November Cap-and-Trade Auction Goes Very Well

Nov 27th, 2016 | Posted by

Last week brought more silver linings to California amidst the gathering storm clouds of the Trumpocalypse, as demand rebounded for cap-and-trade permits:

Demand for California pollution permits rebounded in the latest carbon auction after plummeting earlier this year, state officials said Tuesday.

Still, the permits did not sell out, heightening uncertainty about the program’s future.

About 88 percent of the available credits were purchased at the quarterly auction held last week by California and its trading partner, Quebec, Canada. That’s an improvement from the 35 percent sold in August and 10 percent in May.

I don’t think that an 88% sell rate compared to 35% in August and 10% in may qualifies as “heightening uncertainty” – it’s quite the opposite. There’s still a legal case to deal with, but as Democrats now have 2/3 majorities in Sacramento, a governor absolutely determined to leave strong climate change policy as his legacy of 16 years in office, and a state ready to fight against Trump and the Republicans with everything it’s got, I’m bullish on the future of AB 32 and cap-and-trade.

Clearly, permit buyers are bullish too. And this bodes very well for the ability of California to fund high speed rail.

  1. les
    Nov 27th, 2016 at 12:36
    #1

    I wonder if they have enough cash to start the Central Valley Wye yet.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I hope so.

    les Reply:

    I imagine (very rough estimates) they have spent or reserved 5-6 billion for the valley, 3-4 billion for the bookends, 1 billion for trainsets, 1 billion for land and envio stuff. They should be good for the Wye and Merced extension. However they will need a good fusion of C&T to get the Los Banos/Gilroy section started by end of 2017.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I don’t think the authority should buy the trainsets. That should be the job of the future rail operator.

    les Reply:

    The authority put out an RFP a few years back and, at one time, even tested the waters in co-purchasing trains with the NEC. Their plan has always been to have the order out by 2017.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Even if the Authority purchases the trainsets the operator may in turn purchase them from the Authority.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think the authority will want any number of trainsets for testing purposes. Now normally, I would have just rented them or bought used trains (testing does not need to be done with exactly the same train that will ultimately be running), but Buy America will make that impossible.

    And it is possible that the Authority thinks they or some other State of California owned actor will be the train operator regardless. I would think it politically prudent to have the trains run by some company owned by the state, at least to start with, but Americans are addicted to “free market” solutions, so we might end up with a “private” operator who sets prices any way they please.

    Of course the tracks, at least those built with taxpayer money and the stations should remain state-owned, so that track access charges and station rents (for both railroads and retailers) can guarantee a revenue stream against which to borrow and with which to pay expenses.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    If, in some unlikely scenario, the line is unprofitable, there could be no or negative track access charges which would technically not be a subsidy. I love creative bookkeeping. Aside from that, I could see the Authority giving everything, including the property of the tracks and stations, to a private operator for free in exchange for them completing Bakersfield-Palmdale or Palmdale-Los Angeles.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well if there were to be negative track access charges (which I doubt, but let’s follow this through for the sake of argument) there would surely be a lawsuit to determine whether this constitutes a “subsidy”…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How is that not a subsidy. It would literally be the state giving the authority money for every mile traveled?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    You could technically sell it as a market driven approach to keeping the line at capacity or something.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    ??? How is it not a subsidy?? What you wrote are just random words strung together. “or something”???

    If you want to argue they ignore prop 1a and give them a subsidy then just say it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s not a subsidy. It’s track access charges that just happen to be below zero.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I know it’s a workaround, and slightly immoral, but I’m fairly sure it would hold up in court. Or you could just have track access bees below zero for everywhere in the system not funded by prop 1a, and at $1 through the central valley.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    All of this is of course assuming that California is magic and the fundamental rules of HSR ridership which we observe in all countries where HSR exists do not apply for California.

    If ridership behaves the same way it does in Spain or Germany, in France or Japan, there will be no reason to set track access charges at or below zero. Quite to the contrary.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    True, but I would love to keep prices low, and if low track access charges can contribute to that, that’s a good thing.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, low prices are of course desirable, but if low prices lead to crowded trains or overtaxed lines, the best solution is to raise prices in order to have enough revenue to quickly expand the system. But that is – as they say – a bridge we will cross when we get to it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    of course.

    blankslate Reply:

    It’s not a subsidy. It’s track access charges that just happen to be below zero.

    OK, I’m pro-transit and HSR, but, seriously guys. Just read what you wrote.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Just hope these guys are not managing your retirement account

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Look, if there hadn’t been smart people who have a rather expansive definition of “interstate commerce” the US would have collapsed long ago.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’ll be happy to find you legally and morally dubious loopholes any day you like.

    webster Reply:

    “Buy America” doesn’t make buying trains abroad impossible, which is why the Authority applied for a waiver. Instead, public [faux] outrage over what the waiver was for does. Hell, Canada whined so successfully that they were exempted from the Buy America provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus) of 2009.

    In any case, the Authority has always maintained in its business plans that it doesn’t want to operate service: it’s gunning exactly for the type of franchise system you’ve outlined. I would imagine owning the rolling stock is analogous to owning the tracks, themselves: they likely would be factored into whatever fees a potential operator would be expected to kick-back to the Authority. In addition, it might free up other capital infusions to go towards other needs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Furthermore, I’d point out that, while such a franchise scheme (employed throughout much of Europe) is a “Free Market” solution, the domestic model with Amtrak isn’t quite, but I’m sure you know that – generalizations, aside.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Even if the Authority purchases the trainsets the operator may in turn purchase them from the Authority.”

    Who would do such an outlandish thing with a money-bleeding op thru the boonies? Anybody buying Acela’s? The “operator” will be a government entity, could be Amtrak by default. This entire project is political in every facet. House unions, sending upstairs fat campaign contribution kickbacks to the machine bosses.

    webster Reply:

    I would submit that everything is political…such as the particular bent of your worldview.
    But then, that would be quite reductive.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Need the legislature to appropriate to build the Pacheco crossing. Jerry will make this happen in 2017. That will include the wye to Gilroy.

    From there is San Jose can wait for Jerry’s successor since SC County & the MTC will push that it is done. Similarly SF & the MTC will push that trains reach SF. Reaching Bakersfield is not costly so the initial IOS will not end in a field.

    From there the Tahachapi crossing will become a statewide goal and project, national politics may have shifted, and private investment (including from China) will likely figure prominently.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That sounds about right. Its possible that HSR will reach Bakersfield before SF, though.

    Joe Reply:

    Reaching LA is in Nevada’s interests as well as CA.

    As much as Altamont gets talked up here, I haven’t seen any public figure offer that alignment as an alternative to Pacheco. Not republican or east bay representative.

    Bakersfield will require McCarthy’s support. It’s a few billion and he opposes the project.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    http://www.mantecabulletin.com/section/1/article/138884/

    An initial IOS from Bay Area to Bakersfield can be done without Pacheco.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe McCarthy will bring in the dough because he was opposed to the project and then turn around and say that his “watchdog” role is what saved the project?

    J. Wong Reply:

    “An initial IOS from Bay Area to Bakersfield can be done without Pacheco.”

    What? It is really a stretch to argue that that would be equivalent to an IOS. (tl;dr ACE/Bart connection does not an IOS make).

    Edward Reply:

    The IOS would then be from the Merced station to the Bakersfield station, thereby satisfying the Prop 1A requirements of a track connecting two stations. Not to mention the ones in between.

    Of course it *would* require two changes of train to get from Bakersfield to San Francisco:
    Bakersfield to Merced – change – Merced to Livermore – change – Livermore to San Francisco

    There is also the assumption that the connecting BART trains would not require an additional change at Bayfair and that the extension to Livermore gets built.

    This may actually be in operation before the direct connection and could remain in operation as it serves people going places that HSR doesn’t serve.

    Of course it is speculation. The majority of the comments on this site are speculation. Get with the program!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The altamont line could continue across Dumbarton to 4th and king, running north of RWC as local, with Caltrain service to San Jose running as express north of RWC.

    Wells Reply:

    And by “get with the program” Edward implies specific viewpoint is programmed? My persistent support for ALTAMONT is based on serving the most patrons, through a corridor that desperately needs transit upgrades and which BART to Livermore cannot provide, and to direct infill development there instead of typical chaotic SPRAWL housing through Pacheco which will produce more traffic. Support for Pacheco is led by Silicon Valley power brokers and the nitwit minions who’ll likewise do anything for money.

    Edward Reply:

    “Get with the program!” means express your opinion. Thank you for your coöperation.

    Wells Reply:

    This simple intuitive argument I’ve made for Altamont nearly always falls on deaf ears here.
    Altamont is obviously lower impact and more productive than Pacheco. Such concerns pale next to 200mph jaunts for the lords and minions of Silicon Valley to cheer their favorite sport teams.
    My only football cheer, with tongue on lower lip, “Guh, foobah, maaaan, yea!” Forrest Gump fashion.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The main argument I see for altamont is that it has fewer miles of track and is therefore HSR will probably get to Sacramento sooner. The main arguments for Pacheco is that it serves DTSJ and Gilroy. I consider the latter to be more important.

    I don’t know exacehat you mean by less

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    …impactful

    Clem Reply:

    Altamont also happens to blow the doors off the Cap Cor, most specially between Sac and San Jose.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It will bring world peace and eliminate hunger. And make the chewing gum save it’s flavor on the bedpost overnight.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But can it beat the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls?

    Wells Reply:

    Thanks Clem. Sarcasm without substance from others says more about their character than mine.
    There’s a downtown San Jose? Someday maybe. As for “impact” I mean harmful environmental, economic and societal impact via Pacheco is terrible compared to Altamont. And don’t forget that BART’s general manager Grace Crunican was ‘fired’ from her previous positions of authority in first Oregon then in Seattle. Oh she’s up to no good again, smiling over another opportunity to do her worst.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    DTSJ isn’t THAT bad. It isn’t LA or SF or SD, but it is definitely a regional center.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Isn’t San Jose one of the biggest cities in the US most Americans forget to list when asked to list biggest cities?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yeah, but that’s because its part of the greater bay area centered around SF, and most Americans don’t know the political geography of the bay area.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Plus San José is a city name that’s really a dime a dozen…

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    A new separate rail corridor over Altamont is one of the options currently under EIR study. Just electrify that, and the HSR train can continue on from Merced to the BART station.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politically Jerry and Richard would have to be outtahere to effect such a change to the Legacy.

    Wells Reply:

    You got that right. I wonder what Trumposity’s nominee for Suckitary of Transportation thinks?

    Roland Reply:

    How about Shinn for $50M instead of blowing $3.5B on BART to Livermore?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And what is shown?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Shinn*

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Loop ACE trains past the union city transfer station, $0 new track

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Sure, but they can’t go through Niles canyon forever.

    Roland Reply:

    What is wrong with a $0 new track transfer @Shinn?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The city of Fremont won’t support it because it is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no business/pedestrian uses, and no good provision for parking or ingress.

    BART won’t support it because it is so close to the existing Fremont Station.

    It is not $0, BART stations never are, think closer to $150+ million.

    Roland Reply:

    !) There is no need for parking and ingress other than emergency access over a bike/ped trail.
    2) Who says that BART won’t support it?
    3) I said $0 new track, $50M station (platforms, lifts, escalators, some canopies, nothing else).
    4) The Union City intergalactic nonsense is what cratered DBR last time.

    zorro Reply:

    Altamont? Perish the thought, HSR is going to Pacheco Pass, as that is where money has been spent on planning. Altamont, while nice, doesn’t that corridor already have ACE and the UPRR there?
    The UPRR said no HSR within 100′ of any UPRR row. Even the Pacheco Pass route lawsuit was settled already, and is mentioned in 2014.

    Even as far back as 2009, Here, the CHSRA said there will be HSR thru Pacheco Pass.

    And that pdf is:

    San Jose to Merced High-Speed Train system through Pacheco Pass

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes. We all know that is how its going to be built. However, part of this discussion was about having the IOS be Bako-Merced, with a transfer to ACE in Merced, so we don’t have to wait for the Chowchilla-SJ leg to open.

    Roland Reply:

    The best part of the article was ” it will also keep trucks moving over Altamont Pass that serves as the key corridor for freight movement between the San Joaquin Valley and the Port of Oakland. The Interstate 580 route is becoming more critical to move goods into the Bay Area as distribution centers continue to relocate to the South County”.

    Aarond Reply:

    Given Trump, CHSRA won’t go near China with a 50-foot pole as doing so would be a lightning rod for federal interference. This is exactly why they retracted their Buy America waiver.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    They don’t have to go to China. Siemens is a perfectly fine train manufacturer. Unfortunately having fewer bidders will raise the price.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    January 21, 2021 exists for a reason. But let us pray for a successful recount first.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What do you consider successful.

    Same result as before proving there was no malfeasance or fraud

    Or

    A historic shift in votes with evidence of foreign (or domestic) involvement fraud that was missed by all election monitors.

    I am rooting for 1, which is thankfully most likely since there is zero evidence of fraud

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Mr. Trump apparently believes millions of dead people voted.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Hilary believes that 120,000 votes were faked over hundreds of voting districts. At least she believes enough to participate in the recount.

    Which is crazier?

    Edward Reply:

    “All the while, the dismayed Hillary Clinton campaign may have been given a golden opportunity to challenge the results of the election. According to CNN, a number of highly regarded computer scientists are urging her campaign to call for a recount of vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These computer scientists believe they may have found evidence that the votes in these three states were possibility manipulated or hacked in favor of Trump.

    One of the experts calling on Clinton to demand a recount is J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society. According to Halderman, there was a questionable trend that showed Clinton performing considerably worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines rather than paper ballots.

    The group of computer scientists informed Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta about the possible manipulation, which showed that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that utilize electronic voting machines. Though they didn’t find direct evidence of hacking, they think the interesting pattern should still be examined by an independent source.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You need to keep up. That computer scientist has since posted there is no evidence of fraud. He wants a recount based on the possibility that fraud could theotpretivcally occur. The difference is because electronic machines were used in rural area where Trump did well. In states with 100% paper votes the same percentage hold. Read Nate Silvers explanation

    There is 0 evidence of fraud

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is over 2 million votes evidence of who the American people prefer as their president. I don’t care about the nitty-gritty, the only number that should count is being ignored to hand the most powerful office in the world to a person whom nobody elected.

    Edward Reply:

    The real reasons for the recount are two:

    1. Show that Mr. Trump is the president elect of the United States in a fair vote.

    2. Show that Mr. Trump is an inveterate liar with respect to all his comments about elections in the United States being improper.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trump has not (yet) been elected. The people have elected Clinton and the electoral college has not yet met.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, the Clinton campaign has stated that they do not believe there is any credible evidence of voter fraud, but they are participating in the recount as a matter of course since it is occurring in any case, which seems like a reasonable course of action.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Also, it wouldn’t surprise me that the Trump campaign would also be participating in the recount (although they’re not going to announce that fact). You want your lawyers watching what happens no matter what.

    Aarond Reply:

    Worth noting: the WI recount is being done by Jill Stien who will pocket the extra money for training Green Party candidates. It’s a brilliant con to get Democrats to fund campaigns against them.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That make 0 sense. They don’t believe there is fraud, but they are participating to “protect” everyone’s interests? If there is no fraud then what do we need protection from?

    There are non-partisan election monitors in all states to do the recount and do that.

    Both Trump and Clinton are making unsubstantianed claims of fraud. Be honest, if the situations were reversed, the press would be crucifying Trump for participating in a recount.

    Eric Reply:

    The recount is irrelevant, since nothing significant is going to change in the results.

    This raises two questions:

    1) Why support it? (Answer: Ask Jill Stein. She was the one who initiated the recount, not Hillary.)

    2) Why oppose it? John Nachtigall, what’s your answer to this?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    @Eric

    Fair questions

    1. Hilary should not support it, she should reiterate her message that she conceded and the election is over. She said herself that to not concede is “horrifying” There is a bigger principle at play here, to have peaceful transitions of power you have to accept the election results

    2. Because of the point made in number 1. I agree it will not change the result. There is no evidence of fraud. A recount of 3 state results with this margin of victory is unprecedented. if i were to say i was going to investigate you for rape, but there is no evidence you raped anyone, how does that hurt you? I mean we are just collecting information right? The investigation itself is damaging. Which is why you dont do an investigation without some preliminary evidence something is wrong which in this case there is none.

    It sends the message that somehow the election was rigged and/or the results invalid. Most importantly, Hilary is showing that she is no better than Trump with regards to the hypocrisy. How is him claiming million of votes are illegal different than her support of a claim that 3 state vote totals were faked by over 120,000 votes?

    There is a greater principle at stake here.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It will confirm the results you are so confident in.
    Recounts happen all the time. Republicans and Democrats participate, it’s how recounts work.

    Eric M Reply:

    STATEMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S CLAIM OF ILLEGAL VOTING

    HOUSTON, TX. – November 27, 2016: True the Vote (TTV), the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, today released a statement with respect to President-Elect Donald Trump’s claim that “millions” of individuals illegally voted in the 2016 Election.

    “True the Vote absolutely supports President-elect Trump’s recent comment about the impact of illegal voting, as reflected in the national popular vote. We are still collecting data and will be for several months, but our intent is to publish a comprehensive study on the significant impact of illegal voting in all of its many forms and begin a national discussion on how voters, states, and the Trump Administration can best address this growing problem.”

    True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip voters for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit http://www.truethevote.org.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    recounts happen in close votes. Less than .5%

    Give an example where a recount was done with a margin this large. It changes the totals by a few hundred, not tens of thousands.

    The recent supreme court election in Michigan had a recount with a margin of victory at 7000 and the count changed by 300

    http://archive.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/122364728.html?utm_source=AOL&utm_medium=readMore&utm_campaign=partner

    Please show me any precedent for this? Because from my perspective it just looks like not accepting the results of the election and grasping at straws which is hypocritical behavior on Hilary’s part.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    For the umpteenth time, all interested parties, Democrats, Republicans and third parties, in this case the Green Party, participate.
    There were and are challenges in the county I lived in most of my life. It seemed like every election there would be a district or two or three with anomalous results. Things like one party getting 100 percent of the vote for a particular office. The machines were impounded, examined and audited even though the results of the election were unambiguous. It happens all the time.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so you dont have an example. Where a recount was done with margins up to 1.2% of the vote with no anomaly.

    What you are talking about happens automatically when anomalies are found. There is no anomaly here.

    Its not “no big deal” And I am not alone in this.

    http://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/the-trouble-with-recounts-in-the-name-of-hacking.html

    And if they care so much about election security, why not recount MN since the margin for Hilary was 44,000 votes (1.5%). or New Hampshire less than 3000 votes and .4%. That was closer than any of the 3 states they want to do.

    Its a sham and deserves to be called out as such. If Trump did it I would say the same.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Anomalous results are the basis for the challenge. I’m sorry you haven’t been paying attention.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Clinton campaign did not request the recount. Acting as if they did, or claiming that since they will participate in the recount that’s the same as requesting the recount, is both disingenuous and incorrect.

    Most states have laws that specify the margin that triggers an automatic recount. Their laws also specify when people can request a recount, which is a higher margin than for the automatic recounts. The Stein campaign requested the recounts under the latter standard not under the automatic recount standard (which they wouldn’t have had to request because it would have been automatic).

    As for how likely the recounts will change the results see the 538.com site for data-based discussion: Recounts Rarely Reverse Election Results and Why I Support An Election Audit, Even Though It’s Unlikely To Change The Outcome.

    Joe Reply:

    Enjoying John’s panic attack.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Hillary Clinton won the election by over 2 000 000 votes. That is more people than voted for e.g. Daniel Ortega and his wife in the recent Nicaraguan elections.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Did you read the Nate Silver article. He goes through every reason I have given and AGREES with them. He admits he just wants an audit because it is data and he is a data nerd. Talk about the worst possible reason. This is not a science experiment.

    Everyone on every side is behaving like a jackass. How is that good for anyone? This is the point were we are supposed to rally behind the president-elect and respect democracy.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/another-call-for-a-recount

    I am not panicked, I am pissed. I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy and that seems to be what everyone is doing in the last few days. Trump is acting like his usual jackass self. Hilary is using stand-ins to challage an election she clearly lost because she still cant believe “she didn’t win by 50 points”. And Jill Stein is using an issue to raise money by taking advantage of stupid people. Everyone has lost their minds.

    So away we go, and at the end after millions spent and nothing found both sides will continue to insist on crazy conspiracy theories rather than getting on with actually making the US better.

    And please, explain to me how in any way the numbers in the Nicaraguan elections relate to Hilary’s vote total? Other than just spouting irrelevant facts. Here is one for you, her margin of victory in the popular vote is more than all the votes cast for either side in Lincoln’s first win. I guess I might as well just give in to the absurdity

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

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Rallying behind Donald J Trump is the exact opposite of respecting democracy. Democracy is the rule of the people, not the rule of archaic electors that were put into place to protect the interest of Southern slave-owners. And Donald Trump himself does not respect democracy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Under the law it’s Jill Stein’s right to ask for a recount. She doesn’t need to explain things to you. She needs to explain them to election officials in Wisconsin. Who apparently agree she is acting within the law. Why don’t you want to follow the law?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and everybody except Donald Trump and his sycophants can agree no dead people voted.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Adirondacker is right, John. You’re always going on about how the arguably stupid law says the winner of the electoral college wins, but you’re hypocritically saying that Stein shouldn’t use the arguably stupid law that allows her to ask for a recount.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Who gives a shit what Stein is doing. Hilary is joining in. How is that “Accepting the result”?

    And she is already suing Wisconsin because they wont do a hand recount and Pennsylvania because they will only do a recount based on fraud, so suddenly there is fraud. So we are about to find out if she is within the law or not.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/wisconsin-officials-pledge-quick-recount-lawsuit-filed-pennsylvania-n689306

    “To the best of Petitioners’ knowledge and belief, the 2016 Presidential Election was illegal and the return thereof was not correct,” the lawsuit filed by attorney Lawrence Otto said, pointing to the vulnerability of electronic voting machines, the apparent hack of the DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails, and pre-election polling suggesting a far different election result than what took place on November 8.

    “A primary purpose of the recounts now being requested, Petitioners believe, is or should be to determine if computer intrusions or hacking of electronic systems impacted the results in the 2016 Presidential election.”

    Which directly contradicts what she said about the existing evidence. She is as loony as Trump.

    But in the end, fine, we can let this drag for 2 more weeks because why not.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If I were a candidate in an election and there were a recount going on, I would absolutely want my folks to be there to monitor said recount to ensure no monkey-business is occurring. In fact, Trump not sending anybody is just stupid from a tactical standpoint. He could justly say “I didn’t ask for this, but I have to ensure all votes are counted fairly”…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    She lost, what is she worried she will lose more? She wants to make sure her margin of lose remains the same?

