Miami Beach already floods on high tides.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Miami Beach is literally raising it’s ground level to the first floor of buildings, so I wouldn’t worry.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Let’s all pool our money together to build a beach front resort in Bakersfield.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[T]housands of years to get to this state”

    That’s a real roll of the dice. I think it is more likely to happen by 100 years within the lifetimes of some of those on this blog.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Miami beach is mostly landfill and artificial to begin with. South beach is artificial. Miami’s not going to become uninhabited, it’s merely a question of how they’ll deal.

    A dam of some kind of the golden gate is likely- hell it’s been proposed since before computers, this was built to model its effects:
    http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Bay-Model-Visitor-Center/

  11. john burrows
    Nov 26th, 2016 at 21:55
    #11

    Super majorities in both the State Senate and the Assembly, the passage of Measure M in Los Angeles and of Measure B in Santa Clara County, call it the year of the super majority in California.

    And speaking of super majorities, Clinton is getting close to a 2 to 1 margin over Trump in the California presidential vote.

    The California Secretary of State, as of 5:00 PM today shows:

    Clinton—8,164,280—62.0%
    Trump—-4,237,017—32.2%

    Hillary’s running count now exceeds Obama’s 2012 California total by over 300,000, and is within 110,000 of Obama’s 2008 vote. Hard to know what’s left out there, but it seems possible that she could beat Trump 2 to 1 and approach 9,000,000 in total votes.

    The Clinton landslide in California doesn’t have a direct bearing on the future of high speed rail, but it is another indication of just how deeply blue we are becoming. Might be a good sign for 2018 if a Cap and Trade extension measure appears on the ballot and also for 2020 and beyond if additional high speed rail related measures go before the voters.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The East is Red.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Once the first trains are up and running, at the very least in the state they are in, but probably in a few neighboring states and maybe even in the whole nation, HSR stops becoming a partisan issue. At the very least on the voter level, the GOP might still oppose it for reasons that go beyond what people want.

    Eric Reply:

    Local rail transit is still a partisan issue even though people can experience it in many places. But less of a partisan issue.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Look what Utah’s gotten done in a red state.

  12. Andy Chow
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 15:41
    #12

    What’s there to celebrate about the stupid Santa Clara Measure B? The stupid BART line between Santa Clara and San Jose parallel to Caltrain? I thought Robert would have a little bit better foresight. Some want the tax because of money for Caltrain, particularly grade separations, and thought the BART segment is stupid.

    The reality is that VTA will not get the money from the feds to do this in the next 4 years. Obama was eager to spend the money and would give it when the project is ready, but who knows about the Orange Anus? If the standard is changed to cost-effectiveness (like it was during Bush era), then the project could be dead.

    So my advice for the north county folks is: get your shit together, compromise on a feasible grade separation plan, and take the money from VTA first. In 4 years, VTA will say that they won’t have enough money for BART again. Then you can tell them to cut Santa Clara or take a hike.

    Aarond Reply:

    Santa Clara has already requested that SC BART money go to Caltrain:

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/10/18/palo-alto-seeks-1-billion-for-train-trench-from-vta-tax

    So there’s hope for that plan. I am very much hoping VTA looks at a BART subway under El Camino or Stevens Creek Bvld instead.

  13. Roland
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 08:13
    #13
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