    There is no logical,reason to participate other than trying to change the result

    Joe Reply:

    Thankfully no one has to explain to you why. A Recount is an equal part of the rules governing elections.

    A recount is interesting and may find evidence of voting error or fraud and help assess ways to fix it. President elect insists millions voted fraudently.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The result is clear. Donald J Trump won less votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton. In a democracy (and indeed in any US election for governor or representative) this would have a clear result. But in the upside down world of 18 Brumaire, this results in Trump somehow becoming the Louis Napoleon of our era. And an even more incompetent one at that. Let’s just hope he does no try to install an emperor in Mexico or fight a war over the Spanish succession with Prussia…

    Edward Reply:

    Way up there Eric_M quoted from “True the Vote”. This got my curiosity up. Who they?

    Just a bit from Wikipedia:
    ———
    True the Vote is an offshoot of the King Street Patriots, a nonprofit Tea Party
    organization founded by Engelbrecht and mostly active in Texas. Several members
    of the King Street Patriots, including Engelbrecht, its president, were
    dissatisfied with the voting process in Harris County, Texas, during the 2008
    election, especially the shortage of poll workers, which they believed “invited
    fraud and other problems at the polls,” and they founded the second group
    in summer 2009.

    True the Vote’s website runs stories on election fraud being perpetrated by
    “liberals” and “Democrats”. The organization maintains a list of “stories of
    voter fraud”, including two videos featuring J. Christian Adams.

    The organization has been a vocal critic of Obama Administration actions
    and nominations, particularly in late 2014.
    ———
    Well then, they certainly wouldn’t have anything good to say about *ANY* Democrat (or Green).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How about the one that claims he won the popular vote if you don’t count all the dead people that voted.

    The Republicans will be participating. They will want to agree or disagree with any challenges.

    StevieB Reply:

    “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

    The president-elect says two million cases of voter fraud. Who do you believe?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Obviously I want Clinton to win, but I’ll take either.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, they would’ve retracted it even if Clinton was elected. (Or maybe even more so, given the hoped for Federal funds under a Democratic administration.) The optics of the waiver were never good.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    ALL: Please justify above posts based on relevance to the topic of this blog.

    Roland Reply:

    I second the motion for starting a new blog focused on general rail matters in California.

  2. morris brown
    Nov 27th, 2016 at 12:40
    #2

    A more realistic assessment of the Auction can be found at:

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/article116525623.html

    where we read:

    It will bring the state less than two-thirds of the roughly $600 million that each quarterly auction had been expected to generate for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to spend on programs to reduce carbon emissions.

    That’s an improvement over the near-zero results of May and August auctions, but may be short-lived, according to carbon market analysts.

    They had expected the November auction to perk up a bit because the $12.73 per ton floor price is scheduled to automatically increase in January, thus creating some incentive to buy in the final 2016 auction.

    However, they also warn that the state still has a massive glut of emission allowances floating around, so the 2017 auctions are likely to flatten out again – unless the Legislature reauthorizes cap and trade, now due to expire in 2020.

    The glut of allowances, coupled with the legal and political uncertainty over the program’s future, have all dampened the appetite of business executives and market speculators.

    Robert can dream that California will fund HSR on its own, because that will indeed be the case, since there will be no Federal or private equity support.

    Needing at least an additional $45 to $50 billion to complete even the SF to LA Phase one of the project will be a burden that neither the Legislature nor a new Governor will be willing to assume.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Where do you get the idea that there will be no private support for CaHSR?

    Aarond Reply:

    Because there isn’t any private support for passenger railroads in the first place. The most likely investors, Class 1s (ie the people who already have RR operators, equipment and maintence facilities) aren’t interested in it.

    What matters is a tunnel under Tehachapi which would bypass the surface loop. This is a thing that can be leased to freights.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You are wrong in only thinking of US railroads.

    Both Japanese and French railroads have already shown interest in similar ventures as have China. Also, some railroads (e.g. Eurostar) are part-owned by non-railroads. The thing is however, that CaHSR has not yet officially asked for interest, but several companies and state actors have already expressed interest in principle depending on the details.

    Aarond Reply:

    Private investors will only get involved if CAHSR is proven to be profitable. Until Tehachapi is done, this is unlikely. So that means the entire system would have to get built first and at that point why bother with a private operator when the state has completely financed construction anyway.

    And again, when it comes to things like money or lobbying this is a thing the Class 1s are far better at. If private investment does happen they will be the first to the table and the most willing to play dirty (namely, circumventing Sacramento by going to DC).

    J. Wong Reply:

    I actually don’t believe that it would be that unlikely for a SF – Bakersfield (or even San Jose) IOS to be profitable. If that is the case, then private investors would likely invest based on the even more profitable full phase 1.

    Also, why do you keep on harping on the Class 1’s? They have never shown any interest in modern passenger rail. Their disinterest is what led to Amtrak. What leads you to believe they’ve changed?

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m saying is that if anyone is willing to do it, they are. Let’s go out on a limb and say Congress allows road tolling again, then the Class 1s would jump right back in on passenger rail.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, I’m more likely thinking it would be an entity that is familiar with passenger service like maybe an airline rather than an entity that is familiar with track.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about non-US railroads? Why do so many people in this comment section seem to pretend they don’t exist?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The class ones’ investors would go nuts if their management suggested going back to the passenger business. It’s completely outside the skill set of their management. The airlines are more likely candidates. No one will be dumb enough to invest in infrastructure without guaranteed revenue. Real guarantees, not blue sky.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You don’t have to invest in infrastructure to operate trains…

    But pension funds do invest in infrastructure all the time… They are for instance behind the newest drive to privatize highways in Germany (which seems politically dead for the time being)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “You don’t have to invest in infrastructure to operate trains”. But someone does, and that’s the key to the issue here. Build a railroad and an operator with passenger experience and enough money to lease some trains will show up. But first build the railroad. We are pretty much down to one candidate for that assignment, and that is the State of California. I’m happy to be convinced otherwise.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you don’t believe in blue sky you are a “denier.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I came to California for blue skies. I do believe in trolleybuses on Geary, if that helps. I try to be realistic about passenger rail and therefore am not very optimistic. BART dmus and Perris Valley extensions to Metrolink while the cores of both continue to rot are not good omens for those trying to advocate a joined up, useful system.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, the state of California certainly can and should build that railroad line. But the money can well come from private sources still. You just take out a loan. And if for some reason that state of California cannot or mustn’t take out that loan, you create the “California Railroad Properties Company” (or some such) with all shares owned by the state of California that takes out a loan. Or you sell shares in that company. Or you can do myriad other things to bring in private investors for the railroad line.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Intended sardonically. I too left the old country due to no sun.

    My father came to California for the first time in 1933 with the CCC. He remembered they played “Nothing but blue skies” so much he burned out on it.

    Yeah Geary is so busy it just cries out for attention. You’d think they would try 3 section articulated buses. Gavin had a chance to start something on Geary during the Centennial in 2012 but crapped out. Muni is just dead in the water. The only mayors interested in Muni in recent times were Alioto and Feinstein.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    If the State takes out a loan, the State is paying. Just deferred terms. That is not private “investment” in my view. True investment involves taking on some risk. Unless you are really negative on CA there is no risk in a loan to CA except inflation. No one will be shares in your State sponsored company bahnfreund, there will be no return on the investment. Magic thinking…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    buy shares…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    When a state takes a loan and pays it back there is a word for that, it is called a bond. That requires a vote.

    If they had that kind of support, why not pass it now?

    J. Wong Reply:

    A loan is not a bond. Corporations take out loans and also issue bonds all the time. They are separate things. (Bonds usually have a lower interest rate because the risk of default is perceived to be lower because of how they are structured than for a loan.)

    Aarond Reply:

    Note an important qualification I made: road tolling. If it suddenly costs $10 in tolls to drive to LA then the Class 1s will return to passenger service because it’d be safely profitable.

    Now, whether or not it’d be GOOD service is another question. UP (like any business) would run the bare minimum required to get buyers.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This is not a corporation. The state can’t just borrow money without authorization.

    And we have covered this ad nauseum, you can’t toll and existing federal highway by law. But you are right, if things were different they would not be the same. They are not different.

    You might as well say, if all cars were banned, trains would be a better investment

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A private company can take out a loan. Being owned by the state does not play a role in that unless you can show me the law where it say that it does.

    And yes, getting credit absolutely counts as private investments. What else would you classify loaning someone money as? Gambling?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    ok, I will play. How is this”private company” going to pay back the loans without the state giving them the money?

    Since no railroad has ever paid back its capital investment, or if I am generous in less than 50 years, who is going to make a 50 year interest free loan to a private company with no assets and no history of making money? Not just a loan, a 30-40 billion dollar loan.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Let’s say the loan is taken out by the same company that will be responsible for charging track access fees. There is your revenue stream right there.

    Also your assertions regarding profitability are a bit strange, given that most of the dividend DB pays to the German Feds is actually the profit of DB Netz. DB Netz is of course the company owning most German trackage and charging track access fees.

    So the thing could work something like that: One company runs the trains (that company may be public or private), one company owns the tracks and charges fees for their use. From those fees the debt taken on to finance construction is paid. Of course you can leverage stuff further to build new extensions, in which case the debt would stay in the books a bit longer – which may or may not be the cause of your 50 year confusion…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1st, they are profitable because they didnt pay for the track. We are talking about financing the capital investment with a loan

    A 40 billion dollar “loan” at 2% over 50 years is a monthly payment of 110 million a month or 1.32 billion a year.

    For comparison, the operating profit, not the actual profit of the entirety of Japan railroads is 2.6 billion per year (181 billion yen).

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/04/28/business/corporate-business/three-jr-train-operators-report-record-profits-shinkansen-demand/

    But even if I was to accept that ridiculous argument, they are paying themselves. Now the actual authority has to ship them 1.3 billion a year. So how does the actual railroad survive without a subsidy. This is not a ponzi scheme, you dont have enough money going into the system.

    The best case ridership is 26 million in 2029 (pg 83)

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

    so best case, those 26 million people are paying, above the cost of the ticket, a track access charge of 1.3 billion. That is $50 a ticket in access charges with the best case scenario. Then you add in the cost of actually running the trains and that assumes everything goes as well as possible. At the low ridership estimate it is $100 just in track charges. And this assumes someone will loan you 40 billion at 2% for 50 years.

    THE NUMBERS DONT WORK!! With the absolute best assumptions it does not work.

    You cant run this if you have to pay back capital costs. This is the reason private investment to pay for capital wont work, they expect a profit.

    By comparison, the people who bought Hostess just earned 930% profit in 3 years

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/4026037-apollos-hostess-investment-pays-tenfold?ifp=0

    So why would they spend 40 billion on a risky railroad with no proven track record in the US rather than anything else?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Thank you John N for pointing out the obvious, though clearly not obvious to the magic thinkers. Track charges can only be paid if there is a surplus after operating expenses plus cost of rolling stock and a profit for the operator. To conjecture that this sum could be large enough to fully amortize construction debt is risible. Even worse would be to think that this money would be available from the first year of operation. There is no case here for a for-profit enterprise to invest in HSR infrastructure without guarantees from either a State or Federal credit.
    I’m not against the State building it. I knew from the beginning that 1A promises would not be kept. I was hoping for fast regional rail at the bookends which could eventually be linked. Just like the Perris Valley extension the available funds are spent in the wrong place. Sigh…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So how do the JRs finance new construction?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Nobody expects anybody to pay back capital costs.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bahnfreund does and he is not alone

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well the latest JR line is not.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/03/26/national/the-hokkaido-shinkansen-line-at-a-glance/#.WDz-1XQ76hB

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/04/14/business/seats-empty-hokkaido-shinkansens/#.WDz_4nQ76hA

    JR Hokkaido is wholly owned by the Japan government.

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

    So the short answer is both the capital and operating budgets are heavily subsidized by the government.

    But Japan HSR always makes money right?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/defrauding-the-public-on-european-rail-profits/ Well apparently John of House Nachtigall, first of his name knows better than this other blog…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bahnfreund, your blogger, and others seem not to understand the difference between “pay for the track” and pay for the marginal cost of current maintenance based on usage. The usage formula can be quite sophisticated and tends to favor low axle weight vehicles like mus rather than loco hauled. What it does not do is pay off the debt associated with RoW acquisition, track building, catenary etc. Now that may be a moot point with “historic” systems where most of those costs have been long since amortized. But with a new railroad, as most of CAHSR will be, those costs are real and need to be met.
    So we are back to the genesis of this discussion. First of all stop using the term “profitable” until you define that term i.e. what is included on both the expense and revenue sides of the ledger. Understand that the capital cost of an all new system will almost certainly not be paid off by selling tickets or any other ancillary revenue, and from there figure out how to finance it. Then decide how much profit is reasonable for the operator given that the RoW cost is subsidized. Perhaps use the airline model for that calculation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    ROW acquisition is a one time expense. Even if every single bridge disintegrates (and that might take a long time given what amount of centenarian railroad bridges exist in Europe and the Americas) and every last tunnel crumbles, the right of way does not have to be bought twice. So you can (in theory) set depreciation time for that as infinite.

    Everything else will have two sorts of cost to account for: The day to day maintenance (including routine repairs) and the end of life cost of full replacement. Now in very broad strokes you can slightly lower the former in exchange for a much higher cost on the latter, but in general you will be able to repair any given part a given number of times before you have to replace it. That might mean shutting down a tunnel and building it again (basically) removing a piece of rail and laying a new one and so on. The Hannover-Würzburg line (one of the first dedicated HSR lines in Germany) recently had to be shut down for major repairs that included (iir) some laying of new track as well as a more or less complete replacement of ballast. Now an honest accounting would set track access charges so that they cover the initial costs of doing all those things the first time, their yearly average maintenance, and replacing all things that need replacing at the end of their useful life.

    So if a tie costs 100 000 € and lasts 25 years, it should show up in the accounting as a 4000€ expense every year plus of course whatever maintenance might cost over that period of time. If a bridge costs 1 000 000 000 € and lasts 100 years, it should show up as an annual expense of 10 000 000 €.

    But track access charges in countries like France and Germany are set in another way. They are set with the following calculation: “How high can we set them so that the division in charge of running trains makes a modest profit but not much more in a normal year” – That’s why the busiest lines (Those that even libertarians admit have paid back capital costs) have the highest tolls.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Shall we agree once and for all that there is no reason for CAHSR to pay back the cost it took to build it, whether it can or cannot.

    Shall we also all agree that prop 1A requires that CAHSR must make an operating profit on the portion of the line funded by prop 1A.

    Shall we finally agree that CAHSR will most likely make an operating profit.

    Operating profit is defined as having a positive amount of money left over from ticket revenue of CAHSR, deducting maintenance and day to day train operating costs.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I will agree to that if you agree that no private money will be available to pay for the capital costs to subordinate the system because there is no profit in it.

    Yes (theoretically) profit in running it. I don’t think so but for this discussion I can fake it.

    No profit in building it.

    And I other thing, does my peerage come with some kind of land grant or stipend?

    StevieB Reply:

    Proposition 1a 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.

    The Authority can and will be able to provide the necessary plan.

    The most recent California High-Speed Rail Authority business plan proffers obtaining private investment in the form of selling a concession to operate trains. The concession fee is then used to finance further capital construction.

    isgota Reply:

    “A 40 billion dollar “loan” at 2% over 50 years is a monthly payment of 110 million a month or 1.32 billion a year.”

    But CAHSR never expected a private investement so big, they estimated about a thirth of the capital construction tag. That is about $20 billion, or an annual payment of $700 million. With a full SF-LA line operating profits could be about $1 billion per year, so it’s feasible with another $20 billion public investment in a PPP schema.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s 40 billion because the Feds are. Not going to chip in their 1/3rd. But whatever since we are speculating.

    Name 1 entity that you expect to give the authority a 20 billon dollar, 2%, 50 year loan with as deferred payment of ~13 years (because full system not ready till 2029).

    People loan governments money at 2% for 50 years, they don’t loan it to “private” companies with zero track record and no proven business.

    CA could obtain a bond for the money if the legislature authorized it. Your funding problem is political and private investment will never be more that some company running the trains for a nominal fee.

    isgota Reply:

    Barclays has shown interest in financing revenue bonds in the project. There are several non-US companies with a track record of running HSR, and the IOS could be your proof of business.

    The very moment a private company has that, ould ver

    isgota Reply:

    The very moment a private company has that, could very well propose a 50-50 PPP and politics could swift.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Delusion is the triumph of hope over experience.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bahnfreund still wants the penny and the bun in this argument. Depreciate the RoW and structures over an almost infinite lifetime, maybe possible if 100% publicly financed since the public sector doesn’t have to balance it’s books or satisfy shareholders, and at the same time dream that there will be private investment. Private capital investing in infrastructure will want a very real and very finite amortization based at least in part on the prevailing tax rules. This term may have very little to do with the estimated actual life of the assets, but is the way people make investing decisions. You can’t make up the rules as you go along and imagine institutions that will invest according to your scenarios.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Land doesn’t depreciate.

    Jerry Reply:

    The word “profit” rules.
    I’m sure there was a public and private return on the USA’s going to the moon.
    Also, there must be a return somewhere on borrowing a Trillion Dollars from China so the USA could invest in the Iraq War. (Sorry to have to point out that DT did say that it was not only a mistake, but a bad investment. )
    I really would like to ride something in the USA that could somehow, somehow, resemble something called HSR.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Land does not depreciate??

    Detroit, New Orleans 9th Parish, Cleveland, Flint, Beiruit, Alleppo, etc. etc. etc.

    Land does depreciate

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can’t book it until you sell at a loss. You sell at a loss chances are real good the IRS is going to have a quick look at why.

    Jerry Reply:

    Land can also, “appreciate”. (Silicon Valley?)
    It all depends upon the “accounting” system used.
    And what the tax code calls for.
    And who ‘owns’ it.
    Etc, etc.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well certainly, Nachtigall, you shall be entitled to French church land equal to 50 assignats… And half an acre in land on the Moon. Unfortunately, it will be spread out in bizarre feudal boundaries with myriads of enclaves and exclaves.

    Now, we can agree that CaHSR will likely earn more in ticket revenue than it will cost in running costs. And there will be a positive non-zero track access charge. Those assumptions are based on the experience of HSR in Europe. So there will be two separate revenue streams. One the profit of the train operator (which will be required by the “no subsidy” line under a strict constructionalist reading of the law) and the profit of the ROW operator.

    The ROW operator might not be able to finance the whole system at acceptable conditions, but as we have established that certain costs have a long schedule of depreciation, the state could assume those costs (in the very real hope that they will pay for themselves before they have to be replaced) while borrowing a certain percentage of the construction cost. It might even happen that some tunnel or bridge will be built in some built own operate transfer model by private investors. Yet another sort of revenue might be an auction for the right to run trains. For example, instead of just setting track access charges and otherwise having an open door policy on the ROW (which is in theory how it works in Europe) CaHSR could sell the exclusive right to operate a certain train or all trains.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well private operators on existing rails are – for whatever reason – quite common in Europe (be it the Italo, the Eurostar or others that you can google yourself). And the proof that CaHSR can be profitable is not a necessary condition for private investment. If such proof were required, why did anybody ever invest in anything ever?

    Yes, the Class 1s are the biggest truly private owners of track in the world when measured by kilometers of track and yes few operators have decided to build greenfield tracks, but there are ways to make even that enticing. Say for instance, a guaranteed amount of trains or a guaranteed minimum access charge over the course of a contract. Or nobody but the state of California owns the tracks, but the tracks (or the track access charges levied on them) are used as a collateral for debt used to build the system.

    Look, I’d prefer the state of California would finance it all from tax money, but if private investment is part of the plan, there are myriad ways to get it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I believe the private operators in fact merely lease the track rights (and share with the non-private operators). So they don’t need to have any expertise in railroad maintenance beyond the train-sets.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes, Eurostar does not own or maintain tracks. They only own and maintain their trains.

    I don’t know, however, whether they for instance report problems with the track in some formalized system…

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: you don’t know
    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/trains-to-measure-geometry.html

    isgota Reply:

    Actually, I remember from the latest business plan that the revenue simulation from San Jose to Wasco would only generate operating loses with about a 30% probability. It’s not so far fetched a private operator biting the bullet with zero or minimal capital investment upfront.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Wrong — giving up and killing it when we are $5B away from an IOS route, and declaring failure, and stranding all the assets and investments do date, when the need remains and is growing — that is what neither the legislature nor governor will want to do. Progress may slow.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am sure Brown is politically astute enough to have something in place by 2018 that serves at the very least as a strong incentive to keep on building. That’s one of the reasons why starting construction in the CV was crucial.

    Joe Reply:

    For content, rebuilding a single Santa Clara county interchange at 101 and 880 will cost about 1 billion.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    What exactly are they doing to it?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Gold plating?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Seriously though, does anyone know the plans? I can’t find them online.

    Joe Reply:

    Using Google
    “One billion interchange”

    A top hit.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/09/18/roadshow-new-101-880-interchange-could-cost-1-billion/

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Which doesn’t actually say what they’re adding. Is it express lanes, flyover lanes, HOV lanes, general purpose lanes, frontage roads?

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Just toll it. Pick a number of vehicles on the road at a time, and increase price til that’s the number. Yield management, just like airlines.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That’s the obvious solution. Also, I’ve always found freeways in the south bay to have an odd layout, along with that stupid expressway system that cant seem to decide if it’s a freeway or an avenue. If I lived in the south bay, I’d push for the complete-streetification and narrowing of expressways, even if it meant wider freeways.

    Joe Reply:

    Toll or tax, the cost is about a billion and that 1 Billion cost puts the HSR project into perspective.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or toll it so there isn’t demand for a new interchange.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Market rates for car sewers? That’s pure socialism!

    Roland Reply:

    The genius that came up with this recently “retired” from the VTA.

    Joe Reply:

    Which doesn’t change the cost:

    Why so much for 101-880? This is a freeway-to-freeway interchange where expensive high-rise ramps would be necessary, along with extra lanes on both 101 and 880.

    –Mr Roadshow.

    Michael Reply:

    Two little overpasses in Oakland are $102m. They are under construction now.

    https://alamedaca.gov/sites/default/files/document-files/www.alamedactc.org_i880northsafetyoperationalimprovement_factsheet.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    And construction for the two little overpasses will take four years.

    Joey Reply:

    I can barely remember a time when that segment of 880 wasn’t under construction…

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Not sure I would call them little. It’s a heavily used 8 lane elevated freeway. The scheduling to minimize lane closures is what drives the timeline. I guess people would bitch greatly if they took the quickest and cheapest way to rebuild several thousand feet of structures. But this is America and people love to complain about anything!

    Michael Reply:

    One is a two lane overpass over an 8-lane freeway, the other is four lanes. The freeway is a narrow eight lanes because it is ancient by freeway standards, no median shoulder and substandard outside shoulders. Both are short, simple spans. The project is little compared to the 101-880 interchange, and little compared to most all other interchange rebuilds going on in the Bay Area. I offered it as a benchmark for the cost of construction in the area. Caltrans doesn’t close highway lanes for project except after most of us have gone to sleep. The timeline is long because the two overpasses are being rebuilt one at a time, not to keep from closing lanes on the freeway.

    Jerry Reply:

    And construction of the 1,700 ft. Fresno River Viaduct in open fields will take a couple of years. And they are behind schedule. (I believe it is the equivalent of two lanes.)

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Lowest bid will get you what you pay for. AAF could choose who bid as a private company, CHSRA cannot. The contractor for CHSRA has no incentive to work overtime and finish quick. Nor is there no need to. The bridge is connected to the rest of the line that has no chance of being used for alot longer than a couple of years. AAF recently said they were 70% done with construction of the Miami to West Palm Beach section. Money and profits are a big incentive to get work done! And they just started major work not more than a year ago on this project.

    The primary thing holding up AAF are government regulations that are allowing the NIMBYS north of WPB to delay the project from being built to Orlando. What a country we have created! Perhaps this is what motivated alot of people to vote for Trump? Not me though.

    Jerry Reply:

    Voters in California just approved a speed up in the death penalty appeal process.
    Wished they could do the same for all civil actions.
    But we do live in a very very litigious society.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It was completed all the way to Key West in 1912.

    wdobner Reply:

    The only thing AAF is useful for is serving as an object lesson to those who claim the CHSRA would have more success either as a private organization or building a slower train. Clearly that is not the case, the NIMBYs crawled out of the woodwork and are even more successful than their left coast counterparts. Reality has caught up with Fortress Investment’s real estate development scheme garnished with a tiny side of redundant commuter rail.

    I understand their cars won’t fit on the NEC. That really is a shame because they could really be used there when the towel gets thrown in. Maybe if it goes bust fast enough Caltrans can get some to supplement the Talgos until the Sumitomos finally pass muster.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Realistic”? Dan Walters is an ex-operative of the Republican party and is still a Republican & conservative. He has an obvious bias. Not to say that you should entirely discount what he writes, but just be very aware of the bias.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Are you talking about someone else? Dan Walters has been journalist from age 22 (maybe before) at newspapers all over the state.

    Joe Reply:

    Being a “journalist” doesn’t invalidate any criticism of his biases. The fact that he isn’t reporting any ore and holds an opinion “column” means a political viewpoint is expected by the publisher.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, I could be wrong, but my statement was based on the my impression of often hearing him in “point/counterpoint” style as the conservative or Republican side. He definitley is conservative for California although like most conservative journalists likes to present himself as centrist.

    Roland Reply:

    JAW being wrong?

    StevieB Reply:

    The Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters’ résumé boasts nearly four decades of attacking Gov. Jerry Brown.

    Walters has a very long history of attacking Gov. Brown, going back to the beginning of his career in the mid-1970s as a columnist and reporter for the far-right Sacramento Union newspaper…

    He joined what was then the Eureka Times as a copy boy in 1960 and later worked for a variety of smaller papers, including a return stint at the Eureka paper in the early ’70s, this time as managing editor, before joining the right-leaning Sacramento Union as political writer and columnist in 1975.

    The Union was owned by right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a principal heir to an oil and banking fortune, who was one of the main national financiers for a network of conservative influencers and who played a major role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

    Walters shifted over to The Sacramento Bee in 1984 as part of the paper’s long-term strategy to make Sacramento a one-daily town. He had been a popular conservative columnist in the city’s other daily newspaper, so removing Walters from the Union and adding him to the then-liberal Bee was a useful move for the Bee in its effort to attain a daily-paper monopoly…

    But while the Bee did not encourage Walters, as the Union did, to expose supposedly nefarious linkages between left-wing groups and the Democratic Party, it did not discourage him from pursuing his stock-in-trade hobbyhorse of Brown bashing. Indeed, during a memorable pressroom blowout years ago at a California Democratic Party convention, then-Los Angeles Times senior political writer John Balzar heatedly accused Walters of “building his entire career” on bashing Brown.

    Walters has derided Brown over Proposition 30 taxes on the rich, use of renewable energy in California, and California High-Speed Rail.

    Dan Walters predicted a big win for Meg Whitman as California Governor.

    Dan Walters began 2010, the year of the big Democratic wave in California, opining about the Golden State that “the only real certainty is that its predilection is uncertain,” saying that it could be a very big Republican year for California.

    It was a big Republican year, all right. In reverse.

    Despite waging the biggest-spending nonpresidential campaign in American history, billionaire Meg Whitman lost to Brown in a landslide as the Democrats swept every statewide office.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a thankless job but somebody has to bell the cat.

    Edward Reply:

    If you recall, the moral of the story was that while it was a great idea, nobody wanted to be the one to do it.

    Eric Reply:

    “externalities”

    StevieB Reply:

    Dan Walters has proven time and again to be wrong in his predictions so why should he be right on cap and trade?

    J. Wong Reply:

    The reality is that with SF to Bakersfield (or even just to San Jose) the legislative path to allocate the funds to get to LA and complete phase 1 gets politically easier. That’s really what @morris brown is afraid of.

    les Reply:

    As much as the likes of Syno like to criticize JB, JB has done the lion’s share of the work and, starting in 2019, even a republican could finish the work (won’t have a choice with mayors clamoring to be connected). JB will have pushed it over the proverbial hump.

    synonymouse Reply:

    a crippled scheme like BART broad gauge

  3. Roland
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 05:56
    #3

    CBOSS update (the gift keeps on giving).

    Future Activities: Oct – Dec 2016
    1) Review and plan to submit draft RSD application (the RSD was initially scheduled for October 15)
    2) Review safety case information to be provided in support of PTC Safety Plan
    3) Continue interoperability planning (no, I did not make this up).
    4) Continue to work with PTC220 and TTCI to finalize Spectrum Slot Planning.
    5) Complete punch list items on all base station related activities.
    6) Continue receipt and review of project as-built drawings.
    7) Hold design workshop for onboard translator (no, I did not make this up either. See below).
    8) Continue connection of Federated Link to freight railroad production network.
    Issues: Onboard software development delays continue and will delay the October 2016 RSD date.

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Finance/Quarterly+Capital+Program+Status+Report/JPB/FY17+Q1+JPB+Quarterly+Report.pdf (page 15).

    PS. The “onboard translator” is the magic box that will allegedly (one day) achieve “interoperability” by converting I-ETMS to I-ITCS (AKA CBOSS) on the fly. What could possibly go wrong with that? Well assume that you are a software engineer who has been tasked with developing a protocol converter between two remote APIs with different (AKA completely missing) methods and arguments and take it from there.

    Are we having fun yet?

    Clem Reply:

    Following the tried and true steps of build, test, and then design

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You missed the first step Clem, sell to some dumb public agency assisted by insider “consultants”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    SMART, but before the insider consultants you have the real insiders, like Doug Bosco wanting to get a free rebuild of his freight railway.

    Or the Tejon Ranch Co. and the other high desert real estate developers.

    Roland Reply:

    @ Clem: you forgot RTFM when everything else fails.

  4. Roland
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 08:18
    #4

    Breaking News: SamTrans new CFO quits after 10 months: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilia-eli-kay-26331971

  5. les
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 08:37
    #5

    California’s new trainsets? Talgos “which the ministry said was 28% below initial offers, with Talgo’s bid being the top scoring for both technical and financial criteria” and beat out the likes of Siemens and others. Is Talgo still making trainsets in US?

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/high-speed/single-view/view/talgo-wins-spanish-high-speed-train-order.html

    isgota Reply:

    No. Talgo closed its factory in Milwaukee. Still they have offices in Seattle, and for a big order I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind to set a factory again in the USA (a deep blue state after what happened in Wisconsin).

    PS: It’s nice a project I worked for a short time its becoming reality. I doubted RENFE would buy them after all the brutal crisis and austerity in Spain.

    William Reply:

    Actually Talgo recently won the contract to refurbish LA Metro’s subway cars that will be carried out in Talgo’s Milwaukee facility: http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/rapid-transit/talgo-to-refurbish-los-angeles-metro-trains.html How much of the manufacturing capability remains is unknown though.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    There’s loads of ways to “close” a factory. Some can be reversed in hours. Others, can’t.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And that also depends on the type of factory and the type of machinery employed there…

    isgota Reply:

    I had no idea of that, thanks. I’ve been out of the loop with Talgo for some time. More than manufacturing, the Milwaukee plant is for assembly, the car bodies and wheels were sent from Spain, the assembled there like all the other components bought in the US.

  6. synonymouse
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 13:00
    #6

    Fun in Kumbaya:

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/alleged-muni-hacker-demands-73000-ransom-computers-stations-restor

    Jerry Reply:

    How many other transportation systems are equally vulnerable?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A bit of excess wind or rain can shut down all roads and airports regularly get shut down by a bit of fog…

    Edward Reply:

    Many seem surprised that MUNI actually had a backup plan: Isolate the system and restore everything from backups. The customers get a free ride bonus. And the hackers get nothing except scrutiny by the FBI, CIA and a lot of independent white hats.

    Apparently an individual from Iran. I suppose that’s why the senate extended sanctions. :-)

    Michael Reply:

    I have a friend who is a professor at a Canadian university and the school got hit the same day as MUNI. The university was not so well prepared. Along with the areas that were hacked at MUNI, the school also had its campus workstations taken down. Printers, plotters, CAM, and other goodies took a few days to get back online once they figured what was going on.

  7. Jerry
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 13:41
    #7

    Kevin McCarthy, Bakersfield, will be interviewed live on the Washington Post’s The Daily 202, tomorrow, Tues., Nov. 29, from 9 am to 9:45 am, regarding top policy priorities for the next Congress.
    If interested you may register at:
    https://202nov.splashthat.com/ads
    Infrastructure will surely come up.

  8. Brian_FL
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 15:57
    #8

    Definitely not your typical railway station food court! AAF/Brightline is bringing what they call a ‘food hall’ experience to downtown Miami. If this concept is successful, could it be copied at other Amtrak train stations and with the new CA HSR system? I like how private owners are thinking outside the box and not just giving a basic, utilitarian station experience. Is anyone else (California or Texas or Amtrak) paying attention to what is being done here in Florida?

    And this will help with the revenue sources for AAF. Along with everything else – office space, apartments, etc..

    http://centralfare.com

    Brian_FL Reply:

    http://therealdeal.com/miami/2016/11/02/florida-east-coast-industries-head-honcho-says-downtown-miami-saturated-with-luxury-condos/

    Head of company that owns AAF wants more affordable housing built in downtown Miami. I wish more developers were like this and motivated to build for the middle class instead of just the super rich.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    They always are, once you first saturate the luxury market. Thats why the #1 thing CA needs is TONS of new housing to crash prices and overbuild the top markets so you have plenty of housing available, so you can stop playing catch up.

    Jerry Reply:

    The next four years will be very interesting.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t want to live in interesting times…

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Developers don’t have any higher propensity to build luxury. But many of the costs of producing housing are fixed. The more regulations, the more fixed costs, the higher value a project must carry to get over the hump. Make it super expensive to built, all that gets built is gonna be super expensive. It’s not a developer issue, it’s a regulation issue.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    That may be true in some cities, but how does that explain AAF building 800 rental apartments in a downtown Miami tower? Same building codes and regulations as those luxury condo buildings going up within several thousand feet.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    all the luxury demand was filled, so they logically moved to the next tier down because that was the next most profitable option. Overbuild that segment and developers will start building even cheaper housing. It’s just basic logic and profits. We just haven’t seen this in many other places because most cities are idiotically not inclined to permit enough luxury high density housing that they’ll never enjoy the middle class high rise.

    webster Reply:

    TL;DR: Public funding for housing (which generates returns based on economy-wide “knock-on” effects) and/or mandatory set-asides for private development is needed. Ideally, we’d have a system that didn’t punish people for renting or reward property owners so graciously with equity; particularly, where it resulted from improvements made off of said property. These incentives probably contribute far more than regulations to understanding why housing ‘unaffordability’ is so persistent/ubiquitous an issue.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I find his argument to be a bit self-serving as it isn’t construction that’s driving up prices (e.g. what people in SF might say) but the value of the land, itself…if he were really serious he would be calling for mandatory set-asides rather than tax abatements, would be interested in affordable housing generally as opposed to “workforce” housing, and advocating for overall increases in density.

    In any case, the demand-supply equation tends to be more nuanced than that stated previously: regulations, while problematic for many reasons, really aren’t the culprit they’re often made out to be.

    As the value of land largely tends to dictate the [baseline] value of a property, it is worth noting two things: 1) if you build too few units on valuable land, prices will need to be higher than 2) if you build many units on that same or less valuable land.

    This IS where regulations come into play.

    However, the considerations that go into land use planning, that dictate desirable densities (e.g. of units/households and thus individuals) is born out of public desire to ensure that property ownership remains profitable. It only remains profitable, however, if demand remains ahead of supply.

    This is all to say nothing of the market’s interest in maximizing profits which tends to prioritize the highest ends of this market: Developer Bob will continue to serve the high end market by offering increasingly fewer total units at higher prices before he will begin offering more at lower prices.

    This is why public funding for housing has always been swatted down as an abnormality and market distortion.

    We fund almost all other critical infrastructure – schools, hospitals, transportation, utilities – but not housing?

    Odd.

    Think about who complains the most over increases in supply, density, or public subsidies for housing (either in the form of inclusionary zoning, rent controls, etc). If you’re quite astute, you’ll recognize that they are typically not only developers…

    Wells Reply:

    Regulation schmegulation! the glorious leader T-rump will say. What are your notions about regulating CO2 or fossil fuel combustion entirely or driving everywhere with no choice but to drive? Developers seem to be more interested in the least number of complicated concrete high-rise structures than in multi-family mid-rise which is simpler to construct and welcome in hundreds of times as many suitable locations. Transit-oriented development phobia?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    ….but-but-but the skyscrapers are so pretty.

    Edward Reply:

    In my city, to satisfy the state planning housing element, the zoning on major transit streets has been changed. You can now build five story (six with state low income housing bonus) apartment buildings with optional commercial on the ground floor. This is by definition medium rise. High rise begins at eight floors. This is *only* on a few heavy transit streets with twelve minute or less headways.

    I have been advised by many of my neighbors that civilization as we know it is about to end and we are being Manhattanized. Heaven forfend!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And your city is….?

    Edward Reply:

    If you are that curious…

    Berkeley, CA. Home of more Nobel Prize winners than Russia, and an unending supply of NIMBYs and BANANAs.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Lovely

    zorro Reply:

    Regulation is good!

    No Regulation = Enron type situation

    Remember Enron?

    Joe Reply:

    They make high end homes in Gilroy now. 700k is entry level. We have high demand in the bay area so it’s all about high income housing and what deals need to be cut for “affordable” to get the high end built.

    New Mountain View Caltrain station apartments at Castro St. are high end units easily going to rent for 5k+ a month.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Oh. My. God. That’s appalling. Way worse than los Angeles. It seems to me the best thing for the bay area would be about 500K new units of housing. Overnight. Seriously. This is distinctions.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Disfunctional*

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s definately a circumstance where private and public interests align. The developers behind FEC have a bona fide reason to build a well connected network (with MIA, Miami metrorail, Trirail and Sunrail), a downtown station and shove as many people and things around those places as plausible.

    It’s going to turn out very well.

    Aarond Reply:

    swap “FEC” for “Brightline”

    wdobner Reply:

    Is anyone else (California or Texas or Amtrak) paying attention to what is being done here in Florida?

    They most assuredly are. After all, they may want some good barely used cars after Fortress decides the commuter rail operation window dressing they used to get the RRIF loans for their development scheme has played itself out.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Millions and millions of Northeasterners and Midwesterners leave their cars in the Northeast and Midwest to fly to Florida. Who know how trains work. Who won’t have to rent a car to go from the happiest place to grandma’s or vice versa. Or even the airport to grandma’s.

    Jerry Reply:

    And SunRail and Brightline are going directly to the Orlando Airport.

    Jerry Reply:

    A planning error (platform 200 feet too short) is delaying Amtrak’s stop at the Miami Intermodal Station.
    The intermodal Station will have lockers and showers for bicyclists.

  9. morris brown
    Nov 28th, 2016 at 17:59
    #9

    Darrell Issa was just declared the winner in his re-election bid:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/darrell-issa-231902

    Another Congressman elected who strongly is against California HSR.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I hate 2016.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Who doesn’t?

    zorro Reply:

    He’s disgusting, and a crook…

  10. morris brown
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 06:37
    #10

    Fox and Hounds: Caltrain Electrification Project is speeding towards disaster

    Jerry Reply:

    “Caltrain, should face the fact, that a new President is about to be inaugurated, and new heads of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) and FTA are sure to be appointed.  The new appointees may well have different views.”
    So does that mean the Fox and Hounds win?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s promised more than once that we are gonna spend a gazillion dollars building infrastructure second to none.

    StevieB Reply:

    A golf course is infrastructure to Trump. Something a private corporation can build at 18% to the dollar at government expense and make a profit.

    Joe Reply:

    Critics exploiting environmental regulations in wealthy liberal town look to Trump Admin to stop train project from bothering their elite community.

    Google translate:
    Poultry look to Cornel Sanders for assistance against pillow factory plucking too many down feathers.

    Roland Reply:

    No. It just means that “Caltrain” need to take their money and run like hell before January 25 2017 AKA 5 days before Elaine Chao and the rest of the Trump administration figure out that SamTrans is about to REDUCE the current system capacity by 20% AFTER pissing away north of $2B “electrifying” 50 miles of antediluvian 79 MPH track: https://youtu.be/p-gGJA1-DQk.

    morris brown Reply:

    Roland: You posting implies that Caltrain will get their Core Grant and also the $600 million from the Authority. So indeed Caltrain is making an effort to “piss” this money away, but they have to get it first. Don’t count on that happening.

    Jerry Reply:

    Again, there are entirely too many bureaucracies and layers of bureaucracies involved in the project.
    I believe that it is without equal in the entire world.

    Roland Reply:

    @Morris. I have a PRA out for a copy of the signed funding agreements for the Prop1A bonds. No news so far (they are in the “draft” phase). As far as the FTA funds are concerned, I would expect “front-loading” just like the ARRA money in the Cental Valley(?)

    How about pinching your nose, closing your eyes, remembering that this is the season of giving and enjoying the ride in Santa’s sledge (AKA late-model Carrera S)?

  11. morris brown
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 08:02
    #11

    LA Times: ‘Lessons learned’: Metro will pay nearly $300 million more to company that widened the 405 Freeway

    Another classic case for Bent Flyvbjerg’s database.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    $1.6 B for a road project that “did not significantly change traffic flow”.
    That makes the opportunity cost of not building convenient, desirable public transportation and rail alternatives virtually infinite.
    It seems that LA County voters understand this at some level, and have voted to aggressively fund transit projects.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The money for the 405 is coming from prop C which with A was also meant to build a transit system. Wonder if M would have done so well if this had been announced before the election

    Roland Reply:

    You will never guess who was responsible for the original cost estimates: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mirisch/everything-you-always-wan_b_11779178.html
    Page 35 (letter from HNTB to LACMTA) makes fascinating reading:

    “Average Professional Service (Project Management, Construction Management, etc…)
     50% OF CONSTRUCTION COSTS (no, I am not making this up).

    Recommended Aerial Guideway Programmatic Cost
     $80,000,000 x 1.5 = $120,000,000/mile

  12. Aarond
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 08:23
    #12

    Trump (apparently) picks Elaine Chao for transportation secretary:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/29/politics/trump-picks-elaine-chao-for-transportation-secretary/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/us/politics/elaine-chao-transportation-trump.html

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-taps-elaine-chao-as-transportation-secretary/

    She was Bush’s labor secretary and is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Draining the swamp!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i dare you to name 1 GOP member you would approve of in the cabinet. No matter who they pick you would hate them.

    Wells Reply:

    Maybe the trump could nominate that ‘elector’ who would rather resign than submit his vote?
    Sounds like a decent person, unlike massa Mitch McConnell.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Mcain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff flake, Ben sasse, Nikki Haley, Susan Collins, Jeb bush, Kasich, Peter King, and Romney are all acceptable humans.

    Eric M Reply:

    Oh, so anyone that was against Trump during the election?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Pretty much.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Jeb Bush….really. I have trouble believing you are a Jeb Bush fan.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’m not a Jeb bush fan. I respect him and consider him safe, stable, experienced, and willing to compromise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ray LaHood did a decent job, maybe he would be willing to sacrifice more of his time.
    I don’t need to name anyone. Dear Leader does. Dear Leader in his omniscience was going to name the bestest bigly champions of draining the swamp. They don’t need to be Republicans to do that.

    Joe Reply:

    LaHood was a republican representative.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes, John asked for a Republican so I named one.

    Joe Reply:

    I suppose that’s why John cut and ran.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I was just getting over the shock.

    When LaHood killed the XpressWest loan he didnt seem like the favorite of anyone on this board. What was it about his tenure you considered “decent”? Because I know you just didnt name the most moderate republican without an actual reason, you would never do that

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    He is a big proponent of HSR.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really, so,when he reverted the XpressWest loan that was his way of helping HSR along? He does not seem to be that big of a proponent.

    I thought he made the right choice for the record

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/271527-lahood-defends-california-high-speed-rail-plan

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/high_speed_rail/news/LaHood-Highspeed-rail-remains-a-major-priority-for-Obama-administration–30116

    The XW loan wasn’t cancelled because he didn’t want HSR from LA-Palmdale-Victorville-Vegas. It was cancelled because of stupid Buy America.

    Joe Reply:

    Law establishing the FRA loans requires Buy American.

    LaHood has no power to ignore the law and GOP congress didn’t amend the law.

    You’re a chronic liar. Smarter decisions was to have slunk away and remained off thread.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Moving the goalposts again. You asked for a Republican. You got one.
    When the Republican governor of Florida lied about Florida HSR, money got reallocated to places that will make a difference. It may have been when the Republican governor of Ohio refused the money or the Republican governor of Wisconsin. Doesn’t matter much to me, they used some of the money to cut 45 minutes off my trip to Hudson NY which cuts 45 minutes off my trip to Manhattan and Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington DC and Richmond. People in Illinois got more money for the trip between Chicago and Saint Louis. California got great big wads of money.
    The Real Americans ™ in Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio can sit in Real Traffic.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    @adirondacker – except we here in Florida will be getting a new train. A 125mph train at top speed with modern equipment at that. But it’s still better than what WI, OH, WA, and IL can say about their trains. :)

    And it will make what is now two trains a day each way that takes 5-6 hours on a good day and result in 16 round trips in 3 hours between Orlando and Miami.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The HSR project would still have been better. But Brightline is better than nothing.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Perhaps, but Brightline is building along the route that makes sense, instead of starting out with Tampa.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Tampa-Orlando was shovel ready more than it was actually useful.

    It would have been a complement to brightline, there was no reason to kill it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes, but if Brightline plans on extending to Tampa, possibly on new high speed, track, then its even better, because of the large, privately funded scope of the system. While 220 MPH HSR would be preferable, this is certainly tolerable, and better than any alternative. It seems to me that 220 MPH Tampa to Orland Airport without Miami is just a glorified airport shuttle that occasionally brings a Disney tourist to the beach.

    Joe Reply:

    Ha.

    LaHood.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Lincoln, Grant, Sherman (was he ever a member of the party?) Rockefeller.

    You never said they had to be alive.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Eisenhower, even. He was opposed to urban freeways.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t like Ike. He’s way overrated.

    blankslate Reply:

    I didn’t take that comment as having anything to do with “liking” Elaine Chao, it was more to do with the hypocrisy of campaigning on “draining the swamp” and then filling your cabinet with multi-decade DC political insiders.

    Eric M Reply:

    He has only picked under 10 people so far and you are complaining about him not draining the swamp already, out of the hundreds if not thousands currently in Washington that need replacing? Seriously??? give it a rest

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Are you a trump supporter?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    quick…get the tar and feathers. Why would it matter if he is a Trump supporter. Judge his statements on the truth alone.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    His statements seem awfully biased.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If he’s only picked 10 people he is woefully behind schedule.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Interestingly, she along with Nikki Haley are the most “normal” of Trump’s picks for his adminstration.

    StevieB Reply:

    Trump’s Pick for U.S. DOT Is GOP Insider Elaine Chao

    U.S. DOT wields limited influence. The hallmarks of the agency under Obama — like the $500 million or so spent annually via the TIGER grant program — are small compared to the tens of billions of dollars in federal transportation funding distributed by formula to state DOTs each year.

    Advocates will need to keep a close eye on U.S. DOT, but the really big fights ahead will happen in Congress.

    With a Republican in the White House, Congress will have a freer hand to pursue policies like the elimination of federal transit funding, which would have devastating consequences for cities.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Chao’s family owns an international shipping empire, and her father is singlehandedly responsible for making McConnell (her husband) one of the richest men in the Senate, according to the Nation.”
    Also, no mention as to how federal transit funding may stop going to sanctuary cities, counties, and possibly states.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I don’t expect her to be a supporter of HSR

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Do we know what her views are on transit/HSR at all?

    Aarond Reply:

    I don’t she does have a position on it, I’ve searched through her published articles at the Heritage Foundation but nothing particularly sticks out as anti-rail. Seems like a typical establishment Republican mostly concerned with tax cuts.

    Though of note one of her first articles for them, written in 2009, specifically mentions trade protectionism as “disastrous” and that the original stimulus bill included too much of it. But this is more a concern for Trump voters than anyone else.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In other words yet another wild card in a deck stacked with wild cards.

    Aarond Reply:

    She’s not a wild card, she’s the most generic pick plausible.

    Trump is the wild card, since he’s (so far) hiring normal Republicans into an administration which promises to end free trade. That’s up to him to promote, if he does.

    Joe Reply:

    You Californians are naive. It’s the Wife of senate majority leader and isn’t generic.
    It’s a political favor.

    Trust me, I grew up in Richard Daley’s Chicago.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    She is an accomplished individual on her own.

    Aarond Reply:

    By “generic” I mean ideologically she’s a regular Republican. Nothing special other than her husband. Aside that she has six years working in the Bush administration where she didn’t do anything particularly notable, especially in regards to rail.

    Joe Reply:

    Like I say, naive.

    It’s a political favor – has nothing to do with her accomplishments in transportation of which I know of none.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maritime employees rarely have much to say about rail. Might be interesting to see what she had to day about maritime matters seeing that her father is in the shipping business.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well my maritime expertise is pretty much limited to “water is wet”, but why are there no passenger ferries in Hawaii? There are countless of them in Europe, so why not in Hawaii?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are ferries in Hawaii. Not many but there are ferries in Hawaii. Took all of ten seconds to check.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Really? Where do they go? Do they cover all islands? Do you have links?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No I don’t have links. Typing far less characters into Google would give them to you.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the only ones I could find are this: https://www.molokaiferry.com/ (which has since shut down) and this http://go-lanai.com/ (which seems to only connect Maui and Lanai). So nominal service at best and no connections to either the biggest island by area or the biggest island by population. Or am I missing something?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes, many things.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Do note that I am explicitly not counting cruises.

    So please, do tell me what I am missing.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, what you’re missing is that it’s cheaper & faster to fly between the islands. For example, Oahu to Maui is around 100 miles so at 20 knots that’s about 5 hours.

    That said, they do have cruise ships that loop between the islands & you can also travel with a freight service (like if you were moving your furniture) but there’s not a specific passenger service.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Also residents of Hawaii get cheaper airfare then the tourists.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s also faster to fly from almost any place in the Baltic to almost any other place in the Baltic. And still there are scores of ferries plying those routes.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Probably has something to do with the Jones act.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What is the Jones act?

    Joe Reply:

    WHAt is a search engine ?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Jones is a very common name. It may not be an unambiguous term.

    Joe Reply:

    BTW his HHS nominee wants to privatize Medicare.

    Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be his Health and Human Services secretary,

    Glad to know you are informed and plan to stay healthy into your 80’s.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Yup, regular Republicans who don’t want their fellow citizens to be able to count on healthcare in their senior years

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most of the Republican health care plans are “stay healthy or die”.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s really a shame that humanity collectively has spent so much time and effort and labor and frankly lives on trying to make humans dying of preventable disease a thing of the past and there are those who want to withhold that from most or all humans. Either because they don’t believe vaccines are efficient or because they want to sell some quack remedy or because they think only the rich and powerful deserve to live.

    Well guess what. Humanity has always been strongest when we considered our neighbor’s success our success. And it has always failed when those who preach the gospel of every man for himself ruled the day.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    abverage lifespan has jumped about 15 years in the last 100 or so years, I dont know how fast you consider “acceptable” but its never risen at such a high rate.

    It (medical technology) is not being withheld

    Joe Reply:

    Lifespan is not useful brocade it is most sensitive to infant mortalities. A 3 month old dying ng rrpm aids skews the data.

    Life expectancy for an adult compensates. For Medicare factoring in infant mortality is just one way to lie with a statistic.

    As an adult you need to look at life expectancy of adults and Medicare probably those eligible. The privatized system means you need to buy insurance every year until death — or be denied insurance.

    Lots of luck — elderly with kids at least have a chance of a child helping. Those without are going to be bled dry and die.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    infant mortality is a huge success worldwide. Why would it not count? Healthcare (both pre and Post natal) is preventing disease which is the original statement.

    You cant show 1 bit of data that does not support that humans are healthier now than ever.

    Jerry Reply:

    “humans are healthier now more than ever.”
    Does that include mental health?
    Or Alzheimers?
    True, they are outliers. Or are they?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Humans are mortal, no one is getting out of this life alive. You have to die from something.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/files/2012/06/causeofdeath.png

    And its not just longer, it is healthier

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/3227/20130730/people-living-longer-healthier-harvard-researcher.htm

    why are you opposed to this? This is a good thing.

    Joe Reply:

    American adult mortality is increasing and life expectancy decreasing. It even shows up in white adults.

    Playing games with long term changes in infant mortality statistics mask the problem.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fact of the matter is that the US is not among the top of the top of the countries with the longest life expectancy. Yet it is at the top of the top in health care spending, which just shows that in addition to all its other defects, the US health care system is inefficient.

  13. Robert Benson
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 13:04
    #13

    One election result not reported in the article was the failure of the San Diego Transit Tax. It needed a 2/3 majority, but only got 57%. It would have constructed a new trolley line from the border north to Clairemont Mesa, as well as funded freeway improvements and express bus services.

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/elections/sd-me-measurea-folo-20161109-story.html

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’m sad it lost, but I link it and Sacramento’s measure were the least good transit measures on the ballot in CA.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Think*

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that may be so, but it delays San Diego’s progress on that issue for at the very least two years. And the people of San Diego clearly wanted it, but the two thirds majority requirement killed it…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    …which is a law almost as stupid as the electoral college.

    Majority rules. End of story.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Depends, do you say majority and mean plurality? I think first past the post is also pretty stupid. There should be runoff elections or proportional representation whenever feasible.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Majority in general elections and ballot measures.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well certainly, ballot measures should win when they win and lose when they lose. But some things might need more than just a simple majority, let alone plurality…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    sure. veto overrules and constitutional amendments.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Por ejemplo.

    Donk Reply:

    The San Diego county transit measure didn’t pass because it was hated by both the liberals and the conservatives. Liberals wanted less freeway and more transit/biking and conservatives wanted more freeways.

    I’m not sure how you would construct the right transportation ballot measure in San Diego county to get the right number of votes to pass.

    This is a bummer too, because traffic is going to get pretty rough down here in the next 10 years.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Mabye a San Diego city only vote could pass.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That is heavily focused on urban trolley extensions.

    StevieB Reply:

    San Diego county transit is controlled by the road builders.

    Measure A was placed on the ballot by the San Diego Association of Governments. Since 2003, SANDAG has been responsible for planning and funding public transit in the county. The agency’s 21-member board of directors has representation from the local governments of every city, plus the county Board of Supervisors.

    This structure has led some to call the SANDAG board undemocratic: While the city of San Diego has 42 percent of the county’s population, it has less than 10 percent of the seats on the SANDAG board. Votes by the board are counted as both a tally and as “weighted votes” proportionate to population size. However most resolutions must pass both thresholds, meaning any action requires broad consensus between urban and rural areas. Indeed, most votes at the SANDAG board are unanimous.

    Because smaller, more conservative cities have outsized influence on the SANDAG board, the organization has been the target of harsh critiques — and a lawsuit — by environmental groups. Progressives often repeat the line that several SANDAG board members don’t believe in the existence of climate change.

    The SANDAG $214 billion plan for regional mobility through the year 2050 was found in “dramatic conflict” with Schwarzenegger’s 2005 executive order to cut greenhouse gas levels by 80 percent of their 1990 levels by 2050 in a lawsuit which was joined by the California Attorney General. In 2014 a California appeals court upheld an earlier decision against SANDAG. SANDAG opponents (the state attorney general among them) said that by front-loading road projects, the plan ensured car dependency in the region for decades and ran counter to California’s climate goals.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    San Diego is a sad case. After 25 years of enhanced Amtrak and then Coaster service the authorities are finally double tracking the railroad between Sorrento Valley and Old Town. Meanwhile in Sorrento Valley where the 5 merges from downtown I counted 16 lanes of freeway. And still they want more….

    Domayv Reply:

    all the more reason to start creating a fully modernized LOSSAN rail corridor…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Do you have a game plan, political support, and money?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No. But that can charge. Preferably starting with kicking out Issa in 2018.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes. Starting with a University City tunnel and station.

    zorro Reply:

    Maybe having traffic get worse in SD, will be what it takes, maybe another try in 2018 will get there.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    2020, perhaps. Higher Dem turnout in presidential election years.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think it is time for Democrats to stop losing midterms.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Obviously it is, but Democrats don’t lose midterms–the party that controls the white house does.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well it seems that recently the assumption has been “Democrats don’t turn out for midterms, so why bother”. Turns out the “Obama-coalition” literally only turned out to (re-)elect Obama. We need to do better than that. And getting money out of politics is a way to do that.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Hilary outspent Trump 2 to 1. How is “getting money out of politics” going to help the Dems? Just wondering?

    Including that LA Senate race you want them to concentrate on

    http://bismarcktribune.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/republican-lags-democrat-in-louisiana-senate-race-funding/article_603c0702-896c-5557-b8f3-83530dc1e289.html

    The Dems are now the party of big money

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In most local races (and those have been particularly devastating for Democrats) the candidate that spends more wins the race about 90% of the time.

    And Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote.

    Money in politics has a lot of downsides, the most obvious of which is that it perverts the system of “one person one vote” into one of “one dollar one vote”. Well, right on, let’s head back to the distinction between active and passive citizens and property requirements for the vote, because apparently the rabble does not know what’s good for them…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Trump won, but Hillary was more likely to win. A 10% chance is still a chance.

    joe Reply:

    If Concerned TrollMan thinks it’s not going to help the Dems then he should STFU and the Dems them waste time.

    Common knowledge trump benefitted from free airtime on TeeVee stations. Also from CNN paying his staffers to gain CNN to promote trump. This is commonly acknowledged by the GOP primary opponents who were out sent and didn’t get free contributions from media and Dems.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    For the most part Presidential elections are different from – say – an election for state senate, at the very least in terms of money in politics. Most people can name the President and the candidates running in any given presidential election. And they will probably have a handful of vague ideas about their policy positions. How many Americans don’t even know who represents their district in Congress? Heck I am having a hard time remembering the guy who represents my district (I know the name of the other representative of the district, but she got in via the list not via the district) and I would consider myself politically informed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    More than half of the Trumpista I talk to are expecting Dear Leader to implement Bernie Sander’s policies. The other half are about to explode because he’s not going to prosecute Her, build a wall or repeal Obamacare. When they aren’t pissed off that he’s putting Wall Streeters in charge of the banks and Wall Street.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Denial, the saddest of the stages of grief. I am glad to see you guys moving on from anger, however.

    You keep telling yourself that it’s the Republicans that spend all the money.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/11/10/13580582/leslie-knope-donald-trump

    I’m not saying the Dems don’t have big money. Furthermore, I’m not anti wall Street or anti big business. However, there still isn’t reason not to try and overturn citizens united, and if that means both parties are equally harmed/benefitted from the ending of this immoral funding arms race, that’s all the better. Why not overturn citizens united?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The US are fast approaching the late Roman Republic phase of politics where those that can spend the most outrageous sums of money get to hold political power. There is thankfully still one major difference in that thus far military leaders have not parlayed armies personally loyal to them into political bargaining chips, but it is entirely possible this might happen in the future.

    But right now all efforts have to be combined to stop the Trumpistas from seizing absolute power. If there needs to be a Thermidor to stop this 18 Brumaire, so be it.

    zorro Reply:

    The US Military swears to uphold the US Constitution, what happened to the Roman Republic to become the Roman Empire is unlikely to happen here. We’ll find out by December 19th, one way or another.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ahh, the latest liberal meme of the minute. The US is now the Roman Empire (at its fall). Don’t let the facts stand in the way

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-the-decline-and-fall-of-rome/2016/12/02/1c06ee5a-b682-11e6-a677-b608fbb3aaf6_story.html?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_2_na&utm_term=.06bf465d9e6b

    Trump spent $5 per vote. Now if you think a citizen can be bribed for $5 that is just sad.

    The reason not to overturn citizen united is that rich people have the same rights as poor people. If they want free speech then they should have the same opportunity to spend their money. So the Koch brothers can spend just like the AFL-CIO

    Joe Reply:

    The reason not to overturn citizen united is that rich people have the same rights as poor people.

    Double speak.
    Prior to citizens united both the AFL-CIO and billionaire spending were capped.
    Poor out number rich so lifting the cap helps the rich outspeak the poor.

    You can suck rich all you want but please don’t explain its because the poor are hurting their rights.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Free speech isn’t tax deductible.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you consider it “free” to cap how much someone can spend on speech. How is that free?

    Yes, the rich can outspend the poor. Which in this day and age is practically useless. Any person can broadcast speech for free to an unlimited number of people.

    The old rules don’t apply. A twitter and YouTube account get you all those eyeballs for nothing.

    This is not socialism, the point is not to make everyone equal, the point is to provide everyone with equal opportunity. If Bill Gates wants to prove a point he can outspend me. He earned that by output earning me. He has no right that I don’t have, why restrict his ability to exercise it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That’s true. I used to agree with you. However, we don’t allow people to use free speech in situations that are dangerous, like yelling fire in a crowded room or trying to make cigarettes appeal to young children. Allowing people to spread self-serving lies masquerading as “educating” the public is extremely dangerous. Furthermore, we cap the amount of money people can withdraw from a bank, and things like that. There is no ban for limiting the amount of money people can spend. Money can help distribute speech, but it is not speech itself, so it can be limited.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Deciding if speech is a “lie” or not is subjective. There is a superPAC in CA right now that gives hundreds of million to candidates that support efforts to stop global warming. Some people think that is a lie and most people don’t. So is it majority rules? If most people believe in your cause you get to spend money otherwise no.

    How about the NRA, they have a viewpoint, do they not get to advocate?
    Labor?
    vaccines cause autism? It’s 100% false but they believe.

    It is dangerous to let people have free speech. It is more dangerous to prevent or restrict it. In the marketplace of ideas the truth will win. As long as they are not hurting anyone they should be free to do as they like.

    Sheldon Anderson and Jeff Bezos, who have totally different political views, both recently bought newspapers. Why would they get to distribute their points of view through editorials in the paper but someone like this guy can’t

    https://nextgenclimate.org/about-us/

    You were right the 1st time, restricting speech is a policy that is too dangerous.

    PS. And there is no ban on how much money you can withdraw from a bank. If the bank won’t give you your money they are actually committing a crime.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    $10,000 or more in cash transactions get reported to the government.
    The type of account decides whether or not the bank has to produce cash immediately and whether or not they have that much cash on hand.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Neither of which prevent you from getting your money. You specifically said a bank, not a broker, so this is not a brokerage account. Unless you are keeping your,money is CDs for the great 0.1% interest it is available on demand

    They report deposits over 10k to the government. And so what if they report it to the government, it’s your money you paid taxes on it already so who cares if they report it.

    Joe Reply:

    Watching John navigate truth and fairness is like that first birds and bees discussion with a boy.

    There are laws regulating our ability to withdraw and move money from bank accounts.
    The Patriot Act has provisions to restrict withdrawals and transfers.

    Money is not speech.

    We saw a major political party fall apart thanks to citizens united.

    John’s patriotism is defending the right of capital to rule over people.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You show up at the bank with 14,000 dollars to deposit you fill out the form. You wanna buy 11,000 dollars of chips at the casino, with cash, you have to fill out the form. Or cash in 10,001, Wanna pay for a new car with actual cash, you fill out the form.
    You better check the terms of your accounts. There are accounts that under normal circumstances behave like demand accounts but aren’t.

    Jerry Reply:

    “And so what if they report it to the government, it’s your money you paid taxes on it already so who cares if they report it.”
    Right.
    Except Dennis Hastert and Eliot Spitzer might care. 
    Or should have cared.  Or at least should have known that it would be reported.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And?? The point?? At no point are you denied your money. But if you want to keep it in a mattress then whatever.

    The discussion was on spending it for political campaigns, And there are only 2 major parties in the US and they both exist.

    $5 does not buy a vote

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I wanna take out something over 9,999.99 from the bank, in cash, and I don’t want to sign the form I don’t get the money. If I wanted that much they’d probably apologize and explain that they don’t keep that much cash on hand. If it was in something other than a demand account they would also explain the terms of the account.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well none other than Mike Duncan (he of “history of rome podcast” fame) has repeatedly drawn parallels between the late Roman Republic and what is currently happening in the US. And that was even before 18 Brumaire. Of course nothing ever happens exactly the same way the second time around. A great student of history once said (in so many words) “It first happens as tragedy and then as farce” – he was right of course.

    And as for your bizarre assertions that money in politics should be given free reign, just look at the following thought experiments:

    If you give money to an officer tasked with executing a law as they see fit, what would you call that?

    If you give money to someone who writes a law as they see fit, what should that be called?

    If a foreign government were to actively and openly support a certain candidate, what would you think?

    If a foreign corporation were to actively and openly support a candidate what would you think?

    If money does not matter for speech, why not limit money? If you want to remove the limits, you acknowledge that more money gets you more speech. Should free speech also include “Equal (amounts of) speech”?

    What do you think is the disposition of any given candidate to a corporation, advocate for a cause or wealthy individual who handed them a large sum of money? Is such attitude in accordance with the principle of “one man one vote”?

    How is the system of buying elections fundamentally different from the custom in the late Roman Republic to give cheap grain and public festivities (panem et circenses) to the huddled masses in order to sway their political allegiance?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Talk about jumping around. I never heard the theory that the Roman Empire fell because of unlimited campaign contributions. But when Trump crosses the Potomac (or is that the Rubicon) then I guess we will see if the army goes marching down Pennsylvania Ave. ridiculous!! I already posted the link from an actual historian showing how all the parellelsare just rubish

    And I didn’t say money should be given free reign I said speech should not be restricted and everyone has the same rights under the law. You don’t discriminate against anyone, including the rich.

    We give salaries to both officers who execute the law and politicians who write it, so I consider that normal. People can donate to their campaigns, but not to the person, that is a bribe and we put people in jail for that. For examples go ahead and look at the last 5-6 Govenors of Illinois.

    Free speech should not include “equal” amounts of speech because that is a limit. So if the global warming side has 5x the money and passion they get 5x more speech. The 1st amendment guarentees equal opportunity, not equal results. Again, not socialism.

    As far as I know, no one is,giving out $5 bills to vote for any candidate. Money goes to advertising and speeches and rallies. So all the rest of your speculation is irrelevant because no one is bribing voters. They are getting their message out and if people believe then they can vote for it. It’s been this way since the beginning. Bribing a corporation would be particularly unproductive since they don’t even have 1 vote.

    This whole theory just assumes that people are drones that vote for whomever they see on TV the most. I didn’t buy it before and now with social media and the like it is even less likely.

    Free speech is good. Restriction of free speech is bad. And money is not buying elections regardless of the common wisdom because in the end it is a collection of people casting votes for which they have not been paid.

    Joe Reply:

    The Dems are now the party of big money

    And money is not buying elections regardless of the common wisdom because in the end it is a collection of people casting votes for which they have not been paid.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes, I wrote them both and they are both true. Hilary spent 2X Trumps money…and lost.

    See how that worked. They are not mutually exclusive.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Mabye she did, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t opposed to the campaign spending arms race, and there isn’t a reason for you Republican to oppose it either. We do have morals–not everything is about self interest.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The Democrats have been the worse party in the past and the Republicans are the worse party now. That does not mean either of them ever truly was the good party. I do not care which party benefits from money in politics, because clearly ordinary Americans cannot possibly gain a thing from money in politics.

    If money makes no difference, why would you be opposed to regulating it? If money does make a difference, how does that fit the founders’ notions about Democracy?

    If it is and should one person one vote, why did anybody ever bring money into it? Or should we just deny the poor rabble the vote like they did in the first few constitutions in Europe and in the first few years in the US?

  14. Roland
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 15:05
    #14

    Here is what happens when the VTA tells SamTrans “Thank you but no thank you!”:
    http://www.vta.org/News-and-Media/Connect-with-VTA/Santa-Clara-Undercrossing-Update

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    What is your point?

    Clem Reply:

    That VTA can do in 72 hours what SamTrans does in three months.

    Jerry Reply:

    Could CalTrain do similar work for grade crossings?

    Clem Reply:

    I meant SamTrans = Caltrain. They are pretty much one and the same outfit.

    Roland Reply:

    Roseanne Foust @ Spur last night: “Caltrain is great but SamTrans sucks” (paraphrase).

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Roseanne Foust’s husband is, of course the, grotesquely unqualified SamTrans/Caltrain/SMCTA pig-trough triple-dipper CEO Jim Hartnett.

    Why anybody even gives any of those sorts of inept mutual-back-scratching scammers from minor leagues of the Redwood City Council the time of day, let alone control of billions of tax dollars, is a question that seems to have no answers.

    But the results — the lack of results — are clear. And will remain equally clearly invisible for decades more to come.

    What a great country!

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/qsdfYn8bOK8

    Roland Reply:

    @Jerry. SamTrans will be in a big surprise the day they start asking the VTA to pay for “Caltrain” grade seps in the Peninsula.

    Roland Reply:

    Lowest bid: $4M.
    SamTrans “engineering” estimate $14M.

  15. morris brown
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 17:36
    #15

    A letter from MTC Steve Heminger to the FTA supporting Caltrain’s eventual application for a Core Grant for its PCEP electrification, can be viewed at:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMT2xkYjRNVXNDcFE

    Jerry Reply:

    The letter shows that there are entirely too many bureaucracies and layers of bureaucracies involved in the project.
    For example, money from bridge tolls will be used.

    Roland Reply:

    The $150M is actually a line of credit with DNT Asset Trust (an affiliate of J.P. Morgan Securities LLC) repayable through (presumably higher) Caltrain fares: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2016/2016-12-01+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf (click on #8).

  16. Eric M
    Nov 29th, 2016 at 17:55
    #16

    November Construction Update

    and

    November Construction Update PDF BROCHURE

    Joe Reply:

    I see this on the twitter feed.
    Construction Work on Construction Package 2-3 has begun. They are doing the costly bridge/overpass work first. This decision should accrue high costs upfront and accelerate schedule performance.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    yay!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Building bridges and tunnels first is also done in Europe, so it seems to be global best practice as far as my limited knowledge enables me to judge.

    agb5 Reply:

    Best practice is to start to with the structures which take longest to build, which are usually also the most expensive. Earth berms across farmers fields can be built in a few weeks at the end of the project and farmers can continue to harvest crops from the land up to that point.

    Joe Reply:

    This further explains why total land parcels purchased isn’t a good measure of progress. HSR management is prioritizing parcels for these large dollar and relatively small footprint tasks across all construction packages as the design build contractors move to construction.

    The schedule performance metics use earned value which is calculated with work completed and cash spent on the completed work. Big dollar items completed within cost, on time or early will have a disproportionate impact on metrics.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    well they report that metric also, so we will see how it changes in the coming months.

    BTW, i have never judged them accept on the goals they have stated. They are failing to achieve their own goals.

    Joe Reply:

    You’ve consistently called HSR incompetent for blatantly incorrect and occasionally trivial reasons and will not stop.

    I don’t see anyone taking you seriously.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I simply report the publicly available numbers and compare them to the plan that the Authority published.

    The meet the definition of incompetent simply by not achieving their own goals. The proof is in the numbers Joe. CP 1 is already so hopelessly late and over budget they have added money and re-planned. If CP 2/3 and CP4 follow suit it will just add data to my assertion.

    Joe Reply:

    You draw unfounded conclusions.

    The CP1 schedule performance measure has improved
    since it was first reported. Totally positive schedule improvement. The Lawsuit delays intending to harms or cancel the project failed and CP1 is recovering.

    Hopeless
    Incompetence
    are your words chosen to editorialize without substance.

    agb5 Reply:

    One parcel spanning an industrial farm can be huge, while in urban areas one parcel can be a few square feet.
    Parcels purchased is an easy to measure but mostly useless metric.

    Joe Reply:

    Since HSR is behind land parcel purchases is John’s has a pet rock topic and uses it to speculate how far budget they run.

    The failed lawsuit delayed all action and completed appraisals expired and needed to be redone. They began CP1 well behind @0.31 and have caught up since without slipping back once.

    More work needed and early on I expect mistakes across the board however their doom is exaggerated and unsubstantiated.

    Jerry Reply:

    Finally some very good aerial photos of the work in progress.

  17. Eric M
    Nov 30th, 2016 at 09:30
    #17

    So Robert, I see you have retreated to your twitter account to bash everything Trump does and stick to the Democratic party line goosestepping. I have to laugh that you look at the Carrier Air Conditioning deal with Trump (which by the way the details have not been released) as though the glass is half empty. For crying out loud, jobs will be kept in the US and it is a start on which to build. I guess you will see nothing positive Trump does. Sad

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Frankly, I find that carrier AC deal to be stupid. They’re entitled to hire people wherever they want, and it’s selfish to prioritize amerocans over Mexicans. Nationalities and borders and citizenships are obsolete. We’re all global citizens first.

    Eric M Reply:

    So you are okay with paying those 1000 workers unemployment instead of keeping the jobs and taxes in the US? I bet you would be the first person to cry if you job was outsourced to another country

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So Trump says, “you guys (UT) get all these juicy defense contracts. Make me look good and I’ll see you keep getting them. You can always pad them a bit to make up for the extra cost of staying in Indiana. And don’t forget to stay in my hotel whenever you’re in Washington. Help yourself to bananas on the way out….”

    synonymouse Reply:

    And what else is Jerry doing slipping billions to PB-Tutor?

    Eric M Reply:

    So you would rather outsource defense contracts to other countries as well. smh

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    How do you get to that? Just pointing out that we’re descending to the level of a banana republic in the way we do business. On the contrary I am alarmed by how much our “domestic” defense contractors rely on foreign components and raw materials.

    Eric M Reply:

    I though that was what you were insinuating. If not, I apologize.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I believe in the freedom to move goods, services, people, and capital across borders without any government intervention.

    Jerry Reply:

    Easier said than done.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The European Union exists.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The United States has been doing it for 200+ years. Everything moves across boarders with no restrictions and it is larger than the EU.

    Is Canada and Mexico ready to be annexed, because to achieve what you want they have to give up some sovereignty.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’m happy to give up some sovereignty on a global scale, but at least within the western hemisphere.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think the free movement of capital, goods and people across the US-Canadian border could be done today – there would not even be major wealth and income differences to justify putting it off. In the long run, everyone profits from open borders, but there is no denying that in the short run some people might lose some things…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I would find a new job as clearly happens in almost every circumstance a job is offshored, because America does not have an unemployment problem.

    Jerry Reply:

    Were you asleep during the last election?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No I wasn’t, but people think things are worse that they are. Look at the numbers. I’m sick of politics where what people feel is wrong with the economy isn’t what the numbers actually say.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    By the official measure, unemployment is not a big issue in the US. You are 100% right.

    But other measures like workforce participation and employment to population ratio indicate a bigger problem.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/19/the-problem-with-the-labor-departments-unemployment-indicators

    Its obvious in towns like Detroit that unemployment is a major problem. In small towns in the Adirondacks, the Rust Belt, etc.

    Trade is a net benefit, but there are people and places that did not receive those benefits.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The two major employers in town have had the “now hiring!” shingle out for months.
    The parts of the Adirondacks that are in Albany or Utica’s metro area are in the Rustbelt.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Obviously, and they can be addressed. Personally, I feel like people haven’t noted the obvious but controversial issue that the real problem is that there aren’t jobs in various locations, and that the government needs to help people move where there are jobs. (like approving condo towers in palo alto, for instance.)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Look I am a huge winner in the global economy. A huge winner. But the programs we have in place dont help the losers and I will be the 1st to raise my hand and say I did not understand the magnitude of the problem until this election result

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/30/news/economy/college-grads-jobs/

    If you only have a high school education, you are f***ed, it is that simple. And people who are 40 or 50 years old are not in a position to go back to school even assuming they have the brainpower to do it.

    How do you compensate the people who have been “progressed” out of any gainful employment, because the truth is, they dont have anything to really offer in the current economy. Not because they are bad people or not willing to work, because they dont have the mental horsepower and it is too late to train them.

    Its a very difficult problem, I certainly dont have the answer

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there is a solution, vote Democratic.

    Joe Reply:

    Global economy game still playing. New dungeon master promises to change the rules and he will.

    Who has money? The global economy winners who think they are winning because of “rent seeking” college degree. Also threatening winners is age discrimination protection, FDA regs on devices and labor costs.

    Yes educational reqs. and FDA Regs are barriers and classic “rent seeking” as defined by economists.

    Your job in device QA is assured by big government and nasty civil servants and class action lawsuits by trail lawyers.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually, my job is assured by the simple fact that medical devices need to work 100% of the time (although no one could ever assure that). Because, you see, those rules exist to protect people. There was a time not that long ago when those FDA rules were not in effect.

    http://www.museumofquackery.com/welcome.htm

    If you would like to know what the world looks like without medical device regulation look at penis enlargement pills and devices. They are exempt from regulations because they are “herbal supplements” so they dont have to prove anything about their drug. At best you can hope they are sugar pills, and at worst they actually hurt people.

    Since when do you think that regulation is a “bad” thing?

    PS, the regulations are just good engineering, so my job would exist with or without them because you want to sell a product that works. Class Action Lawyers never come into it. Only a psychopath would sell a device that hurts people. Unfortunatly, there is always one waiting to do just that.

    http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WhatWeDo/History/Origin/ucm054826.htm

    “A Tennessee drug company marketed a form of the new sulfa wonder drug that would appeal to pediatric patients, Elixir Sulfanilamide. However, the solvent in this untested product was a highly toxic chemical analogue of antifreeze; over 100 people died, many of whom were children.”

    Anyone who would feed fruit flavored antifreeze to children has a special place in hell. I am proud to stand between those people and the public.

    I admit freely I am blessed. I worked hard to build my career and had many advantages along the way to help me both people and situation. This is all I am going to say about myself because my personal situation is not relevant to the question at hand.

    I dont know how you help the people being left behind by globalization. I have been researching universal basic income as an interesting idea. If Norway implements it will be a good field test.

    Joe Reply:

    Sad – 100% isn’t possible. Devices all have failure rates.

    QA is an expense with benefits reduced liability and maintain product brand.

    CEO’s are commonly psychopaths. You are an expense.

    FDA has oversight to enforce quality. One trick the FDA used was to independently verify device SW with static analysis tools. Only after did the industry start to use these tools -or so I was told when doing fact funding with FDA on SW. What is done in testing is driven by law and liability.

    GOP will weaken FDA oversight and weaken trail lawyers/liability and weaken class action lawsuits all undermines investment into QA.

    Ageism is another problem. Fire older workers or move work to lower cost areas. Again GOP work to undermine laws protecting older and higher paid workers.

    You are very vulnerable.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of new jobs are and will continue to be created in cities. So it is incumbent on any government (no matter its ideology) to enable more people to work in cities. As we all know living outside a city but working in the city has so many drawbacks I won’t list them all here. But living inside cities right now is not affordable to many people. So affordable housing should be a top priority. And one thing that could be done to create affordable housing is reducing the amount of space wasted for getting cars from A to B or to store them when they’re not doing a thing. Of course people will still have to get from A to B, so there’s public transit for that.

    In short, yes density and transit absolutely are the answer to (some of) our current problems.

    Aarond Reply:

    how do you think Detroit went bankrupt?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    How do you think it’s acceptable to prioritize one countries workers over those of another?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Detroit went bankrupt because of racism.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That is definitely a big part of it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It is always frightening how many issues in the US are connected to racism. Not all of them, and racism is not always the only factor, but ignoring racism as a factor is a mistake social sciences and politics can ill afford to make.

    les Reply:

    How does employing Mexicans in Mexico pay US/state/local taxes. Moving jobs out just means less of us to pay more. Mean time unemployment insurance goes up, Indiana infrastructure goes to pot and a few wealthy Indianans retire with large retirement packages in, where else, Mexico.

    Jerry Reply:

    Years ago Ross Perot said that NAFTA was a bad deal. Al Gore defended the deal on behalf of the Clinton administration.
    All of the arguments on either side never cleared up just who it was that benefited the most from NAFTA. The business owners (stockholders), the employees, the customers, or the taxpayers?
    But the ones who feel that they are getting the shaft the most are the employees.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The data is clear that NAFTA (and free trade in general) is a net positive to GDP and national economies of all countries involved.

    However, this is net, not gross. There are very real downsides for very real people. Falling along educational lines more than class or race. For every $1 t-shirt that people benefit from there are jobs lost to other countries.

    Now add in the march of technological innovation. Look at the labor reuired in agriculture as an example. It used to be 90% of the labor market (in the 1800s) now it is 2%. Again, this is a net positive, but not a positive for everyone

    There are no policies or global effects that do not have downsides, but in general both parties (GOP and Dems) have done a very poor job of mitigating the downsides. You can expand that to the parties in other countries also. Hence the current global movement.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A system in which it is seen as negative that less people have to be paid to do stupid, dangerous, boring or harmful stuff for money (pretty much the definition of “work” or at least “labor”) is a system that needs to be changed.

    Jerry Reply:

    Whistle while you work.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSnXNHUEodY

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And that’s gonna help how?

    Besides, if you work in a field with customers, whistling is not exactly proof of sanity…

    Jerry Reply:

    Don’t take take everything literally. (It was a reference to a Disney song which is in the short YouTube reference.)
    But ‘whistling’ is only one of 10,000 different things a person can do to make work less, “stupid, dangerous, boring, or harmful.” Employers could help also.
    Also, a person, by the way spends less than 20% of their life actually working. The term, ‘get a life’ can always take on new meaning.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If work were desirable people would not have to be paid for it.

    Work can be moderately fun, but if people were absolutely free to chose, a vast majority of all professions would die out tomorrow.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    An excellent explanation from the socialist on why socialism will never work. People expect better pay for harder jobs, not equal pay for all jobs.

    We agree, work only gets done for compensation. I enjoy my job but would not do it for free. Effort that you put in for no pay is called a hobby.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Ah, so that’s why the guy cleaning up the literal shit of others is a millionaire and the guy who turned his hobby writing Apps into a business is barely scraping buy…

    You do know that there are horribly unpleasant jobs that everyone agrees should be done by machines that are also paid horribly bad. I don’t need to google images of people carrying sulfur through active volcanoes to convince you of that do I?

    The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done and to share the fruits of mechanization and automatization more equitably. This is of course not in agreement with capitalism. And it can never be the outcome of capitalism without major change either through reform or through revolution.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Jobs are paid exactly the value they add to society. You just disagree with societies value system. High labor, low education jobs are easiest to fill and therefore lowest wage. I know you are familiar with Econ 101 regardless of your disagreement with it.

    There are crappy jobs and I am on your side. I am the technology = good guy, your fight is with joe who believes that the model t was a step too far.

    I can even agree in principle that the economy needs to be shared equitably, but your idea of equitable and mine are far apart. I believe in equitable opportunity and you believe in equitable results. But unfortunately enforcing equitable results on a population that is a bell curve means socialism where some people who provide more benefit get less so others who provide less benefit get more. As nice as it sounds no one has gotten it to work.

    Case in point Cuba. Everyone gets $25 a month and poverty, regardless of contribution. Super system. I don’t have to provide all the examples to convince you of that right?

    Keep,trying that revolution though, I am sure at some point we can achieve the Star Trek ecominic system.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Can we agree that people who work full time should be paid enough that they aren’t eligible for anti-poverty benefits? Allowing employers to get a full week’s labor for less than what the employee needs to support the himself or herself is subsidy to the employeR

    There’s nothing holy about a 40 work week either. Or time and half for overtime.

    joe Reply:

    Jobs are paid exactly the value they add to society. You just disagree with societies value system.

    Tautology.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Capitalism and sharing the fruits of mechanization is possible. It’s called owning stocka and working in a post industrial economy.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In capitalism it is not talent that is rewarded, but ownership of capital. True, people can come into a lot of capital during their lifetime, but the vast majority do not.

    There is the thought experiment of a constitutional convention to design a society composed of people who know they will die upon completion and reincarnate within random positions in their society – supposedly such a convention would produce the best possible society. I am quite sure nobody would propose the current system if anybody in power had to really fear being placed into an illiterate peasant family in Bangladesh or some such.

    And for all the justified criticism that Cuba deserves, it is easy to forget that despite the embargo Cuba has managed some remarkable outcomes compared to other countries in the region. Now generally, Latin America suffers from both bad governance and horrible income and wealth inequality, so Cuba can necessarily be nothing more than the one eyed among the blind, but negating that Cuba has achieved things is as intellectually dishonest as is painting it as a paradise where nothing ever goes wrong.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Socialism by definition does notnreward talent. Everyone gets the same regardless. Capitalism absolutely rewards talent. Hence there are winner and losers. Some day you will realize that all the thought experiments and utopian ideas gets you nothing in a world with human nature.

    As for Cuba, compare it to Taiwan. Both are island cut off from a big neighbor. Both started close to the same standard of living, Cuba was actually higher. Look at them now. Fidel did nothing but suck off the teat of one dictator after another interested in tweaking the nose of the US.

    just another failed dictator that had to lock his people in to the country to keep them from running

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You seem to have a very flawed idea of what socialism is and is not. And you seem to also have a rather childish idea of what capitalism is but that is besides the point. Both of those things could be remedied by a bit of reading Marx…

    And as for your comparison of Taiwan and Cuba…. So you agree that having HSR is better than not having HSR? Because Taiwan has HSR. Oh and by the way, Taiwan was governed by a brutal dictatorship for most of its modern existence, but I get viciously attacked when I muse about voting for the left in France…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Capitalism rewards people who have capital. Donald Trump didn’t go bankrupt multiple times because he has talent, he went bankrupt multiple times because his father owned lot of real estate. Financed with government guaranteed loans.
    Haiti is nominally capitalist. If was going to get sick on vacation I’d much rather do it in Havana than Port-Au-Prince. Taipei would be a better choice and if happened in Stockholm, that dystopian nightmare of socialism, the outcome would probably be as good.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No need to read Marx, I learned about socialism from the best

    https://youtu.be/okHGCz6xxiw

    Taiwan is a democracy. And it is prosperous. Cuba is still a dictatorship. And is poor. It’s just that simple.

    And if you support anyone that would revoke basic human rights, you deserve rebuke. It’s never ok and it’s not a “smaller evil”

    Ps. Sweden is not socialism. The are capitalist and democratic. And Haiti is just a failed state

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Taiwan began it’s economic miracle as a single party state. I didn’t say I supported anyone.
    Squirm all you want, Haiti is capitalist, run amok. Sweden is socialist.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    nope

    so·cial·ism
    noun
    a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    Sweden is capitalist with a strong welfare state

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

    “…This includes a combination of free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and collective bargaining at the national level.”

    So while some capitalist countries have failed (Haiti), 100% of socialist countries have failed (Cuba). Also, you will note that 100% of socialist countries are also dictatorships. In short, socialism is bad and capitalism has created the best economic system the world has ever seen.

    Joe Reply:

    Which government model has the supreme executive and immediate family running the country?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The other, of course, involves orcs.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So we agree, they are not socialist. But if you want, give me an example of a socialist country that was not a dictatorship or has a great economy.

    PS. Ayn Rand apparently had enough influence to make to know of her writings. If you are aware of wealth build outside the capitalist system just speak up.

    PPS. Neither country, because the US is run by Barack Obama and I am unaware of any family member on his staff. And he is no supreme executive, just the head of 1 of the 3 branches.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t say anything about Ms. Rand.

    Joe Reply:

    Rand reference was triggered by “orcs”.

    John is unaware of family members on transition team — unaware of family members sitting in on foreign leader telephone meetings. Authoritarians are distrustful and our family members in key positions of trust. Kleptocracy will follow – expect no executive budget for next year. No paper trail.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    As usual, when you and Joe can’t argue the facts you just start insulting people. I am complexly aware of the joke about the difference between Atlas Shrugged and the Lord of the rings. One is about a fantasy utopia that could never exist in real life and the other is about orcs. It’s a funny joke. But using it then playing dumb is not funny, just sad.

    Tell me joe, when JFK had his brother as attorney general you must have been beside yourself. I mean Trump only has advisors who are family, he has a brother actually in the most powerful law position in the country,. You have to actually wait for him to take office and hire someone before you can claim he is hiring family, which as JFK proved is not illegal anyway. I would have thought you would hate all the general hires more anyway, being the military is going to take over and all. Watch those black helicopters joe…they are coming. Or with your passion for the environment the new head ogpf the EPA…now that one must be causing you physical pain.

    But how does any of that relate to socialist countries always failing…oh it does not. When you were proven wrong you just completely changed the subject…again…this time to just insult Trump and a random conservative writer because…reasons.

    Joe Reply:

    John used triggered and now complains.

    The rest is tl;dr

    Kleptocracy – it’s quite relevant to forms of government. We are becoming one now.
    Autocratic ruler – also very relevant and a key feature is the immediate family bingeing assigned responsibilities.

    Emoluments Clause – a constitutional violation 1/21/17.

    Principled conservative will remain compliant and troll about socialism.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nepotism wasn’t illegal until 1967. Since JFK died in 1963 I don’t see how he could have been breaking the law.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Haiti was crippled by Billions and Billions of Dollars it had to pay to France after it got independent and the fact that for decades all countries (including the US) pretended Haiti did not exist. Amazingly Haiti still tried to help out a fellow in need and gave aid and refuge to Simon Bolivar among others.

    And if you think Thatcher knows a thing about socialism, you really, really, really need to read Marx.

  18. Roland
    Nov 30th, 2016 at 11:04
    #18
  19. Roland
    Nov 30th, 2016 at 13:36
    #19

    Paging Clem: Off-the-shelf 600mm level-boarding 950-seat Regio2Ns are looking really, really good right now: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2016/11/what-level-boarding.html :-)

    Next item on the to-do list: fix the CalFrankHSTrains.

    Clem Reply:

    Except for one small issue: there is no evident transition strategy to get from 200 mm to 600 mm or what have you. The starting point and the goal are quite well defined, but somewhere in the middle a miracle must occur.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    This may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen you write.

    Clem Reply:

    There is a transition strategy but none is evident on the part of Caltrain planners is what I’m getting at

  20. Aarond
    Nov 30th, 2016 at 13:45
    #20

    O/T

    It’s only hit me today how much of a problem Muni’s hack will be. I’ve heard from no less than four different people that they are now on only going to be buying tickets with cash because they are afraid of ticket machines scamming their credit cards (even with the new chip-and-pins in place).

    It’s rapidly becoming a legend, the type of which future bureaucrats will lodge against Muni when future SF subway expansion is considered.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Is the problem really exclusive to Muni or is it rather a general problem of US (lack of) credit card security?

    Aarond Reply:

    It doesn’t have to do with credit cards. Last week someone hacked all of Muni’s ticket machines to make them not function (displaying a “you’re hacked” message). Muni had a free weekend until they restored their machines Monday morning. Most major tech websites and newspapers have written articles on it.

    Anyway, it’s a major blow to riders’ already low confidence in them.

    Michael Reply:

    it wasn’t the ticket machines. They opened the subway fare gates as a precaution until they found the extent of the Thanksgiving hack. It was MUNI internal scheduling and time keeping computers that were hacked. They told the hacker to f’off on the ransom and restored from a backup.

    A friend is a professor at a Canadian university and they got the same hack at the same time but it was more disruptive because they were less prepared than MUNI. If anything, MUNI proved they had what they had ready a plan for the situation.

    But reading the news is harder than reacting to hearsay.

    Aarond Reply:

    Check my point: it’s becoming a legend the sort of which where important details are missing from.

    Michael Reply:

    So then please call out that people are wrong and give the actual story. That helps let people learn that hearsay is incorrect. I understood your point.

    Aarond Reply:

    point taken – I stand corrected

    Joe Reply:

    you wrote the ticketing machines were hacked.

    That isn’t true.

  21. Roland
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 00:59
    #21

    Breaking News: TS2017 introduces 7-car Bombardier train sets: https://youtu.be/XLFz_Zriboo

  22. Roland
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 02:21
    #22

    Breaking News: http://www.caltrain.com/about/MediaRelations/news/Caltrain_Passengers_Satisfied_With_Service__New_Survey_Finds.html

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    The survey went from 75% satisfied last year to 79% satisfied this year. This is surveying Caltrain riders so they must be satisfied with the service.

    What about people that are not riding Caltrain? Why don’t they ride Caltrain?

    Ridership has been dropping in recent months, why?

    June 2016 was the all time high in ridership. Since then there has been fluctuating changes in total and average weekday ridership. Beginning in August through October, both categories of ridership have been on the decline.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe, it is a seasonal effect? Does ridership usually fluctuate by season? Unemployment in countries like Germany does. That’s why they give both the month over month and the year over year figure on the news…

    Joe Reply:

    Stanford classes end early June and commencement is mid-June.
    Classes start up in late September.

    People go on summer vacations.
    Ridership survey in relatively stable February to control for holidays and seasonality.

    Hmmm.

    Jerry Reply:

    Could it be a sign that the bubble is about to break?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Which bubble?

    Clem Reply:

    The bubble that is obvious only in hindsight.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well as they say, hindsight is the next Presidential election year (unless Trump declares otherwise)

  23. Roland
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 08:25
    #23

    You ain’t see nuthin yet:

    “Anticipated weekend timetable major service changes subject to the public outreach
    and public hearing processes consist of changing Local Service headways from 60 to
    90 minutes, with Baby Bullet Service operating during PCEP work windows, thereby
    reducing Saturday trains from 36 to 28 and Sunday trains from 32 to 24.
    Additional weekday timetable minor service changes for which public input will be
    sought include:
     Addition of six stops to Train 305 to attract more ridership to the AM “shoulder
    peak” train
     Separation of southbound AM Peak Baby Bullet Trains, which currently operate
    back-to-back, for improved efficiency and time spacing for passengers
     Elimination of some very low-ridership reverse-peak service at Tamien Station to
    allow increased fueling and service windows of rolling stock at the Centralized
    Equipment Maintenance and Operations Facility in San Jose
     Departure time adjustments during off peak periods to support PCEP work
    windows
    The proposed timetable changes will help facilitate the PCEP without requiring more
    drastic options such as termination of all weekend Caltrain service.”

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2016/2016-12-01+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf (click on #12)

  24. John Nachtigall
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 08:38
    #24

    Speaking of NIMBYs. A very instructive study.

    https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/dourado-airport-noise-mop-v1.pdf

    The table on page 2 shows how few people actually complain about airport noise. Amazing findings in my mind, that someone would call 200-400 times a month. Wow!

  25. Brian_FL
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 12:01
    #25

    First video that I am aware of showing the first assembled trainset for Brightline parked outside at Siemens in Sacramento. Nice looking train! Although I am surprised the cars and locos have dark colored roofs, considering that they are headed for Florida!

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

    J. Wong Reply:

    Video shows a Capitol Corridor passing the parked Brightline!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    If at Siemens then it would be a San Joaquin.

    Jerry Reply:

    Does the new train go to a test track from the plant?
    Or does it go straight to Florida?
    When it goes to Florida it would be good publicity to have videos and photos of the new train enroute.

    Eric M Reply:

    I bet the first set spends some time in Pueblo Colorado for testing, if one hasn’t already.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    It goes direct to the new maintenance shop in WPB. Then it will undergo testing south of there towards Boca Raton. There will be publicity events I’ve been told. The 5 new train sets will be sent to the WPB shop throughout next spring and summer.

  26. Roland
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 19:48
    #26
  27. morris brown
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 21:18
    #27

    The Daily Post had a front page story on the disaster that is CBOSS

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMSXVHY2R1UnJCQmc

    We learn now delayed until 2018 until it will be operational (if then?)

    Roland Reply:

    LTK have resolved all the “frictions” with Parsons: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-brewer-1a633424
    What could possibly go wrong?

  28. morris brown
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 21:20
    #28

    (correction)

    We learn now delayed until 2018 when it will be operational (if then?)

  29. morris brown
    Dec 1st, 2016 at 21:31
    #29

    At the Caltrain meeting today (Dec 1,2016) , the Board unanimously approved, without discussion, agenda item 10. The Board thus has approved an agreement between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Caltrain for a Core Grant of $647 million as part of the funding for the electrification project.

    Never mind that any Core Grant to Caltrain has not been approved by the FTA, and no grant agreement has been written; the board has approved the non-existent grant agreement.

    Which brings up the question. Why even have a Board of Directors? They act like Zombies.

    Roland Reply:

    http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=26454 Click on item 161129 (last on the list) and listen for the backup plan.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Roland

    Thanks for the link. So here Michael Burns from Caltrain, asks and gets approval, from this committee, of the $150MM interim financing for Caltrain’s modernization.

    When asked for a backup plan, Burn’s doesn’t have one — he claims they don’t need one since they are assured the FTA Core Grant will be approved.

    The Core Grant has not been approved regardless of what Caltrain would have you believe.

    StevieB Reply:

    Each of the joint powers has individually approved the item previously. You cannot expect the board members to contradict their own individual board decisions just because you would welcome the delay.

    morris brown Reply:

    @StevieB

    You don’t understand. Item 10 which was approved by the Board, gave Hartnett complete authority to approve an agreement for the proposed Core Grant. Who knows what such an agreement will contain? Certainly the Board would want to approve an such document with so much money involved. What if the agreement would say, Caltrain you have to reimburse any Federal funds expended, if, as an example HSR Funding did not come forth?

    The FTA Core Grant has not been approved, Congress needs to be notified at least 30 or perhaps 60 days before any funds for a grant have been appropriated.

    joe Reply:

    Morris what’s Caltrain to delay and wait until post January 20th when the FTA will be under new administration and guidance (like blanket freeze) and chances this gets approved are far lower.

    If I learned anything, it’s how the concerns of wealthy people living near caltrain is predictable by understanding if something canstall or stop caltrain.

    No Caltrain better not drag this out.

    StevieB Reply:

    Michael Burns from Caltrain said work has been ongoing for two years on the Core Grant so they know what it will contain. Two years work is not a rushed agreement with surprise clauses. Your concerns are unsupported. Paperwork will be presented in the middle of December and approval is expected around 15 January 2017.

    Roland Reply:

    Michael Burns is retired and works 20 hours a month as a figurehead whose job it is to cover up this enormous boondoggle.

    StevieB Reply:

    Perhaps you have a better source and will elucidate.

    Roland Reply:

    Always happy to comply if you would care to elaborate.

    zorro Reply:

    Caltrain & HSR in CA is not a boondoggle, you just don’t want HSR built, so I call your statement what it is: BS…

    synonymouse Reply:

    PBCAHSR via base tunnels to Podunk does not constitute a boondoggle?

    Ho Ho Ho

    zorro Reply:

    HSR is being built, don’t like that Cyno? Too bad, your side has lost every court case & election trying to stop HSR…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The courts do not deign to soil their hands with Prop 1a or any other HSR litigation.

    C’est de la merde avec du poil dedans.

    Roland Reply:

    @Zorro. Would you be so kind and educate the lesser informed of us as to exactly what “HSR” is?

    zorro Reply:

    No, you can Google it, or use Bing. Then there is HST, for homework.

    Roland Reply:

    @Syno. Can you share specific evidence corroborating the discovery of poil therein?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If Wikipedia is to complicated for the good sire, the good sire is invited to peruse the following hyperlink. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail I bid the good sire a good day.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A phrase I picked up from Leon Molgat from Brandon, Manitoba while at McGill in Montreal summer of 1964.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You must all realize by now that @synonymouse cannot provide any evidence for any of his claims of malfeasance. He’s a lot like our next President, he just claims it is the truth without evidence.

    JB in PA Reply:

    The best laid plans of synonymouse and men often go astray.

    Roland Reply:

    @Syno, thank you for confirming that there was no scientific discovery of poil within the subject matter, only hearsay.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Only that Trump claims stuff about his opponents that he himself is doing. So I would like to look into his claims of “widespread fraud”…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Very very frequently what the Republicans are screeching about is very revealing. They are projecting their fears, desires, lusts onto other people.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Indeed.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    What is it about a short detour to serve the 500K people in the Antelope valley that bothers you so much, Syno. Do you hate the desert?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale is off-route.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Per Clem, Palmdale is 34 extra miles. That’s about 7% compared to the total SF to LA distance.

    StevieB Reply:

    @synonymouse
    Palmdale is the gateway to the International Spaceport and your trip to Mars. There will be no long term parking at the spaceport.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Palmdale is only 34 extra miles if you assume the old SR14 alignment. The new, much better alignments like E2 are significantly shorter.

    Jerry Reply:

    Synonymous still talks about his favorite dogleg, but there’s not even enough money to get to Bakersfield.
    Sad.

    Jerry Reply:

    PS. Bakersfield has more people than Lancaster and Palmdale.

    synonymouse Reply:

    34 miles is a big difference, and all exposed to seismic. IIRC the San Andreas goes thru Palmdale.

    If you applied the extra billions for your base tunnels to Palmdale to the Tejon route travel times could be improved over the tentative route proposed by Clem and much mitigation performed for Sta. Clarita and points south.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    But the 34 miles isn’t accurate because of the new eastern tunnel proposals. Furthermore, HSR is eventually going to Vegas, and CAHSR via Palmdale is the most efficient way to get it there.

    Jerry Reply:

    “If you applied the extra billions”
    Extra billions?
    We don’t even have money to go to Bakersfield.

    zorro Reply:

    @ Jerry: A one time appropriation in the State Legislature could solve getting from Fresno to Bakersfield, now that there is a Democratic Super Majority in the CA State Legislature, if the money is there.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Unfortunately, Sta. Clarita doesn’t want mitigation, they just don’t want HSR so it’s unclear how any money would make them accept it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Jerry

    The other Jerry is going to tax your ass to pay for his Legacy.

    Joe Reply:

    Billionaires like adelson and trump might direct taxpayer money to bring Palmdale HSR to their Las Vegas hotels and NFL raider’s stadium. That connection would drive ridership on the CA system and even get Bakersfield and Palmdale cofunded.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Syno
    How does an ass-taxing system work? Would it be a flat rate for each ass? Would it increase in correlation with the size of ones ass? Are there any loopholes ore deductions? Are there offshore ass havens?

    Just kidding.

    StevieB Reply:

    The Fort Tejon earthquake of 1857 in the Tejon Pass was one of the greatest earthquakes ever recorded in the U.S., and left an amazing surface rupture scar over 220 miles in length along the San Andreas fault with a maximum displacement of about 30 feet. Tejon Pass is far from a safe alternative to rail through Palmdale.

    Joe Reply:

    We have fault lines to cross.
    Clem would say the Tejon fault crossings could be done at grade.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And yet the TMV and presumably its holiest of holies golf course is located right atop the dreaded “Convergence Zone”.

    You make it sound like the Yellowstone caldera or New Madrid. More powerful than SF 1906 but then how much collateral damage was there at Tehachapi in 1857. Quien sabe?

    What is certain is that the mountain crossing at Tejon is much shorter and accordingly a lesser window of opportunity for bad things to happen.

    Michael Reply:

    Stevie- You do realize that HSR would also cross the San Andreas Fault just south of Palmdale if it runs via Palmdale. Any route from LA to SF has to cross the San Andreas somewhere…

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ carfreeLA

    Jerry’s tax is reduced appropriately if you are half-assed.

    Roland Reply:

    One cannot help but wonder as to what the alleged supermajority’s top priority might be: http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2016/12/02/obamacare-s-end-may-be-20b-hit-california.html

    On a slightly more positive note, the President elect’s back taxes should be more than enough to cover the gap (after interest and penalties).

    Jerry Reply:

    “each of the joint powers”
    “ongoing for two years”
    Yee Gawds.
    How many layers of bureaucracies are involved in all of this? ?

  30. Domayv
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 07:45
    #30

    It appears CRRC (China) is planning on further entering thr European rail market by buying Skoda http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/business/single-view/view/crrc-confirms-plan-to-buy-skoda-transportation.html

  31. synonymouse
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 09:33
    #31

    Is Chanel as powerful as the Tejon Ranch?

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/02/chanel-train-across-flower-fields-threatens-no-5-perfume.html

    Perhaps they should ask Jerry to consult – he knows how to pull off a yuuge rr detour.

    Roland Reply:

    Definitely not as powerful as cowschwitz: https://youtu.be/Na5wrhZQN4o

    Clem Reply:

    Chanel Tunnel No. 5?

    synonymouse Reply:

    In 5 months there will be a new government in France and almost certainly it will be farther to the right and business influenced. I suspect either Francois Fillon or Marine Le Pen would side with Chanel and its employees. Le Front National in particular has more union supporters than one would expect.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am pretty sure that Le Pen will not win this election. If the left manages to put up one halfway popular candidate and a halfway unifying figure (unlikely, I know) she could even miss the runoff. If I were Francois Hollande, I would announce not to run (which he already did) and then I would announce talks with the French Greens (surprisingly strong) and all leftist and centrist parties that want to participate to put up a strong fusion ticket, agree on a platform and put up candidates for open primaries. The French democratic right just had an open primary and it brought quite a high turnout with it. If the French left can emulate this and generate buzz for a candidate that represents more than just one party all is not yet lost for Red France.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is hard to tell even for the French sondeurs; I thought Alain Juppe would do much better against Francois Fillon than it turned out.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am surprised Bahnfreund that you would support a government and party that suspends basic human rights.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36842311

    after 9/11 and even during the civil war the US never suspended the Constitution. For a person of your political assertions this seems irreconcilable. If Bush or Trump had proposed such a thing I would have expected you to come unglued.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. I do not think there is ever a good reason to suspend civil rights, but it is a bit hypocritical that you, a self described Republican attack me for my general of the political left in France (which mind you does not mean a particular candidate or party). I for one think Hollande has disappointed a lot of people and most of those people are justified in their disappointment. His governance – as far as I can glean from my limited information – has one of “indicate left, overtake right” that is so common for European socialist and social democrat parties once in power.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    After “general” there should come the words “feeling of support and kinship” or something to that effect. Which of course does not mean unquestioning jubilation at anything they say and do, but a “if I had to vote, it would be something red/green” feeling.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you oppose Trump because he COULD cause all kinds of civil liberty problems. But Holland HAS suspended civil rights. Other than complete hypocrisy, how could you support that? I am not being hypocritical at all. I would never support a government that suspended civil rights…extending it 4 times….especially when not in a any kind of immediate war.

    Lincoln was in the middle of a civil war and still the supreme court ruled against him. After 9/11 with 10x the deaths it was not even considered.

    So yes, I am critiquing you for supporting a government who has actually suspended civil rights when you criticize a president-elect who even in everyones wildest dreams could not get away with that.

    Didn’t you just compare Trump to Ceasar? Apparently your zeal for civil rights stops when the offenders are red/green not right.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am not sure when I compared Trump to Caesar, as it would be a compliment to the former and an insult to the latter to do so.

    I think the declaration of a state of emergency and the suspension of civil liberties was wrong. I did not vote for Hollande as I am neither a French resident nor a French citizen. I don’t even speak French. I am not an expert on French politics either, but I think that the right wing opposition largely concurred with the government on the state of emergency. I do not know what the French Greens had to say on it. So you supporting – I guess – the French Republicans (which to be frank is an obscene presumption of a name, all French people are republicans save for a very small bonapartist, orleanist or legitimist minority that last played a role in the 19th century) would entitle me to some hour long Philippic as well?

    Look, there may be elections where the smaller evil is still evil. Even if the last two Nicaraguan elections for instance had not been a foregone conclusion, none of the choices on the ballot were particularly appetizing. In fact in 2011 the choice was between Ortega (who needs no introduction at this point) a tattering 80 year old fool and supremely corrupt Arnoldo Aleman who should be in jail but isn’t.

    In France the choice in the runoff will likely come down to two out of the following three: a center-“left” member of the party of Hollande, the guy the French right just put up (who sings the same tired song of “reforms” and has not to my knowledge opposed the state of emergency) and openly fascist Marine Le Pen. It is to me crystal clear that anything is to be preferred over Le Pen (just as Chirac was in 2002 over her father) and it is to me quite clear that even a defective social democrat is better than anything the French right puts up. Now if the French right were to put up a committed fighter for civil liberties and opponent of the state of emergency, your argument would ring truer, but they haven’t and it doesn’t.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The vote was 489 to 26 to extend it. Proving that my low opinion of all the French is justified.

    But closer to your home,

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/europe/angela-merkel-full-veil-ban-germany/

    Now explain it to me, because I am obviously stupid. How is it that the US, who could never ban dress or religious freedoms, is that “bad guy” when France, Belgium, Switzerland, and now Germany ban religious dress.

    Oh, and the EU supports the ban

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/01/world/europe/france-burqa-ban/

    Heal Thyself.

    PS. You are selling your principles too cheap, at least ask for some cash first.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most states ban wandering around in a mask.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Look, you may not know how parliamentary systems work, so I am explaining it to you again.

    No party in Germany ever had an absolute majority on the federal level for more than a blink of the eye (and even then the CDU/CSU decided to have a coalition nonetheless and it was in the 1950s, which were weird in many ways). So the CDU/CSU (which is either one party or two, depending on how you count and whom you ask) will have to have a coalition partner. It is not yet 100% clear whether they will enter into a coalition with the Greens or with the SPD after the new election, but one of the two will get the nod. Now what did the heads of both those parties say almost immediately after this passed? That’s right they said “No way will we ever vote for this”. And given that I do not intend to vote for the CDU (for this reason among many others), it is very clear that my vote will not be in furtherance of this policy. Now I have in the past flirted with voting for Die Linke but frankly their position on Israel as well as their fanboyism for Putin are just too disgusting for me. I know that any vote for the Greens (unlikely because I dislike Kathrin Göring Eckhart) or the SPD is likely to end up being a vote for a coalition supporting Merkel, but it crucially won’t be a vote for Merkel herself and the more people vote SPD, the better their bargaining position gets.

    In fact when some ultra right wing rabble rousers at the CDU convention got a stupid thing passed on double citizenship Merkel and others said “No way this is gonna happen; the coalition treaty precludes it” and Merkel herself said she was not going to campaign on (opposition to) dual citizenship.

  32. Eric M
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 10:51
    #32

    Alstom to test advanced concrete rail track in Germany

    French engineer Alstom is to trial a rail line made from concrete that it says can be installed more 40% more quickly than conventional track.

    The company calls its system “non-ballast concrete-slab track”, or NBT, and it says it can be used on conventional or high-speed systems up to a maximum speed of 360km/h.

    Joey Reply:

    So have they just found a faster method of laying slab track?

    Eric M Reply:

    That’s what is sounds like, but the cost will probably still be higher than ballasted track, as more concrete is used. I remember somewhere the HSRA was talking about using ballasted track outside of viaducts because the ease of making adjustments with ground movement in the valley…..and cost. If the HSRA is cutting costs by shortening station platforms and the corresponding sidings, I cant see them using slab track the whole way. I personally hope they use slab track, but the cost is higher as well as noise.

    Eric M Reply:

    I should have said, the initial cost is higher, but maintenance is less. There are also ways to reduce wheel/rail noise with slab track, but in the end, I think it will all come down to cost.

    randyw Reply:

    This discussion is insane. Slab track has a service life of more than 50 years. There are places in the valley that have subsided 28 feet in that time. A concrete structure would fail with just a few feet of subsidence. There are already failed canals all over the valley. Climate change will of course will of course mean more drought and continued subsidence.

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1182/pdf/06SanJoaquinValley.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    And that is precisely why Professor Andrew McNaughton predicted that herein may lie the ultimate solution: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272815590_Track_stability_using_ballast_bonding_method

    Joey Reply:

    To my knowledge, this is the same approach that’s still used on most high-speed construction around the world – ballasted at grade and on earthworks, slab on viaducts and in tunnels.

    StevieB Reply:

    In China, over 80% high speed railways are ballastless slab track.

    In China, there are 11,028 km of high speed railways in operation and another 12,000 km under construction, making up half the total amount of the world’s total high speed railways, with the country owning the longest and the largest scale of high speed railways both in operation and construction…
    Compared with the traditional ballast track, it has the advantages of high stability, long service life, high geometric regularity, uniform track stiffness, low maintenance, and good durability.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but China also has very long extended sections on Viaducts. Are there significant at-grade segments that are also slab?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I would not know about that but recent new constructions in Germany are also mostly “fest Fahrbahn” (balastless track). So there seem to be reasons to build like that that are not unique to China.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s “feste Fahrbahn” with an e. I forgot to double check what I wrote.

    Joey Reply:

    Germany is definitely the exception to what I said above. But that has always been the case.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    No it hasn’t. Hannover-Würzburg (the first dedicated high speed line) was built with ballasted track and also flat enough to allow freight trains.

    StevieB Reply:

    In China Ballast-less slab track is used for 350 and 250 km/h Passenger Designed Lines while ballasted track is employed for 200 km/h railways.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    and CAHSR operates above 200 km/h, so ballast-less slab track makes more sense.

    Joey Reply:

    Europe is still building very high speed lines using ballasted track. I don’t think it’s reasonable to make that assertion just based on China

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    True, but China has been remarkably successful at getting a lot of HSR built cheaply, and it isn’t all politics.

    Joey Reply:

    China’s HSR construction costs are more or less inline with Europe

    I’m not saying that all-slab construction is necessarily bad, but the parts of the world that build HSR have had many years to come to consensus about this, and they have not.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well in Germany there is certainly a tendency to do new construction with ballastless slab, but it’s not yet 100% and many rail projects in Germany take decades from first idea to completion (The idea behind Erfurt-Nuremberg dates to 1990 – grand opening will be in December 2017; similar things can be said for Stuttgart-Ulm and Stuttgart-Basel)

    Roland Reply:

    CHSRA will no doubt discover why viaducts need floating slab tracks as soon as they start testing them at any king of speed (oops?). As far as Alstom is concerned, I really wish the original McNaughton lecture was still available for viewing by the general public…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Could be useful for streetcar track, especially if you could figure out a cheap removeable street “pavement” And for places where ballast subsidence becomes a perennial problem, say the Muni Sunset Tunnel.

    Joey Reply:

    I still can’t figure out why they haven’t re-laid the legacy tunnels with slab. They seem to have to take the Twin Peaks tunnel completely out of service every few years for track work, while the newer slab in the Market St Subway requires almost no extended maintenance.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know the specifics of this case, but in general when a government entity spends small amounts frequently instead of a big amount rarely it has to do with what budgets are “supposed to look like” and how much money is allocated.

    If you know repairs cost 100 per year and getting rid of the problem for the next 50 years would cost 500 but you only get 150 per year there is not much you can do inside the system…

    agb5 Reply:

    Alstom has been working on this for a while, the innovation is that the slab is a continuous strip of concrete cast in place.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv-zbW6vOnw

  33. Wells
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 11:56
    #33

    http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L18433#p1_z5_gD

    Heads up on new FRA rulings perhaps? Ricardo?

    Roland Reply:

    Where have you been for the last 2 weeks?

    Peter Reply:

    And Useless’ years-long claims that only a loco-hauled train (i.e. KTX) will be able to meet Tier III crashworthiness requirements go down in flames.

    To support operational compatibility, the proposed Tier III trainset crashworthiness and occupant protection requirements are predominantly based on the proposed alternative crashworthiness and occupant protection requirements for Tier I passenger equipment and are intended to safely apply to operations at speeds up to 220 mph in a dedicated environment as approved by FRA.

    FRA concluded that there are no significant differences between trains built to the design standards contained in Euronorms and trains built to meet the crashworthiness and occupant protection requirements in the proposed rule.

    Although the FRA does think that modifying Japanese trains to meet Tier III requirements would be cost-prohibitive.

    Roland Reply:

    Q1) Did you notice the subtle difference between operations on dedicated and non-dedicated ROWs?
    Q2) Does the current PBRRA “business” plan entail operations on shared or dedicated ROWs?

    Eric M Reply:

    I brought this one up before for Useless:

    Further, FRA intends for these definitions to make clear that the definitions of Tier I and Tier II do not include Tier III passenger equipment merely because the equipment operates in the Tier I and Tier II speed ranges.

  34. John Nachtigall
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 12:49
    #34

    Super example of private investment in rail

    http://www.businessinsider.com/snowball-clause-behind-the-worlds-worst-debt-trade-2015-11?r=UK&IR=T

    I stand corrected, you can make money investing in rail. I appologize to everyone on the board.

    Roland Reply:

    Apologies accepted: https://books.google.com/books?id=9qM8AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=monthly+consular+and+trade+reports+january+1908+no.+328&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMmI7dytbQAhUI0GMKHaHxCE4Q6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=monthly%20consular%20and%20trade%20reports%20january%201908%20no.%20328&f=false page 124 (World’s Railway Systems).

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Pg 18, I had no idea ox and horse hides were of such importance to trade.

    Roland Reply:

    Any comments on page 124 other than that the line was 100% privately financed with oversubscribed bonds and that, later that year, the Chinese exercised their option to takeover the concession for approximately 5 times the cost of construction?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Comment…..hmmm

    1908 was a different time. Rail represented the pinicle of transport and transport is always valuable.

    Oh and good for the investors. Just a few years later it all came crashing down.

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

    Joe Reply:

    Shhhh don’t anyone tell John about us history, booms and panics.

    He lives in a fictional safe space.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That should have read “a few years before” not after

    Roland Reply:

    How about breaking down the numbers on page 124 and see if there is anything that could be possibly be applicable to the current century?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I,know you love this example Roland, you have mentioned it before.

    No I don’t see applicability to current day

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well if all transportation were on equal footing (all financed generally by the state or all the burden of private investors) it is clear who’d win. The fact that private rail can exist in the face of absurd subsidies for road and airports is pretty amazing if you ask me.

    Roland Reply:

    Come on John, I know that you are having about as much fun looking at these numbers as having a root canal but I also KNOW that you can do it.

    Here is a clue: start with the EBITDA and GAAP numbers and look at what happens to the bottom line if you take away the freight revenue. Surprise!!!!

  35. Roland
    Dec 2nd, 2016 at 14:26
    #35

    Here comes Leo Express to the rescue: https://youtu.be/BTYUBsu6KQg

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Not happening.

    Roland Reply:

    Wanna bet?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I will bet that no more than two agencies (Caltrain, or something that replaces it, along with CAHSR) will ever operate along the peninsula.

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs and “agency” to operate a train?

    Roland Reply:

    Any idea how many “agencies” operate trains on Caltrain tracks between Santa Clara and Tamien?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s up with all those neoliberal Czech populists?

    Roland Reply:

    What’s up with all those socialist Krauts?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    They breed them in universities…

    Or so I’ve been told…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    My point is that it is idiotic to have multiple different train operations and brandings and tickets and…. on the same corridor in one metro area competing for the same customers. It makes an already way too complicated system even more complicated.

    Roland Reply:

    What is your proposal for Caltrain, ACE, Capitol Corridor, Amtrak and PBRRA?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Combine Caltrain, BART, ACE, Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin, AC Transit, Muni, VTA, etc. into one Northern California Transit Agency.

    Combine Metro, OC Transit, MTC, NCTD, Omnitrans, RTA, metrolink, Surfliner extended to San Jose, etc. into one Southern California Transit Agency.

    Cut all interstate Amtrak service back to Sacramento, and keep it as Amtrak.

    Run HSR as a probably private company that will eventually run to Vegas and Phoenix as well as CA.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’ll bet that every single HSR train will be operated by Caltrans.

    The bigger concept of Prop 1A is unified California rail service and while SF-LA HSR is the foundation of Prop 1A is it not Prop 1A in it’s entirety. After HSR is running the state will tackle consolidating Caltrain, ACE, CapCor, Metrolink, Surfliner and eventually SMART into one California Transiit network.

    Which goes to demonstrate the sheer scope of Prop 1A.

    Roland Reply:

    May I respectfully suggest some light reading material in the 12/13 PBRRA Board meeting agenda, specifically item #5?

    Aarond Reply:

    Yes I’ve seen it, but I doubt they will be successful. A private operator wants the entire system but by that point there’s no real reason to have a private operator when Caltrans is perfectly capable of running it (especially considering Phase II projects or expansion for local-stop trains).

    At the very least, a Norcal unified rail service between SF, SJ, Oakland, Fresno and Sac is happening and the only feasible way this happens is a Caltrans takeover. Such a thing is openly stated in the state rail plan as a thing borne out of the new blended system.

    Roland Reply:

    Someone clearly forgot to tell these folks that failure is imminent: http://www.raildeliverygroup.com/about-us/governance/licensed-associate-members.html

    Aarond Reply:

    Different contexts: Britain went from a public system to private system in ’93. California went from a private passenger rail system to public in the 60s and 70s. CAHSR (a publicly funded construction project) exists upon that foundation.

    Though, if the incoming president privatizes the Interstate network then CAHSR will find itself being auctioned off.

    Domayv Reply:

    and if that gets auctioned off then kiss the cross-country freeways that linked the east and west coasts goodbye

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well they will certainly still exist in some form, but bridges that are not maintained will eventually collapse and ultimately crossing the US will be a daunting task once more. There could even be a religious minority in open conflict with the US government in the “heartland” – the 19th century is making a comeback… I can already see the chapters and chapters of cyberpunk pulp fiction about such a dystopia…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One that doesn’t leave California would be intrAstate.
    THe yokels in the hinterlands aren’t going to let the highways collapse. Or the people on the coasts who like fresh food.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Um. Its California that grows the fresh food. We can get by without TVP, Corn Syrup, and ethanol.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And you sell it east of I-35, give or take 50 miles.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    California used to be so anti-rest-of-the-US that they tried to limit the immigration of people from Oklahoma. They failed in federal court, so to spite them they installed “agricultural checkpoints”. I am sure many in California would the deterioration of some highway through Yokel-land with glee – less yokels coming in to gentrify. Still, the “heartland” is ultimately built upon an unsustainable “business model”. Unless federal funds keep propping up all those roads and parking lots they cannot be maintained. And they keep electing people who talk the gospel of slashing federal funds. They will either have to tax themselves higher or have to live with less and more expensive roads. C’est la vie.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    As an intercity service headed to SoCal, HSR will sensibly stay separate. Makes sense to let the operator capitalize their buy-in by providing the rolling stock, for example.

    Within the greater NorCal region, makes sense to combine services — or at least far better coordinate fares, payments and transfers. BART is tricky since its district has an approved property tax. So maybe start with the JPAs without dedicated funding – Caltrain, CapCor, ACE — and merge together an entity that can coordinate buildout of a Schnellbahn/RER for the region, with greater frequency and speed, and prioritizing extensions in all directions (Dumbarton, Oakland, Salinas, Merced) and electrification. Include SMART if appropriate. Leave the county bus, LRT & BRT services on their own for now.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think at the very least the operator will have an interest in providing “City-Tickets” (i.e. an onward connection on local public transit at no extra cost to the ticket-holder). It will probably be a bit complicated to implement than in Germany, but I would still think it worth the attempt.

    Edward Reply:

    It’s a start:

    http://www.capitolcorridor.org/transit-transfers/

    Roland Reply:

    Given that BART is responsible for Capitol Corridor administration, is it not bizarre that BART is the only agency that does not offer free transfers???

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A writer once wrote that even the biggest journey begins with a single step. I hope CaHSR can build on this; after all, they will be running on the same tracks as Caltrain…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Agreed, bizarre

    Edward Reply:

    It’s a start:

    “Remember to purchase your discounted BART tickets in the Café Car – $10 BART tickets can be purchased for only $8”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    BART also does not offer any monthly or yearly pass. Which to my knowledge is at the very least highly unusual. Even a private railroad must have some interest in people who patronize their services (nearly) every day. And to attract such people “flat rates” have long been a tried and tested method that ensures a steady money flow and gives the customer the peace of mind to be able to just board a vehicle and be done with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART disdains other transit ops; it only has a use for airports and freeways.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    [citation needed]

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    May I respectfully note that it makes more sense from a rider’s perspective to combine services like ACE and Caltrain with BART, VTA, and Muni, and to combine services like Metrolink and Surfliner with Metro, OCTA, and MTS.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Every reorganization carries within it the seeds of the next reorganization.

    Roland Reply:

    Do you mean seamless door-to-door transit like https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/#features?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Actually privatization is on the whole harmful to fare integration, not helpful. Just have a look at Japan and compare it with major European countries.

    Roland Reply:

    It may come as a total shock to you that London’s red buses are actually run by 15 different private companies.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It does not. I know that Britain has been enamored with the privatization ever since the wicked witch governed them, but as the British Railways show (did you know that “Intercity” used to be a trademark of British Rail that Deutsche Bundesbahn paid royalties for? Hard to imagine nowadays, isn’t it?) privatization does not have to produce positive results. Quite the contrary.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    London’s red busses are a mess that are inferior to the Underground in every way.

    Roland Reply:

    Right now, they are bringing in over 60% farebox recovery. Wanna guess where the farebox would be if they were running in tunnels instead of bus lanes?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The London Underground farebox ratio is 92%. Its more comfortable, faster, more comprehensible, and is more efficient. I don’t get the point of having busses within the Circle Line at all.

    Eric Reply:

    Because 1) the Underground is at capacity 2) it’s no fun to walk 5 minutes down into the ground, then 5 minutes up out of the ground at your destination, when you could take a bus curb to curb. For short trips this can outweigh the Underground’s greater vehicle speed.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    For trips of a mile or less, walking is better. For plenty of trips from 2-5 miles, biking is better.

    Furthermore, you just addressed the problem–the Underground isn’t building nearly enough lines, but hopefully crossrail can change that.

    Busses in Lonndon are terrible because there are so many windy complicated paths that make no sense. London doesn’t have a street grid that works for surface transportation.

    Finally, I would assume a big problem with London transport is all its terminus stations around the urban core. What it really needs is a collection of 4-6 track tunnels with two to three stations between places like Victoria and King’s Cross, Marylebone/Paddington and Charing Cross, Waterloo and Euston. Such tunnels would need to be used by all trains, making virtually every service into London be run-through. It would take throngs of passengers off Underground trying to reach their final destination.
    London could really take a page out of Germany’s book and get a real Hauptbahnhof, probably around Piccadilly Circus.

    Roland Reply:

    “I would assume a big problem with London transport is all its terminus stations around the urban core”
    Ever heard of ThamesLink, Crossrail and Crossrail 2?

    “What it really needs is a collection of 4-6 track tunnels”
    You just lost whatever credibility you may ever had on this blog.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Making sweeping statements about others supposedly losing all credibility does not usually engender either good will or credibility.

    As to the implicit statement that surface transit only works in cities with a grid, I would very much doubt that. In fact, I’d wager quite the contrary as the tram/streetcar/light rail is most pervasive in cities of France or Germany that do not have anything even resembling a grid and it is in very gridlike Latin American and North American cities that buses and subways are the only modes of transit for the most part.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Cross rail and Thameslink don’t carry intercity trains from Manchester to Dover, for instance. Obviously Berlin and Vienna don’t have a problem with spending lots of money on similar projects. Over a 20-30 year period, this isn’t far fetched at all.

    Roland Reply:

    Just to be clear, the Channel tunnel is near Folkestone (not Dover) and trains will indeed travel between Continental Europe and Manchester once the HS1/HS2 connector is built.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And what is the next city of any size near Folkestone called?

    By the way, there were supposed to be trains (even night trains) from Europe all the way to the North of England when the Chunnel first opened. I think the rolling stock that was planned to be used for that was ultimately sold to Canada…

    swing hanger Reply:

    Urban Japanese railways other than the JR railways and the handful of municipal subway operators have *always* been private. Fare integration has never really been an issue in Japan, especially given the widespread use of interchangeable smart cards using the FeliCa system usable nationwide. Fares are reasonable (I think they haven’t been raised for the last decade or two) and urban transport is just as convenient and in fact more dense and comprehensive in the Kansai and Kanto regions as anywhere in Europe- and they have to be, given the public reliance on rail transport which is reflected in rail mode shares.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Do you work for Leo Express? There’s nothing about it that makes it more door to door than Caltrain.

    Roland Reply:

    No and no again (I did not know that “Caltrain” ran buses).

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    No, but SamTrans, VTA, and Muni do. Also, bikes, sidewalks, and Uber exist.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And there are indeed real places in the real world where the state organizes public transit and you can buy a ticket not only from “Munich” to “Berlin” but from a stop hundreds of meters from your doorstep to a stop hundreds of meters from whatever destination you want to get to. Granted, there are still some kinks in the system, especially when you cross various administrative lines, but it is much better than the mess currently evident in the US or Japan with various different agencies not selling tickets for one another or demanding ridiculous fares if they do. One of the reasons why people take their car is because they (usually) have to deal with one cost – gas (driver ignore all other costs their car produces or assume they exist regardless) and you don’t have to figure in transfers or fares. The more seamless the public transit experience, the more likely people are to take the public transit option.

    How you lionize the boss of Leo Express, a man who openly states he wants to take the Beeching Axe to the relatively dense net of rural railways the Czech Republic still enjoys is beyond me. You may claim to be in favor of public transit, but if you support the neoliberal privatization blather of this individual you clearly do not support pro-transit policies but just drink the laissez-faire Cool-Aid.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Go ahead, figure out the toll between Albany New York, where I pass through the first toll barrier, to Washington D.C. Google Maps will have you use Route 17 to get from the New York State Thruway to the Garden State Parkway. It’s miles and miles of retail right on a 55 MPH highway. Calculate it using the interchange between the Thruway and and the Garden State. Google will also route you through downtown Baltimore. Use I-695 and the Francis Scott Key Bridge. One way tolls in effect so you have to calculate it in each direction.

    Roland Reply:

    Leo Express operate a massive bus network that complements their 4-country rail backbone.
    I nearly had to ride SamTrans (98 from Redwood City) for the first time in my life when NB231 died on the way to the Caltrain Board meeting on Thursday. I was saved by a Russian lady who called her daughter to the rescue and dropped me off in San Carlos so I am pleased to report that I am still a SamTrans virgin.
    I have never ridden Uber either and I don’t see how their current business model could possibly survive: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-25/uber-loses-at-least-1-2-billion-in-first-half-of-2016.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Is there something wrong with SamTrans busses? And why the hell have you not taken Uber? Its one of the best ideas ever.

    You say that Leo Express operates a massive bus network that complements their 4 country rail backbone. However, that is intercity transportation, and this is local transportation, and is therefore entirely pointless.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Leo Express seems to think its a good idea to run busses to Judah & 19th, Lombard & Van Ness, Berkeley, Oakland, and along a stupid shuttle from Fremont Capitol Corridor Station to Freemont BART and Tesla. These corridors are already served by perfectly good transit, and making redundant competing routes makes the passenger experience worse for everyone and creates lower ridership.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “These corridors are already served by perfectly good transit, and making redundant competing routes makes the passenger experience worse for everyone and creates lower ridership.”

    So nix bloody BART-MTC-ABAG-SPUR 10 cattlecar trains on Geary trying to poach TWU 250A ridership and destroy Muni Metro?

    Now even more room for the livestock with more seats removed.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It just seems pointless.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No switches?

    Roland Reply:

    @Syno.
    You forgot to mention the absolutely essential $1.5B Diridon to Santa Clara BART extension.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There are shuttles that are run here: http://www.commute.org . They get funding from SamTrans, but aren’t run by SamTrans.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And where are those supposed four countries that Leo Express is supposedly running? Because in the Czech Republic if you want to go places, you take Ĉeske Drahy (they really go everywhere) and if you have to take a bus Leo would by far not be my first choice. The fact that Leo does not want to enter the German market yet their competitor Regiojet/Student Agency has (with only a few bus routes, but still) tells me all I need to know about the bridges the CEO of Leo Express is selling.

    The CEO of Leo Express is a man who suggests gutting rural rail lines in the name of “efficiency”. He also advocates replacing buses with 9seat vans on less busy routes. I know of another such man. His name was Dr. Richard Beeching Baron Beeching. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Beeching

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland
    Be careful what you say about the great and good doctor. He did great things to modernize British Railways. And what is the value of rural branch lines with empty trains?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Central_Main_Line Rural branch lines you say? Empty trains you say? Britain was not just a leader or an early adopter of railways, they invented that stuff. And thanks to the extreme short-sightedness and pig-headedness of a bunch of people – yes, including Beeching – it is now a running joke among European railroads.

    Just one of the several things supposedly superfluous rural lines can do is this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tram_train https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karlsruhe_model In the vast majority of cases a train line was built because there are people along it. People don’t just up and disappear. Ripping out tracks and paving them over is not just stupid and criminally negligent, it is the equivalent of eating the part of your harvest set aside to plant the next crop. There may be some limited industrial tracks that have no use after a factory closes or an industry relocates, but the amount of tales of “the line they almost shut down” rebounding beyond anybody’s wildest imaginations is so staggering that we should all be very weary of those bearing the honey pot of “rationalization” by “shutting down redundant branch lines”. Heck even the Saxon narrow gauge railways that even the GDR did not want in the 1960s are now once more enjoying a fifth spring thanks to tourism.

    The thing is, once you rip out the train and give the right of way away, that is it. There will not be restored service. So yes, the difference between some token service or the line being eliminated from existence like some politico who fell ill of the dear leader is indeed huge. Not for current service, but for the potential of any future service.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Karlsruhe? Not a good example. Hundreds of miles of lines were built by small communities afraid to be left behind by the Industrial Age. Never generated traffic to justify the outlay. Along came the motor car and the Lorry and bus and made them completely redundant. If you want to bleed the railroads white with duplicate main lines and unused routes you are on the right track. You seem to be one of these foamers who supports any and every train regardless of its value. The world is your Lionel set. Grow up.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The tram-train Karlsruhe got out of it does work, does it not? I shall even have opportunity to inspect it myself as I will be in Karlsruhe on unrelated business in a few days.

    Not every new train line makes sense. Not every new train line made sense at the time it was built. But handing over prime right of way for some BS suburban housing project or – even worse – new roads is never a good idea. You seem to see nothing wrong with shutting down 5000 miles of railway like Dr Beeching did.

    Financial losses are if anything a number in a book. As long as a railroad is not private they mean nothing. Roads and airports have amassed much greater losses. Look, I like a railroad that makes a profit like the next guy, but if making a profit means shutting down thousands of kilometers of track, there needs to be a line drawn. Because profits are to be reinvested into expanded and better service, not some chimera chased after as more and more lines are abandoned and left to rot. Yes, some branch lines will always be losing money. But even airlines run flights they cannot hope to make money on to feed their trunk services. Someone who has to spend the first ten kilometers of his journey in a car is much less likely to spend the next hundred in anything but a car.

    But to get something out of this that is not just shouting of political ideologies, what do you think is the minimum size for a town/community to justify railway service?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    100K to actually go there as a destination or detour, 30K to get a stop. Exceptions made for tourist destinations or transfer stations.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Leafy biways leading to minor rural settlements do not constitute “prime right of way”. Financial losses are numbers in a book, the taxpayers’ pocket book. Scarce resources capable of alternative uses. Many of the branches Beeching (and indeed his forebears at the BTC) closed saw a handful of passengers a week, and excited interest only when closure was proposed. The Great Central was the last mainline built and failed commercially. Until very recently the remaining network handled the business offered without a problem. Overcrowding is mostly in the southeast and in the urban commuter networks generally.
    As for demolishing central London to build a Berlin style central station, I can only say that the Luftwaffe were less thorough than USAAF/RAF, plus a big chunk of London was not left semi derelict since 1945 as was Berlin. And more tunnels under London? I don’t think there is any dirt left to tunnel through. Seriously though, Crossrail and Thameslink are enough to bite off for now. We should import the Crossrail team and build CrossRail Los Angeles.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Cross rail LA isn’t necessary because of all the intercity rail follows one through corridor along the river. All that’s needed is the Union station run through tracks project.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Car Free, yes the run through tracks plus an imaginative management to exploit them. I think Crossrail sounds better than Link-US, but that’s personal. Actually Crossrail needs another river crossing as well to avoid conflicting moves at the old Mission Tower. Plus double track in the Valley, quad track to Fullerton, double track along I-10 through Alhambra, and so on. I think it will sell better as a package.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Oh absolutely. Light rail-size metrolink trains running at light rail-like frequencies might be the most cost effective transit projects possible in LA County. May I propose an initial Chatsworth-Claremont and Santa Clarita-Norwalk system for the mythical 2024 Measure M2.

    Roland Reply:

    @Paul, Not sure if you know this but here is how the Crossrail team learned all their little tricks: https://vimeo.com/101722249 (fast forward 24:30)

    Too bad they did not interview as well as PBRRA with Morales and his minions:
    – Staff memo: http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_060915_Item5_Consider_Providing_Approval_to_Execute_and_Award_the_Rail.pdf
    – Resolution: http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_060915_Item5_Resolution_HSRA15_11_Consider_Providing_Approval_to_Execute_and_Award_the_Rail.pdf
    – Final resolution: http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_060915_Item5_Final_Reso_HSRA15_11_Consider_Providing_Approval_Execute_and_Award_RDP_Contract.pdf

    – Video: https://youtu.be/6heuF-GJeFU?t=10935

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Good luck trying to get your Beeching Ax swung through Germany.

    There are roughly 80 cities of 100 000 or more people. All of them have a mainline rail connection. Of the cities without mainline rail, the biggest (my source is a bit outdated, so one or two of them may have changed their status since then) are in descending order and with your 30 000 as the cutoff point:

    Herten (61,163 inhabitants)
    Nordhorn (53,285 inhabitants, Lower Saxony, reactivation planned for 2017)
    Bergkamen
    Monheim
    Aurich(41,489 inhabitants, Lower Saxony)
    Kamp-Lintfort
    Hemer 37,920
    Würselen 37,762
    Niederkassel 37,699
    Datteln 35,512
    Wermelskirchen 35,129
    Stuhr 33,645 Niedersachsen
    Delbrück 30.049
    Oer-Erkenschwick 30.010
    Unless otherwise noted, all of the mentioned cities are in North Rhine Westphalia, which is Germany’s largest state by population and the most densely populated non-city-state. Würselen coincidentally is the town whose former mayor is currently president of the European parliament.

    Out of all cities with 20 000 or more inhabitants 51 lack passenger rail service. There is only one among those that has a road distance of more than 20 km to the next train station with passenger service, and for all but five it is less than 10 miles. The last city above 20 000 inhabitants to lose train service is Limbach-Oberfrohna in rail unfriendly Saxony (the government is rail-unfriendly, not the people or geography) which lost passenger service in 2002 due to Saxony misappropriating federal funds earmarked for local passenger rail. Overall Germany has 605 cities with 20 000 or more inhabitants. So if the ax were to come down for all cities smaller than 30 000 which currently do get service (which is quite a lot in Germany, particularly with rather recent tram-train and S-Bahn expansions) and those between 20 000 and 100 000 that see service (roughly 550 places) there would be quite some backdraft. And there really is no reason whatsoever to do it. Regional transport is experiencing a healthy growth and people just plain do not want to see their railway service replaced by buses. On the contrary, many rather small towns are currently in the process of being (re)connected to some railway service and many rural services have seen electrification, double tracking or other efforts.

    And yes, railway lines can be prime right of way even if they happen to lose money at the time of their shutdown. Countless rural bypass roads have been built on what used to be rail rights of way. And the number of bike paths on former rail lines is legion and bears no mention.

    Now I know, going out of your way to link two hamlets of barely a few thousand people each over the distance of a marathon is a stretch, but I have done my share of walking around the countryside and rarely is there more than two or three kilometers of “empty space” between any two human settlements in Germany. And shutting down the last big Victorian Main Line of Britain was especially foolhardy because what is currently being proposed as HS2 could have been achieved much cheaper had this right of way still been available. To borrow a phrase, I propose a complete and total shutdown of any rail infrastructure closures until we figure out what the hell is going on. With all the lines were service has been withdrawn to be protected should reactivation ever become politically desirable.

    Roland Reply:

    Pardon my ignorance. Would you be so kind as to identifying the last big Victorian Main Line that was shut down by Her Majesty’s Government?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Bahnfreund. I absolutely think that’s fine in Germany. However, in the US, we still have major metropolises without rail, so HSR connecting them and comprehensive metro systems inside of them have to come first. Furthermore, there aren’t very many people outside of major cities in the American west. Once leaving Denver, population 3.2 million, for instance, you can travel 500 through 3 states miles to Salt Lake City, population 2.4 million, only encountering one city with more than 30K inhabitants (Cheyanne, plus the suburb of Laramie). Continuing on, you can go 420 miles through 3 states to Las Vegas, population 2.2 million, traveling through only one city with more than 30K people (St George, Utah). People are heavily concentrated in metropolitan areas here to a degree seen in few other parts of the world.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The one going through the center of Britain. The one which was purposefully built especially straight (geez, I wonder what a especially straight ROW would be good for today)…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Central_Main_Line You know when it opened? Two years before Victoria Regina shed her earthly bounds, so squarely “Victorian”.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the Leo Express California team: https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/#team

    Joey Reply:

    If they had reL financial backing you’d think they would be able to buy their own domain..

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’m fairly sure its a hoax, as you’d find out if you did any research into news about it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So they’re going to need a waiver on FRA rules.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Who doesn’t need a waiver on FRA rules?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Nowhere are specifics given for the Caltrain corridor. Nowhere is there an actual press release. Nowhere on the real Caltrain website or the real Leo Express website is this written. There is just one little website without its own domain that Roland probably made himself to indulge his transit fantasies.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well Leo Express will make Caltrain great again. All it takes to do so is shutting down all “rural branch lines” to cities smaller than 3 000 000 people.

    Roland Reply:

    The Wong twins are at it again:
    “The Stadler FLIRT 3, the intended rolling stock, has met the FRA’s crashworthiness standards. It will enter mixed-use operations in Fort Worth, Texas in 2018. An earlier model of this design was approved by FRA for mixed-use operations in Denton, Texas. The vehicle manufacturer’s expertise and experience in meeting FRA requirements minimize any regulatory risk. Mixed-use operations of Caltrain’s diesel fleet with similarly compliant vehicles was authorized by the FRA waiver dated May 27, 2010, Docket Number FRA- 2009-0124. Caltrain+ will utilize the PTC solution implemented by Caltrain.”
    https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/pdfs/CaltrainPlusProposal.pdf (page 54)

    Proposed timetables start on page 68

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    America doesn’t have rural branch lines. 300K people isn’t rural. However, there is little reason to have a train to somewhere with less than 100K people, or have a stop somewhere with less than 30K people.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @ Roland Proposed timetables that you or another uninfluential armchair planner wrote to trick us into believing such a thing will occur, or try to make such a movement occur like the falsely advertised Aqua Line which provided momentum for the Expo Line and Subway to the Sea. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THIS LEO EXPRESS/CALTRAIN THING IS ACTUALLY OCCURING.

    Roland Reply:

    I had nothing to do with the timetables (I am not that smart).
    As far as Leo Express not ever happening, here is some light reading:
    https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/#testimonials

    Peter Reply:

    No waiver will be required for Caltrain, LEO Express, or any other operator to operate an “alternate compliant” train on existing tracks in the US, if the rules recently discussed by the FRA go through.

    I think LEO Express’ main problem in the US market is going to be that there is no requirement for open-access to tracks the way there is in the EU. American transit agencies always either own or lease equipment themselves, which they then provide to the private operator (if the agency doesn’t run the trains themselves). LEO’s business model, on the other hand, seems to be to own their own rail equipment (all of five trainsets, btw!), which they then run on open-access tracks.

    The best they could reasonably hope for in terms of using Caltrain tracks would be to win the contract to operate Caltrain service using Caltrain equipment.

    Roland Reply:

    “LEO’s business model, on the other hand, seems to be to own their own rail equipment (all of five trainsets, btw!), which they then run on open-access tracks.”
    Isn’t that the exact same business model as Amtrak, Capital Corridor and ACE (all of five trainsets, btw!)? If not, kindly help me understand what it is that I do not understand.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Out of roughly 600 German cities with 20 000 to 100 000 inhabitants, only a bit over 50 have no passenger railway service of any kind. So what you are saying is bring the ax down on them? Remove their service? Or that the railway lines currently serving those places should never have existed? And what about places even smaller than 30 000? Let’s say you are building a new S-Bahn from Metropole City (pop. 500 0000) to Secondaryville (pop. 100 000) and have a few hamlets on the way with populations all the way from 5 000 to 15 000. You could serve them all with minimal deviations to the route and people are used to S-Bahn stops being a handful of minutes apart. But you say screw those places, Secondaryville can be grateful they get any service at all?

    Or what would you say of the project to link the Nuremberg (pop. ~500 000) Straßenbahn to Erlangen (pop. just North of 100 000) and Herzogenaurach (pop. 23 095)? Would you consider it an insane waste of money? Or do light rail systems follow a different logic? Voters approved it (~70% in Herzogenaurach; ~60% in Erlangen) and the feds are chipping in with 60% of the total costs with another 20% to 30% coming from the state government. Furthermore the (required by law) cost benefit analysis has brought a positive result. Would you still say this is a line that should not be built? Or am I misrepresenting you?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    As we have exhaustively established, tracks in the US are not open access.

    Jerry Reply:

    “not open access”
    Might be a good idea to try it somewhere.
    By the way, if you have a private railroad car, you may attach it to an Amtrak scheduled train.
    https://www.amtrak.com/privately-owned-rail-cars
    Black out dates apply in January around the inauguration time in D.C.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There is an actual Leo Express website http://www.le.cz. I don’t know what the herokuapp.com site is normally the email domain leoexpress.io

    I wonder how a corporation might feel about having it’s copyright violated?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am in support of making all public railroads (as in accessible to any other entity than the railroad owning the track at all) should be non-discriminating open access with every railroad being granted access under the same conditions.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/12/02/a-private-operator-could-be-just-months-away-for.html?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    paywalled

  36. john burrows
    Dec 3rd, 2016 at 09:34
    #36

    Last September Jerry Brown signed SB32 which requires California to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, but left open the question of whether the implementation of SB32 would include cap-and-trade.

    Yesterday the Air Resources Board released a discussion draft of their 2030 Target Scoping Plan in which they do call for keeping the cap-and-trade program as a big part of the plan to meet the 40% reduction goal in CO2 emissions. A more detailed version will be presented for public comment in Jan 2017 and some time in the Spring the Proposed 2030 Target Scoping Plan will be presented to the board for approval. Alternatives to cap-and-trade are also presented, but are considered to be less effective in achieving a 40% reduction.

    Getting from where we are now to extending C&T to 2030 is not going to be easy, but this is a move in the right direction.

    David Baker commented on this yesterday in SFGATE—“Despite Trump, California plans ways to slash greenhouse gases”.

  37. joe
    Dec 4th, 2016 at 23:16
    #37

    BART is removing seats on new cars to improve passenger flow and thus effective carrying capacity.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/BART-plans-to-ease-overcrowding-by-removing-some-10689558.php

    “BART officials are proposing removing seven seats on one side of each of 380 selected railcars, leaving a row of single seats — and extra room to stand. The other side of each car would keep its double seats.”

    “Surveys of people who’ve given up riding BART show that, aside from job or residence changes, the main reason for abandoning the transit system is crowding, Weinstein said.”

  38. Jerry
    Dec 5th, 2016 at 15:36
    #38

    Tonight the Menlo Park Planning Commission will discuss three options for the CalTrain Ravenswood Grade Separation. Crossings at Oak Grove and Glenwood may or may not be included in Option A. Option B includes Oak Grove. and Option C includes all three crossings.
    The $750,000 study followed a woman being killed in her car at the Ravenswood crossing.
    Menlo Park has been studying the matter for decades.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is a $3M solution that will take care of all 3 crossings for the next few decades: https://youtu.be/cuO2Fu63d0o

  39. Roland
    Dec 5th, 2016 at 17:34
    #39

    November 3rd Caltrain Board meeting video: https://youtu.be/TuBkHjd60U0

  40. Joe
    Dec 5th, 2016 at 19:45
    #40

    What to expect in 2017.
    A Bill weakening the testing and oversight of Medical Devices passes House.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-21/medical-device-makers-get-a-little-help-from-the-fda

    http://www.theintell.com/news/local/fitzpatrick-says-no-to-bill-that-would-affect-fda-drug/article_1a51e526-bb12-11e6-b95d-1f94f754b9a5.html

    Cost cutting — easier approval process and reducing the requirements for lab testing.

    Possibly we’ll see relaxation of FRA regulations lead by industry lobbying.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I know these words are going to be wasted on you, but in the interests of the truth I am going to write them anyway.

    1. The use of notified bodies (the 3rd parties referred to in the article) is standard practice in the EU. If you want a CE mark for anything, including a medical device, you contract with those bodies to audit you and eventually certify the device. So there is nothing revolutionary here.

    2. There is a movement, which has happened over the last 15 years, to standardize the audit process across a lot of countries. For large companies with devices in many countries, they are subject to repeated audits about the same device from the different people with slightly different standards. So a process called MDSAP was created by all these agencies, including the FDA, to comprehensively include all requirements.

    The actual innovative part is that all the members of the MDSAP “alliance” have access to the audits. So the FDA will now have access to the EU audits they did not have access to before.

    3. There is not going to be a reduction in the FDA audits, they are just now going to all share audits with each other. And they are all going to use the same template for auditing.

    4. The requirements are not reduced. You must still prove your device is “safe and effective”. The difference is you can use more ways of proving that now then you could before. So it will be easier if you have other data like 5 years of commercial use in the EU which could not be considered before.

    Side note: In the EU you only have to prove a device is safe, no effective, which is why the EU gets devices generally faster than the US. The US is keeping the safe AND effective standard, but now you can use EU data more readily.

    5. The law actually increases funding a bunch of different and useful agencies.

    Simply put, it does not “weaken” oversight, it changes it.

    Joe Reply:

    Not lost on me at all.

    Weakening FDA oversight by allowing sub-contractors hired by vendor to asses change impacts removes independence.

    Use of alternative methods to provide evidence reduces test requirements.

    Look for QA cost cutting efficiencies as a result of this bill of passed.

  41. StevieB
    Dec 5th, 2016 at 23:35
    #41

    Proposed high-speed rail station would travel from Burbank to L.A. Union Station

    The L.A. Times has difficulty writing an intelligent headline. The headline makes it appear a mobile rail station will be moving between Burbank and Union Station.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Michelle Boehm, the Southern California regional director for the authority
    said that the entire project is expected to be completed by 2029 and that construction of the grade separations would not start until possibly 10 to 15 years down the road.”
    Sure glad that they are planning ahead.

    StevieB Reply:

    Jerry, you are easily pleased.

    Joe Reply:

    Plans lead to money. We planned HSR and when ARRA funding was available CA was ready and got the “lion’s share” taking FL and WI money.

    Roland Reply:

    FL and WI were smart enough to recognize that this was just seed money for yet another PB boondoggle. AAF is the living proof that Florida was right (they are way, way ahead of the game).

    Joe Reply:

    WI Gov Walker weeks later reversed himself and wanted the money.
    His request was denied.
    WI is footing the bill for some of the federal HSR work themselves.

    Roland Reply:

    So they are going to follow Caltrain’s leadership spending 13 years electrifying and starting grade separations two years later?

    Jerry Reply:

    Entire project completed by 2029.
    Grade separations completed 15 years from now equals year 2031.
    Sure glad they’re planning ahead.

    Roland Reply:

    So they are going to grade separate AND electrify at the same time?
    Par-Tay! J-O-B-S and screw any passengers trying to go from point A to point B by rail!!!

  42. Roland
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 08:35
    #42

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/uber-lyft-use-sfo-increases-six-fold-two-years-bart-loses-ridership/

    synonymouse Reply:

    “We have to be more nimble.”

    Ho Ho Ho

    They’ll try to get MTC-ABAG-SPUR-PB-Tutor-LTK to attack Uber-Lyft.

  43. Roland
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 09:00
    #43
  44. Roland
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 10:56
    #44

    PTC status update:
    – SCRRA 246/249 miles
    – PCJPB: 0 of 53 miles
    http://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/

    Roland Reply:

    July 2013 Caltrain Board Meeting

    AUTHORIZE AMENDMENT TO THE CONTRACT WITH PARSONS TRANSPORTATION GROUP TO RESTRUCTURE OPTION 2 TO CREATE NEW PHASES 3 AND 4 AND TO EXERCISE OPTION 2, NEW PHASE 3 FOR A COMMUNICATIONS-BASED OVERLAY SIGNAL SYSTEM/POSITIVETRAIN CONTROL (CBOSS/PTC) IN THE ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF $53.7 MILLION
    “Ms. Harrington said at the June Board meeting she presented an overview and status of this project. This contract was awarded in phases to Parsons Transportation Group. She said staff is splitting this option into a Phase 3 and Phase 4 because there are some possible funding opportunities. This is to start the construction of the project. The project is on schedule and budget. Ms. Harrington said there is a letter from Roland Lebrun with a series of questions and staff will respond to him in writing, but staff has no information that supports his statement that the project is not going to make the deadline. She said she wants to thank Mr. Lebrun for identifying a typo on the bottom of page two; it should say May instead of March.

    Public Comment
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB) have known for over six months that Caltrain cannot possibly meet the 2015 PTC implementation deadline. He said this was confirmed during the testimony to the Senate Transportation Committee on June 19. Mr. Lebrun said since we now know the deadline cannot be meet there is an opportunity to hit the pause button. He said this would give time to hire an independent entity that can be trusted to provide the Board with unbiased advice, including how complete re-signaling could substantially improve the capacity of the line. He said this would have no impact on the budget because the Board has already approved $90 million in unspecified oversight activities. Mr. LeBrun said the other option is to approve the staff recommendation, but how can the Board rely on the advice of people who either don’t know what is going on or are not telling the truth.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2013/8-1-13+JPB+Minutes.pdf Page 4

    Joe Reply:

    Mr. Lebrun said since we now know the deadline cannot be meet there is an opportunity to hit the pause button.

    Curious suggestion. Where is the pause button on a contract?

    Why not use this metaphor correctly?
    Mr Lebrun would like to hit the rewind button and eject button. Sadly. No such options exist. This is “public comments” so try harder.

    You want to cancel the contract, compete for a new advisory contract and start over – right?

  45. Roland
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 12:16
    #45

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/12/02/traffic-mess-gridlocks-palo-alto-for-hours

    Roland Reply:

    “We await a report from our US railroad engineering subcontractor on the Dumbarton Bridge cost study we commissioned. We will provide more data on that segment of the project later this month.

    Our projected scope of work includes:
    • a replaced movable span in the San Francisco Bay channel
    • about 1700 feet of new metal bridge, replacing the burned portion at the western end of the structure
    • a fixed section to replace a short bridge over the slough, because it is no longer navigable
    • renewed ties and rails wherever required for 59 mph operation
    • a stabilized berm on the eastern portion of the crossing
    • powered CTC turnout at Newark Junction.
    https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/pdfs/CaltrainPlusProposal.pdf (Section 6.5 on page 61).

    Jerry Reply:

    59 mph??

    Jerry Reply:

    ” a Chernobyl-level traffic gridlock event”
    Well that’s a new way to describe it.

  46. JimInPollockPines
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 17:24
    #46

    So what’s new with HSR? Ive been so wrapped up in the recent disgusting turn in national politics Ive all but forgotten about HSR. I assume not much is new since this project moves more slowly than the San Andreas fault. (SF and LA might be side by side before HSR is up and running)

    Not only should California fund this project on its own, but we should just
    CalExit and be done with the dysfunctional politics and people of the US. It would be a dream come true.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well for better or worse calls for secession in the US have a history of falling on deaf ears…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    No. Don’t give up on America. Fight to get it back on track. We shouldn’t abandon each other. We’re #StrongerTogether.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well then let the first order of business be shutting up those morons that say “I don’t want California and New York to decide who’s President”

    Edward Reply:

    I certainly didn’t wish for the present situation but it has a certain bizarre fascination.

    What is Trump going to about his conflicts of interest? “My kids won’t talk to me about it.” Suure…

    What is going to happen soon after January 20th when all these department managers with little to no government experience hit the ground at the same time?

    What is he going to do about the independent, but Pentagon requested, report of 125 Billion in waste in the military just leaked? Hey, if leaks are good for Hillary…

    How is he going to handle the 7 am meetings after the 4 am tweets?

    Jerry Reply:

    We should know by Groundhogs Day.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    I’m sure we’re doomed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bbIBs0P2t0

    DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM

  47. morris brown
    Dec 6th, 2016 at 18:54
    #47

    Caltrain’s Weekend Service to Be Dramatically Cut

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Why?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Better shut it down weekends and get the work done

    joe Reply:

    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2016/01/special-provision-sp01040.html

    Shut Down This Railroad!

    The right answer isn’t to go digging between couch cushions for another several hundred million dollars. The right answer is to shut down this railroad, because trying to electrify without shutting it down is like trying to change a flat tire without stopping your car. A weekend shutdown would speed the work by a factor of nearly three, and reduce cost by about $150 million. Shut down three days, save $200 million. Shut everything down, save nearly $300 million. Okay, maybe don’t shut everything down, but at the very least, the weekends must go.

    Roland Reply:

    I really wish that Clem would STFU when he does not have a clue WTF he is talking about…

    Mark Duncan Reply:

    Caltrain did precisely that for two years on the Ponderosa project during which much of ROW was rebuilt. However it took many years for weekend traffic levels to recover from this extended shutdown.

    Roland Reply:

    So we clearly have to go through this all over again, right?

    Roland Reply:

    How about shutting down incompetent morons incapable of electrifying a live line instead?

Comments are closed.